Archives for August, 2008

Apocryphal Moomin Land

Naantali is a small coastal town near Turku in Finland. The name is a fennicisation of Sw. Nådendal, which in turn stems from the name of a Bridgetine abbey founded there in the 15th century. Vallis Gratia, “Valley of Grace”. Naantali is best known as a picturesque summer resort of the Turku bourgeoisie in the…

Noreen Malone at Slate explains why Georgia and Georgia are both named Georgia. Basically it’s: George means “ploughman” in ancient Greek Saint George dies in AD 303 Part of Central Asia (Georgia) becomes associated with the saint for unknown reasons Crusaders bring the cult of Saint George to Western Europe in the 12th century Saint…

Anthro Blog Carnival

The forty-seventh Four Stone Hearth blog carnival is on-line at Almost Diamonds. Archaeology and anthropology, and all dedicated to a future merger of the Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment with the Backyard Bard! The Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment (founded 1994) is an organization based in East Lansing, Michigan. It is a signatory to a wide range…

Sb Reader Survey

ScienceBlogs has a huge audience (largely thanks to Pharyngula), which attracts advertisers. However, though the site’s hit rate is a good quantitative selling point when you’re pushing ad space, it lacks a qualitative dimension. If you advertise here, you know a lot of people will see your ad, but you won’t know who they are.…

Jeff Had Some Good Last Days

Jeff Medkeff’s friend, co-blogging under the pen-name Iatros Polygenos (“mongrel doctor” if my Greek serves me), offers a detailed account of our friend’s last days. Turns out that Jeff died during a trip to England where he was having a blast, visiting Darwin’s home, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and other great sites! I’m very…

Scrabble was first published in 1948. Shortly thereafter, it was ripped off for the Swedish market by a firm named Lemeco, under the tell-tale Anglophone title Criss Cross. The main difference between the ripoff and the original is that individual letters don’t have point values in Criss Cross: instead you get five points per vowel…

In many people’s opinion worldwide, US detainment of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay is legally iffy. I mean, hello, habeas corpus? It is thus kind of interesting to learn about the first sentence pronounced for a Gitmo detainee, that of Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver. Hamdan was captured after a firefight in Afghanistan in…

Anthro Blog Carnival

The forty-fifth and forty-sixth Four Stone Hearth blog carnivals are on-line at Remote Central and Testimony of the Spade. Archaeology and anthropology, two entire carnivals about the ancient uses of buergerite! Buergerite, you will remember, is a mineral species belonging to the tourmaline group. It was first described for an occurrence in rhyolitic cavities near…

I just came across an unbelievably crappy argument in a scientific debate between two professors. I must keep the details obscure, but the basic form of the exchange follows. X: I have discovered that tomatoes were grown in Ireland in the Neolithic. Y: That is highly unlikely. The seeds and leaf remains that form almost…

I Miss The R.U. Sirius Show

The R.U. Sirius Show is/was a great weekly counterculture podcast that aired 88 episodes until about a year ago. Then it went on unannounced hiatus. I miss the show! Can anybody offer information on what R.U. is up to, and whether he has any plans to recommence his podcasting? The latest interview with Sirius that…