June Pieces Of My Mind #3

Bonfire on St. John’s Eve, Sandvig, Bornholm
  • Hey research people, do you get requests for recommendations on popular books in your field? I genuinely have no idea about those in mine. Not my job to read them.
  • Drug turf murder in my area. Everyone involved is between 16 and 20. The killer is pleading self defence, since the victim pulled a knife. Well good luck with that, kid. The CCTV footage shows with great clarity that the reason the guy pulled a knife was that you and six other boys were beating him severely. Oh, the stupid pointlessness of it all.
  • WTF, my first Uni Umeå students are turning 30!
  • Dreamed that I was lost in a windowless complex of corridors, staircases and rooms. I was convinced that it was real and I had been there many times before. Then I realised that I was dreaming, but I still believed I had been there before, and in the dream I thought to myself, “And here I’ve been thinking for all this time that the windowless complex was real!” (I believe I was also considering the possibility that the complex was real, I had been there often, but this time I was only dreaming about it.)
  • There are some opinions that are too stupid, ignorant, outdated and just generally benighted to even be allowed into the discussion in 2022. Opposition to reproductive rights is one of them. And the American voters agree when polled.
  • As “wifi” increasingly becomes a synonym for “broadband”, it’s getting harder to do IT support for family members. The problem is often that your relative has no functioning broadband at the moment, though their wifi is just fine. Try explaining that.
  • I once talked to a writer of contemporary Swedish fiction who felt that it was everyone’s duty to buy and read contemporary Swedish fiction. I disagreed.
  • One great thing about streaming music is discovering bands from countries whose music scene I didn’t know anything about. Suddenly I’m into Greek bands!? If you like Kyuss, listen to 1000 Mods! If you like Apples in Stereo, listen to Whereswilder!
  • Was Obi-wan a coenobite?
  • Conference. An American colleague repeatedly mentions a layer of “goocha”. I put my hand up and ask what it means. Is it an Italian word, guccia? No, it’s a Swedish word, gyttja.
  • Movie: Underwater (2020). Survivors flee a breached deep-sea installation across the abyssal plain in this big-budget scifi horror movie that owes a lot to H.P. Lovecraft and Aliens. Grade: OK.
  • Idea for a fun prank: using a time machine, bring lots of second-hand synthetic fibre clothes to the 16th century and trick a paper maker into buying them as raw material.
Granite quarry, Moseløkken, Bornholm

Author: Martin R

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

31 thoughts on “June Pieces Of My Mind #3”

  1. So you attended a Lutheran festivity. Did you dance around a maypole? Eat herring? Get drunk? (I do remember you don’t drink) or take part in any other festivities that Wikipedia says are associated with that day in Sweden.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Short answer: no.

      Longer: the Danes still celebrate this holiday on the night before St. John’s feast day (a Thursday in 2022) while the Swedes have moved it to whichever Friday is closest. In Denmark and parts of Sweden that used to be Danish: bonfire. In the Stockholm area: maypole.

      I was on Bornholm (a part of Denmark) on both the Thursday and the Friday, missing the Swedish celebrations entirely.


      1. Oh, okay I don’t recognize Scandinavian place names. I never heard of St. John’s eve. Here in the south we are baptists, Methodists, church of god, church of Christ, Pentecostal, holiness, or snake handlers. We don’t go for traditions associated with the satanic Roman church.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “wifi” increasingly becomes a synonym for “broadband” – Really? So people pay monthly for wifi in their homes? Makes sense in a weird way, but to me it’s just another case of technical analphabetism, as when people call their phone charger a charging cable (Ger. ‘Ladekabel’) as if it did not include a sophisticated switching type power supply.

    gyttja: Ger. ‘Grauschlammboden’ is nicely descriptive, but apparently obsolete. Everybody now says it in Swedish, which is arguably rare for anything you can’t buy in Ikea 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, technically less informed Swedes call internet access “wifi”, not “broadband”, because the only part of it that they see is the wifi access point. It doesn’t help them understand that the internet router and the wifi access point is the same device. In fact, they believe that “router” and “wifi access point” are synonyms.


      1. I’m confused. In the US Wi-Fi is the common form of broadband you get from a router in your home that is also available in public places. I’m having trouble following you all.


      2. Broadband is the optical fibre or copper wire or 5G cell tower connection that puts your router online.

        Wifi is the short-range radio connection between your router and your laptop.

        Routers used not to have wifi capability. You connected your laptop to your router with an IP cable.


      3. Charles, wi-fi is what enables your device (computer, phone, whatever) to connect wirelessly to your router, which is what connects you to the Internet, mostly via cable. Broadband is a description of the fast internet connection that you get from your router.

        Because the wi-fi capability and the broadband connection are both built into the same device (the router), people understandably confuse the two. The easiest way to think of it is that wi-fi means the wireless connection from your computer to your router, and broadband is the capacity (and therefore speed) of your router connection to the internet, which is almost certainly via a physical cable.

