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Selected Blogs
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)
Anthropology.net
Apostrophen ('Nathan Smith)
Arnold Zwicky's Blog
Aufbau Ost (Melanie K.)
Bad Astronomy (Phil Plait)
Beyond the Beyond (Bruce Sterling)
blogTO
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
Spacing.ca
Steve Munro
Strange Maps
Sublime Oblivion (Anatoly Karlin)
Supernova Condensate
Tall Penguin
Technosociology (Zeynep Tufekci)
Torontoist
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)
Wonkman
The Yorkshire Ranter (Alex Harrowell)
Zero Geography (Mark Graham)

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Thursday, August 18th, 2016
3:36 pm - [URBAN NOTE] On the future extension south of the West Toronto Railpath
blogTO alerted me to some good news last week.

The future of the West Toronto Railpath, which runs next to the Kitchener GO line, looks promising. That's because earlier today, the province announced that it'd be extending it all the way down to King Street.

Currently, the Railpath runs from Dupont to Dundas, but it'll eventually end southeast of the Dufferin Street Bridge. Earlier this year, the city released images of its recommended designs after an extensive Environmental Assessment, but it's unclear what the extension will actually look like or when it's slated to open.

Despite the lack of a timeline, west side residents have been waiting a long time to hear that the Railpath will continue south. This boast from the province will be received as very good news. As CP24 notes, the extension will snake its way through a new park (funded by a condo development) going in just north of Queen and Dufferin.


CP24 had more.

“This future park will be a hub for West Toronto Railpath users, including cyclists. The park will include cycling amenities, seating, terraces oriented towards the west and a lookout,” Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca told reporters at a news conference on Friday. “Through this investment and many others in the GO Transit network, we are giving commuters another reason to leave their cars behind and take transit or use other forms of active transportation.”

It is not immediately clear when the West Toronto Railpath will be extended but once complete Mayor John Tory said the project will be one “that will serve the community and the whole city for years and decades to come.”

Meanwhile, Coun. Anna Bailao said the extension of the railpath is big news for area residents.

“You are going to be able to get on your bike or just walk south of Queen and go all the way to Dupont or get off at different points where we have access,” she told CP24.


I really have to go exploring.

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3:34 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "CNE snacks include crispy cricket dogs and pulled-pork cinnamon buns"
CBC News' Priscilla Hwang tells, with photos, about some of the foods set to be launched at this year's CNE.

Food lovers and daredevils beware and prepare for some creative concoctions at this year's Canadian National Exhibition.

CBC News got an early preview of what will be on offer and got to sample some 20-plus dishes before the gates open on the 2016 version of the Ex on Friday.

[. . .]

We'll ease you in. We've all seen the sushi burrito, right? Old news.

But have you seen this?

It's a hormone-free beef dog in a bun, some shredded veggies, and topped with crispy mustard crickets.


There are photos aplenty.

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3:33 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "‘Transit renaissance’ on tap for GTA if funds found, report finds"
Ben Spurr's Toronto Star article tells a lovely story.

The Toronto region is in the midst of what politicians are billing as a “transit renaissance,” which will see a major build of badly needed public transportation across the GTHA for the first time in decades.

But according to a new report, unless governments find more funding to pay for those planned lines, the money will run out before the renaissance is even halfway completed.

The report is to be released Tuesday by Move the GTHA, a group of organizations that advocates for transit improvements. Its goal was to quantify the investment still required to complete the ambitious network expansion the province announced eight years ago. The authors found that less than half the planned network has been allocated funding.

Entitled Are We There Yet?, the report was shared with the Star ahead of its release. It calculates that, taking into account the province’s 25-year Big Move plan announced in 2008 as well as the regional express initiative (RER) announced more recently, the total length of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area’s rapid transit network would be 1395 kilometres by 2033.

Of that, the report calculated that 61 kilometres was in place in 2008 and isn’t slated for upgrades and 52 kilometres have been built since that time. (The figure for existing lines doesn’t include the GO network because much of is it slated for substantial service improvements.)

