June Pieces Of My Mind #1

  • Interesting how very few religious bigots will attack me for saying that I find all religions silly, but lots of them will pounce if I call their guy or book specifically silly.
  • The woman in my area who set fire to her ground floor apartment and left without alerting any neighbours has been sentenced to something that translates as “forensic psychiatric care with special discharge examination”. There was no barbecue, as she claimed. She just poured lighter fluid on the living-room floor, dropped a lit match and left. The district court comments, “we see this all the time, people with poor impulse control who get drunk and light fires in response to life problems”.
  • Send the Marines! I found a tick on my Balzac!
  • Idea for a new fresh kind of crazy right-wing extremist in the US: you’re not paranoid and hostile to the federal government, your Bible prophecy warns about the state government!
  • This I did not know! “The phonetic values of most Linear A syllabograms were already known from B, but the language expressed in Linear A has remained a mystery.” Linear A kan be read out loud, but it’s like me reading Swahili out loud and not understanding a word.
  • At a recent academic ceremony, the Rector of Uni Łódź Elżbieta Żądzińska said i.a. “There is only one nauka [Wissenschaft / vetenskap / scholarly and scientific inquiry in the wider sense]. We are meeting at the University of Lodz to celebrate your doctoral and postdoctoral promotions, but in fact we are celebrating your entire nauka-related achievements and contribution to world nauka. Because nauka cannot be practised individually, alone.” I agree wholeheartedly, but I wonder if prof. Żądzińska (a biologist) knows how controversial the idea of unitary, cumulative, rationalist science is in some sub-cultures in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Always refreshing to me when someone from the natural sciences ignores or is genuinely unfamiliar with social constructivism.
  • Idea for a covers album: keep the lyrics of famous pop tunes, write new melodies.
  • Polish niedźwiedź, ‘bear’, goes back to a Proto-Slavic *medvědь, ‘honey eater’.
  • China was ruled by actual Communists for only 30 years. It’s been a capitalist dictatorship since Deng’s pronouncement in 1979, “To Get Rich Is Glorious”.
  • Movie: Lost City (2022). Romance writer and her hunky but inept cover model end up in improbable romance plot on jungle island. Lots of jokes about genre conventions in this star studded action comedy. Grade: good!
  • I wonder what Lempel and Ziv are doing these days. Maybe they’re buddies. Maybe they play boardgames and go hiking.

30 Years as a Professional Archaeologist

Today I celebrate 30 years as a professional archaeologist! I hope to work another 20. A normal career in Swedish archaeology is only 40 years, from age 25 to 65. This is one of several ways in which my career has not proved normal.

Most people who study archaeology in Sweden never find sustained employment in the discipline. The supply of trained people is vastly greater than the demand. I was offered a steady job in contract archaeology at age 21 and stupidly turned it down. Instead I have spent most of these 30 years doing research on small grants. Over this period I’ve had four steady jobs: one for three years at 100% as a PhD candidate, one for 20 years at 25% as managing editor of Fornvännen, one for a few months at 80% as site manager in contract archaeology (after which I received a grant and left again, stupidly), and for the past 2½ years at 100% as associate professor in Łódź.

I haven’t had many years of steady full-time employment. But I’ve applied for 95 archaeological jobs, mainly in academia. At first the people who got them had better qualifications than me. As my qualifications improved though (I have almost 200 publications today in my discipline), I realised that the academic labour market in Scandinavian archaeology is not the meritocracy it claims to be. It’s a system of feudal fealty to professors, where formal qualifications don’t mean much. I have done very little to cultivate relationships of patronage, and quite a lot to antagonise professors. Because (stupidly) I’ve always spoken my mind. It’s a high priority for me to be able to do that. I have concluded that you don’t even have to disagree with an academic potentate to scare them off, it’s enough to speak out at all and not seek patronage.

I’m a lot like my dad. He used to have endless trouble with his bosses, while inspiring great enthusiasm in his subordinates. His career was a series of well-paid jobs in industry middle management, usually ending in conflict with the upstairs. I’ve never had much problems with my bosses. Because I’ve rarely had a boss. Or a job. Instead I’ve had the aforementioned grants and an inexpensive lifestyle. Over these decades I’ve raised two children together with their moms and only run out of cash to pay my half once and briefly — when I had excavated too many High Medieval iron objects and couldn’t pay the finds conservation bill on time, haha.

