2017-08-21 (Moonday)

Today, I learned that:

In the USA, the big interest today is not “fake news”, but of course the real eclipse when the moon covers the whole sun as seen from earth. Mr. President, would this not have been a perfect moment to improve your scores with the American public and anticipate Labor day two weeks, giving many more people a chance to observe this rare phenomenon?

If you read this before the event, if you cannot be on site, in reference #1 you can find what I will be laying my eyes on from 4:00 p.m. GMT today, the NASA live coverage of the solar eclipse.

Eclipsesolar

Total Eclipse of the Sun in Salzburg, Austria, on 1999-08-11

The photo above is of the total solar eclipse on 1999-08-11, which I took in Salzburg, Austria. More information about that one and other eclipses, see my posts of 2016-03-08 and 2016-03-09.

I wish everyone clear skies!

Update with pictures from the eclipse, all from NASA:

The Eclipse 2017 Umbra Viewed from Space

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: NASA TV – Eclipse Views

*: What did you learn in school today ?

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2107-08-01 (Mother Nature’s son)

Today, I learned that:

Regardless of what we say and think, we still respond to Her (Mother Nature). Sometimes She shares with us the most amazing scenarios, such as the one in the amazing photo below. It shows a countryside highway with bamboo trees on both sides. And if you can read Portuguese, then you understand that this place is a sanctuary for wild animals. The road sign depicts an ocelot, and furthermore there is an alert that this is a road with a high degree of crashes between cars and animals. The location is close to the city of Assis, state of São Paulo, Brazil, where there is an ecological station.

Bambu

Highway SP-333 close to the city of Assis, SP, Brazil. This area contains an ecological station with wild animals of various species, the reason why the roadsign alerts for a high degree of collisions between them and cars. The depicted animal is called jaguatirica in Portuguese, ocelot in English, and Leopardis pardalis in Latin. On both sides of the road are planted bamboo, which gives a magical touch to this sacred place. Photo taken on 2017-07-23.

It seems like a perfect coincidence that it is located in Assis, because as you probably remember, in a similarly sounding town in Italy, during the 12th century, there was born a person who later would be known as Saint Francis of Assisi. Among other things, he is known for his friendliness to the birds and in 1979 Pope John Paul II declared him the Patron Saint of Ecology. (The current Pope Francis I also honoured him by adopting his name as his own papal name.) See references #1 and #2 below.

But Mother Nature does not only present us with beauty, She is also very practical. Last Friday, I was reminded twice of that, when Radio Sweden interviewed professionals involved with creating and using practical solutions from Her in favour of humanity.

In the morning, I was told about a new kind of glue, which will permit heart surgeons to glue parts together within a beating heart. The origin of that invention is in the slime produced by a slug, which inspired scientists at Harvard. Hear and read about it in reference #3 below (Swedish), as well as read about in reference #4 (English).

Arion_vulgaris

Arion vulgaris, photo by Xauxa Håkan Svensson – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11200581

Then in the evening, another sensational feat. As long as we can remember, the spider has impressed us with its production of ultra-thin, yet extremely strong threads. And now Swedish scientists have discovered a way of recreating such production without using toxic chemistry. Reference #5 contains an audio interview in Swedish with Anna Rising, one of the scientists, and reference #6 is a written interview in English, where she and her fellow colleague Jan Johansson explain more.

Then, over the weekend, I remembered a similar story from exactly 10 years ago. By using practical solutions from a gecko and a mussel, scientists at Northwestern University were able to create a glue that would stick well also under water, see reference #7 below. And in the beginning of 2017, see reference #8, was reported how the very same gecko had inspired researchers at Kiel University to invent a method of immediate grip and release.

But wait, there is more! As a bonus, look also at this article from 2010, reference #9 below, which reports about a combination of mussel glue and nanoparticles to create a proactive cover against corrosion.

