Friday, December 14, 2012

New York Times continuing love for fossil fuels-A comment and Times Pick

I am posting this on TGIF evening here in Sweden just in case any New York Times reader decides to visit my blog after reading my comment on the Cohen article at the URL below
Cohen, following what seems to be standard practice at the New York Times, writes enthusiastically about America's great fossil-fuel future. Each such NYT article faithfully fails to recognize that other countries are making great strides toward making renewable energy a major fraction of their energy production.
In my comment I try to make clear to American readers that they systems here in use on Apelgatan (my street) are preferable to oil and natural gas burner systems, not only because they do not use fossil fuel but also because they are so much more pleasant to have in one's basement than a fire-hazard, fume producing, space demanding (oil tank for example) system.
The picture of the white box I mention in the quoted part of the comment below is to be seen at my November 23, 2010 post. I would like to bring this more up to date here, but not tonight.
If only I could get American readers to tell me why they prefer to have oil or natural gas burners! The first paragraph in my sample below tells you what I thought about those technologies.

I state my basic reason in very simple terms. I retired to Linköping, Sweden in 1996 and at that time had an oil burner in the home from which I am writing. That oil burner was like all those I had in a long lifetime in MA and NY, a pain.

Here in Sweden I was able to switch to distance heating (DH) at the same time (8 years ago) that my neighbor was switching to ground source geothermal (GSG). Since then we have had error free, silent, non polluting heating of home and water while at the same time being able to make our basements just like the rest of the house.

It is -18 C outside and in my basement a small white box 13" x 24" x 38" is taking the heat from the incoming water and keeping me warm-silently! That incoming water has been heated by burning municipal waste-no landfills. My garbage becomes biogas.

Same with GSG-no injection into the ground of contaminants, no air contamination, and renewable forever.

Larry Lundgren (pics of that white box)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Meet some Somalis and Read my NYT comments

The speeches by Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton led me to submit comments on both. I also submitted a comment on a seemingly unrelated article by Gina Kolata about the latest advances in genome research.
Here are the URLs. In using the second one you have to go to reader recommended and then down to about 187 recommended.

 In all three comments I refer to Somali women in Somalia, here in Linköping, Sweden where I live, and in Burlington, Vermont where I usually spend 4 weeks in the summer. We who write comments must hold ourselves to 1500 characters for each comment, many thoughts cannot be fully explained. This became clear when “Chavito” submitted a good reply on one of my comments in which it became clear that my “Somali women stories” could not be fully understood by reading the comments alone.
 file this post to introduce you to the Somali diaspora here in Linköping, Sweden and to begin an explanation of the background for recommending that Michelle Obama get to know Somali women here in  Sweden and in America, maybe in Burlington, Vermont. I can only begin tonight but do so in case anyone (my Somali friends) looks at my blog tonight, Swedish time.

In Rochester, New York, where I was a professor, I knew African Americans (not defined here) but I of course never knew a Somali-born person and knew nothing of Somalia. We moved to Sweden in 1996 and one day several  years later, quite by chance, I found myself visiting the Red Cross Träffpunkten (Meeting place).

There I met my first Somali, and older male, named Mohammed. Soon after I met my second and I show him to you here in this picture taken September 6. His name (short version) is Abdi , and he is the Somali sitting second from the left around the table at Träffpunkten where we "Träna svenska". The woman is my Swedish colleague Gunilla. Refugees of all ages come to the Red Cross four days a week to practice Swedish with Gunilla and me and many others and/or to get help with their school homework. On this afternoon, we were simply discussing a wide range of subjects and, in the process, teaching and learning more Swedish.



 Now to the Somali women, whom you will never see in pictures. Consider the Black Book on the table. That book is the newest volume of my Book of Names-Namnens bok. Every time I sit around a table with such a group I ask each person if he or she is willing to write their name in one of the books and to do so both in Latin characters and in the characters of their first language, most often Arabic or Farsi/Dari (Persian in Iran and Afghanistan).

These books document that I have met in the past year or so more than 100 Somali-born girls, young women, and older women and a great many of their male counterparts. Until I started becoming acquainted with these people the only Somalis I knew anything about were Waris Dirie and Ayan Hirsi Ali.

Now, thanks to countless conversations with the Somali-born, I have been able to learn more and more and to learn especially about questions having to do with health and giving birth. In this I have been helped especially by being able to read the many publications of two Swedish researchers, Dr. Birgitta Essén M.D. and Professor Sarah Johnsdotter (Anthropologist).

So to close this for the evening (Thursday, 6 September) I refer to the public health issue that leads me to write in my NYT comments about Somali women.

In Somalia both the risk of a mother dying during the birth process and the risk of the fetus or new-born infant dying are among the greatest in the world. For the same women giving birth in Sweden the risk is reduced to being among the lowest in the world and the basic reason is Universal health care. In America we know that infant mortality places America far down the list that is topped by Sweden, and we know that a factor in this sorry story is infant mortality  among the people that American sociologists refer to as "African American". There is a large Somali diaspora in America and this means that there is a large Somali-born population giving birth in America. This is readily evident in Burlington, Vermont where there is a sizable community of Somali Bantu.

