November Pieces Of My Mind #1

The Ektorp pizza place burned down. )-:
  • Zoologists preserve animals in formaldehyde. I wonder if botanists preserve cucumbers likewise.
  • Little more than seven weeks to the solstice now!
  • One new thing that streaming music has brought to my listening habits is that there are now loads of bands that I only know through one or two tunes that I listen to frequently. I never listen to albums, and so I have no idea what else these people have done.
  • Stendhal and Sir R.F. Burton were both consuls in Trieste, though decades apart.
  • I’m directing a big-budget Bollywood remake of Glee. It’s titled Ghee.
  • In a landmark development, this morning I tied my first Windsor knot without referring to YouTube. And got the tie ends aligned correctly on the first try.
  • Hey everyone who’s living with a lawyer, does your love life involve a lot of jokes about your partner “getting you off on a technicality”?
  • I like the Papa Lee cake shop in Finntorp. It’s run by two Northern English brothers. Today I had a mince pie and a Lancaster Wotsit, like a mazarin with orange-peel flavour.
  • There was a Soviet Israel, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, bordering on NE China. Almost no Jews live there anymore, because it’s really the ass end of nowhere.
  • If it goes to shit, I’ll have to mute or unfollow several hundred American social media contacts in order to avoid news about their country for four years. Is there a browser plugin that swaps all US news for Uruguay news?
  • It always makes me super proud and grateful when my learned friends take the time to explain complicated issues to my children. It takes a village to raise a child. Today, Anders Blixt is giving Jrette an expert perspective on the various Afghanistan conflicts.
  • I don’t know how to get a “ę” on my Swedish keyboard. Every time I need to write “Thank you very much”, Dziękuję bardzo, I google the phrase and copy it from the Wikipedia article about New Age musician Klaus Schulze’s thirty-ninth album.
  • Amazing how little Boomer academics needed to do. I’m looking at a recently retired historian who’s had a really successful academic career, as measured in jobs. He’s got 17 publications in the main Swedish bibliographical database, including book reviews.
  • In the mid-00s I didn’t know that the two versions of the Swedish National Coordinate Grid in my GPS navigator gave slightly different coordinates. There are a few metal detector sites where I don’t know which version I used. Now I’ve tested this at one site by doing a massive 15-person re-survey and comparing the new find scatter with the old one. It’s quite clear which version of the 2006 scatter fits with the 2020 one.
  • The Danish Portable Antiquities Scheme has just registered its 100,000th find. Tillykke! Sweden, meanwhile, has no PAS at all.
  • I used to be weak and puny, but I’ve been working out and I expect to achieve complete impunity real soon.
  • The parable of the prodigal son is about how God is always happy to take you back if you repent of your sins. To me though, it’s like the father in the parable is not actually my dad. And I haven’t squandered my inheritance, I’ve just been hiking. Which kind of obviates the whole scenario.
  • Anybody know where I can buy a Quran printed in Younger Futhark runes?
  • Black Francis / Frank Black of the Pixies is trolling the outgoing president on Twitter.
  • Participating in a survey by some linguists at U Katowice. The questions suggest that there’s a big debate in Poland about making the country’s scientific output accessible to the wider world. They assume that most respondents speak good Polish and possibly no other language. My recent recruitment to U Łódź fits this pattern: no Polish, four other languages.

Author: Martin R

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

15 thoughts on “November Pieces Of My Mind #1”

  1. On Macs there is a menu item called “Character Viewer”, normally located toward the upper right of your screen, which will give you all of the accented Latin characters used in European languages, plus some from Latin-based non-European languages such as Vietnamese. But there is at least one missing: the n-umlaut made famous by Spinal Tap (the story is that, unbeknownst to the creators of the movie, that character is actually used in some Maya languages).

