2016-03-31 (Thursday)

Today, I learned that:

Today is the last day of the first quarter of 2016, and since tomorrow is April Fool’s Day, let us try to not appear as one of them. I am thinking about that today is named International Backup Day.

As everyone knows, never before has it been so easy and cheap to consume  and store digital bytes. But at the same time, it also means that we have to be ever so careful when we invest our time and money in digital content, so we do not lose our precious data.

So I suggest that you already think about that today, before it is too late. Basically, there are two different means of backing up your data, either through a local backup solution or a remote one, aka cloud based storage. I understand that many people are afraid of cloud storage, feeling that it easier for thieves to access, highjack and even destroy our data. But if chosen wisely, then you will surely find a remote location that can take care of your data securely.

You have probably heard what happened to the famous American film director Francis Ford Coppola. He always carried an external hard drive on his travels around the world. In it he stored all the data from his films, so that he could recover them if there was any problem with his laptop computer. But once in Argentina, someone stole both the computer and the external drive. He did not have any remote backup!

The website of reference #1 below explains everything in an easy language. Read, learn and act, but do it today!

WBD

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: World Backup Day

+: What did you learn in school today ?

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2016-03-30 (Wednesday)

Today, I learned that:

If you were surprised about the consequences which an interpretation of a comma in a contract can lead to, as I wrote about yesterday, today I will write about something which can directly affect the pockets of many people, if they do not weigh the possible outcome of a simple click of “like” in a Facebook page.

This case has been judged by a court in Piracicaba, located 160 km North West of the city of São Paulo, SP, Brazil. On 2013-12-04, the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo published an article, where the journalist Monica Bergamo reveals a case, which had just been decided in that court. The original text in Brazilian Portuguese is in reference #1 below, here comes a translation of it into English:

“A person that shares offensive comments or news on Facebook can be sentenced to pay an indemnity to the other person that feels affected by it. That decision was taken by the Court of Justice of the state of São Paulo. Judge José Roberto Neves Amorim, rapporteur of the case, says that the decision is new, and affirms that it will be recommended as jurisprudence, to be applied in similar cases which arrive at the court.

The case involves a veterinarian who was accused of negligence when treating a bitch (i.e. a female dog), subject to be castrated. The unproven information was shared and received “likes” from two women, who were sentenced to pay R$ 20 000 (corresponding then to US$ 8 500 ). “Those who share messages and give their opinion in an offensive way are responsible for their acts”, says Amorim. To him, Facebook should be “viewed with a higher degree of seriousness and not by the informal character that the defendants applied”.”

Reference #2 shows the official records of this process, and according to it, the sentence may be overturned, because the defendants appealed against the decision.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Mulheres abrem jurisprudência a indenização por comentário ofensivo em rede social

2: Consulta de Processos do 2ºGrau

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-29 (Tuesday)

Today, I learned that:

Almost one decade ago, there was a big dispute in Canada over how to interpret the meaning of a comma in one paragraph of a contract between two companies in the telecommunications industry. And it was not academic, the amount in dispute was as high as 2,13 million Canadian dollars. You might have heard about the so-called “tele-comma” case, if not here is the story:

In the Canadian province of New Brunswick, located on the South East coast, the local electricity company, NB Power, leased space on their outside poles to the telecommunications corporation Rogers Communication, so that they could distribute cable TV by means of those poles. A third party, Bell Aliant Regional Communication administered the poles on behalf of NB Power, so the lease contract was drawn up between Aliant and Rogers in year 2002, with an initial validity of five years, renewable in five-year periods, and with cancellation possible with a one-year prior notice. However, in 2005, Aliant gave the one-year notice that the contract was cancelled and furthermore the cost of leasing the pole almost triplicated, from $ 9,60 per pole to $ 28,05, which multiplied by 91 000 poles would lead to an extra cost for Rogers of almost $ 1,7 million.

Aliant said that this was all regulated in the following paragraph of the contract: “[…This Agreement] shall be effective from the date it is made and shall continue in force for a period of five (5) years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five (5) year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party.” They alleged that the comma in “… terms, unless …” gave them that right, which was also confirmed by Canada’s Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission.

However, Rogers kept insisting that the cited comma did not have any real meaning, and eventually found also a French version of the same contract, where such a comma did not exist. And they were successful in their appeal with the Commission, that reversed their earlier decision due to the existence of the French contract.

