271’2021 (2021-09-28) – Tuesday

Today, I learned about:

In my earlier post of 212’2021 (2021-07-31), I talked about how fantastic it was to enjoy the Olympic Summer Games from Tokyo, but also showed an example of an anachronic feature, the use of security pins to secure the number tags of the participants, something that really should be improved in Paris in 2024.

Another thing that really needs to be improved is how the organisers treat the names of the participants. It seems that we are still in the stone ages of information technology, when all texts had to adhere to the 128-character ASCII set, with no non-US characters allowed. Fortunately, that has been improved through the UTF-8 and UTF-16 character sets, so why should IOC still behave as it was the 1970’s? Can we hope that the four athletes below, and their colleagues, may have their names written in the correct way in 2024?

Four prominent athletes who participated in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and had their names spelled in the conservative IOC fashion. In the upper row, from left to right, are Sarah Sjöström, Sweden, the queen of world swimming, but due to an elbow injury earlier this year only managed to squeeze one silver medal in these games; Novak Đoković, Serbia, currently outstanding in world tennis, but who had to settle without any medal this time. In the lower row, from left to right, are Batuhan Çiftçi, Turkey, a boxer that did not do very well this time; Gabriela Braga Guimarães, Brazil, member of the Brazilian female volleyball team which took the silver medal in Tokyo.

More about current text coding can be found in reference # 1 below.

That’s what I learned in school today!


1: UTF-8

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-10-02 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

Once more, it is municipal election day in the pseudo democracy called Brazil. I say so, because voting is not only a right for Brazilian citizens, but also a duty! The result is obvious beforehand: A conservation of the ruling class, which has the financial means to control the situation. Everyone declared capable, aged from 18 to 70 years, must vote. Although there are some other democracies in the world where it is also mandatory to vote, what comes to my mind right now is Belgium, a country that stayed without a government during almost three years after a general election. My conviction is that elections should be open to everyone who is qualified to vote, but nobody should be obligated to do so! But since it is the proper politicians who must decide on such a measure which would go against their interests, unfortunately I do not see such a change coming ever.


Two opposite sides of the Brazilian society: To the left, the well-off citizen with all his titles and investment bonds, and to the right, the poor person, whose only right (and obligation!) is the document which identifies him as an elector. Drawn by Jean Galvão and published in Folha de S. Paulo today.

I feel very honored to have so many friends spread out all over the world, and when they travel they often send me pictures to show their destinations, and today is not at all different. My friend Barbara, who has lived in Sweden for decades, went back home to her native city, Świnoujście in Poland, last month for an important family celebration. And here you can see some of the pictures she sent me. Dzięki, Barbara!

Below are some more pictures from this sea-side city in the extreme north-west corner of Poland, bordering Germany and with a daily ferry to Ystad in Sweden. See also reference # 1 below.



Six photos from Świnoujście, all taken by Barbara Sigurdsson in September, 2016. The main photo shows the post office to the left, and the two photos in landscape mode of the next front row show scenes from the seaside promenade. The leftmost one pictures the German town Ahlbeck in the distance and the second one is a typical one from this neighborhood. In the second row, to the left, is a former Soviet military base that now has been transformed into a civic center, including sports arena, theater, tax authority and a music school. The next photo shows typical residental buildings today, in bright contrast to the rightmost photo of a skyscraper built during the communist regime.

Last Friday, 2016-09-30, was International Translation Day. When I was a teenager, I did not know which career I would follow, since I liked both technology and languages. My uncle, who had a high position in Ericsson, advised me to study technology and include as many languages as possible in my curriculum. Of course, I followed his advice, and today I am proud to say that I am very fond of making translations, in particular those involving technology, in the language pairs Swedish <-> English, Swedish <-> Portuguese, and English < – > Portuguese. If you need to have any document translated in those languages, or including Danish and Norwegian, contact me or my fellow translators of the Taskforce, see link in reference # 2 below, and click on the appropriate flag in the upper right corner.

Finally, if you live close to an airport and are disturbed by the noise of aircraft while arriving at the airport, here comes good news for you. A study performed at KTH in Stockholm, confirmed at Heathrow airport, shows that if the landing aircraft forms an angle of 3,5 degrees to the ground instead of the current 3 degrees, then the generated noise can be reduced by 2 decibel, which is quite a lot! See references #3 and 4 below.

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: Świnoujście

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

3: Brantare landning minskar bullret

4: Slutrapport Förstudie Brantare

+: 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 ?

