Posts Tagged ‘sweden’
Would you like a glass of ice cold sweat? Of course you would! Well, just get yourself a special sweaty water machine. All you have to do is fill it with perspiration soaked clothes and the machine will turn all that lovely bodily dampness into water. DELICIOUS!
Actually, the machine is being used in Sweden as part of a Unicef campaign to raise awareness about the lack of clean water in developing countries. So far 1,000 people in Gothenburg have so far ‘taken the dare’ to drink a glass of sweat, and seemed quite happy about it, too.
Engineer Andreas Hammar created the machine using a water purification system invented by a Swedish company called HVR. He said: ‘We use a substance that’s a bit like Goretex that only lets steam through but keeps bacteria, salts, clothing fibres and other substances out.’
He continued: ‘The amount of water it produces depends on how sweaty the person is – but one person’s T-shirt typically produces 10ml [0.3oz], roughly a mouthful.’
The only problem is that you need a lot of sweat to produce any water. And unless you follow Eric Pickles around the Sahara with a bucket all day, you’re not going to help the 780,000 million people in the world without access to clean water.
But Hammar says it’s cleaner than the local tap water – and when you think that the stuff that comes out of the tap has been filtered through millions of bowels and bladders, a bit of sweat water is actually a tasty artisan treat.
It’s been a funny old week. Some people have declared the country unfit for purpose following the changes to benefits and the health service. Others have reminisced over Britain’s greatness since 1979 for a different reason. Either way, we now have proof that living in the UK is officially A Good Thing as a new index from the US puts the UK second only to Sweden in a table of the best places to live in the world.
Called the Social Progress Index, the new list ranks 50 leading countries by combining a range of figures, including things like health and health care, crime, and broadband access. According to the authors, Britain’s unique position, bridging Europe and America, has made it one of the best places to live in the world overall, beating Germany and France, the US, Canada and Australia, all of whom feature in the top ten.
Uganda, Nigeria and Ethiopia languish at the bottom of the table.
The index has been compiled by Harvard Professor Michael Porter and a team of economists at MIT, and is designed as an alternative to traditional economic measures such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The new index has three main areas of ranking- Basic Human Needs (blue), Foundations of Wellbeing (orange) and Opportunity (green), and is designed to be a more rounded and comprehensive social index.
While European countries with generous welfare systems score highly in more basic and wellbeing measures, they fare less well in the Opportunity category which combines personal freedoms with measures such as access to higher education. The US comes top of Opportunity, but scores lower than Costa Rica, Argentina and Poland on the Wellbeing measure. Despite spending the most on healthcare per capita of any country in the world the United States ranks just 11th overall in terms of Health and Wellness, while conversely the UK is ranked top for this measure although per capita spend would put us only 11th.
The UK also comes fourth on a measure of “access to information and communications” behind Switzerland, Germany and Sweden but ahead of the Korea, France and the US.
Michael Green, executive director of the Social Progress Imperative, the think-tank behind new index, suggested the reason we did so well is because of our “mid-Atlantic” approach.
“If you think of Britain’s self image as straddling the best of Europe and the best of America that is what seems to be coming across in the data,” he told The Telegraph. However, he went on to say that Britain was not perfect, but the index highlighted areas that may need attention; things like availability of affordable housing, rising health risks like obesity and heart disease, and access to Higher Education.
Google hate the Swedish language. Why? Well, until last week, Sweden had the word ‘ogooglebar‘, which means “ungoogleable”. Basically, The Language Council of Sweden added some new words to their lexicon and wanted something that meant “something that cannot be found on the web using a search engine” and Google don’t like that one bit.
For the record, other words added were ‘emoji‘ (those annoying new emoticons that everyone is using), ‘conversesjukan‘ (bad posture caused by wearing fashionable trainers) and ‘drinkorexi‘ (an eating disorder which means replacing food with alcohol).
Those wacky Swedes!
Either way, Google’s lawyers don’t share Sweden’s sense of humour and told them that they didn’t want their trademark being diluted by being applied to all internet searching (never did Hoover any harm) and asked that the definition be changed to “something that cannot be found on the web using Google”.
The Swedes told Google to sling it and dropped the word entirely, saying: “Google asked the Language Council to amend the definition of the word. Today we instead are deleting the word, marking our displeasure with Google’s attempts to control the language.”
“One purpose of the neologisms list is to show how society and language development interact with each other. Google wanted to amend the definition and add a disclaimer about its trademark. The Language Council has tried to explain the purpose of the list. We do not deviate from our basic approach to language … The definition the Language Council provides has been formulated based on how the word is used in Swedish.”
“We have neither the time nor the inclination to pursue the lengthy process that Google is trying to start. Nor will we compromise and change the meaning of ogooglebar to what the company wants.”
A Google representative said: “While Google, like many businesses, takes routine steps to protect our trademarks, we are pleased that users connect the Google name with great search results.”
How many cars did Swedish manufacturers SAAB sell last year? Just 30,000. That is just one of the reasons why the company has announced it can no longer afford to pay the wages of its employees. Eek.
