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.

The latter can be clearly seen in this lecture held at the branch offices of Chalmers University of Technology at Lindholmen in Gothenburg, Sweden. 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 2017-04-01. 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 !


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1: Tiradentes

2: March for Science

3: March for Science Sweden

4: Vanuatu

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-04-16 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

There are so many things that need be improved in this world. Too many people endure bad conditions to live, to eat, …, in short, to exist!

And although everyone has a name, it is not always officially known and registered. In my post on 2017-04-01, I talked about the Swedish system for registration of its population, which made a quantum leap in 1947, when the civic registration number was introduced.

Here in Brazil, there is no unified system of identification. There is one system for identity cards, exercised in the different states of the union, named RG (Registro Geral, “General Register”), another one by the federal tax authorities, called CPF (Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas, “Register of Physical Persons”), a third one run by the election authorities, called título de eleitor (“Elector Title”), an important document, since everyone between 18 and 70 years are compelled to vote, and also one for approved vehicle drivers, CNH (Carteira Nacional de Habilitação, “National Registers of Approved Drivers”).

TSE, which is the federal main organ of the election authorities, is worried about the difficulty in identification of the voters, and is therefore trying to re-register all their electors including also biometric identification. This process goes slowly, there are only a handful of all the states which have concluded the re-registration process so far. But last week, the Senate of the Brazilian Parliament approved the creation of a new document of identification, ICN (Identificação Civil Nacional,”National Civic Identification”). It will use the data base of TSE and add to that the other documents I mentioned. The Senate also approved the creation of a new identity card, DIN (Documento de Identificação Nacional, “Document of National Identification”), that would be emitted using the ICN data. However, it is said that the President of the Republic will not sanction the creation of DIN. See also reference #1 below.

But even if TSE eventually manages to conclude their registry, will that guarantee impartial elections? Of course not, who controls that the voting machines used in the elections are not manipulated? Radio Sweden’s program P4 Världen yesterday presented a Dutch white hat hacker, Sijmen Ruwhof, who showed how easy it is was to hack the Dutch totalization process after the most recent parliamentary elections and thus forced a manual recounting of all the votes. See references #2 and 3 below.

Sijmen Ruwhof

Sijmen Ruwhof lecturing on cyber security

By the way, here is a photo which was taken on the Chinese Wall in Juyongguan, 50 km northeast of Beijing, exactly 12 years ago, 2005-04-16.

Chinese Wall

The Chinese Wall north of Beijing, China. Photo taken on 2005-04-16.

… That’s what I learned in school !


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1: Senado aprova criação de base de dados nacional para identificação de cidadãos

2: Turkisk choklad, nordkoreanskt påskägg och möte med holländsk hackare

3: AFP: ‘Ditch computers to save democracy: ethical hacker’

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-04-01 (lördag)

Idag lärde jag mig, att:

I tisdags rapporterades det om att i det jämtländska Bräcke nyligen hade hänt något som naturligtvis inte får hända. Socialtjänsten där råkade kasta om några siffror i ett personnummer, vilket fick som resultat att ett nyfött barn registrerades att ha fel far. Förutom att de båda “fäderna” naturligtvis blev mycket upprörda så har det resulterat i förseningar av bidragsutbetalningar. Mamman har nu anmält händelsen till Justitieombudsmannen, JO. Se också referens 1 nedan.

För ett drygt år sedan publicerade Barometern en artikel i vilken en man som sedan han kom till Sverige 1997 under hela tiden har levt med ett personnummer som inte motsvarar hans födelsedatum. Eftersom personnumren för den 1 januari 1967, hans riktiga födelsedatum, hade tagit slut så fick han ett personnummer som började med 670202 istället för 670101. Det fungerade fint till dess att hans far dog och han inte lyckades få ut arvet eftersom han inte kunde bevisa vem han var. Se hela historien i referens 2 nedan.

Nej, det rör sig inte om några aprilskämt! Det är bara två av de exempel som visar hur viktigt personnumret är för alla som bor eller uppehåller sig under någon längre tid i Sverige. Den som berättar om detta och mycket mer heter Lars Lindsköld, verksam inom Västra Götalandsregionens koncernkontor där han arbetar med vårdens digitalisering. Tillika är han adjungerad universitetslektor på Institutionen för tillämpad informationsteknologi vid Göteborgs Universitet. I onsdags höll han ett intressant föredrag om personnummer, dess historia, betydelse och framtid. STORT TACK, Lars, för att du delar med dig din kunskap till mina läsare! Se presentationen i referens 3 nedan för en komplett beskrivning.

