Tech Note: Samsung SGH-i780 Smartphone

i-fd2714be7dae2215720c71f37a38073d-samsung-sgh-i780.jpgAfter some deliberation, I bought a Samsung SGH-i780 smartphone to replace my Qtek 9100. It has served me well for 2 1/4 years, but I felt it was time, and I’ve put it up for sale. I’ve only had the Samsung for two days, but I’m very happy with it so far.

Improvements over the Qtek:

  • GPS navigator
  • 3G network support offering much better internet bandwidth
  • Mousepad
  • More flash memory for mp3s
  • Thinner, thus fitting better in my pocket
  • Less heavy
  • Comes with two web browsers preinstalled, making more web sites accessible

The only drawbacks I’ve noticed so far is the Samsung’s much smaller keyboard and slightly smaller screen. And it has neither a tab key nor any cursor movement keys, relying instead on the mousepad.

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Bits and Bobs

  • Yesterday I did 5.5 more man-hours of metal detecting at the “Hall of Odin” site in Västmanland with Per Vikstrand. No prehistoric finds: just a piece of a 15/16/17th century brass cooking pot.
  • Bob Lind’s craziness is once more repeated uncritically by a local Scanian newspaper.
  • I had a nice chat with the panel of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast this morning. At 9 pm EST, i.e. 3 am local time. Which was not a very good idea, seeing as my wife was trying to sleep in the next room. But I think the show will be good. Hear Rebecca Watson say “Suckle the teat of the Mother Goddess”!
  • There’s a vote on to delete an entry about me from English-language Wikipedia, on the grounds of insufficient notability. The basic problem seems to be that the entire subject of Scandy archaeology is non-notable to people in the US.
  • Instead, Alun of Clioaudio and Archaeoastronomy has written a panegyrical entry about yours truly on the Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy website!
  • The full contents of Kalmar-based Bronze Age scholar Dag Widholm’s Festschrift is available on-line as one big PDF file. Don’t miss Elisabeth Rudebeck’s paper about the Ales stenar signpost debacle, where she includes the complete text of a Wikipedia article on the subject, largely written by someone you know!

Aard Regular Makes Headlines Bashing Christian Right

i-66401630875a179a371d96af12e89e43-NilssonLennart.jpgMy home municipality of Nacka is governed by a coalition of right-wing parties. (This, in Sweden, means that our local politics are somewhat to the left [!] of the US Democratic Party.) Aard regular Lennart Nilsson is the chairman of the Nacka section of the Liberal Party, Folkpartiet. I just received a fresh copy of the local newspaper, Nacka Värmdö Posten, whose main front-page headline reads “Folkpartiet politician: ‘The Christian Democrats have Medieval moral views’“. Interestingly, this is one of the governing coalition’s members criticising another. And who is the Christian-bashing politician? None other than our own Lennart! Said he on his party’s blog on 30 April (and I translate):

“On the debate pages of Dagens Nyheter, the Christian Democrats demand a plan to save marriage and the nuclear family. Two of the party’s MPs, erstwhile chairman Alf Svensson and Mikael Oscarsson, continue the party’s attempts to scramble up over the 4% level [i.e. entry level for Parliament] through completely bizarre statements. The most basic societal problem in the view of these two gentlemen is divorce and the disintegration of the nuclear family. Thus far, no surprises from a right-wing Christian and morally conservative party with Medieval leanings.

But now the party wants to take this quite a few steps farther. Now ‘… Parliament and government together with the relevant administrative bodies have to take action to promote marriage and the family as institutions.’ And not only that, ‘… all areas of politics must be suffused with a family perspective. All political decisions must be accompanied by a consequence analysis demonstrating their impact on families. A plan must be set out to strengthen marriages and families.’

In short, all democratic decisions should be aligned with the Christian Democrats’ Medieval moral views. Political decisions cannot be allowed to be neutral with regard to people’s choices when it comes to forms of cohabitation. Divorce and other immorality must be abolished, that is, people should be forced to remain in crashed marriages in order to fit in with the Christian Democrats’ idea of the good life. The most basic freedoms and rights of the people should be limited and replaced with religious fanaticism.

When the authors write, “… now let us see the government take the next step, well before the 2010 elections, to show that it represents a new, modern family policy”, I cannot but agree. Though this new, modern policy should of course entail a ‘nay’ to benefits for stay-at-home parents and ‘yea’ to gender-neutral marriage legislation!”

