April Pieces Of My Mind #1

  • I want my spell-checker word list to reside in the cloud so that I won’t have to start from scratch, adding names of Swedish provinces and archaeologists to the list, separately for each computer I work at.
  • I’m tired of Star Trek and Star Wars. Let’s forget about them. The Space Odyssey took place 13 years ago. I want new scifi! 2010s scifi.
  • I ask this senior male scholar for the name of a qualified woman under 40 to review a book. He replies that there is none in his country. Hey man, at least you could have said ”I personally don’t know of such a person, but, you know, I’m getting old”.
  • Facebook wants to know who my favourite sports teams are. I’ll tell you: the ones that are never on TV and hardly ever have any spectators at their games. Because though I can fully understand that it may be fun to play soccer, I have only nerdy incomprehension for those who watch others playing soccer.
  • Theobromine is a wimpy mind-altering substance. I’m pretty sure chocolate would sell equally well without it.
  • My wife has found a dependable dealer. Ostensibly this person is a dentist in the Old Town, a high-rent area, but it’s pretty clear how the guy makes his real money. Growing at home and selling to the patients. Must be one of the bigger Chinese duck egg pushers in town. It’s good shit too.
  • Roots hiphop credibility is not something I value. But it surprised me to learn that Nikki Minaj once had it.
  • There may not be many things I care about in this world, but throwing out old sauce bottles and condiment jars in the fridge, years past their use-by dates, is certainly one of them. Aaaaah!
  • Oxford Archaeology has a specialist department for “Heritage Burial Services”. What an unusually infelicitious phrase. Do they bury heritage? Do they perform funeral services? Or if they deal with “heritage burials”, then what does that mean?
  • I like Jrette’s belly laugh. She doesn’t giggle.
  • What a marvellous headline. “Archaeological dig unearths secrets below the ground”. Yes! So true!
  • Thinking about honour-related violence against women, it struck me that to the extent that Swedish men have a concept of honour, one pretty sure-fire way of losing that honour is to threaten or beat women.
  • Oh what sweet relief it is to go from a barely good book to a very good book and realise that you haven’t lost your pleasure in reading after all.
  • I’d like to wear my denim jacket more but I can’t because I always wear denim pants.
  • Another strange usage. “How amazing is that?”, when you are actually amazed. I’d make that “How amazing isn’t that”, or “Isn’t that amazing?”.
  • Somebody named Gürkan, Sw. “the cücümber”, just tried to add me as a business associate on Linkedin.
  • I didn’t like American Hustler so I left with an hour to spare. Stupid people doing stupid scams but neither in a comedic nor a tragic way. Didn’t care about any of them.
  • Galileo was Danish, from Gilleleje.
  • The Guardian’s chief arts writer Charlotte Higgins pissed me off on Little Atoms, saying that archaeology’s view of Roman Britain is strongly historically contingent because the Victorians had different ideas about it. No, you /&%#(]&)(*, our ideas change because we keep digging and developing new methods. Our current ideas about Roman Britain are not just contingently different from those of 150 years ago. They are more accurate and based on better material and argument.
  • I love Robbie King’s fat and audacious hammond licks on the Incredible Bongo Band’s tunes!
  • Australia was peopled from the north as one of humanity’s first conquests outside Africa. New Zealand was peopled tens of thousands of years later from the East, as one of the last.
  • The 90s tunes in my song & chords binder have somehow become two decades old.
  • I celebrate 15 years as editor of Fornvännen today (15 April). The median tenure among the editors since 1906 is 8 years.
  • Skalk is a great Danish archaeology mag. I just wish it didn’t look like the Watch Tower or Reader’s Digest when I bring it on the train.
  • OMG, there’s a planet-sized ball of shiny rock hanging in the sky!

27 thoughts on “April Pieces Of My Mind #1

  1. “Archaeological dig unearths secrets below the ground”

    What will those archaeologists think of next? 😉

    I want my spell-checker word list to reside in the cloud so that I won’t have to start from scratch, adding names of Swedish provinces and archaeologists to the list, separately for each computer I work at.

