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Category archives for NOIBN

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…

Gun Stash Suddenly Unavailable

A colleague of mine has left contract archaeology to work for the police as a civil utredare, that is, someone with a university degree who works on crime cases despite not being a policeperson. He told me a pretty neat story about Gubbligan, the Old Man’s Gang. The OMG were three professional bank robbers who…

Festival Pregnancy

After my first marriage I briefly dated a stoner girl. She was sweet and mild-mannered, her conversation laggy. There was a sleepy micro-pause before each of her replies. She’d spent four years on social security in a Copenhagen squat, smoking pot as a full-time occupation, before moving back to Stockholm and finding a job. Here’s…

Five years ago I blogged about a study by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education, identifying the higher education degrees that were likely to give you the best chances of a Swedish job in the period 2010-2020. This was because I complain a lot here on the blog about how useless a degree in…

Karate In A Hijab

Here’s an interesting case regarding Muslim women’s veils. They’re instruments or symbols of patriarchal repression, right? Well, check this out. Dania Mahmudi is from my area, Fisksätra. She’s 14 years old and wears a veil. Mahmudi has been practising karate for years. Two weeks ago she went with her club to the district championship, eager…