April Pieces Of My Mind #2

10th (or 6th?) century finger ring found during recent fieldwork at Husby in Glanshammar
The coleus in Jr.’s and Cousin E’s old room, Sw. palettblad, is blooming.
  • In this Richard Russo novel an Upstate New York labourer is often found at the “OTB”. Wikipedia tells me it’s either a gambling establishment or a South African missile test range.
  • Wikipedians keep bringing up that archaeological excavation reports are not peer-reviewed publications. In fact, they never are, but that’s where all the data are. It’s like demanding that a biochemist’s lab notebook be peer reviewed. A peer-reviewed journal paper is not very useful to a scholar who seeks complete data.
  • Heard a horrific story about a fiction editor who, when doing reprints, took out all the empty-lines-with-centred-asterisk that divided a narrative into scenes.
  • Movie: Big Trouble in Little China (1986). Action comedy set in a baroque parody version of San Francisco’s Chinatown. Sorcery and endless clumsy fight scenes. Grade: OK.
  • There was a John J. Lloyd who designed the sets for Big Trouble in Little China, and a John R. Lloyd who did the sets for Clue. Neither was identical with the John Lloyd who wrote The Meaning of Liff with Douglas Adams.
  • Funny how a lot of 60s music sounds skilful and contemporary while almost no 60s or 70s or 80s movies look skilful or contemporary.
  • Me: “about AD 1300”. Everyone outside the historical and archaeological profession: “Martin says it’s from the 1300s.” *facepalm*
  • Yay! Relief! My dad and his wife have had their first shot!
  • Opened the window a crack to hear the blackbird at sunset. ❤
  • Jrette has reached the stage in her high school science studies where her parents are not very useful for homework any more. For one thing, we’ve forgotten most of what we used to know. And for another, science has progressed since we graduated.
  • We’ve got seven rose bushes around the house that I check on almost daily. It’s not enough. So today I called our disabled neighbours and asked if I could take care of the rose bushes outside their fence. They said yes! I have annexed four big climbing roses and one smaller rose-like thing! I spent two happy hours before dinner pruning, re-training, fertilizing, watering, then removing a big pile of pruned branches.
  • Movie: The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Young federal agent in training converses with an imprisoned hyper-violent criminal mastermind to extract clues to an active serial killer. Grade: great!
  • Good morning! The most vulnerable 20% of Swedish adults have now had their first shot!
  • Some young people celebrate their 18th birthday by drinking themselves silly in bars. Jrette’s boyfriend celebrated his by buying a bottle of non-alcohol cider at the supermarket. All cider varieties have an 18-y-o lower age limit in Sweden,* and he did have to show ID. (* I’m guessing this is to avoid lengthy bickering in supermarket checkout lines)
  • Someone is nostalgically enthusiastic about a 1980s series of fantasy books translated into Swedish. A personal victory: I refrained from asking who the hell reads English books in translation.
  • You could walk from India to Sri Lanka until a cyclone cut off the land bridge in 1480.
  • Yay! The Mars helicopter worked! It’s flown!
  • The FedEx shooter was a Bronie and left a suicide message about his favourite My Little Pony. Online forums for Furries and Bronies have a major problem with Neo-Nazis. I’m not joking.
  • Movie: Orlando (1992). Androgynous Tudor noble stays young for over 400 years. Visually amazing but plotless. Grade: OK.

Author: Martin R

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

9 thoughts on “April Pieces Of My Mind #2”

  1. NASA is moving toward making all underlying data and methods publicly available for research they fund. There is already a requirement that data have to be publicly available at least 30 days prior to the proposal deadline. But they also want researchers to make their homebrew analysis source code and simulation results publicly available.

    I don’t know how useful that source code will be. Most people who attempt to write source code write opaque source code, and I have never seen code with too many comments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have (sadly) seen code that managed to simultaneously have too many, and not enough, comments. There were plenty of comments, but none of them pertained to the code as it was at the time of me reading it, instead reflecting the code at the time of adding the comments. And they were also of the “describe what, not why” variety, making them not super-useful in the first place.