Go Lennart! I’d personally never vote for your party because of your downsize-government ideology, but it’s great to hear a voice of reason from the sleepy hallways of Nacka Town Hall! Gotta kick the fundies out of office!

Let me tell you, Dear Reader, it’s great to live in a country where the Christian Right can hardly get into Parliament and where run-of-the-mill Dominionist statements piss the right wing off most mightily.

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600 Hidden Plastic Jars

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Logged my 600th geocache this bright May morning, took a picture of a treehouse ruin near the cache, then drove home listening to the Nashville Pussy. After lunch, me and the Rundkvist ladies took part in the annual street cleaning & planting day. I headed the cleaning of two sandboxes, cleared shrubbery that was engulfing one of the boxes and collected trash in the parking lot and front door bays. Unlike Blaine Cartwright, I am not lazy.

Lazy White Boy
By Blaine Cartwright of the Nashville Pussy

Got rhythm, just too cool to show it
Got a future, can’t wait to blow it
Sit around getting high all day
Don’t let work get in my way
Ain’t no doubt, my mama raised

A lazy white boy
A lazy white boy

Went broke growing tobacco
I’m a juiced-up hillbilly
Not some dried-up cracker
A bag of weed, a six-pack of Bud
I’m like a pig in my own mud
Hey there man, it’s in my blood

I’m a lazy white boy
Lazy white boy

If things don’t turn my way
I’ll sit and think of ways to make y’all pay
I’ll smack the world’s mouth
If I ever get off this couch

Got rhythm, just too cool to show it
Got a future, can’t wait to blow it
Sit around getting high all day
Don’t let work get in my way
Ain’t no doubt, my mama raised

A lazy white boy
A lazy white boy

Ain’t got the energy to even spit
Too tired to butter my own grits
Here’s a song for us who don’t do shit

I’m a lazy white boy
Lazy white boy

My Kid’s an Anglophone Spaceman

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My kid’s spacy English writing assignment makes me so proud! He’s nine, he’s only been once for a few days to an Anglophone country, and we rarely speak English at home. Yet he seems to have picked the language up from on-line gaming, and he’s long been able to read e.g. the Harry Potter books in English. With his permission, here are his ideas about space colonies.

I think that in the future those who want to will be able to move onto another planet, or into a space station. People will breathe using space suits, and at home they will have air inside their houses. They will get food by either importing it from Earth or sending up a space plantation near the planet (or space station) that people live on/in. Another solution for breathing is to place a big glass cupola – I’ve heard that some researchers have found a way to make glass very strong – over the part of the planet where people live, and put air and plants (because they can produce oxygen) in there so people can breathe anyway. You could maybe find a way to make the cupola keep what’s inside temperate.

To make it cheaper to live in space you will have to be a vegetarian, because it will be very expensive to import food from Earth. If you’re a vegetarian you can eat food from the space plantations, which will cost as much as the food does here. When you buy food from a space plantation they come with the food to the supermarket. Imported foods will cost more than the food that comes from the space plantations. You have to import animals like birds, insects and other animals that help the environment. Before you can live in space you will have to find a (cheap) solution to how to get water. Maybe you can find a planet with drinkable water on it.

There are still some problems to solve, and that is why you can’t live in space today. I would like to live in space, maybe not for my whole life, but for a couple of years.

Viking Sword Found on the Isle of Man

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Members of the Manx Detectorists Society have found fragments of the hilt of a Viking Period display sword. It’s cast in bronze with rich Borre Style decoration (c. AD 850-1000) and silver wire frills. Though settled by the Norsemen from about AD 800 onward, the island has not previously produced very many any of their swords.

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Via BBC, 24HourMuseum and Manx National Heritage. Thanks to Greenman Tim of Walking the Berkshires and Dear Reader Eleanora for the tipoff.

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Sunny Fieldwork in Uppland

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Had a beautiful day in the field with Per Vikstrand today. He has a new metal detector, a C-scope 1220R, and it seemed to work very well. Not that the stuff we found was terribly interesting: four man-hours in the Field of St. Olaf garnered us only a flint chip and a piece of slag apart from the perennial clay pipe stems and aluminium bottle tops.

4½ man-hours on a promising site near Sala got us only the above piece of an openwork strap mount. It does look like 3rd/4th/5th century to me, though. (As reconstructed, it would have measured 42 by 35 mm.) Our Sala site has great place names: the field Per has targeted is named Hall of Odin on the earliest map and nearby is the little Ridge of the Farmstead that has had no farmstead on or near it as far back as the records go.

