2018-08-12 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

Although the FIFA World Cup 2018 was really a joyful event, one of the best ever, it is once more evident that the slow pace of changes in the rules of the game are detrimental to the temper of many people. So, as I promised in my post of 2018-07-10, here are my 2 cents to make football an even better game:

A very welcome addition to this year’s edition of the World Cup was the introduction of the video assistant referees (VAR) , which made quite a few games more fair than before. Even though it could have been used more often to decide about the outcome of a certain play, it surely made some important contributions to the justice of the games. Here is one such event:

KOR-GER

While the TV image shows a replay of a questionable first Korean goal scored in the final game of group F between South Korea and Germany, the American referee Mark Greiger has been summoned by the FIFA VAR group to revise the play which would result in a Korean lead against Germany in the 93rd minute of the game. He had previously cancelled the goal due to an alleged offside, but the review made him change his decision and confirm the goal. As a consequence, the reigning champion Germany was sent home after the group matches. See also the official match report in reference #1 below .

So, if the referee of the match is the almighty responsible to judge the outcome, even though he might be shown otherwise and still not change his mind, since we now have VAR, why not institute a system just like in the noble sport of tennis?

Most people are probably unaware that in tennis,  the chair umpire, the person sitting in their high chair proclaiming the score etc., is not the ultimately responsible for the outcome of the game. The highest authority, the referee, is rarely seen by the public, but if the players cannot accept the chair umpire’s decision, then they can appeal to the referee, who then makes the final decision. The article in reference #2 describes very well the ruling system in tennis, if you are interested read it through thoroughly.

As you can see from the match report of reference #1, in total there were 11 officials present in the game. My suggestion is, that in cases where there is a fully functional VAR system installed and working during the game, to change the ultimate decision from the referee to the person named as VAR in the match report, i.e. the responsible VAR person of the four mentioned there, and give them the ultimate authority, just as is the case in tennis. If no VAR is present, then of course the referee will still be the ultimate authority of the game.

Another thing that bothers me and many others is the way the extra time (often also referred to as stoppage time) is awarded. At the end of each half of the football game, it is decided how many minutes should be awarded to compensate for interruptions during the game, a very arbitrary procedure. Look at reference #3 which analysed all the games during the group stage of FIFA World Cup 2018. As you can see there, of all the 32 matches analysed, only one game was compensated sufficiently, even overcompensated. It was the game between Germany and Sweden which was 12 s longer than expected. (Maybe as a result of that, Germany also scored the winning goal in the final seconds of the game!)

The worst example of lack of playing time was in the game between Belgium and Tunisia, which should have been compensated by 21 minutes, but only gained 7 minutes extra. The solution is very simple:

Do like in ice hockey, basketball, etc. Stop the watch when no playful activity is going on. Institute 2 halves of 30 minutes each of effective playing time instead of the current 45 minutes halves and the game will be much more dynamic and fair!

There are more things to suggest, such as a more flexible system of substituting players and other matters, but that I will leave that to a future post.

Today’s header photo is the first in a series of beautiful, highly defined photos from around the world. In the first round of photos, I will present some of the cities which have hosted the Olympic Games over the years. The first photo shows Sydney, the biggest city in Australia, host of the year 2000 Summer Olympic Games. The photo shows a view of one of its landmarks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. More about Sydney, the Harbour Bridge and the 2000 Olympic Games can be found in references #4, #5, and #6 below.

That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Match report Korea-Germany

2: Officials in tennis

3: We timed every game, World Cup stoppage time is wildly inaccurate.

4: Sydney

5: Sydney Harbour Bridge

6: 2000 Summer Olympic Games

*: What did you learn in school today ?

