Saturday, December 20, 2014

Joe Nocera Gets High On Natural Gas

Only the 2d comment submitted was accepted. It was well recommended by readers, and 4 also wrote replies that make "interesting" reading. Comments had been closed when I got the chance to read the replies, otherwise I would have had much to say. I add nothing here since no one has visited this post. If someone does, then I might put one or two  replies in here to illustrate how difficult it appears to be for many of my fellow Americans to understand renewable energy. This inserted 2014-12-21 kl. 17:08

Joe Nocera is one of my "favorite" New York Times columnists - "favorite" in quotes. Why? The simple answer is that his infatuation with natural gas is  so total that he is a sitting duck for simple comments in the comment column seen to the right of his declarations of ever lasting love for natural gas.

I have just filed two main comments at his column chastising Governor Cuomo (New York State) for banning fracking. The essence of the comments is that Joe Nocera knows so little about renewable energy that he never even can mention renewable energy in his many columns advertising natural gas.

My headline is, of course, ironic. Natural gas  kills, most recently as reported in a Times story a couple of days ago. Not the hazard that guns are of course, but more easily avoided than death by a bullet. Use one of the renewable systems described in this blog and nothing to worry about

At the moment on Bus4You toward Göteborg, will add internal links later.

This link takes you to a post by me with photos of Göteborg wind power and Styrsö Ground Source Geothermal (Heat pump) and the additional URLs in the post take you to Fjärrvärme systems (MSW incineration provides hot water to heat just about everything)

Passing Brahe Castle Wind Turbine park, very impressive turbines peacefully producing electricity, each turbine surrounded by picea forest.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

To Ask "What Are You, Anyway?" Only In America, Never In Sweden!

Takes you to:
What Are You, Anyway?

By Amy DuBois Barnett '91  

I read ADB's essay and responded by sending a Letter to the Editor, which appears in the December issue, and a Point of View manuscript, which was not accepted. Therefore, just for the record, I post that manuscript as submitted below. 

“What Are You, Anyway? Thoughts on that question-Never In Sweden
Only in my America is there a need to put people in “race” boxes. Ms. Barnett provides examples of this. These tribal rites are not, however, what interest me here. I am interested in 21st Century American beliefs about “race” for reasons explained below, beliefs I have now been studying for about four years.
My need to learn has two roots: The first is that I now to know 100s of refugees from Sub-saharan Africa and the Middle East, some of them my closest friends. The second is that working as translator for Swedish epidemiologists introduced me to medical research where “race” is never a variable in contrast with American practice.
Ms. Barnett’s essay has opened a pandora’s box raising many questions only two of which I raise here. My goal is to elicit replies from Brown Alumni of every age and ethnicity (to Gmail at for reasons I can reveal there.  
1)     Is it really true that people say to you, Amy DuBois Barnett, exactly “What are you?
2)    Is it really true that most Americans feel a need to determine the “race” of every “other” whom they meet?
The context from which those questions arise is my “bible” “Fatal Invention-How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in America” by Dorothy Roberts, black but not African American. She writes (p. 3): “Race is the main characteristic most Americans use to classify each other. It is the first or second thing we notice about a stranger we pass on the street or a new acquaintance approaching to shake our hand”
This assertion does not apply to me or to any American whom I have asked in the past two years, but Ms. Barnett’s essay and my contacts with American sociologists suggest that there is at least some truth in Professor Roberts’ generalization.
Ms. Barnett tells us she has always dreaded the question “What are you?” a question  I cannot imagine posing to anyone. In other words since she is (self -described as) bi-racial, people cannot race-place her. She also tells us that to be acknowledged as a true, card-carrying member of the African-American “race” – at Brown - it is not enough to show that you have a slave probably brought from West Africa in your family tree; you must present your credentials. This tells me that in the eyes of the Americans who ask “What are you?” it is not enough to be able to show a genetic link to some group (“race”) to be a member of that group. It appears to me that the question “What are you?” is really a question about ethnicity, not “race” or genetics.
Yes, putting people in “race boxes” is accepted practice in America and at all levels, a practice I do not accept. Why? I close by providing a few reasons based on living for  almost 20 years in Sweden.
In Sweden, we are classified by country of birth and in terms of SES data. The census does not assign people to “races” but there are two political parties that do this to some degree, Svenskarnas parti (SP) and Sverigedemokraterna (SD) (see Wiki for English). They have their roots in Nazi thinking and one of them (SD) is now in parliament. Sweden as nation was once close to assigning people to “races” when in 1922 the National Institute of Race Biology was created; the institute did not survive World War II.
Here in Linköping, I have come to know 100s of people who have something in common with Ms. Barnett’s friend, cryptically designated as black/Swedish. Here is what I have learned from them as concerns the question, ”What Are You?” presented in story form.
We sit around a table at the Red Cross, 10 born in many different countries, and I tell them about Ms. Barnett’s dreaded question. They offer opinions in Swedish: Terrible, racist, who would ever ask such a question. A man, Abdi and old friend born in Somalia, walks into the room. Big smile. I ask him in Swedish, “Abdi what are you?” He answers in Swedish “Människa” a human being. Not one single person – Eritrean, Mexican American, Somali etc with whom I have discussed this question has said anything other than to ask that question would be rude at best, racist at worst.
Ms. Barnett, I hope your Swedish friend has the last laugh. Until then, thank you for writing the most fascinating text I have read in many years in BAM.