With these three groups of Somali born before me, I became interested in learning more about birthing risks for these people who belong to one or two ethnic groups (depending on how you place Somali Bantu) but who live in three different environments, Somalia, Sweden, and the USA. That led me to my recommendations concerning Michelle Obama (see the comments at the URLs above).

To be continued.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Talking About "Race" in the New York Times

The New York Times has during Swedish week number 8 been filled with articles in which "race" is a central subject, partly because the Supreme Court is taking up a "race" case, partly because Republican and Tea Party wannabees are masters at "signifying" the "race" the like best, and now thanks to a Debate Forum. To see the Debate Forum you have to go to Opinion and then just type "Race" and ye shall find.

I post this preliminary note because one person has commented on my many Forum comments by filing the comment here. Unfortunately, he or she leaves no identification so I cannot reply. Therefore I have written a reply in what we otherwise can call my "Windmill" post.

This is simply to make clear to any NYT commenter who takes the time to visit Only-NeverInSweden that if you are interested in serious discussion then I beg you to send me an Email, even if you comment here. The person who left a comment below at the bottom of the "Windmill" post left a very interesting article via a URL but then makes a very dubious statement about "race."

I was at the Red Cross here in Linköping yesterday and can report with satisfaction that two Swedish young women who are seniors in high school were able to explain with great clarity that in Sweden people are never classified according to "race" and they could explain why. They were explaining to me and a group of young Afghani men, all relatively recent arrivals in Sweden.

I will be back but now to the Red Cross to meet several Somalis, none of whom see themselves as belonging to one of the USAs "races". I keep repeating this fact because the average American, even the most highly educated, seems really to have been brainwashed into believing that the most important element of your identity is your (mythical) race.

Why not follow the position shown in this image of a Vermont license plate photographed by me last summer (2011) en route to Mount Mansfield. Why let somebody else, the United States Government tell you that you are not free to choose your identity but rather you must pick one of those they will assign to you if you do not do it yourself.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New York Times In Defense of Clean Energy continued

This post was originally addressed particularly to any New York Times reader who might have seen comments on the lead editiorial in the New York Times on 28 January. Since there have also been 100s of comments filed on a series of columns and reports by or having to do with Joe Nocera and Keystone 2, I note that interested readers should look at my energy posts in October and November 2011.

All of these posts start from the fact that anyone who lives in one of the Nordic countries is quite familiar with energy technologies apparently unknown to NYT staff including Joe Nocera and David Brooks. This post still is concerned primarily with the lead editorial on 28 January but is relevant to the Keystone discussion.

The editorial on the 28th had the strange title In Defense of Clean Energy, as if one had to defend Clean (Renewable) Energy. Only in America does one have to "defend" clean energy, apparently, given Republican and Tea Party love of fossil fuels.

So here a short report on new Renewable Energy developments in Gothenburg, Sweden and at Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont.

In Gothenburg, Gothenburg Energy, in cooperation with American General Motors, has just christened the largest wind turbine in Sweden. The turbine, for reasons unknown named Big Glenn is 145 meters high and will produce 15 million Kwh/year. This is equal to the annual production of all 10 of the other turbines that surround Big Glenn, those each about 50 meters high. I write this while on one of those islands in the distance, where I can look out over the water you see in the picture.

 Those other 10 turbines look like this one in a Wind Farm at Brahehus Castle on E4, a famous historic site. On one side of the road a wind farm, on the other magnificent Brahehus. No conflict between 21st century renewable on one side, a magnificent view on the other (Have not been able to find my Brahehus pics. What I wanted to show that on one side of E4 one looks out over Brahehus Castle and the lake, very beautiful. As you do so, a sizable wind farm is in back of you, but it does not affect the view. One Swedish reader has noted that when he drives up from Gränna, he finds the wind turbines disturbing. I have to check that out, but since there was no scenic wonder in the rather scraggly forest where the turbine farm is placed, I am skeptical.)

A wind turbine on  the east side of E4 at Braehus Castle
On the other side of the Atlantic, a small ray of hope, again from Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. You can read about and see Champlain’s first venture into geothermal at my earlier blog post a few clicks below at 11/23/2010.

Here below you see the artist’s rendition of the new dorm project at Champlain College consisting of buildings that will be heated and cooled by the next geothermal system under construction. Ground Source Geothermal (GSG) works. If you are in Burlington, take a look.

 Imagine, all these buildings heated and cooled by a system that you will not be able to see and that will not be emitting greenhouse gases as in the "good old days" when all such were heated by fossil-fuel systems.

Champlain College has entered the 21st century, when will the University of Vermont take that step? And, for that matter, when will the New York Times publish its first serious article on GSG?

 Here you see Big Glenn with all 10 of his neighbors. Note that all these wind turbines are placed in an industrial area where off to the right there remain giant cranes in the Gothenburg ship-building district.

And here is Big Glenn seen from Rivö, the high-speed catamaran ferry that was returning me to the mainland on 30 January 2012.

