Bits and Bobs

  • Yesterday I did 5.5 more man-hours of metal detecting at the “Hall of Odin” site in Västmanland with Per Vikstrand. No prehistoric finds: just a piece of a 15/16/17th century brass cooking pot.

  • Bob Lind’s craziness is once more repeated uncritically by a local Scanian newspaper.
  • I had a nice chat with the panel of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast this morning. At 9 pm EST, i.e. 3 am local time. Which was not a very good idea, seeing as my wife was trying to sleep in the next room. But I think the show will be good. Hear Rebecca Watson say “Suckle the teat of the Mother Goddess”!
  • There’s a vote on to delete an entry about me from English-language Wikipedia, on the grounds of insufficient notability. The basic problem seems to be that the entire subject of Scandy archaeology is non-notable to people in the US.
  • Instead, Alun of Clioaudio and Archaeoastronomy has written a panegyrical entry about yours truly on the Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy website!
  • The full contents of Kalmar-based Bronze Age scholar Dag Widholm’s Festschrift is available on-line as one big PDF file. Don’t miss Elisabeth Rudebeck’s paper about the Ales stenar signpost debacle, where she includes the complete text of a Wikipedia article on the subject, largely written by someone you know!

Comments

  1. #1 Hans Persson
    May 15, 2008

    No, the problem is the notiriety guidelines themselves. They are probably the worst vandalism done to Wikipedia ever.

    If someone other than the person in question feels that a page about that person is of interest, then it is. It’s as simple as that. It’s not as if Wikipedia has a space problem. This problem keeps me well away from contributing anything more than typo fixes to Wikipedia these days.

  2. #2 Martin R
    May 15, 2008

    Ah yes, I’m a Wikipedia inclusionist too.

  3. #3 ArchAsa
    May 15, 2008

    Seem to be another fight between exclusionists and inclusionists in Wiki-world. I’ve said it before – what possible rational is there behind deleting short, strictly informative peices in Wikipedia? The whole point of the enterprise is that I can find people and subjects there that will never reach main stream establishment. The dumbest thing is if someone who is NOT active within a field or discipline tries to decide who is and is not notable. I’m sure there are plenty of journals within arabic language studies that I do not know about, but which are completely standard for anyone in the discipline.

    Since you are extremely active in the public debate about science and research in Sweden (face it, you’re a rabble-rouser ;), the most read professional Swedish blogger on Archaeology, and one of the most read archaeology-bloggers globally, I honestly don’t see why it would be less viable for you to have an entry than a Pokémon-character…

  4. #4 Pär
    May 15, 2008

    Martin is reportedly also an unethical person for not only claiming that Fornvännen is a leading publication in its field, but also adding this to Wikipedia. I just read this in the Wikipedia link provided. His surreptitious deed is also an action of unbelievable proportions, according to the investigator.

  5. #5 Martin R
    May 15, 2008

    Yep, I am the Son of Satan.

  6. #6 Alun
    May 15, 2008

    Seeing as they think a translation is a puff-piece, I thought I’d demonstrate what a real puff-piece would look like. :) I’m seriously thinking of writing on H2G2 instead. Wikipedia works wonderfully 99% of the time, but the 1% halfwit editors are more hassle than they’re worth. If someone can get an entry deleted when each reason they give for deletion is disproved it’s time to move elsewhere.

  7. #7 Bengt O.
    May 15, 2008

    Hello Puffer,

    You seem to be in good company: Araxi Hubbard Dutton Palmer, Sri Datta Devasthan Maha Sansthnam Ahmednagar and, of course, List of British words not widely used in the United States appear to be other bones of contention.

    Many thanks for the links, however. The discussions of whether certain items should be deleted or not was highly amusing. The only problem is that several of the articles that actually were deleted would seem to be considerably more interesting than many of those that are included. (I would rather read about “The Vinala language” than about the first Thai Science Fiction film or Sigrid Hjerten´s lobotomi.)

    I have yet to read a Wikipedia article that doesn’t contain either gross factual errors or a hidden -or not so hidden- political agenda. This includes my own attempt of rehabilitating Trofim Lysenko, which I had to delete myself since nobody else did it.

  8. #8 Rikard
    May 15, 2008

    You have enemies, Martin. The editor Skeptic17 who nominated you for deletion has not done any other edits to wikipedia whatsoever.

  9. #9 Rikard
    May 15, 2008

    For some reason this reminds me of a very angry debate some time ago about how to spell the names of Swedish and Finnish ice hockey players in the NHL. Almost always articles are named using umlauts and all that, but angry Americans argued vociferously for not doing that for ice hockey players. It had to be Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne. It seems to have changed now.

  10. #10 Ted H.
    May 15, 2008

    You know, if you were the Son of Satan, that just might make you notable enough.

    Rikard, I remember those debates. I think it had to do with the word-processing software (and some lack thereof) of the day. Lots of reporters still used typewriters back then, I guess. Back in the 80′s my Dad had to order an extra disk, just to get Word Perfect to recognize umlauts and the like just so he could write in Finnish. Now that they can be produced easily on a computer, there is less reason not to spell them correctly.

  11. #11 Pär
    May 15, 2008

    I wish I were a Wikipedia deletionist editor. Tirelessly nominating obscure articles for deletion! Leaping from tree to tree as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia! The Fir! The Larch! The Redwood! The mighty Scots Pine! With my best gal by my side, we’d sing, SING…

  12. #12 christina
    May 16, 2008

    do you ever sleep?
    I don’t get how you make time for all those activities you’ve got going + blogging about it all. Amazing.

  13. #13 Martin R
    May 16, 2008

    Haha, yeah, I sleep for about seven hours every night. The reason that I can keep doing all these weird things is that they are my job. I have no boss telling me to do boring things. I’m the boss, and I very rarely order myself to do anything boring. (-;

  14. #14 PsyberDave
    May 16, 2008

    Hey Martin,

    James Randi posted in this week’s edition of Swift a little article from a Norwegian person named Thunes Samsonsen who has set up a Norwegian-language skeptic forum at http://www.faenskap.no/

    I thought maybe there are people who read your blog that would also be interested in that forum.

  15. #15 Ismene
    May 17, 2008

    Actually, the interpretations on the south Scandinavian Bronze Age put forward by Bob Lind and others in this newspaper article are not that far from those which occur within mainstream Scandinavian archaeology. See, for instance, the recent book by K. Kristiansen and T.B. Larsson, The Rise of Bronze Age Society. Travels, Transmissions and Transformations, CUP 2005. Like Bob Lind, this book argues that there were wide-reaching contacts between the eastern Mediterranean and northern Europe in the Bronze Age. Note, for instance, that the authors also find the Greek letter omega as a decorative motif in Bronze Age Scania (Kivik)!

  16. #16 Martin R
    May 17, 2008

    Does this in your opinion validate Bob Lind’s ideas or does it suggest that professional archaeologists are being overly speculative? Kristiansen’s and Larsson’s book is highly controversial.

  17. #17 Ismene
    May 17, 2008

    I think that professional archaeologists in this regard are being overly speculative (and that is an understatement). The idea that Greek ships regularly made trips to south Scandinavia in the Bronze Age belongs, in my opinion, to the lunatic fringe. I therefore find it a bit scary that these sorts of ideas are being propagated by serious archaeologists at universities and taken up by students.

  18. #18 Martin R
    May 17, 2008

    I agree. There is a pressure on academic archaeologists to produce colourful interpretations. Nobody wants to be called a traditional Ockham’s Razor empiricist, you know. Or a positivist! Scary stuff.

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