2017-09-23 (Primavera)

Today, I learned that:

Since yesterday was the day of the equinox, when day and night have the same duration all over the world, today on the Southern hemisphere is the first day of Primavera, a word used in e.g. the Portuguese language to denote the season of Spring. It originated in ancient Rome, where it meant the beginning of Summer. Nowadays, it is Spring, but nevertheless I think the word is so graceful!

Today’s header photo shows Rio Tietê, a very important waterway in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. It starts in the east, only 22 km from the South Atlantic ocean, but instead of taking the easiest route, it crosses all of the state to finally merge with Rio Paraná 1 150 km to the West. Se reference #1 below for more interesting information.

In my latest post I invited you to a technical seminar in São Paulo on 2017-09-12. I was fortunate enough to start the seminar with my presentation of “A walk down the memory lane of electronics”. The seminar was a huge success, thanks everyone who showed up! In case you could not make it, do not worry, here is one photo from the presentation:

Swedcham 20170912

A photo from my speech, my daughter Karina shows the actual phone while I present it on the screen.

In reference # 2 below is the complete presentation. Enjoy!

That’s what I learned in school !


1: Rio Tietê

2: A walk down the memory lane of electronics

*: What did you learn in school today ?


2017-08-31 (Thursday)

Today, I learned that:

Finally, the month of August is coming to an end. In Sweden it is called ‘rötmånad’, literally meaning ‘the rotten month’. The reason for that is the relatively high humidity at the end of Summer, which makes food susceptible to rapid deterioration. And in Brazil, the month is called ‘mês do cachorro louco’, i.e. ‘the month of the mad dog’, the month when the dogs wake up to life after Winter in a bad state of health.

But, apart from the terrible terror attacks, there have been some interesting highlights, such as the solar eclipse I wrote about on 2017-08-21. However, I would like to dream myself back to 40 years ago, when I first visited the USA during June, July, and August. We were 80 people from my university in Gothenburg who travelled there for a 2-months Summer job and with August off to travel around in this mighty country. Most of my colleagues preferred a 1-month air pass called “7 stops”, which permitted them to visit 7 different locations in one month.

However, I decided to make a different voyage. After my initial two months at Gould Inc. in Rolling Meadows, IL, I boarded the Continental Trailways bus and it took me to 28 different US states and Washington D.C., 2 Canadian provinces, as well as a sneak peak of Tijuana, Mexico. I have mostly good memories from that trip, but what still is imprinted in my mind is when, on 1977-08-16, while hanging around in Dave’s house at Hermosa Beach, CA, there was a breaking newscast on the radio. It started with the words “The King of Rock is dead!”. And when Dave and I gathered with his friends at the bar in the evening, everyone was soooo sad.

August, 1977, was also the month when NASA sent its Voyager 1 out into space. Besides all the scientific instruments aboard, it also included an optical disc with recordings of human talk, music, and pictures. Reference # 2 will lead you to a web portal that has all the information you might ever need about Voyager 1 and its sister ship, Voyager 2.

But of course I also remember Las Vegas, NV with its casinos; Flagstaff, AZ at the edge of the Grand Canyon; the ferry ride from Victoria, BC to Seattle, WA; Preservation Hall in New Orleans, LA; playing football in Central Park, NY and so many other joyful moments.


The King of Rock is for ever connected with Las Vegas, and that is where I took this photo. Unfortunately it is just a copy cat, and the photo was taken in Las Vegas on 2007-01-18. But the music really rocked!

As a tribute to the King, here is a photo of a copy cat performing in Las Vegas. But the video clip in reference # 1 is the real thing, ENJOY!

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: Elvis Presley – Blue Suede Shoes

2: An Insider’s Guide to Voyager: 1977-2017

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-08-21 (Moonday)

Today, I learned that:

In the USA, the big interest today is not “fake news”, but of course the real eclipse when the moon covers the whole sun as seen from earth. Mr. President, would this not have been a perfect moment to improve your scores with the American public and anticipate Labor day two weeks, giving many more people a chance to observe this rare phenomenon?

If you read this before the event, if you cannot be on site, in reference #1 you can find what I will be laying my eyes on from 4:00 p.m. GMT today, the NASA live coverage of the solar eclipse.


