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Posts Tagged ‘sweden’

After my two half-Swedish grandchildren were off breast milk — or even before — they started on bottles of a ground-up oat concoction that I’m told all Swedish children drink rather than cow’s milk. Välling. We can’t get along without it.

So the following story from the Guardian is not as curious to me as it might be to others.

Tom Levitt reports, “Adam Arnesson, 27, is not your usual milk producer. For starters, he doesn’t have any dairy cattle. Our first photo opportunity is in the middle of one of his fields of oats.

“Until last year all these oats went into animal feed, either sold or fed to the sheep, pigs and cows he rears on his organic farm in Örebro county, central Sweden.

“With the support of Swedish drinks company Oatly, they are now being used to produce an oat milk drink …

“ ‘The natural thing for us would be to increase our livestock numbers, but I don’t want a factory,’ he says. ‘The number of animals has to be emotionally right so I know each of them.’ …

“The rearing of livestock and meat consumption accounts for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Alongside carbon emissions from deforestation (for pasture or crops to feed animals), the livestock sector is also the single biggest human-related source of methane (from cattle) and nitrous oxide emissions (from fertiliser and manure), two particularly potent greenhouse gases. …

“ ‘I had a lot of arguments on social media with other farmers, because I thought what Oatly was doing could bring better opportunities to our sector,’ says Arnesson, who decided to contact the company in 2015 to see if they could help him switch away from livestock. …

“After the first year of producing oats, analysis by researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences found that Arnesson’s farm was producing double the amount of calories for human consumption per hectare and had halved the climate impact of each calorie produced. …

“ ‘I don’t want to take pride from having a tractor or producing 10 tonnes of wheat or a sow with 10 piglets, but in feeding and preserving the planet – that is one of the big things I want as a farmer to be involved in changing,’ says Arnesson.

“Oatly said it plans to work with three more farmers to demonstrate the environmental benefits of switching from livestock to more crop production. But Arnesson says livestock farmers need government support in order to do so in large numbers.”

More at the Guardian , here.

Photo: Tom Levitt for the Guardian 
Adam Arnesson in a field of oats at his organic farm in Örebro country, Sweden.

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Artist's impression of the MTR Express' newly unveiled Trainy McTrainface

Photo: MTR Express
Artist’s impression of a Swedish rail company’s newly unveiled Trainy McTrainface.

Heraclitus said you cannot step in the same river twice. (It is never the same river; the water is always new.) But as if they actually could keep stepping in the same river, human beings keep trying to replicate whatever was once popular.

It was kooky enough to try naming a boat Boaty McBoatface, now the popularity of that name is supposed to give a boost to a similarly named train.

Alex Hern writes at the Guardian, “It’s happened again. A public vote to name four trains running between the Swedish cities of Stockholm and Gothenburg has resulted in one of the four being called Trainy McTrainface in an echo of the name chosen by the British public for the new polar research vessel.

“Trainy McTrainface received 49% of the votes in a poll, jointly run by Swedish rail company MTR Express and Swedish newspaper Metro. …

“The other trains have already been named by the public: one is named Estelle, after the five-year-old daughter of Sweden’s Princess Victoria, the next in line to the Swedish throne.

“Another is named Glenn, after a long-running joke that everyone in Gothenburg is called Glenn.

“The joke has a basis in fact: the name is particularly common in the city and its surrounding area, with its popularity stemming from the 1980s, when local football team IFK Göteborg had four players all called Glenn in its lineup. Forty-three per cent of voters supported the name Glenn. …

“The public vote was eventually overruled in the case of Boaty McBoatface and the ship named the RRS Sir David Attenborough, with an onboard submersible receiving the Boatface appellation.

“MTR Express said the McBoatface decision had led to disappointment worldwide and it hoped the name Trainy McTrainface would ‘be received with joy by many, not only in Sweden.’ ” More at the Guardian, here.

Even if you believe in the wisdom of crowds, using a crowd to name a product rarely results in an inspired selection. I remember how disgusted Ursula’s mother was after a food company to which she had submitted creative names for a new margarine made the boring choice of Blue Bonnet.

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Photo: Samuel West
Harley Davidson Eau de Toilette was never a big hit with the general public. Perhaps folks assumed it would smell sweaty.