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1:29 pm - [PHOTO] "and so get lost": The Alley at Honest Ed's
"and get lost" #toronto #honesteds #thealley

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2016
11:57 pm - [URBAN NOTE] The CBC on the 50th anniversary of the final Beatles concert, in Toronto
By chance I was at the Maple Leaf Gardens this afternoon, four hours after a scheduled event commemorating the 50th anniversary. CBC's Deana Sumanac-Johnson demonstrates why it was an event worth of commemoration.

They say that if you remember the 1960s, you weren't really there. A similar thing could be said of the Beatles' last concert in Canada, which took place at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on Aug.17, 1966: if you remember hearing the music clearly, you probably weren't there.

Toronto Mayor John Tory was there: only 12 years old, younger sister in tow, tickets procured by their grandfather.

"The volume of the screaming was such that you could just barely hear the music," Tory said in an interview with CBC News, recalling his excitement.

"To be in that environment was quite an experience. But if you said you went for the clarity of music, to hear every song, that would be an untruth, because you could hardly hear anything."

Unbeknownst to Tory and other Beatles fans at the time, that very thing — the noise that drowned out the music — was one of the factors that led the Fab Four to stop touring and conclude that their musical mission was better carried out in the studio producing albums.

Their last major concert took place just 12 days after the Toronto stop. Several studio albums later, in 1970, they broke up.

And that's why this week's celebration of all things Beatles in Toronto is a bittersweet moment. It sheds light on the rarely explored importance of Canada and Toronto to the Beatles' career and also serves as a reminder that the concert-goers at Maple Leaf Gardens witnessed the beginning of the end of one of rock's greatest bands.

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11:31 am - [BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • From last month, Charlie Stross imagined how the Laundry of his ongoing fiction series would have reacted to Boris Johnson as their superior.

  • The Big Picture shares photos of winning Olympians.

  • blogTO celebrates the Leslie Street Spit and south Etobicoke.

  • Centauri Dreams notes a study of some of the smallest and most planet-like brown dwarfs.

  • The Dragon's Tales considers the possibilities of relatively recent supernovas affecting Earth.

  • Far Outliers looks at the fur trapper culture of the American west in the early 19th century.

  • The Map Room Blog links to a study of the Brexit vote in maps.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen links to two columns, one on the end of economic miracles and one on what Danish-Americans do better than Danes.

  • The Planetary Society Blog notes Russia's plan to drop the number of its astronauts on the International Space Station.

  • Peter Rukavina wonders who are the 25 subscribers to The New Yorker on the Island.

  • Savage Minds has a couple of posts noting the way the skills of anthropology can be made to apply outside the discipline.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russia's interest in non-citizens in the Baltic States.

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11:10 am - [PHOTO] The Caledonia for sale, Toronto Harbour
Caledonia #Toronto #harbourfront #htopark #caledonia #torontoharbour #tallships #tallship


The barquentine Caledonia, a spacious tourist vessel profiled in the Toronto Star in 2008, is moored in Toronto harbour next to HTO Part and is up for sale for $C 3.5 million.

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10:56 am - [PHOTO] Sculptures inside the Dunes Studio Gallery (mostly lobsters)
The interior of The Dunes Studio Gallery and Cafe (3622 Brackley Point Road) is full of beautiful things. Last month, I shared a photo of some glass cats for Caturday. Today, I'm sharing some of my photos of sculptures inside the building. Curiously, most of the photos I took were of lobsters.

Shiny lobster #pei #brackleybeach #dunesstudio #lobster #sculpture #latergram


Dun lobster #pei #brackleybeach #dunesstudio #lobster #sculpture #latergram


Dun and shiny #pei #brackleybeach #dunesstudio #lobster #sculpture #latergram


Giant and shiny #pei #brackleybeach #dunesstudio #lobster #sculpture #latergram


Pair #pei #brackleybeach #dunesstudio #birds #wood #sculpture #latergram

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Tuesday, August 16th, 2016
3:43 pm - [MUSIC] Two Toronto Star articles on Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip
Sports writer Brendan Kennedy remembered for readers a concert of the Tragically Hip he saw in 1996, when he was only 12.

The show was at Maple Leaf Gardens in December of ’96. (The Rheostatics, a band I would also come to love, opened.) Freshly graduated from their barroom beginnings, this was the Hip’s first arena tour. But Downie commanded the stage like a deranged general. His face contorted in some imagined anguish; body twisting and twirling in drunken pirouettes, he strutted up and down the stage, ranting maniacally.

