Archives for August, 2009

Runic Aerobics Disliked by Nazis

In Nazi Germany and its occupied territories there were many ways to get thrown into an extermination camp. But Friedrich Marby broke some kind of record: he was sent to Dachau for publishing too silly ideas about runes. He survived. The Nazis themselves were no strangers to occultism, particularly Heinrich Himmler, whose neo-Pagan religious movement…

A Tale of Demonic Possession

Daryl Gregory has published a number of very good short stories over the past few years, notably a few science fiction pieces based on neuropsychiatry. So I was very keen to read his first novel, Pandemonium (Ballantine/Del Ray 2008). Genrewise it’s modern fantasy in the sense that it takes place in a world much like…

My dear friend and fellow archaeo-blogger Åsa M. Larsson of Ting & Tankar has sent her PhD thesis off to the printers! This she has done with her supervisor’s blessing, which in Sweden means that she is for all practical purposes a PhD now. The viva is just a ritual and your committee can’t influence…

Sean B. Carroll’s latest book has been sitting on my reading shelf (and been read by my wife) for over four months, but now I’ve finally read it. Remarkable Creatures is a collection of mini-biographies of people who have made important discoveries in evolutionary biology. I won’t mention names, but we’ve got both of the…

My Bird Ring

My son just got back from a happy week on Hallands Väderö, a small island nature reserve off the southwestern coast of Sweden. It reminds me of my own visit there at about his age and the bird ring I found. We were staying in Båstad on the mainland for a week, and I remember…

Me And My Tea

I love black tea, and by that I mean brews from leaves of Camellia sinensis and C. s. assamica, nothing else, milk and sugar please. Earl Grey is basically Assam flavoured with oil of bergamot, a citrus fruit. It’s OK if there’s no plain tea. But many café employees believe that Earl Grey is plain…

Anthro Blog Carnival

The seventy-third Four Stone Hearth blog carnival is on-line at Greg Laden’s blog. Catch the best recent blogging on archaeology and anthropology! Submissions for the next carnival will be sent to me. All bloggers with an interest in the subject are welcome to volunteer to me for hosting. The next vacant hosting slot is on…

Don’t Miss the Perseids

Did you notice something funny about the Google logo yesterday? It was full of falling stars. This marked the maximum of this year’s Perseid meteor shower. Every year about this time, Earth moves through the exhaust cloud left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. When gravel and sand from the comet enters our atmosphere the grains…

One of my pastimes is writing on Wikipedia. It’s almost unavoidable since I use the encyclopedia daily and keep running into stuff to correct — facts, spelling, stylistic mishaps. In the past, though, I’ve been really discouraged when trying to improve the articles about Falun Gong (a.k.a. Chinese Scientology). They used to be a battleground…

Chasing after the Wind

I was brought up to believe that I am special. I was told that I am unusually smart and gifted. Whether or not this is true, it has given me a deep-seated expectation of myself to do great(ish) things, to achieve a bit more than the average Joe, to stand out from the crowd, to…