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 !

Refs.:
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 ?

2016-04-18 (Monday)

Today, I learned that:

A few days ago, I heard an interesting story from the SR local radio station in Borås, named SR Sjuhärad. SP (The Swedish Technical Research Institute) in Borås, together with the University of Göteborg (Gothenburg) has developed a new type of paint, to be used in the hull of boats and maintain them clean from the plants that tend to propagate there. If the boat owner can keep the hull clean from Balanidae, then s/he can reduce friction during travel and save up to 20 % of fuel.

The traditional paint used today to keep those plants away contains copper, which contaminates the water. The revolutionary paint does not contain copper, but instead a chemical compound named Abamectin and is produced by bacteriae. The difference between the old and the new paint is that the latter one permits the plants to attach themselves to the hull and once there they are poisoned by the paint, die and eventually fall off the hull.

The new paint should be available commercially by a German company within three years. See references #1, 2 and 3 below for further details.

One week ago I talked about the technology podcast This Week in Tech, which then discussed a US draft for law that demanded that producers of any equipment or software containing encryption technology should also provide non-encrypted access, if any authority so requested. Yesterday’s program have further information in this polemical subject. And also, this program celebrates 11 years of regular, weekly podcasts by Leo Laporte and his team. Congratulations to all of you!

And speaking of 11 years ago, on 2005-04-18 I had a pleasant field day with my sister-in-law Sônia to the region around Japan’s sacred Mount Fuji, which we ended with a purchasing spree in the electronic district Akihabara downtown Tokyo. Below are some photos I took that day.

18AD

Out and about in the Tokyo vicinity, photos taken on 2005-04-18

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: SP i Borås bakom framtidens båtfärg

2: Havstulpaner

3: Balanidae

4: This Week in Tech 558 Rattlesnake in a Piñata

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-04-09 (Saturday)

Today, I learned that:

Today marks exactly three months since I wrote my first blog post. It has been a very interesting period, I have tried to vary the subjects and also the languages used. And I must sincerely thank all my faithful readers for comments and suggestions.

Although my interests lie mainly in technology, I have found that the subject that attracts everyone is food. So today, I will give you two new pieces of information relative to food, which I believe that most people did not know.

It all started yesterday night, when I received the latest edition of the podcast KCRW Good food from Los Angeles, always so fascinating with the always so enthusiastic Evan Kleiman. One of the topics in this program was about childrens’ food habits. “The Flavor Window” is the period between four and sevens month of ages, when human beings are more receptive to new flavors than they will ever be, so if there is something in particular you believe your child should learn to like, that is the time! (In a similar way, if you want a person to learn a foreign language and pronounce it well, it must start before the child is in the five to six-year age, because until then the vocal chords are still flexible enough to learn how to pronounce almost any sound.) “Good food” can be heard through the link in reference #1 below.

A popular sauce in adults food is the Italian pesto sauce. Today’s edition of From our own correspondents, BBC’s traditional program with chronics from abroad, among our things, talks about how to make an original pesto sauce, and who knows, maybe participate in the World Championships in pesto sauce making, held right now in Genova. More details in reference #2 below.

pesto

One suggestion about ingredients to make a pesto genovese sauce. Which are the ingredients? Look in http://2nuts4spices.com/receita-de-pesto-genovese/

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Food & Family

2: The Babylon Brigade

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-04-08 (Friday)

Today, I learned that:

Music has fascinated people in all times. I remember that when I was in elementary school, we practiced to sing the traditional songs for the major holidays as a choir. And although I have never had any good voice to sing, I thought that the experience of singing in a choir was quite thrilling.

Yesterday, I heard yet another podcast from Scientific American, which informed that a cancer center in the U.K. found that patients had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol after harmonizing for an hour. For more information, consult reference #1 below.

And then I also remembered news about how people singing in a choir entered into a state of synchronization even of their heartbeats. See more about that study from 2013 in references #2 and 3 below.

From there to the fantastic Swedish film “Så som i himmelen”, in English ‘As it is in heaven’, which competed for an Oscar in 2004, the connection was obvious. If you have seen it, you do not know what you are missing! See also reference #4 below.

And yet another film on the same theme is from 2012, ‘Song for Marion’, in which a cranky old man finally joins his dying wife in the joys of singing (reference #5 below).

körsång

Posters from today’s featured films about the excitement of choir singing

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Choir Practice Could Lower Stress in Cancer Patients

2: Choir singers ‘synchronise their heartbeats’

3: Music structure determines heart rate variability of singers

4: As it is in heaven

5: Song for Marion

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-04-04 (Monday)

Today, I learned that:

If you like salt in your food but know that you have to take very much care in order to not overdose the salt contents, since too much sodium will raise your blood pressure, could there be a different way of feeling the same food sensation without putting your life in danger?