To end today’s post, what could be better than listening to the fantastic song writher John Denver, so tragically gone in 1997, to describe his love to Mother Nature! See and here his poem in reference X below.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Assis

2: Saint Francis of Assisi

3: Snigelinspirerat lim kan användas vid operationer

4: Slug Slime Inspires Scientists To Invent Sticky Surgical Glue

5: Forskare om att framställa artificiell spindelväv, med början vid 06:20

6: Spinning super strong synthetic spider silk

7: Design by Gecko, Plus Glue by Mussel, Yields a Powerful Adhesive

8: Scientists Can Turn This Gecko-Inspired Gripping Device On or Off With the Flick of a Light

9: Musslornas klister används som rostskydd

X: John Denver – Mother Nature’s son

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-07-16 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

This is post # 150 of my blog. So let us celebrate with a good piece of grilled meat!

Carne para churrasco

Dalolio, a popular store meat store in Paranavaí, PR, Brazil. People line up to buy meat for the weekend, either raw for them to grill it themselves or already grilled meat, from one of the big smokers to the left. Photo taken on 2017-04-23.

The photo above shows people lining up to buy the main ingredient for their Sunday lunch, the meat. During the week, this popular store sells only raw meat, but on Sundays there are also the big smokers you can see on the left side of the photo, so that its patrons can enjoy their lunch without the need for grilling the meat themselves. It was taken on 2017-04-23 in Paranavaí, PR, Brazil.

But people do not live only off food, the soul needs its take, as well. However, another store in the same city, which main activity is to sell religious articles, also offers grilled food, true to their motto ‘Burger and Bibles’. See for yourselves below:

Body and soul

Lunch is being prepared outside the store for religious articles. Photo taken on 2017-07-14.

Maybe you remember my post in the beginning of this year, 2017-01-29 ?  In it I showed that there is a movement in the US state of California which aims to break away from the US federation. Since I had not heard so much about it afterwards, I decided to take the opportunity and ask the former correspondent for Radio Sweden in New York, Agneta Furvik, during her radio program last Thursday, when her listeners could call in (or send a message) and ask about anything they want to know about USA. By her side, Agneta had other experts in American matters: American political scientist, Katherine Angelo Hanly; Professor of North American studies at Uppsala University, Dag Blanck; and her former colleague as correspondent in Washington DC, Inger Arenander. You can see them and hear their opinions (in Swedish) in reference # 1 below.

For those of you who do not understand Swedish, I can summarise that neither of them believes that there is any major risk of a Calexit in 2019.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:
1: Lyssnarfråga: Kan Kalifornien lämna USA?

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-07-05 (Wednesday)

Today, I learned that:

Finally, we are about to have an international system of measures that will be based entirely on Mother Nature. I am of course talking about the International System of Units (SI system), which has its origin in 1875, when the two references for length and mass were decided. It has ever since grown to comprise seven base units, of which six are derived by using natural phenomena. See references #1, #2, and #3 below. The following illustration is contained in the last of those references, and it also develops the matter further in an elegant way:

7bases

However, the seventh base unit, the kilogram, is still an object manufactured in 90 % platinum and 10 % iridium. It is kept in a safe in Paris and has copies spread out over the world. There are several negative remarks that can be made to such a procedure, the difficulty of accessing the object, the wear and tear that the atmosphere exercises on the object, etc. So, if everything goes as expected, in November 2018, there will be a congress deciding to abandon the physical mass reference and substitute it with something based on non-changing conditions.

The new reference will be based on Planck’s constant. A highly precise balance operates on the principle of electromagnetic force compensation. In it, a weight on one side is balanced by the electrical force on the other. This electrical force is linked to Planck’s constant and can therefore be directly referred to as the new kilogram definition. See reference #4 below.

And while they are still at it, how about also changing the base unit from something which includes a prefix (as you know kilo means 1000) to a neutral one? My suggestions is that the seventh base unit should be named planck, abbreviated P, to which the normal prefixes would be used, when necessary. For instance, gram (g) would be mP (milliplanck) and the ‘metric’ ton, currently 1000 kg, would be 1 kP (kiloplanck). In the old CGM system of measures, there is a P which standards for Poise, the unit for dynamic viscosity, but in the SI system it has already been substituted by Pa.s (pascal-second), where 1 Pa.s = 10 P.

