July Pieces Of My Mind #1

Stegeborg Castle seen from our hostel.
Stegeborg Castle seen from our hostel.
  • Had dinner in Ryd shopping centre outside Linköping. My falafel came covered in this shocking purplish pink sauce. I said, “Oh my, what sauce is this!?” Replied the waiter, “It’s pink sauce”. (Turned out to be the standard white garlic sauce with colouring, possibly beetroot brine.)
  • Movie: Ant-man. Superhero action comedy. Grade: Pass. Jrette liked it.
  • I just told the borrowed cat, “You, Sir, are small, hairy and quadrupedal”.
  • If you don’t like traffic jams, the Södertälje motorway bridge is currently only open in the northward direction. For this reason I’ve driven a big counterclockwise circuit around the major lakes of Svealand, Närke and Östergötland in the past week. From Fisksätra to Ulvåsa and back.
  • Looked at some photos I took on a trip with my wife a few years ago. Shocked to realise that it was 14 years ago.
  • The bees in the lime trees sound like a distant motorcycle race.
Awesome students make Swedish kroppkaka dumplings for entire team of 20!
Awesome students make Swedish kroppkaka dumplings for entire team of 20!
Magpie blabbering on top of that ventilation duct.
Magpie blabbering on top of that ventilation duct.

Author: Martin R

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

41 thoughts on “July Pieces Of My Mind #1”

  1. Stegeborg castle ruins are sadly diminished by “harvesting” of building materials thorough the centuries 😦

    “Shocked to realise that it was 14 years ago.”

    I just watched an interview with Suzanne Vega. I was surprised to see that she is middle-aged… which makes me positively antediluvian.
    The only ones that seem to defy time are the Rolling Stones.

    And this fall some of the new American voters are too young to remember 9/11

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  2. I watched a Netflix special on Keith Richards. He looks like he died several hundred years ago and was mummified. I don’t think mummification counts as defying time, just a pre-death wish to try. He is not recognisable as the person I went to watch live when I was 15 going on 16. About the only one who is still vaguely recognisable from that era is the apparently clean-living Charlie Watts.

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  3. I just watched an interview with Suzanne Vega. I was surprised to see that she is middle-aged… which makes me positively antediluvian.

    Ms. Vega featured prominently in the soundtrack of my undergraduate years. I own her first two albums. So she would presumably be well into her 50s now.

    There has been some talk lately about a long-range expansion project on the nearest motorway to where I live: expanding about 12 km by adding a third lane on each roadway. I recall hearing about these plans as I was starting to hunt for a house, and chose not to bid on a property less than 1 km from said motorway because of the expansion plans. This was 18 years ago.

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  4. For this reason I’ve driven a big counterclockwise circuit around the major lakes of Svealand, Närke and Östergötland in the past week. From Fisksätra to Ulvåsa and back.

    IIRC Stockholm does not have a circumferential motorway, so I presume this route is primarily on single carriageway roads. This can be quite tedious in the US, and probably even more so in Europe, where towns are generally less accommodating of automobile traffic (which is a good thing, unless you’re driving).

    I live about 8 km from the nearest motorway junction, and if I am going west it’s about 50 km of single carriageway before I reach a motorway. Westbound there are passing lanes on several uphill stretches, so it’s not too bad, but eastbound the last 40 km or so has no passing lanes.

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  5. Martin – You might want to steer Jrette clear of Electra Woman & Dyna Girl. I gave it 30 minutes and then deleted it. On the face of it, an entertaining-enough sounding scenario – two ordinary young females who decide they want to be super heroes. But it fails totally in translation onto the screen – the mental level might be suitable to 7 year olds; however, the profanity and distasteful ‘humour’ is not suitable, so I have no idea who the film makers thought they were pitching it to.

    Oh well, another HK$38 film rental down the drain. When I look back over how much I have spent on films over the past five years, it terrifies me. No more than about 10% of them were worth watching. Netflix is mostly rubbish, but at least it’s cheap rubbish.

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  6. My falafel came covered in this shocking purplish pink sauce. I said, “Oh my, what sauce is this!?” Replied the waiter, “It’s pink sauce”.

    There is a whole genre of jokes based on answers like this. For instance, the one about the two people piloting a hot air balloon over the Seattle area when a dense layer of low clouds comes in, and they lose track of where they are. Suddenly an office building looms in front of them. The balloonists get the idea of attracting the attention of whoever is next to the window and holding up a sign saying, “WHERE ARE WE?” The office worker replies by holding up a sign saying, “YOU ARE IN A HOT AIR BALLOON.” One balloonist turns to the other and says, “We are over Redmond.” When the second balloonist asks the first how he knows this, the first replies, “He gave us a response that was entirely accurate but entirely useless, so this must be Microsoft headquarters.”

