Thursday, May 31, 2007

Feed me!

PP asked for a way to keep track of new comments even if they are on older posts, so I added links to the feeds for posts and comments in the sidebar. You can either use them in a modern web browser (Firefox, Safari 2.0 etc) or in a standalone reader. There is also a extension for Firefox called Sage that works better than the built-in "live bookmarks".
Please note that when editing posts (adding labels, correct spelling etc) they show up as new on the feed. At the moment there is some trash comments showing up from a test post I made. I guess I should have deleted the comments before I deleted the post. Oh well.

Feed for comments:


Edit: Wizz RSS News Reader seems to be a better, more feature-rich RSS and Atom feeds reader for those who want one integrated with firefox. You find it here.

Edit 2: Added a "Latest 5 comments" to the sidebar. 5 is the maximum, but with the rate of commenting you might miss some. Should we keep it there anyway? The atom feed gives you the latest 25.

New Series: Overheard at Work

Guy looking for a plastic fork for lunch, can't find one. I comment that there are no knives either. He says: "Just walk around and look at people's backs, you'll find knives."


If H.R. Giger had read "The difference engine" and worked at Jackson Guitars, I think something similar to "The Villanizer" could have been the outcome.

The Villanizer, worth $2275 on eBay.

"The difference engine" by Bruce Sterling and William Gibson is a good novel by the way, well worth reading. The story takes place in an alternative 19th century where a technical revolution of huge mechanical and steam powered computers (i.e. Charles Babbage's difference engine) has happened, and of it's social and political consequences. There's a whole genre apparently, called steampunk.

As I see it, it gives a kind of outside view on how technology affects societies, since it describes a scenario the reader hasn't been part of.
How easy is it for most of of us to envision a world without electrical light, cheap local and global transportation, realtime communication all over the world and everything that follows in its footsteps?

Now there's an ongoing change in Africa and Asia enabled by cell phones.

As Buckminister Fuller put it, even relative poor people have access to drugs to cure illnesses that earlier were fatal and fast, comfortable transportation not available even to the richest and most powerful earlier in the history. "Four billion billionaires" he called the humankind, even if one might think he was a very optimistic technocrat (in a good sense). The problems of the world isn't necessary of technological nature...

(Listening to while posting: Sunn O))) - Etna)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

From this week's The Onion:

A quote from an article in the latest issue of the Onion, a satirical newspaper here in the US, for your laughs:

" Don't get me wrong: I'm not one of those religious nut cases who denies that evolution is real. Of course evolution is real, just not during the "Triassic period." "


Another blog for very funny things

This person has managed to find lots of cool stuff to put on her/his blog:
Office fish tank, washing machine birdhouse, wallpaper with bookcase on it, etc. No, I am not making it up, look for yourself.

Snapshot: Informative signs II

Outsourced to Stockholm?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Artsy Black and White Photography

Can be found at this site by Scott Squires. Like this photo from Darwin, California, reminiscing about a life long lost in the American West:

The Sour Pony

Little Miss Treenie

I might start riding this little pony, since she tossed her 7 year old rider, and now she is out of work! So, its time to call me in to whip this little sour pony's butt into shape! :]


Some countries have stamps I really like, and Sweden is one of those. They are often understated, elegant and so simple, and clean. Often with nature motives too, which I love. American stamps are more bold colored, even if they have nice nature stamps too. When I send letters to Sweden I try to put on as many nice stamps as possible, and not use the post office digital stamp machines.

Here are two examples of Swedish stamps, one reminding me of the Robert Frost poem about birches, and another in memory of Dan Andersson, a poet from 100 years ago that wrote about the poor in the northern forests ("a singer of darkness and homelessness") :

Caribbean heat

Latest find, a Caribbean chocolate shop. There I found something irresistible that might appeal to PP and LS. Anyone else?

Yes, it was good. And hot!


Monday, May 28, 2007

Insect fauna in our garden

A friend took some great photos of our lowly life forms here in New Jersey on Saturday. Enjoy this
gold-backed snipe fly

Informative signs

In a little cute and old-fashioned village in New Jersey called Rosemont, you can find this sign along the street.

Now, do they warn people that there might be children that can get run over, or that you should watch out for the children in the area that might behave in unpredictable ways? Or even worse, the children might attack you! The sign is very close to the post office and the general store, and the latter is now a fantastic little cafe. Maybe I'll take EH there when she is visiting soon.