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2018-07-10 (Tuesday)

Today, I learned that:

While I was attending the fantastic course about masterpieces of world literature at edX earlier today, you know the big and very elaborate e-learning site for millions of students, one of its videos showed how Alexander the Great spread Greek culture to the countries he had conquered, about 300 years BC. In this particular video, what most attracted my attention was when one of the lecturers, Martin Puchner, on site in Ephesus, on the current Turkey’s western coast, showed the large amphitheater with seating for 25 000 people that the conqueror had erected there. References 1, 2, and 3 give more details about the course, the video in question and also about Ephesus.

Coincidentally, I and my family visited Ephesus exactly 10 years ago today, on 2008-07-10. Besides the photo below of the amphitheater, there are some more pictures I took from this historical site. When we visited it, only 25 % had been excavated so far, hopefully it is more now, because it is really interesting stuff to see and hear about.

efesus1

This ancient amphitheater in Ephesus was erected by Alexander the Great, in his program to spread Greek culture to the world. It holds 25 000 spectators. Photo taken on 2008-07-10.

efesus2-5

Pictures from the ancient city of Ephesus. Besides the amphitheater, the glorious library in the lower right is well known. All photos taken on 2008-07-10.

Later today, our modern day version of popular theater, sports, will see billions of people attending the first of the two semifinals in FIFA World Cup 2018. After the tournament is over, in my next post I will give you my opinion about what needs to be done to improve football further, to make it even more dynamic and joyful.

That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Masterpieces of World Literature

2: Alexander and the Dissemination of Greek Culture

3: Ephesus

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2018-06-23 (Midsommardagen)

Today, I learned that:

In the midst of the World Championships in football, which takes place in Russia, today is scheduled the game between Sweden and Germany. If we include the games played between the two countries when the biggest German nation was West Germany, this will be the 37th time the countries meet on the football ground, and the 7th time in official games, such as Olympic Games, World Championships or European Championships.

The last time Sweden beat Germany in an official game was in the World Cup 1958, held in Sweden. Tomorrow, we celebrate that exactly 60 years have gone since that game. For Swedes, it is a game to remember forever, not only because Sweden won the match and advanced to the final game, but also because of the marvellous goal made by the Swedish right wing player, Kurt Hamrin, in the last minute of the game. See reference # 1 for more about that World Cup and reference # 2 for a video clip of Hamrin’s feat.

Kurre

Two photos from Kurt Hamrin’s legendary slalom run against Germany in 1958, see the whole video sequence in reference # 2 below.

At the time of writing this post, the current leader in the chase for the Golden Boot, which is awarded to the player who scores most goals in the World Cup, is the Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Implicitly, he is also the main character in today’s photo. It was taken on 2017-06-07 in the Latvian capital of Riga and shows football fans waiting outside Hotel Radisson Blu Latvija to catch a glimpse (and an autograph?) of the Portuguese squad, and of Ronaldo in particular. Thus the number of fans using shirt # 7! (Two days later, in a qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup, Portugal beat Latvia with 3-0, with two goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo. More about that game can be found in reference #3 below.)

CR7

Football fans outside Hotel Radisson Blu Latvija in Riga waiting to get a glimpse of the Portuguese squad, in particular jersey # 7, the superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, thus the multitude of fans wearing that shirt. This photo was taken on 2017-06-07, two days before the World Cup qualification game Latvia vs Portugal two days later. The result of the match was no surprise, Portugal won by 3-0, Ronaldo made two goals.

But since we are in Latvia now, we should remember that the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) are celebrating their 100 years of the first independent from Russia, which happened at the end of World War I, in 1917-1918, just like Finland, see my post of 2017-12-06. If you became interested in knowing more about the Baltic states, see reference # 4 below. Reference # 5 is an interesting article from the Finnish Broadcasting Co. (in Swedish) about the activities there during this year of celebration.

