Archives for July, 2008

Google Knol Live

Alun tells me that Google Knol is now live. It’s like Wikipedia, only written by experts and pwned by Google. Check it out! Also, I happened upon Everything2, this other weird & interesting hypertext community where anything goes, not modeled on an encyclopedia.

A Trondheim colleague has kindly invited me to head a session at the Nordic TAG conference next May. T.A.G. means “Theoretical Archaeology Group”, and denotes a series of annual conferences rather than a defined group of people. The invitation hinted that I might perhaps want to contribute something provocative. After a moment’s thought, I realised…

Game Review: Pandemic

Pandemic is a new board game for 1-4 players. The players take on the roles of field operatives for the Centres for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA, as four simultaneous pandemics threaten global life and civilisation. It’s a collaborative game: either you find cures in time and everybody wins — or everybody loses. And it’s…

Rental Sculpture

I’m a big fan of sculptress Maria Lundberg, particularly her work in hardwood. Now, I can’t afford to buy her stuff. But being a good friend of the family, she’s agreed to a somewhat unusual arrangement. I’ve rented one of her pieces for a year. Most artists have a large backlog of unsold work sitting…

A man in northern Sweden recently found a giant vertebra in a lake at 210 meters above sea level. A preliminary statement from the National Museum of Natural History suggests that it may belong to a whale. The find spot hasn’t been near the sea since the end of the latest ice age. I’m looking…

Slave to Love

A much-publicised trial in Falun, Sweden is giving me a funny feeling. The man on the stand has confessed to the murder of a woman and a small girl, and is also charged with the violent rape of both and of a second woman. The case makes me feel queasy in more ways than one.…

Amateur archaeologist Bob Lind, whom I have often mentioned here in connection with his wild archaeoastronomical ideas, issued me a challenge today (and I translate): Hello Martin! I saw a statement of yours in yesterday’s Sydsvenska Dagbladet, where you encourage researchers to blog more, which you have certainly done yourself both regarding Ale’s stones and…

Reading up on some pseudoscientific ideas common among dowsing-rod enthusiasts, I happened upon a funny detail. Many Swedish dowsers believe in the “Curry grid”, consisting of “power lines” across the surface of the Earth, detectable only by dowsing. They were invented (not discovered, as they are entirely fictitious, and never survive blind tests) by German…

Skepdude Beefcake Calendar

On my desk is a copy of the 2009 Skepdude pinup calendar. It features lascivious images of many prominent skeptical gentlemen, including D.J. Grothe, Hemant Mehta and Brian Dunning. For March, there’s even a picture of a skinny white dude in partial déshabillé, skilfully shot by my art-school-trained wife at sunset in the woods just…

Film Review: Sizzle

I know what a documentary film is. I know what fiction is. And I know what a mockumentary is: a fictional documentary. Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy attempts to combine these approaches within the framework of comedic fiction, and it left me really confused. Director and narrator Randy Olson exists, I know that. But what…