Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, public speaker, chairman of the Swedish Skeptics Society, atheist, lefty liberal, board gamer, bookworm, and father of two.

April Pieces Of My Mind #1

Been wondering about psychopaths. Having empathy of course de-motivates healthy folks from murderous cruelty. But why would absence of empathy motivate murderous cruelty? Are most psychopaths in fact not interested in such acts? This is pretty neat: I bought a hat in London and wore it for a few days, and now that I’m back…

Fornvännen’s Autumn Issue On-line

Today’s my 16th anniversary as editor of Fornvännen! Issue 2014:3 is now on-line on Open Access. Ole Thirup Kastholm on dugout canoes from before AD 1 on the Scandinavian peninsula. Ole Stilborg on Late Bronze Age pottery from Östergötland. Peter Tångeberg on recently uncovered Medieval murals in Kil church, Närke. Påvel Nicklasson on early 19th…

Google Play Books Ate My Apostrophes

Update 10 April: It pays to report problems like the one described below to Google’s customer support. Seven weeks ago I discovered the problem. One week ago I reported it. Today the problem was suddenly gone, probably because Google updated the two ebooks involved and pushed new versions of the files to my phone. I…

London Vacation

Got back last night from a six-day stay in London with wife & daughter. YuSie had rented a flat in Southwark for us via Air BnB, so we had a good base of operations. I fell ill with a bad cold halfway through our stay, which explains the complete lack of museum visits and rock…

“Matilda”: Class Perspective

In Roald Dahl’s last book, Matilda (1988), we are invited to laugh at the main character’s parents. They hate books, love TV, dress tastelessly and subsist on microwave TV dinners. Yet only when I saw the musical at the Cambridge Theatre in London this past Tuesday, where the mother additionally practices competition ballroom dancing and both…

March Pieces Of My Mind #2

I broke the rice cooker’s handle. Then I fixed it. Jrette smiled and called this macho display. I replied that I wasn’t actually using my willie for the work and that breasts wouldn’t get in the way. Me: Can I put the manual for your thermos flask in the recycling? Wife: No, I want to…

My Bronze Age Book Is Out

Dear Reader, it is with great pleasure that I announce the PDF publication of my fifth monograph,* In the Landscape and Between Worlds. The paper version will appear in April or May. Here’s the back-cover blurb. Bronze Age settlements and burials in the Swedish provinces around Lakes Mälaren and Hjälmaren yield few bronze objects and…

Childhood Horrors

Ken & Robin have an interesting discussion in the most recent episode of their podcast, on childhood fears. Specifically, they talk about childhood responses to horror stories and movies. I was inspired to write about my own childhood horrors. Luckily there were no actual horrors in my childhood. Nobody around me was violent or insane…

March Pieces Of My Mind #1

Oh fuck. I just installed the operating system update/trojan that makes this particular Samsung smartphone model slow. I wonder how classical liberalism views labour unions. On the one hand, the right to form one is clearly a civil liberty. On the other hand, it can be seen as what Smith called a “conspiracy of businessmen”,…

Prequel to Pickwick

Stephen Jarvis’s upcoming novel Death and Mr Pickwick is a sprawling book, in terms both of its 800-page girth and of its structure. I’ve read the first third and decided to write about it now before I forget the details. There’s a present-day frame story about the narrator writing the book, commissioned by an old…