Tintin et moi

...or "Tintin and me", a documentary about Tintin and his creator Hergé that I stumbled upon this weekend. It seemed very fitting concerning the 100 year celebration of the cartoonist's birth last week, so I bought it.

It is based on an interview in 1971, where Hergé who usually was very reserved, spoke openly with a Belgian journalist during four days about the evolution of the characters and how they reflected different sides of his own personality and events in his life.

Some surprising facts, at least for me, were revealed in the film. For example that Hergé, the perfectionist often obsessed with true-to-life realism in his work, made a serious attempt to be recognized as an artist making abstract paintings under his real name Georges Remi.

This is a very good film depicting the background factors that made the cartoon what it is, and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in documentaries and some kind of relationship with the adventures of Tintin.

Anfäkta och anamma,

Snapshot: Yesterday


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bzzt, tweeook ,brillp!

I went to a concert tonight at Fylkingen, showing the result of a collaboration between KTH (Royal University of Technology) and KMH (Royal University of Music).
It sounded quite much as it usually does at Fylkingen, since they specialize in EAM (electroacoustic music).

Some pieces were accompanied by projected pictures or videos, but the most visual performance was two students who operated the sound generation with a Nintendo Wii control in each hand. Nintendo Wii is a game console which has wireless controls with acceleration sensors in them, so the two guys were at times waving their hands vigorously to achieve the desired sounds in the quadrophonic PA.
Fun to watch!

Some titles for other works performed were:
Mitt liv som luft (My life as air)
Random accumulation of stress
Out of disorder
Virtual leaves rustling
Där sitter mormor och morphar
(There sits grandma [
and is morphing / and grandpa])
Ultimate hopkok (Ultimate hodge-podge)

"Wii äro musikanter allt ifrån Skaraborg..."

Arty? You bet! :)

(Listening to while posting: Porcupine Tree - Fear of a blank planet)

Poison ivy / Giftsumak

I have a poison ivy rash, the worst I have ever had. I guess I am now officially allergic to this pest. Well, it had to happen some time. I pulled three small plants out on Friday, with gloves on, but it didn't help. I wasn't careful enough. So now I am red, blistery and itchy with rashes on my face, neck, arms, belly and hips. I don't know how it spread so bad. At least I am not as bad off as this guy! and did you know that Batman battled Poison Ivy too?

Poison ivy is in the same family as mango and cashew nuts (Anacardiaceae), and incredibly common around here. You probably can't go more than a meter or two in the forest without seeing some. This is how it looks, if you don't know this plant, and some hard-core sceince facts:

" It's the world's most common allergy, affecting nearly half of all Americans. Each year, about 50 million people get a reaction from poison ivy, sumac and oak — including many people who aren't allergic to anything else.

The wicked itch and bothersome rash are the result of urushiol oil, a potent toxin. Get as little as one-billionth of a gram on your skin and you might be scratching yourself silly. "

Snapshot: One year ago today

View from Slussen, Stockholm

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pining insects

This morning I woke up with 30 insect bites of unknown origin... First I get one bite, then the next day there are 3, then 30 - how does this work? I can't see anything crawling around biting me. Maybe they are chigger bites, because no mosquitos are around yet.

In Leiden, The Netherlands, they have this sculpture in the middle of their town square - it is a pinned beetle on a pin that is about 10 meters (30 feet tall). Pretty cool! Art that mimic science is great, and this reminds me of course of Dad's insect collecting. I haven't been able to figure out who made it, but it is really unique.

± 300 m/s

Since recycling is popular around here, I thought I'd show my and nephew M's ongoing project. It's an appagrunk, also known as thingymajig, with infinite (well, some imagination required) capabilities.

"Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun"

I am especially fond of the military-grade meters with the scales showing ± 300 meters per second, salvaged from a weapons system. "Turn swords into plowshares", so to speak.
When I demonstrated it's sound capabilities to EH she said "Are you kidding?!". Parents can be so picky, but I added a resistor to keep the volume down and her from possible future insanity... :)

Some might say that this is just a way for me to unload my old garbage that I am unable to throw away on innocent children, and while there is some truth to that I must say to my defense that they seem to enjoy it.
Further development will be reported when it is declassified.

(Listening to while posting: Steve Reich - Different Trains)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Today's News: Tajikistan to ban lavish weddings

From correspondents in Dushanbe, Tajikistan (link), May 25, 2007 04:38am. Article from: Agence France-Presse

TAJIKISTAN'S President Emomali Rakhmon asked parliament overnight to crack down on lavish weddings and funerals, continuing an anti-luxury campaign that has already targeted gold teeth.

