2022 Year-Ender
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Categories: Modern, Not an expert

2022 Year-Ender

a cleared section of concrete or asphalt with deep snow on either side. Something with cloven hooves has walked along the path and left prints in the blown snow
This path through the snow from the Salish Sea Blizzard of 2022 is not just for two-footed creatures!

The year 2022 is being escorted away by 200 soldiers and 70 horsemen and 200 ambidextrous soldiers so that the locals don’t do it an injury.[1] What on earth can I say about it?


In 2022 I launched a program of research and writing on ancient arms and armour. I gave a conference paper on ancient spears and turned it into an article for the conference proceedings. I co-authored a paper on caltrops for a Festschrift. I finally finished two old posts on the draw weight of ancient bows. I wrote a magazine article on Greek swords, and I wrote several blog posts and a short talk on ancient shields as well as starting to make two replicas.

Outside this program, I wrote a short magazine article on the legacy of Akhenaten and was invited to speak at a conference at the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies.

I revised and resubmitted one of the two articles I sent to journals in 2021. It has now been published in the Journal of Ancient Civilizations. The other one (the one with sources in nine languages) has not yet been peer reviewed.

My first book has now been reviewed nine times in English, French, German, Czech, and Russian.

I finally finished the illustration list for my second book and sent it around to the first publisher and my test readers. I traded emails with the publisher in November 2021 and July 2022 so if I don’t get a clear answer in January I will start shopping it around again. Its unfortunate that many of the publishers which come to mind are based in the UK which has especially serious problems this decade.

In 2023 I want to start researching my third book, on the decline and fall of the Achaemenid empire.


I have not been off Vancouver Island since September 2020. I considered two events off the island, but the first event was in spring and had no infection-control policy, while I regretfully had to say no to attending Plataea 2022. Organizing international events in the plague time is a challenge, but so is finding a safe and affordable way to travel halfway around the world and camp with dozens of heavily armed strangers in a Mediterranean summer during a respiratory pandemic! I don’t know what would get me further than Vancouver on the mainland other than a new job. Its hard to travel in western Canada when you don’t drive and can’t afford a car.

I got a bicycle in working order.

I made a variety of things with my hands before stalling in fall. I added icons for the links to donate, so if any of the links ever change, I can write once and read everywhere.

Due to health problems and a lack of a direction to move in, my income is still under CAD 2,000 / month (freelance editing and writing plus a part-time job in retail).

I found something to do face to face outdoor with other people in summer and fall 2022. And I travelled on the island within a two hour drive.

I read lots of books and will post about them in January.

the craggy base of a tree covered with lichen and moss.  Conifer needles are scattered around the wet ground.
A conifer after the Salish Sea blizzard of December 2022

Corporate Hubris Meets Nemesis

Some big corporate social media sites started to face the consequences of their decisions in 2022. When Apple cracked down on spying on iOS devices, Facebook learned the same lesson which they taught journalists: never build your house on someone else’s land. An American bought twitter without realizing that the users are the product not the customer or that if he tried to drive the talking heads off the site, they would stop treating twitter posts as very serious news. Google got some bad publicity when they banned two academic youtube channels for posting talks by lesbians (the channels belonged to the GLBT Historical Society in California and Cornell University Library in New York State). Amazon is losing billions of dollars a year on its division which sells telescreens out of George Orwell because it turns out its hard to put ads next to “Alexa, play some classic rock music.” And the blockchain and cryptocurrency scams started to collapse faster and faster as higher energy prices, higher interest rates, and less credulous investors made it harder to run those particular scams. Some of the people who never learned that someone is always wrong on the Internet want me to know that the rationalists promoted some of these swindles and be angry and not just tired.

Something called Heroku went down due to lack of a business model. A cloud service called LastPass got cracked (why on earth would someone store all their password on somebody else’s computer?) I discovered that Disney has a Global Intelligence and Threat Analysis team which hires officers from the CIA’s presidential briefing team. Edit 2023-01-21: And writers and publishers who rely on Amazon are worried about it changing its payment for subscriptions and cutting its books division.

I am so glad that I joined the Fediverse in 2018, moved this site off Automattic onto independent hosting in 2021, and launched my second, static site in 2021!

World Events

We can have civilization, if we want it. Things can turn around. There are good, decent people everywhere. They only have to find the conceptual tools to see through the lies, schemes, and misdirection of the aristocracy, which are nothing more than larger versions of the swindles of petty criminals. Then, they have only to find each other, and act together. It is our self-doubt and confusion that gives the tyrants power, not any strength they possess.

