March Pieces Of My Mind #1

Örebro Castle. The round cannon towers were added after 1573.
  • Holy shit. My country has some of the strictest rules in the world against arming states at war. Our government has just decided to send $40 million’s worth of military equipment to Ukraine, including 5000 disposable antitank rockets. The rationale given is that a Russian victory in Ukraine would threaten Sweden too.
  • Bought a new smart phone after six years. Everything incrementally better, but for one thing that really impresses me — charging it up is super fast!
  • I look forward to spending some tourist money in Ukraine after all this is over.
    I know that it’s kicking someone when they’re down to say that Highlander is a silly movie. But to archaeologists it is particularly silly that the villain is named ”The Kurgan” — that is, Mr. Burial Mound. Because here the script writer has gotten hold of Marija Gimbutas’ old speculations about evil patriarchal mound-building Indo-Europeans and turned them into a movie bad guy.
  • Movie: Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001). Young café waitress / manic pixie dream girl interferes secretly and intricately in other people’s lives to make them happy, but is afraid to seek happiness for herself. Grade: good!
  • Fabled Jewish Orthodox writer Avram Davidson grew up named Adolph.
  • Davidson eventually gravitated to Tenrikyo, a 19th century offshoot of Shintoism!?
  • For the benefit and entertainment of future colleagues, I have had a tightly datable titanium screw installed in my upper jaw.
  • If Australia applies for EU membership, will it count as legal precedent that they are already in the Song Contest?
  • Like myself, a surprising proportion of my smart, geeky male friends have been lured into matrimony by smart, educated East Asian women. My theory is that because of deep cultural traditions, they expect us to eventually become mandarins or Bill Gates. I like to refer to us as Asian Wife Fandom.
  • Remember paperless faxing? Such a funny transitional technology. Originally, faxing meant you stuck a sheet of paper in your machine and a copy of it came out of the recipient’s machine. But increasingly, the original documents were produced on computers, and it became clear that printing them out just to stick them into the fax machine was an unnecessary step. Thus paperless faxing. For a brief time, you would print documents from your computer to the recipient’s fax machine instead of to your local printer.
  • Douglas Adams tells American journalist that it’s barmy to dam major rivers. This gets taken down as “balmy”.
  • Movie: The Endless (2017). You and your brother return to visit the weird scifi cult he got you out of when you were an adolescent, and you begin to suspect that there may actually be something to their outlandish beliefs. 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.

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

  1. For those who don’t know, titanium is used for medical and dental implants because it has some very favourable properties: lightweight, doesn’t corrode and, very importantly, the body doesn’t reject it, so there is no need for immuno-suppressant drugs, which are definitely not good in the era of SARS-CoV-2.

    Also, to my immense relief, it doesn’t set off metal detectors at airports and the like.


  2. I could add that the very best bicycle frames are made of titanium – they are slightly heavier than carbon fibre frames, but within limits the weight of the frame is not a big deal anyway. If you crack a carbon fibre frame, your only choice is to throw it away and buy a new one. Titanium frames can be repaired. Also, they have better flexing properties.

    To most people who use bicycles for transport or recreation this is academic anyway – an aluminium frame is easily good enough and a hell of a lot cheaper.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “For the benefit and entertainment of future colleagues, I have had a tightly datable titanium screw installed in my upper jaw.”

    Archeologists would rather date screws than screw dates. 😀


  4. “My country has some of the strictest rules in the world against arming states at war”

    I’ve never understood that. If it is OK to arm a state not at war, perhaps to prevent war, and presumably one arms the good guys, then why not arm the good guys even if they are already under attack? If anything, that would seem to make more sense.


    1. Maybe because it could be construed as an act so hostile as to be, in effect, an act of war warranting an attack on Sweden.

      Note the bizarre goings-on about Poland trying to give its Mig-29s to Ukraine. The USA won’t permit Polish pilots to land the Migs at a US airfield in Germany, to be picked up there by Ukrainian pilots who know how to fly Mig-29s, because Russia could construe that as an act of war by the USA. The latest plan I saw was for Poland to fly its Mig-29s to Serbia and hand them over there, but apparently that is not OK either.


      1. In that case, it has nothing to do with morality, only with cowardice. Though I’m not saying that cowardice is always unjustified.

        As for the Polish Migs, it strikes me as incredibly naive to believe that Russia would somehow object less if they didn’t go directly to Ukraine.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Poles don’t want to risk triggering a Russian attack on Poland either.

        I’m not saying I think it is all clear and logical, I’m just trying to explain what I have read are the reasons.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I was a conscientious objector when military service came around. I’ve been a passive member of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society for over 30 years. My understanding is that the Swedish restrictions on arms exports are due to the facts that a) the availability of arms feeds war, b) many oppressive states are enthusiastic arms customers. Our basic idea is that we don’t want to share any responsibility for overseas atrocities. It’s everyone’s responsibility not to sell arms to warlike states, and we’re trying to do our bit. This policy was put into place by Social Democrat governments with a Worker’s International perspective.

      Our policy is however at constant loggerheads with the business interest, the regional employment interest and with our military’s interest in having a functioning domestic arms industry if we get attacked. So several really ugly exceptions to our rules have been made over the decades. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a class of war that we haven’t seen in Europe since WW2. I support the delivery of Swedish arms to the Ukrainian military. I would be protesting in the streets if we sold arms to the invaders though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see where the policy is coming from, but what happens is that the bad guys supply arms to their allies and the good guys are underarmed, which is probably a worse situation than if the good guys had been armed. Of course, if no country exported arms, things would be different.


      2. In Canada, the previous PM set up a deal to sell USD 10 billion of Light Armoured Vehicles to Saudi Arabia with a big penalty clause for cancellation. The current PM chose not to cancel despite the Saudi war in Yemen. It is a problem that the kind of people who buy the most weapons are the people who can least be trusted with them 😦

        Liked by 2 people

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