Mr Rakhmon submitted a bill limiting weddings to 200 guests, a single day, and the use of no more than four cars, saying that extravagant weddings thrown "by businessmen, bureaucrats and religious figures seem like competitions". Tajik weddings can swell to as many as 1000 guests, though Mr Rakhmon's assessment in April of their cost to the country also raised eyebrows.

The president said that 500,000 cows and sheep had been slaughtered for such events in 2006 alone, and that the country spent $US1 billion ($1.22 billion) a year on them - a questionable figure in a country with a GDP of slightly more than $US2 billion ($2.43 billion). The new bill also forbids feeding guests at funerals and burial ceremonies. It allows free meals at traditional events marking the 40th day after a death, but only a single dish - and no more than 100 guests.

Our wedding seem like a piece of cake compared to these traditions. Only one sheep was slaughtered! But I have to agree, we had more than a single dish, potluck as it was.

And gold teeth are really common in Central Asia, see picture here.

Storage for teenagers

On the subject of design, here's a polish firm who understands the unique storage needs of teenagers. I know I would have needed one. Or perhaps I still do. :)

Pictures from

Happiness for the whole family in three easy steps. :)
Gogo has a nifty and simple journal stand too, keeps track of how far you've read.

(Listening to while posting: Alexander Glazunov - Piano concerto no 1)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Digital Art Practice

Well, I'm at home, and I'm sicky poo! :[
But I have been given a chance to work on my digital art skills, so heres the latest:

Why is Swedish Design so different?

Simple question. Are there any easy answers? Every time I come to Sweden and go into department stores, craft stores, or just the simple supermarket there are lots of cheap and nice looking things that are not made in China. Lots of real konsthantverk (= art crafts). Here, in the US, it is not like that. I am envious!

Look at this:
Svensk Form

and, I didn't realize how nice BLIW soaps where until today! I wish we had one of these in the guest bath.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Millions of beads

I happened to run across this (can you run across things on the internet?) when I was looking for something else: a million beads , including foil-lined ones (see to the right) for those with black helicopter syndrome. EH and AREA would have a blast at this store. I like intricate glass bead, and real bead made out of seeds, wood, and bones. But that is not what I am wearing, just what I like, strange... Today I am wearing really nice ear rings and a necklace made by EH.

There is even Trashy Diva beads made into gentians. Expensive!

Most expensive steak?


Snapshot: Mind your thoughts...

Or the black helicopters might be hovering over your house next.

Make sure you are wearing your tinfoil hat as well. The truth is out there.


In honor of Linne (Linnaeus)

Linnea borealis, in the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae) grows in mossy forests in Europe and North America and was named after Carl von Linne of course. And today it is 300 years since he was born in Rashult, Sweden. Long live all species! Actually, I think 90% of all species that has ever lived are already extinct... that is, if you 'believe' in evolution and that life started maybe 4 billion years ago and not in six days 6000 years ago. Good timing - in five days the new Creation Museum opens here in the US. There are Triceratops with saddles on, etc., and apparently well-made and scientific-looking, even if there is no science in it. Guess what their motto is? "Prepare to Believe". One of the reviews (from the Guardian in UK) noted

"The Creation Museum - motto: "Prepare to Believe!" - will be the first institution in the world whose contents, with the exception of a few turtles swimming in an artificial pond, are entirely fake."

So from hard core Linnean science to fairy-tale dino-Disney-hoopla...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hergé 100 years

Today Hergé, belgian comic artist and creator of the fearless adventurer and journalist Tintin, would be celebrating his 100th birthday.

Any fans of Tintin and Captain Haddock around here by any chance? Care to share your favorite episode?

I still have those audio tapes of Tintins adventures read and acted by Tomas Bolme, Bert-Åke Varg and Åke Lindström.

Bomber och granater,

Great Global Warming billboard

3rd poem of the day

I think I declare this day poetry-trading day :)
I read a poem in the subway on my way home today. SL, who runs the subway puts up poetry on the advertising billboards from time to time.


Jag samlade frimärken
Pappa gav mig ett halvt kilo
Jag samlade inte frimärken mer


I collected stamps
Dad gave me a pound
I didn't collect stamps anymore

- Siv Widerberg

Short, but with substance.

(Listening to while posting: John Adams - Road Movies. Great american contemporary composer.)

2nd poem of the day

For some reason I thought of this poem after reading the one LS posted. Not really similiar but something clicked in my brain. Sorry no translation...

