Code of Jutland

Code of Jutland, or “Jyske Lov” as we call it in Denmark, is actually a rather well worked through piece of legislation and it is all the way back from 1241. The preamble is the important bit, much of it still relevant today:

With law shall the country be built but if all men were content with what is theirs and let others enjoy the same right, there would be no need for a law. But no law is as good as the truth, but if one wonders what the truth is, then shall the law show the truth.

Despite it being a law to rule, this first paragraph almost reads as a libertarian utopia. Obviously, not exactly, as a libertarian utopia is impossible and wouldn’t require any laws.

If the country had no law, then he would have the most who could grab the most by force. The law must therefore follow the needs of all, so the just and the peaceful and the innocent can live in peace, and the unjust and the evil will be scared of the law and therefore not execute the evil they have in mind. It is also true, if someone cannot be lured, out of the fear of God and love of the right, to the good, that the fear of public authority and the law of the country can then prevent them from doing evil and punishing them if they do.

The second paragraph shows the focus of laws at the time; to settle disputes and set up the penal codes. Nonetheless, the code explicitly argues that purpose of the law is to protect the good and the weak from the bad.

The law must be honest, just, reasonable and according to the ways of the people. It must meet their needs and speak plainly, so that all men may know and understand, what the law is. It is not to be made in any man’s favor, but for the needs of all them who live in the country. No man shall judge contrary to the law, which the King has given and the country chosen; but according to that law the country shall be judged and governed. Nor can the law which the King gives and the country enact, nor can he change or repeal without the will of the country, unless he clearly acts against God.

The third paragraph restricts the power of the king, so he can’t just change or make laws arbitrarily.

It is the office of the King and the Chieftains to oversee judgments and do justice and save those who are forced, such as widows and the defenseless, children, pilgrims and foreigners and the poor – those who often are victims of violence – and not let people who do not wish to amend their ways, live in his country; for he punishes and kills men of iniquity, he is the servant of God and the guardian of the country. For just as the Holy Church is ruled by the Pope and Bishop, so every country must be ruled and guarded by the King or his officials, therefore all who dwell in his country are also obliged to obey him and obey and submit, and in return he is guilty of giving them all Peace. All worldly Chieftains must also know that with the power God gave them in this world, He also assigned them to guard His holy Church against all demands. But if they are forgetful or biased, and not guardians, as they must be, then on the Day of Judgment, they will be held accountable, if the Church’s freedom and the peace of the country are diminished by their fault in their day.

[the last paragraph is a listing of who signed the law and who was present]

The last paragraph of content starts out well, but runs off the rails with the executions and the submissions to our rulers. Today, capital punishment is a thing of the past for most civilised countries and likewise, our “rulers” are supposed to be our servants. Also, we have very much dropped the condemnation of those that do not serve the church’s interests. But the purpose of the law is repeated for good measure.

The english translation here is not made by a legal scholar, and in the parts that are translated on the Wikipedia page I think there are some errors, particularly in the last sentence there.

The code was succeeded officially by the Danish Code in 1683, some of which is still considered part of Danish law today.

The text, in sort-of-modern Danish:

Med Lov skal Land bygges, men vilde enhver nøjes med sit eget og lade andre nyde samme Ret, da behøvede man ikke nogen Lov. Men ingen Lov er jævngod at følge som Sandheden, men hvor man er i Tvivl om, hvad der er sandhed, der skal Loven vise Sandheden.

Var der ikke Lov i Landet, da havde den mest, som kunde tilegne sig mest. Derfor skal Loven gøres efter alles Tarv, at retsindige og fredsommelige og sagesløse kan nyde deres Fred, og uretfærdige og onde kan ræddes for det, der er skrevet i Loven, og derfor ikke tør fuldbyrde den Ondskab, som de har i Sinde. Det er ogsaa rigtigt, dersom nogen ikke af Frygt for Gud og Kærlighed til Retten kan lokkes til det gode, at Frygten for øvrigheden og Landets Straffelov da kan hindre dem i at gøre ilde og straffe dem, hvis de gør det.

