April Pieces Of My Mind #3

brocade

Nanjing brocade at Millesgården Museum.

loom

A Nanjing brocade loom, operated by two master weavers at the Millesgården Museum.

  • Wut? Raymond Chandler wrote a story named “The King in Yellow” in 1938!
  • There’s currently a major unsatisfied demand for field archaeologists in London. A friend of mine explained to me why there are so few people on this job market. She has an MA in archaeology and is working on a big contract excavation in Cambridgeshire. Her monthly salary is £1640 = $2300 = €1870 = SEK 19400. That is, after the great unsatisfied demand has already pushed the salaries up a lot.
  • In Sweden the County Archaeologist chooses which contract archaology bid a land developer has to accept. In the UK the developer chooses. No wonder UK archaeologist salaries are ridiculously low.
  • In 2017, 97,000 Swedes actively left the former state church. Most were young affluent urban men.
  • I didn’t like Crackerjack when I was 5. Haven’t tried it since.
  • Just saw spring’s first bumblebee!
  • Yay, Deezer has a new music discovery mode that plays tailored stuff but nothing you’ve heard before!
  • When a political party sends public messages, they are usually distasteful to its members. Because they are designed to draw in non-members, to flip people who support other parties.
  • A funny thing about teaching English in Swedish high school: along with gym and pretty much no other subject, spoken English is actually highly valued by the cool kids.
  • Have lost 0.45 litres of blood. Shall replace it with meal at recommended Persian restaurant.
  • You hear stories of PhDs who never manage to have a research and uni teaching career and instead end up teaching high school. I never expected to first have a voluminously productive research and uni teaching career, then end up teaching high school. For a higher salary.
  • Ceylon tea is a little weak. The trick is to use lots of leaves. And never remove them from the pot or cup. So good.
  • New Friendly Local Game Store in central Stockholm! Dragon’s Lair II, Sveavägen 118.
  • Why is the 1997 film In & Out so similar to Michael Chabon’s 1995 novel Wonder Boys, which was made into an eponymous movie in 2000? I asked this two years ago and I still don’t know.
  • Gaia Project: left the box and solo-play gear at home, went to gaming event. Discovered I’d also left the round-pass boosters & purple advanced tech tiles. Game perfectly enjoyable without them.
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89 thoughts on “April Pieces Of My Mind #3

  1. London is one of those cities where people of modest means cannot afford to live. Between the City bankers and the foreign oligarchs looking for a bolt hole in a (relatively) stable country, there is just too much money sloshing around. That is part of why there aren’t enough contract archaeologists in London: the ones who do not have wealthy parents or a wealthy spouse can’t afford it.

    Cambridgeshire is not as ridiculously expensive as London, but there are still a lot of people who want to live there, so it’s not all that affordable either.

    Several US cities, most famously New York and San Francisco, are going through the same thing. I know people who have bailed out of the Bay Area because they couldn’t afford to buy a house there–at least one such couple had two incomes both of which were north of $100k, and things have gotten worse in the decade they have been gone (even with the correction in real estate prices in 2007-2008, which has long been erased in that market).

    Liked by 1 person

    • And none of the measures that were auppposed to increase the amougnt of affordable housing have worked, usually because they haven’t been applied, eg developers allowed to build with no affordable units even though there is a requirement for them in every development. I don’t suppose it has anything to do with the numer of London local councillors who have interests in the private rented sector, nothing at all I’m sure.

      Like

      • Corruption seems to be as ubiquitous in the “developed” world as in the “developing”.
        This is what happens when the oligarchy takes over from the middle class.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Of course, in the “developing” world it’s Corruption, which is a Bad Thing. In the “developed” world it’s simply Market Forces, which are a Good Thing. It’s amazing how similar they look to those who lack the money to be corrupt or to invest in the market…

        Liked by 1 person

      • The same thing is about to happen in Stockholm: State puts pressure on banks not to lend irresponsibly to home buyers with “low” incomes => Developers stop building fancy and now unaffordable units, do not want to build cheaper stuff for the rabble, rentals completely unacceptable to bottom line, whine about it.

        Like

  2. “currently a major unsatisfied demand for field archaeologists in London.”
    at sub-subsistence pay..
    this is a common thread in all corporate complaints about the “skills shortage”. It always turns out that none of the brilliant corporate executives has ever thought of raising pay for the skilled workers..

    Liked by 3 people

  3. North Swedish spring weather makes me grumpy, so I want to offend fundamentalists. Since I found this video, I recommend “Islam and the whale that carries the
    Earth” , at Youtube.

    Like

  4. Nun? Everybody knows its’ A’Tuin, the turtle.
    And the mountains were not created to pin the Earth down on the whale.
    Mountains are giant molehills created by the Cthonians.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I assume the Scandinavian bonfires lit on the eve of last day of April has the same cultural origin as the Belthane bonfires.
    Or someone just thougt it was a good idea to lit fires when the ground is covered by dry dead grass.

