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3 Quarks Daily
80 Beats (Andrew Moseman, Brett Israel)
A BCer in Toronto (Jeff Jedras)
Acts of Minor Treason (Andrew Barton)
Andart (Anders Sandberg)
Alpha Sources (Claus Vistesen)
Apostrophen ('Nathan Smith)
Arnold Zwicky's Blog
Aufbau Ost (Melanie K.)
Bad Astronomy (Phil Plait)
Beyond the Beyond (Bruce Sterling)
Bonoboland (Edward Hugh)
Bow. James Bow.
Broadside Blog (Caitlin Kelly)
A (Budding) Sociologist's Commonplace Book (Dan Hirschman)
Gerry Canavan's blog
Castrovalva (Richard R.)
Centauri Dreams (Paul Gilster)
Charlie's Diary (Charlie Stross)
City of Brass (Aziz Poonawalla)
Crooked Timber
The Dragon's Gaze (William Baird)
The Dragon's Tales (William Baird)
Dangerous Minds
Everyday Sociology Blog
False Positives (Ian Irving)
Far Outliers (Joel)
The Fifteenth (Steve Roby)
A Fistful of Euros
GeoCurrents (Martin Lewis)
Global Sociology
The Great Grey Bridge, Honourary Canadian (Philip Turner)
Halfway Down the Danube (Douglas Muir et al.)
Hunting Monsters and inuit bikini scarlet carwash
In Media Res (Russell Arben Fox)
Inkless Wells (Paul Wells)
Intuitionistically Uncertain (Michel)
Itching for Eestimaa (Guistino)
Ivor Tossell on the Web
Jim's Occasional Journal of Sorts (Jim Rittenhouse)
Joe.My.God (Joe)
Johnny Pez's blog
Karl Schroeder's blog
Kieran Healy's Weblog
Language Hat
Language Log (Mark Liberman et al.)
Languages of the World (Asya Pereltsvaig)
Lawyers, Guns, and Money
LRB Blog (London Review of Books)
The Map Room (Jonathan Crowe)
Marginal Revolution (Tyler Cowen)
Marginalia (Peteris Cedrins)
Mark Simpson
Maximos' Blog (Russell Darnley)
More Words, Deeper Hole (James Nicoll)
The Naked Anthropologist (Laura Agustín)
New APPS blog (group blog)
No Moods, Ads or Cutesy Fucking Icons (Re-reloaded) (Peter Watts)
The Numerati (Stephen Baker)
NYRB Daily (New York Review of Books)
Open the Future (Jamais Cascio)
Otto's Random Thoughts (J. Otto Pohl)
The Pagan Prattle (Feòrag)
Passing Strangeness (Paul Drye)
patrickcain.ca (Patrick Cain)
Personal Reflections (Jim Belshaw)
Photosapience Daily (Jerrold)
Pollotencheg (Ukrainian demography blog)
The Power and the Money (Noel Maurer)
Progressive Download (John Farrell)
Registan (group blog)
Rev Rachel Rambles (Rachel Kessler)
The Rose and Phoenix Inn (Victoria Goddard)
Russian Demographic Live Journal (Ba-ldei Aga)
A Rusty Little Box (Rebecca)
Savage Minds
The Search (Douglas Todd)
Shadow, Light and Colour (Elizabeth Beattie)
Sharp Blue (Richard Baker)
The Signal
Some Ramblings from Mr. Gueguen
Steve Munro
Strange Maps
Sublime Oblivion (Anatoly Karlin)
Supernova Condensate
Tall Penguin
Technosociology (Zeynep Tufekci)
Towleroad (Andy Towle)
Understanding Society (Daniel Little)
Volokh Conspiracy
Wasatch Economics (Scott Peterson)
Wave Without A Shore (C.J. Cherryh)
The Way the Future Blogs (Frederik Pohl)
Whatever (John Scalzi)
Window on Eurasia (Paul Goble)
The Yorkshire Ranter (Alex Harrowell)
Zero Geography (Mark Graham)

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Sunday, September 25th, 2016
9:53 am - [BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • blogTO notes that Muji is opening up a second location.

  • James Bow writes about how voicing complaints can make things better for transit riders.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes the detection of ice in the disk of HD 142527.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to a paper speculating on the origins of rings like Saturn's in the disruption of dwarf planets.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Rich Lowry's low bar for Donald Trump.

  • The LRB Blog notes that refugees are not going to get into the European Union.