NB

NB Power poles and light house in Caissie Point, New Brunswick. Photo by Charles W. Bash

Below are three references that gives all the juicy content of this case, the two first ones being Canadian newspapers, and the third one is a British law site with a different angle to the story. Read and learn, and after that be very sure that the contracts you sign do not contain any such draconic comma.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: A $2-million comma? Au contraire, Rogers tells Aliant

2: Rogers wins ‘comma’ contract dispute

3: The case of the million-dollar comma

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-28 (Monday)

Today, I learned that:

It seems that many readers appreciate when I deal with culinary treats, which of course makes us all feel good. But since my background is in technology, it is difficult to not mention how the technological development is present also there.

Today, I heard about a novel container for storing and serving wine with a twist. It is the American company Kuvée which is accepting pre-orders for their system which allegedly permits that the user can store an open bottle up to 30 days and give a higher flexibility to drinking something different than the others. Let us see what comes out of this at end of the year, when their first products are scheduled to launch. If you think that this sounds interesting, consult references #1 and #2 below.

Today’s second topic is about the continuing development in screens for mobile phones. The dominating technology has been LCD displays for quite a while, although the OLED devices are coming stronger, promising more vibrant colors than their opponent. And now production costs for OLED are estimated to be lower than for LED, so very probably, we will see more of those in our smartphones from now on. But as always, there is a product that is trying to counter attack. It is the Quantum Dot (QD) display that wants to be remembered as a viable option to OLED.

OLEDxQD

OLED and QD-LED displays side by side. Photo by Android Authority

Below are references (#3 … #5) to three articles from Android Authority, that I suggest that you read in the order I indicate, although it is inverse chronological order. It is heavy stuff, but if you want to go deep into the secrets of your cell phone display, it is all in there.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Kuvee’s smart bottle is like a Keurig, but for wine

2: Your perfect glass, anytime

3: Right on schedule, AMOLED displays are now cheaper to produce than LCD

4: AMOLED vs LCD: differences explained

5: Quantum Dot vs OLED, which is the better display?

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-27 (Söndag)

Idag lärde jag mig, att:

Sveriges Radio sänder ett program på söndagsmorgonar som är riktat till en yngre publik, 9-13 år, och som heter Helt sant! I en blandning av fakta och sketcher lär de sig vetenskaper på ett lättillgängligt sätt. Idag fick vi lära oss att papper kan återvinnas 7 gånger, men att för glas finns det ingen övre gräns. Och nu vet också våra påläggskalvar vad grafén är, den ultratunna polymeren jag beskrev i mitt blogginlägg 2016-02-01 som har Chalmers som europeisk forskningsledare. Och dagens hyllning till grafén kom i form av sång, lyssna på referens nummer 1 nedan.

Men samtidigt som vi lär ut spjutspetsteknik till våra barn, så finns det politiker runt om vår jord som förnekar evolutionen, att det pågår en global uppvärmning, och t.om. att AIDS är frukten av ett virus. Det senaste påståendet framfördes och vidhålls av den sydafrikanske ex-presidenten Thabo Mbeki. Se nedanstående bildtext och lyssna också på ljudfilen i referens nummer 2.

mbeki

Citat från Johan Bergendorff, SR Vetenskapsradions Veckomagasin 2016-03-25: “Härom veckan gick Sydafrikas förre president Thabo Mbeki ut i ett öppet brev och försvarade sin tidigare inställning att hiv-viruset inte orsakar aids. Thabo Mbekis nygamla kvacksalvarpåståenden som kostade mer än 300 000 sydafrikaner livet har rivit upp gamla sår.”

… Slut för idag, tack för idag !

(This post in Swedish deals with teaching science to children and also how the former South African president Mbeki continues to deny a connection between HIV
and AIDS.)

Refs.:

1: Materialspecial med sånghyllning till grafén

2: Thabo Mbeki fortsätter förneka att HIV orsakar AIDS i Sydafrika

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-26 (Saturday)

Today, I learned that:

We have arrived at the Easter weekend and in most countries where Easter is celebrated, it is normally Easter Sunday which attracts the main interest culinarywise. Sweden is an exception, there it is Easter Eve, Saturday, that has that attribute.

So I would like to contribute with a marvellous dessert to break the normal sweets tradition. Avocado for most people is known for its use in appetizers, e.g. filling it with prawns, caviar, etc., and of course as a guacamole dip for the tortillas or nachos. But in Brazil, we like to eat the avocado sweet, mixing its pulp with sugar and water / milk, to form a delicious cream. See the photo and reference #1 below.

Creme de abacate

Avocado cream is extremely simple to make, and yet it is so tasty. Just divide the fruit in two halves, scrape out the pulp and place it in a blender. Add some sugar and a liquid, either water or milk. Dose and blend well to desired consistency. If you use water, then some lime will give the cream a delightful contrast. But do not add lime if you are using milk, they do not go well together chemically.