That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: 1958 FIFA World Cup

2: Kurt Hamrin scores 3-1 against Germany on June 24, 1958

3: Latvia-Portugal on 2017-06-09

4: Baltic states

5: Baltikum minns hundra år av självständighet

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2018-06-12 (Dias dos namorados)

Idag lärde jag mig, att:

I Brasilien firar vi idag ‘Dia dos namorados’, i översättning ungefär ”älsklingarnas dag’, alltså den brasilianska varianten av Alla hjärtans dag. I USA och Sverige firas ju denna kommersiella dag den 14 februari, men när affärsmannen João Doria i slutet av 1940-talet föreslog att den skulle införas också i Brasilien, så valde han den 12 juni. Orsaken till det var att imorgon den 13 juni är det Sankt Antonios dag, som är är känd som bröllopsparens skyddshelgon. Kommersen är likadan som i andra länder med hjärtan i olika storlekar, chokladaskar mm. I referenserna nummer 1 och 2 nedan kan du läsa mer om Dia dos namorados (på portugisiska) och Alla hjärtans dag (på svenska) och deras historia.

Apropå det så tänkte jag på några svenska ord i sammanhanget. De äldre uttrycken käraste och käresta är intressanta eftersom de inte bara byter ut den normala sista vokalen e (för män) och a (för kvinnor), utan använder också motsatt vokal i mitten på ordet. Men dessutom kan ju en tjej kalla sin favoritkille för det dubbla min käraste käraste, medan det motsatta bara blir min käraste käresta. På det fältet är kvinnorna före männen!

Fjäril

Den vackra brandgula fjärilen gömmer sig i busken bland dess röda blommor, foto taget 2018-06-07

Och dagen till ära är ovanstående bilds ledfigur en fjäril, i buskens högerkant. Om någon kan tala om för mig dess namn blir jag mycket tacksam.

Jag avslutar dagens inlägg med fyra bilder från Brasilien, två dagar innan fotbolls-VM 2018 inleds:

Copa18

Även om intresset i allmänhet inte är lika stort som det var vid tidigare fotbollsvärldsmästerskap så försöker affärerna att övertyga konsumenterna med olika kampanjer. Den store stjärnan Neymar Jr (längst till vänster) gör reklam för kaffe och erbjuder de olika tröjor han har använt i sin karriär medan ett varuhus tycker att brasilianarna ska glömma den förödmjukande förlusten mot Tyskland med 7-1 i hemma-VM 2014 och se på VM 2018 med en ny TV-apparat (längst till höger) som inte visat de bilderna. De båda mittbilderna visar intresset att byta bilder på sina idoler, genom användning av både trottoaren framför och utrymmet inne på apoteket. Foton tagna i månadsskiftet april-maj 2018.

(This post is entirely in Swedish, dealing with mainly the Brazilian variant of Valentine’s day, commemorated on June 12.  Also some pictures showing how Brazil is preparing for the World Cup 2018 in football, held in Russia.)

Tack för idag, slut för idag!

Refs.:

1: Dia dos namorados

2: Alla hjärtans dag

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2018-06-06 (Nationaldagen)

Idag lärde jag mig, att:

Sverige firar sin nationaldag idag och det officiella firandet kulminerar ikväll på Skansen med konsert och högtidstal, i närvaro av kungaparet. Orsaken till just denna dag är att 1893 påbörjades firandet av Svenska Flaggans Dag på just Skansen. Skansens grundare, Artur Hazelius, ville instifta en högtidsdag som skulle samla nationen och valde den 6 juni. Det var den dagen, år 1523, som Gustav Vasa utropades till kung och det var den 6 juni 1809 som den då gällande regeringsformen undertecknades. År 1983 döptes sedan denna dag om till Sveriges Nationaldag och den är en offentlig helgdag sedan 2005. Mer om detta kan du läsa om i referenser nummer 1 och 2 nedan.

Vaktparad1

Vaktparad2

Dagen till ära deltog HKH Carl Philip i nationaldagens vaktombyte på Kungliga Slottet, tillsammans med dignitärer från alla vapenslagen. Foto taget av Medieborgarens flygande reporter.

