- Been helping Jrette study French for a test. Love making up absurd sentences for her to translate. "On my right is Charlemagne. He is wearing Father's pink beret. If you take Father's beret he will not be very nice. But Charlemagne gets to borrow it."
- Finally got it. The name of the crowdfunding site IndieGogo references indigo.
- Listening to Tubular Bells. Can't get over that Oldfield was 19 when he recorded it.
- Updated Facebook Messenger and suddenly got access to this enormous backlog of messages from strangers who have tried to contact me for years, most of them quite legitimately, yet which have been automatically muted. /-:
- Planning some fieldwork, I just got schooled in documentation by a metal detectorist. He politely told me we should collect much more accurate information about where each detectorist goes on the site, and offered to organise it.
- 30 March was my tenth anniversary as a daily Linux user. I've never really had to learn the command line interface. I still don't know how to compile source code. It just works. I particularly like that Linux installations don't spontaneously get slower with time, and that updates don't noticeably demand more processing power.
- Jrette showed me some male celebs whom she finds handsome. They looked like me with hair and smaller noses. Then she asked me to show her a male celeb whose looks I like. I showed her Mattias Bärjed 15 years ago. Who, I realised, looked like me with hair.
- Don't write "Not to scale" in captions when you illustrate small finds. All images are to some scale even if it's unknown to you. The only exception is if the image is funhouse mirrored so that the object is deformed.
- It's kind of nice to think that Swedish has no equivalents of the verbs sneer and frown. Instead we have to say "to derision-smile" and "to wrinkle the eyebrows".
Listening to Tubular Bells. Can’t get over that Oldfield was 19 when he recorded it.
Last week I had occasion to Google one of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's most famous songs, "Lucky Man". It turned out Greg Lake wrote the first version of that song at the age of 12, and it almost didn't get recorded--they only recorded it because they needed one more track to reach their contractual album length, and even then it took considerable studio work by Lake and Palmer before Keith Emerson agreed to contribute the iconic Moog synthesizer solo at the end of the song.
So, he (paternal grandfather) was the one who died in an automobile accident. He looks like he would have been a cool grandpa.
Eric@1: Check out how old Kate Bush was when she wrote the songs on her first album "The Kick Inside." The answer is "not very".
So, I'm laboriously working my way through all these lectures on Youtube by the Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson, eh? He's from Toronto, so every second sentence ends with eh?
It's taking up lots of time, but so what, I have fuck all else to do except sit around and have various bits cut off me, like the Black Knight in Monty Python, eh?
But of course, the reason I'm doing it is because it is very deeply informative, eh? - it is teaching me all of the things that I definitely needed to know about people throughout my whole life that I never learned before, because I was spending all my time learning about engineering, eh?
And no, I am not going to start trying to psychanalyse all of you. I'm way past playing those kinds of games. It just helps me to understand - I just wish I had known it all when I was in my mid-late teens. But that would have been impossible, because a lot of what Peterson lectures about has only recently been developed (like within the past 5 to 10 years).
He is a very good lecturer. I can recommend him.
Cool, maybe Mrs. Rundkvist the almost psychologist knows about him.
Aspidistra@2: Forty years old did seem a bit young to me, but an automobile accident in those days could easily have done it--it still happens regularly when cars collide head-on at highway speeds. One of my mother's brothers died in an automobile accident at the age of 15 (which at the time--1939--was considered old enough to operate a motor vehicle in South Dakota).
Seat belts did not become standard equipment in cars in the US until the late 1960s. Until that decade, the prevailing attitude about preventing deaths and injuries in car crashes was to do something about the "nut behind the steering wheel". Since then there have been many safety improvements in cars--last fall I briefly drove a loaner car that would make noises if it sensed I was drifting out of my lane. But the nut behind the steering wheel has generally not improved in the last 50 years--in some ways it has gotten worse because accidents are easier to both avoid, and survive if you fail to avoid them.
Grandpa Kurt ran into a truck that was parked in the dark on the shoulder of the road. He managed to swerve enough that Grandma Ingeborg didn't get hit, but the truck's rear corner hit Kurt in the face.
Ouch. That of course was in the days when you were assured of having dark skies once you were more than a couple of kilometers or so beyond the edge of the town, so I imagine that truck would have been hard to see until it was too late. These days, at least in the US, you have to get at least 20 km from the nearest big box store (WalMart is the worst but not the only offender) to have a chance to see dark skies.
