Friday, April 29, 2011

Bits and pieces of the internet: Rolling edition

These cars have seen better days (if you think about what the world struggles with now), but still look gorgeous. Ralph Lauren's antique cars are on display in France: "L'Art de L'Automobile. Chefs-D'Œuvre de la Collection Ralph Lauren". (core77) [photo from Ralph Lauren]

After drooling over those shiny cars, you can marvel at this feat - a bike made only of wood. (core77)

And in 1910, this is how a tourist bus in Detroit looked like. (shorpy)

Lava and smoke

A little corner exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago tried to showcase the lava eruptions in Hawaii using darkness, glow lights and LED lights. Did they succeed? What do you think?

When I was walking these exhibits I was thinking that most of these dioramas are missing the impressions of so many of our senses - there need to be scents, sounds, winds, and the feeling of touch to really get the real experience.

Just looking doesn't really do it. But being in Hawaii and smelling the sulfur, stepping on crunchy lava cinder sand and feeling the warm wind is a different thing. Couldn't exhibits try to invoke some of this too? I am not sure how to do the noise and smell or the warm wind, but I bet in the future there will be movie theaters with smell makers, fans, and boxes you can put your hands into to feel any texture or surface (ick, imagine that, anything slimy or gory...).  Virtual but real.  Still, that wouldn't be the real thing.  But I have always thought that to teach history, an experience such as walking down the street in 1850s New York would tell you a lot more about history than any book. 

I love the animal dioramas with stuffed beasts and painted backgrounds with a few silk flowers at museums, but it only gives you maybe 10% of the experience of being outside in nature. It is great that parents take their kids to museums, but they should even more just take them outside to many different kinds of places (and not be afraid of rain, ticks, dirt, germs, and toxic plants). How can you describe something to a kid that has never had that experience? You can't describe sulfur smell, it is unknown to you until you have actually smelled the rotten egg smell from a stinking boiling pot in Yellowstone. So, let's get out more. And put a sulfur smelling station next to the lava exhibit.


diamonds, originally uploaded by Vilseskogen.
I never knew it was so hard to photograph diamonds. This brooch is from the Field Museum in Chicago, and it was a lot more sparkling in real life.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More from the Science-Gossip, 1886 - on Danish Mountains

 The Danes never had it easy, height-wise.

The season of....

...imaginary ticks crawling on your skin has started in New Jersey.  Only problem is, some are not imaginary.  Our garden are full of ticks, brought there by deers and then caught in cat fur and pant legs and, for some reason, my long dark hair. So you go out in the garden, stuff your pants into socks (well, not always...), and then you go inside and an hour or two later you feel something crawling on your neck or arm, and it might be a tick.  The problem is that it isn't always one, often it is an imaginary feeling, a mirage from your brain.  Few ticks actually get stuck on us, but on the cats they love the area around their neck and we have probably pulled of 50 ticks from them in the last few weeks. We put them in a plastic bottle with water and soap to kill them.  The ones we found on ourselves we usually just put between two pieces of tape and throw in the garbage.  Did I mention how hard it is to kill ticks?  I honestly can't see any good ecological feature of ticks.  Do they have any positive use at all in an ecosystem?  I think they are just plain bad parasites, and annoying such as well.  I think it is time to buy Best Yet for the cats.

Birds on Google

Today Google celebrates the 226-year birthday of John James Audubon, a famous painter of birds and other wildlife and wild plants in the USA.  I love the random 226 - not just the expected 100, 200, 250...   Here is today's Google logo if you missed it. It is kind of hard to see the letters for all the birds.