2016-04-09 (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.


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 !


1: Food & Family

2: The Babylon Brigade

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-04-03 (Söndag)

Idag lärde jag mig, att:

Vår värld är verkligen varierad, även om det finns likheter mellan Norr och Syd. Till exempel är det som så att fler och fler politiker av olika färg och nationaliteter börjar ertappas med att först ta vara på sig själva och skicka “sina” pengar till något skatteparadis.

Så har det varit länge i Brasilien, även om det som nu håller på att avslöjas överstiger allt som vi har hört talas om tidigare. I dagens God morgon världen i SR P1 rapporterade SRs korrespondent i Latinamerika, Lotten Collin, om en brasiliansk satirsajt som verkligen har lyckats fånga situationen på ett kusligt sätt. Lyssna på reportaget i referens nummer 1 nedan.

Och i samma program fanns det också ett intressant inslag om hur man använder hundar i Kambodja för att tillaga deliciösa maträtter. Reporter där var Alex Kronholm. Hör inslaget i referens nummer 2 nedan.


(Skatte)Paradiset Brittiska Jungfruöarna. Foto AP

Så slutligen i Ekot kvart i sex fanns det också ett inslag från Island, där man har upptäckt att statsministerns fru föredrar att placera pengar på Brittiska Jungfruöarna. Reporter ännu en gång, den välbereste Alex Kronholm! Hör inslaget i referens nummer 3 nedan.

… Tack för idag, slut för idag!

(Today’s post deals with three different reports from around the world, all in Swedish, namely from Brazil, Cambodia and Iceland.)


1: Politisk satir i krisens Brasilien

2: Stulna hundar på matbordet i Kambodja

3: Islands regering skakas av en skatteskandal

+: 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?


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 !


1: Feijoada explained in English

2: Feijoada mineira completa

3: Skatteverkets informationsblad om personnummer

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-02-21 (Sunday)

Today, I learned once more that:

One of the most abstract things in our world is also something that we rely on the most. I am thinking about the so-called fourth dimension, time. Due to the earth’s rotation around its own axis, the world has been divided into 24 time zones, with the meridian that crosses the Greenwich observatory in England used as a starting point for the division, and thus establishing Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), nowadays mostly named Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

Due to its subcontinental size, Brazil has four different time zones, which are related to the official Brazilian time in the Federal capital of Brasília. The following times apply as standard times:

  • Brasília time – 2 h (UTC-5 h): State of Acre, and the Southwestern part of the state of Amazonas. The proportion of people living here is only 0,5 % of the country’s whole population (a little more than 1 million people). This time zone covers only about 6% of the Brazilian territory (although it is about the size of France).
  • Brasília time – 1 h (UTC-4 h): States of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Rondônia, Roraima, and the rest (main part) of Amazonas. 5% of the country’s population live here (about 11 million people). The area is big, 34% of the land area of Brazil (thus larger than Argentina).
  • Brasília time, BRT (UTC-3 h): Federal District (which includes Brasília); and also the states in the Southeast Region ( Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo); the South Region ( Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul); and the Northeast Region ( Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, and Sergipe) as well as the states of Amapá, Goiás, Pará, and Tocantins. Almost 94% of the whole Brazilian population live in this time zone, which also covers about 60% of the country’s land area.
  • Brasília time + 1 h (UTC-2 h): A few small offshore Atlantic islands, namely Fernando de Noronha, with 2,837 inhabitants and 0,0014% of Brazil’s population, an the non-populated islands of Trindade, Martim Vaz, Rocas Atoll, and Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago.

The reason I am mentioning this today is that yesterday at midnight in Brasília, some of the states mentioned above, namely the Federal District and the 10 Southernmost states (Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Goiás, and Mato Grosso) ended the period of Daylight Savings Time (DST), also called Summer Time, that had been valid since October 18, 2015. The population in those areas account for 64 % of the total Brazilian population.

DST was used in Brazil for the first time in 1931, but from then on there was no consistency in when it was applied. It was only in 1985 that DST was instituted and followed on a regular, annual base, normally between the third Sunday of October and the third Sunday of February the subsequent year. However, Carnival and general elections have influenced on different start and end dates on some occasions.

One interesting observation that can be made is that the change always happens around midnight Brasília time, which creates a big confusion about which day it is at a given time. To me, the European rule of making the change at 02:00 / 03:00 seems much more logical.