The worst visibility situation I have dealt with as a driver was when I was about 17, driving home from Gainesville where we had visited the University of Florida. Somewhere between Orlando and Fort Pierce we encountered a downpour of the sort you rarely see outside the tropics and subtropics--Aspidistra is probably familiar with this kind of rain, but I'm not sure Hangzhou is far enough south to get it. My mother, in the passenger seat, suggested that I pull off to the side of the road. I replied that it was raining so hard I could not even see to pull over; I had no choice but to push forward at about 30 km/h (on a motorway!), which was as fast as I dared go, keeping between the solid white line on my right and the dashed white line on my left. I have never encountered conditions anywhere close to that in snow--if I am on a motorway I will generally slow to about 80 km/h (speed limits hereabouts are 100-110 km/h, dropping to 90 km/h in the most built-up areas), and even at that speed there is no shortage of drivers who will overtake me.
Eric@8 - Worst rainfall conditions I have driven in, I just had to stop dead where I was because visibility was zero. Fortunately, in those conditions, everyone else does the same thing; plus you get instantaneous road flooding. So everyone just stops.
That's a sensible policy if you are driving in an urban area. It's easy to get flooded streets during a thunderstorm.
The place where I encountered this rain is quite rural. Inland Florida south of the I-4 corridor (Tampa-Orlando-Daytona Beach) is quite sparsely populated. I was on a stretch of motorway that at the time had only one exit in a 140 km stretch (with the sprawling growth of metro Orlando, they may have added an exit or two near the north end of that stretch). And short of a traffic jam you never, ever, stop in the travel lanes of an American motorway--if you have to stop, you are expected to pull onto the shoulder. In this case, visibility was so low that I could not see to pull onto the shoulder.
Yes, I was talking about situations in urban streets. No way I would stop on a motorway ever - not even on the shoulder if I could help it.
Changing topic completely, I'm told that two new archaeological papers will come out tomorrow on the Antiquity website (http://www.antiquity.ac.uk/) - one a new Bell Beaker paper by Volker Heyd, and the other a new Corded Ware paper by Kristian Kristiansen.
Martin and I are both Star-Men.
Incidentally, I understand that several authors of the 2014 paper by Haak et al. offered to withdraw from authorship when they found out that "Indo-European" would be included in the title, but eventually they were all persuaded not to. I'm not clear on the reason, but can think of at least three possibles.
Got up at 6.00 am this morning, had breakfast, drank coffee, cleaned my teeth and washed my face, got dressed and ready to drive my daughter to work - then became concerned that there were still no sounds coming from her bedroom. I was just about to go in to wake her up, when I realised it is Qingming. No work today.
It sounds like WWIII is breaking out at our place, with People's Liberation Army helicopters repeatedly zooming back and forth immediately overhead at low altitude. It's all totally predictable today of all days - they are water-bombing hill fires (wildfires, bushfires, whatever - all the same phenomenon).
Today is Qingming Festival, so people are out at their ancestors' graves dotted here and there out among the hills, burning offerings for the deceased. Of course, the burning stuff blows around, and it's the end of winter, which is the dry season here, so the vegetation is dry and catches fire easily, so there are fires breaking out everywhere.
The PLA helicopters have big buckets suspended from them - they swoop down over the ocean, fill the buckets with water, then zoom off and drop the water on a fire, then zoom back to fill the buckets again.
Normally the PLA don't get involved in local affairs at all, but with something like this, they are happy to help out when requested.
I think the exercise would be more effective if the PLA would just directly water-bombed the people burning the stuff, but I doubt they would agree to do that.
Suddenly I found your blog again. Yeee, how nice!
Don't lose it again. It's an island of sanity in a sea of stupidity. I try to add some stupidity just to make it seem not sane in an elitist sense, but I don't get away with much.
My paternal grandfather died when I was 8 years old. My grandmother was in hospital having some check-up or other, and the old guy was home alone taking care of himself, and he just dropped dead on the kitchen floor. My father found him - no one answered the door, so he had to break in by climbing in the kitchen window, and found his Dad lying there dead on the floor. He had been pouring himself a glass of milk, maybe because he thought he had indigestion, but it wasn't indigestion, it was a heart attack, and it was fatal. He was only 61.
My mother told me while I was getting ready to go to bed that night, that my grandfather was dead. I didn't react at all. Just "Oh." So, he's gone. Went to sleep as usual. Just no reaction. Didn't attend the funeral - my parents didn't believe in kids going to funerals, so I didn't go. I went to see my grandmother while she was still in hospital - she was pretty devastated, but I didn't have any real reaction to that. Grandma's sad - well, that figures. Grandpa's dead. Nothing to see here, move on.
