Friday, June 18, 2010

Interna

The summer solstice is near and days here in Stockholm are getting longer and longer. The other day I woke up early and, looking out of the window, saw that it was dawning already. Or so I thought. The clock revealed that it wasn't the dawn I was seeing, but that the sun hadn't even set. My biorhythm seems to be a little confused these days.

Along with midsummer also the long awaited wedding of Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria is coming closer. Tomorrow Victoria will exchange I-do's in Stockholm Cathedral with her former personal trainer Daniel Westling. It's a giant marketing event: The Swedes have declared Stockholm's airport Arlanda the "Official Love Airport 2010" and the two weeks before the wedding we had to endure the "LOVE Stockholm 2010," a "two-week festival of love, right in the centre of Stockholm." You can buy postcards and posters of the happy couple in every supermarket here, together with loads of blue-yellow decorations. Busy cityworkers have planted yellow and blue flowers all over the place. Just the weather isn't really playing along, today it's rainy at 17° C.

My Swedish isn't good enough to actually understand the traffic report on the radio, but I understand as much as a long list of streets separated by stängt stängt stängt stängt (closed). I for certain will stay as far away as possible from the city center tomorrow. If your national TV station doesn't broadcast the event, you can follow the wedding ceremonies live tomorrow via SVT. I think it's great the two get married tomorrow because that way I was able to grab a slot for the laundry room on Saturday morning.

Next week, I'll be on a short trip to Bonn for a workshop on quantum black holes, where I'll give a talk about my paper with Lee on the black hole information loss. I wish you all a lovely weekend :-)

26 comments:

Arun said...

Think of the early sun as a photography opportunity.

Steven Colyer said...

My sister and her current husband first met when he hired her (a noted triathelete at the time) as his personal trainer. Sounds like an amorous profession.

Thanks for the link to the QBH conference, Bee. Any talk of Gravastars, lately?

rikard said...

I'm hoping for rain tomorrow, but then again, I'm evil and would experience a certain Schadenfreude. At any rate I think the people of Sweden are getting fed up with this royal nonsense. The SJ train company was trying to market special trains to Stockholm for the wedding but had to cancel them due to low interest...

Bee said...

Well, where would all the people go who'd come by train anyways? I hear they'll restrict the numbers of people on some places due to security reasons. You certainly have a better view if you follow it on TV.

Bee said...

Steven: No, no talk of Gravastars lately.

Christine said...

Hmm. Looks like your pre-summer days temperature is like my pre-winter days here, in subtropical Brazil.

In the early mornings, very foggy and below 10 C. Then temperature rises to 25 C with sunny, completely clear blue skies. Very dry this time of the year, no rain. Good, because from November to March is too much rain.

BTW, 10 C means that I already freeze horribly.

Bee said...

There was a time in my life when I too thought 10 C is cold. Then, one day in Waterloo, I left the house thinking, gosh, it's SO warm today, let me open that jacket. It was 'only' -10C that day. After several weeks at -25C that really seemed warm. I've come to believe that whatever nerve cells the skin has to signal cold they can freeze to death ;-) Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,


I think this shows how emancipated Swedish women have become, as in most marital situations it is they that become the lifelong personal trainers for their spouses:-) Anyway I would welcome such an event in place of the upcoming G20 meetings to be held here in Toronto as I don’t think the arrangements will include building security fences, closing major airports and roads or breaking out the water cannon. You’re attracting the love birds of the world while we the anarchists:-)


Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Christine,

It’s a nice 19C this morning as I write this. With it expected to go up to 27C later today here in Toronto. However as Bee has indicated in these parts when it’s plus 10C most of us are looking around for the sun screen. I recall a few years back while running an exhibit at a trade show in Atlanta in Februarys it was the temperature you now are experiencing and myself and my colleagues were walking around with just our suit jackets on, causing many of the local to look at us as if we were crazy. The news reports were advising the residents to wear hats along with winter attire as reminding that one’s head is a great source of heat loss. I imagined perhaps the locals just thought we had allowed our brains to freeze when we commented about what a lovely day it was:-)

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

I had just noticed that you mentioned you would be doing your laundry today. This reminded me of one of my personal metrics for gauging the civility of a society, which if one is required to stay in the room as the machines are running. So I’m curious to know if in Stockholm you feel comfortable in leaving the room or not? I’ve always found this a good measure as to determine whether you are in a place where people would give you the shirt off their backs or instead have them taken from them:-)

Best,

Phil

Christine said...

Hi Bee and Phil,

It is really a question of "getting used" to the temperature.

I was born and lived the first 20+ years of my life in Rio de Janeiro. In January (some days) you can feel what is 43 C and high humidity. You take at least 3 baths per day and get off the shower already sweating like hell. Air conditioning is mandatory.

Living in a city more at the south from Rio, I've got used to a more reasonable climate. When I go to Rio in summer (not often), I can no longer stand the high temperatures. In Rio, when it reaches 18 C in winter, people dress themselves as if they were facing snow.

In the north/northeastern Brazil, it never gets below 23 C or so. The temperature throughout the year varies little around 32 C or so. There, the population never needs a coat.

Christine said...

What I mean above is that Rio, which is at southeastern Brazil, is even hotter in summer than the averages temperatures reached of northeastern Brazil, hundreds of km away to the north, closer to the Equator line, and therefore with high temperatures. Some say the close proximity of mountains to the sea, and also the large construction area, is what makes Rio so hot. Sorry for the diversion.

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

The question about whether to stay or not to stay with my laundry hadn't even occurred to me. I doubt anybody would have a large interest in my holey socks or worn-out shirts, so I don't really see the need to watch them turn in circles for some hours. The expensive stuff I give to my mum to wash anyway, mostly because I can't read the manual of the washing machine and it has some buttons too many. I have actually never met anybody in the laundry room here.