        I haven’t used all of the right words, but I’m trying to explain it as simply as I can. So pedants, lay off – I’m trying to be helpful.

        In public places where they provide ‘free wi-fi’, what they mean is that they will let you connect free of charge wirelessly to their router, which is connected by cable to the internet.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. When talking about attack subs, their subs are the best, certainly on a value for money basis. Their weakness is that they have to surface regularly, but they are very small boats and the oceans are very big, so the chance of visual detection of them is tiny, and they are virtually undetectable any other way.

        And the current female captain of the Swedish navy sub the Gotland has bragging rights because in 2005 she successfully evaded the protective screen and sank the US Navy’s then newest aircraft carrier – figuratively speaking, of course.


      2. You will notice that I have a strong prejudice in favour of women. Cis-gendered women, that is. I can’t be doing with the other kind.


  3. I was puzzled as you had commented on submarines in the open thread for June and did not understand why you replied to this thread. Sounds a bit like transphobia to me, do you like J. K. Rowling? I’ve heard it alleged gynecologists have married closeted trans women and never knew the difference.


    1. I was copying Birger by thread-hopping.

      No, I don’t like Rowling – she’s a blatant plagiarist and got very rich from it.

      I do not believe that people born as males should be permitted to compete in sports against people born as females. It turns out FINA have decided the same thing, and other global sports governing bodies are now following suit, and they will create a separate category so that trans people can compete against each other, but of course they hate that, because it takes away their athletic advantages. The data on relative strength and speed between males and females have been replicated multiple times and speak for themselves – there is almost no overlap between the curves; almost none. Women only beat up men in Hollywood movies. When I was doing martial arts training, sometimes I would be made to do full contact sparring against one of the girls, and I hated it. I couldn’t do it. I could even make myself block their kicks and punches as forcefully as I should, because I knew it would hurt them too much.

      And given that a lot of male->female trans choose to keep their male genitalia, they should not be permitted to use female restrooms either.

      I’m not phobic about anything. I feel genuinely sympathetic to bi-sex people, but that is nothing to do with transgender; it’s a different thing. I have zero time for people who now claim there are 180 genders. Why not just say that there are as many genders as there are people in the world, and we can all have our own personal one? It’s horse manure. Transgender people are mentally ill – they have a condition called gender dysmorphia. So far as I know it’s not treatable, and ‘conversion therapy’ definitely should not be tried, any more than it should be for people who are gay. It doesn’t work.

      I used to be sympathetic towards trans people, but I have since learned that a lot of male->female trans choose to keep their male genitalia and skip the hormone treatments, and beat up lesbians when they refuse to have sex with them. Those people definitely do not deserve sympathy. It does make me suspicious that there are far more male->female trans than female->male trans.

      Being trans is currently fashionable among teenagers (a prominent case in point is Angelina Jolie’s daughter who, after being a trans ‘celebrity’ ‘role model’ for some years, has decided that, no, she really is a girl after all). A lot of them are growing out of it and deciding that they are not trans after all. Those people should serve as a warning to parents letting their kids transition too early; they could well live to regret it. There are actually a lot fewer ‘genuine’ trans people than some people make out.

      And finally, genuine trans people make up a fraction of one percent of the population. Given that, they have been getting a disproportionate amount of public attention. Yes, they should have rights, just like everyone else, but no more than anyone else. I’m sick of the subject and all of the bullshit that has been and is being written about it.

      I do not wish to discuss the subject further. I have other things that I need to do.


      1. I could add that I’m a feminist, my daughter is a feminist, and trans male-> female people are strongly anti-feminist, so they have put me on the opposing side. I have no clue why they would do that, but they have.


      2. I agree with everything after your first paragraph, so no reason to go further. But, what is your evidence for plagiarism on the part of Rowling?


      3. I don’t want to trawl all through that now, Phillip, if you wouldn’t mind. It’s very old news, and just about everyone has dropped it and forgotten about it. It started coming out not long after the first Potter book was published, and went on for a good long while, but then people just let it go. They didn’t really have a choice, there was no one left to sue her for it; the people she had plagiarised were all deceased, and I guess their estates chose not to, possibly in one case because “it would not be the Christian thing to do.”

        My daughter picked up on some of it when she read the first Potter book, so being the bookworm she is, she burrowed in and found lots of stuff.

        I’m not making a federal case about it. I’m not asking anyone else to dislike her because of it. I was asked, I answered. I don’t like plagiarists or people who take credit for the work of others (and I have had it done to me). I have known plenty, including one guy who was knighted by QEII for a whole lot of work that just about everyone but he had done. I never addressed him as Sir Xxxx – he didn’t bloody deserve it, few of them ever do, plus I don’t go along with that sort of thing anyway as a card carrying Tankie.

