June Pieces Of My Mind #3

  • It would be quite nice if writers feared for their lives over the difference between publishing city and printing city in bibliographies. Then they would be more motivated to get it right.
  • My parents are great. They’ve got so much hiking gear, at 74 they still know exactly where they keep it, and they’re happy to lend it to me. All I’ve had to buy for four days’ mountain hiking is boots and a pair of sufficiently long waterproof pants.
  • 24 applicants for Stockholm U archaeology lectureship, several with exceptional qualifications. Looking at the list I realise that you could staff two new departments from scratch simply by picking people from that list.
  • Another reflection upon that list of 24 applicants. The average qualification level on that list is distinctly higher than among people who already have steady lectureships in archaeology at Swedish universities. Because recruitment isn’t generally very meritocratic. And once you have a lectureship you have neither opportunity nor motivation to continue improving your qualifications.
  • Miguel Coimbra has illustrated a crazy number of boardgames. And his art is always great!
  • I’ve been contracted to direct a gay erotic naval war movie set in Classical Greece. The title is Battle of the Salamis.
  • 19th century manuscripts in the ATA archives taught me to create a straight margin by folding the edge of the paper.
  • Donated blood, was taken care of by a med student who looked Jr’s age. So weird to me that I have become an affable avuncular presence. I do in fact feel less gawky, gangly and awkward than a quarter century ago though.
  • I just sealed an agreement with the Dept of Historical Studies at Gothenburg University to head their field archaeology course in September. If the County Archaeologist gives their approval, then me and the students will join the long distinguished line of excavators at Kungahälla, with Kristina Bengtsson as our main advisor.
  • Oh man. Does “steatite ashlar” mean anything to you? Täljstenskvadrar in Swedish. *breathes heavily*
  • A colleague just told me that the EU’s water directive means that enormous numbers of old mill dams in disrepair will have to be machined away in the near future. And that my 2015 book on Bronze Age deposition offers almost the only well-founded overview of what this may mean in terms of contract archaeology.

Comments

  1. #1 Thomas Ivarsson
    Malmö
    July 1, 2017

    We discovered that you and I are related, to some extent. by DNA, You have some Scanian ancestors. That was fun.

  2. #2 Martin R
    July 1, 2017

    Yeah, Thomas and I are distant cousins! Probably via my great grandpa Sasser from Borrby.

  3. #4 Birger Johansson
    July 3, 2017

    Hmm…I see the Chinese government has chosen to tear up the Hongkong agreement 20 years early. This will please nationalists in Beijing but will have long-term disadvantages, as nations like partners who stick to binding agreements.
    The temptation to move now when USA lacks effective leadership must have been great.
    On the other hand , I read the Chinese government is also tightening the reins for gay people. Together this suggests the government is feeling insecure now that the economic growth is merely “strong” instead of “extraordinary”.

  4. #5 Martin R
    July 3, 2017

    tightening the reins for gay people

    I take this to mean that the People’s Republic has adopted state-sponsored gay BDSM as a public policy?

  5. #6 Birger Johansson
    July 3, 2017

    A Trump-endorsed media outlet operated by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has some bizarre space news. There are actual people who believe in this…
    I highly recommend the sarcastic comments at Ed Brayton’s blog, see link. They have elevated mockery to a fine art, on a par with Stephen Fry
    “Alex Jones and the Pedophile Colony on Mars ” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2017/07/02/alex-jones-pedophile-colony-mars/#disqus_thread
    NASA had to go out and officially state “there are no people on Mars!”

  6. #7 Birger Johansson
    July 3, 2017

    BTW, they say the moon landing was a hoax, becuse space travel is too difficult. Yet there is a whole secret space colony on Mars (operated by the Vatican?).
    This beats “pizzagate” by several orders of magnitude.

  7. #8 Birger Johansson
    July 3, 2017

    Theological question answered! Trinity explained!
    “Colombia legally recognises union between three men” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/03/colombia-three-men-union-alejandro-rodriguez-manuel-bermudez-victor-hugo-prada

  8. #9 Birger Johansson
    July 3, 2017

    -A way to ease the workload when spotting stones that have been deliberately shaped as tools?
    And a boost for anthropologists searching for hominid bones among the millions of other fossils in the Olduwai ash.
    “New technique elucidates the inner workings of neural networks trained on visual data” https://phys.org/news/2017-06-technique-elucidates-neural-networks-visual.html
    Martin, if you dig up a cache of wehrmacht Pervetin you should be able to afford this kind of optronic tools.

  9. #10 John Massey
    July 3, 2017

    Birger@4 – 30 years early.

  10. #11 John Massey
    July 3, 2017

    Birger – I heard that they are going to take me out at dawn tomorrow to shoot me. Frankly, it will come as a relief – I’m sick of struggling to survive under all this stifling oppression.