I really like that Google spreads knowledge around the world in ways like this. My favorite Audubon painting is the one of mockingbirds defending their nest in a yellow jessamine plant against a rattlesnake.  (Click on link to see image). I love that particular plant (Gelsemium sempervirens), and mockingbirds are fascinating even if sometimes annoying, and I am scared and fascinated by rattlesnakes.  The Gelsemium plant is very, very toxic as well.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hand-grown avocados

A full-page ad in the most recent Saveur food magazine advertises the 'hand-grown' avocados of a company in California.  Now, last I checked, plants grow by themselves, and they don't add cell walls and have cell divisions because a machine or human make those... the plant is growing independently.  The company also states that all trees were 'hand-planted'.  Now, does that mean that each hole was hand-dug?  Or that each tree was lowered by hand into the hole?  Or that each tree got a nice hug after being put in the soil?  Handmade is one thing, that is something made by hand.  But hand-grown?  What is that really? Just a new buzzword to fool us into buying their fruits because they sound more natural, local, and true to nature?  You know, the fruits could also be hand-sprayed with pesticides.  Who knows. The only thing I know is that for a company to afford a full-page ad in Saveur it can't be a little family farm where each fruit tree gets individual attention, by hand or otherwise.

Those were my own hand-thought thoughts of the day.  Now I am going to go and sleep by hand. No machines involved at all.  And soon my hands will be all hands-off this computer and I will be reading partly hands-free in bed. 

Haha - just found this.  Handgrown in California is an ad campaign from the California Avocado Association. And in 2009, over 440 000 pounds (that is about 200 000 kg) pesticides were used on California-grown avocados (see link here).

Mathematical music

What happens when you try to play pi?  This, and it is beautiful!

Chicago memory, part 3 - tapas luxury

Grasp the luxurious opportunities when you can take them, time-wise and financially. It might be one piece of chocolate, a sunny spot in the park, a lonely afternoon in the sofa with a book, digging a hole for a new plant, or splurging on a memorable fancy meal, even if alone in a foreign town. The last thing is what I did the last night in Chicago, while it stormed, thundered and rained near-horizontally outside.  The restaurant is called Mercat a la Planxa, and is a Catalonian tapas restaurant in the old historic Blackstone Hotel on S Michigan Avenue. (Sidenote to the restaurant here - please remove your annoying intro page with music on your home page.)

Fantastic tapas place in Chicago

I ordered the Chef's selection, where they bring you tapas and you don't really know what you will get. It is like a tasting menu, and perfect for one person because they make sure you get many small one-person sized dishes. The waiter, who was very professional and personal at the same time, said "you are up for a treat". Expensive and fantastic! It was seriously worth the money. 

I had a glass of a wine from a grape I have never tried before - Albariño, a white grape similar to Chardonnay and it was fantastic. The wine was called Gran Vinum Nessa, from the Rias Baixas region.  Incredibly great and highly recommended.

Fantastic tapas place in Chicago: jamon ham, ashcrusted goat cheese and tortilla omelet with saffron sauce

It started with a plate with ash-rinded goat cheese, jamon ham, bread, and a small slice of potato tortilla omelet with saffron sauce.  The goat cheese was incredible.  I think it was called Monteverde, but I am not sure. With it was served three condiments, a coarse mustard, chilies pickled in oil, and small gherkin-pickles, all great.  The chilies weren't too hot, but perfect.

The 'house bread' showed up next, a thick foccacia-like slice with fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic spread on top.  The garlic made the difference and it was wonderfully sweet-tart. I want to make this at home!

Fantastic tapas place in Chicago: flatbread with portobello

The flatbread with porcini mushrooms and Catalan sausage was one of my favorites (photo above). The butternut squash raviolis served on top of lamb ragu with beech mushrooms (looked like small chanterelles) and bacon was nearly equally as good, which means it was all among the best food I have ever eaten.  The microherb greens they used made it extra special, such as small tiny parsley leaves and sage leaves. 