        As much as I have read Rowling’s opinions, I’m pretty well aligned with her as far as trans men->women go, which I think was the point of what Charles was asking. To give her some credit, I think she has picked up on a lot of the things I have picked up on. I sympathise with her having had to struggle as an impoverished single mother back in the day, and I think I could like her quite a lot if only she hadn’t done what she did. I doubt she cares what I think.


      4. Okay I will not try to argue with you. I will just comment that trans people would be horrified at statements like yours. You are in fact a TERF. I would also point out that I believe a great many trans women strongly identify as feminists.

        On the other hand, I will admit that culture has a great deal of influence on gender. This is not popular with trans people who like to believe gender is innate, “male brains in female bodies” is the folk theory common among trans women. But trans identity varies a great deal across space and time in both quantity and qualities. Trans people would say the recent increase in trans identity is due to increased rates of people being able to be what they naturally are due to liberalization of culture. I do not doubt there is considerable truth to this assertion but there is cross-cultural evidence that indicates it’s complicated. For instance, in Brazil, by the 1990s at least, there were many more trans women than there were in countries like the US. I don’t remember exact statistics, but there are still something like twice as many trans women there as the US today. Of course in the 90s the difference was vast, at least 10 times as many or something. One social scientist who wrote about this difference suggested that many of these women would have been effeminately gay men in America but were pushed to become women as Brazilian culture was against men being sexually receptive. One could argue that American culture pushed those who would naturally be trans into being queeny gays. The truth probably is somewhere in between. Further, I understand biological masculinization, as measured by index to ring finger length, varies in its influence on sexual orientation by society. In many countries biological feminization makes men gay. In the US at least, it makes you a straight nerd. American gay men tend to be more biologically masculinized than straight men. Further there are societies in which pretty much the entire population engages in same sex sex and some where no one does. Therefore it is true that one’s sexual and gender identity are not straight (ha) up natural, but nature is involved.

        Though it is not popular in the social sciences to say so men and women are different. In orientation, unlike the men mentioned above, lesbians in the US are highly likely to be biologically masculinized. Further female sexual orientation seems to be more influenced by culture and ideology. Thirty years ago there was a widespread phenomenon of “lesbian until graduation” among feminist college students. I don’t know if this phenomenon still exists. I even know one women who was a lesbian for a few years after graduation who is now married to a man and has two children. From this one might analogize that the current vast increase in trans men may very well be due to culture and ideology, though the large increase in trans women may be less so. I would hold that male genderedness is inherently less stable than female if this is not an absolute difference. Many human societies have had trans or third gender roles for those born as men, for females this is much less common. From this the increase in trans men and non binary people born female may be a bit of a fad. Many of these people may really mainly be lesbians or tomboys. I would not say all this in a feminist academic space but feel free to do it here.


      1. It is a bit of technical point but I did not think you were a radical feminist. As I was merely using TERF as a term of opprobrium for those who hold views like J. K. Rowling. I support the trans community and identify with the cultural left (to a degree) and use their terminology.


  4. 5G?
    Naah, 5G is how The Conspiracy beam COVID into your body- that is why Britain never had any more cases after Patriots(TM) burned down the towers.
    China has built an impressive AI that is capable of progressing images etc. But still many decades from “Strong” AI regardless of what crap newspapers (Daily Mail) writes.


  5. Back to the wifi debate, here in Germany the more usual term is WLAN (for wireless local area network). ‘Wifi’ may be gaining ground because places like Starbucks advertise that on their doors. But I’ve never met anyone yet who thinks they have a wifi subscription at home.
    Some more nitpicking, there ain’t no such animal as an IP cable. The internet protocol lives on layer 3 of the OSI model (network layer) and is not concerned with how the data bits and frames are moved from A to B.
    The most commonly seen LAN patch cables (as I like to call them) are twisted pair copper cables with RJ45 connectors and these days certified up to 1 GBit/s speed. They can be used for other network protocols, IP is just wildly popular.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. As recently as five years ago I had my desktop computer plugged into the router, not trusting the security of Wi-Fi. Since then having a laptop I just have one small pathetic white cable plugging the router into the phone outlet.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. In the Middle Woodland Hopewell (early AD) culture of the Ohio valley Native Americans made rattles from human parietals and decorated them with images of bird like monsters. An example has also been found at Pinson mounds in Tennessee.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kaviar på ägg, eller ägg på kaviar, den stora frågan. Bilden du kommenterar innehåller däremot fler fel än så. Skogahölm? Ännu värre, inget smör? Blasphemy!

    Free translation:
    Caviar (sugar salted cod roe with rapeseed oil and potato) on eggs or Caviar under eggs, the great question. The photo you comment does however contain more flaws than that. Skogaholm? (Industrial bread, that used to have integrity). Even worse, no butter? Hädelse!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, it’s problematic. But let’s be honest: Skogaholmslimpa is not nasty primarily because it’s factory-baked, but because it’s heavily sweetened with molasses, and that is a regrettable but genuine Swedish tradition on a par with malörtsbesk.


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