Framtidens personnummer

Förslag till hur person-, samordnings- och samordningsnumren skulle kunna se ut i framtiden, se mer i referens 3 nedan.

I referens 4 nedan finns ytterligare en viktig resurs, om du måste spärra risken att någon ändrar din adress på ett olovligt sätt, väl värt att notera.

Och om du vill höra Lars Lindsköld berätta i egen hög person, så kan du söka upp SR P4 Göteborgs program i onsdags, referens 5 nedan. Inslaget ingick i Förmiddag i P4 Göteborg med Stefan Livh. Det programmet började kl. 09.32 och efter 2 timmar och 5 minuter, alltså kl. 11.37 börjar det 18 minuter långa inslaget.

Dessutom rekommenderar jag att du konsulterar följande inlägg som jag gjorde 2016 om datumskrivning och personnummer:

2016-01-10, Internationell standard för datumskrivning ISO 8601:2004

2016-02-27, Legimitation

2016-03-05, Tre fel i personnumret

(The post above in Swedish deals with the Swedish civic registration number, which was introduced in 1947, and that since has been expanded also for other similar uses.)

Slutligen, efter det att hela Sverige kunde fira en befolkning på 10 miljoner invånare den 20 januari, var det så dags för Göteborgregionen att kravla sig över 1-miljonsstrecket. Det hände i tisdags, 28 mars 2017. GRATTIS! Se också referens 6 nedan.

Tack för idag, slut för idag!


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1: Socialtjänstmiss i Bräcke – barn fick fel far

2: Mstafa Aziz – mannen med fel personnummer

3: Lars Lindskölds föredrag om personnummer 2017-03-29

4: Spärra obehörig adressändring

5: Förmiddag i P4 Göteborg med Stefan Livh, 2017-03-29 kl. 11.37

6: Nu blir Göteborg en miljoooooon

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-03-12 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

Even if you loose your voice, there are now ever better means of communicating with other people. Of course you can write, if you are able, but you must agree with me that an audio is much easier to grasp than a text, one can continue with most other activities and still understand what is being said. (But take very much care, even if you use a handsfree mobile phone in your car, your attention to the ongoing call is often so high that you can be a menace to other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.)

Yesterday, I watched the 2014 movie about Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane, “The Theory of Everything”. In the very moment when Stephen is first heard through his mechanical voice, Jane is pretty excited, but complains that the voice has an American accent. If that had happened today, the genius, who recently celebrated his 75th anniversary, could use his own voice, although generated artificially. More about the movie and Stephen Hawking can be found in references #1 and 2 below.

And now over to the story about Jason Liversidge and his new voice: Just like Stephen Hawking, Jason, who lives in Yorkshire in northeast England, suffers from the neurological disease called ALS. The first symptoms appeared almost 10 years ago, but it was only three years ago that he got the diagnosis of ALS. His own voice is still working, but sometimes he needs a backup voice, and then he can use his computer which generates sounds with the same accent as Jason’s, “not the posh English accent”. His artificial voice was created from a video recording of a speech he made some years ago, combined with speech from other men from Yorkshire. A research institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, were then able to recreate Jason’s voice synthetically. The proper Jason and his family recognize the similarity of both voices. Reference #3 appoints to the radio program from Radio Sweden (in Swedish) which tells the whole story.


Jason Liversidge from Yorkshire already has a sounds-alike backup to his voice when his own does not perform as desired. Photo by Stephanie Zakrisson/Sveriges Radio.

Exactly one year ago, 2016-03-12, I published a video showing Atlas, a robot from Boston Dynamics performing gracious movements. But it did not stop there, look at this video of its newest sibling, Handle, in reference # 4 below, SIMPLY AMAZING!


Ponte da Amizade (“Bridge of Friendship”) joining Foz do Iguaçu – PR, Brazil, where the photo was taken on 2017-01-26 by my daughter, with Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, in the left side.