This morning, I heard some distressing news from the local news program of SR Sjuhärad. It was reported that the new EU regulations about traffic safety does not oblige the car driver to have his/her tail lights lit when out driving in the fog. To me, and so many others, that seems like a dangerous degradation of the safety rules. Let us hope that the human drivers have more wit than the EU legislators and leave the lights on. See also reference #2 below.

In two earliers posts, 2016-03-10 and 2016-03-12, I reported about the outcome of the first three games of Go in a best of five series challenge between the AlphaGo computer and the Korean master Lee Sedol. Here comes the final report, in which Lee won his first game and AlphaGo won one more. So the challenge victory went to AlphaGo with a 4-1 match record.

Go45

The results of games 4 and 5 in the challenge series between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol show how the two opponents won one game each. The final result of the 5-game series is thus 4-1 to AlphaGo

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Avocado

2: Släckta bakljus ger sämre säkerhet i dimma

3: AlphaGo’s ultimate challenge: a five-game match against the legendary Lee Sedol

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-25 (Friday)

Today, I learned that:

The world of football is in mourning, the carousel master Johann Cruyff died yesterday. I was fortunate to see him in action on top of his career. My colleague Christer and I decided to test the Interrail pass (see reference # 1 below) during the summer vacations of 1974. We set out from Malmö on June 15, via Copenhagen, Hamburg (where we got involved in a traffic accident) and Amsterdam, and on June 19, there we were in Dortmund in the Ruhr gebiet. It is definitely one of the best beer cities in the whole world, which we could confirm personally, and in the evening we headed for Westfalenstadion, to assist the second round of group 3 in the FIFA World Cup, Sweden vs. the Netherlands.

The Dutch team had defeated Uruguay by 2-0 in the first round, while Sweden and Bulgaria ended in a draw, 0-0. So the Dutch were of course big favorites to win the match, and the only thing they did not do in the game was to score, in spite of all good passes and tricks delivered by their captain Johann Cruyff and his mates. Luckily for Sweden, the Swedish goal keeper was Ronnie Hellström, who was a virtual wall between the goal posts, so the match ended with another 0-0 draw. The match report can be seen in reference # 2 below. Holland ended up as vice champions of the tournament, Sweden were number five and Ronnie Hellström was elected the best goal keeper of the World Cup, which led to that he was hired by the German Bundesliga team Kaiserslautern, which he defended for 10 consecutive years.

waffles

Swedish waffles with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. The recipe (in Swedish) can be found on http://www.arla.se/recept/vafflor/

If you live in Sweden, maybe you have had your share of waffles today, since March 25 is nick-named “waffle day”. So why is that? The reason is semantic and has its origin in the following legend: The Feast of the Annunciation, contemporarily the Solemnity of the Annunciation, commemorates the visit of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, during which he informed her that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In Swedish, the official name of today is therefore “Jungfru Marie Bebådelsedag”, but since she is also named “Vår Fru” (literally Our Lady), the day is also named “Vårfrudagen”, which easily can be pronounced as “Våffeldagen” (i.e. Waffle Day). More information (in Swedish) can be found in reference # 3 below.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Interrail

2: 1974 FIFA World Cup Germany™ – Netherlands-Sweden

3: Vårfrudagen (Våffeldagen) | Nordiska museet

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-24 (Thursday)

Today, I learned that:

Exactly 36 years ago to the day, I set foot for the first time on Brazilian soil, more exactly at the Galeão airport in Rio de Janeiro. Cumbica airport in São Paulo did not exist yet, so I had to disembark there and switch planes. And it was worth it, because in the following flight I got a window seat on the right side of the aircraft and could see the whole Bay of Guanabara in all its beauty.

The whole week before I had been in Lisbon, where I improved my Portuguese skills and enjoyed enormously the visit to Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian with all its artifacts and objects of sheer art. The last day there, Sunday, was a perfect day to visit the medieval Sintra castle in the outskirts of Lisbon. And when it was finally time for departure from Lisbon airport, who did I meet there? The famous Swedish artist Lasse Åberg, who was bringing the whole film set to Rio de Janeiro to shoot the final scene of the comic movie Sällskapsresan (“The Charter Trip”). That scene is only a few minutes long, so I am sure that the whole film crew enjoyed their trip to Rio to get some vacation as well. See photo and reference #1 below.

sresan

“I filmens slutbilder fångar kameran in en båt utanför Copacabana i Rio, där Stig-Helmer, Majsan, Ole och Siv uppklädda sitter och läppjar på drinkar medan en orkester spelar endast för dem.”

