2016-10-08 (Saturday)

Today, I learned that:

The United Arab Emirates, especially through the emirate Dubai, continues to expands its offerings for tourism in this interesting part of the world. In my post of 2016-06-21, I wrote about the technological advances in Dubai, and now I learned that further to the earlier 16 languages, their Ministry of Tourism has now also added Swedish as a language to a complete subsite, see reference # 1 below. The photo below, courtesy of my friend Chiara Anzalone, shows the Arabian Gulf at Dubai, with Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, considered the world’s must luxurious hotel in the foreground, and the artificial Palm Jumeirah islands towards the horizon. How about meeting me there?

chiara3

Photo from Dubai, taken by Chiara Anzalone, showing the Arabian Gulf, with Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, considered the world’s must luxurious hotel in the foreground, and the Palm Jumeirah islands towards the horizon.

The past week revealed the laureates of the scientific Nobel Prizes 2016, where among other things we learned that the term ‘topology’ means totally different things in physics and chemistry. Radio Sweden made a fantastic job to compress the reasons for awarding exactly these scientists into three 1-minute video clips. References #2, #3, #4 below carry the links. The language is Swedish, but who knows besides learning more about medicine, physics, and chemistry, you may also pick up some words in the “language of honor and heroes”?

I had planned to discuss the advancement of machines into our lives today, but since it is a subject that cannot be dealt with on a coffee break, I will return to it any day soon. Instead, I would like to show how one of the world’s technology giants are once more dismantling their acquired heritage. The company is called Microsoft, and after turning Nokia and Skype into dust, now it seems that LinkedIn will be their next victim. I received this e-mail the other day:

desempregado

The once excellent social business network LinkedIn was recently bought by Microsoft. Looking at this network update, how they want me to congratulate a friend who recently got unemployed (“Desempregado”) is just one more sign of their continuing “King Midas in reverse”. (Name and image have been altered for security reasons.) See and listen also to reference # 5 below.

And, there is one more thing …

temers

Brazil’s First Lady, Marcela Temer, presents the new social program Criança feliz (“Happy child”), with her husband, president Michel Temer, behind her, on 2016-10-05, photo by Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress. The same newspaper, Folha de S. Paulo, published today 2016-10-08 a cartoon by Montanaro, in which an admirer says “My, does Marcela speak well!” and Michel responds “Of course, who do you think taught her to speak her first words?” (This kind of political gossip is common due to the large age difference between the two, 76 vs. 33 years.)

… That’s what I learned in school !

byran

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

Refs.:

1: Besök Dubai – Upptäck Dubais alla möjligheter!

2: Nobelpriset i medicin 2016

3: Nobelpriset i fysik 2016

4: Nobelpriset i kemi 2016

5: The Hollies “King Midas In Reverse”

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-08-21 (Söndag)

Idag lärde jag mig, att:

Så är det dags att avsluta ännu ett olympiskt spel. Vad gäller arrangemanget så gick det väl ungefär som man kunde förvänta sig, med många trevliga inslag både för deltagare och publik. Och naturligtvis också de förväntade negativa sakerna, högra priser, långa köer, korruption, problem med säkerheten, mm. SRs Latinamerika-korrespondent, Lotten Collin, som alltid gör djuplodande reportage med fängslande ögonvittnesberättelser, berättade i dagens Godmorgon, världen om hur det var och vad som lokalbefolkningen nu har att vänta. Lyssna på reportaget i referens 1 nedan.

Tack och lov vann det brasilianska fotbollslandslaget äntligen det första OS-guldet, så nu kan folket leva ett bra tag på det skådespelet, nu fattas bara bröd! Något annat som de naturligtvis inte kommer att glömma så lätt, och resten av världen också, var när den amerianske simstjärnan Ryan Lochte med kompisar hittade på att ha blivit rånade, när de i själva verket hade spårat ur efter en våt fest. Nedanstående karikatyr beskriver väl hela situationen:

lochte

Ryan Lochte at public display in the olympic pool in Rio de Janeiro after he had to admit about making up a story of armed robbery a week ago. Illustration in Folha de S. Paulo, published 2016-08-20.

Vad gäller de svenska prestationerna så tycker jag att som helhet kan vi vara rätt så nöjda, från simmardrottningen Sarah Sjöström till cyklisten Jenny Rissveds och allt där emellan. Referens 2 nedan jämför Sveriges Radios medaljkandidatlista för juli med det faktiska utfallet, intressant läsning. Apropå Jenny Rissveds, hon minner mig mycket om Sanna Kallur under 2000-talet, båda så sprudlande glada och energiska, kan deras gemensamma koppling till Falun vara en bidragande orsak?