I haven’t made much money, I haven’t had much job security, I’ve never had a desk of my own on a campus, I’ve been blocked from habilitation twice by hostile professors, I don’t have a retirement fund worth mentioning. But I’ve had a lot of fun over these 30 years! I’ve lived under unassuming yet comfortable circumstances, I’ve been a present and available husband and dad, I’ve excavated at some amazing sites with some great teams, I’ve published a pretty solid body of work, I’ve spoken my mind, and some would say that I’ve made a name for myself. So, within the parameters of my own game, I count these 30 years as success. Looking forward to 20 more!

June Pieces Of My Mind #1

  • “Collectible” is a redundant word. Everything in the universe is collectible.
  • 30 years ago I turned 20, graduated from uni, got married and got a job. I recently turned 50 and today my younger child is graduating from high school.
  • Thinking about the relationship between beer and distilled spirits, I realise that the concentration that a drug is available in is a really important parameter. Quite apart from the drug’s general properties. We wouldn’t have an opioid problem if you needed to drink six litres of the stuff to achieve one dose.
  • A completely undeserved antipathy. I have this older colleague in contract archaeology whom I can’t remember ever meeting or interacting with. He has never done anything to deserve my anger. He is a respected and productive archaeologist. We have never competed for jobs. Still I can’t read his name without a little twinge of annoyance. The thing is, his surname begins with RUN. And we have worked in some of the same fields of research. So through the decades when I have looked for myself in the bibliography of a new piece of work in one of those fields, and I haven’t found any of my own stuff, instead I have often found some of his. This has conditioned me to associate his name with disappointment.
  • Would you like to read a paper titled ”Gold foil figures and human skulls in the royal mead hall at Aska in Hagebyhöga, Östergötland, Sweden”? With my co-authors Axel Löfving, Rudolf Gustavsson, Jens Heimdahl and Andreas Viberg, I hope to submit it to a high-profile venue within a few weeks. In my own personal case, I don’t think it’s likely that I’ll ever have anything equally spectacular to offer again!
  • You know how all your life you’ve asked your parents and their friends for advice because they’re old and experienced and know how stuff works? I just realised that several of my buddies in my own generation are pushing 60.
  • A fragment for a future song lyric: My RealDoll™ passed the Turing test / But I failed it
  • Among Ola Aurell’s many amazing songs is one with an interesting wrinkle on the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. ”I’m really into you and I can see that we’re on our way to becoming a couple, but we’d really better not, because WHAT IF we’ve already been a dysfunctional couple and had atrociously bad sex and the reason that we think we’ve never met before is that we’ve repressed all the ugly memories?”
  • I will never get used to “levelling up”, a 1970s term from Dungeons & Dragons, being a UK political slogan.
  • It’s astonishingly difficult to book a low-CO2 rental car. You’d think that by now there would be a prominent tick box on the search pages, but nope.
  • Movie: Petite Maman (2021). As her parents clean out her deceased grandma’s house, a little girl finds a path through the woods to the past, where she makes friends with a childhood version of her mother. Not the same continuum as the one her actual mother lives in, since she has no memory of their meeting. Grade: OK.
  • It’s the high school graduation season when you need to buy presents for young folks who are moving out from mom & dad soon. And I have invented a new type of workout: cycling 15 km while lugging along two enamelled cast-iron stew pots.
  • A common expression in archaeology is that societies or cultures reproduce themselves. It’s become really concrete to me in recent years as my children have grown up and graduated from high school. I used to think — without any great reflection — that schools were intended to enable children to join grown-up society. Now I see that schools enable them to replace the current grownups. Without schools, society as we know it would just end with the current grownups and revert to inept subsistence agriculture.
  • Saved a guy who wanted to ride subway line 14 to the Royal Technical College but had instead gone to platform 14 at Stockholm Central and boarded the long distance train for Hallsberg.
  • Looking forward to six days of fieldwork with amateurs on Medieval and Early Modern blast furnace sites!

