Det ble litt tett med badeoppdateringer en periode i høst, men nå er det såpass lenge siden sist (og forsåvidt såpass lenge siden sist jeg skrev en artikkel at jeg føler jeg må hoste opp noe uansett tema) at det er på tide å sjekke status. Og statusen er at jeg (og en hard kjerne på rundt fire av mine kollegaer) har badet i gjennomsnitt to-tre ganger i uken siden juli. Temperaturen i vannet er nå nede i rundt 4-5 grader, med 3.5 som foreløpig kaldeste.

Det som er litt demotiverende å tenke på er at selv om vi fra i dag går mot lysere tider går vi på ingen måte mot varmere tider. Jeg lastet ned og plottet et år med data fra Norkyst 800, både for den posisjonen som så vidt jeg kan bedømme ligger nærmest Sjøbadet, og for 150 meters dyp midt et par kilometer ut i fjorden.

Temperaturen i overflaten ved Sjøbadet, og på 150 meters dyp uti fjorden et sted, plottet med daglige data fra perioden 1. juni 2013 til 31. mai 2014.

Hvis sesongen 2013-2014 var representativ ser vi altså at vi har fire kalde måneder foran oss, før temperaturen begynner å ta seg opp i april. Vi har hørt ulike rapporter om hva temperaturen var på det kaldeste i fjor, noen sier 0.2 grader i vannet, andre sier 3. Nå har det seg jo slik at temperaturen i overflatelaget i fjorden kan endre seg ganske kjapt, avhengig av vannføring i elven ...
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Christmas stories: Journey of the Magi

There have been some poems in this series of Christmas stories, but they have all been very Santa-oriented. When a colleague suggested I include T. S. Eliot's poem, "Journey of the Magi", I thought it might be a nice change. Also, we've had Luke; it's time Matthew got some attention, too. This is, you might say, a different take on the Christian birth story.

The poem was written in 1927, so it is an interwar poem (with all that might imply). You should also know that Eliot was a strong believer in the Literary Tradition (and himself as an important part of that literary tradition). His poems are therefore often very erudite, full of quotations and allusions. This one is not so bad, but it helps to know your Bible.

The three wise men (the actual number never actually specified, but we tend to have them portrayed as three because they brought three gifts) are going to Bethlehem to greet the new born child (although the poem never states outright the purpose of the journey -- it leaves you to figure it out for yourself, based on whatever references you can pick up on).

The original account is found in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2. Within the context of the Christian tradition, one would expect the experience of the Magi to be recounted as a transcendent, wonderful and pure experience of joy and awe. Matthew 2:10 says that “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with ...
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Christmas stories: Hercule Poirot's Christmas

First edition cover.
When we were still bright-eyed, bushy-tailed high schoolers, Tor and some friends made a list of things you could learn from history. I seem to recall "Don't invade Russia" was top of the list, but "don't drive in an open top car if you have enemies" was one of them. I have since been thinking that this particular entry should be amended to "Don't drive in an open top car or invite Poirot to spend time with you if you have enemies". Of course, that does not protect you from other people inviting him and you at the same time or neighbours inviting him to stay, in which case (I am sorry to say), the end is inevitable. Probably best not to get enemies.

I have previously pointed out that while in Norway crime is the purview of Easter, English-speakers seem to be all in favour of a murderous (when not ghostly) Christmas. And there is one author it would be a crime to neglect. Agatha Christie wrote 66 detective novels and 14 collections of short stories, and it should be no surprise that there is not just one set at Christmas. I could think of two off the top of my head, and after consulting Jamie Bernthal, I was told that there is also a Miss Marple story called "A Christmas Tragedy" (I had actually read that, but not filed it under Christmas at all) as well as some religious children's stories ...
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Christmas stories: A Christmas Carol

You (two dear, faithful readers, Google-bots and random passers-by) must have wondered when Dickens was going to show up here. He is, after all, pretty much the man who gave Christmas back to England, not to mention the author of one of the most Christmasy of Christmas stories.