      For those not super-familiar with coding, an example of “what, not why” comments would be something like:

      a += 1; // Add 1 to a

      This just restates what is already in the code. A somewhat strained example of a “why comment” would be something like:

      t += 86400; // We advance the time variable by 1 day (it is measured in seconds), as this means the frobnication will work as intended.

      That is still close to a “what”, but there’s at least hints of a “why”.


  2. “Online forums for Furries and Bronies have a major problem with Neo-Nazis. ”

    I hear of that before.
    I’m not surprised about furries, animal totem/spirits have always been a part of our mythologies. And nazis/neo-nazis are certainly into symbols of power and strength.
    Hasn’t Milo something tried to reboot his fame by trying to join furries? IIRC, his animal/avatar was a blonde wolf in black SS uniform.
    To take a tangent, Tony Hillerman had one of his Navajo characters sarcastically remarking how white people who found out they have indigenous ancestors and want to adopt a more Indian name all seem to want to be called Highhawk. Or something Wolf.

    Little ponies, OTOH… I didn’t see that one coming. Same thing, I guess.

    If I was in sociology/storytelling studies, I would say something wise about how all of us interpret stories through the lens of our own preconceptions. And tend to latch on similar symbols.


  3. Brony is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Krzyżanów, within Kutno County, Łódź Voivodeship, in central Poland. It lies approximately 12 kilometres (7 mi) south of Kutno and 40 km (25 mi) north of the regional capital Łódź. The village has a population of 80.

    If the villagers are aware of the bizarre Brony fandom thing, I imagine they are not too appreciative.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OTB was Off Track Betting. Betting on horse races was illegal in New York for years, except at race track. Illegal betting on racing fed a lot of money to organized crime. The NY state governor set up OTB to run betting parlors throughout the state. It knocked out a big criminal revenue stream. I think the last OTB parlor closed ten or so years ago. People are betting on bronies, not ponies these days

    Big Trouble in Little China had some fun ideas, but the execution was weak. It would have been better with a Chinese lead, maybe the guy who played the schnook accountant in Chinese Ghost Story.

    Screen credits are very important for one’s career in the movie industry. Everyone is required to have a unique name. Names are not recycled, so if you have a common name you’ll have to add a middle initial, change a spelling or use a password generator to get a unique identifier. There’s a similar problem with scientific references. Publishing a paper does not require a unique name, so there is sometimes confusion. The automated citation statistics people hated this and proposed giving out unique scientist identifiers.

    It’s nice to see someone who knows it’s AD 1300, not 1300 AD. Anna Dominoes. (That was Charles Dicken’s joke).

    I was at a resort in France where I found a book rack full of formulaic romance novels in French. Most of the authors were English or American and the books had been translated for mindless reading in the vernacular. Surely, they could find French authors capable of cranking out the requisite prose. Maybe in France, no writer would stoop that low.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also have an ORCID, which is helpful for finding my scientific papers and eliminating other people’s work in which I played no part.

      If you try to look for my papers in the Harvard-Smithsonian Abstract Database Service, one of the major indexers for papers in physics and astronomy, you will find that my name matches one of the 3000 or so members of the ATLAS collaboration. This is because many scientists’ names are not always listed consistently on papers: for most Western scientists including me, papers may be listed under F. M. Lastname, First Lastname, or First M. Lastname, while some add the possibilities of F. Middle Lastname or Middle Lastname, and certain other languages offer additional possibilities (e.g., Ö vs. OE for German scientists whose name contains that character, while Chinese and Korean scientists may or may not put a hyphen between the two syllables of their given names), all of which the system takes into account. So the search for my papers also returns papers by scientists who share my surname and at least one of my initials. While it would be good for my CV if I could claim 0.03% of the credit for discovering the Higgs boson, it just isn’t true.

      Liked by 1 person

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