Thirteen Years Of Blogging

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16 December, and another blogging year gone by! I will remember 2018 as

  • The year with the incredibly hot and dry summer
  • My first post-academic year when I had five jobs
  • The first election year when I was politically active
  • My last Fornvännen year

Dear Reader, what will you remember 2018 for?

Author: Martin R

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

24 thoughts on “Thirteen Years Of Blogging”

  1. Congratulations Martin – 13 years and still one of my favourite bloggers 🙂
    What will I remember 2018 for? Hmm… my first time as a juror, helping to decide a rather nasty kidnapping, assault and drug-related case; the death of a close friend way before his time; and turning 70 years old, which I will do before the end of the year.

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  2. The long hot summer here in Sweden. I’ve realized that I will never buy a house in Spain because I like weather that varies and not constant hot sun for 4-5 months. The second is my new metal detector, Minelab Equinox 800, that can find small metall pieces at quite significant deeps. The third is how the Danish and Swedish languages differs in both prononciation and adaption of words like vindue = window that in Swedish is “Fönster”

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    1. Interesting. Vindue is obviously from Old Norse vindauga = “wind eye” = an unglazed opening in a building, while Fönster is apparently from the Latin “fenestra”, adopted for glazed windows. The contrast between Danish open windows and Swedish glazed ones sounds like something out of a SATW cartoon.

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      1. “Vindue” is of course the same word as “window”. Why Swedish picked up the Latin word I don’t know. French words in Swedish (but not in other Scandinavian languages) such as glass, poäng, miljö, etc are easily explained via Bernadotte.

        “Island” also has an interesting etymology. It is eye-land, showing Scandinavian influence, but the “s” came in via conflation with “insula” from Latin.

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  3. It’s been a bad year for my car tyres. Please don’t ask for elucidation, I don’t have the heart to document it all. Low profile high performance tubeless tyres are wonderful for handling and road holding, but they definitely have their weaknesses.

    Well done Jan on the running. My mantra this year has been ‘Getting stronger every day’ – it has been a hard grind needing a lot of determination, but people are seeing it now, and commenting.

    Well done Martin on 13 years of blogging, which sadly is dying as a medium. Twitter and Facebook are no substitutes. There are precious few blogs remaining now which I regard as essential reading, and those are the amongst the most long lived ones. My one request – don’t stop.

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    1. yes, I don’t understand why many thoughtful people have switched to twitter sharing political memes and hot takes on current events with fellow travellers. Journalists like it because they can mine it for sound bites and famous people saying something indiscreet, I don’t know why other professionals support them.

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  4. “Dear Reader, what will you remember 2018 for?”

    Survived cancer for the third time, this time prostate cancer. I had surgery back in February. Not only does the cancer appear to be gone (PSA is below the detection limit), but I was not incontinent at all and impotence was only temporary. Due to previous cancers (non-Hodgkin lymphoma), lymph tissue was harder and there was more of it than normal, meaning that the operation lasted 6 hours (2 or 3 is the norm). I had a good surgeon (two actually). And good insurance (normal single-payer public mandatory insurance for employees in Germany). Paid nothing out of my own pocket (except, of course, insurance contributions taken out of my salary).

    Most men develop prostate cancer at some point. Most cases need no treatment at all. However, even though a small fraction need treatment, it is the third most common cancer death in men (after lung and colon cancer). Almost all of these can be prevented by monitoring the PSA level in the blood and taking appropriate action (first a biopsy—mostly harmless—then some sort of therapy if needed). Most cancer patients would be very happy to have such a simple blood test. However, many (most?) men don’t monitor their PSA level, mainly due to various myths concerning whether it is useful.

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  5. My two chief memories of this year will be the election of a democratic majority in the house, restoring at least a semblance of checks and balances to the US government and the occurrence of a 4.4 magnitude earthquake here in east Tennessee, which is the largest since 1973. It didn’t feel it, being asleep at the time.

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  6. Speaking of anniversaries, today Monday is 100 years since Sweden got full democracy, for men and women alike.

    2018 -the year when Alzheimers research finally started to produce some good news.
    The year Brexit was revealed to be such a bad idea even Tories had enough.
    The year the Saudis screwed up so badly no PR campaign in the world can make people pretend the rulers are anything but barbarian thugs.

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  7. New collaborations for me as our group had three visiting scholars from China. They have done some interesting and substantial work with us. The youngest of the three gave a twelve minute talk about her work at my field’s biggest conference last week, and did quite well.