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  7. France again. I wonder why.

    http://phys.org/news/2016-07-federal-stone-age-farming.html

    You need to click on the map to see the whole thing.

    So, there were all these endogamous hunter-gatherer groups around the fertile crescent who were genetically distinct from one another – at least as distant genetically from one another as modern Europeans are from modern Han Chinese. They would have looked very different to each other, probably spoke mutually unintelligible languages, and they didn’t mix; it’s at least possible, even likely, that they were mutually antagonistic.

    Then agriculture started, first in the hill country, and then all of these disparate groups picked it up, maybe by emulation. They became sedentary, and no doubt their populations increased.

    And then something interesting happened – they ceased to be endogamous, and all started mixing with one another, resulting in a much more homogeneous population. The rise of the first city states probably contributed a lot to this process.

    People on the western side of this area started spreading into Anatolia, and then into Europe, where they swamped the hunter-gatherers who had recolonised Europe from Mediterranean refugia at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, such that European hunter gatherer mtDNA is present at a frequency of no more than 5% in most modern European populations (and in me, which is interesting to me, but trivial – it is present in the Sami at a high frequency and at somewhat lower frequency in Basques, and in Berbers in northern Africa). The modern people who are most like these ancient farmers today are Sardinians.

    People on the eastern side expanded eastwards and southwards into Pakistan and down into India. The two groups, west and east, remained genetically distinct from one another, but internally they were very homogeneous.

    There appears to be no genetic continuity between the first anatomically modern humans who entered Europe about 45,000 years ago, the so-called Cro Magnons, and those hunter gatherers who recolonised Europe at the end of the LGM. But that could be a function of sampling, for all I know. There is no reason why there should be genetic continuity – people retreated out of most of Europe with the onset of the LGM, or died out.

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  8. May to be safe pair of… oh she’s f**ked up already

    Is May playing Natasha Fatale to Boris Badenov–excuse me, Johnson–and cooking up a mad scheme from which Bullwinkle and Rocky will have to save the world?

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  9. Meanwhile, on the west side of the pond, Donald Trump has selected Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana as his running mate. Gov. Pence has a well-deserved reputation as a God-botherer, and to call him dumb as a fencepost would be a vicious slander against the intellect of fenceposts–Pence manages to make the previous vice-presidential nominee from Indiana, Dan Quayle, look like a genius (and I don’t mean the Wile E. Coyote kind).

    Trump had said last night that he was postponing the announcement out of respect for the victims in Nice, but he made the announcement via Twitter about 11:00 EDT (15:00 GMT), just as he had been planning to. What forced Trump’s hand here was that Pence had to decide by noon today whether to run for vice president or continue his re-election campaign for governor (some US states allow a vice-presidential nominee to run simultaneously for a statewide office, but Indiana is not among them).

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  10. Birger @ 13 – Beware Chinese palaeontologists, some of whom would dearly love to prove that modern Chinese evolved in situ. The split between modern Europeans and modern Chinese has already been pretty reliably dated by geneticists to around 30,000 years ago. That doesn’t say anything about the existence of archaic humans in China, or even some anatomically modern humans having found their way to China at an early time, but it doesn’t need to – there doesn’t need to have been genetic continuity in situ. Human prehistory is of successive waves of migration supplanting previous populations. My money is on population geneticists like H. Li and Q. Fu to come up with some more realistic sounding findings.

    @ 14 – Yesterday an English colleague suggested that the prospect of me becoming a Tai Chi instructor sounded about as likely as Boris Johnson becoming the new British Foreign Minister, or as he put it: “Britain’s most important diplomatic post being held by its least diplomatic politician”.

    Eric @ 17 – There’s something screwy with your geography. You’re on the east side of the pond, and yesterday. As an American friend put it when he visited Hong Kong in the late 1980s: “One day behind and 30 years ahead.” You can probably cut that now to…oh…20 years ahead.

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  11. John, I suppose it is time to break out the champagne to celebrate your new career as a Tai Chi instructor 🙂

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  12. “some of whom would dearly love to prove that modern Chinese evolved in situ”

    I am reminded of the situation a century ago, when ph ysics was the field of nationalist competition.

    A French physicist named Monblot claimed to have found some new kind of ionizing radiation, which he called N-rays (in response to the X-rays discovered thy that hateful German pysicist, Röntgen).
    — — — —
    I keep finding claims in American media that both political parties are as bad.
    Acually that is a case of false equivalency, which Murdoch media love to spread.
    The Democratic pary is , mostly, awful, crammed full of tools for corprate interests and backing imperialist policies. But the Republicans are sooo much worse on every count.
    It is like comparng a nasty intestinal parasite like the flatworm with the larvae of the Alien.