You might have thought the Germans score top when it comes to orderliness, but I can tell you they are nothing compared to the Swedes. Here you have to pull a number (like you might be used to it from the DMV or so) pretty much everywhere. In the bank, at a ticket counter, in the post office, in the pharmacy, in the bakery, etc. You pull a number and wait for it to appear on a display for your turn. The laundry room works by signing up for a slot in advance. As you can guess, the weekends are usually booked out well in advance. I mean, really, what would the world be coming to if people would just go to the laundry room without a two week announcement? In any case, Sweden, Canada or USA, I'm not very protective about my clothes. If anything ever vanished, at least I didn't consciously notice it. I seem to have a certain through-flux of socks though. Some are missing, or maybe I just can't find them, and others are definitely not mine. There's also the occasional male underwear that I find in my drawer, but I suspect they're a mixup with my brother's or maybe Stefan's and who cares anyway. Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,


Wow, when you said you had booked your laundry date I thought you meant that figuratively not literally! This alone has convinced me that Sweden is not the place for me; as civility is one thing while this seems to be indicative of a compulsive need for bureaucracy ;-) It’s hard to imagine a society going all the way from being the most feared raiders on the planet to being as orderly and administered as you describe. Then on the other hand as its produced a black market in securing housing perhaps the same has occurred for laundry dates:-) Anyway I’ve always believed a society needs some level of disorder to evolve as nature seems to indicate.

Best,

Phil

P.S. As for socks going missing or appearing in the dryer I always thought this as evidence that they produced black holes and worms hole:-)

Bee said...

Ha, I like the idea of a black market for laundry day slots :-) However, that won't work. You can only book one slot per apartment each time. You need a little metal lock with your apartment number that you can move around if you have the matching key, but there's only one for each. See, you can't fool Swedes so easily ;-) The disadvantage of that system is of course that I suspect people forget to take off their number. (Or, what happened to me once was that my landlord took off my number thinking she had forgotten about it.)

Bee said...

And here's the video of the wedding...

Steven Colyer said...

He looks like a Swedish Clark Kent. Well she thinks he's her special Superman, so good luck to them both. I am nevertheless curious if the Swedes have discovered contact lenses, or is that considered gauche and for the working class?

Christine wrote:
"I was born and lived the first 20+ years of my life in Rio de Janeiro. In January (some days) you can feel what is 43 C and high humidity...."

Hmm, clicks here to convert to Fahrenheit and gets ... 109.4 degrees! Mama mia, remind me to never visit Rio in summer. The last time I experienced that was in a Mack Trucks parts warehouse as a kid. We didn't work very hard that day. I mean less than union workers usually work.

Arun said...

Disappointed, I was hoping for some novel solution to the unpaired socks problem.

Rumor has it that it was Hilbert's twenty-fourth problem, but then rumor also has it that Hilbert never washed his socks. Einstein didn't want God to play with his socks any more than with dice, and so abandoned socks altogether.

Bee said...

Okay here's my unmatched socks theory: cotton undergoes a phase transition when brought into socks-shape. In the new phase of the material there are 10^500 possible states that differ by sizes, colors, shapes and textures. These states that are metastable but on almost similar energy levels, divided by potential walls whose height depends on the percentage of alkaline water in the environment, the temperature and some other not-well understood properties. Putting the sock into a washing machine, it will get exited and spontaneously tunnel to another state. If other washers are running in the 200 ft vicinity, the sock can also tunnel to another washing machine. This this is unlikely, but it happens like 1 in 1000 socks or so. It it also not unheard of [citation needed], though extremely uncommon, that a jogger who is extremely sweating will lose his sock during workhout.

Phil Warnell said...
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Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

A nice hypothesis having the actions of QM being the culprit as opposed to GR. Of course a theory of Quantum gravity may shed addition light on all this as to have things finally decided. I always wondered why there was such a sense of urgency in finding one, yet I never considered it perhaps solving this age old mystery:-)

Just to get back to this strict orderliness and codified fairness of the Swedes, perhaps it’s simply an admission that their nature’s are somewhat lacking in empathy and so such things had to be created and enforced. That is without them laundry room raiding and access battles could degrade their society into utter chaos:-)

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Christine,

Whether it be Rio or the city of helicopters as I grow older I would rather have your complaints about climate as opposed to mine. Of course the biggest disadvantage our’s is not a good enough environment for soccer, so although Canada may be a member of the G20 I doubt if you will ever see us as one of that more important group of 32 that has currently assembled. So in absence of my own team to cheer for I say GO BRAZIL!!! :-)


Best,

Phil

Christine said...

Hi Phil,

Well, except for the exceedingly high temperatures in Rio in summer, I really have no complaints about climate or weather in Brazil. In fact there is a variety of climates to choose from in here, most are quite good in fact.

Ah, a nice choice. :) There is a good probability of Brazil to be champion again, as this is the "country of soccer". But Bee's team is also a good one!

Steven Colyer said...
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Steven Colyer said...
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Steven Colyer said...

I'm very happy Germany, UK/England whatever, USA, and Australia won. I was rooting for all 4.

But let's face it folks, this is Argentina's cup to lose. Nine goals scored and one allowed in 3 games is a juggernaut.

Hi Bee, how's the workshop in Bonn going? I see you were there Tuesday thru tomorrow. Nice workshop topic. I have to get up to speed to understand the papers.

So tell me Bee, the odds of Italy facing Germany?

In 3 weeks. At Nordita. Yikes. Congrats on version 4.0 in the discussion.