April Pieces Of My Mind #1

  • “If I blow my top — will you let it go to your head?” W.F. Gibbons
  • Hit jackpot on the car radio riding with Jrette and her buddy today. First some Tuvan throat singing. Then a fat version of the Marseillaise with orchestra, choir and a solo soprano who sounded like Piaf. It’s important that you outweird young people regularly to prepare them for life.
  • My soft tissue now has a distinctly later radiocarbon date than the dentine in my front teeth.
  • Over half a thousand people congratulated me on my birthday. Made me feel cherished, like through Facebook and in other ways I’m a small but appreciated part of many people’s lives. That feeling was a precious birthday gift!
  • Movie: Conan, the Barbarian (1982). Baroque and mind-blowing but also draggy and deeply silly. Grade: OK.
  • Somebody just reported an apparent Viking Period hoard find to me rather than to the authorities, because this person hasn’t had great experiences with them in the past. They were super grateful when I offered to talk to the County Archaeologist. I really think the National Heritage Board should make me a Finds Liaison Officer. Though I’d prefer to be called a Finds Czar.
  • ZZ Top have sounded ancient since they were 20. With the addition of the beards they began to look ancient too. But when their rock-solidly ancient-sounding hit “Gimme All Your Lovin'” was released in early 1983, all three band members were still only 33.
  • “Science is under siege. Trump and company plan to defund NASA’s Earth Science budget as a shot over the bow in their broader war against Observable Reality.” /Roy Zimmerman
  • The terrorist attack in central Stockholm that should really worry us took place in 2010. April 7 taught us nothing we didn’t know before.
  • Dawnstone occurs in various video games including Dragon Age and WoW. I wonder if this is a sly reference to eoliths.
  • I’ve spent the afternoon cycling, geocaching and napping.
Me and some of my best friends on our way to the Kaknäs Tower. Tor the Philosopher, David the Physio, me, my wife, Paddy the Coder, Roland the Gas Man, Carolina the Patent Engineer.
Me and some of my best friends on our way to the Kaknäs Tower. Tor the Philosopher, David the Physio, me, my wife, Paddy the Coder, Roland the Gas Man, Carolina the Patent Engineer.
Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara. Their scent means spring to me.
Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara. Their scent means spring to me.
I'm applying for an extra grant to make sure everyone on my next excavation wears these.
I’m applying for an extra grant to make sure everyone on my next excavation wears these.

Author: Martin R

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

65 thoughts on “April Pieces Of My Mind #1”

  1. Axolotl@48: I was under the impression that Western Pacific typhoon season lasts through November, as North Atlantic hurricane season does (the latter does not start until June). However, it may be true that typhoons are climatologically unlikely to strike Hong Kong after September. They just go other places: the Philippines or Vietnam, or recurve out to sea.


  2. As for Birger’s question about voices, I understood him to be talking about speaking, not singing. A big part of that comes down to not just culture but sub-culture. Witness the dozens of regional accents in England, and similar variation in countries such as France, Germany, and Vietnam, as well as the different national versions of Spanish.

    For historical reasons, prior to World War II the overwhelming majority of black Americans lived in the rural South. After the war, some of them migrated to cities to take factory jobs, but even there they were segregated into ghettos. As recently as the late 1960s many US municipalities prohibited non-whites from being within their borders after sunset–some of those laws may still be on the books, although they are now considered unenforceable.

    When you don’t live among a certain kind of people it becomes easy to stereotype those people, whether they live in the next neighborhood over or on some other continent. As a result, stereotyping of minority groups is very much alive and well in the US. The segregation of blacks into certain neighborhoods leads to an expectation that they will talk a certain way, and TV and movie producers, who usually cater to such expectations, cast accordingly.


  3. Eric@51 – That’s crudely basically correct; they recurve up towards Shanghai. Thank you for being gracious enough to allow for the fact that I might know something about the weather in the region that I have lived in for decades.

    Eric@52 – No, black American women have their own language sub-culture, that they have cultivated. They are not as disempowered as you and a lot of other American whites who don’t know any black women as friends think that they are.

    Watched 2016 film Hidden Figures – Inspirational. Plus it brought back a lot of early childhood memories.


  4. There are a couple of reasons to be careful with climatological norms, however. One is dealing with events that are rare to begin with. I don’t know about historical records of typhoons hitting Hong Kong/Guangdong, but if a November typhoon there is a once-every-fifty-years event, it’s possible that you have never seen one in your three or four decades there. My parents lived in Miami from 1974 to 1991, a period during which no hurricanes hit the city (the previous one had been Betsy in 1965). That was a streak of good fortune that ended the next year with Hurricane Andrew. The historical frequency is somewhere between once every few years and once a decade. That can go the other way, too: before the state highway going south from my town was recently reconstructed, it supposedly took a once-every-hundred-years flood to cover it with water. That has happened four times since I have been in the area (about 20 years).