    Like

    • Well I suppose it’s one way to clear a field for planting. I don’t miss the stubble burning that used to happen in the UK every autumn.

      Like

      • The English word “swidden” means a patch of land cleared by burning. I’m guessing the name Sweden may come from a shared root.

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      • “Sweden” is from the same root as Lat. sui and originally referred to a tribe around Lake Mälaren who called themselves “Us / Ourselves”.

        Like

    • I don’t know if this is an issue in Sweden, but one of the effects of climate change has been to introduce a fire season in eastern North America due to the gap between the spring melt and the spring greenup. In other places this phenomenon has lengthened the fire season; e.g., it was a major contributing factor to the Fort McMurray fire a couple of years ago. Under the historical climate, this would not have been as big an issue in Sweden, but things may be different now.

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      • Alas, with climate change, the word “normal” rarely fits.
        The changes extend to plants, birds and insects.

        Like

    • it was a good idea to lit fires when the ground is covered by dry dead grass.
      Uh, and? Not a particularly unusual thing to have seen 50 years ago in my part of Canada.

      It gets rid of a lot of debris before cultivating or planting. It is allso a source of community involvement as the neighbours rush to help put out the out-of-control grass fire.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, we did some grass burning on the farm where I grew up. I was nervous about it, even though there were fewer buildings back then. We often timed it to after rains so the fires would be manageable. The problem with “majbrasor” is the inflexible timing dictated by custom.

        Like

  6. A few things I learned today.
    In hellenistic times, a lot of myths sprang up about Alexander the Great.

    In the quran, he is referred to as Zulqarnain, aka the man with two horns (this comes from Egypt, where he was seen as the son of Amon, a god with two horns).
    In the quran, Zulqarnain visits the place where the sun sets, a warm, muddy spring.
    He also builds a great barrier to keep out Gog and Magog. At the end of time, Gog and Magog will break out and go all “Fenris wolf” on the world.
    Later, as it was understood Alexander was a pagan, muslim sholars have claimed Zulqarnain was actually Cyrus the Great, or some other king.
    The part about finding the sun place is exclaimed by him seeing the sun set behind a spring, and getting fooled by perspective, which does not sound very credible. And in that case, why is the quran not correcting the mistake? The quran is supposed to be true. Why is the story included?
    The fun part is, unlike most other religions, there is no room for compromise about the truth about every part of the holy book. The book is almost like an extention of al-Lah, which is why nutters are prepared to kill those who questions parts of it.

    Myself, I am content to ascribe divinity to Kate Bush. I am much too lazy to do jihad even about the *important* things, like whether Aiglos or Narsil was the better weapon.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Also in Youtube, I recommend
    “Jizya in Islam- explained”.
    This sh*t is more hardcore than Leviticus. Remember king Leopold and what he did to Congo. That’s pretty much jizya in its original form.

    Like

  8. Site of mass child sacrifice found in Peru. 140 children, aged 5 to 12 were sacrificed by cutting out the heart, ca 550 years ago. The bodies have been preserved in the very dry sand of the site.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Department of “Nothing surprises me anymore, part one million”
    “In California, the leading candidate in the primary for a chance to challenge Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Little, is as overtly racist as you can possibly get. How extreme is his anti-Semitism? He claims that the openly Nazi site the Daily Stormer is “too Jewish.”
    A poll conducted by local ABC News affiliates along with the polling company Survey USA, suggested that Little is polling at 18 percent of the vote on the Republican ticket, a full 10 points ahead of his next strongest opponent. “

    Like

  10. The longest driveable (across terra firma) straight line on Earth goes between Spain and a point on the Chinese coast near Hong Kong. The exact length was not stated.
    The longest sailable straight line is 32000 km, b

    Liked by 1 person

  11. (Goddamit) …between Pakistan, south of Africa and the Americas and up to the Russian coast near Kamchatka.

    Like

      • It is called a “Great circle” -it is easier to explain if you look at an old-fashioned globe.
        Imagine you have a satellite circling the Earth, only bending its path along the curvature of the Earth. If you project that onto a world map, you get a sine wawe even though the path is straight.

        Like

      • You would have a narrow window to get through the Drake Passage between Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic peninsula. But once you do, it’s clear you would hit either Japan or the Kamchatka peninsula (assuming you managed to avoid Hawaii). You would be sailing either NW or WNW when you make landfall.

        The trouble with measuring drivable distances that way is that cars have to follow roads, so your actual distance will be longer than the great circle distance. That’s especially true when there are mountains in the way, and you have to drive 20 km or more for each 10 km of straight-line distance you cover.