I'm sorry, did I say "one"? As if Dickens would limit himself so: He published no less than five Christmas books over a six year period (The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life and The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain, in addition to the one you have heard about), and not content to stop there, he edited Christmas numbers of his journals to be read at Christmas, like Dr. Marigold's Prescriptions or Somebody's Luggage, Mugby Junction, The Haunted House etc, etc; Dickens was Mr. Christmas. Even his final, unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood (the murder mystery without an ending) has the crucial event centre on Christmas. But while most of these stories or collections have been largely forgotten, there is one that remains.

First published 171 years ago today.
A Christmas Carol is the ultimate Christmas story: A frozen soul turned to life and warmth (I am not joking about that theme running though these Christmas stories). And quite apart from the introduction of Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and Scrooge (which, like Grinch, remains a term for the non-Christmas-compatible -- presumably with a hope that they may be redeemed), it is credited ...
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Christmas stories: The Night Before Christmas

First volume of Вечера на хуторе близ Диканьки;
our story is in the 2nd, published the following year.
There is a tendency to think of Russian and Eastern European writers as ... well, a little depressing. This is not altogether true. Granted, Dostoevsky can take a grim turn (though nothing is as depressing as his happy endings, trust me), and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina does end in death and despair. But Russia is also the country of Bulgakov. And Nikolai Gogol, who precedes either, has a bit of both. He is also one of the great short story writers (thus putting paid to the idea of Russian literature as solely consisting of endless novels, in case you were labouring under that delusion).

Gogol was Ukrainian, though he wrote in Russian, and so I assume both sides in the current conflict lay claim to him). He moved to St. Petersburg at the age of 19, and only a few years later started publishing stories "from Dikanka" (a Cossack village in Ukraine). "The Night Before Christmas" (sometimes called "Christmas Eve") was one of them (originally published in 1832).

It opens quite conventionally. Or at least without any major surprises.
The day of Christmas Eve ended, and the night began, cold and clear.
Then, suddenly, a witch flies out of a chimney, collects a sleeve full of stars, and is soon joined by a devil
who had one night left to roam among Christian folk and teach them devilish tricks. Tomorrow at the first ...
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Christmas stories: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

I think I was eight the first time I read the Narnia books. The Christian allegory went right over my head. I did wonder why Aslan was a lamb at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Threader (it seemed rather silly), but other than that, I was a happy reader. Quite a few things went over my head at the time, but I was used to that; in fact, I still am. I don't expect it will change.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is not the first book in the internal chronology of the Narnia series (and I must admit that when I found The Magician's Nephew, I felt a little like I imagine archaeologists do when they find a text only hinted at in later ones), but it was in fact the first one published (and, as far as I know, the first one filmed -- has anyone actually tried to film The Magician's Nephew -- or The Horse and his Boy for that matter?). It is probably also the one with the clearest Christian allusions (with the possible exception of The Last Battle, where Lewis pretty much gives up on allusions and goes straight for explicit declarations).

Narnia was always going to feature in this series on Christmas books (and not just because it has the best title of them all). More specifically, this particular book in the Narnia series had to be here. Because Christmas permeates the first half of the story ...
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Christmas stories: A Visit from St. Nicholas

The poem was first published anonymously in on December 23,
1823; this manuscript belongs to the New York Historical Society.
Perhaps the most famous opening and closing lines in all of Christmas literature (and yes, I am including the Bible excerpt in that) come from an American poem by Clement Clarke Moore, written in 1823. Moore was a serious man with a serious reputation, and did not originally acknowledge the poem as his (it was not quite on par with his Bible studies and his Hebrew lexicon); but he seems to have changed his mind later.

I suspect, however, that these days most people, certainly this side of the pond, learn of the poem first through the parodies that reference it. It has a very simple rhyme scheme (rhyming couplets, if you are interested in the names of things) and the metre (anapaestic tetrametre, to be specific, which you also saw in the Grinch -- I wonder why) is more bouncy (even galloping?) and distinctive than the more pedestrian iambic pentameter of Shakespeare. There is a Lovecraftian parody (what is it with Lovecraft and Christmas?), a Batman one, a Star Trek one (actually, there are a lot of those), and so on. It goes on forever. And that is not even counting all the texts that only reference parts of the original poem. It is worth looking at where all those parodies come from: Ad Fontes!
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house
Not a creature was stirring ...
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Christmas stories: Nicholas Was...