The St. Olaf site was perfect for metal detecting today, recently harrowed and almost completely without vegetation. At Sala, however, we had to whack through dense fodder-plants that kept our antenna coils off the ground surface and made it hard to dig. I have a feeling we would have had more to show for our efforts if the surface had been as good as St. Olaf’s.

I accidentally hit a male pheasant with my car this morning, killing it instantly. Made me sad, though it was a swift and painless death for a very stupid bird. I didn’t think to take it home to eat before I had already driven several kilometers, so I guess the crows will have it.

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Anthro Blog Carnival

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The fortieth Four Stone Hearth blog carnival is on-line at Remote Central. Archaeology and anthropology, and all relating to the Plzen Plaza!

The Plzen Plaza is a new large (20,000 square meters) shopping mall and entertainment center in Plzeň, Czech Republic. The facility built by Plaza Centers was opened on December 5, 2007, on the former land of Ex Plzeň, gastronomical exhibitions located very near the center of the city, more precisely 250 meters from the central Square of the Republic.

The next open hosting slot is on 18 June. All bloggers with an interest in the subject are welcome to volunteer to me. No need to be an anthro pro. But you must once have been part of a gastronomical exhibition at the future site of the Plzen Plaza, like me.

Tobias Bondesson and the 333rd Coin

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Tobias Bondesson treats us to the tale of a recent find that blew his mind.

Oh, mercy mercenary me!

Being a detectorist is damn hard work! I get out of bed at the crack of dawn on my day off from work to perform the ritual of “sweep, beep, dig deep” for as many hours as I can before I really, really, have to head back home, lest I want my detecting privileges revoked by a higher power (i.e. girlfriend). And what do I have to show for it? A bum knee, sore shoulders and a mild case of tinnitus are some of my more prominent achievements. On the other hand, metal detecting is the best hobby ever, which was without a doubt proven on April 30th, when I found a peculiar “bottle top” on Zealand in Denmark.

That particular afternoon, I searched a site that in the past hasn’t delivered anything more exciting than 18th century copper coins and a few 17th century silvers. After about an hour with nothing to show for my efforts except a musket ball and a Medieval horse shoe, I got a signal similar to those presented by the ubiquitous and annoying aluminium bottle tops. But as I flipped the plug of soil over, I wasn’t greeted by a dull crumpled-up piece of scrap — but by a soft golden sheen and the Danish royal crest sporting three lions. It took several close looks and more than one pinch in the arm to wrap my mind around it, but the result remained the same — I had found a 17th century gold coin!

One of the great things about detecting is that the interesting stuff isn’t just confined to the field. Home office duties such as researching and logging finds are just as rewarding as finding them. So, after a shaky drive home, I hit the books and the Net. What I found was that this was no ordinary gold coin. The coin is of the denomination 2 Gold Crowns and was struck in 1628 during the reign of Christian IV (King of Denmark 1588-1648) by the moneyer Nikolaus Schwabe of Dresden. It was minted with the explicit purpose to make up part of Christian IV’s war coffer during the Thirty Years’ War, which Denmark had joined in 1625. A war coffer was really just that: chests or barrels filled with gold and silver coins of high denominations brought along on campaigns, primarily to be used as payment to mercenary troops. The reason was that mercenaries required payment at regular intervals in order stay loyal to their employer. So, there was of course a lot of money from war coffers circulating at the time. But this gold coin represented a considerable sum; the value actually corresponded to the weekly wage of the well-to-do royal moneyer Nikolaus Schwabe. So, one possibility is that these coins were intended to be used as salary for mercenaries of higher rank.

But this specific coin is also remarkable for another reason. According to the still existing ledgers, only 333 were ever struck, and of these only 4-6 were known to still be in existence prior to this find. In addition, it has been documented that Christian IV himself visited the location where I found the coin. So maybe, just maybe, the King himself has held it in his hand.

Facts

  • The “Dobbelt Guldkrone” or “Double Gold Crown” of 1628 weighs nearly six grams and is minted from 22 karat gold.
  • Only 333 coins were struck, whereof 4-6 were known to still be in existence.
    In 2004, an identical coin was sold at an auction for DKK 125 000 (USD 20 000 / EUR 17 000 at 2004 exchange rates).

  • The coin has been duly reported and delivered to the Danish authorities.

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