However, there are people that oppose to the use of DST. As an example, there are currently three different propositions in the Brazilian Congress that want to forbid the use of DST. One of those propositions was written by congress man Valdir Colatto from Santa Catarina. Here are his arguments:

  • An institute of cardiology performed scientific tests about how DST affects the people, and they found an increase in health problems, from hypertension to diabetes, sometimes also depression.
  • During DST, the children learn less in school, because they have to wake up earlier.
  • He normally needs to wake up at 04:30 on Monday mornings, so that he can take a plane from his home town, Chapecó, to Brasília an hour later. During DST, he has to wake up at 03:30 solar time, an hour earlier due to a decree from the President of the Republic.
  • He responds to the official argument, that the use of DST saves energy, that nobody notes that difference in their electricity bill.
  • According to him, a survey performed on the internet resulted in that 80 % of those that responded to the survey said that they were against the use of DST.


Solution to Riddle # 1 (Two blind men), posted on 2016-02-19

When the socks are sold in the store, they are also grouped together in pairs. Thus, it is easy to grab one pair, separate the socks and place one each in each of the two men’s bags. Continue doing so, and eventually you will have two blue socks, two red socks, two pink socks, two green socks, and two orange socks in each bag.

I have already told this riddle to many people, but only one person could ever solve it, and it took only 15 seconds! This is a tribute to my good old friend, the chemist John Snyder, one of the most intelligent people I know!

The riddle was first proposed by Kim Nasmyth, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, to explain how chromosomes divide in cell division, see reference # 3 below.

Riddle # 2 (The pill roulette)

You suffer from a temporary disease, which you have to treat by taking one pill every day during seven days. So the pharmacist took your order and gave you the pills. You are just about to take the first pill, when you receive a telephone call from the pharmacy.

You are informed, that the attendent mistakingly gave you eight pills, the seven you need and also an eighth one, that has the same appearance as the other. But it is poisonous and furthermore it weighs a little bit more than each of the other seven, undetectable by assessing it in your hand, but sufficient to be determined by a precision scale.

Luckily, you are in a laboratory which has such a scale, an old analogue weighing scale with two pans for high precision weight measurement. The problem is that you will only be able to perform two measurements, after which the scales will not work any more.
Here is a drawing of the scales you can use:


A two-pan balance scale to be used in riddle # 2

So how do you solve this riddle, to identify and discard the poisonous pill, with only two comparative measurements? A solution to this riddle will be published next Saturday, 2016-02-27. The first person that comes across the correct solution and sends it to medieborgaren@sjson.com will receive an honorary mention.

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: Time in Brazil

2: Horário de verão acaba à meia-noite deste sábado

3: How chromosomes split in cell division

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-02-07 (Sunday)

Today I learned, that:

There are many ways to enjoy life, and today in Brazil is of course a special Sunday, in the middle of Carnival, when many people forget about their daily chores and go wild to feast during what many of them consider being the most important event of the year.

Besides New Orleans, carnival does not attract so much attention in the USA, and furthermore today is Super Bowl 50, featuring Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. For many people in the USA, this event is as important as any carnival celebration could ever be, with betting, gathering family and friends, and having a party! Let me give you some remarks and opinions about my experience of NFL:


The photo above was taken at Georgia Dome on September 11 (!), 1994, when Atlanta Falcons played their first home game of the season against Los Angeles Rams and won the game with 31 – 11. I was accompanied by two fellow Brazilians, Claudeir and Keiser, and of course we had a good time.

I have not been in the US during a Super Bowl game, so I cannot give personal reflections about that party, but I left Atlanta two days before Super Bowl XXXIII in January, 1999, when the same Atlanta Falcons ended up losing to Denver Broncos (already a team in the finals back then), much to the disappointment of my colleagues at Philips in Norcross. So far, it has been the Falcons’ only participation in a Super Bowl game, let us hope they will come back and win some time in the future.

All Super Bowl games are using Roman numbers, last year was XLIX and in 2017 it will be LI, but today it is 50 in Arabic numbers, how come?

Despite being considered underdogs, I believe that Denver Broncos will raise their third Super Bowl trophy tonight, leaving Carolina Panthers still without any championship title, but in sports anything can happen, so let us see…

Update 2016-02-08: Life is wonderful, Denver Broncos won against all odds, as I had anticipated above, inverting the old saying ‘the best defense is a good offense’ to ‘the best offense is a good defense’ !