Shrimp are called gambas in Spain and I got two different kinds.  Some smaller, peeled ones cooked in chili oil, garlic and parsley that melted in your mouth, mmmm.  And later, one large, unpeeled grilled one, with white dipping sauce.
Fantastic tapas place in Chicago: spinach with pinenuts, apple, currants and sherry

The hot dishes ended with two new additions to the table - baby spinach cooked with pine nuts, sherry, apple pieces and currants.  Another sweet-tart mix that was delicious. Melt in your mouth. Give me more. Can't have enough... The gambas and lamb chop was served with red romesco sauce from red peppers and a chili-mayonnaise sauce. One of the best things was that all of the warm dishes were served HOT.  I am tired of cold dishes at restaurants, like the one I had had the night before at the Zapatista Mexican restaurant.

Fantastic tapas place in Chicago
The lamb chop was grilled but with some spice mix rubbed on it.  It was incredible.  The best lamb chop I have ever eaten, so tender and so perfect.  The whole meal was one long amazing experience, and despite dining alone I didn't feel alone.  People around me, a gorgeous room, a little book to take notes in, soft music, and outside that stormy night. Other lonely diners sat there texting and checking their blackberries and iphones but not me...  I have a feeling that people that need to text (and get interrupted by getting text messages) are feeling lonelier than the ones that can appreciate something like this even if I rather would have good friends with me.  I took it all in and decided to share it with you this way instead.

So if you are visiting Chicago, and have the time and money, go and splurge at Mercat a la Planxa. It was probably one of the ten best meals of my life (with the top ten including Albert's Kök in Sweden, Amada in Philadelphia, T J Buckley's in Brattleboro, Vermont, and the bison burger at Miss Bellows Falls Diner also in Vermont...).

OK, time to make some tapas at home soon...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!!!

And happy birthday to LA too, of course.  News of the day:  LA's little ant colony survived the winter, despite being housed just in a little plastic box without protection.  We were sure they were dead, but they were just sleeping and now 4-5 months later they are awake again.  Do ants have anti-freeze in their veins?  It is time to build them a real home. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jazzy restaurant

This Asian sushi restaurant, Thelonious Monkfish, actually exist, in Cambridge, MA, USA.  I love the logo image. Do you think Thelonious Monk would have been happy or appalled?

Chicago memory, part 3 - fake copper

If this had been real copper it would have been gone by now, but it is painted wood on the outside of the historically landmarked Auditorium building in Chicago. It is located on S Michigan Avenue, a street that goes from the fanciest addresses (think 5th Ave in NY) and down south to areas that have been very run down for many, many years (kind of like 5th Avenue in New York going up into Harlem, but here it is southwards). Along S Michigan Avenue are many old classic hotels and buildings, and it is also next to the large city park with the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum, veterans from the last-last century (that is the 19th century, not 20th..).
smallest No Trespassing sign I have ever seen
On this building, which now seems boarded up, was the tiniest and nicest No trespassing sign I have ever seen - about 4 x 8 cm and in brass.

Chicago memory, part 2 - stacks, tracks and tanks...

The only day during my Chicago trip with acceptable weather was the day I had free from work, so I took the train on the old Union Pacific (I believe, it said UP), trainline with the METRA commuter train north to the suburbs to visit the Chicago Botanic Garden.  More about the garden later, but the trainride was an experience in itself.

inside double-decker METRA traintime to get onboard, METRA train

The double-decker traincars were something else.  You walk in at the end of the car, and then climb up or down - up to the second floor which are just two narrow strips of floor with a line of seats along each window wall, and open to the level below in the center.  Below there were two rows of seats as on a normal train car.  It was all tiny and low above, but the openness to the level below made you feel not so claustrophobic.  The conductor didn't even bother walking upstairs, he just stretched out his hand from below up to us at our ankle-level to get our tickets.  They sure do things different in Chicago.  Maybe their bridges are too low for a regular double-decker commuter train car?