Take this boat (a pre-catamaran ferry) to see Big Glenn-Nästa, Styrsö Bratten!
Written while on that island (Styrsö) you see at the end of the boat's wake!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Time to Meet Hawa and Edna

I want quite simply to introduce you to two extraordinary women who were introduced to me by Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist a little more than a year ago. Christmas 2010 was approaching, and I was trying to find organizations to support in place of giving Christmas presents within the family.

Nicholas Kristof made my first two choices very easy. On December 18, his column had the title, Gifts of Hope and in it he presented ten organizations who deserved support but who were probably unknown to most NYT readers. One of the ten was the Edna Hospital in Somaliland in northern Somalia. Three days earlier his column had focused on another hospital in Somalia, which I will refer to here for convenience as Hawa Hospital.

Edna is the first name of Nurse Edna Adan, whom you see in the first picture with Birgitta from France. Edna is the founder of Edna Hospital, a maternity hospital, filling in part the needs of mothers to be in a country with among the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world. 

Hawa is the first name of Ob/Gyn Doctor Hawa Abdi whom you see in the center of the second picture flanked by her daughters Amina and Deqa, who are also physicians.
You can easily find stories in the Times about these two extraordinary women and their hospitals and just as easily find the links making it easy for you to contribute, should you wish to do so.

The goal of this post is quite simply to suggest that it makes it easier to give if you find personal reasons for doing so. My first reason for selecting these two women and their hospitals and in addition Doctors Without Borders is that they all meet the most absolutely critical needs in one of the countries of the Horn of Africa. 

My second reason for selecting these three is that I have close friends and acquaintances from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea which make up the Horn. My friends from Eritrea (one doctor and two nurses all sisters) led me me 8 years ago to Doctors Without Borders. Then as I became acquainted with more and more Ethiopians and Somalis and developed friendships with them and learned about the severe need for support for mothers to be and for their babies, I was programmed to respond to Nicholas Kristof's recommendations concerning Edna and Hawa. And, strange as it may seem, here in Linköping, Sweden, at the Red Cross I have found women related to Hawa or who know her.

You can see one of my Eritrean friends and two of my Somali friends in another post in this blog. I leave it to you enjoy the task of trying to identify which is which. Send me an Email if you want to engage in the identification game.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Tree in the Pond No Longer Reflecting 

 Just a few reflections to begin 2012. Just below these lines you see the sign on the tree from the post that was the most enjoyable (25 September 2011), not least because it required many hours of running along the Göta Canal, then photographing, and then composing. A group of artists working under the name of Meteorprojekt placed a variety of objects and inventions along a stretch of the canal (see the post) with the sign you see here: Har du sett något? Have you seen something?

I simply add the suggestion När du ser något, ta tiden att titta - noga. When you see something, take the time to look at carefully. 

My New Year's card, sent so far only to family, suggests that you take the time to study two photographs of The Tree in The Pond (km 3.2, LOK milen, Vidingsjö, Ullstämma naturreserv). I say no more. (Just click on the first picture and you can see the trees at full screen size. Going out to visit my friend - The Tree that is - now Saturday, 21 January).

     Den första Lundgren jag vet något om var skogsvaktare uppe i Hofors och som Ni kan förstå från bilderna är träd, levande eller icke levande en väsentlig del av mitt liv. 
Jag hade inte haft en chans att göra annat än fotografera trädet tack vare placeringen In The Middle of the Pond. Men när jag kom tillbaka till Linköping söndag 8/1 var det klar blå himmel uppe och helt vit snö nere. Då var valet lätt. Hur hade trädet nu? Bilden visar svaret. No more reflections until spring, at least for The Tree in the Pond.

This pond was created when I was in Burlington, Vermont in June and so too was another pond upstream in what had been a wheat field crossed by a road at km 8 on Vidingsjö milen (10 km trail). I did not venture out on the ice to get to know the Tree in the Pond close up since I did not know if the ice would bear my weight.
Jag sprang tillbaka till den andra dammen och där, till min förvåning, såg jag konstiga spår (tracks) i snön. Here they are, titta! (Look!) Whatever made them was drawn to the sun (This is Sweden, after all.)

Och här är svaret-Here is the answer. Det var en man som hade skridskor designade för "long-distance" skridskor åkande. I was both jealous and happy. I love to skate so that is the jealousy part but I want to go out to the Tree in the Pond and now I know I can so that is the happy part.
Det visade sig att farsan var med den yngsta ishockey spelaren i familjen och så skall det vara som i den näst sista bilden. It turned out that the father was there with the youngest hockey player in the family, and that is as it should be as you seen in the next to last picture. (Fotnot för någon som har sett SVT Kronjuvelerna som jag har, Ni kanske kan reflektera om vad Ni ser här och var och en av ungarna i filmen, de som kan skridskokonsten så att säga.

Hör av dig om du har sett något!  Let me hear from you if you have seen something! Njut av 2012 ute i skogen, på isen-Enjoy 2012 out in the forest, on the ice. 
Nu har jag  fått krama The Tree in the Pond och samtidigt fått se något nytt och vackert, iskristallerna på den elektrifierad vajern runt dammen
Now I have been able to hug the Tree in the Pond and at the same time see "något nyttt", something beautiful, ice crystals on the electrified wire fence around the pond.