Men det är naturligtvis inte bara i huvudstaden som nationaldagen firas, utan det sker också runt om i vårt avlånga land, allt som oftast kombinerat med att officiellt välkomna nyblivna svenska medborgare. Ett sådant ställe är järnvägsknuten Herrljunga i hjärtan av Västergötland, min hemort. Och där finns en livaktig hembygdsförening med ett intressant friluftsmuseum på Haraberget, ett slags Skansen i miniatyr. Just Herrljunga Hembygdsförening har utsetts till Årets Hembygdsförening av både Västergötlands och Sveriges Hembygdsförbund. STORT GRATTIS!

Haraberget

Dagens bild från Haraberget är därför den mest lämpade, nämligen det första stationshuset i Herrljunga från 1862, när Västra Stambanan invigdes. Se också referens nummer 3 nedan.

Imorgon på dagen 524 år sedan, 1494-06-07, slöts ett av världshistoriens viktigaste fördrag i den spanska staden Tordesillas, i vilket avtalades hur dåtidens stormakter, Portugal och Spanien, skulle fördela de utomeuropeiska landvinningarna mellan sig. Detta fördrag förklarar varför hela västra Sydamerika fortfarande använder spanska som modersmål och östra Sydamerika, dvs. Brasilien, talar portugisiska. Läs mer om fördraget i referens nummer 4 nedan.

Tordesillas

Världskarta som visar uppdelning av utomeuropeiska territorier mellan Portugal och Spanien. Av Lencer – Eget arbete, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3194339

(Today’s post is entirely in Swedish, in commemoration of the Swedish National Day, celebrated both in the capital and other municipalities around the country. And tomorrow marks the day 524 years ago when the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed by Portugal and Spain.)

Tack för idag, slut för idag!

Refs.:

1: Nationaldagsfirandet på Skansen

2: Sveriges nationaldag

3: Herrljungas äldsta stationshus

4: Tordesillasfördraget

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2018-05-24 (Thursday)

Today, I learned that:

Last Sunday, the Swedish male icehockey team won the World Championships again. You may remember from my post of 2017-05-21 how they won it last year as well. And also this year, the title was won after the final penalty shoot out. But this year, their campaign in the whole tournament was almost impeccable, all games won and only one point lost. The final was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, almost a home game then.

So what could be better than to publish a photo of how the team was received on 2018-05-21 at the park Kungsträdgården in central Stockholm. My Brazilian friend who lives there was also enjoying himself in the sunshine and sent me some nice photos and video clips, muito obrigado! This photo shows the moment when John Klingberg raises the trophy to the enthusiastic crowd’s cheers.

Kungsan

In April, I invested quite some time to accompany all the details of the world championship in curling for male teams, which happened in Las Vegas, NV, USA, as I already anticipated in my post of 2018-03-24. Have a look at the photos below. Besides the different feeding habits of the Swedish and Japanese teams during the mid-game intermission, it is also interesting to note that although the competition is hosted by one of the densest neon and electronic cities in the world, the scoreboards are still manual, mechanical ones with the scores being recorded by magnetic tabs. (In the women’s tournament in March, all scoreboards were electronic.)

LV2018

Three photos taken during the round robin game between Sweden and Japan on 2018-04-06. It is interesting to note how the Japanese cannot forget their habit of bringing the traditional obento, i.e. a lunch box full with culinary delicacies. All photos are screenshoots from the video coverage supplied by the World Curling Federation. See also reference #1 below.

That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Japan v Sweden – Round-robin – 361º World Men’s Curling Championship 2018

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2018-04-15 (Guldkantad söndag)

Today, I learned that:

On the Northern hemisphere there is spring in the air, finally after a harsh winter. And in Sweden, one of the traditions at this time of the year is that schoolchildren from all over the country sell a miniature flower, called Majblomman (“Mayflower”), with the proceeds being used to help children in need. This year’s flower is the one you can see in the header photo, a beautiful work of art with black and golden petals surrounding a mother of pearls. The creator, 13-year old Elina Hall, was inspired by a bumblebee. In the following image are all Majblommor sold since it all began, back in 1907. In reference #1 is an English translation by Google of an interesting page from Majblomman’s home page.

