2016-10-29 (Saturday)

Today, I learned that:

At this time of the year, it becomes ever more evident that life on the northern and southern hemispheres are going in different directions until Christmas time. The photo below shows a beautiful fall photo taken by my friend Barbara, who once more is eager to share with us the beauties of Mother Nature. This photo was taken by her from the stairs of Nääs Castle in Sweden towards Lake Sävelången. My warmest thanks, Barbara!


The Swedish lake Sävelången amidst the forest dressed in autumn leaves. Photo taken by Barbara Sigurdsson on 2016-10-19.

As you already might know, besides technology, my other main interest is languages. So here are some interesting language information I have gathered since my latest blog post:

Sound of words is no coincidence
Particular sounds are preferred or avoided in non-related languages far more often than previously assumed. An international research team, led by scientists from the Max Planck Institutes for Mathematics in the Sciences and the Science of Human History, and including scientists from Germany, the USA, Sweden, Denmark and other countries have carried out a comprehensive analysis. The scientists used data for the study from over 4 000 of the more than 6 000 languages spoken throughout the world.
N as in nose – an association that probably did not arise by chance. The sound n is found in the word for the olfactory organ more frequently than in other words, some examples being English: nose, German: Nase, French: nez, Spanish/Portuguese: nariz, Swedish: näsa, Danish: næse, Norwegian: nese, Finnish: nenä, Russian: нос, etc.
Other examples are that the respective words for ‘sand’ often contain the sound of ‘s’, ‘stone’ normally includes the sound of ‘t’, etc.
Damián E. Blasi, a scientist from the Max Planck Institute, a main contributor to the study says that “In view of the enormous possibilities that exist for variations in the world’s languages, the result is astonishing and alters our understanding of the boundary conditions under which people communicate.” See also reference #1 below.

Smiling faces in photos

Of course, any photographer who takes portraits of people would like that their objects seem to be happy on the photo. There are different buzz words for that, “cheese”, “omelett”, and “pizza” are some of those used to convince them to smile. According to Radio Sweden’s language program “Språket”, a study made some years ago by the Japanese camera maker Nikon, a photo model was asked to pronounce typical words used in different languages. 5 high speed photos were taken of her in every language, and the most beautiful facial expression of those was chosen. Then, the photos from the different languages were compared, and the study resulted in that the French word “ouistiti” (meaning the South American monkey marmoset) yielded the best result, voilà! More on this fascinating topic can be found in references #2, 3, and 4 (the latter containing also the winning photo!) below.

Help the world – dispollute the air making booze

In a sensational discovery, researchers in the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have been able to convert carbon dioxide into ethanol in a one-step process. Is this the solution to avoid global warming, getting drunk with the bill gracefully paid by Mother Earth? Let us wait and see! In the meantime, get prepared in references #5 and 6 below.

… That’s what I learned in school !


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


1: Sound of words is no coincidence

2: Säg cheese, omelett och pizza – så får du den perfekta fotominen!

3: Say cheese

4: The secret to a perfect photo smile – not ‘Say cheese’ but….. ‘OUISTITI’!

5: Chemists accidentally turn carbon dioxide to ethanol in breakthrough study

6: High-Selectivity Electrochemical Conversion of CO2 to Ethanol using a Copper Nanoparticle/N-Doped Graphene Electrode

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-07-03 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

Although we are in the winter season on the southern hemisphere, there are so many beautiful things to enjoy. A good example of that is shown in the photo below. It is the glorious tree named Ipê roxo in Portuguese or Pink trumpet tree in English, with its intense lilac colour. I took the photo in the geographical center of Paranavaí, PR, Brazil, this morning. More information can be found in reference #1 below.


A photo from Marco Zero, the city’s geographical center, in Paranavái, PR, Brazil, showing the magnificient Pink trumpet tree (Handroanthus impetiginosus) in bloom, taken on 2016-07-03.