    The other thing is that with climate change, what used to be normal may not be normal anymore. Winters where I live are warmer and snowier than they used to be. We also now routinely get high fire danger in early spring, between when the snow melts and the plants green up–that used to be rare around here. The latter effect was a major contributor to the Fort MacMurray fire last year. Similarly, it could happen that typhoons that in earlier years would have hit Vietnam will in the future track further north, hitting Hainan or Guangdong. Already we are seeing North Atlantic hurricanes in places where they used to be rare, such as the Azores.


  5. Birger@55: Perchance was this study funded by one Peter Thiel? He’s a billionaire and a libertarian jerk (pardon the redundancy) in Silicon Valley who is into searching for rejuvenation therapies that work. Not for the general public, mind you, but for himself and his billionaire libertarian jerk buddies. He’s not quite as blatant about it as Elizabeth Báthory is alleged to have been, but close.

    Thiel is also the guy who has advocated creating independent artificial islands/ships. I’d be in favor of him attempting to implement this plan, as long as he was on the first one to launch.


  6. Eric@54 – Your didactic patronising towards me on this subject, while phrased in grossly over-simplified terms, appears to know no bounds, while you continue to be oblivious to the fact that *I am currently actively engaged in working on these very problems at a professional level* – that is at least in part due to the fact that I will not discuss them with you due to concerns about client confidentiality, among other things.

    So I am just going to leave it that in future I intend to just ignore everything you say on this subject. Birger asked me a perfectly polite and reasonable question, which I answered politely and reasonably, and I will continue to do so in his regard, while ignoring you.


  7. Meanwhile, on films, I should note for completeness and other readers’ reference that I have watched the following 2016 films, which I saw fit not to mention at the time because I didn’t think any of them were really worth it:

    “Rogue One” – I’m no Starwars fanboy (I was hugely impressed and entertained by the very first Starwars film, but have become increasingly bored by the subsequent stream of inferior follow-ups), but this one was an enjoyable enough stand-alone adventure. But I don’t see why they had to kill off the heroic girl main character at the end – she deserved a lot better than that. Um – pass, I guess, but be aware that the heroic girl dies at the end; and she deserved a much better fate than that. Felicity Jones does an excellent job as the movie hero. Negative marks for including Donnie Yen in the cast. If you live in HK, it is just a diet of Donnie Yen all the time, and he really is nowhere near deserving of that kind of status. Plus his face just irritates the living shit out of me, equally as much as his inability to act.

    “Hacksaw Ridge” – eminently forgettable standard Mel Gibson fare, with the usual gross excesses of gore. I am no Gibson fan, and this did nothing to change that. It came across as curiously low-budget, I guess because it was. The fact that it was apparently a sort of true story doesn’t change much.

    “Passengers” – sci fi date-rape movie. If you can see past the nauseating main fact, that the ‘hero’ wakes the female lead prematurely out of cryo-sleep just so he has an attractive female to fuck, thereby dooming her to die pointlessly in space with no one but him for company, I guess the film is enjoyable enough for space travel fans. Personally, the whole selfish manipulative date-rape premise really turned me off.

    “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” – one for American patriots and good ol’ boys, I guess. I have no idea. I really couldn’t see the point. Any point. The film did have one bright spot for me, though – Vin Diesel dies. I get sick of watching movies in which Vin Diesel doesn’t die. Well, in this one he does, and it improves the film hugely.

    Of the above, I would probably suggest watching “Rogue One” just for plain entertainment value if you like that sort of thing, while trying to ignore Donnie Yen, and forget the rest.

    “Hidden Figures” beats the crap out of all of the above, plus it awakens you to the terrifying realisation that the calculations for all of the first space flights were done on programmable calculators, without the benefit of modern computers – with the exception of John Glenn’s 3 orbits of the earth, which used an early IBM mainframe, but had to be supplemented by hand calculations.

    “Arrival” is really in a class of its own – I think maybe not everyone will like it, or even get it. But it’s worth trying, I think.


  8. ““Arrival” is really in a class of its own – I think maybe not everyone will like it, or even get it. But it’s worth trying, I think.”

    It has a plot element which I cannot criticize here without spoilers…
    — — — — — —

    This is why space is NOT full of advanced civilizations. The anthropic principle.
    “The Earth’s finely balanced oceans may be a consequence of the anthropic principle”
    Oceans galore: new study suggests most habitable planets may lack dry land https://phys.org/news/2017-04-oceans-galore-habitable-planets-lack.html


  9. “Arrival” is really in a class of its own – I think maybe not everyone will like it, or even get it. But it’s worth trying, I think.

    Saw this in the RSS feed and thought that you were talking about the ABBA album. 🙂

    (As opposed to Abba: The Album.)


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