Phil Paine, Fifth Meditation on Democracy (5 November 2007) http://www.philpaine.com/?p=5427

The two great world events of 2022 reflect two aspects of our situation. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February is a very old story: its the story of Bush II’s invasion of Iraq, and the Argentine invasion of the Falklands, and Crassus’ attack on the Parthians, and the war between Assurbanipal and his elder brother Šamaš-šum-ūkin. Cities and kings often convince themselves that even though most wars take longer, cost more, and achieve less than the people who started them expect, this time will be different if they just attack now (or it will not be a war, just a special operation, a police action, or a show of force). Quite a few people threw away their political principles to find some way of justifying the war or at least blaming both sides, but that is a story which George Orwell already knew.

a screenshot of two suggested further articles on a news site: "Same amount of long Covid symptoms following Omicron and delta variants" next to "Opinion: how drunk are you planning to get at this year's Christmas party?"
life in 2022 in one screenshot from https://sciencenorway.no/ “Norway’s independent, online newspaper on science” (December 2022)

The other story is a very new story. In 2020 and 2021, natural scientists and biomedical engineers did amazing work creating vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 and determining how to reduce the spread with masks and air quality. After trying all kinds of things to slow the spread of COVID in the first half of 2020, we now have a good idea of what works (CAN99 masks and air quality) and what does not (cleaning surfaces, plastic face shields). Many countries in the Pacific showed that these could be used as part of a Swiss Cheese strategy or onion of protection to limit the damage from this disease. We may even have managed to eliminate the Yamagata family of flu!

In 2022¸ governments around the world took these tools and switched to a “let it rip” strategy where the pandemic is only contained by voluntary vaccinations. This seems like a very bad idea to me, because COVID is still killing about a thousand Canadians a month, and because this winter many other diseases are 30 to 40 times as common or as deadly as in winters before COVID. The most likely explanation is that even mild COVID damages the immune system and makes survivors vulnerable to other diseases. As I write this in December, the death rate from all causes in my province is about 15% higher than it was before COVID (in Norway which produced the screenshot above, yearly deaths are 7% higher than before COVID; BC excess deaths are counted by the COVID Modelling Group at UBC and another site which does not come to mind). And since my provincial government also can not explain its strategy, the basis for its decisions, or the tradeoffis it is making, its hard to know how to persuade them to return to infection control.

Science and engineering can do amazing things. But the systems for building evidence-based consensus in the rest of society have collapsed. The programs to spot and solve this which I could stand behind have collapsed too. After a new person was elected to the US House of Representatives, journalists found that he had lied about his education, work experience, property ownership, religion, sexuality, and family history (but nobody with an audience spent a few hours to verify these things before he was elected). And several large grants have been awarded to a research institute in Switzerland which uses others’ work without acknowledgement, lists staff members who do not seem to exist, and has a mailing address at a rent-an-address service in London, England. I was brave enough to start writing to my MP and my MLA about Canadian policy this year, but other than that I do not know what to do.

Summing Up

The Isidore Option was the right policy for me in 2020. But I liked the me who tried many new things, met many new people, and moved towards big goals better than the me before 2009 and after 2020 who just has his books and his city and his friends. I don’t know how to find something in between. A lot of ways which worked before smartphones no longer exist (not a lot of specialty stores any more!) and a lot of ways which worked before COVID are not so safe today (not a good time to share food and drink with a group indoors!)

Thanks for everyone who has stuck with me since the early days, and for everyone who discovered this site in 2022, and for everyone who shared a link, donated, or recommended this site to a friend (a majority of my traffic this year came from one post on Hacker News!)[2]

(scheduled 25 December 2022)

[1] There is an article by Murray Dahm on the δεξιολάβοι dexiolaboi in Acts 23:23 in Ancient Warfare VIII.1 or thereabouts (will add a full citation when I track it down!)

[2] Mandatory blog stats: most months this year my site recorded 1,200-1,900 unique visitors and about 50% more page views. As Google increasingly deprioritizes older pages (and corporate social media hide posts with links offsite) the most visited posts were mostly from 2022 or 2021:

  1. How Much did a Tunic Cost in the Roman Empire? (2021) had 24,791 visitors and 26,483 pageviews (mostly from a Hacker News post in January!)
  2. How Much Did a Shirt Really Cost in the Middle Ages? (2017) had 1,911 visitors and 2,108 pageviews
  3. Automattic is Creepy (2022) had 645 visitors and 695 pageviews
  4. Why is LARPer an Insult? (2022)
  5. Child Abandonment in Greek and Roman Egypt (2021)
  6. What Woods were Used for Shields in Iron Age Europe? (2022)
  7. How Heavy were Iron Age Bows? Part 1 (2022)
  8. Science Fiction with Egyptian Themes (2021)
  9. The Population of the Achaemenid Empire (2014)
  10. The Myth of the Heavily Burdened Hoplite (2019) had 294 visitors and 345 pageviews

That is posts from the years 4×2022, 3×2021, 2019, 2017, 2014. About ten times as many visitors came from the most popular search engine (google.com) as from the most popular corporate social medial site (facebook.com) back to text

Edit 2023-01-21: added link to Kris Rusch post on troubles with Amazon

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