The New Swans Gazette, issue 13

The New Swans Gazette

Issue 13, 2016-08-23

Artificial intelligence and two approaches to it

Artificial intelligence is the term for making computers become smart or less dumb would probably be closer to the point.

In the most abstract way you can probably use the Turing test to define what artificial intelligence is. The Turing test is a simple conversation where you can not decide if you are talking to a computer or to another human being. But that is on a higher level than we are at right now. What artificial intelligence is today is a way to program a computer to learn by itself instead of being told what to do in every single step.

In basic we have two approaches to do this at present day, and both approaches are influence by nature. One is based on the brain neurons and the other is based on genetics, go natural evolution.

So if we start with the neuron approach that is called Artificial neural network. We simulate a neuron by doing something simple. We create a simple function that accept all incoming values, we put a threshold value that either fires or does not fire. Fire in this case is either send something to the next neuron or not. We then connect a number of neurons in one layer, connect all those neurons to the next layer and finally have some neurons that gives out a result.

We then take old cases of the problem we want to teach the network, run it through the network. If you get the wrong result you correct the network a small way towards the right answer and run the examples again. By doing this we can, if we are lucky, teach the system to predict outcomes. For example we teach it to the multiplication system, but we don’t teach it all of the results. With a well balanced system it will learn the result for untrained examples. I have tried this myself and successfully trained a network to learn multiplication and even predict (somewhat) winning horses in a horse race.

Genetic algorithm are another approach to solve similar problems. With genetic algorithms we encode the problem as a genetic code. We then create a a population of genes, totally random ones, and then we do some sexy genetic things. We mate the genes, take half the genes from one, and half the genes from another and combine them. We do some mutations, switch a 0 to a 1 and vice verse. We then check what genetics works best for our problem and say in a very natural selection kind of way, you can mate on. We then keep running the problem through the population and in the end we will have a super human, well super algorithm to solve our problem.

Both can work, but the problem is there is no way to actually see what will or will not work. How many neurons should you use, how many layers. In genetic algorithms, how big population do we need, what values are needed to be encoded into gene to solve the problem. Here we are at best guesses with both approaches. They are like black boxes, they work but we can not really mathematical prove what each neurons should do to solve the problem. However they do work, in the best cases, and that in itself is a very cool thing.

//JMS


What was blitzkrieg during world war 2

First lets get the terms right, blitzkrieg was actually a term, as far as I know, used in some newspapers, among them a British newspaper (1939) regarding the tactics of the German army. The German term is “Bewegungskrieg“ or war of movement combined with a “Kesselschlacht“, the battle of encirclement.

One can go very far back in history to find the operational reason for this kind of war, but for this article i will only go back until world war 1.

But even before that, what is a war of movement in a world war 2 setting.

The first tactical decision is to concentrate your forces in one point to swamp the defending forces, create a breakthrough at one or a few single points. The second part is to feed quick moving forces, tank divisions or motorized division, through this breakout point and harass and disrupt the enemies rear. They would cut supply lines and communications to the front units and so impair their fighting ability. The last step, the “Kesselschlacht“, was to encircle and eliminate the surrounded forces, usually with infantry.

So what spawned these tactics and why were they developed in the first place?

Germany could not fight a prolonged war, specially against France/England and Russia and win a war of attrition. They did not have the manpower or the industrial capacity to win such a war. That had been proved in world war 1 where the imperial German army tried offensive on mass and the losses were severe with little or no gain. The one tactic that came out of world war 1, and gave a foundation for the “Bewegungskrieg“, was the stormtroopers. They were heavily armed soldiers that bypassed the enemy strong points and by doing so managed to create a deep penetration of the front. Being infantry on foot they still had great limitations in the depth of penetration that they could manage, but it was a tactic that proved highly successful, even if they failed in the end.

In world war 2 they created the panzer division to do the part of the stormtroopers. Combining this with air force cooperation they managed to do some very deep penetrations, managing the “Kesselschlacht“, especially in the early stages of the war. This doctrine does have some sever limitations. In Russia, the logistic worked against it. You could preform big encirclements but as the Soviet union managed to create new divisions, trade space for time and so the big encirclements that worked on a tactical level, actually did not work on the strategic level.

The other way to combat “Bewegungskrieg“ is defense in depth. The most striking example of this must be the battle of Kursk. The Germans wanted to encircle a Russian enclave, but as they were forewarned about this operation, they created defense in depth.