        Like

  12. The original founding population for the Americas has been estimated to ca. 250 individuals. This increased to 40 million before diverse
    brought by Europeans made the population collapse.

    Like

    • I think the 40M estimate is low. The book 1491 summarizes the research on the subject, and concludes that the pre-Columbian population of the Americas was 100 million or more. It is now believed that before Cortez arrived in Mexico, there were more people just in the central plateau region of Mexico than in all of Europe.

      Like

    • Not to mention classy. Everything of his is the classiest imaginable…

      …to somebody who mistakes ostentatiousness for class. It’s not a mistake anybody with actual class would make.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. “Raymond Chandler wrote a story named “The King in Yellow”” – I decided to read that story last night, after tracking it down on the internet. It’s not a bad yarn, although I found the ending rather implausible in a “why would they do that” sort of way. But it has no relationship with the real “King in Yellow”. Apparently Chandler simply liked the title, appropriated it, and based his story around a jazz musician (“The King”) who has a fondness for yellow clothes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like a blood donation to me.

      I did one in April, for the first time in years. I had gotten out of the habit after a trip to Vietnam, which is a malaria endemic zone, so the American Red Cross didn’t want my blood for a while after that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did it for years, not least because the local council where I worked encouraged it and let you do it in work time which meant it was worth the bood donor service running sessions near the main counncil offices. These days I’m taking too many drugs so they don’t want it.

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  14. Re. blood; I went to the vet today for a routine checkup of my cat. Two blood samples: cost 1600 skr (more than 200 USD).
    – – – –
    I am deeply disappointed with the Swedish social democrats and their new arguments about refugees and immigration.
    While a discussion is needed, their leader, Löfven, seems to go populist with his arguments for more restrictive rules. He obfuscates the issue by dragging in “arbetskraftsinvandring”, workforce immigration, which is a *very* small component of the overall immigration.
    The social democrats are facing losses in the coming election; Löfven’s arguments should be viewed against a need to win over voters who want more restrictions of immigration. Some alterations may be needed but his arguments are uninformed at best and populist at worst.
    And our conservatives have also made an U-turn and are now blatantly seeking to attract voters from the xenophobe party.

    Like

    • It’s extremely embarrassing for the party members. And yes, it is clearly premeditated as a way to regain voters who went to the Hate Party in the 2014 election and have swelled their percentage even more since.

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    • “He obfuscates the issue by dragging in “arbetskraftsinvandring”, workforce immigration, which is a *very* small component of the overall immigration.”

      Does this imply that most immigrants don’t join the work force? Since most recent immigrants to Sweden are neither rich nor joining family in Sweden who have work, it seems a legitimate concern.

      Politics is the art of the possible. If the choice is to stick to your ideals and lose the election with the extremists winning it, or to court voters outside of your own political ideas and perhaps even let them influence your policy to some extent but win the election and have a programme much less extreme than the alternative, which would you choose?

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      • Arbetskraftsinvandring is when you have an invitation to come work for a company. Few immigrants who settle in Sweden have one of these, though most certainly start working as soon as they can.

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    • Seems to be a problem affecting a lot of countries at the moment. It is always there for some people, but often other more personal matters trump immigration, not so much at the moment. 😦

      Like

  15. A certain president has introduced a national day of prayer. The internet is going nuts with bible quotes about lying and bearing false testimony 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Why should evangelical so-called Christians start caring? They have had a remarkably casual attitude about bearing false witness for quite a few years now.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. Excerpt from the article, re. the time immediately after the war:
    Hundreds of thousands of Americans died fighting Nazi Germany. Still, bigotry toward Jews persisted, even toward Holocaust survivors. General George Patton criticized do-gooders who “believe that the Displaced person is a human being, which he is not, and this applies particularly to the Jews who are lower than animals.”
    Werner von Braun ” cannily promoted the idea of a high-tech weapons program to ward off the Bolshevik menace. He was able to reconstitute most of his operation Stateside, minus the slave labor. Records were airbrushed; de-Nazification procedures were bypassed (they were considered “demoralizing”); immigration was expedited. J. Edgar Hoover became concerned that Jewish obstructionists in the State Department were asking too many questions about the scientists’ backgrounds. Senator Styles Bridges proposed that the State Department needed a “first-class cyanide fumigating job.”

    Like

    • Werner von Braun ” cannily promoted the idea of a high-tech weapons program to ward off the Bolshevik menace. He was able to reconstitute most of his operation Stateside, minus the slave labor.