The photo above shows another view of the Paraná River, this time from the Brazilian side, shot 200 km South of the photo from 2016-11-30. It shows the bridge interconnecting the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu – PR, to the right, and the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este. Not long ago, this bridge used to be packed with people and cars returning to Brazil from a shopping spree in Paraguay, but the ongoing financial crisis has also here had a devasting effect. (I already published a photo from Foz do Iguaçu on 2016-01-28).

… That’s what I learned in school !

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1: The Theory of Everything

2: Stephen Hawking

3: Talsyntes på dialekt stärker identiteten

4: Introducing Handle

*: What did you learn in school today ?

Tuesday (2017-02-28)

Today, I learned that:

The Nordic people are said to be cold and not very sociable. But that saying is now definitely DEAD ! The reason can be seen in The Guardian. Last week, it presented a survey made in 39 different cities of the world about the social behaviour and attitudes of its residents. And the winner was GÖTEBORG, aka Gothenburg. (And Stockholm ended up in the second place.) Read the whole story in reference #1 below. As a tribute, the following photo was taken at the Gothenburg marina of Långedrag on 2008-07-17.


Photo taken at Långedrag, Göteborg on 2008-07-17

Of course I feel very proud that the city where I got my academic degree was chosen, and I agree that those years I spent there had quite a lot of positive events and people. The locals in Göteborg are considered as funny people, always ready to tell a joke or two. On the day that the survey was presented, the Canadian general governor, David Johnston, visited Göteborg, which generated the following joke:


You can see the answer, in “göteborgska” at the end of this page.

… That’s what I learned in school !

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1: Party central: Gothenburg voted world’s most sociable city

*: What did you learn in school today ?


2017-01-29 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

In the wake of recent movements for independence of states from superior associations, time has come to the US. Now it is California, “As the sixth largest economy in the world, California is more economically powerful than France and has a population larger than Poland. Point by point, California compares and competes with countries, not just the 49 other states.”, that is getting fed up about being treated as inferior in the federation and there is already a campaign for a referendum, which has the objective of voting about a detachment of the state of California (“Calexit”) from the USA in 2019. I am sure you will be hearing a lot about it in the future, but if you cannot wait, have a look at reference # 1 below.

Today’s header photo was taken in the parking lot of In & Out Burger in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, on 2009-03-29. I think it gives a perfect idea of what California also is, far away from the big cities and beaches, showing palm trees, mountains, freeways, cars, and (implicitly) hamburgers.

Do you remember my post from 2016-01-30 ? One of the subjects was the idea about paying people without demanding anything in return,  a sort of guaranteed citizen’s salary. Reference #2 mentions a Swedish radio program, where it was announced that a selection of 2 000 unemployed Finns would receive € 560 per month during two years, without having to do anything in return. Further information can also be found in reference # 3 below.


Liisa Ronkainen belongs to the lucky 2 000 who will receive € 560 Euros / month during 2 years. Photo: Thella Johnson/SR

… That’s what I learned in school !

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1: Yes California Independence Campaign

2: Medborgarlön på prov i Finland

3: Finland trials basic income for unemployed

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-01-14 (Saturday)

Today, I learned that:

One year passes so fast, and the older one gets, the faster it seems! Someone said that our perception of time is inversely proportional to our physical age, e.g. one month for an 8-year old child seems to last as long as half a year for a person of 48 years. And one year ago, on 2016-01-08, I met with my old friend Tereza, lawyer and university professor, undoubtedly the leading Brazilian expert on the rights of certain minority populations, see reference # 1 below. She suggested to me to start a blog and thus disseminate my knowledge and ideas. I told her that I had no experience in blogs!

But then, during the following night, I had the most vivid dream, when what I believed to be a song by Tom Lehrer played over and over again in my head, ‘What did you in learn school today?’. I took it as a premunition for something special, and once awake I searched for the song on the internet. It proved to have been written by Tom Paxton, and I found the fabulous version interpreted by Pete Seeger, the main reference * below.

My very first, extremely timid post, was about the first podcast I had listened to in the morning of 2016-01-09, from the Science Show by Radio National in Australia, about potatoes and incas. Thank you, Tereza, for your excellent suggestion!

And now to the very best moment of all: Thank you, everyone, who have supported me during this very interesting year. Please bare with me and I will continue to produce also in 2017, when time so permits. And a special thank to all my friends who have sent me such marvellous pictures from their travels and allowed me to publish them.