Towers, stacks and tracks along North Line out of Chicago Towers, stack and tracks along North Line out of Chicago Towers, stacks and tracks along North Line out of Chicago Towers, stack and tracks along North Line out of Chicago Towers, stack and tracks along North Line out of Chicago Towers, stacks and tracks along North Line out of Chicago Towers, stacks and tracks along North Line out of Chicago Towers, stacks and tracks along North Line out of Chicago Towers, stacks and tracks along North Line out of Chicago Towers, stacks and tracks along North Line out of Chicago

So, I sat on the top floor, looked out through greenish tinted and dirty train windows, and saw the city go by, through old industry areas, nice little neighborhoods, and they all looked so much cleaner than in the East, even if poor.  I started taking photos of watertanks and smokestacks, one after another.  Old smokestacks used as advertising space, or cell phone towers high or low, and so on.  Old water tanks, which I think are so American because I never see them in any other cities of the world, of various shapes and placement, and sometimes also with advertisement on them.  One had fallen down.

Towers, stacks and tracks along North Line out of ChicagoTowers, stacks and tracks along North Line out of Chicago Towers, stacks and tracks along North Line out of Chicago

We passed the Morton Salt factory, where they make (made?) the table salt that 'when it rains it pours', so you don't have to deal with clumps in your salt.  I have bought Morton salt many times and it still has the same old nice design on its containers in the supermarket.

Towers, stack and tracks along North Line out of Chicago Towers, stack and tracks along North Line out of Chicago lollypop Chicago train

And there were train tracks of course, and old and new train things next to them.  Old flat cars and smaller things.  Two diesel engines, one yellow and another red, but very blurry on the photos so not included here.  It was an interesting experience, a real trip through history from a higher point than usual.

Click on the little thumbnails to see the photos larger if you like - there are so many that I added them as thumbnails this time. I apologize for the grittiness of the photos but they were taken through a train window and most at rather high speed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Deep night

Night View, originally uploaded by Olgasoo.
Just wanted to share some fantastic art pa Olgasoo - check out her other paintings on her Flickr account (click on the photo and you will get there). Gorgeous, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chicago memory, part 1 - Norwegian adventures

In the taxi van at the airport and on my way to downtown Chicago, a Norwegian couple enter the van, with the man furiously angry at his wife because she had no small dollar bills available as a tip to the guy carrying their luggage.  I turned around, said, in Swedish - "you can pay later, he is our driver ", and the man cheered up and the wife smiled. Then the man said - "I know, I get so angry and frustrated when I shouldn't" - in Norwegian of course.

They had just landed after a long trip from Stockholm and the next day a rental car would be dropped off at their hotel for their 14-day trip driving old Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles.  Route 66 is the old classic route across America that many people drove in the 1950s... it is lined with classic but rundown hotels, scenery, and has become popular in recent years as something to do on vacation, apparently especially in the Nordic countries, said the Norwegian, who also said the REAL way to do it was on a Harley-Davidson, but he was too old for that. Plus he had no license for a motorcycle, he told me regretfully.

But first, the retired man informed me, "there will be spare ribs for dinner! American ribs, yeah!". He continued "all food is good in America", and "we are going to drive and drink Jack Daniels".  When I asked how far they had to drive he said -" I don't know, but I think 14 days is enough". I hope they are having fun and I hope they save the Jack Daniels for the evenings. They were a funny couple, the kind that made you laugh all the time, and I wonder what the other passengers were thinking hearing the Swedish and Norwegian languages mixing in the van. God tur, Norwegians!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Maybe only in America....

... and maybe only in Chicago, Illinois, the home of the old, large slaughterhouses, can there be a Baconfest... and there was, last weekend.  A few weeks ago the organizers noted:

"Baconfest 2011 is totally sold out and tickets cannot be had for love or money.

Their manifesto is worth reading too:

"We live in one moment in a great continuum – a single fatty cross section of our lives – a straight line from birth to death, punctuated by cured meat."

I love people that do what they believe in while making many people around them happy, not poor, and not stupid.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

About Focus...