"Nicholas Was..." began life as a Christmas card,
but can be found in Smoke and Mirrors.
Neil Gaiman has a history of writing variations on well known stories, and doing it well. There was the incomparable "A Study in Emerald", which unites Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraftian horror at last (granted, so did the other stories in the collection Shadows over Baker Street, though none as wonderfully). Likewise, there was "Snow Glass Apples", which sees the story of Snow White through rather darker glasses than Disney ever managed. Perhaps to add balance, there is also a surprisingly upbeat take on the Cthulhu mythos.

It should, at any rate, therefore not come as any sort of great shock that the man has a take on the Santa Claus story which departs a little from the beaten track. In short, I hereby present the antithesis to L. Frank Baum's book-length story of happy nymphs and the glory of toys. In every way. Where Baum's book has two hundred pages, Gaiman makes do with one (in fact the story, including the title, is exactly 100 words long); where Baum's Santa is a happy creature bent on improving the lives of children everywhere, Gaiman's is ... not.
Nicholas Was...

older than sin, and his beard could grow no whiter. He wanted to die.
Not the classic opening to a Christmas story, really. While the idea of an immortal being envying the mortal is not altogether new, it is rarely paired with cheerful ...
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Christmas stories: Luke 2:1-20

Luke 2 from The King James Version of the Bible (1611)
-- the third approved English translation, but
probably the most famous.
I guess it's called Christmas for a reason (the Christ and Mass parts of the word suggests something rather more overtly religious than the rather more archaic Yule). While to me, the holiday is very much a secular event, and I think of it as part of a long tradition of midwinter festivals that are there to promise that the sun is not actually going away forever (and we all need that reassurance on occasion), it would seem churlish to bypass the text that is most commonly associated with the origin of the current Western incarnation of the festival.

In Norwegian, it is called "Jule-evangeliet", the Christmas Gospel. I haven't come across an English name for it, except the book, chapter and verse: Luke 2:1-20. The Gospel of Luke is not the oldest; Mark, however, does not begin his account until the baptism, and is therefore useless for Christmas purposes. Matthew could be a candidate (he is the one with the story of the wise men and king Herod killing all the children), though; but perhaps someone felt that angels appearing to shepherds was more appropriate to the season than magicians from the East having divined it from the stars (there is also less murdering of babies in Luke, which helps set the tone of goodwill towards men).

St. Luke is the patron saint of students ...
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Christmas stories: The Santa Klaus Murder

The cover of the British Library's new edition of the novel;
the old one was dull, green and impossible to get a hold of.
If you have not heard of this book, or of Mavis Doriel Hay for that matter, that is probably not your fault (I don't think she even has a wikipedia page, which in this day and age must be the height of obscurity). I came across the novel by chance, and only thanks to the British Library's recent effort to republish out of print crime classics in its collection (of which I now own a surprising number).

The book was originally published by Skeffington & sons in 1936 as The Santa Klaus Murder; compiled by M. Doriel Hay from the accounts written by several of those concerned; but that edition has been out of print for ages, and there aren't even used copies to be had on all of ViaLibri, except the recent British Library edition (though that does not keep some people from trying to charge nearly £50 for a new soft-cover book that is now very much in print). Its publication date places it squarely in the Golden Age of detective fiction, and it shows several indications of that. For example, I think it follows all the rules on Ronald Knox' Detective Story Decalogue (though it does fall short of some on S.S. Van Dine's rather more extreme list -- then again, I don't know of many good detective ...
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Speak you're branes
Tor 22.12.14 00:04

(Vintersolverv er (var) i år klokken 00:03 den 22 desember.)
Tor 22.12.14 00:02

God Vintersolverv!
Ragnhild 20.11.14 14:42

Apple-idiotiet mitt fortsetter: Ved lette småskader på iPhone vraker de altså telefonen og sender deg en ny. Nå har jeg mistet nydelige bilder fra Chile og Spania.
Ragnhild 05.11.14 17:21