I was mesmerized.

The band — drummer Johnny Fay, guitarists Paul Langlois and Rob Baker, and bassist Gord Sinclair, the same group of guys who have played together for more than 30 years now — seemed content to serve as Downie’s dependable foundation, the base from which he could safely leap.

He took full advantage of their support, undulating one minute — like a dolphin, he would later explain — and firing off rounds of an imaginary shotgun the next. He bobbed and weaved with the microphone stand — narrowly missing cracking himself in the skull on a few occasions — before mime-smoking a cigarette and glaring at the audience. He was fierce and beautiful and entirely unique.

I couldn’t look away. Who was this lunatic poet?


Pop music critic Ben Rayner really liked their concert here in Toronto.

“Thank you, Toronto. Thank you, Toronto. Thank you forever.”

Gord Downie didn’t say much to the crowd during the Tragically Hip’s Wednesday-night gig at the Air Canada Centre, but he didn’t have to. The elephant’s already loose in the room. We needed to forget about it for awhile. He and his bandmates of more than 30 years probably needed to forget about it for awhile.

So we forgot about it for awhile. This, the first of three sold-out Toronto dates on the Hip’s Man Machine Poem tour – the band is back at the ACC on Friday and Sunday – was no weepfest, despite the fact that after three more shows to come in Hamilton, Ottawa and hometown Kingston on Aug. 16, 18 and 20, respectively, the Tragically Hip looks very likely to be over for good. Downie, as most Canadians are by now well aware, is staring the most final of all final curtains in the face right now, valiantly fighting against terminal brain cancer by going out on the road with lifelong friends Paul Langlois, Johnny Fay, Gord Sinclair and Rob Baker for what could well be the last time. No doubt so everyone involved can forget about it for awhile.

So 20,000-plus Toronto fans tried not to think about that last night, and Downie and the Hip did their utmost in return to drive all the bad thoughts from our minds by delivering one of the most powerful and wholly uplifting sets they’ve played in this city for years for nearly two-and-a-half riveting hours.

True, the gnawing certainty amongst many attendees that this would indeed be the last time they’d ever get to see the Tragically Hip in action did lend an extra sense of urgency to a will-call lineup that still stretched across the width of the ACC lobby to the east doors half an hour after the show had started.

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3:40 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Exploring Toronto’s Hidden Waterfronts"
Torontoist's Mark Mann describes Toronto's several coasts, products of geology and humanity.

“Waterfront” is a relative term. Torontonians tend to think of the waterfront as the place where they can see water, as the term implies. But the city also keeps a few extra waterfronts in the back, where there’s no water in sight. Just because you can’t see it, that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

The oldest waterfront, by far, is the steep hill that runs east-west between Davenport and St. Clair, which marks the former banks of the large inland sea left behind from the last Ice Age. Today, it’s mainly an excuse for cyclists to avoid going north of the Annex.

Heading south on the old lakebed toward Lake Ontario, the next shoreline lies just south of Front Street—hence the name—about half a kilometre from Toronto’s present-day waterfront. That was the edge of the lake when the city was originally founded as the Town of York in 1850. Between then and now, all of the intervening land was unceremoniously dumped there to make space for the expanding city. But as Toronto grew out into the lake, the water never gave ground.

Gazing out toward the Gardiner Expressway from Front Street, this former waterfront doesn’t look that convincing. There are only roads and buildings in sight—no water. But the people who erected those buildings know better, because throwing dirt in a lake doesn’t actually make the water table get any lower. If you took a backhoe to the parking lot across from the Air Canada Centre, for example, the hole you dug would quickly become a pond. When developers excavate foundations for new buildings in that part of the city, they might as well be building directly in the lake.

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3:38 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "How public transit affects home values in Toronto"
The Toronto Star's Tess Kalinowski describes how public transit impacts home values in Toronto. The linkage is unsurprising, honestly.

Business student Karan Kundra doesn’t own a car, and doesn’t expect to buy one anytime soon. He has, however, purchased a condo at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, the terminus for the Spadina subway extension scheduled to open late next year.