May Pieces Of My Mind #3

Self-portrait, 1929. Asta Holmberg (1900-82). Östergötland County Museum.
  • Most real world place names have meanings that are historically passé or only locally relevant. Birka = Birch Island. Manhattan = Gather Bow Material. But in Tolkien’s Middle-earth, almost every place name means something of relevance to the story. Nothing outside of the Shire just means Hazel Hillside or Little Bog.
  • Remember the interim scene in Exploding Fist where a cow came running in and you had to kick it in the head?
  • Borgesian game design project: start with D&D 5, pretend that you have never heard of a tactical wargame, develop one from the role-playing game’s combat rules, until you have reverse-engineered the Chainmail rules from 1971.
  • Six chickens were harmed during tonight’s Delta Green session. The players used them as bait in a camera trap and caught some extremely disturbing pix of a hungry many-limbed monster.
  • Our insect hotel is extremely popular right now with the mason bees. They occasionally even fight each other and try to steal each other’s building materials. It’s fun to see them back out of the bamboo pipe, turn around and back into it again to lay another egg.
  • It’s only become clear to me in recent years that Sweden has rather an odd setup regarding archaeology. Our systems to protect archaeological sites from destruction, and to excavate and document those that need to be destroyed for important land-development needs, are world-class. But Swedish society has no mechanism to encourage research-driven archaeological excavations. Neither legally nor through the scientific funding structure. When someone discovers an important site in Sweden, we register it and protect it and then nothing more happens. No-one in all of Swedish officialdom is tasked with making research excavations happen.
  • No new images of the embossed-foil pictorial panels on the helmets from Vendel and Valsgärde have been published since the original monographs, which in Vendel’s case appeared in 1912. Those xylographed drawings are among the most reproduced images in all of Swedish archaeology. Whoever becomes the new custodian for AD 400-1100 at the Swedish History Museum, I hope they commission a set of Reflectance Transformation images!
  • Movie: Solaris (2002). Why is the planet Solaris creating these manifestations of the space station crew’s memories? A much better adaptation than Tarkovsky’s snooze fest. Grade: OK.
  • Love how Ruth Rendell switches to the present tense when saying something that is still true at the notional point in time when she is telling a story in the past tense. So many fiction authors don’t make this distinction. You get statements analogous to “Helsinki was the capital of Finland”.
  • I am indifferent or hostile to the vast majority of the messages the media put before me, commercial and otherwise.
  • Very pleased with my new personal record: Östergötland County Museum’s recently opened permanent archaeology exhibition contains finds from three of my excavations. There’s the amber gaming pieces from Skamby in Kuddby ’05, jewellery from the East Cemetery at Aska in Hagebyhöga ’06, and the foil figure die from Sättuna in Kaga ’07. I am proud to have contributed canonical finds. I am very happy that I will leave my fields of research richer than they were when I arrived. I have not worked in vain.
  • I pass Wavrinsky Street in Linköping, look at the sign in confusion, realise that it’s Ławryński.
  • Remember IRC bars, where people would pretend to buy each other text-based beer? Man, that was ridiculous.
  • Sigh. The conservatives are running for this autumn’s municipal election on the slogan “For A Safer Nacka”, when the area is already exceptionally safe even within the parameters of safe Sweden. Because rather than tell scared people to relax and get informed, they affirm their disproportionate fears.
  • Instead of the usual flowers or a package of ground coffee, I received tulip bulbs as a present after giving a talk to a local study association last year. They were pale greenish at first but are actually starting to look pretty nice as they mature.
  • When you put a German book down with the front cover upward, the spine title is upside down. This is not true for German boardgame boxes.
  • I often find it hard to buy an entire popular opinion package. For instance: I’m a tee-totaller, I’ve never used any harder drug than caffeine, I find inebriated people boring and stupid, AND I think we should legalise drugs with low lethality and addictiveness. This means that I’m OK with beer, weed, shrooms and acid being legal, but not vodka, coke or tobacco.
  • Movie: Berberian Sound Studio (2012). Wimpy English sound engineer joins dysfunctional Italian film crew adding post-production sound to a misogynistic giallo horror movie. We barely see any of the film they’re working on. Instead we see the actors and foley artists as they watch and dub the film. Grade: OK.

LinCon 2022 Gaming Convention

Returning to its usual Ascension weekend date and everyone’s favourite venue, the Linköping University campus, LinCon 2022 was its usual strong and nerdy self. I met loads of old and new acquaintances, gave a talk on Nils Mattsson Kiöping to a small but enthusiastic audience, bought two games at the flea market and enjoyed the auction camaraderie without buying anything there.