Robert Frost
Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

We are the robots

Craziness from Japan. Where else would this sport emerge?
I love how serious the referee is.

How is the Lego Mindstorms building going, LA?

(Listening to while posting: RWPL - The gentle art of swimming)

Today's Poem: Harry Martinson

Från sidan solbelyst
blir gläntans mark ett guldgolv
och dess gräs en solfäll.
Mitt i denna skogens kammare
står urtidsblocket som ett stadigt skänkskåp
med nyckeln omvriden inifrån
och med mossa i låset.

Free translation by LS:

With sunshine from the side
the forest opening's ground turns to a golden floor
and its grass a sunpelt.
Centered in this chamber of the forest
the ancient boulder stands like a sturdy china cabinet
with the key turned from the inside
and with moss in the lock.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Congratulations, AREA!

AREA became champion (= the best, first place, winner) of her class in the riding competition on Sunday. Thanks to the horse Scribbles too!

Snapshot: One year ago today

"Andra bullar i Hornstull"

No, it's not about the bull runnings in Pamplona. Remember, this is Sweden... Translates into
"Bun party!".

(Listening to while posting: H.U.V.A Network - Rain Geometries)

All you need is spam....

There recently was a comment about spam here on the blog, so I thought you might want to see the latest addition to the SPAM brand from the local store in New Jersey. So here - have some Crazy Tasty for the 70th year anniversary of SPAM. And then of course there is the origin of e-mail spam!

I only like SPAM one way - Loco Moco, the Hawaiian breakfast where you get a bowl with white rice, then fried spam and a fried egg on top, and then brown gravy and hot sauce all over it. And only when I am in Hawaii, and only because it is traditional... Hawaii has the highest SPAM consumption in the whole world, and even McDonalds has it on their menu there. And you can get it sushi-like in small lunch boxes in all local stores, it is called musubi.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fino vino

One birthday present was realized today when PP helped me making one of my famous, but so far never seen, bird houses, the first one. This is how it turned out and it is the chickadee-size (talgoxe-size in Sweden) . The wood is recycled board molding from the old kitchen (remember, O.K.?), and the cork surface covering is recycled too.

Ta-da! The WINER(Y) has opened, a new diner for little chicks!

Look what showed up in my INBOX

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Black beauty

Today have been more gardening and digging, the gooseberry bushes (krusbär!) have got a new root-ratfence and a new spot to grow in. Some strolling in the garden of course and a invention, both toy and useful thingie. A simple zink raingutter with some holes in the bottom to lead some of the rainwater out in the flowerbed. My kids played with this for an hour, filling water from the zink ember below the raingutter into the new watering gutter. When the water was finished, they went for more, carrying little buckets with great effort, especially D. They loved it, no risk that it will be dry in that flowerbed this summer!

Black beauties; as I told LS. before.



Spring at "Barking dog plaza", now new things are appearing fast. A lot of green stuff that wasn't there last week. It almost "apparates". ;)
Harvested some rhubarb yesterday, I'll think a pie will be made next week.

It's not only growing outside though, found a cabbage going crazy in the basement...

"Eat this, mullsorkar!"


Friday, May 18, 2007

Ground level

Today I have worked in the garden, standing on hands and knees under black currant-bushes weeding. And what a weed, I filled a whole skottkarra (wheelbarrow) with kirskal!!!

All along the birds have been singing and hurrying to and fro their nests. It's flowering everywhere, so beautiful this time of the year.

A walk around the garden is always the first thing I do when I get here, must have a quick look! Some things have disappeared since last time, some are found again. Some are thick and green, some are small and tiny. I could probably walk around photographing bulbs and insects and other interesting stuff all day long. But instead, I seed, dig and weed. Two of the currant bushes have got rat-fence for their root systems. Dig a hole, line it with net, put bush down again with lost of new dirt. Hopefully I will get my black currant-berries!

With hope of good harvest!


A journal for everything

When you turn 40, you have free posting privilegies, I have just decided.

I was looking for something for work and came across a list of scientific journals. There really are journals like this:

International journal of control
International journal of crashworthiness
International journal of group tensions
International journal of manpower
International journal of uncertainty, fuzziness, and knowledge-based systems

And then I made up some of my own:

International journal of everything
International journal of happiness
International journal of red tape
International journal of steam power
International journal of silly walks
International journal of Swedishness...

OK, I guess this is just one of those days that I will have to post a lot:

PP showed me this amazing web site: Running the Numbers - An American Self-Portrait
by Chris Jordan.

Check out images that:

Depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.