Kundra won’t take possession of his one-bedroom-plus-den in the Cosmos tower until 2019. But whether he goes on to grad school at York University, where he is studying at the Schulich School of Business, or he gets a job downtown, his subway ride is only metres from his front door.

The Cosmos development is part of a residential building boom tied to Toronto’s new transit lines. These are the kinds of homes that planners and developers say will blur the line between urban and suburban living.

Public transit access boosts property values, and is increasingly a must-have for GTA homebuyers.

Kundra’s condo will be located deep in the suburbs, near Jane St. and Highway 7. But it will live like a city apartment, he said.

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3:35 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Excessive film shoots at Riverdale home irks neighbours"
The Toronto Star's Holly Honderich notes controversy around film shoots at a Riverdale home.

Nightmare on Pape Ave.

That’s how one Riverdale resident describes the “excessive” number of film shoots that have taken place in the historic Toronto property next door.

The most recent one, the remake of Stephen King’s IT, has taken over the three-storey, nearly 130-year-old property right beside the home where Nick Shcherban lives with his family.

IT — based on a King novel of the same name — follows several children terrorized by an evil, shape-shifting monster that appears in the form of a demonic clown.

But according to Shcherban, a horror story is also playing out in real life.

“These (films) have been affecting the lives of the families in the neighbourhood,” Shcherban said.

“It looks like Universal Studios out there,” he added, referring to the trucks and crew members that have become a staple at the corner of Pape and Riverdale Aves, surrounding the property that was once used as a home for single mothers.

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12:58 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "A city of two worlds, Yellowknife is an open book well worth reading"
Dave Bidini's ode in The Globe and Mail to Yellowknife is a lovely read.

Yellowknife is small and openhearted, but it’s also hard to find. You think you know what it is, but then it moves – from the darkness of a tavern teeming with North and South Slavey, Cape Bretoners, Métis, Saskatchewanians and old men from the Dehcho to the cool shadow of a Twin Otter cruising low enough above your dockside rock that you could poke it with a fork. Here’s a fun game: When visiting, try to describe Yellowknife to your friends on a postcard (hint: buy a lot of postcards).

Yellowknife has a main street, but no one calls it that. In fact, they call it two things: 50th Avenue and Franklin Avenue, depending on how you feel about the former British explorer and northern colonialism (spoiler alert: The Dene don’t feel good, while most non-indigenous shrug as if not quite understanding the question). The main street – or 50th or he-who-will-not-be-named – has its own naked charm, including the denizens outside the main Post Office, most of them undomiciled.

If you spend any time with them, it isn’t hard to walk into a story. One afternoon at the main post office, I met two men the size of compact cars – Bear and James Thrasher, both from Tuktoyaktuk – who, like many of the city’s homeless, had come to Yellowknife because of greater access to services, housing and alcohol (Tuktoyaktuk is a dry community on the shores of the Western Arctic, which I visited during my eight-week stay in the Northwest Territories).

When they found out I was going to their hamlet, Bear asked for my book so he could write down the Inuvialuktun word for “white person.” I handed it to him – the hardbound writing book looked like a church pamphlet in his great hands – and his tongue curved around his lip while engraving the word on the page: kabloonak. He told me in a voice like a hammer on a drum: “Now, listen, you might hear this word, but it’s not necessarily bad. It depends on how someone uses it. You got that?” I told him I did.

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12:56 pm - [ISL] Quartz on the Hong Kong independence movement
Quartz' Vivienne Chow reports on the demographic dynamics behind the Hong Kong independence movement.

When Edward Leung and Chan Ho-tin, the de facto leaders of the nascent Hong Kong independence movement, led thousands of protesters in a rally outside the government headquarters last Friday night (Aug. 5), it was about more than just the government’s attempt to bar them from running in elections in September. It was a symbolic gesture of one generation’s determination to revolt against the society’s so-called “old seafood” establishment, a defining moment for a city that desperately needs to find a new cultural identity.

“Old seafood” refers to the Cantonese phrase “lo see fut.” “Lo” is the sound of the Cantonese word for old, while “see fut” resembles the sound of asshole. It is common Hong Kong slang, used to refer to the “old butts” occupying top positions in society and refusing to cede their privileges.