There are creative people out there who become obsessed with a topic, collect memorabilia related to the topic, and end up starting a museum.

Back in April, Derek Hawkins wrote about one such museum at the Washington Post. “In his years as an innovation researcher at Lund University in Sweden, Samuel West got sick of hearing the same story over and over — the tired narrative of the nerdy innovator from humble beginnings whose brilliant idea made him a millionaire.

“ ‘Everybody in the innovation business knows that 80 to 90 percent of projects fail,’ West, now an organizational psychologist, told The Washington Post. ‘So where are all these failures? Why do we only read about the successes?’

“To chip away at those questions, West started buying failed products online. At first, he did it for his own amusement, but it quickly turned into an obsession. Eventually, he said, he amassed dozens of items.

“Now, his one-of-a-kind collection of flops is getting a permanent home.

“In the coming weeks, West is set to open the Museum of Failures in Helsingborg, Sweden, celebrating some of the corporate world’s most extreme misfires. The goal, he said, is to show that innovation requires failure. Every exhibit offers ‘unique insight into the risky business of innovation.’ In other words, we can all learn a lot from bad ideas, so we should stop pretending they never happened.” For more, see the Washington Post and also Business Insider.

To hammer home the point about failure, I think the museum would be well served to include a section on failures that led directly to successes. Perhaps a Swedish reader will go to Helsingborg and let us know if West has done that.

By the way, since we’re talking about unusual museums, here’s the link for the Museum of Broken Relationships and an article about the now defunct Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, which my husband and I always took guests to see when we lived in Minneapolis.

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I enjoyed an upscale pre-auction showing of art and antiques with Stuga 40 on my recent trip. Next time I may need to check out an unusual shopping mall dedicated to recycled items. Steve Ghent wrote about it at Good News Network.

“A new generation of recycling has now gone from local drop-off centers to a shopping mall that sells only repaired or upcycled products. …

“ReTuna Återbruksgalleria … contains both a recycling center and a shopping mall. Customers can donate the items that they no longer need, then shop for something new – all in one stop.

“Dropped off goods are sorted into various workshops where they are refurbished or repaired accordingly. Products are then sorted into 14 specialty shops that include furniture, computers, audio equipment, clothes, toys, bikes, and gardening and building materials; all garnered from second-hand products. …

“The center, which is operated by the local municipality, has benefited the local economy by creating 50 new repair and retail jobs, and providing space for private start-ups and local artisans.

“The biggest bonus for the Swedish community is how the center relieves local government from the tremendous burden and expense of disposing of unwanted goods while turning potential ‘waste’ into profits.” More at Good New Network, here. Environmentalist Brad Zarnett posted the link on twitter.

By the way, if you are a big fan of recycling, be sure to check out the WordPress blog Things I Find in the Garbage, which is written by a Canadian who makes a living from things people throw out.

In his regular posts, he describes what he finds, what he usually gets for such items, where he sells them, and any little interactions with people who see him digging through their trash. He also offers resources like “How to Spot Bedbug Infested Garbage.”

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On Sunday we took a boat ride to the Weather Islands in Sweden’s western archipelago, Väderöarna. The drizzle didn’t stop us from enjoying a walk around and eating very fresh cod for lunch. Stuga 40 took all of the pictures seen here but the wooden sign.

We will be thinking about these views as we fly west over the Atlantic.

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It’s going to be an adjustment, not just in terms of time zones. Monday we are off to Oslo and will catch our plane back to Boston from Norway on Tuesday.

Here are a few more Sweden pics.

I love the picturesque seaside streets and cottages, the hidden staircases covered with flowers, the boats in snug harbors, the colorful cabins, and the views.

The last picture is one that Stuga 40 took at 10 p.m. Imagine how light it is in Sweden in June!

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I love the family compound belonging to our hosts, with its birches, lupines, red cottages, and blue doors. Stuga 40 and I took photos there and at the nearby Vitlycke museum, a World Heritage site, where we saw ancient petroglyphs and a Bronze Age garden.

Near the garden were goats chewing their cud and two different kinds of shelters replicating life before 500 BC. It didn’t look luxurious. My photo of  Bronze Age instruments, below, is especially for Modern Age musician Will McC.

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