Depicts 426,000 cell phones, equal to the number of cell phones retired in the US every day.

Depicts 29,569 handguns, equal to the number of gun-related deaths in the US in 2004.

Depicts 1.14 million brown paper supermarket bags, the number used in the US every hour.

Depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds.

It is very artsy, very scary, and makes you think...

I found this cool list, Hundreds of Amazing Facts. Some examples:

  • A hard working adult sweats up to 4 gallons per day. Most of the sweat evaporates before a person realizes it's there, though!
  • After eating, a housefly regurgitates its food and then eats it again!
  • Apples are more efficient than caffeine in keeping people awake in the mornings!
  • Cat urine glows under a black-light!
  • Most lipstick contains fish scales!
  • One ragweed plant can release as many as one billion grains of pollen!
  • The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds!
  • 101 Dalmatians and Peter Pan are the only two Disney cartoon features with both parents that are present and don't die throughout the movie.

Sweet violets

From our garden!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Edge

Syttende Mai

Today is Norway's National Day, and a party day in Norway. I was thinking this morning about good things that have come from Norway, and I couldn't come up with many. There must be more! Finland has vodka, dark bread, Aalto, and Kalevala; Denmark has licorice and beer; Sweden has too much to tell; but what does Norway have? OK, fjords, salmon (yum!), whale meat, a good place for cousin OB to live in Tromso, and I know lots of red-headed Norwegian descendants that are really good people. But when it comes to items in everyday life, the only Norwegian thing I think we have here at home is ..... what? I don't know. Do you have Norwegian things in your house or in your fridge?

Oh, I know. King Oscar's sardines in tomato sauce!!!! And they taste great.


Have a great day,



Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The beauty of railroad stations

There is something special about railroad stations, something that airports and garages definitely don't have. It is a sense of excitement, slow pace and quick pace at the same, people waiting and people eager to go. Old railroad stations are the best, their grandeur and presence is something different than today's concrete boxes.

The feeling of going somewhere through a landscape, like a supersonic millipede, is quite different than bouncing up in the sky and landing a few hours away.

Flying is more like a walking in through one door and then walking out through the same door but far away - no connection between the places. Trains are earthbound, rooted, and makes true connections between places.

A few weeks ago I was in Washington DC (came by train), and this is how Union Station looked like. Imagine these pictures 100 years ago and all would be the same except how people are dressed, I think. There is something timeless about places like this; old railroad stations belong in the same class as old cathedrals and medieval monasteries.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I väntan på ny dag - waiting for the new day

En av dessa morgnar när man vaknar och inte riktigt kan sova igen, märkligt pigg trots att nattens sovande timmar varit för få. En kopp te i arbetsrummet medan solens första strålar dansar sig in i lägenheten.
Det finns ju en del att tänka på, vi går i husköpartankar. Det är mycket att tänka på och på något sätt ska idealbilden av boendet snabbt jämföras med ett hus man sett 1 eller 2 ggr. Det vi tittar på just nu är detta, ett kedjehus som ligger nära Nykvarns centrum och tågresa till Stockholm på en halvtimme. Kråkbärsvägen 6 Vi lägger ett bud, ska se var priset tar vägen.

Hur vet man att det är rätt hus, hur är grannarna, hur stort behöver vi, är det något fel som vi måste upptäcka? Det finns en del att fundera på så det kanske inte är så konstigt att jag vaknade.

Om man som jag har en dröm om ett hus med vyer utanför, för att jag älskar landskapet så mycket, men ändå vill ha samhällets bekvämligheter inom räckhåll så blir det lite svårt att kombinera. Jag borde nog bo i närheten av en skogsbacke eller nåt där det inte är folk runtom hela tiden....Men det huset har jag inte sett ännu, inte för rätt pris i alla fall. I Södertälje ligger husen tätt och priserna är höga. Nykvarn är ca 500 000 SEK billigare i snitt.
Vad jag kommit på är att jag gillar vår lägenhet mer än jag visste! Klockan är 6, morgonen är här, ingen idé att gå och lägga sig igen. God morgon allihopa!

One of these mornings when you wake up and can´t go back to sleep. The morning sun is dancing in the room and a silent day wakes up. A cup of tea and the computer, thinking about if we are going to buy a house. (see link in swedish text). Maybe we will, but there are so many things to think about, how are the neighbours, how big house do we need, is it something wrong with the house?

And I have a dream of a house with a view, because I love the scenery so much, it´s not easy to combine with close communications and facilities. At least I haven´t seen it yet, not at the right price. What I come to understand is that I like our apartment more than I knew before.

