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Hello, Scholars (& Friends!)

My undergrad degree was in philosophy and I passed the bar exam in 2012 (oof) so now I teach (yay). My interests are broad and varied; I enjoy reading academic papers on random topics like feudalism and the role of priestesses in ancient Rome.

I'm working on an epic fantasy novel inspired by the environmental crises in northeast Africa, but I won't talk much about the writing process nearly as often as I'll squee about obscure research dives.

I am speaking about ancient spears at the online International Ancient Warfare Conference on Saturday, the Zoom is open to the public and I may share my talk later @JubalBarca @eleanorkonik

What's everybody's favorite mythical, legendary, folkloric, or just plain ole ancient smith?

Bonus points for the really obscure ones!

Mine is the Dark Smith of Drontheim aka Loan Maclibuin, a legendary Norwegian smith that forms the basis of Zee from the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.

Got a review back recently saying that a certain ascetic source and a hagiographic source aren't thematically connected, because the latter "is clearly about jewelry." Ok, then what is the "most precious pearl" mentioned over and over and over all about?

Does anyone have a piece of longform journalism that really stuck with you for a long time after you read it, particularly for being a well-written narrative as opposed to something shocking?

I'm looking for examples of really good non-book-length nonfiction storytelling.

two-handed swords in Warring States China 

Two-handed swords were common in southern China by 300 BCE, but in Europe they don't become common until after 1200 CE.

Dr. Ben Judkins argues that this was possible not because of developments in metallurgy, but because of the mighty Asian rhinoceros and armour made from its hide @eleanorkonik

Have you noticed that you can't see the numbers on the boosts and favourites from the timeline, only after you click on a post? This is another great feature, not a bug. This works against the gamification you see in corporate social media sites. Preventing the economy of likes and retweets that drives behaviours elsewhere. I personally love this.


Any recommendations for cosy or novels (or short story collections!) to sink my nose into? I'm thinking along the lines of Elizabeth Bear's white space novels, or basically anything by Becky Chambers.

I'm currently researching guard animals other than dogs and I feel like there should be more than two, but it's surprisingly hard to find a good search term that gives me results other than dogs or geese.

So if I want to "live" in one instance of Mastodon, but want to follow the stream of another instance, is that possible?

I don't like wading into Meta Discourse but since it is clogging my TL right now: if you want people to spread out better over the Fediverse etc etc, tooting that people shouldn't join Masto dot social is not very useful in isolation. Tell people where you think people SHOULD go instead, and not just "a smaller instance", share specific recommendations of "if you're interested in X, go to Y.Z" that will help people point their friends in the right direction!

I was just reminded that markdown+pandoc is a kickass, open source combo that not everyone might be aware of.

Markdown is a super simple rich text markup language that I use every day for notes, recipes, instant messaging, and longer texts like essays and blog posts. It's even supported on most Mastodon instances.

Pandoc is an "under the hood" tool that allows you to convert any document to pretty much any other format worth using. It supports bibliographies and citations in markdown files.

So I guess it's time for my

I'm Andrea, a landscape archaeologist based in Rome. I did my PhD on spatial distribution of Iron Age archaeological sites along the Euphrates river.

Currently, I am working on remote sensing tools applied to cultural heritage and arch. landscape studies, plus on Historic Landscape Characterization in the Near East, and similar.

Super happy to have found this community on Mastodon!

Most people will throw out a cardboard cutout of a human being -- regardless of how or why they obtained it -- within the first year of ownership. The amount who don't is statistically insignificant.

But here's the spooky part. Recycling centers report receiving way fewer cardboard cutouts of people than surveys estimate are actually disposed of in curbside recycling every year.

So where are they going?

I'm having a weirdly hard time finding resources about rebellions in the pre-Columbian New World :( anybody know of any good starting points?

Ohey, re- look fun.

I'm an out-on-leave and increasingly likely to be former social studies teacher who moonlights as an amateur researcher into obscure history and weird science, aka I write scifi & fantasy stories where I work really hard to avoid eurocentric perspectives... which means I do a ton of research, which means I ask a lot of questions.

but I try to answer things sometimes too 😅

Welcome new friends!

Do I know anybody who can eli5 this paper?

"Capsaicin can regulate VDSC function by altering bilayer elasticity. [...] may underlie the promiscuous regulation of membrane protein function by capsaicin and capsazepine-and by amphiphilic drugs generally."

My obscure history & science newsletter is currently sitting at 998 subscribers, so to distract myself from waiting for 2 more fellow nerds to discover it, I figured I'd offer to write microfiction for anyone who posts a prompt.

Pictures, facts, research papers — all's welcome! Bonus points if I learn something 👀

Here's an example of what I mean:

This one was inspired by a discussion about the pros vs. cons of apprenticeship systems & the word "shift"

Does anybody know of any historic revolts that led to a group splitting off and leaving to form a new colony?

Any time period, any region, as long as it's pre-industrial.

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Scholar Social

Scholar Social is a microblogging platform for researchers, grad students, librarians, archivists, undergrads, academically inclined high schoolers, educators of all levels, journal editors, research assistants, professors, administrators—anyone involved in academia who is willing to engage with others respectfully.