I am still ill, so I stayed at home today and took a few more photos during the day. The snowplows were out in force yesterday and today. The orange hopper in the back is used to deposit fine gravel on the newly-plowed roads and paths.

The snow fell most of the day yesterday, and intermittently today. Between the periods of snowfall the sun came out. Here you can see a couple of children playing in the playground outside my living room window.

Despite being ill, I did go out to get some groceries. In the background on the left you can see the building where I lived the first two years I was in Stockholm.

On the way back from the grocery store, I walked down to Brunnsviken. There are no skaters on the lake. This could be because the ice is not thick enough. We've had a relatively warm winter, so the lake had not frozen by the beginning of February. Making matters worse, the layer of snow now covering the lake insulates the water underneath from the cold (-6 C) air. I wonder if there will be any skating this year.


Today I'm home sick. It's snowing big fat snowflakes outside, and has been doing so since early this morning. Visibility is about 100 meters.

Here's a view out the kitchen window.

I joined some friends for a quick day trip to Romme Alpin yesterday. Here Petra, Lisa and Egidio get ready for the first run of the day.

Snow-covered trees. Lovely.

Lisa finishes a run. See the two trees halfway up the slope? There's a nice little jump between them.

The base area.

Egidio, me, Lisa, Luigi, Petra and Felix packing up for the ride home.

Jenny and Åsa at Nils Oscar Friday night.

Peace, brothah!

Tobbe trying to illuminate some important detail of his political philosophy.

Here are some more snow photos for your viewing enjoyment.


On Tuesday, I ran to work despite a thin layer of newfallen snow. I took some photos of the path the next day.

In Kista, the trail leads behind a complex of Ericsson buildings alongside the E4.

It then goes by an area with temporary student dormitory buildings. IBM's Nordic headquarters is in the woods beyond.

That's all for now. I'm going skiin again this weekend, so there will be more photos soon.


Day trip to Bjursås

I joined a friend that I met on the flight from Chicago last month for a quick day trip to Bjursås, a few hours Northwest of Uppsala.


Media independence

"Om inte vi gör det, vem ska göra det då?"
SVT, on an ad on SVT2 this evening;

"If PBS doesn't do it, who will?"
PBS, in similar ads in the US.

The SVT ad ended in the words "fri television," which translates roughly to "independent telelvision." Of course it's free as in free speech, not free beer: every resident of Sweden who owns a telelvision must pay a quarterly tax to Radiotjänst.

One could argue that this tax ensures that Sveriges Television and Sveries Radio remain independent from corporate influence. PBS now depends largely on voluntary donations from viewers and underwriting from sponsors instead of government support. Corporate blackmail, or at least self-censorship, was a problem for PBS when its longtime sponsor ADM was found guilty of price-fixing and PBS did not report on the story.

On the other hand, one could argue that the government subsidy amounts to a different form of influence. Can broadcasters dependent on government support be truly impartial when it comes to reports critical of the government?

In any case, the sort of self aggrandizing witnessed in these commericials shows that the "public" broadcasters in both the U.S. and Sweden believe they are providing a valuable service that cannot be provided by commercial broadcasters. Perhaps a regulatory system discouraging commerical influence in all media would be better, but I'm not sure how such a system could work; perhaps it's not always a bad thing to have commercial voices expressed via the media,

Then again, maybe it's good to have different forms of influence in media, so that each one balances the other and they server to keep each other honest.


"Michael Lowry" ambigram

Ever since reading Dan Brown's book Angels & Demons, I've wondered if it would be possible to reverse my name and end up with a legible ambigram. I finally found a way. I woulnd't have thought it possible before actually putting pencil to paper; but once I started drawing, the solution presented itself. I'm particularly pleased with the ae/Lo combination because it was dificult to design, but ended up looking quite good. I drew the basic design with pencil and paper first, and then copied it into the computer using a mouse.

Incidentally, the ambigrams in Angels & Demons (including the one on the cover) were designed by John Langdon. There are many other sites on the net devoted to ambigrams. Some day I would like to try to design a more attractive version of the ambigram above, perhaps in a calligraphic style similar to the ones in the book.


Here's an exterior shot of the IBM office in Stockholm last night. The snow makes a marked improvement in the amount of light.


Finally, it looks like winter again.

Over the weekend, about a foot of snow fell on Stockholm. It's supposed to stay below freezing this week, so it looks like we'll be able to enjoy the white stuff for a while.
Naturally the snow caused chaos with the traffic this morning. There were more than 70 automobile accidents and some local bus services were cancelled. Several of my colleagues stayed home today — one benefit of working for BigBlue is that many folks can do their jobs from home if necessary. The snow is pretty thick and fluffy. Luckily the temperature hasn't risen above freezing, so we're saved from the brown slush of last week.


Here are som photos I took of the ice formations next to the sidewalk along Oddegatan.



This is lovely.


This is what the sunrise looked like from my livingroom window this morning.

Found sweatshirt

I found this sweatshirt at my apartment. It's not mine, and I think someone who attended my birthday party may have left it. If it's yours, let me know.