  11. #12 Birger Johansson
    July 3, 2017

    Naah. You will be fine.
    The problem is, small minorities are like canaries in a coal mine. And 30 years ago, no one could imagine USA would get so incredibly fucked up…
    — — — — — — — — — — — —
    US postdocs face steep challenges when starting families http://www.nature.com/news/us-postdocs-face-steep-challenges-when-starting-families-1.22200
    — — — — — —
    After Orodruin erupts? This photo is from the Portugise forests that suffered from an immense fire http://www.nature.com/news/party-slugs-pseudo-saturn-and-a-dancing-moon-rover-1.22236
    — — — — — — — —
    4th of July is coming up. The trouble with that date is, the original congressmen did not sign on the American constitution all on the same day. I have been told that some claimed “July 3rd will go to history”.

  12. #13 Birger Johansson
    July 3, 2017

    John, this should tie in with the genetic bottleneck all non-African people have in their past. Medicine has focused on caucasians and east asians.
    “Genes may cause tumor aggressiveness and drug resistance in African-American prostate cancer” https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-06-genes-tumor-aggressiveness-drug-resistance.html

  13. #14 Birger Johansson
    July 3, 2017

    Re @5, “The Leather Scene is not Dying Despite All the Poseurs”
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2017/06/29/with_leather_bars_closing_and_poseurs_copying_the_aesthetic_where_are_real.html
    -Gay Old Time: https://satwcomic.com/gay-old-time
    Ha! The Religious Right wants old-fashioned morals….let’s stuff them into a time machine and send them to the courts of the 18 century!

  14. #15 John Massey
    July 3, 2017

    Birger – “You will be fine.” Huh – easy for you to say, sitting there surrounded by all your unfettered freedoms.

    I think not that many people could imagine the USA would get so incredibly fucked up 30 months ago. 30 weeks, maybe.

    As to that news clipping, I think they can only draw this kind of conclusion because most of the slaves taken to supply the slave trade in the Americas and the Caribbean were taken from West Africa, so African-Americans are not a particularly genetically diverse group; much less so than subSaharan Africans more generally. But then, I don’t imagine anyone has a clue about rates of aggressive prostate cancer in Africa generally.

  15. #16 birgerjohansson
    July 3, 2017

    Illinois abduction: suspect accused of kidnapping Chinese scholar appears in court https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/03/illinois-abductio-chinese-scholar-kidnapping-yingying-zhang
    A website that hosted an “Abduction 101” forum ? Dafuq ???

  16. #17 Birger Johansson
    July 4, 2017

    We don’t need to expose the delusions of all kooks.. Sometimes we can just watch them shoot themselves.

    ”Confederate Southern Nationalist Shoots Himself” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2017/07/04/confederate-southern-nationalist-shoots/
    “The antifascist rally that was allegedly going to happen was a prank. A no-name antifa account connected to absolutely nobody started a story that they would be there to vandalize confederate symbols, and then good-old-boys on Twitter predictably got their man-panties in a knot and spread it like wild-fire. So not only were there zero antifascists there for them to fight, there were never going to be any antifascists there at all. The icing on the cake is that he shot himself in the leg when he decided to rest the pointed based of his confederate-flag carrying pole in his leg-holster which was evidently occupied by his loaded and non-safetied gun.”

    Also, ”the only thing that will stop a good ol’ boy with a gun is the same good ol’ boy with a gun!”

  17. #18 Phillip Helbig
    Tyskland
    July 4, 2017
  18. #19 Phillip Helbig
    Tyskland
    July 4, 2017

    For those who don’t read Swedish: a big (the biggest?) Swedish music festival will no longer take place after this year, because too many people were raped.

    I’ve been to many music festivals in my life. I don’t think anyone has been raped at one.

    What is going on?

    As far as I can tell, this is not due to people being raped elsewhere but being ashamed to report the crime, nor to the Swedish definition of rape being broader than elsewhere. Rather, it seems that you are much more likely to be raped at a Swedish festival than at a festival elsewhere in Europe.

    Why is that?

    Who are the rapists?

  19. #20 birgerjohansson
    July 4, 2017

    “DNA of early Neanderthal gives timeline for new modern human-related dispersal from Africa” https://phys.org/news/2017-07-dna-early-neanderthal-timeline-modern.html

  20. #21 Martin R
    July 4, 2017

    The rapists were men.

    The real reason that the Bråvalla festival will be discontinued seems to be that it is badly unprofitable. Otherwise it would in all likelihood continue despite the rapes.

  21. #22 Phillip Helbig
    Tyskland
    July 5, 2017

    “The rapists were men.”

    That does narrow it down somewhat.

    Whether or not the festival is profitable, my guess is that 30 or 40 years ago there were no rapes at festivals in Sweden. What has changed and why?

