Inca Indian found in medieval grave in Norway

Sometimes even the most respected of newspapers may give you a story that is highly entertaining, but that nevertheless calls for some editorial discipline.

The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten today reports that Norwegian archaeologists have found the skeleton of a a man that seems to be an Inca Indian.

The grave, which was found in connection with the excavation of the St. Nicholas church of Sarpsborg in the county of Østfold, also contained the remains of one more man and a baby.

“There is a bone in the neck [of the man] that has not healed,” Norwegian archaeologist Mona Beate Buckholm says, “and this is an inherited trait that is only found among Inca Indians in Peru.”

She adds: “This is a sensation!”

She is right about the sensation part.


How to keep human beings as pets

Timian the Cat SupremeBy Aviana PK guest writer Timian

There has been some discussions in cat circles lately on the benefits of keeping human beings as pets. Some cats have argued that to much work is involved, and that humans impede their freedom. Others say that human beings are useful because they work hard and are in general easy to train and keep clean.

I definitely belong to the latter group. And speak out of experience, having kept two human beings as pets since the fall of last year.

Per and Susanne are friendly creatures, they show strong affection towards me and my sister Basilikum and are in general good at performing the tasks required of them (the provision of food, litter box cleaning etc.).

If I have any complaint it must be that it is hard to get them to understand the concept of quality food. I am sure the dry pellets are good for my fur, but they taste like cardboard!

Anyway, I believe it would benefit some of my fellow cats if a shared my man keeping rules with them.

1. Be strict and consistent

Human beings are simple creatures and their instincts may drive them towards trying to restrict you freedom of movement. They may, for instance, try to stop you from walking on tables, scratching furniture and eating plants.

In my experience the proper response is be gentle, but strict. Make it totally clear that this is your preserve and that you decide. If you are persistent long enough, the human beings will give in.

Give them a hug when they give in. You can get a long way with some positive conditioning!

2. Communicate in a transparent manner

My human pets have clearly been around cats before, as they do — for instance — understand that narrow eyes signify a sense of satisfaction.

In other ways, however, they are totally inept at normal communication, which proves, in my opinion, that the human intelligence is not well developed. They are brighter than dogs, but then again, what animal isn’t?

They do, for instance, not understand that it is impolite not to sniff a behind when presented to them. On the other hand, I accept the explanation given by my sister Basilikum for the fact that they do not raise their own tails: The poor creatures do not have tails, and their unfortunate lack of fur forces them to cover their behinds in artificial skins.

Some philosophers have argued that human beings have a underdeveloped body language and a weak sense of smell because they are using sound for communication instead — very much in the same way as birds.

However, recent research goes against this theory. Hence Felix the Magnificent believes that their chattering is just a form of auditory grooming. He correctly points out that not one of the intelligent species we know of (cats, lions, leopards, pumas, lynx and tigers) make active use of noise for advanced communication, except for reining in kittens, warning enemies or attracting mates.

Hence restrict your communication to bodily contact.


The old city of Tallinn in Estonia

TallinnLast week I had the pleasure of visiting Tallinn in Estonia. The Estonian government has asked the EU Commission to make a review of Estonian innovation policies, and I was asked by the Commission to be part of the review expert group.

Estonian innovation policy makers are extremely well oriented as regards the latest thinking on systemic innovation policies and the role of learning and innovation in economic development — much more so than most of their colleagues in the “old” member countries. It seems to me that this is a reflection of a general aspect of the development of post-Soviet Estonia: A great ability to learn quickly, work hard and do what it takes to catch up with rest of Europe.

And although the Estonian’s themselves are impatient people and will complain about economic difficulties and the ongoing conflicts with Russia, they are doing very well. The economy is growing at a breath taking pace, and as far as Tallinn is concerned, what I saw was a modern, successful, European county.
Tallinn, Estonia
(The suburbs and other parts of the country will tell you another story, they told me. I am sure it will, but what has happened in Tallinn demonstrates the possibilities).


Dead Like Me

Dead Like MeTV company boss: I hear you have a great idea for a TV show for us. I really liked your last one. What is it this time?

TV Show Producer: (enthusiastic): Well we have this great idea — an existential comedy about death!

Boss: Death? You mean like in “dying”, “decomposing, “disappearing”? It was my impression that we are trying to help people forget that kind of thing.

Producer: But that’s the point! People do not forget that kind of thing. They may suppress it, but they cannot get away from it, so instead we make a comedy out of it. It is cathartic!

Boss: God, didn’t you do enough of this in college?

Producer: Listen, the show is about this 18 year old girl, you see. In the pilot she is hit by a toilet seat from the Russian Mir space station.

Boss: Toilet seat. I take it that this is symbolic?


The Gardener

On our way to Caesarea
We rested at an inn
She poured me wine and water
I asked her about sin
I said, Mary Magdalena
What did the Master say
About working on the Sabbath
And on how you ought to pray

Jacob back in Kanaan
Says playing is a sin
You should never eat a pork chop
You should never see an inn
You will never get salvation
If you ever walk on red
You will only go to heaven
If you do what Moses said

Mary Magdalene

Mary took a piece of bread
And smiled her mournful smile
Listen well, she said to me
This may take a while
If you live your life by paragraphs
Paper’s what you’ll bite
You will try and try and try again
And never get it right

He’ll judge you by your dead deeds
If that is your request
But he will also open up your heart
That’s quite another test
Your hatred, envy, lust and greed
Will pierce you like a spear
You’d better call your lawyer, boy
I have his card right here

(This is a lyric looking for a song. If you make use of it, tell me)

Upgrading a MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro 17 inchWe have given up on regular desktop computers. They take too much space and make too much noise. Hence our newest PC is the first incarnation of the Apple MacBook Pro 17″ (Intel Core Duo). It’s easy to store away, but does at the same time have a large enough screen for serious graphic design.

Apple is generous when it comes to design and quality. The 17″ is an expensive machine, so I guess we where a bit disappointed when we found that the machine was no faster than our previous “lamp post” PowerPC iMac. i mean, Apple boasted that this machine should be up till five times faster!

We also saw a lot of the so-called beach-ball of death. This is a symbol that pops on the screen when the Mac is looking for disk resources and it takes time to find them.

We are power users, which means that we have a large number of programs up and running at the same time, including email. iTunes, Word, Photoshop, interarchy FTP, Pagespinner HTML editor, Firefox. And that is on a slow day. Using the Activity Monitor we found that 1GB of memory simply is not enough to use such a machine effectively.

Today we went down to our local humac Apple store and bought another gigabyte, and yes, that made all of the difference! It is now running as fast as it should.

We wonder, though, why Apple are selling high end machines like this with only 1GB memory. Come to think of it, until very recently Apple actually sold machine with half that amount of RAM. We do understand that 100 EUR here and 100 EUR there — it adds up. Still, it could be more expensive to piss Mac-users off.

And yes, we installed the new memory chips all by ourselves. It is not that hard really, if you have a clean table, a very small screwdriver and a focused mind.