And I played eight games:

  • Acquire (1964). Start companies, buy stock, make sure that your startups get bought up.
  • Secret Hitler (2016). Social deduction à la Werewolf and The Resistance.
  • Splendor (2014). Abstract colours and numbers.
  • Viticulture (2013). Winery worker placement.
  • Santa Maria (2017). Competitive solitaire cube pusher.
  • 7 Wonders (2010). Civilisation builder. The only game I’ve ever really enjoyed with more than five players.
  • Tichu (1991). Two good old Chinese card games combined into an even better hybrid.
  • Space Lane Trader (2022). A competitive solitaire that should have been a video game.

2022 was my ninth LinCon. Here are my impressions of the previous one.

Where The Road Paving Ends

We make a really strict mental distinction between paved roads and walking paths these days. But if a paved road ends in a cul-de-sac or has a really sharp bend, there is almost always a walking path that continues in the same direction. And if you look closely at the path, it often has a pretty serious road bank. It shows that a lot of work has been put into the path, and it used to be wider than the 40 cm or so that walkers are using today. Following the path, you’ll often find the foundation of a small-holding and surviving garden plants.

These are signs that prior to cars and paved roads, the entire road plus walking path were originally just one unpaved road. The cul-de-sac or the sharp bend is just the point where modern planners decided to stop paving the road. 120 years ago our current distinction between the road and the path did not exist.

May Pieces Of My Mind #2

Eagles of Death Metal
  • Reading the local newspaper, I’m reminded that people aren’t always that great. Two months ago a fire broke out in a tenement block near where we used to live. While very drunk, a tenant had lit a barbecue in her apartment. As the flames spread, she fled the building, hoping that the fire would put out itself. When questioned by the police, she explained that she alerted none of her neighbours, because “They should obviously take care of themselves”. Four floors worth of neighbours living on top of the floor with the fire. The woman denies criminal wrongdoing, commenting that “People cause mishaps and mistakes are made”. The fire brigade put out the fire before it spread beyond the apartment. The woman is now being charged with aggravated arson.
  • Depressing “feel-good” news item from Ukraine about soldiers digging trenches who found amphorae and took them to a museum. They’re trashing an archaeological site. It is not good news.
  • During the Swedish invasion of Poland after 1700, farmers would routinely bury their food stores and the Swedes would routinely torture them to get the food. Wonder if these grain storage pits are archaeologically visible.
  • I’m not used to discussing with people who don’t understand arguments. It’s bewildering when it happens in certain online groups. Instead of exchanging views about A and B — possibly in complete disagreement — you get these strange men who show up and make confused statements about C and D.
  • The first car with an internal combustion engine was in 1885 and the first Mars helicopter in 2020. I wonder what extraterrestrial helicopter probes will look like 145 years from now. That Mars helicopter will soon be seen as an extremely primitive first attempt to build a new class of machine.
  • 145 years isn’t a super long piece of space history any more. The first V-2 rocket left the atmosphere (and came down again) 78 years ago.
  • Interesting to see Russia punishing Finland by refusing to sell them the only commodity Russia can still find a buyer for.
  • Movie: The Ritual (2017). This rather formulaic English horror flick interested me because it is ostensibly set in the sublime Sarek National Park, Lappland, Sweden. The dialogue and the acting are fine, and I appreciated the Northern accents. But almost none of the action is in fact shot in Sarek. It is shot in what, to my local eyes, is clearly a 50-year-old spruce plantation at much lower altitude – in Romania. And that is not scary to me. Grade: Fail.
  • Reading about the Swedish navy in the late 1600s. Things that are really odd to a modern mind are that a) the government was often months or years late with wage payments, b) it nevertheless took ages before the employees gave up and left government projects.
  • I’m reading that Tolkien fans are up in arms over some TV production. Relax and just re-read a few of the books, folks.
  • About Sweden joining NATO. I don’t know what the practical consequences will be of joining formally after half a century of informal NATO protection. And I don’t think the people online who are cheering or protesting the decision know either. This is one of the many issues that I am happy to hand over to technocrats with specialist training. I’m saying this as a member of the Swedish Left, waaay outside the entire US political spectrum, and as someone who has for years become increasingly appalled by the US.
  • Reading about the 1676 sea battle where The Crown keeled over and exploded from mishandling of sails and rudder. Really hard to understand the after action reports until I suddenly realise: they’re jockeying against the enemy over who gets closer to the wind. These ships can’t tack against it. Also their shipbuilding was highly tentative and improvised. They would build an enormous warship only to discover that it did not respond to the rudder and had to be steered with the sails!
  • Caught a brief glimpse of the cookbook Taco Mexican Style on a shelf, read it as Tao Mexican Style. That actually sounds like a more interesting book.
  • Hope the Ukrainians win the war and that, if they join the EU, they cause less trouble than the neighbouring member states have.
  • I know the guy who keeps the church bells ringing and the tower clock showing the correct time!
  • A memory: my first wife didn’t have bad hair days. She preferred to call them bog-body hair days.
  • Movie: Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022). A Chinese American family tries to deal with their damaged relationships and their failing laundromat business in an extremely psychedelic, funny and large set of parallel worlds — while mixing English and Mandarin haphazardly. Grade: great!!!
  • Isn’t it time that pharmacology figured out what the various medically useful compounds in cannabis actually do, so the world can end the medical marijuana charade? I mean we aren’t eating foxglove for heart problems anymore.
  • Embarrassing: you need to talk to a land owner or a tenant farmer for some fieldwork, so you look their phone number up online, and it turns out that every cellphone in the family is registered on the dad. So you end up calling like their 11-y-o daughter in your attempts to reach the landowner.
  • Usually you’re willing to pay more to get more. Not true with novels. When the page count goes past 600 and continues to increase, my willingness to buy the product decreases.
  • Dea Matrona from Belfast, the rockingest young Irishwomen you’ll ever hear!
  • Confession: only very recently did I get the joke: EoDM are death metal’s equivalent of The Eagles. And they sound nothing like The Eagles or like death metal.