  22. #23 Martin R
    July 5, 2017

    Your guess is not a very strong motivator for an investigation.

  23. #24 Phillip Helbig
    Tyskland
    July 5, 2017

    Forget my guess, just a question: Is this problem worse than 30 or 40 years ago? If so, why?

    In general, what has improved in the last 30 or 40 years and what has become worse?

  24. #25 JustaTech
    July 5, 2017

    So, what is the difference between printing and publishing city?

    Phillip @24: I’ll go out on a limb and say what’s changed is that reporting has improved more than rate has increased. Which is to say that there probably were at least some rapes at music festivals 30-40 years ago, they just weren’t reported (or they weren’t publicized).

  25. #26 Martin R
    July 5, 2017

    150 years ago all publishing houses had printing presses in their basements. This hasn’t been true for the past 50 years. Today many books put out by Swedish publishing houses are printed in the Baltic States or even Portugal.

  26. #27 Birger Johansson
    July 6, 2017

    “Retrocausal” is freaking me the hell out!
    “Physicists provide support for retrocausal quantum theory, in which the future influences the past ” https://phys.org/news/2017-07-physicists-retrocausal-quantum-theory-future.html

  27. #28 Phillip Helbig
    Tyskland
    July 6, 2017

    “I’ll go out on a limb and say what’s changed is that reporting has improved more than rate has increased.”

    Any evidence at all for this claim?

  28. #29 Birger Johansson
    July 6, 2017

    Liu Xiaobo, China’s most famous political prisoner, ‘close to death’ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/06/liu-xiaobo-china-political-prisoner-close-to-death-friends-say
    — — — . —
    Sexual abuse: Another factor may be that online trolls are pushing the limits for abuse, terrorising feminists and LGBT people and giving the loons the idea that anything goes, even out in the real world.
    And do not forget the way arson aimed at refugees have become mpre common as the kooks have platforms for hate speech.

  29. #30 Birger Johansson
    July 6, 2017

    A new carbide coating from China!

    “Chances of hypersonic travel heat up with new materials discovery” https://phys.org/news/2017-07-chances-hypersonic-materials-discovery.htm
    ZrC made by using a process called reactive melt infiltration (RMI), which dramatically reduces the time needed to make such materials, and has been in reinforced with carbon–carbon composite (C/C composite). This makes it not only strong but extremely resistant to the usual surface degradation.
    Also: “New record set for world’s most heat resistant material” https://phys.org/news/2016-12-world-resistant-material.html

  30. #31 Birger Johansson
    July 6, 2017

    New studies of ancient concrete could teach us to do as the Romans did https://phys.org/news/2017-07-ancient-concrete-romans.html If we could re-create Roman-type concrete cheaply from pozzioli-type volcanic ash elsewhere in the world, places near volcanically acyive sites (Aachen, Iceland, most of Italy, American Northwest, parts of China) would reap a huge benefit.

  31. #32 Eric Lund
    July 6, 2017

    Phillip@28: I can’t speak to the Swedish legal system specifically, but I do know that many countries have seen an increase in reporting of rape, because accusers in such cases are more likely to be believed today than they were thirty years ago. To convict somebody of rape, you have to prove not only that a sexual act took place, but that it happened without the victim’s consent. So defense lawyers in such cases often will (understandably, because they are paid to do this on behalf of their clients) raise doubts about whether the deed was done without the victim’s consent. At least in the US, it has become harder to raise such doubts; e.g., today almost everyone will agree that an intoxicated person is incapable of giving consent, but thirty years ago a lawyer could plausibly argue that she did. In many states, the law was changed to clarify this point; in other states court rulings achieved the same end. Even so, rape in the context of a date is still hard to prove: it frequently comes down to her word against his, and at least in the US, that means he has to be acquitted under the “reasonable doubt” standard.

    Even today, rape is one of the most underreported crimes. In many cultures the element of victim shaming is so severe that it discourages victims from coming forward (this is true in many parts of the US). And many women, even if they do report the rape, may be unwilling to see it through trial, where they will have to confront their attacker and deal with a defense lawyer who is likely to try to attack them in court. If the rapist ever gets caught–many don’t.

  32. #33 John Massey
    July 7, 2017

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_in_Sweden

    Found that on the first attempt, so it was not exactly onerous. For anyone concerned about the subject, it’s worth reading in full – doesn’t take long.

    Phillip, if you are really interested/concerned about this subject, rather than just trying to make whatever point you are trying to make (which I think I can guess at, given past comments that you have made), I would expect that you would read into the subject in some depth via the readily available sources, rather than just asking open-ended questions and expecting other people to research the subject for you.