Slutligen, om ni tror att problemet med de stora olympiska spelen och de gigantiska kostnaderna är något nytt så kommer här en tankeställare. För 40 år sedan, i februari 1976, när Innsbruck i all hast fick ta sig an ytterligare ett olympiskt spel efter det att Denver hade dragit sig ur på grund av protester kring kostnader, skrev jag som frilansare på Chalmers Studentkårs tidskrift Tofsen om mina funderingar om just detta, se referens 3 nedan.

… Tack för idag, slut för idag!

(Today’s post, entirely in Swedish, deals with the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, as well as contains a reminder that the problem with the huge organization and high costs was already there 40 years ago.)

Refs.:

1: Vad betydde OS för Brasilien?

2: Svenska medaljer i Rio-2016

3: Funderingar kring olympiska spel, Tofsen 1976

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-08-06 (Saturday)

Today, I learned that:

The Olympic Games have downed upon us. Yesterday, there was an inauguration ceremony which showed some fantastic performance, but what everyone is talking about in Brazil today is of course that the only way the organizers found to drown the protests against the president in exercise, Michel Temer, was to launch fireworks.

Yesterday, I was given the opportunity in live radio to give my idea about Brazil and the Olympic Games. It was the regional radio station SR Sjuhärad, based in Borås, that was the host of the conversation. Normally, such events can be referenced via a link on their web page, but I doubt if they will ever want to publish it, since it surely was not what they had expected. But let the truth be told!

However, since the interview was delayed for an hour due to problems in communication, and many people did not have a the chance to hear it, I publish it here, see reference #1 below. It is the complete, unabridged, unedited soundtrack, from the moment the producer takes my call, reroutes it to the host and then the dialogue starts. Unfortunately, if you do not understand Swedish, you will have difficulty in enjoying my protests. But if you want me to comment on it, please drop me an email to sr@sjson.com and I will do my best.

However, while you are at it, listen also to the comments about what the editorials in Swedish newspapers are writing today. They are unanimous with me in their criticism about this humongous waste of money called the Olympic Games, reference #2 below, from SR’s Lunchekot 2016-08-06, which is called ‘a museum of the past’.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: SR Sjuhärad 2016-08-05

2: Lunchekot 2016-08-06

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-08-03 (Onsdag)

Idag lärde jag mig, att:

OS börjar redan idag och kommer att drabba oss alla under 19 dagar, tyvärr i ett klimat (inte det meteorologiska) som är långt ifrån det bästa, i ett land som varken är ekonomiskt, moraliskt eller hygieniskt det minsta förberett för ett sådant åtagande.

Här följer några personliga tankar kring OS:

Men nog tycker man att någon från det internationellt hyllade Sverige skulle kunna uttala sig bättre än vad veteranen Lotta Schelin gjorde till Sveriges Television igår:
“Det är helt sjukt. När jag får frågan om att det är mitt fjärde så känner jag bara att shit, det är ju för fasen helt galet, säger Lotta Schelin som mästerskapsdebuterade i OS 2004.” Nog tycker man att en sådan ikon borde vara ett föredöme för eventuella beundrarskaror.

Turligt nog så kommer dock spelen inte att pågå i Curitiba, som såg fyra matcher i fotbolls-VM 2014. Där har det nämligen förklarats begränsningar i rätten att förflytta sig, enligt dagens Folha de S. Paulo, som syftar på att de federala utredningarna om den stora muthärvan, Biltvätten (Lava Jato), leds därifrån:

Curitiba

NEW UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS:
– As of today, the rights to come and go in Curitiba are hereby revoked.

Förhoppningsvis kommer också den ännu levande legendaren Pelé att hålla sig borta från OS-facklan för att göra det han kan bäst, fotboll.

Slutligen, jag kan mycket väl förstå att det här är den stora chansen i livet för många europeiska idrottare att kunna tävla i Sydamerika, som ju mycket sällan anordnar några större mästerskap. Annars kan man ju göra som svensken Lars Björkström, som flyttat från Sverige, att till OS 1980 byta nationalitet och vinna guld i segling för Brasilien! Om du inte känner till den historien, kolla in den bifogade artikeln i referens nummer 1 nedan, från den svensk-brasilianska handelskammarens tidskrift, Nordic Light. Tack Jonas för att jag fick publicera den!

… Tack för idag, slut för idag!

(This post in Swedish contains my personal opinion about the waste of time and money to arrange the Olympic Games in a country that has no conditions to do so.)

Refs.:

1: Årets svensk 2016

+: 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.

Ipe

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)
isfotboll

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 !

Refs.:

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 ?

2016-05-07 (Lördag)

Idag lärde jag mig, att:

I tisdags, 2016-05-03, fyllde Wikipedias svenska webbplats 15 år, STORT GRATTIS! Utav alla språkversioner av Wikipedia är faktiskt den svenska den näst största med över tre miljoner artiklar. Men det är inte bara jag som använder Wikipedia för att leta efter bakgrundsmaterial till mina blogginlägg, utan den tjänar också som en viktig webbplats för dem som vill hålla sig uppdaterade över aktuell forskning. Referenserna nummer 1 och 2 nedan kan ge mer intressanta uppgifter om det.

