Veckans ord: penision

Män har i snitt högre lön än kvinnor. Som följd därav har de också högre inkomster när de slutat arbeta: penision.


Political meme

Via Thnidu:
Copy this sentence into your blog if you're in a non-same-sex marriage, and you don't want it "protected" by the bigots who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow.

Strictly speaking I'm not married, but even if I were, I wouldn't feel threatened anyway. Even further I don't think the state has any reason to legislate about my relations with other consenting adults. Abolish all marriage laws!



This isn't all that recent and other bloggers have already commented and drawn the same conclusions, but I'm still so shocked I have to add my own entry.

Die Dolchstoßlegende lebt immer.
I've felt it to be a bit over the top when USAians accuse Republicans of being fascists, but finding a cartoon like this in a mainstream conservative newspaper, executed without the slightest hint of irony or sarcasm, drives the point home, so to speak. I feel like going over, picking up all my friends and bringing them to safety. Now, before it's too late.


Blind to the consequences

As I was walking through the city, I realised that a building I've passed quite often contains the head office of that pearl of Swedish social politics, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. I had missed it before, as the sign on the building is fairly small and unostentatious and in fact what now had drawn my eye was something that literally shouldn't have—the line of Braille below the printed text.
Försäkringskassan, sign
Contemplating this I thought of many things. One thing was that probably the Braille was not intended to actually be read—after all, how many walk around stroking walls to find signs on the off chance that there is a bit of Braille there? Nonetheless, the symbolism is clear: “We're here for everyone.” (that can read Swedish at least).

The other thing was the Braille itself. Now, as I said, the sign itself is pretty inconspicuous, but it could well have been larger. The text is written in a simple sans-serif typeface, indicating simplicity, seriousness, matter-of-factness. For Braille, as far as I know, there aren't really different typefaces, and there is not all that much room for variation in size—each character should fit under a fingertip. I guess it would technically be possible to indicate style, corresponding to italic, boldface, etc, by having the bumps have different profiles—not just hemispheres, but pyramids and hemicubes. I'm not sure how finely graded differences are actually distinguishable, but then again, most sighted readers aren't consciously aware of the distinctions between Times New Roman and Bookman either. There are dynamic Braille displays that can vibrate the needles, presumably the rhythm could be varied for a different feel. Then again, I'm sure the Braille community have come with their own ways of indicating style and character, I wonder how Discworlds novels are rendered in Braille. The audiobooks read by Steven Briggs are of course excellent.



The F11 Museum by what now is Skavsta airport had geared up for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the arrival of the first Spitfires in Sweden. A visit by a Spitfire was promised, though it would be a Mk XVI whereas the Swedish S31 was the Mk XIX. This could of course not be missed, so we, a few friends, bundled into a car and rolled through a rainy Södermanland towards Nyköping.

As we arrived we found the cozy little museum and a sizable crowd of people. An Airbus from MyTravel was just coming in to land, but had to abort with a mighty engine roar, possibly because they failed to brake on the slippery runway. It was thus not a very great surprise that the promised Spitfire visit was cancelled on account of the weather.

Planespotters watching a Beech King Air getting ready for take-off

A spot of rain does not disturb a planespotter.

Still, the well-filled museum hangar housed an S29C, an S32C, an S35E, and the front part of an SF37 and various other bits and pieces. I have always liked reconnaissance aircraft for all the odd bumps and lumps they end up with in order to fit the cameras, electronic equipment and additional fuel tanks. (The S31 however was a very clean aircraft for flying high and fast.) I spent considerable time crawling around underneath the aircraft photographing their landing gear, my special fetish.

Honeybuns in cockpit

Honeybuns tries out the Draken cockpit.

Other parts of the museum housed exhibits of uniforms, equipment and various bric-a-brac and several nicely made model aircraft. There was also a couple of trailers demonstrating the work place of an intelligence platoon, all 1970s vintage, but apparently the same equipment is still in use. The HP7221A plotters were a fond reunion—I first learned computer graphics on one.

Eventually we felt that we had seen enough for the day and returned to Stockholm, on the whole satisfied with the day. Spitfires, next summer!

S31 propeller

As close as we got to a Spitfire, an S31 propeller.


I hate fags!

You see them everywhere on the streets, brazenly spreading their vile diseases. I don't ever want to see them yet I had to spend all morning today picking up butts.

In other news, the Christian Democrats will not manage to block the new gender-neutral marriage law, hooray!


Word of the week: graydient

From 0 to 255 in monochrome: a graydient.


Turning off the lights is a bright idea

Just got my electrickity bill. On actual measurement I had consumed much less than the electricity company had projected—and billed me for, so most of the cost was credited to me. Ha! Let's see if I can repeat the trick over the winter.


Veckans ord: tvivelaktiv

En skeptiker sitter inte bara och misstror i största allmänhet utan är tvivelaktiv och undersöker saken.


And then there were 28…

When I left elementary school, I lost contact with my class mates, mostly without any regrets.

