2013 Roundup: Everything Else

This is the final part of my roundup of 2013 blog posts – I’ve managed to get it all done before January is over, which feels like a victory of sorts 🙂 There are a few categories on the sidebar that aren’t covered here. Admin is mostly indexes for each month, rather dull and somewhat recursive to index the indexes, so I haven’t. The others had no posts last year, some of which are rather surprising, some of which are not. I’ve played a lot of computer games over the last year, but apparently not written about anything – I should change that this year. We’ve not done any proper long walks with geocaching for ages, so that category is also empty. I also haven’t read any papers, nor have I done anything that fits in the Sport category (which exists to hold the photos of the Tour of Britain that I took in 2012 (post). And Whimsy is a new category this year for a piece of creative writing for the Shakespeare course I’m doing on Future Learn.


As you can tell, I don’t really see many films.


Most Sunday mornings we listen to a radio programme while we eat breakfast, most of these are from the In Our Time series. This covers a wide range of topics, and each episode has 3 experts in the field that’s being discussed sharing lay-person level explanations of the current state of knowledge in the field. They’re pretty much always fascinating. We’ve also listened to a couple of series about current affairs in the Middle East, which provide a historical perspective for the situation.

I’m not sure I can pick a favourite – I’ve just spent a while looking at the list of titles and for pretty much all of them I’ve thought “oh, that one was really good”. An interesting note is that my write up of the one about Japan’s Sakoku period got picked up by a site called OMG Facts so I think it’s been the most read post on my blog.

  • Absolute Zero. In Our Time episode about absolute zero, both what it is and the history of the scientists trying to achieve it in the laboratory.
  • The Amazons. In Our Time episode about the Amazons of Greek myth.
  • Bertrand Russell. In Our Time episode about the life & work of Bertrand Russell.
  • The Borgias. In Our Time episode about the Borgia family in Renaissance Italy.
  • The Book of Common Prayer. In Our Time episode about the history & contents of the Book of Common Prayer.
  • Comets. In Our Time episode about comets.
  • The Corn Laws. In Our Time episode about the Corn Laws of the early 19th Century.
  • Crystallography. In Our Time episode about x-ray crystallography.
  • The Cult of Mithras. In Our Time episode about the Roman cult of Mithras.
  • Epicureanism. In Our Time episode about the philosophy of Epicurus.
  • Exoplanets. In Our Time episode about planets in other solar systems to our own.
  • Galen. In Our Time episode about Galen, the 2nd Century AD Greek physician.
  • Gnosticism. In Our Time episode about Gnosticism.
  • Ice Ages. In Our Time episode about ice ages.
  • Icelandic Sagas. In Our Time episode about Icelandic Sagas.
  • Japan’s Sakoku Period. In Our Time episode about the period of Japan’s history where it pursued a policy of isolation from the rest of the world.
  • The Mamluks. In Our Time episode about the Mamluks, who were a slave army who ruled Egypt between the 13th & 16th Centuries AD.
  • The Making of the Modern Arab World. Four part Radio 4 series about the modern history of the Middle East.
  • Le Morte d’Arthur. In Our Time episode about Malory’s version of the Arthurian legend.
  • Pascal. In Our Time episode about the life & work of Blaise Pascal.
  • Pitt-Rivers. In Our Time episode about Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers, the man whose collection forms the basis of the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford.
  • The Putney Debates. In Our Time episode about the context of & discussions in the Putney Debates (held in 1647 after the end of the first part of the Civil Wars).
  • Queen Zenobia. In Our Time episode about the Palmyran Queen who rebelled against Rome & founded a short-lived empire in the Middle East around 270AD.
  • Relativity. In Our Time episode about Einstein’s theories of relativity.
  • Romulus and Remus. In Our Time episode about Rome’s founding myth.
  • Shahnameh of Ferdowsi. In Our Time episode about the epic Persian poem the Shahnameh.
  • South Sea Bubble. In Our Time episode about the South Sea Bubble.
  • Turkey: The New Ottomans. A three part series putting modern Turkey in a historical context, and looking at its relationships with the Arab World & the West.
  • The Upanishads. In Our Time episode about one of the groups of sacred texts of the Hindu religion.
  • The War of 1812. In Our Time episode about the war between Britain & the US which started in 1812.
  • Water. In Our Time episode about the chemical nature of water.


Reflections is the category where I put articles that aren’t just about one thing, but are instead me reflecting on a group of posts or things. In 2013 that only includes the two posts I wrote about the books I read while I was reading those filed on my bookshelf under A.


Most of the talks we go to are at the Essex Egyptology Group meetings, so there is a strong Egyptian flavour to this section. There are also a couple of trips organised by the EEG, and one talk from a British Museum Members’ Open Evening (which is the sole non-Egyptian one here). I think my absolute favourite was Diane Johnson’s talk about meteoric iron in Ancient Egypt because it was a subject I knew nothing about before and the electron microscopy of the iron beads was particularly interesting. But they were all interesting talks.