September Pieces Of My Mind #3

  • Ben Aaronovitch = Benjamin Aaronson wrote The Rivers of London. I wonder if it’s a pen name for my grandpa’s grandpa Aaron Benjaminson, who was a farmer in Tanum.
  • Two students are trying to play verbal chess while digging. The board is in their heads.
  • “Well, I’m not the world’s most physical guy / But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine / Oh my Lola” /Ray Davies
  • Sudden thought: Christianity is a 2000-year extension of a state of spiritual emergency that Jesus thought would last a year or two.
  • Sweden has recently reformed its coinage. Convenient for me and the students: when it was time to seed trenches B and C with fresh coins before backfilling, for once we had lots of recent issues.
  • Talked about books with a dinner party dominated by Swedish non-geek journalists. Almost no overlap of references. Someone read the country’s biggest newspaper’s recommended books list out. Nothing rang a bell with me. I pay no attention to Swedish-language publishing, particularly not as regards mainstream fiction.
  • I’m kind of surprised that nobody’s tried to buy my loyalty. People have demanded it on the flimsiest of grounds, but nobody’s willing to pay. The stupidest case was the asshole Norwegian professor who told me to shut up online because I was hurting the workplace environment at his department. The one he was keeping me from employment at.
  • Just taught 7 Wonders to nine Dutch and Spanish students. Phew!
  • Threw out some hooks, and lo & behold, I got a nibble right away!
  • Public transport apps really make your movements across town incredibly efficient. I could never have come up with these combos back in the days of paper time tables.
  • At the Museum of World Culture: benumbed and queasy from a context-less global kaleidoscope of dissociated fragments.
  • The charcoal from the hearth the students excavated earlier this week is alder, Alnus sp. This is good news because alders don’t live for very long, and so the risk of a high intrinsic age is low when we get a radiocarbon date. (The centre of an oak trunk is hundreds of radiocarbon years older than this year’s fresh growth.)
  • I just deleted the automatic reminder in my calendar that has had me checking the academic job ads every third Monday for 14 years. *bliss*
  • Fun idea for a Rechthaber with a lot of spare time. Apply for all academic jobs in some field and systematically & immediately publish all applications and evaluations online to invite public scrutiny. In Sweden the authorities can’t refuse to divulge any paperwork having to do with public-sector hiring.
  • My new buddy the Palestinian engineer from Homs tells me his brother is at university and doing super, super poorly. On purpose. To avoid graduating and getting conscripted into Assad’s army.
  • This is very weird. I no longer have any reason to improve my archaeological qualifications. If anything, I may one day have to re-train completely to become a licensed librarian or teacher. But I no longer have to publish or perish. It’s been one of my main drivers since I was 22.
  • I’ve seen a dramatic improvement in Norwegian’s time-table accuracy from Gothenburg to Stockholm in the past three weeks. First week the flight was 6 hours late. Second week, 3 hours. And yesterday only ½ hour!!!

It looks a little tyred (Garden Society of Gothenburg)


58 thoughts on “September Pieces Of My Mind #3

  1. “The real roots of early city states may rip up the textbooks”
    Makes sense. Real kings are a greedy, unpleasant bunch. I would not be in a hurry to get to the monarchy stage.
    — — — — — — — — —
    Ben Aaronvitch is also publishng the “Rivers of London” stories in comic book form, the completed story lines are published as graphic novels. Grade : A
    And Michael Bendis wrote a praised comic book series now published as “Powers; Who killed Retro Girl?”
    Grade: A+


  2. Dunno, but one of the things that has been screwing with HK air quality is that ships have been permitted to use high sulphur fuel here (HK is one of the world’s busiest container ports, obviously, and the shipping lobby have stoutly resisted a ban on the use of high sulphur fuel here, whereas European ports have not permitted it).

    Anyway, that all came to an end last year when my old pal, the current Under Secretary for the Environment put her foot down and banned it. There has been a detectable improvement in air quality since, although the shipping has been only one of the sources of major pollutants, so it hasn’t been huge. But every bit counts.

    Now we just need to get petrol and diesel driven private cars off the roads (including mine), while leaning as heavily as we can on our dear Comrades to the north.


  3. Hooray! I just received the latest installment of “Rivers of London”. It was mailed from Britain September 1st and I had given up hope.


  4. Birger@53- Evidence of the same dynamic emerged in China much earlier than 500 BC. There is lots of written evidence that the Shang Dynasty with its succession of kings was constantly warring, and taking prisoners, who were later used for human sacrifice. Dates are disputed, but thought to start around 1600 BC. There may have been earlier dynastic states, but evidence is sketchy. There were clearly earlier ‘cultures’, some of which might have been city states, but no written records, or at least not readily decipherable records.


  5. Most places don’t have any elements named for them. so to have even one is something of an honor. Other than Ytterby, I can name only one place with more than one element named after it: Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California, whence the names californium, berkelium, and lawrencium. I’m not sure if americium was also discovered at LBL. But all of those are transuranic elements, not found in nature. The four named after Ytterby (erbium, terbium, ytterbium, and yttrium) are all naturally occurring.

    It’s not obvious that holmium is named after Stockholm, since “-holm” is a common suffix in Swedish place names. But according to Wikipedia, Stockholm is known in Latin as Holmia.


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