Sampson Wong, an artist and liberal arts lecturer at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing arts, said the old seafood class feel a sense of entitlement because “they turned Hong Kong into a wonderful metropolis within two decades and made the Hong Kong miracle possible.”

“They probably have the tendency to feel that they should be in charge of the city, and that they are more capable than the younger generations,” he said. Wong’s art project “Countdown Machine” was removed from the city’s tallest skyscraper after he and partner Jason Lam revealed the installation was a clock counting down to 2047—the expiry date of the “50 years unchanged” promise that Beijing made to Hong Kong after the 1997 handover.

Whether its members identify as being pro-democracy or pro-Beijing, being part of the old seafood class is more about mindset than political stance. They can be anyone, ranging from mid-level management to the top leaders of companies, organizations, or political parties. They have demographics on their side—Hong Kong’s low birth rates and large elderly population mean that nearly half the city’s residents will be over 65 by 2041. And they continue to monopolize the discourse of Hong Kong’s cultural identity and values almost 20 years after the handover to China.

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12:49 pm - [BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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9:33 am - [PHOTO] Start of Spadina, Queens Quay
Start of Spadina #Toronto #spadina #lowerspadina #queensquay #harbourfront


Spadina begins here, where Lower Spadina runs down to meet Queens Quay by the harbour.

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9:29 am - [PHOTO] Dunes of Covehead, Prince Edward Island
Dunes of Covehead #pei #covehead #peinationalpark #dunes #latergram


The long horizons of the North Shore of Prince Edward Island will always have power for me.

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Monday, August 15th, 2016
11:46 pm - [DM] "#CensusFail, or, how #Census2016 is not as big a hit in Australia as in Canada"
At Demography Matters, I u>report briefly</u> on the apparently wide-spread concerns over privacy and security associated with this year's Australian census.

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9:35 pm - [BRIEF NOTE] On the possible detection of Proxima Centauri b


Space artist David A. Hardy shared the above 1972 painting, of a rocky world with pools of liquid on its surface in close orbit of Proxima Centauri, soon after the news broke of the possible discovery of a broadly Earth-like planet in orbit of the star nearest to our solar system. Matt Williams' Universe Today article "Earth-like Planet Around Proxima Centauri Discovered" has been frequently cited.

[T]he German weekly Der Spiegel announced recently that astronomers have discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, just 4.25 light-years away. Yes, in what is an apparent trifecta, this newly-discovered exoplanet is Earth-like, orbits within it’s sun’s habitable zone, and is within our reach. But is this too good to be true? [. . . ] Citing anonymous sources, the magazine stated:

“The still nameless planet is believed to be Earth-like and orbits at a distance to Proxima Centauri that could allow it to have liquid water on its surface — an important requirement for the emergence of life. Never before have scientists discovered a second Earth that is so close by.”

In addition, they claim that the discovery was made by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) using the La Silla Observatory‘s reflecting telescope. Coincidentally, it was this same observatory that announced the discovery of Alpha Centauri Bb back in 2012, which was also declared to be “the closest exoplanet to Earth”. Unfortunately, subsequent analysis cast doubt on its existence, claiming it was a spurious artifact of the data analysis.

However, according to Der Spiegel’s unnamed source – whom they claim was involved with the La Silla team that made the find – this latest discovery is the real deal, and was the result of intensive work. “Finding small celestial bodies is a lot of hard work,” the source was quoted as saying. “We were moving at the technically feasible limit of measurement.”

The article goes on to state that the European Southern Observatory (ESO) will be announcing the finding at the end of August. But according to numerous sources, in response to a request for comment by AFP, ESO spokesman Richard Hook refused to confirm or deny the discovery of an exoplanet around Proxima Centauri. “We are not making any comment,” he is reported as saying.


The Pale Red Dot research project, devoted to the surveillance of Proxima Centauri in the search of detecting a close-orbiting planet, has reported on finding a possible signal.

From palereddit.org #exoplanets #alphacentauri #proximacentauri #palereddot


A 2013 study did suggest a 10-20 day cycle of some sort. Such, the project acknowledges, may not be spoor of a planet at all but rather a function of the star or even the instruments used. Any planet more massive than one or two Earths would already have been detected, based on previous surveys.