  • Marginal Revolution is rightly appalled by a journalist who argues against research in longevity.

  • Understanding Society's Daniel Little announces his new book, New Directions in the Philosophy of Social Science.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Huntington's description of Ukraine's divisions is incorrect, and warns about the strength of Putin.

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9:35 am - [PHOTO] From photo of future Nathan Philips Square, 16 October 1961
From photo of future Nathan Philips Square, 16 October 1961 #toronto #ago #artgalleryofontario #theideaofnorth #cityhall #nathanphilipssquare #viljorevell #parkinglot #pandaassociate #harrisago

The work of the mid-20th century architectural photography firm Panda Associates feature at The Idea of North, for their documentation of what was in the autumn of 1961 the future home of the futuristic Toronto City Hall.

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Saturday, September 24th, 2016
9:00 pm - [FORUM] Are there ruins near you? How do you engage with them?
Keeping in mind my post earlier this evening about ruin porn in post-Communist Europe, my question to you is simple: Are there ruins near you? How do you engage with them?

There are not many ruins around me in Toronto or elsewhere in my haunts, but I have taken advantage of the temporarily abandoned or the questionably isolated for photographic purposes. The abandoned can be scenic. Perhaps my uncaring approach has much to do with my certainty that, in Toronto, nothing is going to be abandoned for long.

And you?

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8:55 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Beauty and the East": On ruin porn and post-Communist Europe
Transitions Online recently linked to Jamie Rann's essay at the Calvert Journal about the questionable politics surrounding ruin porn in post-Communist Europe. There are notable differences.

In an international context, however, the objectifying gaze of the ruin photographer can be revealing. Although the rhetorics of Cold Wars past and present would emphasise their difference, the gaze of the photographer helps to demonstrate the inherent kinship between the ruins of the US and those of the former USSR. In both countries, at around the same time, giant factory cities emerged, with the same purpose and with similar architectures and philosophies (Taylorism, Fordism, technological positivism); in both countries, industrial progress went hand-in-hand with extravagant defence spending, scattering expendable outposts of a vast military-industrial complex around a continent. In the ruin, subtleties of dogma are forgotten: when we look at the snapped pillars of a Greek temple, we don’t care whether it was dedicated to Apollo or Dionysus.

In the Russian context, this sense of serendipity is redoubled because the established western stereotype of communist Russia for so long excluded this personal aspect. In fact, ruin photography can be seen as a factor in a general shift in the perception of Russia and the Soviet Union: the superpower has not lost its reputation for strictness and inhuman grandeur, but now this — for better and for worse — is combined with a sense that the Soviet world is, from an aesthetic point of view, ready to be mined for content by the contemporary culture industry.

Soviet communism always had, in contemporary branding speak, “a great corporate aesthetic”: strong use of colour, an accessible visual grammar and eye-catching, easily reproducible logos. This branding recurs again and again in books like Soviet Ghosts (it is, to be fair, hard to avoid). This can be seen as part of a broader reassessment of the iconography of communism, one begun long ago. Once the symbols of the Soviet Union have been shifted into the world of ruins they becomes reusable as purely aesthetic objects. This is not unprecedented: the Renaissance world could “discover” and exploit the art and design of pagan antiquity precisely because its connection with ruination neutered the potential danger posed by its non-Christian origins. Once Venus de Milo has stumps for arms, she can be a symbol of secular beauty rather than, as she once was, a revered devotional figure. Likewise, a faded red star on a rusting missile is no longer a threat, but a mood board waiting to happen.

As many have observed, the nostalgic aspect of ruin photography is connected to a certain post-modern alienation: the ruins of the 20th century seem to conjure a lost, longed-for time of ideological self-confidence and practical purpose. The physicality evoked by these photos contrasts with the way they are consumed in the virtual world of the internet. Moreover, one of the reasons, I suggest, that ghost-city, ruin-porn photography is so popular is that its engagement with the physical offers the promise of serendipity. Photographers often juxtapose images of hulking buildings with quiet human moments — a girl’s doll, a faded poster, a family photo. The implicit message of the genre is “look what you can discover if you go through the locked door”. This makes it perfect for an information marketplace dominated by the peepshow principles of clickbait headlines: ruins offer a valuable online commodity — the possibility of a chance encounter with a sense of our own humanity.

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5:57 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Mexico City’s Expansion Creates Tension between Residents and Authorities"
The Inter Press Service's Emilio Godoy describes some of the tensions created around Mexico City as that megalopolis expands.