Monday, November 3, 2014

My comment on Charles Blow's column: Blacks, Obama and the Election

The Opinion Pages | OP-ED COLUMNIST Charles Blow
Blacks, Obama and the Election
NOV. 2, 2014

Picture of Charles blow at URLs below 
The text below my ikon (Swedish flag overlain by Vermont license plate) is copied from my main comment on Charles Blow’s column in the New York Times today November 3, 2014.  I place it here in my blog because I have invited New York Times readers to reply to me via my Gmail here.

The tiny URL to his column is:
The tiny URL to his column “Constructing A Conversation On Race” is

 My ikon appears at my comment 

Larry Lundgren
 Linköping, Sweden 51 minutes ago
Charles, after filing this I Email you to beg you – yes beg – to take the next step in “Constructing a Conversation on Race” (your column 2014-08-20) @

Here I beg – yes beg - commenters to take part in replies and/or Email to you/me in this conversation by responding to questions I pose. You give 2 reasons for Republican opposition to Barack Obama:

1) He embodies the idea that federal government has important roles to play, as in the ACA.
2) He has a skin color not acceptable for anyone being president of the United States.

Question I: What is the relative importance of (1) and (2).

Question II: Is opposition based on (2) really based on the belief that every person designated in the uniquely American way as belonging to a black “race” is genetically inferior to those designated as belonging to a white “race”?

You note that “Race is a construct that, unfortunately, is woven through the fabric of America”, a view with which I agree in the strongest possible way.

So Charles, take that conversation further by expanding on that sentence.
I shall do so and even am considering the need for a blog “The American Riddle of Race”.
My birth certificate, Attleboro, MA, reads: “color-white”
·        3 Recommend (16:21 CET-2014-11-03)
End of comment appearing in the Times OnLine
I rarely, if ever, succeed in getting anyone to join the conversation, but this is placed here just in case.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

USA-Sweden comparisons

I cannot keep up here but have been citing this blog in New York Times comments every single day so want to encourage any NYT visitor who wants to communicate with me to do so directly via Gmail (address to the left). Of course if you wish to remain anonymous you can reply to this short post.

I have been commenting daily in the Times on four subjects that I know something about:

1) Medical care in the US and in Sweden (both from the viewpoint of patient and from the viewpoint of one who reviews manuscripts for Swedish medical researchers and sometimes does translations for them from Swedish to English).

2) Renewable energy and related subjects.

3) The American Riddle of Race - In the USA medical researchers routinely use "race" as a variable even though these researchers cannot define "race". Since the main users of "race" in Sweden appear to be supporters of the SD party, we have some strange situations arising. Older blog posts provide samples.

4) USA-Iran-Israel triangle (maybe later I will enter sample URLs)

For the moment, here is a URL to a comment dealing with the cost of health care in the USA, costs that any American citizen must face on returning, even for a short visit, since we expats may have Universal Health Care in our present country of residence, but that health care may not cover us if we return to the USA. As one who is over 65 I have American Socialized Health Care Insurance called Medicare.

Here is today's URL:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Two Parent Family-Trumpeter Swans In Sweden

At the Hour of the Wolf on 30 August on an island in Sweden, I had before me New York Times writer, Tim Egan's, story about the return of trumpeter swans to his favorite place in the west. Here is my own story about "my" trumpeter swans and their return to my favorite place in the east, Ullstämmaskogens naturreservat, Linköping, Sverige.

This URL will take you to his story and my comment filed at 04:00 h from Styrsö.