Researchers at the University of Tokyo’s Rekimoto Lab have come up with an interesting alternative, sort of best of both worlds. They have built a prototype of an electric fork, which uses electrical stimulation to simulate the taste of salty or sour ingredients.

The battery-powered fork features a conductive handle that completes a circuit when the tines make contact with a diner’s tongue, electrically stimulating their taste buds. It has has adjustable levels of stimulation, to adapt to individual tastes. However, before thinking about making it available to the public, they have to overcome a problem, because if pushed too far, the fork can produce an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth.

E-Fork

Bon (and healthy) appétit !

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: This Electric Fork Simulates a Salty Flavour By Shocking Your Tongue

+: 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 ?

2016-03-26 (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 ?

2016-03-19 (Saturday)

Today, I learned that:

Once an hour per year, the World Wide Fund for Nature arranges the so-called “Earth Hour”, when they ask everyone on our planet to turn off the non-essential lighting for one hour, during the local time of 20:30 to 21:30, to make us aware of global warming. See reference #1 below for more information.

LVdark

The Strip in Las Vegas during Earth Hour 2009-03-29

The photos above were taken during the Earth Hour on 2009-03-29 at 21:17 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. I was there to visit a trade show during the following week and had arrived in the city on the same afternoon. I managed to obtain a good ticket for the Cirque du Soleil’s performance at the theatre of New York, New York, and when I stumbled out of there, I was greeted by the unusual, almost pitch-black night of the Las Vegas Boulevard (a.k.a. the Strip), so I snapped those pictures in both directions from the overpass in front of New York, New York.

Solution to Problem # 5a, Pizzas, posted on 2016-03-13

So, should you bring one big pizza or two small ones? Do not get confused about the fact that the bigger one has twice the diameter of the smaller one. Since we are comparing two three-dimensional objects, and consider that both types of pizzas have the same thickness, then we must compare the two areas. And since the big pizza has a diagonal that is twice that of the smaller one, then of course the area has the same relation squared. So, the bigger pizza has 4 times the area of the smaller one, yet only costs twice as much. Take the big pizza and go home with twice as much pizza as if you had choosen two small ones. See also the following picture, and “buon appetito” !

marguerita

Pizza Margherita in two different sizes, the big one has a real diameter of 30 cm and each of the smaller ones have individual diameters of 15 cm

The Margherita pizza was created in 1889 by pizzaiolo Rafaelle Esposito, as a tribute to Queen Margherita di Savoia during her visit to Naples. The ingredients were chosen to mimic the Italian flag: white represented by buffalo mozarela cheese, red by the tomato, and as the green “piece de resistance” fresh basil. In all its simplicity, still one of the best pizzas you can ever eat! See also reference #2 below.

Solution to Question # 5b, Pancakes, posted on 2016-03-13

I also asked why Bill Gates is so fond of pancakes. The answer is that his only scientific article deals exactly with pancakes. This is the story: You are working as an extra hired waiter for the morning rush at the International House of Pancakes. Everyone goes there for their breakfast pancake and today the chef has a bad day. Not all pancakes turn out the same, some are bigger, others are smaller. Your task is to serve the pancakes to the patrons from a neatly arranged pile, with the largest one at the bottom and the smallest one on top. The question is then, is there a maximum limit for the number of times you have to interchange the pancakes until you have reached your objective?

In his article from 1978, Bill Gates at Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, and his co-writer Christos Papadimitriou developed an algorithm to try and almost answer that question. And their theory was undisputed until 2008, when a team in Dallas, Texas, USA improved it when they applied the pancake flipping theory to a minimization of connections between neighbouring network processors.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: EARTH HOUR

2: Pizza Margherita

3: Bounds for Sorting by Prefix Reversal

4: Flipping pancakes with mathematics

5: Team Bests Young Bill Gates With Improved Answer
to So-Called Pancake Problem in Mathematics

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-13 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

Two days ago, 2016-03-11, I was discussing that due to the nuclear accidents that had happened, the safety regulations were tightened in order to reduce the effects of future accidents. However, if certain lessons from Harrisburg 1979 had been taken seriously in Fukushima, maybe their accident would have been causing much less damage than it really did in 2011.