I have been reading a lot about the challenges and opportunities with modern technology and how it affects our education, brain, politics, lives, and everything else.  I think some of the world's upcoming problems are not just climate change, war, poverty, lack of food, and crazy politics, but also just lack of focus due to massive distraction, especially in the younger generations (under 50 or so). Here are some thoughts that I thought were true and interesting:
Filtering, not remembering, is the most important skill for those who use the Internet. 
I see today's Internet as having three primary, broad consequences: 1) information is no longer stored and retrieved by people, but is managed externally, by the Internet, 2) it is increasingly challenging and important for people to maintain their focus in a world where distractions are available anywhere, and 3) the Internet enables us to talk to and hear from people around the world effortlessly.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Somewhat to majorly non-sensical, logical, or funny Swedish words

... soppatorsk...  (literally meaning 'soup-cod', cod like the fish cod).  The meaning is: when you run out of gasoline while driving a car or boat.

...slå en sjua...  (literally meaning 'dial a seven').  This is the same for a man as in 'go and pee'.  I have never heard a woman say it.

...skitstövel....  (literally meaning a 'boot filled with shit') . Used about a person who is doing something really mean.

And then there are words that make sense but are kind of funny in their fantastic logical construction:

...slickepott... (literally meaning 'lick-the-pot'). Used for a silicon or rubber spatula used in the kitchen to scrape out the last of the dough from a bowl. 

...svartsjuk...  (literally meaning 'black-sick').  This means envy or envious.  Can't you see a person becoming black in his or her face of envy?

....grönsaker.... (literally meaning 'green things'.  This is of course vegetables, what else could it have been?


Stamp of the Day: Gravlax

In honor of the poor trout that died from mosquitoes sucking their brain juices (see post below), here is a Swedish stamp of the making of the Swedish salmon dish 'gravlax' or 'gravad lax'.  That means 'buried salmon', and lax and loks are of course the same word.  You take two salmon fillets, with the skin on, mix a rather large amount of salt, sugar, and spices together (including dill), stuff the spice mix between the fillets and put it all in a plastic bag.  Into the fridge, turned a few times over the next few days, then take out, rinse, and cut fish into thin slices and eat!  Mmmmm....  I suggest you follow a real recipe though so you get the right amount of salt, sugar and fish, to get it really cured.  We always had this for Christmas and it was a luxury dish when I grew up, and one of my favorites.  It was served with grandma's homemade mustard-dill-sauce.  It is really easy to make this so try it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Doodling while listening is OK, say scientists

"People may doodle as a strategy to help themselves concentrate," said study co-author Jackie Andrade, a University of Plymouth psychologist. "We might not be aware that we’re doing it, but it could be a trick that people develop because it helps them from wandering off into a daydream." Read more here.

doodle doodle doo
(Photo and art by red5standingby on Flickr.)

I used to doodle with a pen on a paper when talking on the phone, and I still doodle, during boring meetings mostly. I have been in many boring meetings.  Some people in meetings have a knack for repeating things over and over, saying the obvious, and not listening to what was said just a few minutes before.  They would probably have been better off if they had doodled more. What I doodle?  Oh, grasses, sedges in water, geometric figures, inca temples, coral like shapes, tiny flowers, spirals and diamonds, alpine mountains.... hmmm, sounds like everything is very scientific.  I don't doodle steam engines, horses, faces, or sushi, but I am sure others do.. I wonder how the brain decides what it want to draw, how the things come out through the pen.

A wonderful time capsule find from 140 years ago

I was looking around today for some information on how weeds came to the US, and did some little googling and then I got stuck oogling the scanned copies of Hardwicke's Science-Gossip from the late 1800s (late 1872-1885 to be exact) on Google Books. Here you can find anything scientific, curious, and worth reporting, from the small to the large. Here is an excerpt on how some weeds showed up in the US, including butter-and-eggs/yellow toadflax (Linaria, called 'gulsporre' in Swedish). The culprit might have been a Mr. Ranstead in Pennsylvania.