MB_Blomkort_2018

A collection of Majblommor, starting in 1907 and updated most recently with the beautiful bumblebee inspiration of 2018. Photo by Majblomman.

And exactly today, the same colours are so true to also reflect the outcome of the Swedish first division football derby between AIK and Djurgården, won by the former squad, with the nickname of ‘de guldkantade’, which means “the golden cuffed”. I wanted to tease a friend of mine who is a fan of the opponents and she hinted me (thanks Lady Godiva) about Majblomman. Could it be a coincidence? I do not think so, 2018 is going to be the year when AIK wins the Swedish championships once more! If you want to know more about my team, read my post from 2016-02-15, when the sports club celebrated its 125th anniversary.

That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Majblomman in English

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2018-03-24 (Saturday)

Today, I learned that:

Most people around the world do not have the slightest idea what curling is. Well, it is a sport with centuries of traditions from the ices in Scotland which was first introduced to the Winter Olympic Games already in 1924 for a one-time appearance. It then reappeared there permanently in 1998 and now it is one of the most exciting events of the whole games, often called ‘Chess on Ice’, due to the similarities in needing to predict moves well ahead.

Curling is played on an ice sheet with the approximate dimensions of 45 x 5 m. The traditional way is to play the game in teams of four players (in separate male and female disciplines) and recently also in mixed doubles. In the four-member games, each team player has two 20 kg granite stones that s/he tries to place close to the target. Whilst one of the players throws the stone, two other members use their brooms to sweep the ice to ease the stone in getting to its target, under the guidance of the captain (called skip). More details about this fascinating sport can be found in reference # 1 below, and in reference # 2 is a video showing how the curling stones are made.

The yearly women’s world curling championships are taking place this week in North Bay, ON, Canada, another of the leading curling countries. The thirteen participating national teams played each other once in a round robin format. The two best teams in the number of wins, Canada and Sweden, were directly qualified into the semifinals and the third to sixth teams played two games this morning to qualify as the remaining two semifinalists. In one game, Russia beat Czechia, and in the second game, between USA and South Korea, the game was tied at 3-3 after 8 periods (called ends). Then in the ninth end (out of a maximum of ten ends, if no extra end is necessary), something very rare happened, and this was only the third time at all in the history of these world championships.

Since each team throws 8 stones in one end, the maximum theoretical score for one team per end is consequently also 8. That has never happened, but in 1999 Sweden beat Denmark by scoring 7 points in one end, and in 2002 Norway repeated that feat against South Korea (yes, they were involved already then).

In this morning’s game, the Korean players made two fatal mistakes. In throwing stone 11, their vice-skip Kim KyeongAe committed a so-called hogline violation, meaning that she did not release the stone in time, and thus that throw was declared as void. Then in stone 15, the Korean skip Kim EunJung (yes all four ordinary players and the substitute are called Kim, and two of the five players are sisters) throw the stone too hard. In reference # 3 is the official shot-by-shot report from the game and in reference # 4 is a link to a video recording from the game, if you are interested in viewing this rare fact. And in one week’s time, Las Vegas, NV, USA will be the host for the men’s curling world championships. Las Vegas rocks!

And I also learned that in a recent male tournament, something probably even more rare happened, that two stones with opposing colours were both at the exact same distance from the center, so that neither team could win any point. You can find that video clip in reference # 5 below.

The photo below was taken in the Southern part of the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais. Travelling on its highways you may find many breathtaking views and this was surely one of them. It was taken close to the city of Ipuiuna on 2018-03-04 from a view point with the adequate name of Pedra do Mirante.

Pedra do Mirante

Photo taken on 2018-03-04 from Pedra do Mirante, close to Ipuiuna, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Curling

2: How it’s made – Curling stones

3: Shot by Shot KOR-USA

4: Korea vs United States – Qualification game (3v6) – Ford World Women’s Curling Championships 2018

5: Most bizarre curling play of the year results in tie end

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2018-02-28 (Wednesday)

Today, I learned that:

We are in the middle of the Winter Olympic games and the Paraolympic games, but did you know that not only humans compete in skiing? Watch the video in reference #1 and marvel about what our AI friends can do!