The photo below was taken in the strait of Kattegat on the Danish side on 2017-05-25, when I flew from continental Europe to Gothenburg. It shows the Danish wind farm close to the island of Anholt, one of the ten biggest in the world. Due to the altitude, it may be difficult to see, but each one of those small white spots is a wind turbine. See also reference #5 below.

Sol_vind_vatten

A large Danish wind farm, located in the sea between Denmark and Sweden, close to the island of Anholt. Photo taken on 2017-05-25.

Since this time of the year is appropriate for many people in Europe to take vacation, what could be better than “sol, vind och vatten” (sun, wind, and water), which the fantastic Swedish song writer Ted Gärdestad described so well in reference #6 below?

And did you know that renewable energy is the cheapest one to acquire? According to professor Tomas Kåberger of Chalmers, it occurred already in 2016! An article describing that and many other interesting correlated facts can be found in reference #7.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:
1: International System of Units

2: Para manter o peso

3: SI base units

4: Researchers developing a new balance for the new kilogram

5: Wind farm

6: Sol, vind och vatten

7: Njutbar nedgång för priset på förnybar energi

*: What did you learn in school today ?

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.

Chalmers Lindholmen

Chalmers University of Technology, branch at Lindholmen in Gothenburg. The building named Kuggen (the “Cogwheel”) to the right is the library where the lecture below was held. Photo taken on 2017-05-30

The latter can be clearly seen in this lecture held at the branch offices of Chalmers University of Technology at Lindholmen in Gothenburg, Sweden, see photo above. 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 ?

2017-04-21 (Friday)

Today, I learned that:

In Brazil, today is a national holiday, remembering a movement at the end of the 18th century, which eventually resulted in independence from Portugal. The leader of the rebellion was a dentist, named Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, so today is known as “Feriado de Tiradentes”. More about it in reference #1 below. Given the current state of chaos in Brazil, let us hope that another dentist will show up soon, clean the house and fill the holes!

Tomorrow is Earth Day and many activities will occur all over the globe. One such action is by the unified scientific community which will protest about the way facts and science are treated currently. March for Science is planned in 54 different countries, with USA naturally leading the movement. In Sweden, the major university cities will also hold their marches, e.g. if you are in Göteborg (Gothenburg), why not join Stefan Bengtsson, Pam Fredman and many others in your protest. More information can be found in references # 2 and 3 below.

March for Science

Cities where March for Science will take place on 2017-04-22, most probably one near you!

One important ingredient in the protests is to, once more, show how our earth is suffering from the global warming that really is taking place. Among other things, it is threatening to put entire nations under water. One such nation is called Vanuatu. It is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, see reference #4 below. I just received some interesting photos from there, sent to me by my friends Helen and Tomas, who are currently visiting Vanuatu. Just think of not being able to experience a ceremony like that in the following photo of the indigenous population. In a future post, I will show more photos.

Vanuatu

A photo from Vanuatu, taken on 2017-04-18 by Helen Rollinson

… 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: Tiradentes

2: March for Science

3: March for Science Sweden

4: Vanuatu

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-04-16 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

There are so many things that need be improved in this world. Too many people endure bad conditions to live, to eat, …, in short, to exist!

And although everyone has a name, it is not always officially known and registered. In my post on 2017-04-01, I talked about the Swedish system for registration of its population, which made a quantum leap in 1947, when the civic registration number was introduced.

Here in Brazil, there is no unified system of identification. There is one system for identity cards, exercised in the different states of the union, named RG (Registro Geral, “General Register”), another one by the federal tax authorities, called CPF (Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas, “Register of Physical Persons”), a third one run by the election authorities, called título de eleitor (“Elector Title”), an important document, since everyone between 18 and 70 years are compelled to vote, and also one for approved vehicle drivers, CNH (Carteira Nacional de Habilitação, “National Registers of Approved Drivers”).

