The oldest noodles ever found, have been excavated in northwestern China. Culinary archaeology: Millet noodles in Late Neolithic China, from Nature The bowl was found upside-down and embedded in brownish-yellow, fine clay. When we lifted off the bowl, the remains of the noodles were found inside, on top of the cone of sediment that had filled the inverted earthenware container… The noodles were thin (about 0.3 cm in diameter), delicate,.. Read More


Ron Bergquist visited me in my office earlier today & gave me a 4-track player & a tape. The player is the very one in the photo here (was there ever more than one model of 4-track player manufactured?); the tape is Otis Redding The Dock of the Bay. Why did he give this to me? Probably to get the damn thing out of his house. Also because I seem.. Read More

Ig Nobel Prizes

The Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded yesterday — last night, in fact, as we here in SILS were holding our Louis Round Wilson Academy shindig. Coincidence? Some of the more amusing prizes, in my opinion were: Physics, for a seriously longitudinal study. Literature, for spam as a short narrative form. Peace, for making a a locust watch Star Wars. What I want to know is, how can you tell if.. Read More

The New Republic of Letters

The Blogosphere as a Carnival of Ideas, from the Chronicle It’s all about carnivals for me recently, for some reason. Anyway, it’s gratifying to finally see some positive treatment of blogging in academia. Academic blogs offer the kind of intellectual excitement and engagement that attracted many scholars to the academic life in the first place, but which often get lost in the hustle to secure positions, grants, and disciplinary recognition… Read More

The beer car

Don’t like parking? Try Pivo This is really only funny if you know that pivo is the Croatian word for beer. Gives new meaning to “don’t drink and drive.” This photo is one of those previously unpublished from the Croatia vacation this past summer (the one on the left, I mean… click for the full-size version). These LaÅ¡ko Pivo umbrellas were absolutely everywhere, at practically every outdoor café. And there.. Read More

kon-Tiki Replication

Kon-Tiki Raft Voyage to Be Re-Created OSLO, Norway — An effort to recreate the late Thor Heyerdahl’s famed 101-day Pacific crossing aboard the Kon-Tiki balsa raft resumed Tuesday after a postponement forced by last year’s southern Asia tsunami. The team, which includes the Norwegian adventurer’s grandson, Olav Heyerdahl, plans to sail from Peru in late April, a year later than originally scheduled.

Bob Mould

I went to see Bob Mould last night at Cat’s Cradle. The last time I saw Bob Mould was in Boston at the Paradise. That would have been, well, when I was still living in Boston. And thinking about it, since he was solo, probably on the tour to support Hubcap, so 1996 or ’97. So 8 or 9 years ago. Oy! Ok, now that I feel old… That was.. Read More

MacArthur “Genius” Grants

One of my favorite things every year is to read the bios of the people who win the MacArthur Fellowships — the “Genius” grant. First of all, I love the tag line: One call out of the blue – $500,000 – no strings attached. Every grant-seeking academic’s dream. But really, the MacArthur Fellows are just so cool, the work they do is so diverse & just so damn interesting. And.. Read More

Smash It Up

Ok, not really. A few days ago I reported on my Blue Screen of Death adventure. Well, I have my laptop back now, as of this morning. Apparently the system board had gone bad, though I have not been able to get more detailed information than that. So I have a brand-spanking new system board & accompanying MAC address now. In a way, I was hoping that it would be.. Read More

Wait Wait…

Last night Yvonne & I went to see Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! at the newly-renovated Memorial Hall. First of all, they did a really beautiful job on Memorial Hall! I don’t know what it looked like before — the construction on it has been going on since before I moved here — but it’s a very functional space that’s also very attractive. Nice big lobby, comfy seats, terrific architecture.. Read More