Here is a partial list of posts with descriptions and photos of cities, as well as other posts with substantial contributions from my friends, from all around the world:

Today is no exception, as you can see further down in this post.

Today’s hint is once more from the Science Show. In 2016 was celebrated the 150th anniversary of the birth of HG Wells, who most of you know as the author of The Time Machine. But he was so much more, a very prolific author of a multitude of books, articles, etc., mostly science fiction, often with sinister forecasts. Did you know that he coined the term ‘atomic bomb’ and at an early stage warned about the disasterous effects the uncontrolled release of atomic energy could have on human kind. He lived to see the bombs which were thrown over Japan in 1945, and when he died in 1946, he had already written his epitaph. What did he write? Find out by listening to the podcast in reference # 2 below. Reference # 3 also contains plenty of information about him.


Photo taken downtown Havanna on 2016-12-06.

My guests of honor today are my friends Andrea and Carmen, both native from South America, but living in Sweden nowadays. One month ago, they went to visit a friend of theirs in Havana, the capital city of Cuba, and among other things took some amazing photos. One of those is today’s header photo. It was taken downtown old Havana in Parque Central, and it shows a typical scene from current traffic in Cuba, dominated by American cars from the 1950’s. Below are some more photos from their trip:


Photos taken in Havana, Cuba, in December/2016, by Andrea da Silva and Carmen Alarcon. The top row shows typical photos from the streets, including Hotel Sevilla, on the left. In the middle row, we can see American cars from the 1950’s, the middle photo is part of an impressive mural in Calle Mercaderes depicting 67 notable persons in Cuban arts and history, and the rightmost photo also shows the Capitol and El Gran Teatro de La Habana (aka Garcia Lorca). The left and center photos in the bottom row were taken in the Museo de la Revolution, housed in a former presidential palace, and the rightmost photo is of the police headquarters in Havana.

If you want to know more about Havana, one good start is reference # 4 below.

… That’s what I learned in school !

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1: Advogada Especialista em Mudança de Nome e Sexo e Alteração de Nome em geral.

2: HG Wells: author who imaged a future based on scientific achievement

3: HG Wells

4: Havana

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-01-01 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

2017 is finally here, let us forget 2016 and wish that the peoples of the world start to realize that we cannot continue in the same old way. According to SMHI (The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute), “Globalt var 2016 det varmaste året hittills”, i.e. globally 2016 was the warmest year ever, although not in Sweden due to a very cold month of January, 2016. See also reference #1.

But if you still believe that global warming is a hoax, then you had better look better into what the scientists say. My favorite Saturday morning podcast is the Science Show from ABC Radio National in Australia. This 1-hour long program was started 41 years ago and continues still alive once a week, under the command of the Englishman Robyn Williams, naturalized Australian.

Which are the chances that the human race will be still alive at the end of this century? We may not be alive by then, but do not we have a responsibility to let our children, grandchildren, grand grandchildren, etc. see the 22nd century?

The two most recent podcasts from the Science Show were both recorded in Adelaide on 2016-03-16 during the WOMADelaide Planet Talks. In references #2 and 3, the ABC podcast and a video posted on Youtube, respectively, the Canadian David Suzuki resumes perfectly what it is all about, what we have to do to have a chance of meeting the 22nd century.

In references #3 and 4, the ABC podcast and a video posted on Youtube, respectively,
David Suzuki comes back together with Indira Naidoo and Amelia Telford, to give down-to-earth hints on how to grow your own produce even if you live in a city, how to convince the politicians to introduce the obligation of the state and its citizens to take care of the environment, as 110 countries in the world which have written it into their constitutions, etc.

I promise you, it will be the most enlightening 2 hours you have experienced in a very long time!

… That’s what I learned in school !


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1: Året 2016 – Varmt år men inget rekord

2: David Suzuki: Changing climate the ultimate crisis for our species, podcast 2016-12-24

3: David Suzuki Keynote – WOMADelaide Planet Talks 2016-03-16

4: How people connect with the natural world, podcast 2016-12-31

5: What’s love got to do with it? – WOMADelaide Planet Talks 2016-03-16

+: What did you learn in school today ?