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.


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 !


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 !


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 ?

2016-08-28 (Söndag/Sunday)

Idag lärde jag mig, att:

Augusti anno 2016 var månaden när Sverige hade fyra drottningar! HKH Silvia må förlåta mig, men namnen på allas läppar är naturligtvis Sarah, Jenny och Tove! (Vilken tur att det inte blev OS-guld i fotboll! Visst har vi stora hjärtan, men hur skulle väl 27 drottningar kunna rymmas på samma gång?)

Sveriges Radios excellenta sportredaktion sammanställde ett utdrag från sina referat med alla svenska medaljtillfällen i Rio-2016, se och lyssna på bildspelet i referens nummer 1 nedan. Tyvärr är orientering inte en olympisk sport ännu, så bättre än VM-guld är ju omöjligt, referens nummer 2 nedan handlar om när Tove tog hem sitt första (av två) seniorguld.


Svensk idrotts gyllene drottningar, från vänster till höger: Sarah Sjöström, Jenny Rissveds och Tove Alexandersson. Material från Digitala insatsstyrkan på Sveriges Radio och TT Nyhetsbyrån.

So you think you know everything? Then answer me, which is the biggest landlocked country in the world, i.e. a country which has no natural access to a major stretch of water? You may think of Switzerland, Luxemburg, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Bolivia, Paraguay and others, but the answer is Kazakhstan! And the following photo is also from Kazakhstan, an internal river named Ural river, at the city of Uralsk.


The physical border between Europe and Asia, the Ural river at the city of Uralsk, Kazakhstan. Photo taken by Dina Giltinan on 2016-08-25.

And just as yesterday, when yet another bridge connecting Europe and Asia was inaugurated in Istanbul, so is this also the exact spot where the two meet. Europe is at the left side of the river, Asia is on the right sida. My friend Dina was recently there visiting her parents and was kind enough to send me this photo and others from Uralsk, thank you very much! Below is a medley of some of those photos. See also reference number 4 below.


Four photos from Uralsk, all taken by Dina Giltinan on 2016-08-01. From left to right: Two typical scenes, the Monument of Syrym Datouly and the Golden Church, as well as the portal showing that we are leaving Europe into Asia (third photo), and then coming back from Asia into Europe (fourth picture). This portal is located on the European side shortly before the dividing bridge shown in the header photo.

… Tack för idag, slut för idag! / That’s what I learned in school!


1: De svenska OS-medaljerna på 100 sekunder – bildspel och referat

2: VM-guld till Tove Alexandersson

3: Kazakhstan

4: Uralsk

+: 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:


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.)


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 !


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:


– 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.)


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.


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 ?

2016-06-27 (Mánudagur)

Today, I learned that:

According to hot news from Nice, the European Union has decided to accept Iceland as a new member state, replacing Great Britain, as a consequence of the result of today’s play-off game. Full coverage can be found in reference #1 below.


The geysir Stokkur, which erupts every 9 minutes, photographed on 2009-08-05.

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: England vs. Iceland 1-2

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-04-13 (Wednesday)

Today, I learned that:

It seems that SHL (Swedish Hockey League) has yet another thing in common with big brother NHL (National Hockey League). Further to the similarity of the names, in today’s radio program about ice hockey from Radio Sweden, also called Istid (literally meaning ‘Ice time’), it was explained that there is also a rule in SHL regarding the nuance of the uniform used by the two opponents, which also smells very NHL. The rule requires that the home team use dark colored shirts and the away team use light colored ones. The classical team Leksand, which will return to SHL next season, pleaded to use their traditional white jerseys at home, but without success.  I apologize for any contrary information in my post of 2016-02-11.


Two photos which prove the SHL rule of dark colored shirts at home and light colored ones away. The leftmost photo shows a happy Robert Rosén from Växjö Lakers after his team, playing at home, forced a seventh semi-final game against Skellefteå AIK on 2016-04-11, by scoring one second before the end of regulation! The rightmost photo shows players from Skellefteå AIK, in their home jerseys, celebrating the decisive goal during the sudden death over time, when playing at home today, 2016-04-13. The photos were taken by photographers from TT, Mikael Fritzon (left) and Robert Granström (right), respectively.

Finally, the photos below were taken exactly 11 years ago, showing typical means of transport in Shanghai then. I understand that now there are many more private cars in the streets, as well as many more options to travel by subway. In 2005, there were only 2 subway lines, but as a preparation for the 2010 World Exhibition, 15 more lines were built during those 5 years!


Photos I took on 2005-04-13 in Shanghai. Regarding the two bottom photos, taken in the subway, many other subway cars around the world have monitors inside them nowadays, but I think that signs like the ones on the bottom left should be used more frequently also elsewhere to avoid disgusting passenger behaviors.

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: Istid 13 april

+: What did you learn in school today ?