But not all Brazilian cities are that pleasant. Folha de S. Paulo today reports that neither of the four environmental problems, which the organizers of the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro had promised to solve, will be concluded for the games. They are: treating the waste before dumping it into the sea, where the olympic sailing events will take place, cruising in the middle of the garbage; clean the lake of Jacarepaguá, bordering the olympic village; clean the lake Rodrigo de Freitas and open it for bathing; and plant trees in the native forest known Mata Atlântica. Read also reference #2 below.

So, where would you like to be in August, Paranavaí or Rio de Janeiro? Although I am a sports fan, I have already made my choice, and maybe I will see some highlights from the games on TV.

Finally, here are two interesting topics from today’s program “Godmorgon, världen” on Radio Swedens channel 1, in Swedish:

  • What is wrong with referendums? A very interesting column by Göran Rosenberg (Reference #3 below)
  • Which is the secret of Iceland’s success in football? Fagnaðarlæti Island! (Reference #4 below)

Training for 8- and 9-year old kids on the Icelandic island of Vestmannaeyjar, population 4 000. Photo taken by Jonna Burén / Sveriges Radio.

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: Handroanthus impetiginosus

2: Rio descumpre todas as metas ambientais para a Olimpíada

3: Göran Rosenberg om felet med folkomröstningar

4: Det isländska fotbollsundret

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-04-10 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

Every Sunday morning, Radio Sweden’s domestic channel P1 transmits a 2-hour news program named “Godmorgon, världen!”, which means ‘Good morning, world!’. It is supposed to be a radio alternative to the Sunday newspaper, and as such discusses hot issues from the preceding week, mixed with satire and chronicles. The big political discussion was an analysis which impact the Panama papers may have on the world in the short term. But what I remember most from today’s program was a chronicle by the Swedish journalist and author Göran Rosenberg, who declared his worries about what is happening to the majestic ash tree, formal name fraxinus excelsior, that he sees is slowly being deprived of its beauty, due to plagues.

Here is a translation into English of an excerpt from the chronicle: “The ash tree is not only a big tree in the cultural landscape, it is also a big tree in the cultural history. Yggdrasil, the world tree, which according to Nordic mythology carried the cosmos in its branches and from which Oden [the main god] created the first human being, was an ash tree. Only that fact alone tells us how long the ash tree has been together with us.”

The complete text, in Swedish, can be found in reference #1 below. The Wikipedia article in reference #2 below give more facts about fraxinus excelsior.


Fraxinus excelsior in winter in the Swedish village Gammelbo. Male in front, female behind. Please observe that the female tree is smaller than its male companion, in spite of having been planted at the same time.

Exactly 11 years ago, I had the pleasure of circling the globe. My company, which previously had dealt with electronic production machines from the Western hemisphere, had decided to find new partners in Asia. So, therefore, I left São Paulo for a quick visit to my father in Sweden, before I boarded the SAS Airbus 343 in Copenhagen on 2005-04-08. The trip from Copenhagen to Pudong airport in Shanghai, China took some 10 hours, the business class cabin was wide and comfortable. In the chair to the the right was a German man, who was going for business in the chemical industry in Shanghai. But what I remember most from this leg was the in-flight WiFi provided aboard. 1,5 months before, I had joined Skype, and now I could call friends and family while looking down on the Siberian tundra, an interesting sensation.

When we arrived at immigration, for which I had a obtained a fresh visa in my passport and received a shot against yellow fever, they did not even look at those documents. No guide of mine was to be found, so the German man’s business contact dropped me off at my hotel hotel downtown Shanghai. After a relaxing nap, I went out in the afternoon and walked around the streets to feel the city. Since Saturday night was approaching, the streets got filled with people enjoying their weekend. See below some photos I took on Saturday, tomorrow I will show some more from the following day.


Out and about in Shanghai, photos taken on 2005-04-09.

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: Det döende askträdet – ett järtecken i tiden

2: Fraxinus excelsior

+: What did you learn in school today ?