Open Thread for May

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Author: Martin R

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

407 thoughts on “Open Thread for May”

  1. If Sweden had continued the production of the small turboprop SAAB 340 it would have been a success today…
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    May is almost over, and we are still alive. I fear fate will chuck an asteroid our way just to mess with us.
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    There are a bunch of skeletons at a 12.000 year old Sudanese burial site that suffered war-like injuries across a prolonged period.
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    Eple by Röyksopp -a nice, curiously minimalistic little synth tune.

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  2. I have read a bit about the Dajjal, the muslim version if Antichrist.
    Prediction: When the immigrant kids become secure enough to taunt their parent’s beliefs we will see tons of punk rock bands with names like ‘The Dajjal Deceivers’. And they will paint “khufar” in the face instead of swastikas (1978 was weird).

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  3. I see Netanyahu is *finally* on the way out.
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    There is a big intelligence scandal unfolding. NSA has -through Denmark- spied on SAAB and on Swedish politicians. I am angry but not surprised.

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  4. The Astra Zeneca vaccine “induced particularly low levels of antibodies” active against the Indian variant. And this variant spreads faster…

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  5. I know, I’m like a terrier with a dead rat – I can’t get off the subject of HK hikers.

    We now have full data for January to April 2020. During that period four hikers died (so counting the two in May, that brings the current total to six), and 243 were injured, mostly as a result of falls from height, but also badly sprained ankles/couldn’t walk and the usual litany of cases of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Rescue personnel had to carry out 426 rescues, including people who were not injured or otherwise disabled, but found themselves trapped and needed to be air-lifted out.

    In 2020 the Government Flying Service had to perform 885 helicopter rescues.

    But yeah, Hong Kong is just a city.

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    1. Suggested remedies.
      1. Fences blocking dangerous sites.
      2. Big f*cking warning signs. Such as “falling off a cliff and turning into a pancace may be dangerous to your health” and ” if we have to bring out the rescue choppers, we will charge you an arm and a leg for the costs” (as monetary arguments are more likely to attract attention with a certain kind of people).
      If all else fails, post photographs of what people look like after undergoing spectacular mishaps -the gorier the better.

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      1. Outside of the urban areas, almost the whole of HK is a dangerous site.

        Fencing it all off and sticking a warning sign on it defeats the purpose of having the wild areas. Lots of people hike sensibly, and they should not be denied the pleasure of enjoying the wild areas because a minority of people are just incredibly dumb.

        Having said that, the 33 yo guy who died in the Pat Sin Leng Range was said to be an experienced hiker, but then he was hiking in very hazardous terrain, and he went alone, so I don’t know what he was thinking. Got over confident in his own ability, I guess, and came badly unstuck.

        The government will never charge people for search and rescue. I predict that will never happen.

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  6. Apparently the Aussies flew Gloster Meteor against MiG-15 in Korea. Brave but not very smart (but at the early stage the NK pilots were not well trained, giving adversaries a chance to survive).
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    More children in Nigeria kidnapped by armed gangs.

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  7. Recent Common Origin, Reduced Population Size, and Marked Admixture Have Shaped European Roma Genomes.
    https://academic.oup.com/mbe/article/37/11/3175/5863255

    The people who were ancestral to the Roma (Romani, Gypsies, Gitanos) in the Punjab are still there. They are Dalits – nomadic snake handlers, commonly called there the Snake Gypsies and largely confined to arid areas. Other Punjabis definitely don’t like them. They separated from other Punjabis about 500 years before the diaspora began that brought the Gypsies to Europe, when exogamy in the Indian sub-continent abruptly stopped and people separated into Castes and Jatis. It is pretty clear that they must have been an outcast group and strongly discriminated against even then, so a group of them deciding to take off and head for parts unknown begins to become understandable.

    They are pretty much reviled everywhere they go. Genetically they are now >50% European, but they have retained traditional customs (some of which are not liked), and language.

    I can think of only one area where it is considered ‘good’ to be a Gitano: among Flamenco enthusiasts in Andalusia. Spain has adopted Flamenco as its national music, I suspect because it pulls the tourists, when there are any. You don’t need to be a Gitano/Gitana to engage with Flamenco, but you get some street cred if you are – enough that the late Paco de Lucia claimed that he had ‘some’ Gitano ancestry on his father’s side, although he was evasive and vague about it. Whether he actually did or not is questionable. His mother was Portuguese.