The Two Parent Family's story for 2014 begins with the return of these two on February 22d, one of the restored ponds between Tinnerö eklandskapet and Ullstämmaskogens naturreservat. I will add to this during the day-it is after all only 2 AM in New York. (Note that you can view any image much better by clicking on it and some can only be seen by clicking and then viewing in photo-album series.)

                                                            The rocky outcrop where she would lay her eggs was still completely ice covered but is just barely visible at the
right edge of this view below of Ullstämma sjön, which for me is The Tree In The Pond lake where a single Alnus glutinosa still stands, now more than three years after the pond was created.

Once the pond was ice free the pair moved to Ullstämma pond along with several Canada Geese that for a time seemed to have eyes for the future birth place of the seven offspring of the swan pair.

Since you never know if you will have time to create the post you have in mind, I give you a typical family picture, this one on June 1, 2014, from their feeding ground in May and June, the next pond upstream from the Tree in the Pond, which is connected by a centuries old small rock walled passage created by settlers at Ryddare torpet.

There were seven small cygnets in early June, but then one of them disappeared and a few weeks later a second so then there were five left. In the next montage you see them at about 4 months old, now gray and showing more independence. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Charles Blow - Constructing A Conversation On Race

One of the New York Times finest - if not the finest - columnist is Charles Blow. I have been asking for quite a while to take up the subject of the American system for classifying people by "race", and this column seems to be his first step in that direction. He does not, however, refer explictly to that subject).

The short URL will take you to that column and to the hundreds of reviewed comments published by the New York Times.

I mention the fact that the New York Times publishes only reviewed comments unless they have been submitted by Verifieds. Verifeds are Times comment writers whose submissions are "printed" immediately without review. They have been chosen by successfully passing review by an NYT algorithm!

I call attention to this because my Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter DN has no such system. Because of this it is not possible for DN readers to do for Sweden what Charles Blow is trying to start for America, "Skapa ett samtal om "race"" (Jag använder "race" på Amerikanska eftersom det svenska ordet "ras" motsvarar inte "race" på Amerikanska)

So today I would like to enter a conversation about "race" in Sweden to which Judith Kiros (see previous post) was a recent contributor in the form of an essay that DN published in full. That essay is discussed in DN today, 24 August, in a thoughtful essay by Susanna Birgersson ( ledare). I would like to discuss both Judith Kiros and Susanna Birgersson essays in a forum of the quality of the New York Times comment forum. 

Not possible, Never In Sweden. Efforts to get Judith Kiros to reply to tweets go unanswered. 

No conversation

(I add here the URL to Susanna Birgersson and will add one to JK later:

The short URL below will take you to Charles Blow and hundreds of comments accepted for publication by the New York Times Comment Reviewers.

Constructing a Conversation on Race

A true racial dialogue is not one-directional — from minorities to majorities — but multidirectional.
Or, copy and paste this URL into your browser:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Church Street - Burlington VT - 2014

Welcome to Church Street and Church Street People, 2014. There ain't no place on earth like Church Street and if you had the time to look back through this blog you would see why I say that. Each summer I leave Linköping in Sweden to spend a few weeks in the woods of northern Vermont and an hour or two almost every day on Church Street where so many great people turn up every day - without fail.

I am just back from the USA so tonight, July 2d, I just want to start in case any of the people shown here here have gone in to the blog and found nothing. Will be adding more. Right now I will just use captions to tell a bit about the people in the pics.

The High Point of Church Street 2014
Kids Lemonade Run by the "kids" from the King Street Center
All of those I got to know have their family roots in Sub-Saharan Africa but they are now just plain old Americans
(They are going to get their own post here but they provide the banner for 2014)
Church Street becomes the concert hall for a real potpourri of musicians of every age, musical taste, and development. In my time in Burlington this year the street was quieter than in the past - will insert URL to a previous year but not now.) There have been some really fine fiddlers in the past and that tradition is kept up by this fiddler whose fiddling caught my ear and led me to her.

I was just about to leave when I heard some really fine fiddling
giving some Irish folk tunes their place in the Church Street Sun.
The fiddler is Addie, 14 years old, and she gets the little kids dancing
 and even climbing the rock in back of her. She went from the Irish
 tunes to some French Canadian that were really neat.
 Now I hope to introduce her to  Swedish and Norwegian fiddlers.
She plays great!

What I love about being in my part of the USA - New England - is that it is so easy to talk with people and learn something about them and what they have on their minds, even if you will never see them again. Case in point below. We were both listening to Addie and "she" (unnamed at the moment) was praising Addie as was I when suddenly she said "Can I borrow your camera". The result is a Sony DSC RX 100 "Selfie" which without a doubt is convincing evidence of the happiness Church Street people can bring out in others.

