February Pieces Of My Mind #2

  • Started reading Jacobsen’s Midt i en klunketid, laughed helplessly on first page. Da. klunketiden literally means “the time of big tassels” and refers to a furnishing style of the 1880s and 90s.
  • Dryden is hugely popular with badgers.
  • It never ceases to annoy me that when application reviewers explain why they don’t think I should have a certain job, they point out intentional characteristics of my work. Yes, thank you, I know that’s what my work is like. I think everybody should be doing what I do. I have spent 20 years telling you that I think the stuff you’re missing from my work is worthless.
  • I googled Femmes savantes because I needed to check the Molière comedy. Google provided the info I wanted, but also suggested that what other people look for a lot and I might plausibly be after was femmes sans vêtements.
  • Jrette overjoyed to have found yet another misprint in the novel she’s reading. “Yay! I’m the best! Yaaay!”
  • The touch screen and the track pad on my laptop keep separate accounts of where the mouse cursor is.
  • You probably need to be an archaeologist and/or drug dealer to be keeping your Parma cheese in a zip-lock polyethene baggie.
  • Libre Office thinks “Phoenician” is a typo for “phonetician”.
  • I see museums from their shapely rear ends. Exhibitions about the stuff I work with are just annoyances to me: they move finds from their rightful place in the storage drawers into locked glass cases.
  • Jrette is watching E.T. It confused her when I explained that Drew Barrymore is near Jrette’s mom’s age now.
  • Hey everybody who’s on Facebook all the time with me — I just realised that this must be a new chapter in your lives. Never to be alone. Always being able to log on and chat to friendly folks. Well, me and the other old 80s call-up BBS people have been doing it for a quarter century. My Fb behaviour is exactly like my BBS behaviour used to be in 1988. When Fb sinks I’ll migrate on. And by then you will be hooked too and go with me. This chat will never end.
  • När man står i kö är det alltid trevligt att prata med folk. Jag gillar köns umgänge!
  • Re-reading Zelazny’s Nine Princes In Amber after 29 years because Goodreads recommended it. I don’t remember one word. Nor do I remember the guy on the cover of this 1981 edition looking like an estranged member of the Bee-Gees.
  • Collectability is just the sum of a lot of individual opinions. I hear the world is losing interest in stamps and the value of the stamp market is plummeting.
  • In R.C. Wilson’s 2006 novel Spin, he gets his Scandinavians mixed up. He has cod fishermen rioting in Stockholm’s Old Town.

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

22 thoughts on “February Pieces Of My Mind #2”

  1. I found Nine Princes In Amber to be gruesome, on account of the eye-gouging stuff.

    And don’t diss badgers. African honey badgers cheerfully eat poisonous snakes, and survive being bitten.They are the Finns of the animal world.


  2. what other people look for a lot and I might plausibly be after was femmes sans vêtements

    Rule 34 is alive and well.


  3. Teenage boys who use Google are probably not often using it to locate Marie Curie.
    Myself, I am more into rocket/spaceflight porn, with clips of Saturn 5 taking off with those F1 engines at full throttle. Talk about “making the earth move”!


  4. I just heard the Nabateans used astronomical alignments in planning Petra (but so did everyone, big deal).
    — — — — —
    If you want to listen to music while standing in that Kö, here is music with “interesting” lyrics.

    The songs range from the, um, insensitive (“People in Florida are stupid”, “Get out of the left lane, you crazy asian b*tch”) to the sublime (“Train on the water, boat on the track”, “Poop before my anus bleeds”)


  5. Good link, John. Also, I think most kids know academia is full of jobs that will pay less than the private sector. People do not become archaeologists for the flashy lifestyle.

    (OT) Half of Sweden’s cleaners now foreign: study http://www.thelocal.se/20140306/immigrants-frequent-among-cleaners-and-doctors-sweden-jobs-labour-immigration-employment -and a lot of MDs. Hmm first become an MD. Then do archaeology on your spare time? Or hire a poor student to do your research for you?


  6. The magic of Lidar, for goodness sake. It’s not magic. We can finally fly surveys and penetrate vegetation canopy to make very accurate topographic maps of large areas by remote sensing. That’s not magic. It’s also not particularly new, now. It’s a great tool; it’s not magic. That’s talking down to people and being silly, which is a generally bad idea.


  7. FemCon2 -about roll playing inclucive to women- was in Umeå this weekend.
    “We can finally fly surveys and penetrate vegetation canopy to make very accurate topographic maps of large areas by remote sensing.” -Yes, but can we go “zap” with those lasers, like they do in Star Wars? No? Then good luck finding government funding.

    “That’s talking down to people” -I think current science journalísts are required to talk down. It’s in the contract, or something. God forbid they hire competent people who take the readers seriously.


  8. But most governments have people who make topographic maps, which are available to anyone who is willing to pay for a copy of them at reasonable cost, and lidar enables such people to make much more accurate topo maps. You don’t actually have to get the funding to pay someone to fly the lidar surveys yourself, unless you have some special requirements that can’t be met from the normal topo map series.

    I’m making assumptions here – I don’t actually know about Sweden. But the cost of flying lidar surveys is not that great, compared to the national collective value of having much more accurate maps for all sorts of purposes.

    Whatever, I’m not criticising what she said about how lidar has enabled much more accurate mapping of ground level under Brazilian rain forest, it is absolutely true, and that is reason enough to feel enthusiastic, assuming they can fund it, I’m objecting to her calling good application of science ‘magic’, when in my opinion she should be saying “Look what we can do with advances in application of science that we could not do before.” And actually, all kinds of other really important things with the same technology, but she’s talking about archaeology, so fine – if it helps in archaeology, that’s great. But it’s not magic, it’s a bunch of real people applying science, and it’s not boring. Is it now too politically unacceptable to tell people about science and technology? Erm no, these lasers don’t actually…kill people…


  9. Btw, the title is a reference to Midt i en Jazztid from 1931. Probably worth reading.

    Another Jacobsen worth reading is J.P. The (long) short story Mogens is a good place to start.


  10. John, Sweden is blessed with a multitude of detailed pre-lidar topograpical maps, but I look forward to the new levels of detail made possible by lidar.
    In fact, an ordinary map may be too crude a medium for the kind of subtle details made evident by lidar. Think an aerial view at sunset/sundown, with the shadows making the smallest bumps stand out. We may have to invent a digital map medium for decimeter-scale details you cannot have on conventional maps with their relatively crude vertical scale.
    Add IR/teraherz mapping on top and maybe you can deduce the kind of topsoil displayed.


  11. (OT) Skeptic time!
    “Cray cray of the day: Jurassic age pyramids at the heart of Ukraine dispute” http://doubtfulnews.com/2014/03/cray-cray-of-the-day-jurassic-age-pyramids-at-the-heart-of-ukraine-dispute/ Ed Brayton: “I know this is going to shock you, but the Republicans are wrong about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It isn’t because of Benghazi or the Keystone pipeline or Obama’s weakness or even voter fraud or Obamacare. It’s because of pyramids in Crimea built by aliens during the Jurassic period that may be a real-life stargate to other worlds.”


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