Then, about two weeks later, out of nowhere, I just started crying for no apparent reason, and I couldn't stop.
Looks like I had Awale Ismail wrong. He's Somali, apparently.
My paternal grandfather died in -I think- 1956.
He was a member of parliament of the agrarian party, today's Center Party, and on his journy for a visit back home in Umeå he apparently leaned against an external door that had not been secured, fell out, and broke his neck.
It took days before he was found.
In the years since then, trains have of course gotten electronic locks for their external doors.
I dare not speculate how many people have died in train-related deaths in third-world countries where security upgrades are too expensive.
High populatiton density (crowded roads) plus no electronic safeguards at crossings.....
he thought he had indigestion, but it wasn’t indigestion, it was a heart attack
Yes, that can happen.
One morning when I was in my 30s, I woke up feeling a bit of tightness in my chest. I took a shower, but it wasn't going away, so I drove myself to the nearest emergency room, about 15-20 minutes away. That did turn out to be indigestion, but the attending physician said I had done the right thing by going there, just in case.
My maternal grandmother died when I was less than a year old, but the other three lived into their 80s, and two of them into their 90s. My father's parents were still living in the town where he grew up, and I went to both their funerals. That was the last time I visited that town. There is no reason other than visiting their grave site for me to visit that town again; AFAIK I no longer have any living relatives in that town, and it's one of those rural small towns with no visible means of economic support, so drug abuse may be a serious problem there.
World's most venomous scorpion in action https://phys.org/news/2017-04-world-venomous-scorpion-action.html
You need to import these critters to Australia. It will not do that your scorpions are less dangerous than the Eurasian ones.
In Hong Kong, people who go swimming or wading barefoot in freshwater streams soon discover that there is a charming, rather large creature here that lurks in such places - I don't know the proper name for them, only the Cantonese name: it translates as "Toe Cutter".
Thank you for the compliment, Aspidistra!
Birger - how about a spider that causes you to have your arms and legs amputated? That could slow you down a bit.
Poor guy leaves the relatively risky Philippines to go and visit his relatives in nice safe Australia, and they send him back to the Philippines with no arms and legs.
nice safe Australia
As Arthur Dent would say, this is some usage of "safe" of which I was previously unaware.
I know that "drop bears" are apocryphal, but much of Australia's wildlife will kill you if given half a chance.
And two of the nastier species are exotic, not native. Cane toads were introduced for insect control, but it was found too late that they were useless for that purpose. And then there are the rabbits--most Westerners consider them cute, but I can understand why Australians do not share that opinion. Some idiot brought them in for hunting, but they escaped and started multiplying like, well, rabbits. Needless to say, the rabbits find the local vegetation (as well as any crops) quite tasty, and tend to eat it up before the sheep can get to it.
Razib Khan: "Social justice commissars on the Left and alt-right Nazis on the Right".
*sigh* We know, Zeeb, we know.
The archaeology is elucidating the genetics.
Plus there's a hint of where the Scandy I majority haplogroup comes from.
The Anatolian hypothesis is dead, but it's ghost won't go away for a while.
Jordan Peterson gets himself into endless trouble in Ontario for insisting on telling the truth. He obstinately insists on saying that men and women are different (in Ontario they know that just is not true, but he continues to bait them with it). Men commit far more murders than women. Women are more likely to kill someone close to them. Men are more likely to kill strangers.
So Peterson's joke is that it is a safer strategy for men to hang out with strange women.
I'm a data point - I've been married to a strange woman for 38 years, and she hasn't killed me yet.
Study reveals 10,000 years of genetic continuity in northwest North America https://phys.org/news/2017-04-reveals-years-genetic-northwest-north.html
I think pre-European South Africa also had a lot of continuity but the people there were wiped out by the afrikaaner in the southwest and the influx of bantu people from the north-east.
Birger@32 - That's the Khoisan, or the San, or the Khoikhoi (also called Bushmen - the people that Afrikaaners used to call Hottentots). Some researchers think they became separated from all other modern humans as much as 200,000 years ago; and certainly as long as 100,000 years ago, after which they existed in geographic isolation for, yes, much longer than 10,000 years, certainly. More like 100,000 years.
But there is great genetic diversity among the Khoisan. A bit like Aboriginal Australians, they evidently existed as small groups with a surprising amount of genetic distance between the groups. And the disparate groups do not identify each other as 'same'.
And they have subsequently diversified. Some are hunter-gatherers (presumably their 'native' state) in the Kalahari, some have become cattle herders, and some have become farmers.