In the same manner, the terrorist attacks on USA on 2001-09-11 led to that the safety measures for access to the cockpit of an aircraft were tightened, so that nobody could enter it without being let in by the occupants of the cockpit. That way, the regulators intended to make it extremely difficult for any trouble makers to take over the aircraft. But what if one of the people in the cockpit was doing something wrong that would jeopardize the flight? This was exactly what happened on 2015-03-24, when the co-pilot of the Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf deliberately crashed his plane into the French Alps. (The header image today shows a photo I took of the Alps from a Lufthansa, parent company to Germanwings, flight the day before Christmas Eve 2001. On the ground level, the ambient temperature was -45 OC, almost the same as on our cruising altitude.)

D-AIPX

Germanwings Airbus A320, D-AIPX, which crashed in the French Alps on 2015-03-24

Today was revealed a report about how he, being a bipolar patient, had searched medical treatment with 41 health professionals, but due to the confidentiality obligation, none of them had dared inform the medical department of the airline. However, the rules for the occupancy of the cockpit were once again changed as a consequence of the co-pilots sole action. Now, there is an obligation that there always must be two people in the cockpit.

Still talking about the same Germanwings’ crash, did you know that parts of a football team from the Swedish club Dalkurd was supposed to be in the main cabin of that flight? They were returning home after a training camp in Barcelona, but changed their tickets to a later flight, so that the whole team could travel on the same flight. It saved them their lives! Full news coverage of the crash can be found in references #1 and #2 below.

Problem #5a (Pizza)
It is the evening after a long day and you have promised your wife to bring pizza for dinner. So you stop by at your favourite pizza parlour for take-out. Today’s special is Margherita, the Queen of pizzas, invented in Italy in 1889. They come in two sizes, a round one with 30 cm in diameter and a small one, also round, with 15 cm in diameter. The big one costs € 10 and the small one € 5. You are an economical person, so you have set a limit of spending to exactly € 10, but which type shall you buy, one big pizza or two smaller ones? Does it really matter what you choose? A solution to this problem will be published next Saturday, 2016-03-19.

pancakes

Question #5b (Pancakes)
And speaking about food, do you know why Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates is so fond of pancakes? I will tell you that as well on Saturday, 2016-03-19.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Germanwings Airbus A320 plane crash: Flight 4U9525 down in French Alps with 150 feared dead

2: French investigators to publish report into Germanwings plane crash

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-05 (Saturday)

Today, I learned that:

If I were in Northern Europe now, I believe that a typical Brazilian dish would be very welcome to keep the cold out.

In my post of 2016-02-14, I explained how to make a typical Brazilian drink called Caipirinha. And after one or a couple of those, when the stomach starts to rumble, what could be better on a lazy Saturday afternoon than a Feijoada?

feijoada

Complete Feijoada from Minas Gerais

Feijoada is a stew of beans (named “feijão” in Portuguese) with beef and pork, with origins in Portugal, but made famous in Brazil. It is a typical dish for lunch on Wednesdays and Saturdays, although eating it in the middle of the week can be too filling for many people, so they prefer to wait until Saturday, when they can also enjoy it without guilt after the Caipirinha. Reference #1 gives the basic idea of what is needed to compose a Feijoada, but if you want the whole story, look in reference #2 (in Portuguese), with gives all the details of how the traditional Feijoada is made in the state of Minas Gerais, such as in the photo above.

Solution to The fast mover, posted on 2016-02-27

The riddle read: What can go from there to here by disappearing and then go from here to there by appearing? Look at the phrase again, which is the difference between the words ‘there’ and ‘here’? Of course, the letter ‘t’, which is the solution to the whole riddle.

A new problem will be presented tomorrow!

Svaret på bonusfrågan om det falska körkortet är att det finns tre fel i personnumret, angivet såsom 660202-0001:

  • De tre siffrorna närmast efter bindestrecket, de sjunde till nionde siffrorna, måste vara en sekvens från 001 till 999, 000 finns ej. I äldre personnummer indikerar de sjunde och åttonde siffrorna i vilket län personen föddes, men det gäller inte längre.
  • Om vi kan anta att innehavaren av körkortet är man, vilket både namn och foto tyder på, så måste den nionde siffran vara udda. Jämna siffror, inklusive 0, är reserverade för kvinnor.
  • Även om de första nio siffrorna vore korrekta, så är den tionde siffran (kontrollsiffran) fel. Om vi använder  formeln i Skatteverkets informationsblad, referens nr 3, så skulle slutsiffran vara 7.

 

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Feijoada explained in English

2: Feijoada mineira completa

3: Skatteverkets informationsblad om personnummer

+: What did you learn in school today ?