Jimmy Wales & Larry Sanger

Wikipedia grundare, Jimmy Wales (till vänster, foto Lane Hartwell, http://www.fetching.net), och Larry Sanger (till höger, foto http://www.larrysanger.org/lsanger02.jpg)

Till sist skulle jag vilja ge några goda (?) råd till Mona Sahlin och Jan Björklund:

Mona, du har valt fel land att verka i som politiker. Se på Brasilien, här kan underhusets talman bli ertappad med miljoner på schweiziska banker och ändå bara bli avstängd på beslut av Högsta Domstolen. Ingen risk att någon skulle höja ett ögonbryn för några Toblerone på ett statligt kreditkort eller en felaktig inkomstuppgift i ett certifikat!

Jan, varför inte föreslå en mobilregel i svenska skolor lik den brasilianska? Om någon elev ertappas med att använda sin nalle under en lektion, så blir den omhändertagen och endast återlämnad efter det att föräldrarna ger sitt medgivande. Ett fint tillfälle att låta en trilskande son/dotter bli ångerfull för t.ex. en vecka!

… Slut för idag, tack för idag!

Refs.:

1: Wikipedia – svenska forskares förlängda arm

2: Wikipedia på svenska

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-02-28 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

The way the world is today, we had better be optimistic in order to not go down further. But at the same time, we have to be realistic, and thus today’s post is not at all positive.

The Swedes still remember what happened today exactly 30 years ago, when the country’s CEO, also entitled “statsminister” or prime minister, was murdered, and which led to a lot of investigations and confusions that have never been totally concluded, and I doubt they ever will.

But here in Brazil, the big news on that very same Friday was the economic plan launched by the Federal government, the Cruzado Plan. It was the first in a row of similar attemps to stop the inflation and get the country into a more stable state. Among the measures taken were the conversion of the old currency, cruzeiro (Cr$), into a new one, named cruzado (Cz$), where 1 Cz$ = 1 000 Cr$. Also, there was a general freeze on prices and salaries. In the beginning, the people in general were optimistic and believed that the plan might eventually succeed, but it became evident that the lack of corrective actions to address observed undesirable effects gradually resulted in a failure, with the inflation bouncing back at even higher levels than before.

So during the period from 1986-02-28 to 1994-07-01, Brazil had the following official currencies:
1986-02-28 — 1989-01-15 cruzado (Cz$). ISO 4217 code BRC.
1989-01-16 — 1990-03-15 cruzado novo (NCz$), where 1 NCz$ = 1 000 Cz$. ISO 4217 code BRN.
1990-03-16 — 1993-07-31 cruzeiro (Cr$), where 1 Cr$ = 1 000 NCz$. ISO 4217 code BRE.
1993-08-01 — 1994-06-30 cruzeiro real (CR$), where 1 CR$ = 1 000 Cr$. ISO 4217 code BRR.
Starting on 1994-07-01 and still today, the currency is named real (R$), which was converted at the rate of 1 R$ = 2 750 CR$. ISO 4217 code BRL.

It is very well worth noting how to the real was introduced. During the four months that preceded the adoption of the real, Brazil had two different currencies. The first one was of course the official currency, cruzeiro real, but there existed also a parallel non-monetary reference currency named URV (Unidade Real de de Valor, meaning Real Value Unit), and all prices and salaries were quoted in both currencies. The government published the daily ratio between the two currencies, which included a daily devaluation of the cruzado real in relation to the URV. A complete explanation of this gradual process of conversion can be found in reference # 2 below.

100 reais

The Brazilian bank note with the highest facial value. Today, 100 reais correspond to approximately 25 US dollars or 23 Euros.

And so, on 2016-07-01, if nothing happens before that date, Brazil will have survived 22 years with the same currency and an apparent, stable economy. Of course, the last statement is not really true, because there have been periods with rather high actual inflation, although not reflected in the official numbers, and as I hinted in the very first paragraph of today’s post, the situation is very critical. The high levels of corruption and lack of efficient policies to develop and sustain the economic growth has led to a political crisis of huge expression, combined with prolonged periods of negative economic growth. In fact, today one of the leading daily newspapers in Brazil, O Estado de S. Paulo, expressed in its main article that “Após três décadas, risco de calote volta a assombrar economia brasileira”, which means that three decades after the ecomic crises of the decade of 1980, there is imminent danger that Brazil will break through once again, as it did in 1980. Reference # 3 contains the complete article.

