Sunday, May 23, 2010

Strangely fascinating (how many posts do we begin that way?) reading:







The Fraudulent Sophistications of





I had known about the carving of wooden nutmegs, but much of this was a revelation to me, particularly the dangers of Poisonous Cheese.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ah, synchronicity! Today's Performance Today has an excellent segment dedicated to folk influences in Finnish classical music. Well worth a listen, it includes a composition based on Sami joiking.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

This may well interest no one but me and Proclus, but here it is anyway: Digital Archive of Finnish Folk Tunes. The specific search feature works best if you just want to browse; you can filter by region and by type of tune. Obviously, it helps to be mildly conversant in Finnish geography and music. This polska was a nice find (click here to listen, and click the image for a clearer view):

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Don't get bitten by a coral snake! Always good advice, but now ever more so, since apparently we're out of antivenom. And wouldn't you know it, the perfectly good stuff they use in Mexico isn't coming here due to FDA hurdles.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Letter to the editor, Santa Fe New Mexican, 5.07.10, reproduced in full:
My 30 years' research for a book on ancient petroglyphs reveals a meaning greatly differing from what archaeologists have told us.

I have irrefutable proof that ancient Egyptians, Minoans, Libyans and Galesteans (the Cycladic island of Santorini was originally named "Galeste") founded a colony in the Galisteo Basin circa 1626 B.C. Despite suppression by the archaeological community, I am now moving forward with production. Over the years, several important photos and negatives which I made over 25 years ago have been selectively stolen from my house.

Earlier this year, a packet of 126 film negatives which I needed to make quality enlargements for my book were stolen by professional burglars. Meanwhile, archaeologists in charge won't allow me on San Cristobal Ranch to make replacement photos so I am forced to use inferior photos. Is the archaeology community so weak that it cannot tolerate dissident views?
Hear, hear, let the man publish!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

S.M. Stirling's Santa Fe vampire novel is now released! Samples are available. Been looking forward to this one (though it is not the first Santa Fe vampire novel).

Thanks to Chas for the reminder, and for a very pleasant recent visit:
...layers and layers. Ethnic balkanization and people cherishing hatreds and triumphs that go back centuries. Martyrs and massacres. Deep roots in the earth.
That's us! Don't be a stranger!

Update: Can't really recommend this one, alas. S&M Stirling would be an apt moniker in this instance. He really seems rather more interested in the sexual implications of his vampires' abilities than in, say, plot.
Far out: Do birds see magentic fields through quantum entanglement?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Some rather--unusual--fallacies over at Siris.
Argumentum fistulatorium means, roughly, 'argument by piping'. Ad verecundiam, ex absurdo, and ex Fortiori are, respectively, argument from authority, from the absurdity of the position, and from the truth of a stronger conclusion. They would have been found in real lists of argument-types at the time. All the rest are jokes, but argumentum baculinum was an old one by Sterne's time; it occurs when you resolve an argument by beating your opponent with a club or a stick.
I'm not sure that the baculinum is always a fallacy, however; there are obviously times (for example, if your interlocuter argues that you are incapable of striking him) when it answers quite well; and in any case no less a philosopher than Duns Scotus employs it in his Ordinatio:
And so too, those who deny that some being is contigent should be exposed to torments until they concede that it is possible for them not to be tormented.
Both understandable and effective, I imagine. The Scotch, of course, were noted for combining the fistulatorium and baculinum with great success.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Boy, this expedition sounds like fun:
April 28, 2010 Marks the 221st anniversary of the Mutiny on the Bounty, when Fletcher Christian cast William Bligh and 18 of his men adrift in a 23ft open boat, which marked the beginning of one of the greatest open boat voyages in maritime history. During the following seven weeks, Bligh and his men sailed over 3,700 nautical miles, in an overloaded boat, with little food or water and no charts, from Tonga to Kupang in Timor.

On that same day, in the same place, at the same time, Australian adventurer Don McIntyre, three other crew, will relive Bligh’s nightmare, by attempting to sail the same voyage under similar conditions, no charts, no toilet paper, not enough food or water, in an 18th century traditional open timber whale boat.
Good on 'em! And better them than me!

HT: Adventure Blog