So Peterson’s joke is that it is a safer strategy for men to hang out with strange women.
That reminds me of an article published years ago in the Journal of Irreproducible Results, which advocated having everyone register their cars in Antarctica as an accident prevention measure. At least at the time, the overwhelming majority of automobile accidents occur(ed) close to home. So if "home" were in Antarctica, the idea was that most of those accidents wouldn't happen.
Norway to build world's first tunnel for ships https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/06/move-over-suez-hello-stad…
Birger, the Norwegians are past masters at underground construction, and a span of 26.5 metres is easily achievable in good quality rock with minimal rock support. We do that in Hong Kong all the time, with underground road and rail tunnels and rail stations.
All igneous rock masses are jointed, obviously - the joints occur when the molten magma shrinks as it cools. So you never get 'solid rock' underground that has no joints in it. That's OK, you can support the rock blocks to prevent them from falling into the underground opening you have created by bolting them in place with long rocks bolts which are inserted and grouted into drillholes that you drill into the rock. And those stable rock blocks prevent the blocks above them from falling. The bolts are steel bolts that are galavanised, and then prevented further from corroding by providing them with an annulus of grout. The bolts can be untensioned or pretensioned, depending on what is required.
More heavily jointed or weathered rock requires more support measures, all the way up to a full structural lining of reinforced concrete - but that is rarely required in the good geology they have in Norway. Where the rock has weathered to a soil-like consistency, either adjacent to the tunnel portals, or in zones of deep weathering, you obviously need to do that. But it's not a big deal. It just costs more.
From memory, the largest rock span ever constructed in an underground opening is a 65 metre span for an underground ice hockey stadium in Norway, which is pretty impressive.
And before anyone asks about "but what about in earthquakes?", underground structures generally survive earthquake forces much better than surface structures.
Nice - for once I can talk about something I know something about.
I should probably add that people have been experimenting very successfully with non-metallic bolts, which don't suffer any corrosion problems at all. These days, they can make some mighty strong, durable polymers.
And polymer-reinforced sprayed concrete for tunnel and cavern linings. That works really well too.
"a full structural lining of reinforced concrete"
The Halland Ridge railway tunnel finally got this, after failed attempts to build a more parsimonous Construction. The rock was so fractured that it drained the water table from far around. An attempt to make it water-proof with the highly toxic Roca-Gil synth material lining made the cows in the area die as the stuff leaked.
The Halland Ridge railway tunnel finally cost ten times more than originally projected, and was a decade delayed. But presige prevented the government from stopping it.
The cost efficiency of the finished tunnel is questionalble.
Central and western Europe usually have sedimentary rock, so the tunnels usually have to deal with weaker rock. Easy to excavate but less solid.
BTW since the region near Aachen, Germany is volcanic, I wonder if they have ever attempted to excavate "pozzoli" ash for making Roman-style concrete? The stuff can set underwater, so it should be useful.
Scandinavia and the World. "Equality means no mercy" https://satwcomic.com/equality-means-no-mercy
Birger@40 - There are better solutions available now. One solution is grouting ahead, using ordinary Portland cement grout - you drill holes ahead of the tunnel face, then pump cement grout into the ground in an annulus around the tunnel to prevent water ingress before progressing the tunnel.
It sounds as if the original ground investigation was totally inadequate. So the original contractor used a method of excavation that was inappropriate for the ground conditions. And Skanska didn't do much better.
Describing a rock as 'volcanic' is a bit like describing a modern (native) European person as 'pale skinned'. It doesn't tell you much about the person. There is a whole range of volcanic rocks, depending on how they were extruded and what the composition is.
"before progressing the tunnel. "
The key word is "before"! You are assuming someone was doing some serious planning ahead. I often suspect planning consists of writing stuff on the back of napkins during happy hour. This would explain some of the wishful thinking that goes into some expensive projects.
(I will not bother you with horror stories from road and bridge-building projects around Umeå)
Michelle Bachmann: "Liberals Causing the Antichrist to Appear" http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2017/04/06/bachmann-liberals-ca…
Naah. He came by here, but got so offended by the absence of marmite* that he said he would never return.
*Marmite is closely correlated with the End of Days.
Re. @ 44. Our city politicians are committed to increasing our population to 200.000.
(Not something like 160.000 or 220.000, the kind of figures that might have emerged from serious future predictions)
The argument for this is that 200.000 is a nice round figure. In fact, it is twice 100.000, an even more round figure, and thus more than twice as good. Government by numerology.