May Pieces Of My Mind #1

Victoria & Albert Museum, 1866 mantlepiece in the lunch room
  • As a Social Democrat, I find it interesting that labour unions are treated as dangerous enemies by Nazis, Communists and Conservatives alike.
  • Call me strange, but I don’t find sex shops sexy at all.
  • There was a young woman of Aberystwyth / Who took grain to the mill to make grystwyth / There, the miller’s son Jack / Laid her flat on her back / And united the organs they pystwyth
  • A high school memory: we’ve got this short story anthology with a story about two pious uneducated Mexican sisters who start a taco restaurant. One day a man orders and eats seven tacos. The younger sister’s mind is so blown by this that the only way she can express her awe is by going to bed with him immediately. This becomes a rule. But if a costumer even hints about prostitution, he is banned from the establishment.
  • If you wonder if my wife and I were bourgeois and middle-aged in our 20s, please refer to the mushroom-picking field guide that we bought 15 months after we first met. ♥️
  • Mars helicopter photographs its own mission’s landing backshell and parachute!
  • Unexpected: the Amazon Kindle will soon no longer recognise the company’s own .MOBI file format when you email documents to your device, but it will start to recognise .EPUB, which is what everyone wanted anyway.
  • Really enjoying Jon Ronson’s podcast series Things Fell Apart on BBC. He has a rare and admirable way of speaking with people whose convictions he doesn’t share without suggesting that he does share them.
  • Strange to be talking to my old Tolkien Society buddy about people we knew 25 years ago, and a considerable number of them are dead.
  • I’m increasingly feeling that the United States of America is a fucking awful federation that should be dissolved soonest.
  • I just learned that Filip Norman died a year ago aged 47. I loved his band Qoph. They played at my 30th birthday party. I brought Junior to one of their gigs. I didn’t know Filip well but he was super nice. If I had my way he would have lived for another 50 years.
  • I’m reading a novel from ten years ago. There’s already wifi and everyone already has a smartphone. We’re living in the future.
  • Movie: Without a Clue (1988). The brilliant detective Dr. John Watson hires a stupid, cowardly, alcoholic actor to play the role of his fictional mystery solver Sherlock Holmes, and is very annoyed when the actor gets all the glory. Grade: OK.
  • In the 1950s and 60s, war gamers couldn’t buy ten-sided or twenty-sided dice. They only had six-sided cubic ones. But they needed to roll dice against percentages. So they used tables of percentile likelihoods using six-sided dice only. “73%. If you roll this one number of d6 and subtract this other number of d6, then the chance of getting at least 34 is 73%”.
  • As we hiked along the narrow sea passage Baggensstäket yesterday afternoon, a little boat passed us blasting “Sympathy for the Devil”.
  • “God only knows what I’d be without you. Apart from that he knows nothing.” B. Wilson
  • One of the black girls who used to play on our street, when we lived in the tenement blocks and our kids were little, is now a librarian at Fisksätra Public Library. ♥️
  • Movie: High Life (2018). Slow arty story about the last two survivors of a group of criminals sent off on a one-way trip into interstellar space. Low-budget placeholder sets & props. Grade: Fail.
  • Susanna Clarke’s novel Piranesi references The Magician’s Nephew, Carcieri d’invenzione, “The Library of Babel” and The Secret History. And also has a strong flavour of Zork!
  • Woah. Chris de Burgh has released 22 albums. :-0