Six o´clock, no use to get back to bed now. The morning is here! Good morning everybody!

Have a fika in New York

There is a new Swedish cafe appropriately named FIKA in New York (homepage [stupid unclickable..]) - we need to visit soon to get our share of chokladbollar, smorgastarta, and meatball sandwiches with beet salad! Apparantly it is very popular on Manhattan!

Here is a review in Swedish, and another one from Aftonbladet.

(thanks to KV for the tip for this post)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day in USA

Accomplished today:

  • Bought buffalo meat at a buffalo farm, saw buffalos and giant freezer chests.
  • Prepared soil and planted corn, hopefully the result will be better than the mutant, dwarf-like corns we got two years ago.
  • Had brunch at Rosemont's The Cafe, an old general store converted into a wonderful little cafe/restaurant. LA had Rhubarb French Toast, AREA had omelet with mango and brie, PP had black bean & ham quesadilla, and I had Russian Shephard Omelet, it was all great.
  • AREA cut the whole lawn in the back, she and her brother raked up all grass. Thanks!
  • Went to chilipepper farm and bought plants of many kinds of hot pepper chilis, that now are in the ground. Also in the ground are plants of tomatoes, warty gourds, hubbard squash, two kinds of cucumbers and scallions. We are just waiting for the garden to take off.
  • Swore over the groundhog (aka 'hot doggen') that ate the parsley!
  • Admired columbines (akleja) flowering, and 'rodblara' too.
  • And, now, three buffalo steaks and a buffalo burger will be put on the grill, with a foil packet of organic potatoes mixed with spices and garlic. Freshmade salad of homegrown arugula and lettuce, and a few radishes too.
  • Weekend is over, sun is still shining, and shoulders are red from the sun. All four of us are exhausted.

Friday, May 11, 2007

What a handsome face!

Photo of River Dance "Danny"

Credit to AA for the photo

Friday night, time for a glass of wine!

What is your favorite wine?
Here is one of ours!

Encyclopedia of Life (Livsencyklopedin)

Now, this is great! Scientists have started a project, headed by famous scientist E O Wilson, to catalogue all life (=species) on Earth, and make it all available on-line. All the work we and others do, can and hopefully will be made available to all only a mouse-click away. Today you will have to look things up in obscure books and journals, and websites are scattered over the web with no hub to connect them. This is funded by some foundations and science places for 50 million dollar so far. Just like governments are spending money on global warming research, I think they should spend money on this global issue.

Check it out here, make sure you watch the video, it is great. Extremely well designed!

There is a big discussion going on at the taxonomy listserves about this, all are positive, but many think that scientists should be paid to write up the species pages, to compensate them for time spent on this. Taxonomists have to eat and feed kids too. We will see how it goes. There are 1.8 million species known...

I hope that this can reinvigorate taxonomy even more, especially among insects and small critters, and fungi and such. Amateurs should be able to help out too - like all entomologists in Sweden :)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ever seen a lobster in the eye before?

From a dinner not too long ago:

And one tried to escape:

Electronic waste

What happens to all the out of date electronic devices?


Hej nu är jag inne på bloggen, vi har slängt massor av skräp idag på soptippen.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

What a waste of wood

In our supermarket here in New Jersey they sell firewood, and not just any firewood, but 4-5 pieces of "Real Wood from Real Forests" from the brand "Estonian Forest" (with headquarters only 25 miles from here). Yes, it is from Estonia. Each package costs $8, which I guess is about 100 Swedish crowns or so. And it is not even enough for a real fire, just for dinky fires in rich men's McMansions over here. Think about all the energy it has taken to get the wood here, shipped on container ships across the world just so we can have Estonian wood. It is not like we don't have forests and wood here in America! :)

I am also afraid that Estonia's forests are being plundered by large companies and soon it will just be clearcut. Have you heard anything about this in Sweden? Is the forestry regulated at all in Estonia? Maybe in 10 years there won't be much forest left in Estonia, because they export not only to here but to many, many countries in Europe too. I know there are people that work hard against illegal logging, like the Estonian Green Movement.

Our mom would be rich if she could get 100 SEK for 5 little pieces of wood :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Diet Coke Plus

I read in Newsweek magazine that the Coke company has created a new type of Diet Coke that "supposedly" contains 15% of someone's average amount of vitamins per day. What do you think? Good or bad?

Oh wait, I looked at their website and it said that it is only two kinds of vitamins!