Hehe. "Bør Mac fra 2008 oppgraderes". Nå skal eplehuset bestille minnekort (?) slik at de kan oppgradere maskinen min (10.5.8)til Yosemite. Det går visst an. Alt man lærer!
Ragnhild 30.10.14 09:09

@Camilla: Gratulerer med det!
Camilla 29.10.14 15:55

@Ragnhild: Jeg jobber nå på Luftkrigsskolen. Mer engelsk språk og krigshistorie enn tung litteraturteori, men interessant (og med forskningstid).
Ragnhild 29.10.14 08:59

Lynforumpostene mine har hatt en tendens til å multiplisere seg selv. Bør mac fra 2008 oppgraderes? Er det dyrt?
Tor 28.10.14 23:03

Calcuttagutta er jo hovedsaklig utviklet på en Mac fra 2008, så det burde funke greit.
Tor 28.10.14 23:02

Hva er det som ikke funker med lynforumet?
Ragnhild 22.10.14 16:02

Lynforum+min mac fra 2008=dårlig match.
Ragnhild 22.10.14 16:01

Camilla: Har du funnet deg en spennende jobb nå? Er nysgjerrig.
Ragnhild 22.10.14 16:01

Camilla: Har du funnet deg en spennende jobb nå? Er nysgjerrig.
Are 15.10.14 21:07

Fusjon! (AviationWeek)
Camilla 28.09.14 22:07

For de med interesse for jazz og litteraturteori: Derrida og Coleman.
Camilla 14.09.14 19:53

Camilla 14.09.14 19:53

Jeg har ikke lest Marta Breen, dessverre; men det jeg har sett av henne virket fornuftig.
Ragnhild 12.09.14 10:13

Camilla: Leser at du stadig er feminist, og lurer på om du har en kommentar til Marta Breens nye bok? Anbefales for øvrig til alle som ikke har lest den!
Tor 07.09.14 22:03

Jeg ville lagt til fortran, som er et lysssvert. An elegant weapon, for a more civilised time.
Camilla 16.07.14 23:12

Jeg skal kuratere We The Humanities neste uke. (@wethehumanities)
Tor 23.04.14 07:59

Tor 15.04.14 01:00

Tor 08.04.14 20:44

Hmm, to måneder uten aktivitet i lynforumet, og over to uker mellom artikler. Jeg tror jeg må skjerpe meg litt.
Tor 01.02.14 12:47

Kul, men det ser ut som de har løftet den fra wikipedia, fjernet kildehenvisningene og lagt til rotete grafikk
Tor 14.01.14 21:33

Forøvrig, når det er snakk om å varme opp en såpass komplisert substans som kaffe, og når man diskuterer effekter på smak og slikt, er det nok mer kjemi enn fysikk.
Tor 13.01.14 23:06

Godt spørsmål. Jeg skal tenke på det. Jag faktisk tydd til mikrobølgeovn fra tid til annen jeg også, og da stort sett flat pedal i et minutt eller så.
Are 13.01.14 21:43

O Tor. Du som kan fysikk. Hva er den mest skånsomme måten å varme opp igjen kald kaffe på? Er mikrobølgeovn på svak styrke bedre enn kort tid på full guffe? #potensiellArtikkel
Ulf 13.01.14 12:17

Halve prinsesseriket og en trekvarts Jarlsberg til den som lærer meg å stoppe scrollingen når artikkelen er ferdiglest. Grøss og gru for et kommentarfelt.
Are 13.12.13 23:10

He he he. Jeg stusset også på det positive synet på xls ;)
Tor 12.12.13 21:00

Vel, ikke akkurat. Men jeg er naturligvis enig. Bortsett fra as .xls også burde være på negativ.
Are 11.12.13 20:08