On various occasions, I have told you the story about a new fantastic material called graphene. If you want to catch up on those, look at my posts from 2016-02-01, 2016-05-22, 2016-10-29, and 2017-06-23. And here comes another interesting fact from “down under”. Researchers in Australia have produced a very effective water filter using graphene film with microscopic nano-channels. When tested with the polluted waters in Sydney harbor, the result was so good that they could drink the water without any health issues. See more in reference # 2 below.

Finally, look at this amazing photo! It shows the light emitted by a single atom. More information can be found in reference #3 below.

Single atom light

The tiny dot in the center of the screen, between the two metal electrodes, is the light emitted by a single atom. Photo taken by quantum physics professor David Nadlinger, University of Oxford.

That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Skiing robots hit the slopes in South Korea

2: Graphene film makes dirty water drinkable in a single step

3: A ‘trapped’ atom is visible to the naked eye

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2018-01-09 (2 years !!!)

Today, I learned that:

What started out as a dream (literally) is now reality since 2 years ago. Of course I am talking about this blog. Thanks to all my followers for your encouraging remarks and faithfulness! And instead of publishing a new header photo today, for some time ahead, each time you open my blog again there will be a random photo from the first two years to catch your eye!

My main topic today is AI, robots, and how they interact with us humans to make the world a better place to live:

One month ago, the Swedish writer Johan Nyberg published his column in Radio Sweden’s weekly news program, Godmorgon, världen (“Good morning, world”). It was an interesting story on how today’s computers can perform many of the routine tasks in any many disciplines much more efficiently than human beings, but the best solution of all is when the two work together in a team. He gives various examples on such successes, not only chess, but also everyday situations in big service companies such as Amazon, which besides the investment in 45 000 robots during the last three years also has employed 250 000 people. So his closing remarks are that we should not have any fear that the computers will grab our jobs, but that workers with computers will take the jobs from workers without computers. See also reference #1 below for a complete transcript (in Swedish).

Then, a couple of days later, I heard another interesting story of how AI computers and people interact with good result. X-ray images that need to be analysed by a physician can now be pretreated by a computer which scans the images to present the doctor with results of areas where s/he can look further to make a more accurate and faster diagnose as compared to the old method when few areas were chosen out of random or a hunch. Reference #2 discusses this topic (also in Swedish).

And yesterday, there were two interesting topics on the same issue: In the morning, I heard that in the Southern city of Trelleborg, the city administration’s social assistants are delighted, because a “robot” (in fact an app on their web) is now taking care of the investigative, preparatory work, such as checking with the tax authorities etc., when a person is applying for social allowance. They now enter only in the decisive phase, which leaves them available for more personal contacts, and the result is that they have been able to find new jobs for those people in record numbers and huge savings in not needing to pay out social allowances.

At the same, in a later edition of the same news program, it was reported that their counterparts as social assistants in the city of Kungsbacka, immediately south of Göteborg (Gothenburg in English) are  disappointed, they would like to continue turning papers instead of doing proactive work, so 12 out of the 16 assistants have handed in their resignation notes, as a protest against a similar system which will begin to operate in the month of May. More about these two cases can be found in reference #3 below (also in Swedish).

With so many interesting news stories from Sweden, why not learn Swedish and accompany the news yourself? If you are interested, drop me a message to Swedish lessons and I am sure we can work out something interesting!

Finally, did you hear that a robot recently reported having been molested by a human being? Its name is R2Me2 of course!

That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Krönika av Johan Norberg

2: Aj aj blir AI AI – Möt din blivande läkare datorn

3: Socialsekreterare säger upp sig när robot ska ta över deras arbetsuppgifter

*: What did you learn in school today ?