      Don’t say that he’s hypocritical
      Say rather that he’s apolitical
      “Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
      That’s not my department,” says Wernher von Braun

      Liked by 5 people

      • Both Lehrer and your comments caricature von Braun. Yes, he did build weapons for the Nazis. But he didn’t “reconstitute most of his operation Stateside”. Rather, he was a big cheese in the U.S. space programme. He had been interested in austronautics and so on before he worked on weapons, and after the War didn’t work on weapons again.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. FUUUCK
    Ancient sites savaged in Yemen, Iraq
    Science 12 April 2018; Vol. 360, No. 6385
    Andrew Lawler
    [10.1126/science.360.6385.140]

    Like

  18. One fun thing among the many infuriating or heartbreaking news is the appearence of Giuliani at Fox. The many contradicting versions of how and why the payout was made is more embarassing and hilarious than Boris Johnsson.
    – – –
    I needed a laugh because I have been browsing quran criticism by former muslims on Youtube. Mr. M was a nasty ‘un.

    Like

  19. If you want a laugh, go to Youtube and watch
    “Naik-25 mistakes in 5 minutes”.
    Naik was making a speech against evolution. He is the kind of islamic apologist that is an embarrasment to the many muslim biologists worldwide.

    Like

  20. “Ceylon tea is a little weak. The trick is to use lots of leaves. And never remove them from the pot or cup.” So when you say “never”, do you mean that you leave a wad of tea leaves in the bottom of the pot, even after they’ve gone all green and manky? Or do you keep adding leaves over a period of days until the pot is full, then go buy another teapot? I’m just wondering whether I’ve been making tea the wrong way all these years 🙂

    Like

    • That’s… slightly disappointing. I thought you may have invented a new traditional delicacy, along the lines of Kombucha, or maybe Surstromming tea. Looks like I’ll stick to teabags after all.

      Like

    • One of the tricks I picked up in Beijing is continuing to pour hot water into your cup/glass of tea with the same leaves in there. It works with both bag and looseleaf tea, but there is more flavor to be had from looseleaf tea.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Typo, “proper”.

    Umeå is not Deadwood, but last week we had two homicides separated by four days. In one, a quarrel about drugs was the cause, in the other, a known wife-beater killed someone.
    Most homicides are done by marginalised people. Wealthy people can be psychopats as we see in Weinstein et all but society usually react before they crash through all safety nets and become killers.
    Some, like that Madsen feller, slip through.

    Like

  22. BTW, Qatar is doing just fine despite the blockade.
    After many years of increasing tension with Saudi Arabia and UAE, the other shoe has dropped and Quatar has survived. The current rulers aim to make Quatar nothing less than the modern cultural center of the arab world.
    Considering the state of affairs in Egypt and the gulf kingdoms, that should be an achievable objective. Trump may fellate the Saudi rulers, but they remain repressive, petty bastards and the war in Yemen confirms their incompetence.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I suspect that is a major reason why KSA (and to a lesser extent UAE) do not like Qatar. Al Jazeera is not merely based in Qatar but is financially backed by the local emir. And they haven’t been afraid to air some of the neighboring countries’ dirty laundry.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Working week to resume shortly. I am a bit concerned what internet will reveal once Washington wakes up.
    We should tell them to take an early vacation, like what the liutenant suggests to Harry Callahan after he has shot most of the town.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael Crichton wrote a novel on the subject, back around 1970. That was the novel that led me to conclude that Crichton was overrated as an author.

      In this case the world might be better off if Trump follows Jones down that particular rabbit hole instead of fighting a, well, trumped-up war against Iran.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I get each comment as email without any context, so for a moment there I wondered confusedly if there really is a Michael Crichton novel about re-using your tea leaves.

        Liked by 3 people

  24. The night sky: Venus will be visible briefly at dusk, Close to the horizon. At dawn, both Mars and Saturn will be visible,but not very bright.

    Like

  25. I recommend the Youtube video “Why do medieval buildings overhang their lower floor?”
    I also recall preserved Japanese timber fortifications to have some external similarities with the stone fortifications mentioned at the second half of the video.

    Like

  26. Damn, no major archaeology news.
    Got a cold, home from work and trying to find interesting news among garbage.
    Trump# one million:
    Shady lawyer got shady payment from shady Russian oligarch close to Putin.
    I want some

    Liked by 1 person

  27. (darn) I want some alternative scandal. The vatican cannot be arsed to do anything. The Swedish politicians are too boring. Maybe the incels can merge with Brexit activists and go on a rampage?

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Just watched a Swedish TV documentary.
    The reorganisation and centralisation of Swedish hospitals was based on a misleading and incompetently performed study.
    – –
    I want to emulate Tamerlane’s method for discouraging incompetence by “inhuming” transgressors.

    Like

  29. NB!
    Three articles in Nature and Science adress the genetics of inhabitants of the steppes. They conclude that the domestication of the horse has played a major role in population change and population replacement.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That makes a lot of sense. One of the greatest obstacles to exogamy is the difficulty of travelling outside one’s own tribal area. Oxen are great for slow migration, but if you really want to go places you need horses.

      Liked by 2 people

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