Loven skal være ærlig og retfærdig, taalelig, efter Landets Sædvane, passende og nyttig og tydelig, saa at alle kan vide og forstaa, hvad Loven siger. Loven skal ikke gøres eller skrives til nogen Mands særlige Fordel, men efter alle deres Tarv, som bor i Landet. Heller ikke skal nogen Mand dømme mod den Lov, som Kongen giver, og Landet vedtager; men efter den Lov skal Landet dømmes og styres. Den Lov, som Kongen giver, og Landet vedtager, den kan han heller ikke ændre eller ophæve uden Landets Vilje, medmindre han aabenbart handler mod Gud.

Det er Kongens og Landets Høvdingers Embede at overvaage Domme og gøre Ret og frelse dem, der tvinges med Vold, saasom Enker og værgeløse, Børn, Pilgrimme og Udlændinge og fattige – dem overgaar der tiest Vold – og ikke lade slette Mennesker, der ikke vil forbedre sig, leve i sit Land; thi idet han straffer og dræber Ugerningsmænd, da er han Guds Tjener og Landets Vogter. Thi ligesom den hellige Kirke styres af Pave og Biskop, saaledes skal hvert Land styres og værges af Kongen eller hans Embedsmænd, Derfor er ogsaa alle, der bor i hans Land, skyldige at være ham hørige og lydige og underdanige, og til Gengæld er han skyldig at give dem alle Fred. Det skal alle verdslige Høvdinger ogsaa vide, at med den Magt, Gud gav dem i Hænde i denne Verden, overdrog han dem ogsaa at værge sin hellige Kirke mod alle Krav. Men bliver de glemsomme eller partiske og ikke værger, som ret er, da skal de paa Dommens Dag staa til Ansvar, hvis Kirkens Frihed og Landets Fred mindskes ved deres Skyld i deres Tid.

Vide skal alle, der ser denne Bog, at Kong Valdemar, den anden Søn af Valdemar, der var Sankt Knuds Søn, da han havde været Konge i ni og tredive Vintre, og der var gaaet Tusind og to Hundrede og fyrretyve Vintre, efter at Vor Herre var født, i den næstfølgende Marts Maaned lod skrive denne Bog og gav denne Lov, som her staar skrevet paa Dansk, i Vordingborg med Samtykke af sine Sønner, der var til Stede, Kong Erik, Hertug Abel og Junker Christoffer og Uffe, der da var Ærkebiskop i Lund, og Biskop Niels i Rodkilde, Biskop Iver i Fyn, Biskop Peder i Aarhus, Biskop Gunner i Ribe, Biskop Gunner i Viborg, Biskop Jens i Vensyssel og Biskop Jens i Hedeby og desuden med Samtykke af alle de bedste mænd, der er i hans Rige.











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My patch has been a lot under water

At least if you go back far enough. Like, millions of years back. Here’s the Ancient Earth globe where you can enter your address and choose how many millions of years you want to go back. It’s not too bad here 20 million years ago, but then again, that means I’ve skipped through multiple glacial periods where the land here was covered by a kilometer of ice…










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On Extremism

I am sorry for the very bad quality of the recording, but here is John Cleese on Extremism:


It is positively scary that this 30 year old clip is still relevant and no less true. And it is ironic how many people think that this exactly proves their point about all those other people.

Hmmmm. Reminds me of someone…

Right. I will add my own

When you are taking shots from both sides it must mean you are in the middle

which again is a variation of WWII saying

The flak only gets heavy when you’re over the target









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Origin of the cyclopes

The Iliad and the Odyssey are very different beasts, and while I have fond memories of immersing myself in the Iliad, the Odyssey is by far the easiest to digest of the two. For one thing, the story is much more modern than the just a century older Iliad.

Nevertheless, I was surprised to finally get a possible explanation as to the origin of the Cyclop in the Odyssey – it may have been a misinterpretation of a fossilised skull of a dwarf elephant. Dwarf elephant have a large hole in the front middle of the skull, which could, conceivably, be seen as an eye socket.

Anyway, cyclopes has since then been a part of western mythology.

And if you are interested in a wild science fiction riff on the Iliad, I’ll recommend Dan Simmons’ Ilium/Olympus books.









