Category Archives: Life style

With Lorries in Traffic 鈥 Q&A

Why did the lorry flash its high beams?
When a lorry passes another, it is usually hard for the passing driver to know when the rear end of his trailer has passed and it is safe to move back to the right lane. The one who gets passed will therefore often flash the high beams as a signal indicating when it is time to change lanes.

Other resons may include: salute a friend, signal to an oncoming to switch to low beams, mistake when fumbling for another control and a signal that something is wrong with the vehicle ahead.

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Ma镁etes describes the early Christians

OPINION In Ante-Nicene Fathers, we find this description of the early Christians from, probably, the 2nd century:

For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines.
But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly paradoxical method of life.
They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers.
They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not cast away f艙tuses. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all.

So, the Cristians were not distinguished from other men by the customs which they observed. Why is this important? It is important because if your customs are incompatible with the customs of other men, you will not be able to communicate with them. If you can’t communicate with men who don’t belong to your group, you will not be able to see through lies about these people that someone from your own community wants to establish, or established as fact long ago. Such lies could even make you scared of these men.

Religious leaders know this, so they try to set you apart 鈥 holy in an unnecessary way 鈥 as so different from other people that you dare not talk to them lest you become contaminated by their unpious manners, and they dare not talk to you lest they get ensnared by pharisaic logic and dragged down into a black hole of cultic subjection under a god that always seems to decide according to the wishes of a group of men who also publish that god’s decrees, or perhaps interpret them.

It would seem that the best solution is to do like the early Christians did according to Mathetes 鈥 to be very much like everybody else and feel free to talk to any member of society. (Luke 5:30-32) However, what do we do when society itself embraces extreme customs?

Which is the real cause for the success of Scandinavia?

There is an immense need to set straight the record of what made the Scandinavian countries successful in the first half of the 20th century. The three most commonly voiced explanations are atheism, sexual liberty and the wellfare state. Sadly, these rather mark the end to Scandinavia’s era of success. Nima Sanandaji (a blogger with a PhD from KTH in Stockholm) who is well suited for the task, has produced an essay which tries to answer the question based on sound statstics, for example recognizing that there is a time lag between a social development (such as a reform) and its effect on work ethics and life expectancy.

“Why do Nordic societies have unusually strong emphasis on individual responsibility and strong social capital? Religion, climate and history all seem to have played a role in forming these unique cultures. Over a hundred years ago, German sociologist Max Weber observed that Protestant countries in northern Europe tended to have a higher living standard, more high-quality academic institutions and overall stronger social cohesion than Catholic and orthodox countries.”

You can read the paper here.

Patrologia Gr忙ca online

Ken M. Penner announced on the Ibiblio Biblical Greek Forum that:

A first stab at producing OCR-generated Greek and Latin for the complete Patrologia Graeca (PG) is now available on GitHub at

This resource provide access to texts written by the so called church fathers 鈥 persons living mainly in the 1st – 6th centuries and who witnessed the developments around the early Christian eklesia. Its 161 volumes include in addition many authors up to the 15th century.

On a train in Scania

I caught a train to K酶benhavn (Copenhagen) today, from H盲ssleholm in Scania. It had been a couple of years since I rode a train in Scania and the one thing that has changed since then is the composition of passengers with regard to their country of origin. It used to be 80% Nordic (Swedish/Danish/Scanian) but now it was less than 50% Nordic in my car in both directions.

I sat down next to two men who spoke Arabic, however the teenage boy across the gangway, and his family, spoke a language I could not guess 鈥 Albanian it would turn out. He asked me if I spoke English and was relieved that I did. Later when the family were pulling down their luggage from the racks he asked me if this was Malm枚 Central Station. I replied that, “Nope, it’s Lund. Malm枚 is the next stop”, and they avoided disaster.

The Arabs next to me said they were going to Copenhagen, yet got off in Malm枚. When the ticket-collector came by in the tunnel neath 脴resund, he asked another Arabic-looking family where they intended to get off. “Malm枚”, the man replied. “In that case you have travelled too far. This is Denmark.”
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Gothic in web pages

Gothic has been written in particularly three scripts (fu镁arks or, as some call them, alphabets) 鈥 the Elder Fu镁ark, Wulfilan Script and (today) Latin. Of these, Latin has the best support on Internet-connected devices; indeed you are reading this in Latin script. The Latin alphabet, however, does not match the sounds or characters of Gothic speech so the Latin transcription has added two special characters: 镁 (thorn) and 茣 (hwair).

In 1999, the Elder Fu镁ark was included in the Unicode standard so that it is available to most Internet surfers by downloading and installing a font. The runes are scattered across the range 16A0鈥16FF.

In 2001 Wulfilan script was included. It has numbers 10330-1034A.

With more and more devices supporting Unicode better and better, it is time to ask the question: Is it time to switch back from Latin script to Wulfilan? If not, Latin will certainly stick and cause usage of the special characters to once again disappear from a nascent reconstructed Gothic as it did from Germanic languages in the Dark Ages. But if the switch should happen completely, it may present beginners with a brick-wall of boxes or invisible text, rather than a learning curve, ever so steep.

A solution which tries to both eat a cookie and save it for later, uses Wulfilan script for upper-case except when the Wulfilan character is problematic due to confusion with a Latin character of different value or when the corresponding Latin character is so similar that it does not matter which one is used. For lower case, it uses the Latin transcription which is already in wide use. Upper case letters aren’t used that often in a text, so they can usually be figured out if they do not show properly. An additional simplification is to take the Gothic character which is shaped like a Y, and which is pronounced either w or like a german 眉 (Nordic and Koine Greek Y) and let it map to y. This frees w, which can be used to represent the hw-sound of 茣.

The proposal is exemplified in this PDF: Gothic-script-draft