Scandinavian archaeology, history, skepticism, books and music
March Pieces Of My Mind #2
A nasty thing about Twitter is how random people will attack you out of the blue, often with incomprehensible logic. Can you US folks explain to me if this makes any sense in your cultural and political context? Scientist on Twitter: ”I wonder how common it is for women to discover very late in their pregnancies that they are pregnant.” Me: ”Probably depends on whether you are in an area with comprehensive sex ed.” Random Twitter person: ”That’s classist!”
Annoying: when you click on an interesting headline and it leads to a fucking film clip, not text.
Some guy in Gothenburg is advertising Beowulf tourism in Västergötland to the readers of British Archaeology. His only publication is an applied physics dissertation from 1997. He’s a member of the main regional-patriotic association. He might be a good guide, what do I know?
“The name Excalibur ultimately derives from the Welsh Caledfwlch (and Breton Kaledvoulc’h, Middle Cornish Calesvol), which is a compound of caled “hard” and bwlch ‘breach, cleft’.” (Wikipedia)
Someone I know reports that if you turn off your mike during a Zoom meeting and give a big fart, the software helpfully alerts you that your mike is not on.
Congratulations Jrette, just now elected to chair the student council’s executive board at Nacka High with 2,500 students! ❤
I’ve been using my Garmin GPSMap 60CS a lot for the past 15½ years: for archaeology, for geocaching and for hiking. But it’s started to turn itself off unpredictably, it hasn’t got the current Swedish survey coordinate system, and I can’t re-flash its software. So today I got its descendant model 65, in good time before this year’s fieldwork season starts.
Prince’s “When Doves Cry” really has a unique sound. Always amazed when I listen to it.
The scilla is ready for spring, and so am I!
Swedish advertising copy writers often express themselves in English because they believe the customers think this sounds cool. Is there anywhere in the English-speaking world where you would find the words BIG SIZE WHITE SYSTEM on a toothpaste tube?
Love this. I went from Somerset Maugham to his secret agent character Ashenden to Virendranath Chattopadhyaya to the German Friends of India to Dr. Inanendra Das Gupta who developed the first Swedish plastics. Then I created an article about Das Gupta on German Wikipedia.
Arthur C. Clarke’s 1949 story “The Lion of Comarre” has people who spend all their time in immersive virtual reality porn.
Imagine collecting meteorites on the ice of Europa.
I write this piece about Viking Period harbour sites for a small regional journal, and they want to cut all the scholarly bits out to make it more accessible. So I withdraw the piece and submit it to a bigger national journal, and they turn it down because there’s not enough scholarly bits in it. *sigh*
Today’s the anniversary of when I started my coronavirus quarantine. Cycling instead of riding trains & buses, avoiding shops etc. I already worked from home before.
Scandinavian animal art (AD 375-1125) is extremely nerdy and intricate. At first you understand nothing, and it’s an extremely deep rabbit hole to fall into. One good way to understand this stuff is to colour it in. This rectangular brooch (above) from the period 670-700 shows a common motif with a big beast turning its head over its shoulder and biting across its own body. But then there’s some other stuff interlaced with it. Annelie Nitenberg, finder Andreas Blomqvist and I wondered if it might be a second beast. So I coloured it in and found that no, in this case the big beast simply has four legs, which is unusual. The extra legs are khaki. They aren’t attached at the hip or shoulder, but instead form extensions of the spiral spurs on the two standard feet.
The most vulnerable 10% of Sweden’s adult population have now received one shot. 4% have also received a second shot.
Me and my nerdy buddies spent most recesses during middle school in the library. We liked to read Reader’s Digest’s Amazing Stories, Amazing Facts (1975), whose trashy Fortean contents were not very factual, but certainly amazing. Then when we graduated I was one of the kids who were ceremoniously given a book for our good grades. You may wonder with what kind of solidly academic or agelessly classical reading matter did Saltsjöbadens Samskola send me out into the world? Reader’s Digest’s Amazing Stories, Amazing Facts!
Universal Basic Income is fiscally conservative. But it goes against the idea of helping the “deserving” poor only. So it’s not morally conservative.
Lake Mien near Tingsryd in Sweden is an impact crater.
Överby was a hamlet near Erstavik manor, 20 mins by bike from my home. The name means “upper settlement”. It is likely to have been established in the 9th or 10th centuries judging from the prehistoric grave monuments strewn around the edges of its land. Written mentions of Erstavik from 1356 onward probably refer to Överby, because the Early Modern site of the manor is too low over the sea level to have been habitable at that early date. It is very visibly the lower settlement. The two sites are only 1.7 km apart, little more than a mile. The last building standing at Överby served as the rural area school and was torn down around WW1. Its greystone foundation and the collapsed remains of its brick chimney are clearly visible. The Sites and Monuments Register has 13 certain grave monuments around Överby. My excellent colleague Tove Stjerna (who made the neat maps for my 2015 Bronze Age book) recently found three more. I went out to have a look and take GPS coordinates & pictures.