People living in neighborhoods affected by the expansion of urban construction suffer a “double displacement”, with changes in their habitat and the driving up of prices in the area, in a process in which “we are not taken into account,” said Natalia Lara, a member of an assembly of local residents in the south of Mexico City.

Lara, who is pursuing a master’s degree in public policies at the Latin American School of Social Sciences (Flacso), told IPS that in her neighborhood people are outraged because of the irrational way the construction has been carried out there.

The member of the assembly of local residents of Santa Úrsula Coapa, a lower middle-class neighborhood, complains that urban decision-makers build more houses and buildings but “don’t think about how to provide services. They make arbitrary land-use changes.”

Lara lives near the Mexico City asphalt plant owned by the city’s Ministry of Public Works, which has been operating since 1956 and has become asource of conflict between the residents of the southern neighbourhoods and the administration of leftist Mayor Miguel Mancera of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, which has governed the capital since 1997.

In mid-2014, Mancera’s government announced its intention to donate the asphalt plant’s land to Mexico City’s Investment Promotion Agency, which would build the Coyoacán Economic and Social Development Area there.

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5:55 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Rome's new mayor nixes bid for 2024 Olympic Games"
The Globe and Mail carries Andrew Dampf's Associated Press article noting that Rome is withdrawing from the running for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi rejected the city’s bid for the 2024 Olympics on Wednesday, effectively dooming the capital’s candidacy for the second time in four years.

If approved by Rome’s city assembly, Raggi’s motion to withdraw the bid would leave only Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest, Hungary, in the running for the 2024 Games. The International Olympic Committee will decide on the host city in September 2017.

At a news conference in city hall, Raggi said it would be financially “irresponsible” to pursue the bid any further given the city is barely able to get its trash picked up. She highlighted the debts that previous Olympic host cities have incurred and the unfinished infrastructure already dotting Rome from previous sporting bids as reasons to justify the withdrawal.

“In light of the data we have, these Olympics are not sustainable. They will bring only debt,” she said. “We don’t want sports to become another pretext for more cement foundations in the city. We won’t allow it.”

Raggi drew up a motion to withdraw the bid Wednesday and put it before the city assembly, which has the final say. There was no immediate word if and when the council would take it up.

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5:53 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "The space age Parkway Plaza, Toronto’s first heritage supermarket"
Spacing's Chris Bateman describes the story of a 1950s supermarket in Ontario became a heritage building.

It was only a shopping mall, but when the Parkway Plaza opened at Ellesmere Road and Victoria Park Avenue in 1958, it signalled the arrival of space age in the Toronto’s eastern suburbs.

Just five years earlier the site was in the middle of Maryvale, a swathe farms and fields on the borderlands of the Toronto urban area named for the nearby country estate of Senator Frank O’Connor.

A short distance south, over the Canadian Pacific tracks near Lawrence Avenue, the first suburban culs-de-sac and commercial developments were rising from the cornfields.

Modernity arrived quickly in Maryvale. Highway 401 opened just to the north in 1956, and housing subdivisions sprouted from the agricultural landscape with astonishing speed.

To service these new homes, the Cadillac Development Corporation purchased the lots at the southeast corner of Ellesmere and Victoria Park for a shopping centre and hired Bregman and Hamann architects to draw up the blueprints.

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5:51 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Bay St. condos cost more than those on Yonge corridor, study says"
The Toronto Star's Tess Kalinowski reports on condo prices in the downtown core.

A couple of blocks can make a $41,000 difference on the price of a condo in Toronto.

That’s how much more it cost on average to buy a condo near Bay St., compared to the Yonge St. corridor in the last year, according to number-crunching by online brokerage TheRedPin.

It looked at 24 major downtown intersections and found the Yorkville area owned the high end of highrise in Toronto between Aug. 2015 and Aug. 2016.

The average price of a two-bedroom unit within about a five-minute walk of Bloor St. and Avenue Rd. was about $1.4 million — the highest among the 24 intersections in the analysis.

It was followed by an average $1 million for condos near the intersections of Bay and Bloor streets and Yonge St. and St. Clair Ave.

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5:47 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Too few seats filled, WestJet nixes Toronto-Brandon flights"
The Toronto Star carried the Brandon Sun's report about the end of direct flights between Toronto and Brandon, Manitoba's second city. I have been told that the flights were inconveniently timed, scheduled in the early morning even, so no surprise there. Still, as someone who enjoys the Toronto-Charlottetown link in summer, I'm saddened this tie between Toronto and a city lower in Canada's urban hierarchy has been severed.

