The Quantum Angler
He never gets Bohred of fishing.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Swedish man works shortest ever day

A Swedish man entered the record books yesterday for the smallest amount of work ever done in a working day. Anders Söderberg received a certificate from the Guinness World Records committee in a ceremony in Dublin.

After dropping his kids off at school, and stopping to pick up some coffee and a cinnemon bun, Anders arrived at work around 10.00. He then showed off his new phone to a co-worker and took a 30 minute fika, before receiving a personal phone call about something he was selling on eBay. After that it was nearly lunch time, which lasted over an hour (including a post-lunch fika). After one hour's work, interspersed with some heavy YouTube, he took a third fika before leaving at 2.00 to spend some of his considerable parental leave playing golf.

In an interview for Time Waster magazine, Anders (who was supposed to be at work during the interview) said he was proud to be part of a long Swedish tradition of working short hours. "The trick is to have shitloads of kids," he told the reporter, who didn't hear him the first time because he was playing with his phone.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

En uppfångning

English translation:

Så, jag tänkte skriva någonting på svenska på bloggen. Men vad kan jag skriva? Faktist har jag inte skrivit mycket sedan jag kom till Sverige. Jag trodde att jag skulle skriver mycket om vad händer till mig i Sverige, so kanske jag kan updatera bloggen om mitt liv.

Väl, jag jobbar fortfarande för ett företag som tillverkar lasrar, och det går ganska bra. Vi har släppte ett nytt produkt som är en direkt diodelaser. Jag gick med i projekten i mitten när kärnen av tekniken var redan utvecklad, men mycket fanns att göra innan vi kunde sälja dem. Jag har gjort många testar, avslöjat många problem som jag löste i samband med vår elektronikkonsult, och utbildat någon från produktion att bygga lasrarna. Nästa vecka åker jag till Photonics Väst i San Francisco, med forskning och utveckling gruppen, där jag ska demonstrera lasrarna till vår försäljare. Det ska var interessant; jag verkligen hoppas att lasern fungera! I alla fall, det ska var trevlig att ser alla vår sju färger i mässan.

Jag bor fortfarande i Sollentuna. Lägenheten är ibland ganska dålig, och killen som jag bor med kan vara alldeles irritande, men det är riktig billig! Jag har sparat ganska mycket pengar medan jag har bott här. I alla fall är Sollentuna inte så dålig. I sommaren kan jag cycla till jobbet, som tar fyrtio minuter ungefär; det är ju jobbigt, men det känns mycket bra efter. Mitt företag har duschar också, som hjälpar mycket när jag cycla! En annan bra sak är att jag bor so nära natur. Järvafältets är bara tio minuter på cykel till väster, och Edsviken är till öster. I sommaren köpte jag en DSLR kamera, och tog många bilder i Järvafältets. Man kan cykla genom naturreservatet också, som gör det lättare att tar bilder i "magic hour" utan att bli fast i parken i mörken. I vintern är Edsviken en bra plats för att tar bilder. Det är tillräckligt nära att jag kan gå till sjön när jag misstänker att en skön solnedgång kommer att finnas. Jag tog den här idag (med hjälp av Photoshop)

Så, varsågod! Jag vet att jag ska snart glömma min svenska när jag kommer hem från sverige, så den här kommer förhoppningsvis att påminna mig av tiden innan det glömde jag!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Light amplification by stimulated emission of rock

Here is the playlist I developed while writing my thesis. It took a long campaign of not working in order to hone this list to perfection. I think the theme is pretty clear, but the exact rules I decided on were that each song had to good, they had to be by artists I had already heard of, and they had to be related to lasers.

1. Queen - Killer Queen
2. T.Rex - Laser Love
3. Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
4. The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon
5. Super Furry Animals - Lazer Beam
6. Audrey Horne - Threshold
7. System of a Down - Bounce
8. Dethklok - Laser Cannon Deth Sentence
9. Godsmack - Re-Align
10. Tenacious D - Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)
11. Shirley Bassey - Goldfinger

Nearly half the songs actually contain the word laser in the lyrics (I debated long and hard whether to let the Super Furry Animals in when they couldn't spell, but I really liked the song), and in a further two songs the link should be clear to the non-specialist. Some of the links are more subtle, but somebody who knows their lasers should be able to get 10 out of 11, with the final song left for those who've had the misfortune of reading my thesis.

I think most PhD graduates have a couple of songs they they would associate with their writing up period, and this playlist certainly helped me through it. I sometimes stick it on from time to time, and it reminds me in a bittersweet way of the good times I had in Damlab. If you're my friend on Facebook, you should be able to subscribe to it via Spotify!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Det Svenska språket

My swating-up on the Swedish language is finally starting to pay dividends. This week, for the first time in my life, I had a full conversation with somebody in a foreign language.