  33. #34 John Massey
    July 7, 2017

    “my guess is that 30 or 40 years ago there were no rapes at festivals in Sweden”

    The Swedish statistics given are not broken down to indicate how many cases of rape have been reported at music festivals (not really surprising), but surmising from the trends in the general data and changes in laws, encouragement to report offences, etc., I would say that your guess is likely to be absolutely dead wrong.

  34. #35 Birger Johansson
    July 7, 2017

    (OT)
    This shall be my template for all future discussions! http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/honest-discussion
    🙂

  35. #36 Phillip Helbig
    Tyskland
    July 7, 2017

    @#32 True in many respects, but is there any evidence that this explains the higher number of rapes and/or the higher number reported in Sweden, as opposed to, say, other Nordic countries, Dutch-speaking, German-speaking countries?

    Read up? Sure. The problem is, one can find stuff to support any side of an argument. Yes, an expert can tell the bogus from the real, but I am not an expert, hence I am interested in what people who actually live in Sweden think. (I’ve never lived there, but I’ve spent about a year there altogether and speak Swedish rather well.)

  36. #37 Eric Lund
    July 7, 2017

    Phillip, I suggest you read the Wikipedia page that John linked @33. There are many peculiarities about the Swedish system that would tend to inflate the occurrence of rape in that country. Sweden counts each distinguishable incident as a separate offense, where some other countries would consider repeated incidents by one person against another to be a single offense. Sweden has also broadened the definition of rape during this time frame, so some incidents that would previously have been considered sexual assault are now classified as rape. Sweden reports rape statistics by the year each incident was reported to police, which is not necessarily the year the incident occurred.

    People more knowledgeable about this subject than I warn that because of such factors as different definitions of rape, different definitions of numbers of offenses, and so forth, it is imprudent to make direct comparisons between countries based on the official statistics.

    There seems to have been a spike in reported rapes in Sweden in 2014, with an 11% increase over 2013 followed by a 12% decline in 2015 (the most recent year for which statistics are mentioned in the Wikipedia article). I have never lived in Sweden either, so I don’t have any on-the-ground experience from which to comment on these statistics.

  37. #38 John Massey
    July 8, 2017

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-07/sa-to-get-worlds-biggest-lithium-ion-battery/8687268

    I take my hat off to Elon Musk and Jay Weatherill, the Premier of South Australia, for having the vision and courage to just go out and do this.

  38. #39 John Massey
    July 8, 2017

    “The problem is, one can find stuff to support any side of an argument.” It’s always that way. That’s what numbers are for. Data. Statistics. Analysis. You can research the legal systems in different countries and draw your own inferences – it’s not quantum physics. I can’t believe that I have to spell this out to someone who claims to be a scientist.

    I don’t have to live in India or be an expert in domestic plumbing to know that 50% of all domestic properties in India have no indoor toilet. Or that Bangladesh had exactly the same problem, but has had the political will to solve the problem, with a commensurate major decline in child fatalities due to improved hygiene, whereas India has not. I know all of those things from published data which are accessible on the Internet.

    We are living in the Information Age, Phillip.

  39. #40 John Massey
    July 8, 2017

    Birger@31 – One of the biggest challenges in coastal and marine engineering is to make concrete structures durable, particularly in the ‘splash zone’ that gets intermittently wetted with seawater. Somewhat ironically, concrete producers usually avoid using volcanic rocks as aggregates because they are often too ‘reactive’.

    I have my reasons for admiring Roman engineering.

  40. #41 Birger Johansson
    July 8, 2017

    Some goddamn live Neo-Nazis have been disrupting political meetings in Almedalen, Gotland.

  41. #42 birgerjohansson
    July 8, 2017
  42. #43 Birger Johansson
    July 9, 2017

    There is a difference between a “tonne” and a “ton” ?
    I wish the world would adopt common standards.

    It is still possible to read a newspaper outdoors at midnight by ambient light. The birds will start singing soon.

  43. #44 John Massey
    July 9, 2017

    Birger – you seemed to have some concern about this:
    http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/2101823/we-still-recognise-sino-british-joint-declaration-legally

    More relevantly, the Basic Law, which enshrines the “one country two systems” principle, has been ratified by the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China, which literally has thousands of delegates, and it can’t be torn up or undone except with the express approval of the NPC.

    It won’t happen. If it ever did, you would surely hear about it. Hence my previous flippant responses.

  44. #45 Birger Johansson
    July 11, 2017

    Thank you, John.
    — —
    Ha! So much for computers replacing humans!
    “Neural network poetry is so bad we think it’s written by humans” https://www.newscientist.com/article/2140014-neural-network-poetry-is-so-bad-we-think-its-written-by-humans/
    Is this Victorian doggerel verse grade? Or is it worse?

  45. #46 Birger Johansson
    July 11, 2017
  46. #47 Phillip Helbig
    Tyskland
    July 11, 2017

    Cyrillic letters would have been a surprise. 🙂

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