October Pieces Of My Mind #2

Birger Jarlsgatan 11, Stockholm
Birger Jarlsgatan 11, Stockholm
  • Nice ad here on my blog for once. It does have a pretty woman in it, but she’s not a white Russian mail-order girlfriend. She’s a black potential student on the course “Swedish for programmers”.
  • Movie: Taikon. Documentary about Swedish novelist and Roma activist Katarina Taikon. Grade: Pass With Distinction.
  • The guy who installed the wiring for our new kitchen appliances wasn’t forced on us by some dictatorial decree. He was an elect rician.
  • Dad brag: guess whose kid teaches HTML pro bono to disadvantaged 11-y-os in his spare time!
  • Dropped off this year’s bones from Stensö Castle with Rudolf the Bone Man.
  • Casa Rundkvist Chou now has a Stålenhag. And pretty much an original too since the man paints digitally.
  • Me and wife and Jrette went out and sat back on lawn chairs to look for meteors. I saw three, all in Cassiopeia which was straight overhead.
  • The New Horizons probe at Pluto used bog-standard JPG compression for the first batch of images it sent back. Now it’s sending the image files with lossless compression.
  • Great fake Scandinavian surnames in science fiction: Gorson (in Edmondson), Sverensen (in Hogan), and best of all, SAKNUSSEMM (in Verne).
  • Last week Sweden was shaken by a case of racially motivated mass murder in a school. A 21-y-o Neo-Nazi wrote a suicide letter, took the heaviest weaponry he could get hold of, walked into a school in Trollhättan and killed as many foreign-complexioned people as he could. He was then shot by the police and died in hospital. This being Sweden, not a country with insanely lax gun laws, the heaviest weapon the murderer could acquire was a sword. And he killed only two people: a 20-y-o special needs teacher and a 15-y-o pupil, both of whom were trying to disarm him.
  • Finally identified the beautiful song I’ve been hearing on the plane twice a week for two months. It’s Beck’s “Morning”.
  • No Deezer. The fact that I like Teenage Fanclub does not mean that you should play me the Verve, Oasis, REM or feckin’ No Doubt.
  • Annoyed by cups falling over in our new dishwasher, I just struck the black metal “I am shouting at the ceiling and grabbing an enormous pair of balls” pose. My darkly grim guitarist brother tells me he and his brethren prefer to call it the ”invisible oranges” pose.
Magpie morning conference
Magpie morning conference

Author: Martin R

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

38 thoughts on “October Pieces Of My Mind #2”

  1. “Dropped off this year’s bones ” + “My darkly grim guitarist brother”
    He should make a gangsta rap song titled “My brother drives all over with dead people stuffed into his car” wich would be literally true. Respekk!
    — — —
    Beyond the temples, ancient bones reveal the lives of the Mayan working class http://phys.org/news/2015-10-temples-ancient-bones-reveal-mayan.html
    More goodamn bones. Archaeologists should get extra jobs working like those crime-solving nerds on TV.

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  2. Error. “Goodamn” should be “goddamn”.
    The magpies form a group mind, working out how to outsmart humans and their cats. We are only alive because they need us to provide food.
    Thor: http://www.jesusandmo.net/2015/07/15/thor2/
    — —
    Assorted headlines from Brit satire site:
    It wasn’t worth it, says 103-year-old vegetarian
    Palestinians also responsible for Kraftwerk, claims Netanyahu

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  3. Art is a matter of taste, but I have some pieces. My collection includes a couple of first-run etchings from this guy, including the one shown at the link in the lower left (“Second Wind”).

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  4. In England we have a children’s rhyme for what n magpies mean, as an omen, but I don’t know any meanings beyond n=7.

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  5. It is amazing that some gun-rights-advocates in the US both argue that people need to carry guns because they are so effective that they let weak or outnumbered people defend themselves, and that gun control won’t prevent massacres because would-be murderers will just find an equally effective weapon. When I ask them to give some examples of lone maniacs without guns or bombs who ran amok and murdered three or more people in the past fifty years, they tend to get very loud or very quiet.