If everything is as reported--if!--then there could well be a planet of mass comparable to that of the Earth orbiting the nearest star to our solar system within said star's circumstellar habitable zone. That by itself would not ensure that such a planet would be like Earth, as serious constraints to the habitability of exoplanets in red dwarf systems exist. In particular, Proxima Centauri's nature as a violent flare star means that even if a hypothetical planet did start off with the resources needed to support life, successive flares may have eroded the planet's surface into lifeless rock.

Even so, it goes without saying that the discovery of such a world would be epoch-making. Besides the potential of this world as itself, it signals remarkable things about the wider universe. If such an uncomprisingly dim and violent star as Proxima Centauri can support even a very broadly Earth-like planet, surely planets like ours must be quite common? How likely would it be that we are not alone?

D-Brief and The Dragon's Gaze have more. Suffice it to say I will be waiting for bated breath for more.

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8:41 pm - [URBAN NOTE] Two links about how Donald Trump is wrong about Detroit
Donald Trump's statements about globalization being the downfall of Detroit were criticized on my RSS feed. Wired's Issie Lapowsky took him on in her "Trump's Right: Detroit Is Hurting, But He's Wrong About Why".

As Trump sees it, Detroit’s main issue is trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was signed during Bill Clinton’s presidency, and which Trump says sent precious automotive industry jobs overseas. “Detroit is still waiting for Hillary Clinton’s apology,” Trump said Monday, before sneaking in a dig. “I expect Detroit will get that apology right around the same time Hillary Clinton turns over the 33,000 emails she deleted.”

But experts say blaming trade is at worst wrong, and at best a vast oversimplification of the case. Blame the unions. Blame Detroit’s dependence on a single industry. Heck, blame the robots. But, they say, don’t blame trade, or at least, do so at the risk of jeopardizing even more industries across the country.

[. . .]

The first and most glaring issue with Trump’s argument is his insistence that all of Detroit’s automotive jobs now exist somewhere overseas. Some do. But many don’t. In fact, many of them have just moved to southern states. And that’s not a new phenomenon, either.

Since the 1950s, American automakers have been relocating factories outside of Detroit to states like Kentucky and Mississippi where union presence isn’t as strong. Foreign car manufacturers have been going into those states, too. What that means is that while Detroit may be suffering from job loss, other cities like Jackson, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee are exploding with high-tech auto industry jobs.

[. . .]

Experts say you can also argue that Detroit’s leaders were delinquent in not diversifying the city’s economy sooner, and that the big three auto makers were remiss in not responding quickly enough to foreign competition. “Detroit as a city was killed in part by itself,” Macomber says, noting that Detroit invested too much time preserving a single industry and not enough creating new ones. “The big three declined because of productivity efficiencies coupled with complacency about poor quality and variety of product.”


BLoomberg View's Paula Dwyer wrote "Trump's Fairy Tale About the Fall of Detroit".

The city collapsed mostly because it overpromised what it could deliver to public employees and others, then borrowed too much to try to make good on those deals. All of that, plus a combination of a rapidly declining tax base -- the city has lost 1 million residents since the 1950s -- overreliance on a single industry, a failing education system and municipal corruption meant it couldn't pay off its debts.

Trump promised that Detroit would come roaring back under his plans to lower corporate income taxes. His revival plans also include cuts in regulation, especially environmental rules, and a rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

So let's break it down, starting with Obama's role. Rather than blame, the president gets credit from most analysts for rescuing General Motors and Chrysler. True, it was painful and costly for investors and taxpayers. He forced the companies to restructure, via quickie bankruptcies, in exchange for federal money. The companies closed plants, laid off workers, cut ties with dealers and shed obligations for retiree health care, transferring the costs (and a big chunk of stock and cash) to a union-dominated trust fund. Stockholders were wiped out, and creditors were forced to take cents on the dollar.

Today, however, the companies are profitable and competitive, even if record-high sales are slowing down a bit and the industry is still over-reliant on SUVs. As my Bloomberg View colleague, Matt Winkler, has written, the Big Three -- GM, Chrysler and Ford -- are selling more cars and trucks and are more profitable now than in 1994, when their market shares were twice today's size.

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