Starting next week, WestJet will no longer be offering direct service between Brandon, Man., and Toronto.

The airline says as of Sept. 26, it will remove the run from its schedule because demand for seats has not met expectations.

The four-times-a-week flights began at the end of June to test response to the route.

WestJet then announced in July that it would offer the service on a year-round basis starting late next month.

People who have booked flights on the route will be contacted by WestJet directly to make alternate travel arrangements or to offer refunds.

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5:43 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Brad Trost compares Ontario sex ed to residential schools"
MacLean's carries this Canadian Press report which makes it clear that Brad Trost is not suited to any kind of prominence in Canadian public life.

Conservative leadership hopeful Brad Trost raised some eyebrows Wednesday when he compared Ontario’s new sex-education curriculum to residential schools.

Trost joined a couple hundred parents gathered outside the provincial legislature to protest Liberal changes to the way sex education is taught in the province.

[. . .]

“You have a responsibility, a responsibility that you take very seriously, a sacred responsibility to do what is right for your children,” the Saskatchewan MP told the crowd.

“We in Canada, when we have taken away those rights from parents we have had a disaster each and every time. The most tragic incident in our history was the residential schools and that was the underlying problem: parental rights were not respected.”

About 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children were taken from their families and forced to attend government schools. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard graphic testimony from survivors who detailed physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the schools.

Trost said after his speech that the Ontario sex-ed curriculum is “not nearly” the same level of seriousness as residential schools, but “the underlying principle is the same.”

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5:39 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Goodbye summer, hello warm fall"
The Toronto Star's Emma McIntosh lets us know that this fall will be a calendrical expression, mostly.

Though summer is officially over as of Thursday, Toronto’s lingering warmth weather likely isn’t.

Environment Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips says southern Ontario can expect temperatures in the 20s through November.

“We shouldn’t write the obituary on summer-like weather yet,” he said.

But even if those temperatures don’t materialize, Phillips said the extreme heat of this summer will probably be enough to make 2016 Toronto’s hottest year ever.

“We’ve seen that globally, but my gosh, not always in Toronto,” Phillips said.

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3:07 pm - [BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Antipope Charlie Stross imagines future directions of evolution.

  • Anthropology.net reports on a reconstruction of the vocal tract of Iceman Otzi.

  • blogTO notes the temporary return of the Dufferin jog owing to construction.

  • Centauri Dreams considers asteroids.

  • The Dragon's Tales reports on the expected crash of China's Tiangong-1 space station.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that San Francisco's Millennium Tower is sinking into the ground.

  • The LRB Blog notes Brexiteers' use of the Commonwealth.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at what might be the beginning of culture wars in Mexico.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy talks about the need to make it easier for Americans to move.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that Lukashenka wants to "Belarusianize" the clergy of local churches.

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10:59 am - [PHOTO] Seven photos from Victoria Park, Charlottetown
Charlottetown's Victoria Park can be a wonderful place to stroll through on a calm summer's day.

Charlottetown Harbour from Victoria Park #pei #charlottetown #charlottetownharbour #victoriapark #latergram

Harbour Hippo on patrol #pei #charlottetown #charlottetownharbour #victoriapark #latergram #harbourhippo

Boats by Port La Joie #pei #charlottetown #charlottetownharbour #victoriapark #latergram #portlajoie

Busy day #pei #charlottetown #charlottetownharbour #victoriapark #latergram

Towards the downtown #pei #charlottetown #charlottetownharbour #victoriapark #latergram

Hazy to the west #pei #charlottetown #charlottetownharbour #victoriapark #latergram

Blue sky and water, red earth #pei #charlottetown #charlottetownharbour #victoriapark #latergram #red #blue

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10:49 am - [PHOTO] Shakespeare, in bed
Shakespeare, in bed #toronto #shakespeare #catsofinstagram #caturday</center Followers of my Flickr and Instagram feeds will note that the above is my second Shakespeare picture for Caturday. In my defense, I had just woken up; my vision was as poorly focused as my camera.

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Friday, September 23rd, 2016
6:55 pm - [ISL] On dual member proportional representation and the Island

Facebook's Stephen shared the above video explaining dual-member proportional representation, an alternative to first-past-the-post voting that is being put up to a referendum in a couple of months on the Island.

