Archives for August, 2007

Picking Nits in English

Lately I’ve repeatedly come across two bits of English usage that look really wrong to me. Checking them up, it turns out that in one case I was right, in the other wrong. Principle/principal. Many native English speakers of extremely high academic accomplishment don’t seem to know that “principle” is a noun and “principal” most…

Carl Michael Bellman’s Butterfly

One of the brightest stars of Swedish literature is Carl Michael Bellman (1740-1795). Much of his work is a kind of humorous beat poetry set to music, chronicling the lives of Stockholm drunkards and whores. Central themes are boozing, sex and death. “You think the grave’s too deep? Well then, have a drink Then have…

Going to Trondheim

Almost half of Aard‘s Dear Readers are based in the US, nearly a fourth are in Sweden, and the remaining fourth is dominated by people in the UK, Canada and Australia. Alas, the citizens of my Scandy neighbouring countries show very little interest in the blog, and so I don’t know if I have any…

Back in 1996 I played Curses, an extremely good text adventure game. I also read the inspiring documentation for Inform 3, the programming language Curses was written in, and found it extremely elegant. (The game, the programming language and its documentation were all the work of one Graham Nelson.) I had vague plans for writing…

Late Medieval Seal Matrix

When someone dies their ID card and on-line banking code-dongle are destroyed to prevent identity theft. Their signature dies with them, so that’s not a problem. In the past, people with a bit of money and influence had seal matrices filling the function of all these things. They “signed” documents by affixing wax seals to…

The Antiquity Photography Prize

Like myself, Martin Carver at Antiquity wants good archaeopix. Unlike me, he’s offering a cash prize and publication in a top-tier print journal. Antiquity would like to announce the Antiquity Photography Prize. This will be a cash prize awarded for the best archaeological photograph published in the journal in that year. The first prize will…

My friend Howard Williams teaches archaeology at the University of Exeter, England. He’s joined me in Sweden three times so far, once for a rural bike trip, twice for co-directed excavations, and he’s soon returning for yet another jaunt around the country’s sites, museums and archaeology departments. Attend his lectures there if you can! Here’s…

Afro-Chinese History Manipulation

China’s interest in the natural resources of Africa has ballooned lately and received much media coverage. Apparently, the last time somebody was that interested in metal ores and scrap, they were Germany in the late 1930s. This political force field across Africa is now, of course, being dressed up in cultural finery, including the manipulation…

Godless Sweden

I sometimes make reference here to how godless Swedish public discourse is, particularly compared to the fundie-infested US situation. Here’s a good longer piece about this issue by Jerker (it’s not a funny name in Swedish, being simply a dialectal version of Eric) of Allotetraploid, also partly available in an English translation by Felicia of…

Prized Possessions

I got to thinking about my most-prized possessions. Which are they really? Which of my stuff would I try to rescue if the house caught fire, or if we had to flee enemy troops and bring along or hide our valuables? One way to look at it would be to simply enumerate the most expensive…