A.M.'s Myth and Folklore Blog

Myth and Folklore ML-3043-996

Category: Week 14

Tech Tip: Google Data

I tend to be pretty privacy conscious, but this was new to me. Going into the dashboard let me delete some old history, and I did set up automatic deletion even though I have tracking disabled.

When I need information about digital privacy, my first stop is usually the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). They have a lot of good basic information, as well as news on their ongoing efforts to deal with new and emerging privacy threats.

It’s worth noting that as good as auto-deleting your activity and location history is, the best protection is to disable location, search, and activity history altogether. (Which is possible and not that difficult — just go to the same portal that’s linked in the Tech Tip.)

Week 14 StoryLab: Storybook Research

For this set of Storybook Research, I’m making an effort to find some materials to make my third and final story in my storybook a little more realistic.

In the story, I currently mention instances in the literature of exoplanets “disappearing.” In fact, this has happened before, in a sense, with exoplanets identified by extrapolating from sparse data not being predicted when more comprehensive observations are available.

In 2015, for example, it was established that the exoplanet thought to be closest to Earth was actually a mirage caused by “patchy data” and overzealous interpretation.

Similarly, two potentially “life-

Artist’s impression of an exoplanet. (Image from Slate.)

friendly alien worlds” orbiting Gliese 581 (or GJ 581 to its friends) were recently found to be artifacts of the star’s strong magnetic behavior.

In interesting but unrelated astrophysics, scientists have also found an exoplanet that is “disappearing” (at cosmic timescales of billions of years), giving off enormous quantities of mass.

In the story I also refer to a completely made up name for a star, so I thought I’d look into star naming. Most stars have many names, each from a different naming scheme. Most stars, outside of those like Sirius that have their own names, can be named based on their position in some star catalogue. There are many such catalogues, and they are often updated; Gliese 581 gets its name from being the 581st entry in the Gliese catalogue, which was first compiled by astronomer Wilhelm Gliese in 1957.

Week 14 Reading: Czech Folktales, Part B

Source: The Key of Gold by Josef Baudis via the course UnTextbook.

  • For these reading notes, I chose to focus on the story “A Clever Lass.”
  • There is a clever shepherd’s daughter whose father comes across a beautiful golden mortar, and decides to take it to the king as a token of loyalty.
  • His daughter warns him that the king will certainly ask for the pestle too, but the shepherd does not heed her warning and goes to the king, who threatens him with his life if the pestle is not brought.
  • The shepherd comments that his clever daughter warned him that this would happen, and the king, intrigued, poses a riddle of contradictory conditions under which he will marry the clever lass.
  • She determines a way to satisfy all of the self-contradicting conditions, and so they marry, but the king insists on a condition of their matrimony: she must never give advice again. If she does, the wedding will be nullified.
  • Eventually she does, however, help a farmer (by supplying him with a reducio ad absurdum argument), giving him a technique for arguing his case before the king.
  • The king, unconvincied that these clever words are the farmer’s own, hounds the man till he admits to having received advice from the queen. So, the king prepares to end their marriage, but first throws a lavish banquet.
  • The king tells his wife that, as a token of affection, she may take with her what she likes most from their castle.
  • At the feast, the queen sedates the king by slipping opium into his drink, takes him to a carriage, and goes with him in tow back to her father the shepherd’s cottage.
  • The king, awaking, asks where he is, and the clever lass responds that she took what she liked best from the castle.
  • The king takes her back, and they live “happily ever after,” etc.
A mortar and pestle, but not made from gold.
(Image from Wikipedia.)

Week 14 Reading: Czech Folktales, Part A

Source: The Key of Gold by Josef Baudis.

  • For these reading notes, I’ve chosen to focus on the story “Kojata.”
  • There is a king who goes riding in his kingdom and eventually stops for water, trying to drink from a well in the woods.
  • A strange crab-like creature grasped the king’s beard from the bottom of the well and refuses to let him go until he promises to give up “the thing he had at home unknown to himself.”
  • The king, thinking he knows everything at home, agrees, and is struck with grief when he realizes that this commits his unborn son.
  • His son is born and grows up and the king despairs, but the young prince tries to comfort him, saying he will fend for himself.
  • The young prince goes out to the wood and meets a girl of his age who reveals that she is the youngest daughter of the sorcerer who originally accosted the king.
  • She warns him that her father will force the young prince to complete three terrible challenges through which she will covertly assist him: first, he must identify her among twelve identical copies; second, to build a palace of gold and silver.
  • The third task the young woman cannot help with, and so she recommends that they flee together.
  • She uses her magic to allow them to escape, and they run through the forest and barely avoid the sorcerer, eventually returning to the king’s residence, where they marry and live happily ever after, etc.
Gravity Falls Soundtrack - Diggity Dungeons and all That ...
I’m assuming the sorcerer looked something like this.
(Image from Gravity Falls.)