(I think that Coke is trying to rule the world.)

This cat needs a diet Coke.

Snapshot: One year ago today

"Beer butt chicken"

Strange, but good! One of many recipes here, but the basic principle is that you cook it standing up with a opened beer can up its butt... Here shown taken out of the grill ready to be eaten.


(Listening to while posting: Mattias "IA" Eklundh - Ketchup is a vegetable)

Sunday, May 6, 2007

(R)Evolution is needed, desperately

This is especially for AREA, LA, and all children growing up now... it is time to change the world! Sorry kids that Earth is in such bad shape. We will help you!

Beatles' Revolution (Click for video link)

You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We'd all love to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well you know
We'd all love to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Alright Alright

You say you got a real solution
Well you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well you know
We're all doing what we can
But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait
Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Alright Alright Alright

You say you'll change the constitution
Well you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well you know
You better free your mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don't you know know it's gonna be alright
Alright Alright

Snapshot: One year ago today


Harvested any crops yet, LS? These are yours from last year. Yum.

(Listening to while posting: The humming dishwasher...)


A tribute to LS...

Lingonben by Povel Ramel

Bluff och Spark och Tork och Kvark
voro sex små dvärgar.
En var ful och en var glad
och en var dum i huvet.

Hej, sa Kvark till lille Tork.
Känner du igelkotten Pilt?
Han som har varit i Paris?
Ja, det gjorde Ivar.

Hör du hans lilla runda tass
när som han trippar på sitt pass:
Tripp och trapp och trypa.
Se hans lilla piga!

Tomtefar i skogens brus
sitter som ett päron.
Han har inget eget hus
allt i sin stora näsa.

Söt och blöt är sagans fé.
Trollen är bjudna hit på té.
Det lilla trollet! Pass för de!
Nu ska mormor bada.

Väva och spinna natten lång,
prinsen är här i fjorton språng!
Hopp och hipp och huppla,
hästen heter Sverker!

Stora slottet Drummeldimp
ligger bortom fjärran.
Dit får ingen komma in,
som ej kan baka struvor.

Gyllenkrull och Sockertipp,
kom, ska vi dansa häxan våt!
Vill du mig här, så har du nåt.
Sov du lilla tryne.

Kungen är full av stock och sten,
skogen är full av lingonben.
Per är full av tomtar.
Hur ska lillan orka?

Gods of Vikings- where are they now?

Do you ever wonder what the ancient Gods of the vikings do today? I know, because I have seen them in work many times. They still affect their surrondings, they shuffle, they heave, they lift, they push, and sometimes I´ve seen them clutter together like having a "ting", a viking meeting.

They now go under the name of AGV, and the one to look out for extra is Loke, of course. He is unpredictable, and been seen running people down. AGV stands for something like Automatic Ground Vehicle, they all run around in the great factory buildings of AstraZeneca in Södertälje transporting goods. And they are automatic or...powered by Gods. Idun, Brage, Frej, Balder, Tyr, Freja, even Oden and Tor, the two most powerful gods have ended up there!

What is your future destiny?

Guess what I just saw in our garden?!

A Baltimore oriole! (it's a bird...)
I think it is related to the Swedish sommargylling. At least it whistles very similar. Cool! And two starlings (starar) have built their nest right under the deck, right outside the basement door. The will not be happy when PP starts running his machines in the basement...

(d)evolutionary republicans

The politics here in America are not so interesting for those of you in Europe, but I couldn't help myself in this case...
In a TV debate a few days ago, the republican runners for president of America were asked if 'they don't believe in evolution'. THREE hands shot up, so three of the ten politicians that are running for the republican slot, do not think that evolution is a good theory. So... if these three people don't believe in evolution, they don't believe in influenza vaccines, drug resistance among bacteria, and cancer treatments, since these are based on evolutionary principles. One of them is one of the front runners too... sigh. This just drives me crazy! (link to more info here on these politicians and the evolution question).

There is a presidential election in Nov 2008 and for the first time for many, many years there is no clear candidate either for the republicans or democrats. The politics here are of course a mess, and Bush's approval rate is only 28%, lower than Nixon's was. More than 62% of Americans want to get out of Iraq, but Bush is stubborn like a rusty nail in dry wood. He has completely destroyed the reputation of US abroad, and now these people makes US look even more like a fool by not believing in a basic scientific theory. Anyone not believing in gravity? The sun revolves around the Earth, anyone? About 20% of Americans think the Earth is only 6000 years old or so, and take the Bible literally. And 50% of Americans overall say they don't believe in evolution.