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  6. Yeah, his web site leaves a bit to be desired (and doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2013, though I have seen him more recently than that). His name is Christopher Morse (as noted on the topmost graphic). I found him at the annual League of New Hampshire Craftsmen fair a few years ago–it’s an event that showcases craftsmen of all sorts from New Hampshire and neighboring states, and it’s considered the best of its kind in the US.

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  7. Sean @7: The National Rifle Association et al. have long since left the world of rationality. Many of them seem to assume that a good guy with a gun will always be able to stop a bad guy with a gun. It doesn’t work that way: the BGWG almost always has the drop on the GGWG, and third parties can’t reliably tell which is which. Then there are the issues with storage: how do you make sure that people who shouldn’t have access to your gun (that includes your kids as well as any would-be burglars)?

    The Second Amendment mentions a well-regulated militia as being essential to the security of a free state as a justification for allowing anybody to have a gun. OK, then let’s make anybody who thinks they need a gun join the militia (which is more or less how it’s done in Switzerland) and learn how to use and securely store their weapon.

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  8. “The Second Amendment mentions a well-regulated militia”,
    -the militia in question was necessary to put down slave uprisings in slave country, so it has technically been obsolete since 1865. But maybe the Koch brothers are beginning to feel nervous about the restless peasants…

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  9. Birger, its a bit more complicated than that. The idea that the citizens are the army is as old and as universal as democracy (typing “pirate democracy” into a library catalogue can be fun) and in 17th century England a number of precedents around owning weapons started to be set. Canadian cranks sometimes cite Sir William Blackstone’s “Commentaries on the Laws of England” from the 1760s as supporting a right to keep and bear arms, but fortunately such a right never became part of the Canadian constitution, so when we discovered that widespread ownership of handguns leads to more successful suicides and more impulsive violence, we were able to change our policy accordingly. I notice that the same Americans get very anxious when they hear that firearms policy is a public-health, utilitarian, harm-reduction issue.

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  10. Birger, one of the problems (and it is a major problem) with dating it is that it is rock art on the surface, not deep within a cave somewhere inaccessible, and the Aboriginal people who are the custodians are in the habit of going back periodically to renew the paintings. To them, it is a living link to the past, and they keep it alive. It is well preserved because they renew it to preserve it.

    So to find a date for the original painting is like looking for a needle in a haystack, particularly when it could be a needle >46,000 years old.

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  11. Darn, that complicates things…
    — — —
    Is this some kind of Dadaism? “Hugh Grant plans to tear down new Swedish home” http://www.thelocal.se/20151103/hugh-grant-plans-to-tear-down-new-swedish-home-in-torekov

    Swedes regain crown as top English speakers (if you count all the times people say “fuck! and “shit!”, my comment) http://www.thelocal.se/20151103/swedes-regain-crown-as-top-english-speakers -The teenagers I know make Gordon Ramsey’s English sound like a little old lady speaking.

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  12. News from Britain:
    Margaret Thatcher’s pants to be disposed of at sea
    Employers discriminate against job candidates who smell of alcohol
    As yet unmade series of Star Trek is shit, say Trekkies
    Hospital parking charges ‘fair because most people just go there for a laugh’
    Fog inspires shit poem
    Sherwood and Rodgers form crime fighting duo
    Also: “Largest number” http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?id=3897

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  13. – We had trouble with wineglasses in our dishwasher and have been very happy with these grippers from Quirky which is now in bankruptcy. See http://www.amazon.com/Quirky-Tether-Stemware-Saver-Dishwasher/dp/B005Z49FKW They or something similar might help your cup situation.
    – The US did have a knife attack rather recently, but no one was killed except the guy with the knife. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/05/us/university-of-california-merced-stabbing.html
    – Having seen some of the rock art in the Kimberly, I know it is hard to date properly. The Chamberlain Gorge art was dated, at least at a lower bound, since there were 17,000 year old (C14 dating) wasp nests that had been built over some of the painting.