    I have not tried this myself, but I suspect that in (La)TeX the control sequence \c{e} will give you the character you want. The standard TeX character set can give you all of the accented characters used in Europe, with the curious exception of the thorn (a character used in Icelandic, and previously used in Old and Middle English). You can also use TeX to write Pinyin with tone markers (I have done this myself). But TeX does not include all of the tone markers used in Vietnamese. Also, (La)TeX is not what you want to use if you are writing e-mails.

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    1. Someone told me there’s a combine key in a utility I already had installed, so after activating the key it Į çąņ ģęţ ļǫţş of little squiggles and stuff.

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  2. You can always copy-paste your squiggles from the Unicode table: https://unicode-table.com/en/

    The Quran is official only if it written in Arabic. So to get it in futhark, you only need the original text and a simple substitution script. Unless Arabic has sounds that don’t have a futhark equivalent – which seems probable.

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  3. “Amazing how little Boomer academics needed to do. I’m looking at a recently retired historian who’s had a really successful academic career, as measured in jobs. He’s got 17 publications in the main Swedish bibliographical database, including book reviews.”

    Really successful? Where?

    Including book reviews, I might have had 17 in a good year, even when not employed in academia.

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  4. “I google the phrase and copy it from the Wikipedia article about New Age musician Klaus Schulze’s thirty-ninth album.”

    Not really new age, since he was probably making music before that term was coined. More like “Berliner Schule”, which includes Tangerine Dream (as opposed to the Düsseldorfer Schule, which was more heterogeneous, and whose best-known member is Kraftwerk).

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  5. “The Ektorp pizza place burned down. )-:”

    The best pizza I have ever eaten, by far, is in Sweden. Where? Essentially everywhere. It all tastes the same, all excellent. Usually made by (descendants of) immigrants from the Near East, but it’s not Turkish-style pizza, but Italian-style pizza. Usually found in low-budget cheap-bistro style places. Not expensive. It is really, really good.

    I once visited a colleague in Italy, who took me to the best pizzeria in town. It was better than average, but didn’t approach the Swedish quality. The second best is in Switzerland, just before the border to France when going up the mountain over the pass. Of course, it costs about three times as much.

    Across the border in Norway, pizza costs three times as much and is not particularly good.

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  6. I get the impression you are a birdsite person, and they have a system of “excluded words” that lets you not see posts containing those keywords in your timeline when you are logged in. The problem is that if you are logged in, birdsite also chooses not to show you some posts from people you follow (shadowbanning) 😦

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    1. A major issue with this approach is what is known as the Scunthorpe problem. The problem is named after a town in east central England (Lincolnshire, IIRC) whose second through fifth letters form one of the Seven Words You Must Never Use on Television. In the mid 1990s AOL started offering services in the UK, but residents of this town were not able to sign up for the service, because when they typed in the name of the town they ran afoul of the “dirty words” filter. (In typing the town’s name I added some gratuitous HTML coding, because WordPress is known to have such a filter as well.)

      These things crop up in unexpected places. It can be difficult to discuss such topics as the author of David Copperfield (his name contains a slang term for the male fifth limb), the second largest city in France (which includes the UK English term for the human posterior), or a certain political system (the term for which includes the brand name of a certain medication). And those are just examples with which I have personal experience.

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      1. Most of these centralized sites assume that everyone is a monolingual English speaker (despite the fact that very few of the workers who create the sites are), but I’m told that birdsite solves it by being strict with excluded words: a member has to add $politiciansName, $PoliticiansName, $politiciansName’s, and $PoliticiansName’s if they want to block all common English forms of that name. For a long list of reasons I am skeptical of centralized social media, but if you want a rough-and-ready way to block specific topics on birdsite this is it.

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      2. I think it was also AOL who, using a similar (or possibly the same) filter managed to comprehensively shut down a somewhat important mutual support group for people suffering from breast cancer (a topic which for obvious reasons mention the body part in which the cancer resides) and that was considered “indecent”.

        I am almost surprised that we never hear about a certain town in Cumbria, when it comes to online censorshiop, but I guess “Cockermouth” just doesn’t sound dirty enough,

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