December Pieces Of My Mind #1

  • OK so Google Inbox is excellent and I use it all the time. Takes so much of the stress out of e-mail. But I wonder, when are we getting Google Imbolc?
  • Hehe. This Swedish author intends to talk about the actions of the Medieval aristocracy, instead puts “their acting”. And his language reviewer does nothing about it.
  • Story germ: we discover the existence of alien visitors when one is found as a piece of mangled, semi-decomposed roadkill on a major highway.
  • Google Maps knew that I was near Vienna. Then it got confused and teleported me to St. Pölten.
  • Yay Rausing Foundation! Now we’ll see what the bones can tell us about life at Skällvik Castle.
  • No. Please no. This guy enters a discussion about funding for the humanities, calls them “by their nature ontological”, ends sentence with two periods. I can’t take this shit.
  • Movie: Arrival. Linguist is in charge of talking to aliens at first contact. Grade: OK. Because my Swedish friends think that “Pass” means “Bypass this film, do not watch it.”
  • Time and time again, prominent representatives of the Swedish Racist Party reveal themselves as cynical, stupid, ignorant criminals who have no particular interest in the well-being of their constituents. Still they got 13% of the parliamentary vote last time. 13% of the Swedish people are almost certainly not cynical criminals. But it’s really hard to discuss the Swedish Racist Party without implying that their voters are in fact stupid and ignorant, or at least desperate. This however is counterproductive: it makes these voters even more keen to vote against the majority who thinks they’re not very bright.
  • Fritiof Nilsson Piraten just broke Google. Not one hit for gåsgalantin.
  • Cosmopolitan experience at the dentist’s office. The staff I met were ladies from three different foreign countries. No caries.
  • “You’re just my type / You’ve got a pulse and you are breathing” /Saint Motel



Stucco artist  Axel Notini advertised his skills on the facade of his Stockholm home in 1883.

Stucco artist Axel Notini advertised his skills on the facade of his Stockholm home in 1883.


60 thoughts on “December Pieces Of My Mind #1

  1. National security advisor Flynn Tries to Disappear Fake News Tweet Down the Memory Hole
    He assumed Hillary Clinton’s involvement in sex crimes with minors must be true because the internet is always right. Next up: Iran forms alliance with the Klingons to destroy the West.

    -An interesting fact is, once any bogus news are exposed, the Trumpians wrongly attribute the origin of fake news to Washington Post, because they consider it an evil librul newspaper. Their own news are by definition never fake.


  2. I used to work with a very large Dalmatian. People from the Dinaric Alps are among the tallest in the world. He had a short fuse, was easily provoked, and had no sense of humour at all. So of course I used to deliberately wind him up all the time. I managed to get him so enraged on one occasion that he threatened to pick me up and throw me out of the window.

    I worked with another guy, an Australian who had previously worked in the north west, where he was on good terms with the local Aboriginal people. One of them, a man suffering from leprosy, had made a didgeridoo and had given it to him. He kept the didgeridoo in his office. Whenever people went to his office to see him about something, humans being the creatures that they are, they would see the didgeridoo, pick it up, put it to their mouths and attempt to play it. He would let them do that for a while, then tell them it was made by a leper, then fall around laughing at their reactions – scrubbing the mouths on their sleeves, rushing to the bathroom to wash their mouths, etc.

    Australia is full of ‘fun’ people like that. HK Chinese are boringly well behaved in comparison. And very difficult to wind up.


  3. I like Alicia Vikander. I liked her in Ex Machina (a film I liked, but which appears not to have met with Martin’s approval), and I liked her in Jason Bourne, which I watched recently; I didn’t mention the Bourne remake because it is ridiculous, stupid and a waste of time, aside from Vikander’s performance.


  4. The steppe pastoralists who invaded Europe during the late Neolithic-Early Bronze Age might have carried a secret biological weapon with them – our old friend(?) Yersinia pestis.

    That would help explain large scale population turnover. I actually suggested this to Gregory Cochran several months ago, but he dismissed it out of hand. He might have to reconsider, in which case I am certain he will not remember me suggesting it.


  5. Catching up on this thread after spending a week at a conference.

    John asked upthread about American attitudes toward Chinese people. I’m probably not the best person to ask, since I live in a university town, and Asian immigrants (including but not limited to Chinese) are generally welcome here. There are also some immigrant communities in neighboring towns (Lao and Indonesian). There is some intermarriage between white Americans and all of these Asian groups, and while much of it is high SES people (particularly where one partner is Chinese), not all of it is–being refugees, the Indonesians around here tend to be of lower SES.

    But as I say, I live in a university town bubble. I know that Chinese, and other Asians, face discrimination elsewhere. A recently graduated student from our group now works for a NASA contractor in Maryland, but she cannot have an office on base because of her nationality–she cannot be on base without an escort. This is a problem when almost all of her co-workers have offices on base. The justification for this situation is fears of espionage–not entirely baseless because there certainly are Chinese spies in the US, but probably overblown in her case.

    Certainly, some Asian people are more fearful after this election. During the conference I talked with my friend “Hiroko” (I have changed her nationality as well as her name), a legal immigrant (she has a green card) who works as a scientist at a different institution. She and her husband (who is from the same country; they were already married when they came to the US) have an American-born daughter. Hiroko isn’t afraid of African-Americans–they aren’t trying to throw her out of the country. She is afraid of the white man who recently replaced the African-American janitor in the building where she works, because she is aware that uneducated white people are particularly likely to have voted for Trump.


  6. But I do know that Swedish school teachers are poorly paid, that the demand for teacher college seats is low, and that the entry qualifications for teacher college are concomitantly low.

    Same is true in the US. You get what you pay for.

    I was fortunate to have some good teachers when I was in school. Being in a well-off suburban area helped. It probably also helped that up until around the time I started school, teaching was one of the few professions open to women in the US, and many of those teachers remained in the profession while I was in school. That artificially inflated the quality of the talent pool. Once other professional avenues became available, the smart women who previously would have taken teaching positions chose more lucrative (and less stressful) career paths instead.


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