TSE, which is the federal main organ of the election authorities, is worried about the difficulty in identification of the voters, and is therefore trying to re-register all their electors including also biometric identification. This process goes slowly, there are only a handful of all the states which have concluded the re-registration process so far. But last week, the Senate of the Brazilian Parliament approved the creation of a new document of identification, ICN (Identificação Civil Nacional,”National Civic Identification”). It will use the data base of TSE and add to that the other documents I mentioned. The Senate also approved the creation of a new identity card, DIN (Documento de Identificação Nacional, “Document of National Identification”), that would be emitted using the ICN data. However, it is said that the President of the Republic will not sanction the creation of DIN. See also reference #1 below.

But even if TSE eventually manages to conclude their registry, will that guarantee impartial elections? Of course not, who controls that the voting machines used in the elections are not manipulated? Radio Sweden’s program P4 Världen yesterday presented a Dutch white hat hacker, Sijmen Ruwhof, who showed how easy it is was to hack the Dutch totalization process after the most recent parliamentary elections and thus forced a manual recounting of all the votes. See references #2 and 3 below.

Sijmen Ruwhof

Sijmen Ruwhof lecturing on cyber security

By the way, here is a photo which was taken on the Chinese Wall in Juyongguan, 50 km northeast of Beijing, exactly 12 years ago, 2005-04-16.

Chinese Wall

The Chinese Wall north of Beijing, China. Photo taken on 2005-04-16.

… 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: Senado aprova criação de base de dados nacional para identificação de cidadãos

2: Turkisk choklad, nordkoreanskt påskägg och möte med holländsk hackare

3: AFP: ‘Ditch computers to save democracy: ethical hacker’

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-04-01 (lördag)

Idag lärde jag mig, att:

I tisdags rapporterades det om att i det jämtländska Bräcke nyligen hade hänt något som naturligtvis inte får hända. Socialtjänsten där råkade kasta om några siffror i ett personnummer, vilket fick som resultat att ett nyfött barn registrerades att ha fel far. Förutom att de båda “fäderna” naturligtvis blev mycket upprörda så har det resulterat i förseningar av bidragsutbetalningar. Mamman har nu anmält händelsen till Justitieombudsmannen, JO. Se också referens 1 nedan.

För ett drygt år sedan publicerade Barometern en artikel i vilken en man som sedan han kom till Sverige 1997 under hela tiden har levt med ett personnummer som inte motsvarar hans födelsedatum. Eftersom personnumren för den 1 januari 1967, hans riktiga födelsedatum, hade tagit slut så fick han ett personnummer som började med 670202 istället för 670101. Det fungerade fint till dess att hans far dog och han inte lyckades få ut arvet eftersom han inte kunde bevisa vem han var. Se hela historien i referens 2 nedan.

Nej, det rör sig inte om några aprilskämt! Det är bara två av de exempel som visar hur viktigt personnumret är för alla som bor eller uppehåller sig under någon längre tid i Sverige. Den som berättar om detta och mycket mer heter Lars Lindsköld, verksam inom Västra Götalandsregionens koncernkontor där han arbetar med vårdens digitalisering. Tillika är han adjungerad universitetslektor på Institutionen för tillämpad informationsteknologi vid Göteborgs Universitet. I onsdags höll han ett intressant föredrag om personnummer, dess historia, betydelse och framtid. STORT TACK, Lars, för att du delar med dig din kunskap till mina läsare! Se presentationen i referens 3 nedan för en komplett beskrivning.

Framtidens personnummer

Förslag till hur person-, samordnings- och samordningsnumren skulle kunna se ut i framtiden, se mer i referens 3 nedan.

I referens 4 nedan finns ytterligare en viktig resurs, om du måste spärra risken att någon ändrar din adress på ett olovligt sätt, väl värt att notera.