I was invited to a class reunion several years ago, but I couldn't attend, as I would be talking at a conference abroad at the same time. Still, I called the organiser and sent my greetings and I also asked whether a certain girl would be attending. (She never was my girlfriend, I didn't even think of it as an option at the time.)
“Err, she…she is no more.” Oh. Without asking for the cause of death I still wasn't very surprised.

Yesterday, the morning paper carried the death notice of a then-friend of mine (who was her boyfriend), torn from wife and children at an early age.

The countdown has begun.


Veckans ord: bykyrka

Bristen på rena underkläder fick dottern att eftertryckligt bykyrka.


Button, button

August Strindberg coined the term knappologi (“buttonology”) for the purportedly scientific systematisation of trivial matters. Now, there really are people who are intensely interested in buttons, as I realised when I came across Neville Poulson's seven-volume work Buttons of the Indian army.

Looking a bit further brought up the web page of the British Button Society. I don't often agree with Strindberg and here, too, I am feeling very pleased to have found the buttonologists and that they are doing fine.


Last week I managed to go the cinema twice in different constellations.

Porco Rosso could have been scripted by Richard Bach in its pæan to the joy and beauty of flying. The delicate drawing style of the Miyasaki studio is perfectly suited for the clean and elegant 1920s seaplanes and the characters' equally light and slim summer clothes, all set against the eternally sunlit blues of the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean sky. Yes, in a world like this even pigs have to fly. And I have to build more Macchi seaplanes.

Then WALL·E. Even though the rightful star was robbed of his role it is truly what I call a “holding-hands movie”—in several senses. We even find that by holding hands you can restore from backups you hadn't made. It is also a very Mac-friendly movie, EVE is clearly an iRobot (not the same as I, Robot) and apparently WALL·E runs some latter-day version of MacOS. That there are major plot inconsistencies is less of a problem. And of course the computer graphics are absolutely stunning, in particular when you don't even notice them unless you're knowledgeable enough to realise that every frame is the result of some really complex programming and extremely heavy computation.


Mission accomplished

With patient scouring of Tradera I have finally completed my collection of all issues of Pilot from 1974 to 1980—the top years of the magazine.

Leafing through the magazines, I reflect that they probably have done quite a lot to shape my character (causation unclear, but certainly strengthening any pre-existing MÖPish tendencies). At the time I thought Pilot was among the coolest reading you could find; now I have a somewhat more nuanced attitude towards the magazines, but they have nostalgic value and indeed still serve as inspiration for many modelling projects.

So what can we find in them? Well, for one thing, aviation is presented as almost exclusively military aviation, and indeed, even the proportion of stories about infantry soldiers is many times the proportion of stories about civilian pilots. Natacha would have been completely out of place. To be further specific, when we say “military”, we are talking about World War II, with a smattering of World War I. There might have been one or two stories from the Korean War, but absolutely none about the Vietnam War. With time this was leavened with such characters as Dan Cooper, a contemporary pilot in the Canadian Air Force, and the occasional serialisation of Buck Danny adventures. It was notable how much higher the quality of the latter was both with regards to the drawing of aircraft and in the plot construction than in the more mass-produced Battler Britton adventures that were the mainstay. Now, with 30 more years of studies behind me, I tend to cringe at the depiction of the aircraft in many of the comics as the artists often seemed to have worked from pictures with no understanding of the system behind markings, camouflage or combat tactics.

The comics often revolved around several common themes: Sacrificing yourself for your buddies, redemption of past transgressions (often through death), honouring one's opponents, curing of temporary cowardice, not judging people too hastily and in particular not underestimating the nerdy-looking guy. I guess there could be worse morals.

During the period covered by my collection the magazine also contained quite a bit of aviation history and modelling-related material. Relatively superficial as forced by the limited space, but still data, profiles and often even three-view plans that encouraged further exploration. For some years Pilot even ran an inofficial Swedish championship in modelling based on photographs readers sent in of their models. There did not seem to be any cooperation between Pilot and IPMS, possibly their target groups were not considered to overlap, IPMS being for adults rather than the mainly tween audience of Pilot.

And then of course, regular competitions in which I won stuff every now and then, my Fritz von Flaxen keyring still dangles from the lamp on my modelling table…

Well, there they are, and at the top of my “unbuilt” stack waits a major conversion project inspired by plans in issue 13/1977, expect further reports.


Ohne Titel

There was you and I
and the fishes.
We learned their names
in five languages.
And all their names were beautiful,
because there was
you and I.


Day of thunder, hour of power

Recently it was Perks time at work and we took off in the Friday afternoon to an undisclosed location that turned out to be an indoor gocart track where we were dressed in sweaty overalls and rather icky helmets and then took off around the track with the goal to complete as many laps as possible in one hour. It's rather sweaty stuff, this race driving, so we worked as tag teams, trading places every ten minutes.

My team ended up last, with the fewest laps. We were last already when I first got to drive and me pushing the pedal to the metal to make up for lost time just won me sojourns off-track, covered in the tyres that made up the crash barrier.

But anyway, here I am, doing the Steve McQueen thing:


Veckans ord: paternostervärk

När man bett radbandet runt hundra gånger med reumatiska fingrar torde man ha en avsevärd paternostervärk.