"She" took the selfie with my camera, something I absolutely
could not manage myself, probably proof that people like
her who have grown up taking selfies have mastered the art of
holding an I phone or even more difficult a Sony DSC RX 100 and getting a pic.

Last for my first evening back in Sweden - need I say I need some sleep - is a clue to the range of human beings you will see on and around Church Street on any given day. My thought on seeing Mr. Orange was that he could stand next to Kids Lemonade and drum up business for them - as if they needed any help, they don't.

Want to have your 15 minutes of fame? Do as Mr. Orange,
wrap yourself in a color of your choice and strike up a conversation
as Mr. Orange had just done here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Quiet Cheer For Solitude from The Tree In The Pond

The first part of my title is from Frank Bruni's column in today's New York Times 

In a comment filed at 08:15 CET I promise readers images of The Tree In The Pond. At this moment I present the tree as I discovered it standing in splendid isolation in a pond that had been created as part of a project to restore the landscape to what it was in the 1700s.

The tree Alnus glutinosa offers its very first reflection here in June 2011 not long after the brook had been dammed up to create this pond and two larger ponds upstream. The September 2011 reflection is one of 100s captured since that first June day. Solitude and reflection, every day.
The Tree In The Pond
June 2011
Ullstämmaskogens naturreservat
The Tree In The Pond
19:27 CET

The Tree stopped being a living thing after that first summer as 
The Tree In The Pond
Although the no longer living tree shows no visible change in any single month its reflections change minute to minute and become the living Tree In The Pond

The Tree In The Pond
14:30 CET
Winter brings with it new mirrors

The Tree In The Pond
14:09 CET


Saturday, April 19, 2014

You Read It In The New York Times by Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics told New York Times readers on April 18, 2014 that the future of renewable energy in the United States is much brighter than one could ever guess from reading the New York Times or even much put out by the United States government. He chose to tell his readers that the cost of solar energy installations is falling rapidly so they can become a reality.

I had 5 comments/replies accepted and in the very last at this URL 

An addition: 16:05 Central European Time 19 April. You can read below that I discovered the solar energy installation as a benefit of running along Götakanalen. If you are more interested in the canal than in solar energy, visit one of my favorite posts:

There you can see the canal and read about Eva Dickson, the remarkable women who grew up in Slottet and became legendary for her exploits in Africa. Every time I run along the canal I stop to talk with Eva as I call this sculpture that has been in this  tree since 2011. In the distance across the wheat fields is Slottet and the solar-roofed barn you see below. If you have the time and visit the URL above then click on the Olive URL there and listen to You're Not Alone, which is what I tell Eva.

I promised readers that I would show them something I have never yet seen in my part of the United States, New England but can see here in Sweden every time I go out to run along Götakanalen. The photo at the bottom of this set of three was taken 18 April just west of Ljungsbro as I drove along Götakanlen toward Ljung and Ljungs Slott. If you go in to you will see that these "Solar Swedes" know how to present information to the people. Yes, it is all in Swedish, but just sample anyway. Never in (my) New England, not yet.

It gets better there. I walked in on the road you see back of my Hyundai Atos and discovered some extraordinary buildings, each with full solar roof. As of this moment I know nothing about the buildings, but the solar area is, forgive me, "awesome". Not only that there was really nice rock-and-roll coming from the end of the building, live or not I do not know.

Then I drove up to Ljungskyrka and looked out across the wheat fields I truly love and photographed the barn you see directly below this text. What I particularly love is the juxtaposition of the absolutely new, solar cell technology, and the historic old, Ljungs Slott, the "Castle". At an older post in this blog I tell you a bit about that but I cannot go further right now. 

So I pose a question: Why do I see all such technologies "Only in Sweden" and never in my New England, which really resembled Sweden when my forebears Oskar, Hulda, Anders, Hanna arrived there in the 1880s (see them att David Underwood, one of my California friends and New York Times Verified tells me (and Krugman readers) that one reason is that major efforts are made by big business in America to prevent the spread of renewable energy.

And, get this, today's Krugman column actually appears under the headline, "How Do You Say 'Nobody Could Have Predicted This' In Swedish?" Two real Swedes "Swede" and "Jonas" have answered his question and I  have filed a comment or two.