Total Eclipse of the Sun in Salzburg, Austria, on 1999-08-11

The photo above is of the total solar eclipse on 1999-08-11, which I took in Salzburg, Austria. More information about that one and other eclipses, see my posts of 2016-03-08 and 2016-03-09.

I wish everyone clear skies!

Update with pictures from the eclipse, all from NASA:

The Eclipse 2017 Umbra Viewed from Space

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: NASA TV – Eclipse Views

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2107-08-01 (Mother Nature’s son)

Today, I learned that:

Regardless of what we say and think, we still respond to Her (Mother Nature). Sometimes She shares with us the most amazing scenarios, such as the one in the amazing photo below. It shows a countryside highway with bamboo trees on both sides. And if you can read Portuguese, then you understand that this place is a sanctuary for wild animals. The road sign depicts an ocelot, and furthermore there is an alert that this is a road with a high degree of crashes between cars and animals. The location is close to the city of Assis, state of São Paulo, Brazil, where there is an ecological station.


Highway SP-333 close to the city of Assis, SP, Brazil. This area contains an ecological station with wild animals of various species, the reason why the roadsign alerts for a high degree of collisions between them and cars. The depicted animal is called jaguatirica in Portuguese, ocelot in English, and Leopardis pardalis in Latin. On both sides of the road are planted bamboo, which gives a magical touch to this sacred place. Photo taken on 2017-07-23.

It seems like a perfect coincidence that it is located in Assis, because as you probably remember, in a similarly sounding town in Italy, during the 12th century, there was born a person who later would be known as Saint Francis of Assisi. Among other things, he is known for his friendliness to the birds and in 1979 Pope John Paul II declared him the Patron Saint of Ecology. (The current Pope Francis I also honoured him by adopting his name as his own papal name.) See references #1 and #2 below.

But Mother Nature does not only present us with beauty, She is also very practical. Last Friday, I was reminded twice of that, when Radio Sweden interviewed professionals involved with creating and using practical solutions from Her in favour of humanity.

In the morning, I was told about a new kind of glue, which will permit heart surgeons to glue parts together within a beating heart. The origin of that invention is in the slime produced by a slug, which inspired scientists at Harvard. Hear and read about it in reference #3 below (Swedish), as well as read about in reference #4 (English).


Arion vulgaris, photo by Xauxa Håkan Svensson – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11200581

Then in the evening, another sensational feat. As long as we can remember, the spider has impressed us with its production of ultra-thin, yet extremely strong threads. And now Swedish scientists have discovered a way of recreating such production without using toxic chemistry. Reference #5 contains an audio interview in Swedish with Anna Rising, one of the scientists, and reference #6 is a written interview in English, where she and her fellow colleague Jan Johansson explain more.

Then, over the weekend, I remembered a similar story from exactly 10 years ago. By using practical solutions from a gecko and a mussel, scientists at Northwestern University were able to create a glue that would stick well also under water, see reference #7 below. And in the beginning of 2017, see reference #8, was reported how the very same gecko had inspired researchers at Kiel University to invent a method of immediate grip and release.

But wait, there is more! As a bonus, look also at this article from 2010, reference #9 below, which reports about a combination of mussel glue and nanoparticles to create a proactive cover against corrosion.

To end today’s post, what could be better than listening to the fantastic song writher John Denver, so tragically gone in 1997, to describe his love to Mother Nature! See and here his poem in reference X below.

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: Assis

2: Saint Francis of Assisi

3: Snigelinspirerat lim kan användas vid operationer

4: Slug Slime Inspires Scientists To Invent Sticky Surgical Glue

5: Forskare om att framställa artificiell spindelväv, med början vid 06:20

6: Spinning super strong synthetic spider silk

7: Design by Gecko, Plus Glue by Mussel, Yields a Powerful Adhesive

8: Scientists Can Turn This Gecko-Inspired Gripping Device On or Off With the Flick of a Light

9: Musslornas klister används som rostskydd

X: John Denver – Mother Nature’s son

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-07-16 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

This is post # 150 of my blog. So let us celebrate with a good piece of grilled meat!