Priests stuffing their pillows with thistles?  What do they think they are, martyrs?

And more:
(real old-fashioned plagiarism by Mr Pratt, aha!)

(And mining insects on ground ivy, or a fungus, or what?  Imagine all the amateur scientists exploring the world around them.  We need more like this today, there is so much unknown out there. 
(Mosquitos are brain-sucking monsters, in my favorite place of Gunnison, Colorado, USA, no less.)

"It will be an incalculable boon to every person who can read and think."  A bit hyperbolic, are we?  The ads are hilarious and wonderful and a true snapshot of the times. 

I apologize for the bad quality of the text images, but that is what I could get from the Google scans. You can explore more here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Underwater yarn art

At the Smithsonian right now there is an exhibit of The Hyperbolic Crocheted Coral Reef, a community-made giant yarn art piece. Here are some more photos of it. Pretty amazing, don't you think?

Crochet Coral Reef
(Photo by wonderbrooks on Flickr)

(Photo by woodcut55 on Flickr)

More photos here.
(Thanks to BV for sending me a note about this)

Friday, April 8, 2011

The left and right sides of the brain

Recent research results:

Liberals have more gray matter in a part of the brain associated with understanding complexity, while the conservative brain is bigger in the section related to processing fear, said the study on Thursday in Current Biology. 
(link to more info)

How to hear your own voice

Who creates the new leaders and visionaries for our world?

Well, not today's schools, media, and institutions, argues William Deresiewicz in a great article named Solitude and Leadership recently published in the UTNE reader.  I read it this morning, in the sofa with a cup of tea next to me, and there are so many things in it I agree with and would like to quote it.  But I am afraid this post would be too long then, so it is better you just click on the link.

Take the time to read this article. Don't get distracted, just read it, it is important. I promise.

The center pieces of his thoughts are that:

  • We have no longer time for peace and quiet in our minds due to overabundance of distractions from TV, internet, cell phones, and text and so on.
  • We are not training kids and ourselves to think and envision, only to achieve and become people that can follow rules but not be great leaders.
  • We need more nonconformists, more concentration, and more introspection in ourselves to deal with the current problems in the world. 
The article is about America, but I think Europe and other regions have similar issues. We live in a society were everybody has a lack of time (unless you are retired I guess), but maybe we have more a lack of concentration and focus than a lack of time.  The world around us chop up our time into useless little pieces where we no longer have the opportunity to think about a thing long enough to make a solid decision or thought.  Nobody but us can fight this back, individually.  Turn off the phone, e-mail, TV, the cacaphony of social and global noise, and do one thing, such as read a book, cook a meal, go for a walk, plant a seed, or write a paragraph.  I have been thinking about only this for 10 min now, and it feels good to let the mind focus...

sunset over Palo Verde marshlands

Some of the best quotes (read the article for more, and then become a nonconformist so you can help change the world):

"America now has the greatest technocrats the world has ever seen. What we son't have are people who can think for themselves; people who can formulate a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at things; people with vision."

"We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going. Who can answer questions, but don’t know how to ask them. Who can fulfill goals, but don’t know how to set them. Who think about how to get things done, but not whether they’re worth doing in the first place. "

"Thinking isn’t about learning other people’s ideas, or memorizing a body of information. It requires concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea of your own.  You simply cannot do that in bursts of 20 seconds at a time, constantly interrupted by Facebook messages or Twitter tweets, or fiddling with your iPod, or watching something on YouTube. "

“Your own reality—for yourself, not for others.” Thinking for yourself means finding yourself, finding your own reality. Here’s the other problem with Facebook and Twitter and the New York Times. When you expose yourself to those things, especially in the constant way that people do now—older people as well as younger people—you are continuously bombarding yourself with a stream of other people’s thoughts. You are marinating yourself in the conventional wisdom. In other people’s reality: for others, not for yourself. You are creating a cacophony in which it is impossible to hear your own voice, whether it’s yourself you’re thinking about or anything else. 