Och om du vill höra Lars Lindsköld berätta i egen hög person, så kan du söka upp SR P4 Göteborgs program i onsdags, referens 5 nedan. Inslaget ingick i Förmiddag i P4 Göteborg med Stefan Livh. Det programmet började kl. 09.32 och efter 2 timmar och 5 minuter, alltså kl. 11.37 börjar det 18 minuter långa inslaget.

Dessutom rekommenderar jag att du konsulterar följande inlägg som jag gjorde 2016 om datumskrivning och personnummer:

2016-01-10, Internationell standard för datumskrivning ISO 8601:2004

2016-02-27, Legimitation

2016-03-05, Tre fel i personnumret

(The post above in Swedish deals with the Swedish civic registration number, which was introduced in 1947, and that since has been expanded also for other similar uses.)

Slutligen, efter det att hela Sverige kunde fira en befolkning på 10 miljoner invånare den 20 januari, var det så dags för Göteborgregionen att kravla sig över 1-miljonsstrecket. Det hände i tisdags, 28 mars 2017. GRATTIS! Se också referens 6 nedan.

Tack för idag, slut för idag!

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: Socialtjänstmiss i Bräcke – barn fick fel far

2: Mstafa Aziz – mannen med fel personnummer

3: Lars Lindskölds föredrag om personnummer 2017-03-29

4: Spärra obehörig adressändring

5: Förmiddag i P4 Göteborg med Stefan Livh, 2017-03-29 kl. 11.37

6: Nu blir Göteborg en miljoooooon

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-03-12 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

Even if you loose your voice, there are now ever better means of communicating with other people. Of course you can write, if you are able, but you must agree with me that an audio is much easier to grasp than a text, one can continue with most other activities and still understand what is being said. (But take very much care, even if you use a handsfree mobile phone in your car, your attention to the ongoing call is often so high that you can be a menace to other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.)

Yesterday, I watched the 2014 movie about Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane, “The Theory of Everything”. In the very moment when Stephen is first heard through his mechanical voice, Jane is pretty excited, but complains that the voice has an American accent. If that had happened today, the genius, who recently celebrated his 75th anniversary, could use his own voice, although generated artificially. More about the movie and Stephen Hawking can be found in references #1 and 2 below.

And now over to the story about Jason Liversidge and his new voice: Just like Stephen Hawking, Jason, who lives in Yorkshire in northeast England, suffers from the neurological disease called ALS. The first symptoms appeared almost 10 years ago, but it was only three years ago that he got the diagnosis of ALS. His own voice is still working, but sometimes he needs a backup voice, and then he can use his computer which generates sounds with the same accent as Jason’s, “not the posh English accent”. His artificial voice was created from a video recording of a speech he made some years ago, combined with speech from other men from Yorkshire. A research institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, were then able to recreate Jason’s voice synthetically. The proper Jason and his family recognize the similarity of both voices. Reference #3 appoints to the radio program from Radio Sweden (in Swedish) which tells the whole story.

Jason

Jason Liversidge from Yorkshire already has a sounds-alike backup to his voice when his own does not perform as desired. Photo by Stephanie Zakrisson/Sveriges Radio.

Exactly one year ago, 2016-03-12, I published a video showing Atlas, a robot from Boston Dynamics performing gracious movements. But it did not stop there, look at this video of its newest sibling, Handle, in reference # 4 below, SIMPLY AMAZING!

BR-PY2

Ponte da Amizade (“Bridge of Friendship”) joining Foz do Iguaçu – PR, Brazil, where the photo was taken on 2017-01-26 by my daughter, with Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, in the left side.

The photo above shows another view of the Paraná River, this time from the Brazilian side, shot 200 km South of the photo from 2016-11-30. It shows the bridge interconnecting the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu – PR, to the right, and the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este. Not long ago, this bridge used to be packed with people and cars returning to Brazil from a shopping spree in Paraguay, but the ongoing financial crisis has also here had a devasting effect. (I already published a photo from Foz do Iguaçu on 2016-01-28).

… 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: The Theory of Everything

2: Stephen Hawking

3: Talsyntes på dialekt stärker identiteten

4: Introducing Handle

*: What did you learn in school today ?