More on these pics when I get information from

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Comment at Tom Friedman New York Times 19 March

Above you see one element of the Swedish renewable energy system. The big one is called Big Glenn and was made by General Electric USA. There are 10 of the smaller ones surrounding Glenn, and Big Glenn produces as much electricity as those 10 in total. This picture was taken March 15 from Silvertärnan, a ferry taking me to Styrsö to stay in a house partly heated by air-to-air heat exchanger as is the neighbor's house. Up the road a bit about half of the new homes have installed Ground Source Geothermal (GSG) systems and somewhere in this blog I have a picture of one such. Important addition: Yesterday we visited the apartment building of the youngest family member, an apartment building heated as are 90 percent of all buildings in Göteborg, by Fjärrvärme, And, while there, the landlord and friend S sang the virtues of the GSG system that heats his home away from the apartment building.

Today my first comment on Thomas Friedman's energy column names all of these types of systems and more.  The comment is at:

I have just seen that some replies have been accepted but do not have time now to look at them. Each is intended to remind readers that there are more ways than one to heat a house or a building.

At various places in this blog there are posts on some of these. Have added a few links below.

This is posted in order to ask any reader in America "How is your home heated?"

You can reply here or to my Gmail address under my picture.

This addition (picture below) made Sunday 23 March after discovering that the post showing this had disappeared. What you see is the home of my friend, Micke, on an island, Styrsö, from which one can see the wind turbines at the top of this post. What you also see is the drill rig that bored a 120 m borehole in a few hours, creating the key element in a "bergvärme" (Ground Source Geothermal) system that would, the same day, be heating Micke's home. The corner of the house you see is where the kitchen is and just around the corner is the back door entrance to a hallway next to the kitchen. In that hallway is the heat pump that runs the system. The heat pump is in what looks like a refrigerator. In Sweden systems like this are installed in a day and have high reliability. My neighbor has one and somewhere in this blog there is a picture of his yard under which there is a similar 120 m borehold. I add this today and have also sent a Letter to the Editor (NYT) since I have learned that Americans just do not understand what this technology can do - anywhere.


Have heard from several readers, one angry and not interested in learning, the others wanting to know more especially about incineration in Sweden since their experience in America is like mine there-only bad.
NOTE ADDED 21 MARCH 2014. Dagens Nyheter has the Thomas Friedman column in translation to Swedish, and I have written an insändare (Letter to the Editor) for consideration by Dagens Nyheter. Hope to write a Letter to the Editor today about my NYT comment, now recommended by 420 readers. (Now I have sent that letter-8:31 AM Sunday 23d here at Apelgatan.

So here are some URLs to posts in this blog that show elements of the Swedish system.

The following two provide views of the system heating my home

The next one refers to an extraordinary even in the NYT. One line was devoted to Ground Source Geothermal at Ikea in Centennial Colorado.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

NYTimes West Bank and Water

 Roger Cohen discusses the progress of negotiations concerning the future of the West Bank. A reader filed a comment in which he correctly noted that the groundwater resources of the West Bank must be a major point in the discussion, something that few readers presumably would have known anything about.

My reply to the reader praises him for providing this information and promised that I would copy this section from my long-out-of print Environmental Geology (2d edition, 1999). Here it is.

Oddly I have been contacted by a faculty member who would like to use this book in a course to begin in the fall 2014, and the book is presently in India being copied. Stay tuned. (as with reading microscopic NYT comments just use Ctrl + the wheel on your mouse to make the smaller page readable). Blogspot does not want it shown larger than what you see. I have to leave for the Red Cross where I will meet my Jerusalem born Arab friend I refer to in my main NYT comment.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pipe Dreams - Keystone Or?

At this hour I am confronted by a headline in the New York Times telling me the "happy news" that maybe the pipes shown in the picture under the headline can soon be put in the ground as part of the Keystone pipeline.


I have submitted a comment (there are already 379) referring Times readers to my blog post of one year ago - 15 February 2013 - which shows a better kind of pipeline that could be laid. This kind of pipeline is bringing my home the hot water that silently and fumelessly is keeping me warm.

Since the New York Times refuses - long experience, I assure you - to show its readers pictures of such pipelines I copy two from the post of one year ago. These pictures are to suggest that there is more than one kind of pipeline laying that could provide employment in America.

Distance heating pipeline being laid in Linköping, February 2013
Link to 2013-02-15

As I have written in more than one comment in the Times, after many years of living with this system as the means of heating my home I would never want to live in a home heated by oil or natural gas - never.

Connection to the system that lies under the entire city