    I run into similar problems with geographical and personal names. In my case, it’s the Canadian high arctic, where many place names are of Inuit origin, and others are from other First Peoples languages or French. The spell checker knows some of them (Iqaluit, for instance, is the capital of the territory of Nunavut), but others (Athabasca, for instance) are a bit more obscure. And of course I get to deal with surnames from a variety of different languages, some of which are common enough for the spell checker to recognize (e.g., Zhang: at least 18 different people with that surname have published first-author papers in my field), others not.


  2. That’s a very popular view with Arts and Humanities people, that science is “just fashion”, going in circles. They like to throw Thomas Kuhn words like paradigm around. But even Kuhn thought science does actually get better.


  3. That’s a very popular view with Arts and Humanities people, that science is “just fashion”, going in circles.

    I’ll turn the microphone over to Alan Sokal:

    In the second paragraph [of his hoax article “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”] I declare, without the slightest evidence or argument, that “physical `reality’ [note the scare quotes] … is at bottom a social and linguistic construct.” Not our theoriesof physical reality, mind you, but the reality itself. Fair enough: anyone who believes that the laws of physics are mere social conventions is invited to try transgressing those conventions from the windows of my apartment. (I live on the twenty-first floor.)

    I’ve never been able to put it better than those last two sentences.


  4. Does Battlestar Galactica count as new, or is it still old?

    Denim is clearly as case where it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

    “American Hustle” wasn’t excatly funny, so I guess it was a drama. All the payoff was in the end, like any caper movie. And the hair! Were people really like that in the 70’s?

    Maybe Heritage Burial Services are for people who’d prefer a barrow burial, or maybe a Saxon cremation?


  5. There is plenty of new stuff happening in *written* SF. Not so in film (although the great “Inception”was very original SF).
    Film is about big $$$$ That means no experiments, just give the (teenage) audience what they want.
    There are plenty of hidden gems with low budgets, but “space opera” of any kind requires big budgets.


  6. “Oh what sweet relief it is to go from a barely good book to a very good book and realise that you haven’t lost your pleasure in reading after all.”
    -I recommend some Brit detective story. “Poppet” by Mo Hayder is not bad. For urban goth I recommend stuff with Harry Dresden.


  7. Excellent headline writing skills demonstrated by the Surrey journalist.

    I’m amused to see that Prof. Poulton is called a “man-ager”. That’s one way of describing an archaeologist. Although they work out the ages of all sorts of other things too.


  8. The Bone People -now added to my “to read” list.
    Re SF; I avoid authors who are a bit too fond of weirdness, like China Mieville or Lavie Tidhar (I am probably a philistine).
    -Before the lunar eclipse this April, a preacher said “God is literally screaming “I am coming now!”
    Comment 1: isn’t that a bit um, private?
    Comment 2: Those who watched Alien in 1977 may recall the poster slogan: “In space no one can hear you scream”.


  9. The solution I used for the spellcheck problem was to copy the additional dictionary file from one computer to another – ditto fonts.
    I’ve not done it with Open Office but it has a ‘dictionary of exceptions’ so it may be possible.


  10. Neil, *I* don’t want to do that, the software should!

    If all of the devices you work with have *nix available and are always (or almost always) connected to the internet, you can do that via a cron job: have one “master” copy which your other computers copy over via FTP/wget/whatever file transfer system you prefer. Set it up once, and it runs daily/weekly (as you choose). But if you want to add exceptions from multiple computers, that’s a bit trickier. And I don’t know how you set this up with Windows/Android/iOS devices.

    Migrating your exceptions dictionary from one computer to another is a solved problem. If you use backups to handle the migration, the dictionary is just one file among many that get copied over. You probably do this anyway, especially if you have nonstandard preferences to carry over.


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