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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.

Super amused that my article about how academic investigations into how the ancient Phoenicians really viewed THEMSELVES is doing such good numbers that it's now my most popular history post of all time.

I'm looking for a task-oriented rather than project-oriented time tracker. I have some recurring activities (different kinds of meetings mostly) with different schools ("clients") and I would like to track time so I can easliy see how much time I spend on certain activities and certain clients (two-dimensional tracking).

Any suggestions?

@petrichor I have my email address on my website for over 3 years, un-obfuscated. I told search engines not to index the contact page using meta tags. I published my PGP key with that address on public keyservers. So far I am getting very little spam to that address while getting a lot of spam to an address that is publicly visible on bug trackers, and so on.

The thing is, you can become a target anytime, so it probably makes sense to use an address you can quickly deactivate.

New post: when and why did militaries join the cult of youth? (cw: 600 year old mass murder)

swords & their role in warfare 

@bookandswordblog saw this over at r/AskHistorians and thought of you immediately:

It's a discussion about how often swords were *actually* used in ancient & medieval warfare. Apparently they were mostly "backup" weapons since they could be useful for so many other contexts than just on the battlefield.

Alright friends, I've hit a wall in my research so I'm throwing this out there:

Anybody got any references, stories or anecdotes about ancient/medieval mercenaries + marriage? Bonus points for true stories about down-on-their-luck or retired mercenaries & soldiering companies and what they did after the war was over?

Bonus bonus points for information about ancient war brides.

I can't get a good starting point just using search terms and it's driving me nuts.

@bookandswordblog I once read an article that talked about the pros and cons of a professional army for the society that hosts it. Was it you that posted it, or was it Scott Alexander, or someone else? I can't find it now :(


Hey Sean, did you see this? (question was: In 387 B.C., the Persians funded a Spartan fleet to destroy an Athenian fleet, which the Persians had previously funded to destroy another Spartan fleet, which the Persians had previously funded to destroy another Athenian fleet. Was this brilliant geopolitics or indecision and a waste of money?)

You probably already knew about it, but I'm over here with my jaw on the floor laughing and shaking my head.

the tipsy-topsy world of social media 

"the core purposes of the Web have been inverted. 'Information wants to be free' said Stewart Brand famously, but now, a handful of companies control practically all expression on the World Wide Web. "- AltSciFi, 2018

This crowd seems like the sorts of people who might ever wind up interested in running a newsletter off of ghost -- @bookandswordblog I know we talked about it once -- so I wanted to share this writeup about my experiences self-hosting a newsletter using Ghost.

The TLDR is that it's very good at one very specific thing, but as a "wordpress replacement" or good way to run a free newsletter for nontechnical users, it's pretty overhyped.

question about horse herds 

Can somebody who knows more about than I do explain the "natural" + "gelding" part of this statement from Taylor, et al. in "Early Pastoral Economies and Herding Transitions in Eastern Eurasia"

"free-range horses organize themselves in their natural social structure, with a lead stallion & a harem of mares, geldings, & juveniles."


2013 and collapse of the open web 

I am throwing together a timeline of the collapse of the open web in the 2010s and the year 2013 keeps coming up. OTOH, that was the year I started my site and moved to Austria. Does 2013 feel important in that way to you?

horse domestication literature review 

In peak nerd, I wrote an article analyzing the different theories about how the domestication of the horse came about, and whether different academics think horses pulled carts before they were ridden.

I have no real expertise to lean on personally, but some arguments being made strike me as relatively bonkers.

Particularly "experienced horse riders are wrong because they are blinded by their knowledge," lol.

The Zotero beta (thus upcoming versions) makes it possible to import your data from the online Mendeley. This is important if you want to switch but struggle getting out of Mendeley's database encryption lock-in. Here's the info:

I've been gone forever, but I have a new request. Does anyone have access to Mythos Wehrmacht: Nachkriegsdebatten und Traditionspflege by Detlef Bald, Johannes Klotz, and Wolfram Wette ? I really just need the table of contents and don't want to buy the whole book for that. Feel free to boost if you know academics in Germany, or German speaking academics.

Can anybody recommend alternatives to services like semantic scholar and ResearchRabbit, and — I seem to remember one that had more of a tree-like structure but I can't find it now. Trying to set up a good workflow for discovering relevant documents. Filters for things like language and ability to read the abstract inside the program (and click to open the doi) are preferred features.


@bookandswordblog awhile back I came across Miles Cameron's Traitor Son Cycle thanks to you and your blog and we talked a little bit about how much I loved it, but I finally got around to writing a proper gushing review about the parts I loved the most:

I was recently interviewed about my personal knowledge management system, and one of the questions I got asked was whether I would ever teach my students how to use for notetaking, since it's the program I use and I get a lot of value out of it, and it scales really well for studying and academia and such.

The answer I gave in the interview was a resounding "no," lol, but it turns out I had a lot more to say on the topic:

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