NOIBN

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Academic recruitment procedures in Sweden are a mess. There are at least four strong contradictory forces that impact them. Meritocracy. As Head of Department you are legally obliged to find and employ the most qualified person on the job market, even if it’s just for six months. This is after all the public sector. Labour…

Swedish Academia Is No Meritocracy

After almost 14 mostly dismal years on the academic job market, I find it a consolation to read an opinion piece in Times Higher Education under the headline “Swedish Academia Is No Meritocracy“. In my experience this is also true for Denmark, Norway and Finland. In Norway, for instance, the referee board that evaluates job…

Anticipation

14 months of no teaching gigs and several bad professional disappointments have brought me down a bit. So I checked my calendar for things to look forward to in the coming months. April. War games exhibition at the Army Museum. Katana sword exhibition at the Royal Armoury. Fieldwork at a promising site in Östergötland. May.…

My Ancestry

Inspired by Karin Bojs’s and Peter Sjölund’s recent book Svenskarna och deras fäder, I’ve looked into my ancestry by means both genetic and genealogical. Here’s a few highlights. Like most Stockholmers, I’m of mixed rural Swedish stock. My great grandpa’s generation contains 16 people born mainly in the 1880s. Only one of them was born…

Mechanisms Of Urban Decay

Downtown Kavalla’s mix of well-kept properties and hopeless ruins confuses me. I’ve seen similar in the Baltic States, but there it has to do with uncertainty about the ownership after the Soviet period, I’ve been told. That doesn’t apply here. So I googled real estate agencies and went visiting on my lunch break. The first…

Odd Gender Pattern At Maths Olympiad

Cousin E pointed out something odd about the International Mathematical Olympiad. It’s an annual competition for high school students. And girls do super poorly in it. We ran some stats on the data for 2015 and 2016, and found that a national team with more than one female member gets less than half the median…

Back In The Saddle Again

I’ve been away from my various desks for almost two months while excavating and then enjoying some time off. Here’s what’s on my plate right now. Saddle. I mean my saddle, in which I’m back. Landscape archaeology conference, three days in Uppsala. I’m giving a paper on my Bronze Age project. European Association of Archaeologists,…

I wonder what motivates people to start companies that make or provide boring stuff. What causes a person to devote decades of their life to an organisation that manufactures soap or installs archive shelving? It doesn’t surprise me that people take boring jobs: everybody needs a job and most jobs are boring. But what makes a…

I’m @sweden This Week On Twitter

The Swedish Institute is, according to Wikipedia, a Government agency in Sweden with the responsibility to spread information about Sweden outside the country. One way the organisation does this is the Twitter account @sweden, which is handed over to a new Swede every week. This week it’s me.

Satnavs and the Sunk Cost Fallacy

One of the best pieces of economic advice I know is ”Don’t throw good money after bad”. Or in other words, when you consider whether you should continue to invest in a project, don’t let the sum you’ve already invested figure into your decision. To do so is known as the ”sunk cost fallacy”, and…