Defense in depth is to slow down the offensive spearheads until they loose momentum, creating high causalities and hindering the “Kesselschlacht“, in fact creating a war of attrition, one that Germany could not hope to win.

This was a brief introduction to blitzkrieg during world war 2, and its limitations.

//JMS

The New Swans Gazette, issue 12

The New Swans Gazette

Issue 10, 2016-07-28

Content

Editorial
Jason Bourne, movie review
Short Story


Editorial

An evolution of revolution and one man rule

There have been many uprisings in the world, in its history, and most of them have just exchanged one man rule for another. I am not dismissing the women, they have also had their hands in the cookie jar, Indira Gandhi in the late 70s comes to mind. She however got elected later on so she does not really fit in this article. I suppose they just haven’t had the opportunity so far, but we are looking forward to their participating in the future.

Revolutions, we have seen quite a lot of them in the past and in the present, and usually it does not really end well if you like democracy. If you don’t like democracy and like some spilling of blood, they have been rather successfull.

Lets take the Russian revolution to start with, the big one. Overthrowing a despotic ruler by the name of Nicholas II. Today he seems like a gentle breeze compared to what would come, but a dictator nonetheless. During his rain he had the secret police, the Okhrana, to do his bidding. In 1905, a peaceful demonstration, by all accounts, were shoot at by the military killing 92. So after some revolutions that failed, in 1917 they made it, touch down you might say. After a struggle for power Mr Stalin came out on top, killing many more, how many we will never know.
Grey turned to black and kiss your freedom goodbye.

Spain, the year is 1936. A turbulent past had enriched the soil to grow a revolution, this time from the right. A minority government on the left managed to get elected, we have some unrest and “Bobs your uncle” a revolution. The Spanish army and the Spanish right did not like this kind of an election, so they started a revolution, seems only fair. It took some time but in the end General Franco came out ahead of the pack. Now how many he killed, not personally of course, they never seem to do, is not really known, but probably between 50,000 and 150,000 people. It could be more but probably not less. It took until the late 70s before Spain were back on the path of democracy.A side not is that I watched Francos funeral on TV at the young age of 3. At 3 I also did a drawing for a nurse, all kids had to do one back then, and I drew Francos coffin. Seems already at that young age I knew the proper place for any dictator, 6 feet under.

Now lets jump forward to 2016 and we end up in Turkey. A revolution gone wrong and now a counter revolution ongoing, doing much better by all accounts. Many arrests, the death penalty might do a comeback and journalists imprisoned by the handful. It looks like a country on a path that so many other countries have take before. Is it a one man rule? A democracy only as deep as the paper it is printed on? The answer seems to lean against the affirmative but time will tell in more details. For me it seems like a scary story I do not really want to read even though I have to.

//JMS


Movie review

Jason Bourne 2016

This is a poster for Jason Bourne (film). The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist. Used as Fair use.

Director Paul Greengrass is back, teaming up with Matt Damon to make another instalment of the Bourne saga.

In this movie Bourne is making “a living” as a bare knuckle fighter, totally off the grid and living as unhappy as he can be. Meanwhile at the CIA, a new program have been started called Ironhand, and what that program is about is a bit vague in the beginning of the movie, but don’t worry all will be revealed in the end. Lets say social media will come and haunt you, or maybe it already is.

Of course someone wants to expose the evil doings of the agency, presented by a familiar face from a couple of the older movies. She drags Bourne out of his unhappy retirement, CIA spot him and the “hide and seek” dance begins. A movie filled with car chases and quick fight scenes together quick cutting between many different cameras to keep the tempo going.

The movie has some good actors, and as a swede it is always nice to see Alicia Vikander pop-up in a big blockbuster movie. Except for Matt Damon they have also thrown in Tommy Lee Jones and Vincent Cassel for good measure. The director has done some nice Bourne movies before and the budget of 120 million dollars should have produced something better than what they managed to do. The weak point, and it is a major weak point, is the plot. The story is thin and the character development, well it just is not there. You can throw in all the car chases you want and quick cuts between cameras to give tempo, but without some kind of story to carry the visual niceties, it falls a bit flat.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not like I left the cinema hating the movie, but I did leave the warm glow of the movie screen with a feeling of “Well, could have been worse I suppose”.

The Bourne character does not develop at all and maybe that is OK for this kind of a movie, so I can live with that. The problem is the story in itself. Why Bourne is back and how others react to that, it just is no believable. A production with a lot of money but lacking that most needed thing, a good story that feels believable inside the confine of the movie screen.

