Friday, February 28, 2014

G is for Gaston Lagaffe

As Gaston Lagaffe appears today on Google's front-page

Gaston is a comic strip created in 1957 by the Belgian cartoonist André Franquin in the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Spirou. The series focuses on the every-day life of Gaston Lagaffe (whose surname means "the blunder"), 
a lazy and accident-prone office junior. 

Gaston is very popular in large parts of Europe.

Gaston has also appeared on a wide variety of merchandise. The editor of Spirou et Fantasio, the primary series of Spirou magazine, first introduced the character Gaston on February 28, 1957. The initial purpose was to fill up empty spaces in the magazine and offer a (comically artificial) glimpse of life behind-the-scenes at the paper.

One of the many Gaston Lagaffe figurines

Gaston’s appearance changed over the past 57 years. From his first appearance (left) to what he looked like yesterday (he has not arrived at the office; he is usually somewhat late on a Friday), but he will probably wear the same sweater, denim and sneakers. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

9977.95 km of non-violence from Cape Town to Lund

Non-Violence is a bronze sculpture by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd of an oversized Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver with a knotted barrel and the muzzle pointing upwards. 

I located sketches and prototypes of the firearm where Reuterswärd has written that the grieving after John Lennon and Bob Crane were murdered inspired him to design this artwork, in the Museum of Sketches in Lund, Sweden.

There are currently 16 sculptures all around the world.
They are placed in:

Bager Place Malmö  Sweden (original)
United Nations Headquarters New York  USA (original)
European Commission Kirchberg  Luxembourg (original)
Beijing  China
Federal Chancellery Berlin  Germany
Sergelgatan Stockholm  Sweden
Kungsportsavenyen Gothenburg  Sweden
Anna Lindh park Borås  Sweden
Mémorial de Caen Caen  France
Olympic Museum Lausanne  Switzerland
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Cape Town  South Africa
The Museum of Sketches Lund  Sweden
Roslagsbanan station Täby, Stockholm  Sweden
Fittja metro station Stockholm  Sweden
Åkeshov metro station Stockholm  Sweden


South Africa

Lund, Sweden

Since 1993, the Non-Violence sculpture is the symbol of The Non-Violence Project, a non-profit organisation, promoting social change with violence prevention education programs.

The South African Collins Manufacturing Enterprises is licensed to manufacture the pin for sale at the Museum of Sketches in Lund. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

A 1000 year old cathedral and its authentic time-machine

Together with 700 000 other visitors will do this year, you can take a guided tour of the Lund Cathedral now.

Lund Cathedral was consecrated in 1145, and contains many well-known artefacts and features of considerable historical interest.

The building of the Cathedral actually began some 65 years earlier in 1080. Its first Archbishop, Ascer, consecrated the high alter in the Crypt in 1123; and his successor, Archbishop Eskil, then consecrated the main cathedral building in 1145.

Among the Cathedral´s many attractions, there is the magnificent horological artistic masterpiece, Horologium mirabil Lundense. This early time and dating machine is still in working order with it rotating mechanical figures marking the passage of time. 

Horologium mirabil Lundense

The astronomical clock was constructed c. 1380. After having been in storage since 1837, it was restored and put back in place in 1923.

On top of the clock there are two knights that mark the hours. The upper board of the clock is the astronomical clock. It shows, among other things, the different phases of the Moon and where the Sun sets.

The lower board of the clock is a calendar. With the help of it one can, among other things, calculate when different mobile religious holidays will fall and on which weekday a certain date will fall. In the middle of the calendar stands Saint Lawrence, the Patron Saint of the Cathedral, and by his side the Symbols of the Four Evangelists. The present board of the clock goes from 1923 to 2123, after that a new one must be obtained so that the clock can be used.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A bridge that dissappear into the sea

The Öresund-link is a double-track railway and dual carriage-way bridge-tunnel across between Scania (southernmost Sweden) and Denmark.

A view of Malmo, Sweden, from the bridge just before its becomes a tunnel.

The artificial island of Peberholm

The bridge runs nearly 8 kilometres from the Swedish coast to the artificial island of Peberholm, which lies in the middle of the strait. The remainder of the link is by a 4 km tunnel from Peberholm to the Danish island of Amager.

The Öresund tunnel

The Øresund Bridge is the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe, and connects two major metropolitan areas: Copenhagen, the Danish capital city, and the major Swedish city of Malmö. It connects the road and rail networks of Scandinavia with those of Central and Western Europe. A data cable also uses the bridge to carry all Internet data transmission for Finland.The international European route E20 crosses via the road. The work was completed six months ahead of schedule.

A view from NASA's a satelite

The justification for the additional expenditure and complexity related to digging a tunnel for part of the way, rather than raising that section of the bridge, was to avoid interfering with air traffic from the nearby Copenhagen International Airport, to provide a clear channel for ships in good weather or bad, and to prevent ice floes from blocking the strait. The Øresund-link crosses the border between Denmark and Sweden, but there are no passport inspections.

The Øresund Bridge was designed by the Danish engineering firm COWI. The Øresund Bridge received the 2002 IABSE Outstanding Structure Award.

As I traveled through the tunnel on the 22nd of February, my little niece Olivia Jeanine Joyner moved through another passageway in South Africa, and was born!

Friday, February 21, 2014

3 Kingdoms & 5 allies

It's 10 000 years ago:
As the ice receded, reindeer grazed on the plains of Denmark and southernmost Sweden, while along the coast of western Sweden, marine resources were exploited. 

The Heimskringla presents the German mythical god, Odin, as an actual historical figure and the first Norse king. Sturluson traced the history of sixteen famous Nordic kings from this ancient figure through Halvdan the Black (ca. 839-ca. 860) and Magnus V Erlingsson (r. 1162-1184).

This was the land of the Ahrensburg culture and preceding Hamburg culture, tribes who hunted over territories 100,000 km² vast and lived in teepees on the tundra. On this land there was little forest.

Composite image of petroglyphs (rock carvings) from Scandinavia
(Häljesta, Västmanland in Sweden). Nordic Bronze Age (1700–500 BC).
The glyphs have been painted to make them more visible.

The terms Scandinavia and Scandinavian entered usage in the 18th century as terms for the Scandinavian countries, their peoples and associated language and culture.
In addition to the mainland Scandinavian countries (each with a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system) of:

The Nordic countries also include:
Åland (an autonomous province of Finland since 1920)
Faroe Islands (an autonomous country within the Danish Realm, self-governed since 1948)
Finland (a parliamentary republic, independent since 1917)
Greenland (an autonomous country within the Danish Realm, self-governed since 1979)
Iceland (a parliamentary republic; sovereign since 1918, independent since 1944)


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lets go to Lego

The Lego Group, a privately held company based in Billund, Denmark, 
began manufacturing interlocking toy bricks in 1949. 
I visited the shop in Vimmelskaftet.

For the past six decades a global Lego subculture has developed, supporting movies, games, competitions, and six themed amusement parks. As of 2013, around 560 billion Lego parts had been produced. Each with absolute precision.

In the shop I witnessed a very successful experiential marketing case. The costumers - and their parents - are invited to touch and play at a variety of stations.

To taking the experiences further, interesting, fun and relevant activities - are available to encourage participating. Shop assistants are eager to take pictures at the exhibitions or at the interesting shopfitting (no need for selfies!)

and back home in Jonathan's room . . .

boys will be boys.