According to the BBC, production at Saab’s main plant in Sweden is currently on hold after it was unable to pay suppliers. A deal has been reached with two Chinese companies for substantial investment in the company, but this is not guaranteed – the deal still needs approval from Chinese and European regulators.
Analysts believe SAAB needed to sell 120,000 last year to break even; missing that target by 90,000 plus continued under-investment means we could be soon saying goodbye to a motoring brand nobody much cares about in the 21st century anyway.
Imagine if you went into a shop and the sales assistant told you about all of their special offers but only gave you a few seconds to decide if you wanted to buy or not – you’d probably high-tail it out of the door, disgusted by the way you’d been treated.
But that’s the wacky tactic that online Swedish retailer Papercut are using at the moment – there’s a range of reduced items on their site at the moment but you only get four seconds to make your mind up – then they’re gone forever. There’s some barmy music being played in the background to assault your senses further.
They’re calling it Speedsale and it’s more of a novelty than anything else – the prices seem to be reduced by about 25% so Swedish shoppers aren’t getting any gigantic bargains. But there’s a nice touch – namely that once you’ve browsed the sale range, you don’t get to have another look at it. Don’t make a purchase and the offer has gone forever. Or presumably until you visit the site again from another IP address.
Oooh, smooth. That’s the product AND the style of advertising here – they’re made by Lelo and they’re ladies’ sex toys from Sweden. But not just any old sex toys – these are upmarket, ‘the world’s best pleasure objects’.
Lelo stand for “a rejection of the cheap plastic buzzers and substitute phalluses that made up the market of traditional sex toys.” As AdFreak suggest, they’re kind of pitching themselves as the Apple of the dildo world.
Don’t know why you girls can’t make do with a poster of George Clooney and a cucumber…
So the good news is that this airbag for cyclists – a Swedish invention for a university thesis – protects the head in the instance of traffic accidents and various bicycle blunders. The device was not only tested on dummies, but stunt men and women too. Lucky, lucky people.
The bad news? As the first test shows, your spine will still be shattered in seventeen different places. But hey, nurses can always set your back in a plaster cast, whereas there’s not much they can do to fix your brain when it’s already leaking out your ears.
Great news from avid HotUKDeals member drdreidel if you’re a fan of Swedish furniture and eating out for free – over to him/her/it to explain it further…
“I was in IKEA Glasgow today and noticed a poster when I was in the restaurant. For the month of May any food that you buy in the restaurant will be deducted from whatever you buy in the store!
So if you feed your family and it costs £30 when you go and buy whatever you were going to Ikea to buy when you scan your receipt at the checkout they will deduct £30 (the cost of your meal) from your bill.
I’m only using £30 as an example – there was no small print to say ‘any minimum spend’ – the only rule seemed to be that the receipt from the restaurant needs to be used the same day as your purchase from the shop.
Did not mention anything to say it was Glasgow only so I’m guessing it’s nationwide.”
Sounds great and we don’t even like meatballs. The offer has been generating some heat over on HUKD in the past few hours in spite of the fact that it doesn’t kick off until next month.
Any other HUKDketeers/Bitterwalletketeers spotted the poster anywhere else in Ikea stores around the nation? And can anyone see any potential loopholes that might stop us feasting heartily for nowt before we go home with a nice new wardrobe? Your thoughts, as always, are the air that we breathe…
Spotify are on a subscription drive at the moment; in the UK they’re busy experimenting with the price of the Premium service under the wafer-thin guise of a client promotion. Meanwhile in their native Sweden, they’ve just launched their first ever television commercial to push user numbers up:
We get the jive of most of it, except the bit where the plane appears – that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to us (unless it’s flogging the ability to use Spotify Premium anywhere in the world?). Those Swedish speakers who helped us out with this post – any thoughts on what that babble is all about?
The Swedish are well known/inappropriately stereotyped for their lack of sexual inhibitions. Still, it comes as a shock to the Brit abroad to see what they’re openly promoting in shop windows:
Very occasional Bitterwallet reader James Cridland spotted this earlier in the week while in Stockholm. Anybody care to translate and tell us what we’re looking at? Another, slightly filthier attempt by the Nordic countries to entice the Brits to visit?
Cheap, available mortgages from Swedish, Israeli and Chinese banks are becoming increasingly popular as the UK mortgage market continues to splutter along in first gear. The eligibility criteria is also looser which could be good news if you’re self-employed or have quirky income patterns.
According to The Times, Bank Of China is offering tracker rates from 3% for borrowers who can provide a 25% deposit, with a minimum fee of £995, and is undercutting UK lenders on buy-to-lets. HSBC are offering a similar tracker deal, but some applicants are having to wait as long as eight weeks before getting a decision, meaning that they are likely to miss out on the house they’re trying to buy.
The number of mortgages available from UK lenders has fallen by 59% to 2,242 over the past year and one in ten home sales have collapsed in the past three months after the potential buyers were unable to obtain funding.
Have you been stuck in the mortgage mire lately and would you consider looking outside of the UK as you attempt to raise the cash for a house purchase? Are the banks shooting themselves and the UK economy in the foot with their stingy approach? Or will the whole thing result in another credit crunch? Let us know what you think in the little box underneath this bit.