Carne para churrasco

Dalolio, a popular store meat store in Paranavaí, PR, Brazil. People line up to buy meat for the weekend, either raw for them to grill it themselves or already grilled meat, from one of the big smokers to the left. Photo taken on 2017-04-23.

The photo above shows people lining up to buy the main ingredient for their Sunday lunch, the meat. During the week, this popular store sells only raw meat, but on Sundays there are also the big smokers you can see on the left side of the photo, so that its patrons can enjoy their lunch without the need for grilling the meat themselves. It was taken on 2017-04-23 in Paranavaí, PR, Brazil.

But people do not live only off food, the soul needs its take, as well. However, another store in the same city, which main activity is to sell religious articles, also offers grilled food, true to their motto ‘Burger and Bibles’. See for yourselves below:

Body and soul

Lunch is being prepared outside the store for religious articles. Photo taken on 2017-07-14.

Maybe you remember my post in the beginning of this year, 2017-01-29 ?  In it I showed that there is a movement in the US state of California which aims to break away from the US federation. Since I had not heard so much about it afterwards, I decided to take the opportunity and ask the former correspondent for Radio Sweden in New York, Agneta Furvik, during her radio program last Thursday, when her listeners could call in (or send a message) and ask about anything they want to know about USA. By her side, Agneta had other experts in American matters: American political scientist, Katherine Angelo Hanly; Professor of North American studies at Uppsala University, Dag Blanck; and her former colleague as correspondent in Washington DC, Inger Arenander. You can see them and hear their opinions (in Swedish) in reference # 1 below.

For those of you who do not understand Swedish, I can summarise that neither of them believes that there is any major risk of a Calexit in 2019.

… That’s what I learned in school !

1: Lyssnarfråga: Kan Kalifornien lämna USA?

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-07-05 (Wednesday)

Today, I learned that:

Finally, we are about to have an international system of measures that will be based entirely on Mother Nature. I am of course talking about the International System of Units (SI system), which has its origin in 1875, when the two references for length and mass were decided. It has ever since grown to comprise seven base units, of which six are derived by using natural phenomena. See references #1, #2, and #3 below. The following illustration is contained in the last of those references, and it also develops the matter further in an elegant way:


However, the seventh base unit, the kilogram, is still an object manufactured in 90 % platinum and 10 % iridium. It is kept in a safe in Paris and has copies spread out over the world. There are several negative remarks that can be made to such a procedure, the difficulty of accessing the object, the wear and tear that the atmosphere exercises on the object, etc. So, if everything goes as expected, in November 2018, there will be a congress deciding to abandon the physical mass reference and substitute it with something based on non-changing conditions.

The new reference will be based on Planck’s constant. A highly precise balance operates on the principle of electromagnetic force compensation. In it, a weight on one side is balanced by the electrical force on the other. This electrical force is linked to Planck’s constant and can therefore be directly referred to as the new kilogram definition. See reference #4 below.

And while they are still at it, how about also changing the base unit from something which includes a prefix (as you know kilo means 1000) to a neutral one? My suggestions is that the seventh base unit should be named planck, abbreviated P, to which the normal prefixes would be used, when necessary. For instance, gram (g) would be mP (milliplanck) and the ‘metric’ ton, currently 1000 kg, would be 1 kP (kiloplanck). In the old CGM system of measures, there is a P which standards for Poise, the unit for dynamic viscosity, but in the SI system it has already been substituted by Pa.s (pascal-second), where 1 Pa.s = 10 P.

The photo below was taken in the strait of Kattegat on the Danish side on 2017-05-25, when I flew from continental Europe to Gothenburg. It shows the Danish wind farm close to the island of Anholt, one of the ten biggest in the world. Due to the altitude, it may be difficult to see, but each one of those small white spots is a wind turbine. See also reference #5 below.


A large Danish wind farm, located in the sea between Denmark and Sweden, close to the island of Anholt. Photo taken on 2017-05-25.

Since this time of the year is appropriate for many people in Europe to take vacation, what could be better than “sol, vind och vatten” (sun, wind, and water), which the fantastic Swedish song writer Ted Gärdestad described so well in reference #6 below?