Tor 27.11.13 20:46

What if, skulle det naturligvis være.
Tor 27.11.13 20:46

Skikkelig kul hat if? denne uken.
Ragnhild 10.11.13 15:32

Hva skjedde med å slette kommentarer igjen? Vet ikke hva jeg egentlig har skrevet under. Ellers kan jeg melde om fin søkyteis på Høvikbanen.
Ragnhild 10.11.13 13:59

Åja. Jeg er vel ikke den rette til å vurdere folk til å uttale seg om noe de ikke har satt seg inn i. Noe jeg akkurat gjorde (gikk til linken uten å lese den).
Tor 10.11.13 13:46

Det skal være folk som ikke arbeider med litteratur til daglig, så Camilla er nok utelukket. Men vi andre kan jo slenge inn en søknad.
Ragnhild 10.11.13 11:53

Ooops. Sorry.
Ragnhild 10.11.13 11:52

Har du søkt? Jeg mener, du kan vel lede juryen?
Ragnhild 10.11.13 11:52

Har du søkt? Jeg mener, du kan vel lede juryen?
Ragnhild 10.11.13 11:52

Har du søkt? Jeg mener, du kan vel lede juryen?
Ragnhild 10.11.13 11:52

Har du søkt? Jeg mener, du kan vel lede juryen?
Camilla T. 10.11.13 06:09

Camilla 08.11.13 11:48

Kom gjerne på Austen-seminar på Trondheim folkebibliotek i morgen.
Camilla 08.11.13 11:47

Are 01.11.13 14:47

Og Lincoln, som jeg heller ikke har anmeldt; godt historisk drama :)
Are 01.11.13 12:35

Captain Phillips: Glimrende spenningsfilm, gripende drama.
Ragnhild 31.10.13 18:58

Forresten, jeg var veldig dårlig til å respondere på den hyggelige introduksjonen til Alissa og hennes Peru-kunnskaper. Jeg skal ta opp tråden ved anledning.
Ragnhild 31.10.13 18:58

Forresten, jeg var veldig dårlig til å respondere på den hyggelige introduksjonen til Alissa og hennes Peru-kunnskaper. Jeg skal ta opp tråden ved anledning.
Ragnhild 31.10.13 18:55

Jeg bor på Høvik i Bærum. Men jeg "er" mest på vei til og fra et klasserom i Nydalen i Oslo, ja.
Camilla 31.10.13 09:50

Argh. Glem det. Jeg antar Oslo, siden det er der elevene dine er?
Camilla 31.10.13 09:50

Ragnhild: Er du i Bergen eller Oslo nå? (Hvis folk ikke har holdt seg på samme sted siden videregående, glemmer jeg det alltid.)
Ragnhild 26.10.13 14:31

"Det er bra at vi fikk blåblå regjerning, for nå betaler pappa mindre skatt, og jeg får mer..." Skoleelev (16), Oslo.
Tor 23.10.13 07:31

Tja. Det finnes vel tullinger som dikter opp data i alle fagfelter, vil jeg tro, men det der virket som et ekstra drøyt eksempel.
Tor 20.10.13 22:06

Noen som kan komme på at de har lånt Foundation av oss?
Are 18.10.13 23:23

Ragnhild 16.10.13 19:41

Global Dignity Day i dag?
Ragnhild 16.10.13 19:40

Å gå på line er bra for koordinasjon, balanse og konsetrasjon. Men det skorter ikke på det her i gården?!
Camilla 15.10.13 08:48

Tor 13.10.13 21:43

Tor 13.10.13 21:18

Det er Ada Lovelace-dagen på tirsdag. En utmerket anledning til å lære seg Ada.
Tor 13.10.13 21:15

Og det spørs om vi må se den filmen. Jeg så riktignok bare en utendørs scene fra Leith i traileren, men det var jo mange fine klipp fra andre steder i Edinburgh.
Tor 13.10.13 21:13

Dårlig med line her i gården, hverken slakk eller stram.
Are 12.10.13 23:25

Tor, Camilla, dette er vel noe for dere? Sunshine on Leith
Ragnhild 12.10.13 18:13

Er det noen av dere som går på slakkline?
Tor 10.10.13 21:11 Jeg greide 20 av 20.
Tor 08.10.13 22:51