April Pieces Of My Mind

Kew Gardens, Temperate House
  • Routine health check-up. Told the nurse that my junkie identity is entirely built on Lipton and Tetley products.
  • Funny / annoying intrusion of politics into a project I’m consulting on. A farmer suddenly retracted his permission for four politically unaffiliated non-profit associations to sponsor fieldwork on his land. Turns out this was because the chairman of the local We Hate Foreigners Party chapter had talked enthusiastically about the project online. No political party was actually involved in the work.
  • Clicked “Like” on Linköping Cathedral, because who doesn’t like Medieval cathedrals!? Turned out to be a mistake, because I started to get daily updates on current religious activities in the building. Hello? My interest ends roughly in 1789, OK?
  • You know the people who respond to interviewers’ questions that schools should not teach Arabic numerals? I’d like to hear their opinion of Indo-European languages spoken in hallways between classes.
  • It’s only gaslighting if you’re not actually insane.
  • Documentary movie: Hired Gun (2016). Interviews with professional US rock musicians who tour with big acts but are not official members of a band or recording artists in their own name. Grade: good!
  • I learned about metal guitarist Randy Rhoads’ death at age 25. It’s a particularly pointless rock star death since it had nothing to do with any irresponsible behaviour or substance abuse on the part of Rhoads himself — he just got onto a small airplane whose pilot was an irresponsible daredevil and got himself and two additional people killed with his stunts.
  • I wonder if US voters who play the card game MTG are more or less likely than average to support MTG the congresswoman. The game has grown fiendishly complicated over the decades. I have a hunch…
  • Hey humanities people, help me out. What do we call current work that does not cite French 1960s philosophers, does not contain a lot of trendy jargon, and does not deal with meta issues?
  • The café waitress is from Białystok. She’s never heard of Łódź.
  • There’s a rose breed called Brother Cadfael. See Venn diagram of a) rose fanciers, b) readers of murder mysteries set at Medieval monasteries.
  • The breakfast room is decorated with Olympic posters, including the Unaware of World Wars Games, the Nude Swedes Games, the Trench Traumatised Belgians Games, the Nazi Games, the Never Actually Occurring Because Of Nazis Games and the London in Ruins Games.
  • A long time ago sometime checked in on Facebook while in London. Millions of people followed. Most don’t seem to have noticed or cared that the first guy spelled Unıted Kingdom with an undotted Turkish ı.
  • I can never remember if it’s the bay leaf or the bailiff that goes into the stew pot.
  • DVD store clerk, wearing a mask and speaking with a hint of Cockney: “It’s got Renée Zellweger and Vincent D’Onofrio!” Me: “I’m sorry but are you speaking Greek?”
  • Hyde Park: ravens, grey squirrels, noisy green parakeets.
  • I don’t know if the (black-clad, band-logo festooned, bearded, chunky) stoner rock fans at the festival look surprised to see me a) because I’m dressed like an escaped member of the Stone Roses or b) because of my rockabilly sideburns.
  • My wife has no idea about the weekend of total hedonism I’ve embarked on. I’m drinking tea several times a day. Last night I had a veggie Indian dinner — with a cucumber raita. Today I’m going to Kew Gardens!
  • Imagine a Dyson sphere around a sun that collects its whole energy output. And then there’s a second sphere around it, consisting entirely of Dyson Airblades, all powered by the sun. Amazing.