And did you know that renewable energy is the cheapest one to acquire? According to professor Tomas Kåberger of Chalmers, it occurred already in 2016! An article describing that and many other interesting correlated facts can be found in reference #7.

… That’s what I learned in school !

1: International System of Units

2: Para manter o peso

3: SI base units

4: Researchers developing a new balance for the new kilogram

5: Wind farm

6: Sol, vind och vatten

7: Njutbar nedgång för priset på förnybar energi

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-06-23 (Midsommarafton)

Today, I learned that:

The world today is upside down, even in the so called Developed world, between old traditions, which seem to hinder more than help, and interesting innovations using old concepts in a totally new way.

Chalmers Lindholmen

Chalmers University of Technology, branch at Lindholmen in Gothenburg. The building named Kuggen (the “Cogwheel”) to the right is the library where the lecture below was held. Photo taken on 2017-05-30

The latter can be clearly seen in this lecture held at the branch offices of Chalmers University of Technology at Lindholmen in Gothenburg, Sweden, see photo above. Since I was visiting Gothenburg that day, I first visited my friend Lars Lindsköld, who made that interesting lecture about personal identification numbers in March, see my post of
. Here is a selfie we took to immortalize our encounter:

Lars Lindsköld och jag

Selfie of Lars (to the right) and me, photo taken on 2017-05-30

Then I listened attentively to a lecture by Lars Larsson, professor in Mechanics and Marine Science at Chalmers, where he described a concept boat. Starting with a small dinghy which top speed was 5 knots, by placing wings on centre board and rudder, and using carbon fibre and graphene, he and his team were able to transform that slow boat into a racer boat reaching 20 knots! See references #1 and #2 below, showing the main highlights of the lecture and a video of the foiling optimist. Thanks Lars for letting me share your knowledge with the world! Also, here is a photo of the professor and his racer dinghy:

Lars Larsson and his flying dinghy

Professor Lars Larsson and his concept dinghy. Photo taken on 2017-05-30.

Returning to the initial paragraph of this post, the old traditions which hinder the contemporary life are of course the British habit of the Queen announcing the new government by reading from a document, which was manually written with ink on “goatskin” that takes three days to dry! See reference # 3 below.

Trevlig midsommar!

… That’s what I learned in school !

1: Den flygande Optimisten – så fungerar den

2: The foiling optimist

3: The British practice of printing the Queen’s speech on goatskin is delaying the opening of their parliament

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-04-21 (Friday)

Today, I learned that:

In Brazil, today is a national holiday, remembering a movement at the end of the 18th century, which eventually resulted in independence from Portugal. The leader of the rebellion was a dentist, named Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, so today is known as “Feriado de Tiradentes”. More about it in reference #1 below. Given the current state of chaos in Brazil, let us hope that another dentist will show up soon, clean the house and fill the holes!

Tomorrow is Earth Day and many activities will occur all over the globe. One such action is by the unified scientific community which will protest about the way facts and science are treated currently. March for Science is planned in 54 different countries, with USA naturally leading the movement. In Sweden, the major university cities will also hold their marches, e.g. if you are in Göteborg (Gothenburg), why not join Stefan Bengtsson, Pam Fredman and many others in your protest. More information can be found in references # 2 and 3 below.

March for Science

Cities where March for Science will take place on 2017-04-22, most probably one near you!

One important ingredient in the protests is to, once more, show how our earth is suffering from the global warming that really is taking place. Among other things, it is threatening to put entire nations under water. One such nation is called Vanuatu. It is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, see reference #4 below. I just received some interesting photos from there, sent to me by my friends Helen and Tomas, who are currently visiting Vanuatu. Just think of not being able to experience a ceremony like that in the following photo of the indigenous population. In a future post, I will show more photos.


A photo from Vanuatu, taken on 2017-04-18 by Helen Rollinson

… That’s what I learned in school !


Do you need to TRANSLATE DOCUMENTS between ENGLISH, BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE, and the SCANDINAVIAN (SWEDISH / DANISH / NORWEGIAN) languages? Contact “Byrån / The Taskforce” here !!!

1: Tiradentes

2: March for Science

3: March for Science Sweden

4: Vanuatu

*: What did you learn in school today ?