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  14. Maybe Dr. Carson has spent too much time playing video games. In Civilization II, if you build the Great Pyramids wonder, you get a free granary in all of your cities.

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  15. Erik, that is the most sensible explanation I have seen! But I am trying to ignore political nonsense inside the US, and focus on things in Austria and Canada which I can influence.

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  16. For general interest: http://dienekes.blogspot.hk/2015/11/selection-against-neandertal.html

    Regarding nonsense in America – by my standards, this is someone behaving extremely badly – actually really childishly, as in a toddler temper tantrum (which fortunately my daughter never went through – she just skipped that part of childhood, just as she skipped the rebellious teen period), and if there was a grievance (over who should give rules about which Halloween costumes are OK? Isn’t Halloween for children?), it should have been discussed in a calm and rational atmosphere, but I guess standards vary.

    http://www.unz.com/gnxp/what-45000-in-tuition-buys-you-at-yale/

    But the thought that people who think it is OK to behave like this also have virtually unlimited access to military assault weapons is a really scary combination, because that young woman is way out of self-control – that’s the way I would read it anyway. But then, I live among a culture who think that behaving that way means “losing face” and is shameful.

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  17. Another Swedish-language link, explaining with impeccable logic that dying is worst for those dying and not for the bereaved! Nobel-prize stuff!

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  18. Woman gets fed up by the religious laws that impede on Irish women’s sovereignty over their own bodies.
    “…..So instead I thought it would be better to take the Irish state at its word. If they want to control my body, if they feel so comfortable interfering in what happens inside it, they should at least have all the details. So I decided to live-tweet my menstrual cycle to the Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny.”
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/08/tweet-taoiseach-periods-enda-kenny-abortion-law
    “No, if there is one thing the Irish state has shown over the years, it is that it does think this is its business. It gets to decide what happens when I’m pregnant, so why shouldn’t it be involved during all the other stages too? What about the daily grind of owning a vagina, or “Ireland’s littlest embassy”, as I affectionately call it? The daily discharges, the cramps, heavy-flow versus light-flow tampons? The itching! Tell me what to do, Enda, tell me. You and all the men in your government feel comfortable controlling so many aspects of my body, at least tell me how to deal with PMT! Maybe they could form a committee to tell me whether I should try primrose oil?”
    — — —
    My comment: We cound extend this to homophobic politicians who oppose gay couplles’ getting married. What kind of intimacy do they think is appropriate? Photobomb them.

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  19. First day of winter according to the Chinese calendar, and we’ve got 30 degrees Celsius. Long may it continue.

    Bit tough on the saiga antelopes, though – a die off of 150,000 of them so far, due to a temperature-dependent virus apparently – at normal temperature it’s harmless, but a few degrees either way and it becomes lethal. I was surprised there were that many left to die off.

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  20. It gets really grim there, to say the least. Even in a relatively clean city like Tianjin, your breath catches in your throat.

    In my daughter’s opinion, parts of China are now so badly polluted that they are irrecoverable, and I think she’s right.

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  21. I listened to the radio about Swedish White Power serial killer Peter Mangs. He is far more sinister than the troglodyte freak many assumed him to be at his arrest, long before Breivik.
    He and Breivik both closely followed “leaderless” tactics advised by White Power militants on the internet.
    The difference is, Breivik chose to make a big splash with an attention-grabbing massacre. The other tactic suggested on the sites was a “low-intensity race war”, staying under the radar and shooting non-aryans and “race traitors” then quickly disappearing.
    So Mangs was/is every bit the highly motivated terrorist Breivik is, fitting into a loose network of neo-nazis with an occult belief in the power of the Aryan race.
    I hope neither of them gets released before they are too frail to carry even a butter kniife.

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