Kazakhstan Cheers New Alphabet, Except for All Those Apostrophes - The New York Times

Another example of totalitarian manipulation of language for control, from a story about a new writing system for the Kazakh language.

'Later, growing fearful of pan-Turkic sentiment among Kazakhs, Uzbeks and other Turkic peoples in the Soviet Union, Moscow between 1938 and 1940 ordered that Kazakh and other Turkic languages be written in modified Cyrillic as part of a push to promote Russian culture. To try to ensure that different Turkic peoples could not read one another's writings and develop a shared non-Soviet sense of common identity, it introduced nearly 20 versions of Cyrillic, Mr. Kocaoglu said....

'The modified Latin alphabet put forward by Mr. Nazarbayev uses apostrophes to elongate or modify the sounds of certain letters.

'For example, the letter "I" with an apostrophe designates roughly the same sound as the "I" in Fiji, while "I" on its own sounds like the vowel in fig. The letter "S" with an apostrophe indicates "sh" and C' is pronounced "ch." Under this new system, the Kazakh word for cherry will be written as s'i'i'e, and pronounced she-ee-ye....

'The only reason publicly cited by Mr. Nazarbayev to explain why he did not want Turkish-style phonetic markers is that "there should not be any hooks or superfluous dots that cannot be put straight into a computer," he said in September. He also complained that using digraphs to transcribe special Kazakh sounds would cause confusion when people try to read English, when the same combination of letters designates entirely different sounds....

'"The president is thinking about his legacy and wants to go down in history as the man who created a new alphabet," said Mr. Satpayev, who supports the switch to Latin script but not the president's version. "The problem is that our president is not a philologist."'

What the stats say: Is Steve Smith the second-best Australian batsman ever? - Sport - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

"The Ashes may be over once again, but one of the biggest talking points during the cricket Test series between Australia and England was the continued meteoric rise of Australian captain Steve Smith as a Test batsman.

"There was much speculation as to whether Smith is the best Australian Test batsman -- bar Donald Bradman -- ever to have played the game....

""The Don" Bradman is widely regarded as the greatest Australian cricketer, and was voted the greatest cricketer of the 20th century, with an unrivalled Test batting average of 99.94.

"So what is the ranking of Australian Test batsmen since Australia's first ever Test match in 1877?"

Experts sound alarm as biometric data from driver's licences added to government database - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

This report from Australia illustrates what Real ID is all about. Worries about your ability to get on an airplane was just leverage to get you to scream at your state legislators until they agreed to surrender your personal data to the Feds. (It worked!)

"Driver's licences will be added to the Commonwealth Government's already vast biometric databases after it struck an agreement with the states and territories, handing authorities access to an unprecedented level of information about citizens.

"A system known as "the interoperability Hub" is already in place in Australia, allowing agencies to take an image from CCTV and other media and run it against a national database of passport pictures of Australian citizens -- a process known as "The Capability".

"But soon driver's licences will be added to the system, allowing both government and private entities to access your photo, age and address.

"It is a $21 million system being sold as a way to tackle terrorism and make commercial services more secure.

"But experts warn people now risk losing control of their biometric identity entirely as commercial interests, governments and organised crime gangs all move to capture more personal metadata for their own gain."

Fred Bass, Who Made Strand Bookstore a Mecca, Dies at 89 - The New York Times

'Following his father's playbook, he pursued a policy of aggressive acquisition.

'"At first I used to think he was crazy," Mr. Bass told the cable news channel NY1 in 2015. "Why are we buying extra books? We haven't sold all these. But we just kept buying and buying. It was a fact -- you can't sell a book you don't have."

'The 70,000 books in the Fourth Avenue store swelled, at the Broadway site, to half a million by the mid-1960s and 2.5 million by the 1990s, requiring the purchase of a storage warehouse in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. By the time Mr. Bass bought the building for $8.2 million in 1997, the Strand had become the largest used-book store in the world.'"