    And on the issue of climate change there is no comparison at all. Miami and Boston risk getting flooded -something not even ISIS has the power to do- and the wankers hold their ears and go “na na na I can’t hear you”.

    If the Tories exported Boris Johnson to USA and he got accepted as the Republican candidate (he was born in America, so he could legally run) it would be a huge improvement over the local talent. That is how bad the current generation of Republicans are.

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  13. Birger @ 22 – If I am ever reduced to trying to earn a living as a Tai Chi instructor, I will be lucky if I can afford a bottle of water. But it is a scenario that will never happen – it lacks authenticity: a foreign devil teaching such a quintessentially Chinese traditional art to a group of Chinese. And I have no interest in trying to teach it to foreigners – they make bad students.

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  14. Well, a group of girls, maybe – some of them have the necessary staying power. But not men. Women are better at Tai Chi than men anyway, as long as they are physically fit and not fat.

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  15. “The only ones that seem to defy time are the Rolling Stones.”

    Mick Jagger’s eighth child is on the way.

    Yes, some of the Stones (mainly Jones, Wood, and Richards, but also, even though you might not expect it, also Mick Taylor) emphasized not just the sex and rock ‘n’ roll but also the drugs. Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, and even Mick Jagger (who emphasized the sex part a bit more) live(d) a bit more healthily. On the other hand, having seen them a year or two ago, most of us should be happy if, at their age, we are even half as viable.

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  16. The only ones that seem to defy time are the Rolling Stones.

    Berke Breathed lampooned the Stones in a Bloom County story line from the early 1980s. Somehow the Stones are hired to play a gig in the town that is the setting for the strip. The baby boomer teacher Bobbi can’t believe that the Stones would be playing there. Ten-year-old Milo Bloom can’t believe it either: he points to a promo pic and notes that “these schmoes must be 40 years old” (which they were at the time).

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  17. Birger@31: I didn’t see any of those speeches myself, but have seen some Web commentary. Most of them apparently would have sounded better in the original German. The exception was the current Mrs. Trump, who got caught plagiarizing multiple paragraphs from the speech Michelle Obama gave at the Democratic National Convention in 2008–ironically, passages praising the value of hard work.

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  18. I also hear (via a political blog where I lurk) that there is a norovirus outbreak at the Republican National Convention. That’s a nasty one that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies.

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  19. #29 – Mick Jagger evidently doesn’t keep up with the genetics news. The number of deleterious alleles that a child is born with is a function of the age of the father. Of course, most deleterious alleles are only trivially so, but an old father runs a very substantially increased risk of having a child with some major genetic defect. The effect increases with increasing age of the father, past the 20s.

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  20. There’s a formula somewhere that you can use to calculate the increased number of deleterious mutations carried by a child, given the age of the father at conception, but I’ve lost the reference (as usual).

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  21. John@36: I was aware, via Orac’s blog, that age of the father is a risk factor in autism. I wasn’t aware that it’s a more general issue.

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  22. Eric @ 38: It is – very much so. Everyone knows/expects that maternal age can be a problem, so I expect it came as a surprise to a lot of people that paternal age can have so much of an effect on the mutation rate (and most genetic mutations are deleterious, although most only mildly so, but with an increased rate, there is increased risk that a particular mutation will be more than trivial, and the mutation rate goes up quickly in proportion to age after the 20s). Wikipedia has not been updated to reflect this finding (disappointing, given that it was a while back), and I’m unable to do a search of Razib Khan’s blog to find where he wrote about it – just scrolling back through his blog entries is hopeless because he is so prolific. (It is also significant that father’s lifestyle e.g. alcohol consumption can have a big effect, which can be passed down through subsequent generations, i.e. epigenetic effects.)

    Meanwhile, if you think you’ve got problems with lousy leadership choices, check out what we have to contend with:
    http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education-community/article/1992364/read-bible-stories-advice-children-possible-hong

    I’m hoping God tells him not to bother. A lot of people can’t imagine a worse political leader than the one we currently have (and admittedly he is pretty awful). Well, they only need to look at this guy to find one.

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  23. John@39: The US is way ahead of you here: politicians with similar views to Mr. Leung’s are a dime a dozen. It’s obvious they haven’t really read the Bible, or they would know that several passages contain material they would consider unsuitable for children: explicit sex and violence, incest, infidelity, etc. And they insist that God is on their side, without having considered for a moment the question of whether they are on God’s side.

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  24. Your kroppkakor look just like kumle. We call them “lead sinkers”. They should keep you digging for a while hahaha.

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