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  8. 2018 was the year that just about every road into Olympic National Park was closed or under construction with serious delays. It was the year of the fires in BC that sent us heavy smoke for weeks on end. It was the year of two summer trips cancelled, one by rain, one by fire. It was the year a good friend succumbed to dementia with horrible rapidity.
    Despite all this, it was a pretty good year. The fires and road work didn’t keep us from our favorite hikes. We had two wonderful high school students to tutor during the worst of the smoke. We managed to visit NYC and Alaska, the latter on short notice. The US election results were really cheering. The political pendulum which swang right back in 1980 may have started its return stroke to the left.
    We’ll remember this as a strange, eventful year.

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  9. P.S. The Trump administration meltdown feels an awful lot like the Nixon administration meltdown. Back in the early 1970s there was a slow drip of information, of informants, of revelations. At first, everything seemed trivial and sometimes ridiculous. Then there were a few indictments, a few convictions and sentences. People started keeping charts of the administration with pictures of the various characters with a slash for those indicted and crossed slashes for those convicted.
    It seemed that the investigation was moving horribly slowly, but with increasing force. It was like watching a distant avalanche. As things finally sped up, the phrase “unindicted coconspirator” came into more and more frequent use. Then came the election. Then the Vietnam War finally ended having run four years longer thanks to Nixon’s machinations. Then Nixon resigned.
    I don’t expect history to repeat itself, but it definitely rhymes. The Republicans back then were quite different from what they are now, so I don’t see the current mess ending with a resignation. To be honest, I hope it doesn’t end with an impeachment either. My hope is, to recycle a phrase from the Nixon years, to let Trump “twist slowly, twist slowly in the wind”.
    BTW – Congratulations on thirteen years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I predict it won’t happen, though. A lot of Dems were keen on the idea of Oprah Winfrey running. I’m not suggesting she is insane, but she has peddled a great deal of pseudoscience on her show, so she is not cognitively sound in that sense; either that or not ethically sound.

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    2. There have been three other instances where the winner of the Electoral College vote lost the popular vote: 2000, 1888, and 1876. That’s in addition to a tie vote in 1800 (originally votes for president and vice-president were not counted separately; that issue was promptly fixed via the Twelfth Amendment) and the election of 1824 being decided in the House of Representatives. So the US system has a failure rate of between 7% and 10%, depending whether you count one or both of the latter two.

      Coincidentally, all of the EC fails since the founding of the Republican Party have favored Republicans: Hayes over Tilden in 1876, Harrison over Cleveland in 1888, Bush over Gore in 2000, and Trump over Clinton in 2016.

      I don’t expect a fix anytime soon. The problem is that the way to fix this issue involves a Constitutional Convention, which given the extent of Republican power in many states is likely to make other things substantially worse.

      John, pay no attention to polls more than a year before the election. This far out it’s all about name recognition. That’s why Oprah polls as well as she does: people have some idea who she is. The 2020 Democratic nominee is likely to be somebody those who do not follow US politics are unlikely to have heard of at this point; cf. Carter in 1976, Dukakis in 1988 (I knew of him only because I lived in Massachusetts at the time, and he was Governor of that state), or Clinton in 1992.

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  10. It is 13 years since John Ioannidis published his earth shattering and now very famous paper – worth commemorating and revisiting:
    Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.
    https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

    Ioannidis is a minor genius, and he did the world a very big favour, although his publications made him very unpopular with a lot of people at the time. What has happened since then? The replication crisis, for one. I still see people publishing papers occasionally on the basis of samples that really look to be too small, but we are now in the era of (1) awareness of the WEIRD effect, (2) mega-samples and data-richness – some research now has access to hundreds of thousands of samples, or even millions, if we are talking about endeavours like the UK Biobank, (3) open access online publication of preprints which enable, in effect, the whole world to peer review papers before they are published in final form, and (4) previously unheard of practices like the Rising Star discoveries of Homo naledi, which were beamed out live on the internet in real time as the discoveries were being made.

    The big genomics companies in the USA hold the raw genetic data on tens of millions of individuals, and this will soon be in the hundreds of millions, and China is not far behind (but with less diversity). Researchers can then map human variation on a truly meaningful scale.

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  11. I am also very happy that theoretical archaeology does not equal academic archaeology. But my perspective is kind of 120 degrees off from yours: I would like to get rid of theoretical archaeology from academic archaeology, because it is mostly useless verbiage.

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