Hagbard’s Scaffold

Sweden’s bedrock has been entirely abraded by the inland ice. It sanded down the country like a big wood planer, leaving smooth lovely outcrops known as hällar all over the place. This is the main natural prerequisite of Sweden’s rich rock art tradition. Most of it dates from the Bronze Age, 1700–500 BC. Denmark hardly…

January Pieces Of My Mind #3

People who got some very bad ideas drummed into them during the postmodern 1990s are now writing policies for Swedish schools. New study of twins documents that indeed, pot smokers aren’t as smart on average as other people. But most likely they become a) stupid and b) pot smokers because of their social environment. Pot…

The Opportunity rover landed on Mars twelve Earth calendar years ago today, and it still works fine after driving ~43 km! This is the farthest any off-planet vehicle has gone so far. Oppy’s mate Spirit was mobile on the Red Planet for over five years and then functioned as a stationary science platform for another…

An Heraldic Snail

I visited Grödinge church south of Stockholm for the first time Thursday. The occasion was my great aunt Märta’s funeral, an event which, though of course sombre, cannot be called tragic. The old lady was always cheerful and friendly, but by the time she passed away she was 104, severely disabled, and according to her…

January Pieces Of My Mind #2

One reason that it’s so hard to talk to believers about alternative medicine: the sharing of alt-med advice is largely a social, friendship-reinforcing activity. It’s not just irrelevant to believers, but quite rude, to question the medical efficacy of someone’s advice. This is not the case when you’re talking about tax forms or sewing machines.…

Sb Has 16 Active Blogs

A year ago I took a look at the surrounding landscape here at Sb, investigating which of the blogs were active – defined as which ones had seen an entry during the month up to 24 Jan ’15. Now I’ve looked at the month up to 17 Jan ’16. The result isn’t great. Four blogs…

Fornvännen’s Summer Issue On-Line

Fornvännen 2015:2 is now on-line on Open Access. A reminder: the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters who publish the journal decided on a six-month delay in order to protect the viability of the journal’s paper version. Evert Baudou & Ingmar Jansson on Leo Klejn’s opinions of Mats Malmer’s work. Legends talking about legend talking about…

January Pieces Of My Mind #1

2015 was an amazing year for scifi movies. The Martian, Fury Road, Force Awakens. And I hear Ex Machina is good too? Tess Parks’s “Life Is But A Dream” sounds exactly like Mazzy Star. Tolkien Society flea market / fundraiser, late 80s. I’m in my larper tunic and baggy-sleeved shirt. An old lady loudly asks…

December Pieces Of My Mind #3

When we go out for dinner my wife wants to sample everyone’s dishes. And I want to make sure no food is wasted. So we both end up sampling everyone’s dishes. Danish metal detectorists refer to their finds as “cousins”. “Can somebody please ID this cousin?” I’m a typical Swedish atheist. I’m uncomfortable with people…

2015 Enlightener & Deceiver Awards

The Swedish Skeptics have announced their annual awards for 2015. The Enlightener of the Year award is given to a radio show on Swedish Broadcasting’s channel 3, Institutet, “The Institute”. Show hosts Karin Gyllenklev and Jesper Rönndahl use humour to reach out with science content to a wide audience. The Deceiver of the Year anti-award…