Finally, calling a sport Football, when the only time that the ball is kicked on purpose by a foot are the occasional scrimmage and free kicks, seems to me quite overly exaggerated. The most import actions are of course the ones when the ball is carried by an offensive player inside the opponents’ end zone, thus scoring a touchdown. But that naming occured already 140 years, in 1876, see reference 1 below, so we are stuck with it!

… That’s what I learned in school!


1: American football

2: Atlanta Falcons season 1994-1995

3: Super Bowl champions

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-01-26 (Tuesday)

Today, I learned that:

The custom of numbering the houses on a street, in order to facilitate visits, delivery of mail and parcels, etc., is said to have started in 1512, when there was built a new bridge in Paris, Pont Notre-Dame. On the bridge were built 68 equal houses and in order to distinguish one from another, they were given golden numbers on the outside, with odd numbers on one side and even numbers on the other side of the bridge. Initially, the purpose of this numbering was not so much to find the house for a visit, but sort of registration of property.

Pont Notre-Dame

La Joute des mariniers entre le Pont-Notre-Dame et le Pont-au-Change, painted by Nicolas-Jean-Baptiste Raguenet in 1752.

Today, practically all towns and cities have a numbering system, although there are differences. The article in Wikipedia, referenced below, deals with the numbering in most parts of the world, so I will not repeat it, but recommend it if you are interested in knowing further details. Here, I will only give some bullet points and also complement that article with some interesting pieces of information.

The basic rule is that the numbering starts in some place with high importance to the city, e.g. City hall, Main cathedral, etc. So the point of the street that is closest to this reference point receives the lowest number and the numbering then increases when you move away from the reference point. It is also very common that one side of the street, normally the left side, receives odd numbers and the other (right) side gets even numbers, just like in Paris in 1512. However, there are exceptions, where the odd numbers are used on the right side and even numbers on the left side.

The distribution of the numbers can be either sequential or by distance. The traditional, sequential distribution, such as 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, … only indicates the relative position of a certain building compared to the reference point and other buildings on the same side of the street, but does not necessarily include information about the distances involved. This type of distribution is prevalent in Europe and many of its former colonies.

However, a different number distribution is very common in USA and Canada. It is basically the same as for sequential distribution, but usually all numbers are not present. The increase in the number used on a building, when compared to its neighbour located closer to the reference point, signifies roughly the distance (in yards) between the two. This distribution system goes hand in hand with the distribution of houses in blocks, and where each new block starts with a multiple of 100. Of course this means that it is easier to know how big is the distance still to be covered to the desired building, merely subtracting one number from the other.

Yesterday, I wrote about São Paulo, and since Brazil is not covered in this Wikipedia article, let me complement it with some information also from Brazil. The predominant system here is similar to the one used in North America, except that the distance is measured in meters, since Brazil uses the SI system. However, there are some Brazilian cities that use the sequential distribution, e.g. Santos, which celebrates its birthday today, being founded on January 26, 1546. However, the 8-year younger city, São Paulo, uses the distribution by distance, where most of the streets rely on Praça da Sé, the city center, as the reference point. However, in the Southern Zone of São Paulo, that until 1935 was the autonomous city of Santo Amaro, the numbering starts at the Cathedral of Santo Amaro.

… That’s what I learned in school!


1: House numbering

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-01-20 (Wednesday)


Christ Statue, Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro

Today, I learned again, that:

Rio de Janeiro is scheduled to host the 31st Summer Olympic Games later this year. But how was it that the city got its name and what does it mean?

Rio de Janeiro literally means the January River. The reason is that when the Portuguese explorer Gaspar de Lemos discovered the Bay of Guanabara on January 1, 1502, the Portuguese word for both river and bay was ‘rio’, and hence the origin of the name. When the city was founded by Estácio de Sá on March 1, 1565, its name was designated as São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, as a tribute also to the ruling Portuguese king, D. Sebastião.

Every city in Brazil has a day once a year when they pay a tribute to their patron saint, and when there is a local holiday. In the case of Rio de Janeiro, in consequence with what was said above, it is Saint Sebastian, and since his day is January 20, today is a local holiday in Rio de Janeiro, as well as in many other Brazilian cities, that also venerate Saint Sebastian, e.g. São Sebastião (state of São Paulo), Paranavaí (state of Paraná), Paraisópolis (state of Minas Gerais), as well as some other 250 cities all over Brazil.

… That’s what I learned in school!


1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_de_Janeiro

2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Sebastian

3: https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/São_Sebastião#Brasil

+: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VucczIg98Gw