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Two thoughts about 2020

I’m beginning to think “hindsight is 2020” was some kind of message from a future time traveler that we all misunderstood.
Victoria Guida

And of course,

In retrospect, in 2015, not a single person get the answer right to “where do you see yourself 5 years from now”













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The other side of the conspiracy

From Marcus Hutchins comes this:

Imagine what a plot twist it’d be if it turned out Bill Gates wasn’t trying to inject people with tracking chips, and actually the tracking chip was in the social media app those people were using to warn people about Bill Gates.

“Please hold while I log on to this billionaire run social media website, which makes almost all of its revenue selling user tracking data to 3rd parties, to warn about how bill gates is trying to track me!”

On a serious note, social media tracking is more extensive than you may think. For example: those Facebook ‘like’ buttons you see on every website? They call home. If you’re logged into your FB account, it records that you visited that web page, even if you don’t click ‘like’.

BTW, why are you still on Facebook?










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Excuse me, UK did what?

According to this news story, the United Kingdom would allow up to 40% of the population in Hong Kong to, eventually, become citizens in the UK.

That’s a bold move, but as China has clearly violated the agreement between them and UK regarding the governing of Hong Kong. The UK government had a tough choice here, and offering citizenship – eventually – to that many people will be tough promise to keep.

The exact number of people who might get citizenship is of course unclear, and the 40% is based on the assumption that everyone that possibly could qualify does.










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Let’s try this – let us imagine a year of 6 seasons, where today is the first day of Summer!

Summer is July and August. Really hot, right?

I know Summer is supposed to be June, July and August but the temperature in these areas rarely get very high till July and August. But of course, this year we got some very hot days in June; let us see how the 6 season model works but right now it is not looking too good :-)











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Perl 7

For what feels like an eternity I developed in Perl 5, and I still write a few small programs in it. Professionally I have moved to a different layer so there I don’t have much use for Perl.

But I’ve followed the development of Perl as it is a versatile language and I like the syntax and ease. So I was pleased to see the announcement of Perl 7.

Well, I was pleased to see that the announcement that Perl 7 is going to be, basically, the latest Perl 5 (5.32) but with different defaults. Because one of the things that Perl has done really well is backwards compatibility – Perl 5 was basically code-compatible with Perl 4.036 and so on.

And it makes sense to draw a line in the sand and say, from this point forward we are doing it this way. While making it possible to run the old code.

I remember when Chip Salzenberg announced his Topaz-project, a rewrite of Perl 5, back in the very old days, and I was very enthusiastic about Perl 6 when Larry Wall announced it. Perl 6 was to be different from previous versions and took a very long time to materialise. And when it did, Perl 5 had moved on so Perl 6 became Raku. There are some very cool features in Raku, and in the fashion of the Perl community, many of those have been ported back into Perl 5.

I still like Perl and I expect to continue to use it in the future.









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Some good news

Or, at least news if you, like me, didn’t know it before:

We produce enough food for 10 billion people. That’s a surplus of 25% and as we are expected to peak with a population around 9-11 billion people, it really should get the rest of the Malthusians to reconsider their position.

And fortunately, this has been done with increasing efficiency so rich nations has been able to double their yield without increasing the use of fertilizer significantly. Meat is by far the most impactful of our modern agriculture, and the area used to produce that has been falling since 2000 at about the same rate as it was increasing before that.

Rich countries are reforesting, partly because of more effective farming, making Europe greener than it was 100 years ago. In fact, the number of protected nature areas have increased so much that they now cover an area equivalent to 15% of Earth’s land coverage. That’s the size of Africa!

Yes, I know there are issues in front of us: Climate change, pollution, loss of habitat and of biodiversity*. But give us a couple of generations more…

*) Apparently not insect biodiversity. The original research that led to the reports of an “insect apocalypse” was suspect from the start and as is always the case, it takes a very long time to actually disprove such claims. But, largely, they are.

  • Overall, terrestrial insects are declining much less rapidly (3 to 6 fold less) than other recent high-profile studies had suggested, and even this likely overstates the trend. Freshwater insect populations are actually increasing.
  • “Crop cover,” which means things like corn, soybeans, sorghum, cotton, spring and winter wheat, alfalfa and hay, is associated with increases in insect populations.
  • There is no association between insect population trends and global warming.
  • The only clear association with insect declines is with urbanization, likely caused by habitat destruction, light pollution and waste pollution.










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