Bogart&Temple

Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame, photo taken on 2007-02-20

After such a gloomy post, is there nothing positive that can be said today? Well, the photo above shows the hands and feet of some of the biggest stars in the history of the film industry, like Humphrey Bogart and Shirley Temple, for ever present in the Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame. And to my surprise, the Swedish current star, Alicia Vikander, native from the Swedish West Coast, was presented with the Academy Award (“Oscar”) for her role in the movie The Danish Girl, fantastic! So at least this day ended up with a positive splash!

alicia

Alicia Vikander holding and thanking for the Oscar statue. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Updated 2016-02-29: Listen to Alicia thanking for the Oscar, reference #5 below. And further to Alicia’s own Oscar, the sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, where she plays a robot, also won an Oscar for the best visual effects, beating such heavy productions as The Martian, Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in spite of a minuscule budget of just $15 million.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Plano Cruzado

2: URV

3: Após três décadas, risco de calote volta a assombrar economia brasileira

4: Oscars 2016: Alicia Vikander wins Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl

5: Oscar till Alicia Vikander

6: ‘Ex Machina’s’ Oscar win is a triumph for low-budget VFX

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-02-10 (Onsdag)

Idag har jag åter lärt mig, att:

Världens just nu oroligaste hörn verkar ligga på den koreanska halvön. Under de senaste veckorna har det rapporterats om hur Nordkorea åter börjar visa upp tester med vapen som om de används i attacksyfte kan leda till mycket allvarliga konsekvenser. Dessutom har nu Sydkorea beslutat sig för att inte längre skicka sin arbetskraft till det område inne på nordkoreanskt territorium där man har tillverkat exportgods, samtidigt som man har åter skruvat upp volymen på de propagandasändningar och musik som man sprider ut genom gigantiska högtalare vid gränsen.

DMZ

Panmunjoms blåa hus, där Spökkommissionen sammanträder. Foto: Henrik Ishihara, Wikimedia

Men hur är det då vid gränsen, den så kallad Demilitariserade Zonen (DMZ) ? SR Vetenskapsradion Historia sände den 3 februari ett reportage om de svenskar som arbetar i den nu skämtsamt (?) kallade Spökkommissionen, som är ansvarig för att träffa nordkoreanska myndigheter i förhandlingar, även om det inte har blivit så många sammanträffanden de senaste 20 åren. Mycket lyssningsvärt, se referens 2 nedan.

Och när du ändå är inne på SR Vetenskapsradion Historias hemsida, kolla också in dagens program, där man försöker fastställa om den förste kände svensken, Hugleik, verkligen levde år 516, dvs. för precis 1500 år sedan, referens 3 nedan.

Hugleik

Återskapad hjälm från Sutton Hoo-gravarna i England, kanske använde Hugleik en sådan. Foto: Gernot Keller, Wikimedia

 

… Slut för idag, tack för idag!

(This post in Swedish announces a report about how it is to work in the DMZ in Korea.)

Refs.:

1: Neutrala_nationernas_övervakningskommission

2: Spökkommissionen i Panmunjom

3: Hugleik äldsta historiska svensken

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-02-04 (Thursday)

Today, I learned that:

Old sayings are not always true. It may still be so that in the dark all cats still seem to be grey, but do you know why the American political parties are assigned with the colours red for the republican party and blue for the democratic party? It has not always been like that, as you will see below:

If you live in Europe, you are accustomed to the designation of the blue colour for right-wing parties and red for left-wing parties. Red has been associated with revolutionary movements during centuries, already present during the French revolution 1789. (I remember a phrase we learned in school to get the colours of the French flag in correct order: ‘Blod har runnit’ (“Blood has flown”), with b for blå (blue), h for hvit (white), and r for röd (red.) ) But why is it the other way in USA, considering that the republicans normally are to the right of the democrats, politically?

Red-Blue-States 1980

This NBC map from 1980 shows blue for Ronald Reagan, red for Jimmy Carter and yellow for uncalled states. Photo by Youtube.

It all started on November 2, 1976, when the American TV network NBC first presented a forecast of whom would win the presidential election, Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter. The states where the republican party would win were lit in blue and the states with majority for the democratic party were red, something that NBC kept also in 1980, as you can see in the picture above. But from that point on, there was no general rule, which party would be blue and which one would be red was not a consistent choice, the different TV networks chose whichever colour they wanted. Reference 2 below has a deep discussion about the reasons, including also ‘r(ed)=r(epublican)’, but it seems that both parties for a long time used blue internally and attributed red to their opponent.

The current arrangement with blue for the republican party and red for the democratic party was eventually unanimous in year 2000, when George W Bush defeated Al Gore.

… That’s what I learned in school!

Refs.:

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red#Use_by_political_movements

2: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/when-republicans-were-blue-and-democrats-were-red-104176297/

+: What did you learn in school today ?