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  8. If they want more children, they will have to learn the same lesson as the Nordic countries -affordable child care available everywhere. People need two incomes if they want to keep up with the Joneses.

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  9. Republicans in Nevada in danger of being taken over by ‘Proud Boys’ chauvinuists/anti-semites.
    I agree with the criticism: The GOP should have distanced themselves unambigiously decades ago! And if the weirdos take over, the principled ones should start another party. https://youtu.be/lmXzJyC32Fg

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    1. The most common reason why “principled” GOP members dislike Trump is because Trump says the quiet parts out loud. They are otherwise fine with what the party has been pushing in the Trump era.

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  10. Most of you will be familiar with this, but just in case a newcomer is interested…
    4600-3600 BC -Large towns in Europe: ”Bronze Age People – The Cucuteni-Trypillia Culture”

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  11. Majkop is more famous for the oil fields the Soviets blew up to deny the Wehrmacht any oil.
    Ca 3000 BC ”Bronze Age People – The Maykop Culture”

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  12. (No teenagers will check out this. They think life is infinite)
    ”What Are You Doing With Your Life? The Tail End”

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  13. I forgot to shout “# 391” in memory of a Ray Bradbury story.
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    Dagens Nyheter also comments the 3-child target of China. They add China needs to build a lot of larger apartments at affordable prices. And since “elite” schools apparently charge $$$, these costs also need to come down.
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    Since Xi is not getting younger, USA is worried he will do something drastic to re-unite Taiwan during his reign.

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    1. There is no limit to Xi Jinping’s term of office, and he is really not that old – only 67. So I don’t understand that point. But when did the USA make sense about anything?

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    2. No, the 3 child policy will not work because people do not want to have 3 children.

      China started going through the demographic transition and the fertility rate dropped really a lot even before the 1 child policy was enacted. If they had been paying attention, they should have realised that the 1 child policy was totally unnecessary – it had started to happen naturally anyway.

      Everywhere where the demographic transition has happened, and the government has tried to offer people inducements to have more children, it has not worked – people don’t have more children because they don’t want to have more children. A lot of it has to do with women becoming better educated and more liberated, and men having to take up a greater role in shared parenting and housework. When both husband and wife are intent on ‘one and done’, nothing short of bribing them with multiple millions of dollars is not going to induce them to do otherwise.

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  14. A ship with 43 people on board that disappeared without trace 1913 has been found on the sea floor outside the Norwegian town Meloy.
    It perished in a hurricane south of Lofoten.

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  15. The middle-aged managing director of the Swedish company Pandox has recently died of COVID19.
    While he was not particularly well-known, it is a useful reminder that the pandemic is still here, and deadly.
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    Also, fuck the assholes who spread it just because they are too young to get mortally ill.
    -As for those who have decided they know better than two centuries of medical experience and reject vaccines: fuck them sideways with a dead porcupine (In this case I’m pulling out all stops for swearing, because it is a swearing issue).
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    Question: The Chinese were first with vaccines, but I forgot how long they have been doing it.
    Since it is more than 3 centuries we could technically call it a folk medicine that actually works.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. UK:
    -Three suspects arrested for shooting Black lives matter activist.
    -Jeremy Corbyn celebrates his 72th birthday.
    -Chris Grayling sounds the alarm over catastropic decline of hedgehogs in Britain, from 50 million in the 1950s to 1.5 million today.

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  17. The now terminated Hassela collective for treating drug-addicted Swedish youths has come under strong criticism, and after it was closed down by authorities 2018 even more negative facts have been unveiled.
    This collective was celebrated since its inception in 1969, and the story underlines the dangers with following intellectual fashions, especially with something as complicated as drug addiction treatment.

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  18. My last comment for May 2021.
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    Truly a portent of the end times: on Wednesday, we get warmer weather than Stockholm. And Friday will get near-tropical.
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    Yes! Brandon Tenold has published another B-film review of the cuddliest, least frightening of giant monsters: “Rebirth of Mothra”.
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    Can somebody please remind the UFO crowd of the motto of Carl Sagan: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

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    1. Oh god , it is “Honey, I shrunk the kaiju monsters”.
      The facehuggers were small too, but these critters are too cute to be scary.

      I suppose it is back to Mystery Science Theater 3000 to watch rubber suit monsters with badly dubbed English.

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