As I said before, living in Brazil has its advantages, the (meteorological) climate and the (human) climate are of course two great benefits, and since we are in back water to the rest of the world, why would anyone ever want to perform a terrorist attack here? But I must admit that the economic and political situation right now is the worst I have ever seen during the three decades I have lived here, and there is no silver lining in view.

Enough with complaining for today, instead today was announced the highest rate of data transmission ever on our earth, a whopping 57 Gbits/s of sustained rate, with no errors! Once more, it was researchers at the University of Illinois who accomplished that feat, see more in reference #2 below.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Sällskapsresan eller Finns det svenskt kaffe på grisfesten (1980)

2: Record-speed data transmission could make big data more accessible

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-23 (Wednesday)

Today, I learned that:

I should have told you more things yesterday, but the events in Brussels made me forget it.

In the beginning of 1982, there was a Canadian couple who was worried about the violence in the world and therefore thinking about moving to a quiet place where they could live in peace and let their children grow up in harmony with nature. So they spun the globe, closed their eyes and pointed at a spot. They liked the result and started to prepare for the big move, which they finally made in September, 1982. Their new home was located in a town called Port Stanley. They were still decorating their house when hell broke loose! In October, their cosy little town became the battle ground between Argentina and Great Britain, in the Falklands / Malvinas war!

But frankly speaking, to live in a small city in Brazil should not pose very big risks for terrorist attacks, more about me and Brazil tomorrow.

This morning, Radio Sweden presented two more interesting pieces of scientific news. The first one, references #1 and 2 below, is a fish that is both mother and father to its offspring.

herm-fish

This fish, a hybrid of two cichlids, does it all by her&himself. Photo: Xavier David/(CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

And the second one is a revolutionary material which researchers in Arizona want to employ to gather carbon dioxide from the air. Their invention should be able to collect 1 ton of CO2 every day, see reference #3 below.

Today is my blog post # 73, which reminds me of when I was younger and engaged in DX-ing and HAM radio. 73 was the code which meant “Best regards”, commonly used in all contacts between radio amateurs. See reference #4 for origin and more codes.

… That’s what I learned in school & 73 !

Refs.:

1: Ensam fisk lyckades bli både mamma och pappa

2: Hybridization generates a hopeful monster: a hermaphroditic selfing cichlid

3: Plastmatta fångar in koldioxid från atmosfären

4: On the Origin of “73”

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-22 (Tuesday)

Today, I learned that:

I woke up early this morning and when I was just about to make a move in Wordfeud, I noticed that there was a chat message waiting for me, “… a lot of mischief in Brussels”. So I tuned in to Radio Sweden P1 and heard all about the monstrosities that were happening there.

Twin Towers

I took this picture from the Empire State Building of the Manhattan skyline on 1994-09-18, when the Twin Towers were still the landmarks. 7 years later they did not exist any more!

It reminded me of other similar events which had happened during the last decade (London, Madrid, Paris,…), but most of all the “9/11” airplane crashes in New York. So I looked up the photo you can see above, which I took on 1994-09-18. You may remember that on 2016-02-07, I published a photo from an NFL-game in Atlanta, which I had taken one week earlier. I was there for product training at the Philips office, and after having concluded training Claudeir, Michael and I flew to New York, from where we would make other visits on the East Coast of USA the following week. So when I took that photo from the top of the Empire State Building, of course I remembered how the Twin Towers stood out in the horizon. Seven years later they did not exist!

And of course I also remember very well what happened on 2001-09-11. I was in a meeting in my office, when our secretary told us the news about the nightmare in New York. And on that very same morning, a Philips sales man landed in São Paulo for an important meeting later in the week. He took a taxi directly from the airport to the hotel, where he rested for some hours without knowing about what had happened earlier in the US. So I broke the news to him over the phone, he called his parents in Chicago, who gave him first-hand information about the calamity in their country. Due to the shutdown of the airports all over USA, his flight back on Friday evening was cancelled, but he was lucky enough to fly out on the following Monday evening.

But, in the midst of all these dark memories, today I also heard an illuminative piece of news. It was delivered by Scientific American about researchers at Harvard who have developed a material that can go from clear to opaque in a second, when an electric field is applied. Imagine that when you want to sleep without being bothered, you do not have draw any curtain or Venetian blind, no you just press a button and the windows in your bed room stops any voyeurs from peeking in. And then in the morning, in order to see the Sun in all its beauty, you just press the button again, while saying “Let there be light!”

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Smart Glass Goes from Clear to Cloudy in a Jolt

2: Electrically tunable window device

+: What did you learn in school today ?