Genetic Study Supports Carbohydrate-Insulin Model of Obesity

Dr. David Ludwig writes:

"According to the Carbohydrate-Insulin Model of Obesity (CIM), the processed carbohydrates that flooded our diet during the low-fat diet craze undermine our metabolism and drive weight gain. Put simply:

"Processed carbohydrates -- think white bread, white rice, potato products, low -fat snacks -- raise insulin more than any other food, calorie for calorie. This is just Nutrition, 101.

"Insulin is the Miracle-Gro for your fat cells. A child with new onset type 1 diabetes -- unable to make enough insulin -- will invariable lose weight until receiving treatment, no matter how many calories she consumes. Give that child the right amount of insulin, and weight trajectory returns to normal. Give that child (or an adult with type 2 diabetes) too much insulin and excessive weight gain will predictably result. This is just Endocrinology 101.

"When too many of the calories we eat get locked away in fat cells, there aren't enough calories to supply the needs of the brain and other organs. So we get hungry and "overeat." And to make matters worse, metabolism slows down, further fueling weight gain. This is just Obesity 101....

"This difference is of much more than just theoretical interest, with direct implications for how best to prevent and treat obesity. If the Conventional View is right, we need to focus even more intensively on cutting back calories, for example with a 1600 calorie diet. If the CIM is right, the emphasis should instead be placed on lowering insulin secretion with a lower-carbohydrate/higher-fat diet and other supportive dietary and lifestyle measures. Calorie balance will then adjust naturally due to reduced hunger, greater satiety and faster metabolism."

Surprising Approaches To Achieving Density -- Strong Towns

Andrew Price writes: "I'm not anti-towers, but building up is not the only way to achieve density. Brickell [in Miami, Florida] achieves a population density of 27,302 people per square mile. In contrast, Union City, New Jersey has a population density of 51,810 people per square mile (89% higher) without resorting to towers.

"Most buildings in Union City are low-rise (two to four stories) plus a handful of midrises, all on on small lots. There are many single family homes, and many small-scale apartment buildings and condominiums with a single digit number of units. The cost of developing one of these buildings is within the range of a mortgage for a middle-class family.

"You can achieve extremely high population densities before having to build up. The 11th arrondissement of Paris houses an astounding 110,000 people per square mile (4x that of Brickell and 2.1x that of Union City) without building up....

"Again, I'm not against towers, but I want to show you that there are cheaper, more adaptable, and more economically inclusive development patterns that achieve high population densities without having to jump straight into high-rise towers financed by big banks and built by huge development companies. The secret starts with looking at the development pattern's granularity."

Historical County Maps of Arkansas - 1936

Scans of county highway maps, showing the locations of roads, schools, churches, and settlements.

Indian Land Cessions: U.S. Congressional Documents

Links will lead you to maps and descriptions of each of the territories ceded by treaty by Indian nations to the U. S. Government, through the year 1894, from the Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1896-1897. A very useful reference if you are looking for detailed and specific information about the steps and stages of Indian removal and resettlement in Indian Territory.

Panoramic Maps | Library of Congress

Bird's-eye-view maps, panoramic maps, and other semi-geographic, semi-artistic representations of American cities in the early decades of the 20th century. Includes the 1918 Fowler and Kelly maps of Tulsa and Bartlesville.

1948 Shell Highway Map of Oklahoma. - David Rumsey Historical Map Collection

A remarkable map of Oklahoma that not only shows the official highway system, but also county roads and small towns that were usually omitted by the official state highway map. This is Oklahoma before turnpikes, before the Corps of Engineers massive lake-building effort. Highway 33 (now US 412) crossed the Grand River east of Chouteau via a free ferry.

The backside features 1948 maps of Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Ardmore, and Enid. Interesting to see the paths that the highways took through the cities in the days before interstates and expressways.

In the spotlight

Specific language and detailed analysis of the seven proposed amendments to the Tulsa City Charter, plus a bonus: a timeline of the history of changes to Tulsa's municipal election process.

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