Veckans ord: oread

Wood nymphSomliga nymfer är rena slamporna, men en oread är minsann inte billig.


Secular trends

At my god-mother's funeral, there were some two hundred neighbours, relatives, and friends present. I noticed that I, my cousins, second cousins, etc, were, almost all of us, a head taller than our parents' generation, born in the war years with scarcity of food and everything else.

The Only-begotten Son passed me in length quite a while ago and I now have to reach up to tousle his hair.

But when he got on the stage today to receive his graduation prize he was the shortest of the young men up there. Where will this end?

No… Try as I might, I just can't manage to coolly drop that in passing…


Used up

John Feeney has an article in the Guardian arguing that it is not sufficient to cut down on our resource consumption per capita, but that the total human population has to be brought down for us to survive as a species. Or, in other words, the population will be brought down, but we have to decide whether to do it by starvation or contraception.
Worryingly enough the majority of comments seem to just deny the stated facts without reasoning or arguments, just screaming "NO!" like so many Star Wars characters.

Betrayed trust

Clothes and computers I believe in thoroughly using up. While my grandmother and oldest aunt were still alive, worn-out clothes would be recycled into rag-rugs, but these days I have to dump my Swiss cheese underwear in the trash—one only needs so many polishing cloths. Computers with crashed hard disks, burned-out screens and blind mice I have dutifully taken to the recycling centre under the assumption that they will be properly dealt with, metals separated from plastics and as much as possible turned into new electronics.

This is apparently not necessarily the case. Millions of tonnes of worn-out computers end up in the third world, compounding their environmental problems. This video from Consumers International briefly introduces the problem and the few seconds around 1:52 told me that this is my responsibility as well.

For some bizarre reason it is the Traffic office that handles recycling issues in Stockholm. I have written to them and asked how to make sure that my broken electronics don't become (more of) a health issue for Africans.


Towel Day

I fixed the frayed border on my big beach towel this morning.

An outing

The gang were going down to the Air Force Museum in Linköping and I brought along the Nephew, so as to properly indoctrinate him. Well, clearly the Lego pit was much more interesting than old aircraft, but climbing in and out and in and out and in and out of the old Draken cockpit was fun too.

The rest of us were treated to a very detailed description of how to actually fly a mission in the Draken by a museum guard who turned out to be a former control and elint officer. In response to a tricky question he said: “I'll hand that over to a weapons technician.” and turned to another museum employee hovering nearby who then went into a deeper explanation of the properties of first-generation Sidewinder missiles. Museums seldom keep with knowledgeable staff, but this seems to be the rule at the Air Force Museum. Kudos!

The museum shop is also to be commended in that they are not afraid of procuring rare model kits in order to be able to have as many Swedish Air Force Aircraft as possible available for purchase.

(However, I was a bit annoyed that in spite of promises, the museum had not updated the sign that claimed the 57 mm cannon on the SAAB T-18B was the largest-calibre gun ever carried on an aircraft. In Sweden, to be sure, but not in the world, where at the time several 75 mm monsters were lugged around and in later days even 105 mm howitzers have been used onboard aircraft.)


Veckans ord: genrepar

Batman and RobinHjälten och hans sidekick, ett klassiskt genrepar.


Double feature

The Vasa museum and the Maritime museum had joint inaugurations of model exhibitions today:
The 1:10 Vasa model placed next to the original has gotten all its sculptures painted according to what has been found about the original colouring. It is quite surprising to see the ship that traditionally has been rendered in blue and gold as in fact having had a red background with sculptures coloured like candy with illegal additives.


At the Maritime museum Göran Forss's 1:50 model of the destroyer Halland has finally been finished after almost 40 years in making. Listening to people talking, I gathered a sizable part of the audience had done their military service on board at some time or other and were very pleased to see the detailed model.



Counting my blessings

The setting sun is shining in through the French windows of my sitting room, the pair of tits that live in the crack in the wall by the window take breaks on the railing outside it, beaks full of…whatever, before they squeeze themselves through the crack. My dinner noodles were particularly tasty (mental note: stick to that brand) and I'm feeling quite pleased with life.