Are these politicians mating exclusively with each other? Or will they call upon you to contribute?
I am not sure how they reproduce. Is it called a "p" or "r" strategy? I suspect lumps of eggs are dumped in fetid swamps and left to ferment.
Ha! "Agenda for Summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping" http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2017/04/06/leaked-agenda-summit…
"Left out the part where Trump shows Jinping how to build a real wall."
Summit of the biggest, best wallmakers. Jinping will tell Donald about that cool "legalist" philosophy the First Emperor used.
Speaking of digging holes in the ground: In Seattle, Bertha finally broke through. The purpose of the tunnel is a relocated route for an elevated highway (SR 99) along Seattle's downtown waterfront. The highway suffered serious damage in a 2001 earthquake.
I'm not sure that building a massive tunnel so close to salt water in an area prone to the occasional 9.0 earthquake is the greatest idea, but Seattle doesn't have a lot of options. The city is bounded to the west by Puget Sound and to the east by Lake Washington. There is one other north-south highway through the city, I-5, and I can testify from personal experience that the city needs an alternate route.
FUUUCK! Attack in Stockholm.
Kook steals truck, drives into crowd. Minimum 2 dead.
Truck drives into crowds in central Stockholm killing three people https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/07/truck-crashes-in-central-…
Birger@44 - Don't generalise.
Probing ahead (of advancing the tunnel face) is now standard practice. As it carrying out competent ground investigations before tunnelling even commences.
But you *do* need to choose your tunnelling contractor carefully. Not choosing the tender with the lowest price is a pretty good idea.
Eric@50 - Bertha bored a circular hole, like all tunnel boring machines. (Not all tunnels are bored - some are drill and blasted. The choice depends a lot on the ground conditions.) Circular openings underground perform particularly well under earthquake forces, which in any case tend to be attenuated with depth - they deform, but then resume their original shape. Lots of documentation of this.
Suggestion - don't always assume that engineers are idiots who don't know what they are doing. Only some of us are. And some knowingly do the wrong thing for money. It happens.
Birger@52 - Looks like it could be a lot more.
Suggestion – don’t always assume that engineers are idiots who don’t know what they are doing. Only some of us are.
Oh, I know there are good engineers out there--I have been fortunate to work with a few over the years. But there are also far too many idiots with engineering degrees. Witness the large numbers of climate change denialists who are engineers--whenever somebody circulates a list of "scientists" who claim global warming isn't happening, you will find that the overwhelming majority of them are actually engineers.
Cascadia is a subduction zone. In previous earthquakes land has been known to drop significantly in elevation. So the risk to this tunnel is that it would be flooded with sea water (via the ends of the tunnel, not necessarily the middle) in a major earthquake. But as I said, there aren't good options here; it's quite possible that this tunnel is the least bad option. Simply replacing the viaduct with a new elevated highway is definitely a poor choice, from an aesthetic as well as an engineering point of view.
Wife, kids, Cousin E and my ex are all OK. I'm in Östergötland doing fieldwork.
BBC are reporting at least three dead, and several injured. The beer company that owns the truck says it was stolen this morning while the driver was making a delivery. The incident is being treated as a terrorist attack for now, but it may not have been terrorism related, especially if the truck was stolen only a few hours before.
When I visited Stockholm, both my hotel and the conference center were in that part of town, and the route between the two (as well as to the restaurants of Gamla Stan) took me along Dröttninggatan. And I remember that the Ahléns department store is a landmark along that street.
Depressing news all around today: the missile kabuki in Syria and the US Supreme Court confirmation as well as the truck crash in Stockholm, Today is one of those days when I have to remind myself of the wise words of the great historian Bluto Blutarsky: "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"
Eric@55 - If there is an M9 megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone, Seattle is going to have a lot more to worry about than the inundation of one tunnel.
"Norway to build world’s first tunnel for ships"
The French have several canal tunnels. The oldest was built already in 1679.
Canal barges don't qualify as ocean going ships.
-The flaw of predicting using mystic bones.
Canal barges in England also passed through tunnels. Some derelict canal tunnels are quite close to London.
"Marmite is closely correlated with the End of Days." And Poms.
Yet another reason you should only eat Vegemite.
Cooperation between two countries who regard each other with emnity.
A ray of hope for sanity.
"Germany, which has also invested heavily in both solar and wind power, sometimes has so much power it has to pay neighbouring countries to use it."
Hell, if they have to pay countries to use it, they could give some to Sweden for nothing.