I think these abysmally depressing facts are based on two things - 1) a bad education system, especially in many poorer areas, and 2) a wish to simplify the world and believe in authority (here the fundamentalist Christian churches come in of course).

And to cheer you up, after reading this, here is one of my favorite products of evolution, the prairie gentian or lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorus).


No, it's not the latest cucumber-based invention in the fast food industry, but a phenomenon pointing out how vision and hearing interact to interpret speech. I'd say it also demonstrates how dominant vision is over our other senses.

Take a look at this video, repeat with your eyes closed.

What is he really saying?

(Listening to while posting: Iannis Xenakis - Metastasis)

Friday, May 4, 2007


Hi all,
I have changed the width of the blog so we have more space for figures and text, and so you don't need to scroll down so far to read old posts. I couldn't change the text font for AREAs post on German music - the letters are tiny, but still readable. If you use other colors and sizes in your blog posts than the default, check it out first in the preview. I also can't figure out how to make the post titles in bold... Oh, well, later maybe.

Grönt skönt!

Iförrgår reste jag med tåg till Eskilstuna. Från tågfönstret fick jag tid att reflektera över sommarens start.
Skogen slår ut nu, och allt blir grönt skönt. Nu står tallar och granar mörka i det ljusa lövskogsgröna, på fälten ligger en svag nyans av grönt dis över den bruna torra jorden. Längs med åkrarnas kanter ligger slånsnåren vitblommande som grundstötta moln. Tiden nu när allt slår ut och hela naturen vaknar till liv är makalös, som en rivstart in i den fruktsamma sommaren när allt ska ske innan höst och vintervila kommer åter. Till och med solen får en extra nyans, kanske är det allt det gröna nya som gör att solskenet känns annorlunda. Det är ljust från halv fyra på morgonen till halv tio på kvällen, just nu är klockan kvart över fyra på morgonen, jag var nyss ute på balkongen och lyssnade på trastsången i skogen utanför.

Kanske borde man ta på sig kläderna och gå ut, när man inte kan sova? Solen börjar stiga över skogen och mittemot lyser en röd måne. Även om jag lägger mig igen är fåglarna så högljudda att det blir svårt att somna om.

Läste bloggen om Valborg och tänkte på sångtexten:

"Vintern rasat ut bland våra fjällar, drivans blommor smälta ner och dö.
Himlen ler i vårens ljusa kvällar, solen kysser liv i skog och sjö.
Snart är sommarn här i purpurvågor, guldbelagda azurskiftande
ligga ängarne i dagens lågor och i lunden dansa källorne.

Ja, jag kommer, hälsen glada vindar, ut till landet, ut till fåglarne,
att jag älskar dem, till björk och lindar, sjö och berg jag vill dem återse.
Se dem än som i min barndomsstunder, följa bäckens dans till klarnad sjö,
trastens sång i furuskogens lunder, vattenfågelns lek kring fjärd och ö."

Sången heter Längtan till landet och han som skrev den är Hans Sätherberg.

Mutants (Mutanter)

A lot of the plants that you find on gardens are mutants, like this daffodil that is in our flower bed (picture). In fact, I think garden people are obsessed with mutations... white streaks on green leaves, filled flowers that can't set seed, and black tulips...

I find it fascinating that we humans are so fascinated with the abnormal, as well as the perfect. The things that just have a little flaw seems less attractive than the two opposites, either a creation of perfection or something outstandingly wrong or different. In the islamic culture it is different - in all 'perfect' mosaics and rugs there is a little mistake, just to show that perfection is what God does, not humans. I think the most perfect thing imaginable are things in nature though, like a perfectly blue sky, a spring flower, or a luna moth.

(New Mexico sky)

Abnormal things of beauty are not unusual in nature either, like old bonsai-like twisted pines, a strange rock, or a hippopotamus. I think hippos definitely are a thing of strangeness, not perfection, even if they function perfectly as animals. In fact, most things that are alive need to be close to perfection to survive through millions of years. The beauty is just in the eyes of humanity, anyway, right? Fruitsflies (bananflugor) don't care about beauty, they care about sex and food. Maybe only we humans can afford to think about beauty, all the rest of life is busy just trying to procreate and survive?

What do you think, do dolphins, butterflies, and cicadas have a sense of beauty or a sense of what is abnormal? What do you like that is perfect or abnormal?
[OK, LA, I know, A.B. Normal from the movie Young Frankenstein did not have a perfect brain :) ]