I got a glowing performance review at work (Improvement goal: to always remember to say “Best regards” in email to customers), successfully chased up a persistent bug and when I got home I found present packets in the mail from friends: exotic teas and Clas Svahn's brand new book Stora boken om naturfenomen featuring photography by me (and some hundreds of other people :-). And the latest Scientific American.

Every now and then, life is good.


Shameless speculation

There's a new “lifestyle” magazine out. It's about travel to faraway countries, expensive cars, fancy clothes and whatever other luxury items you can imagine (or not). But, since they tack on the wordlet eco every few sentences it means they are “environmentally conscious without boring pointers”. I think I should bring my own boring pointer and give the editor a good hiding! How can encouraging luxury consumption ever be environmentally responsible!? But of course, it's all about appealing to a customer base that feels vaguely uneasy about this climate thing and thinks they should probably do something, as long as it does not mean sacrificing anything.

I'm not faultless, but at least I feel guilty about it…


With this in our past, where is our future?

The Only-Begotten Daughter's theatre class gave a play again: Animal Farm.
They might have benefitted from a few more rehearsals, but overall they acquitted themselves well, with sterling performances by “Boxer” and “Benjamin”.
Watching the animals starve and rebuild their windmill again and again I wondered what lies ahead for these bright kids, if they can look forward to a reasonably privileged life or if they will have to struggle for their lives through upheaval and famine—certainly even Sweden was a much harsher place to live just a hundred years ago. Hasse Alfredsson has expressed it so much better than I.


This is what flying was meant to be like!

“Fusion Man” Yves Rossy straps on his jetpowered wings, steps out of an aircraft and flies off.

A very good video is made available by The Guardian.

I want this so bad!


Veckans ord: orkidé

Jag har känt mig lite trött och orkeslös. Det beror säkert på att jag motionerar för lite. Jag ska ta fram cykeln ur källaren och trampa runt, det verkar som en utmärkt orkidé.



I proclaim today to be the first day of summer: almost 300 K, few scattered cumulus clouds and Quarneval! As usual I sat on the wall outside Stockholm City Library and dangled my feet above Sveavägen. There will be better quality images on the Quarneval website, but here are some of my own snaps:

The Quarneval princess, with bodyguards.

The Pipes and Drums of the First Royal Engineers.

Not quite as disciplined: Osquar Mutter.

From the School of Computer Science and Engineering: Mother Fokker with Baby Fokker. (Uncle Fokker is tailing behind, out of view.) Note the guy carrying the tailplane that apparently fell off at an early stage.

Sushi con Quarne with Japanese whale hunters.

Love Hero.

Gislaved Drum & Drill Corps. A quite unique sound with lots of cow bell.

Sometimes you just have to split up.

Last in the parade as always: Mosquito, followed by dancing, swaying, walking Stockholmers.

A most unusual perspective: walking in the middle of Sveavägen. It's really very beautiful this way.


Veckans ord: markanden

Blott de tama fåglarna har en längtan, de vilda flyger.

Och på backen sitter markanden och styr.


Go shop!

This afternoon I was invited to a sneak preview of the new Fair Trade Shop on Tegnérgatan 8 that will open on Saturday. Now, those of you who are familiar with this part of town will recognise this as the house of the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden and indeed the shop turns out to share premises with Gummessons bookstore and all of the staff seemed to have ties to the church. To my disbelief(!) there was even a speech made by a mission pastor who then prayed over us and surprisingly many in the audience bowed their heads. I didn't quite expect such things to happen in Sweden, but then again, I live a sheltered life.

Still, the shop has nice stuff, in particular Fair Trade clothes, which have been difficult to get hold of in Stockholm, so I'll just sigh deeply and shop there anyway.


Tea, toast, and typesetting

A quiet evening at home.


Squarely in the uncanny zone

While a technological masterpiece, I find the Boston Dynamics Big Dog rather creepy.

It seems the developers Pantless Knights also have noted the weird feeling the opposing legs give and made an alternate version of the video.



Veckans ord: farhinder

Gatukontoret lägger gupp i vägen. Cyklar man för fort över dem kan man råka mosa kronjuvelerna, då har guppen blivit farhinder.