Read the whole article by William Deresiewicz here
after the sun went down

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stamp of the Day: Espresso

In honor of our new machine in the kitchen! Swedish stamps of Italian espressos.  Yummy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stamp of the Day: Gräslök (chives)

The Swedish name for chives if you translate it literally means 'grass onion' and that is what the leaves look like.  Bunches of tiny linear leaves from tufted plants. Of course the plants have no nodes, a tell-tale oniony smell, and very ungrasslike purple flower heads, but otherwise, just an onion grass.  Chives grow wild in Sweden, and here in New Jersey you can grow them as a deer-proof garden plant.  Well, I do, but nobody else has figured this out yet.  Chives really should be more popular here, it is a great plant both for its taste and looks. (Latin name - Allium schoenoprasum)

In Memoriam: my uncle Olle

It is a little over a month since my beloved uncle, Olle, died.  He was a contributor to this family blog, he and I had discussions on everything from Swedish politics to scientific policy and history, and we all miss him terribly. What a wonderful person he was. In his memory, I am here posting one of his gorgeous photos, and you can see more of them on his photo gallery here. Thanks for everything, Olle.

New Swedish money

Sweden is changing its kronor (kr) bills in a few years and no, it won't be to euros, but to newly designed bills. To find out what the Swedes wanted, the National Bank of Sweden arranged a way for the public to vote on their favorite Swedes. Today they announced the winners of who will be on the new bills.  No more kings on our bills! These are the winners (final designs to be developed soon):

20 kr: författarinnan Astrid Lindgren och naturmotiv från Småland. (The author Astrid Lindgren [Emil, Ronia, Pippi Longstocking, etc.] with nature scenes from Småland where she was from and wrote about. She got the most votes from the public, we love her!)

50 kr: sångaren Evert Taube och naturmotiv från Bohuslän (The singer, poet, author and songwriter Evert Taube and nature from the west coast province of Bohuslän, a place depicted in many of this songs.)

100 kr: skådespelerskan Greta Garbo och naturmotiv från Stockholm. (The moviestar Greta Garbo and scenes from Stockholm.)

200 kr: regissören Ingmar Bergman och naturmotiv från Gotland. (The movie director Ingmar Bergman and nature from Gotland, the big island in the Baltic Sea where he lived the last part of his life.)

500 kr: sångerskan Birgit Nilsson och naturmotiv från Skåne. (The opera singer Birgit Nilsson and nature scenes from Skåne, the southernmost province.)

1 000 kr: diplomaten Dag Hammarskjöld och naturmotiv från Lappland. (The WWII diplomat and UN secretary general Dag Hammarskjöld and scenes from Lapland, the northernmost province.)

I think this is amazing and wonderful.  First, there are 3 women and 3 men, none are royalty or nobelmen (well, Hammarskjöld was by ancestry...), all are part of the current Swedish heritage and culture, and they will include nature elements from all parts of Sweden, showing the strong connection Swedes have with nature, landscape and wild places. And, how is this for wonderful logic - Astrid Lindgren will be on the smallest bill because that one is the one kids will see the most!  I love it.

The National Bank said that they 'didn't include any currently living people because nobody should be able to pay with themselves'. Ha! True, and funny.  The coins will change too, except for the 10 kr coin. If you can read Swedish, the whole report from the National Bank is here, 5 pages, in easy to read Swedish with clear nice formatting, just like government reports should be but rarely are, except in Sweden.

I wish more governments in the world did more reasonable and democratic things like this.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bend that hip!

Look at the railroad men in this photo, and several of them are keeping the weight on one leg only, why? Tired? They are posing like girls! :)

I love the brackets that hold up the big light in front. I have this feeling that European steam locomotives had much smaller lights than American ones, but I might be wrong...