Sure, I have been speaking Swedish to people for a while now, but the subject was always limited to the kind of tedium you practice in language class. Whenever I spoke Swedish it was essentially for the purpose of practicing it. But this week I found myself using Swedish to have regular, worthwhile conversations with people about stuff we actually wanted to talk about, and that feels extremely liberating! The fact that we are speaking Swedish no longer has to be acknowledged during the conversation, and people act as if everything is normal.

The weird thing is of course how it doesn't feel weird at all. I have often wondered how strange it must be to hear a real person speaking a foreign language and actually understand it, but now I find myself doing double-takes whenever I overhear and understand things people say when I'm not even even paying attention to them. To most young, educated people in this world this would all seem rather pathetic, but I suspect many of my compatriots would sympathise. After five years spent taking German and French at school I was not even close to being able to speak or comprehend those languages, leaving me with the illogical feeling that it was all but impossible to learn a language, so this feels like quite an achievement.

I have to give the Swedes credit though. They can all speak near-perfect English, and I haven't met a single one that seemed to resent speaking English to me. But once you try to speak a little Swedish to a Swede, no matter how bad it is, they will keep the conversation going in Swedish for as long as possible. Initially I thought I would just be wasting people's time if I insisted on using my slow, bad Swedish, but now I realise that is nonsense. Everybody wants to hear others learning their language, especially if it is as small and uncommon (and funny sounding) as Swedish.

So for now I'm happy. The chance to learn a foreign language and to actually immerse myself in it was one of the main reasons I was so excited about coming to this country, and now after nearly a year it is finally starting to happen!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Radio station in trouble after good music is played

A Stockholm pop radio station has received hundreds of complaints after a piece of classical music was mistakenly played on Thursday. Listeners across the Swedish capital were horrified when a fugue by the baroque composer Johan Sebastian Bach was inserted into Mix Megapol's afternoon schedule by DJ Bork Bergström. The piece played for a full 3 minutes before station executives were able to shut it down. Bergström has been suspended pending an investigation into how he was able to override the automated playlist software and to play an unsanctioned non-pop song.

The fugue in question, The art of fugue: contrapunctus I (BWV 1080), appeared straight after Enrique Iglesias' I'm fucking you. It also came just before the news break, thus having the further effect of preventing the station from reaching its legally-mandated hourly quota of Robyn songs. In an attempt to appease the Swedish singer, Mix Megapol subsequently devoted the entire remainder of the afternoon to playing Dancing on my own on constant repeat.

The incident is reminiscent of a similar one in 2003 when Entrails ripped from a virgin's cunt by Cannibal Corpse found its way onto the Richard Bacon breakfast show.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Teach yourself Swedish

Teach yourself Swedish with the Quantum angler! Here are some handy words to get you started.

Kock - chef
Slut - end
Fart - speed
Väg - road
Rim - rhyme
Hår - hair
Skum - foam
Titt - look
Slag - type
Bra - good
Släppa - let down
Spurt - sprint
Skatt - tax

Lycka till!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Europe debates future of houses

The terrible catastrophe in Japan has sparked fierce debate across Europe over the benefits of living in houses. With news networks showing wall-to-wall footage of houses being swept away by the devastating tsunami in Japan, European voters are becoming increasingly concerned over their governments' pro-house policies.

"The days when we could go on telling ourselves that houses were safe are over," writes Stëfan Güntherhausmeinschwürtzelsteinhof in today's Der Spiegel. "Japanese houses are among the most advanced in the world, and if even their houses can be destroyed by a massive environmental disaster of a scale you only find in seismically-active regions of the world, it could happen to any of us."

Europe has one of the highest rates of people living in houses of anywhere in the world, and many of its citizens are becoming increasingly worried about the ticking timebombs they live in. With public opinion quickly turning against houses, European leaders are stumbling to backtrack on previously sensible policies about housing. The Swiss government already looks set to draft emergency legislation to block construction of any new houses, encouraging citizens to leave their homes and go live in a tent in the Alps. One of Switzerland's 438 joint presidents, Arsene Fuquit announced the measures this morning, telling of how he dreamed of a Switzerland free from the dangers of tsunamis.

Within minutes of the first tsunami footage appearing, the UK's deputy prime minister Nick Clegg gave a speech on the issue. "After discussing with my Conservative colleagues, I now fervently believe we must burn all our houses and go and live in a cardboard box under a bridge," said Mr Clegg in absolute contradiction of the party's 2010 election manifesto, which clearly stated that "The Liberal Democrats will never ever ever ever advocate a policy of burning houses and going to live under a bridge," written in bold letters with size 32 Impact font on the front page of the manifesto, and signed individually by Nick Clegg.