The 1st seat in every district is awarded to the candidate who receives the most votes, similar to first-past-the-post voting (FPTP). The 2nd seat is awarded to one of the remaining district candidates so that proportionality is achieved across the region, using a calculation that aims to award parties their seats in the districts where they had their strongest performances.

[. . .]

Under DMP, a voter receives a district-specific ballot paper with several options. Each option is of one of the following types:

a pair of ranked candidates (primary and secondary) affiliated with the same party;
a sole candidate affiliated with a party;
an independent candidate.
Similar to FPTP, a voter selects one option on the ballot. The distinguishing feature of a DMP ballot is that parties may list two candidates. If a party nominates two candidates, a vote for the party initially supports the primary candidate. The secondary candidate is only considered if the primary candidate has won the district's 1st seat; in this case, the party's district votes are transferred to the secondary candidate at half their value. This gives the secondary candidate a chance to be elected as well, but the 50% weighting makes it challenging for a party to win both seats in a single district. In a typical district, the primary candidates of two different parties will be elected.

This is an interesting system. Were I able to vote, I might well go for this, as it does retain the democratic elements I have found lacking in other proposals.

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8:23 am - [BLOG] Some Friday links

  • The Big Picture shares photos of motorbike racing in South Africa.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the stellar weather that planets of red dwarf stars might encounter.

  • Dead Things looks at two genetic studies which complicate the narrative of humanity's spread.

  • Dangerous Minds shares the infamous anti-disco night of 1979 that spelled the end of the genre in North America.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers how one makes a home among strangers.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that the UKIP MP claims the sun is responsible for the bulk of the Earth's tides not the moon, and reports on a Kentucky judge who says gays ruined straight men's ability to hug.

  • Language Log looks at changing patterns of language usage in Japanese.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money mocks the cosmic perspective of Gary Johnson.

  • The LRB Blog reports from devastated Lesbos.

  • Maximos62 maps the smoke from this year's Indonesian fires.

  • The NYRB Daily shares vintage photos from mid-1960s Cuba.

  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on a recent tour of NASA facilities.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on a call for a single Circassian alphabet, suggests a Russian initiative to use sufism to unite Russian Muslims will end badly, and argues that Russian criticism of language policy in post-Soviet countries is linked to geopolitics.

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8:11 am - [PHOTO] Abandoned plush, Dovercourt at Hallam
Abandoned plush, Dovercourt at Hallam #toronto #dovercourtvillage #dovercourtroad #hallamstreet #abandoned #plush

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8:08 am - [PHOTO] Government House, multilingual
Government House, multilingual #pei #charlottetown #governmenthouse #fanningbank #language #english #français #chinese #japanese

This sign inviting people to Fanningbank, the official residence of the lieutenant governor, is multilingual. English is on the top, followed by the second official language of French, and the Chinese and Japanese languages originally associated with tourism.

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Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
11:56 pm - [MUSIC] Samuel Barber, "Adagio for Strings", performed by William Orbit

William Orbit's 2000 CD Pieces in a Modern Style when it came out, substantially on the strength of his contributions to Madonna's Ray of Light CD two years earlier. This album may well be the only classical album I've bought, barring earlier and forgotten teenage years' purchases.

His setting of Barber's "Adagio for Strings" tugs at my heartstrings. It is symphonic majesty for the mourning.

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8:01 pm - [PHOTO] Three non-Harris works from The Idea of North
One thing I liked about The Idea of North was the inclusion, mostly towards the end, of works which inspired Harris or which were inspired by Harris. His aesthetic lives on.

Rockwell Kent's Icebergs, Greenland, also painted in the 1930s, looks at the same Arctic territory Harris explored.

From Icebergs, Greenland, Rockwell Kent #toronto #artgalleryofontario #ago #theideaofnorth #rockwellkent #greenland #iceberg

A triptych of works by Nina Bunjevac, The Observer, reflected nicely Harris' earlier urbanism. Sunny Days, below, looks at City Hall.

From The Observer: Sunny Days, Nina Bunjevac #toronto #ago #artgalleryofontario #theideaofnorth #lawrenharris #ninabunjevac #cityhall

This still from Jennifer Baichwal and Nick De Pencier's Ice Forms takes a look at Harris' Arctic as the landscape enters a melt.

Still from Ice Forms, Jennifer Baichwal and Nick De Pencier #toronto #ago #artgalleryofontario #theideaofnorth #lawrenharris #jenniferbaichwal #nickdepencier #harrisago</center>

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