Ok so it is nicely filmed, have a good tempo and nice effects, and that carries the movie pretty far by itself. The lack of a really good story stops it from reaching any higher grades from me.
Maybe a 6 would b fair grade from me, a rather weak 6, but a 6 nonetheless.

Watch it, but don’t have to high expectations. Enjoy the car chases and when the end credits roll by before your eyes you will feel, or at least I did, that it was almost all about nothing, but the car chases they were good.

//JMS


Short Story

Pondering and imagination

He was sitting beside a lake, even though lake was to grand a name for this small mosquito infested part of Kolyma. It was puddle, a swamp that slowly sucked the water away to some unseen destination. The buzzing sound kept hitting his eardrums, one sound ball after another, like a grease gun spitting out bullets far more dangerous than the lead kind.
Looking out over the water, his gaze blocked by the trees and those organic, biting specks he fed weather he wanted to or not.
“What lies beyond those trees,” he thought.
He scratched his hand ferociously, ending a couple of life’s in the process.
Closing his eyes, he travels with a speed no physics can measure. Over the might, melancholic tundra, speeding across scattered cities and countries that blurred beneath his outstretched imagination. The North sea passed under him, waves striking that old sea, a song played in his head, and then it was gone, as was the sea beneath him.
He returned to the lake, to his home, travelling and yet never leaving.
“What are you doing, come inside,” Olek, the ever present shadow, mumbled to him. He looked around but his shadow had gone inside. Looking up he sees the sun covered by a cloud, grey and dirty, unwashed for millennia as far as he knew.
Looking down, a mosquito feeding on him with a frenzy, a full one course meal, everything you need.
“A genius,” he exclaimed with a shout to no one in particular, or maybe it was directed to Olek.
“It eats, plays, fornicates, creates something unique in the same old way it always have, and it never looks beyond the trees.

//JMS

The New Swans Gazette, issue 11

Issue 11, 2016-07-26

The transmutation of one language into another via Ad Verbum

Dear friends and dear enemies, lets be generous and say dear all to simplify things, had I been a teacher I would probably have started with “Today’s lesson,” but as I am not a teacher, lets find some better way to start this off, shall we.

This article will be about Ad Verbum, the translation company, and my experience working for them as a freelance translator. I am only one person, so you have to take these scribblings for what they are, just one opinion. Other people might have other opinions and they are welcome to them, after all who am I to say what opinions other people should have?
I think I am digressing a bit, so lets get back on track.

I have been working with Ad Verbum for a couple of years now and it has been a good experience.
The managers are quick to answer any emails and they are on the dot with the payments. All in all, a congenial bunch of people.
Now, I have not met them in real life, but from a virtual electronic email point of view, they are a very nice group of people that owes me a lot of beers. Well, in fact they don’t, but you can’t blame a man for trying, I am after all only human, “Technically speaking” some have said, before I got my beer that is.

What they think of me is best left unsaid, the swear words might shut down the Internet, or maybe not, who knows.
Not all is of course rainbows and sunshine with unicorns running around your feet.

The deadlines can sometimes be brutal, and I mean brutal, but you can always try to negotiate an extension. Sometimes you will get it and other times you won’t. If you can not do the job within the time frame or for some other reason, the “Not available” button is there for your pleasure.
On occasion I have to use that button more often than other times, as life or other jobs get in the way, but a quick “This would be my best deadline” usually keeps the managers happy.

So in short, there are no unicorns working at Ad Verbum, as far as I know, but they do run a tight ship with some very nice people.
They reply quickly, faster than Lucky Luke some say, and they always pay your invoice on time and that is not all that common with other translation agencies. So, an applaud from me and I take a bow, of course.
Sometimes they make mistakes, like we all do, but they fix them and mistakes do not happen all that often, rather seldom I would say.

If I would be looking for an agency as a freelance translator I would put them high on the list.
I would probably also use them if I needed something translated. Knowing the chain, translation-proofreading-quality control, makes the finish product more polished than it otherwise would have been.

This is all I had to say, well I had much more to say, but like all good things it has to come to and end at some point, sooner say some, later says I.

//JMS

The New Swans Gazette, issue 10

The New Swans Gazette

Issue 10, 2016-07-21

Content
Editorial
Short Story


Editorial

Summer cleaning in Turkey, a song about a coup d’état

2016 we could follow an attempt of the military to take control in Turkey and that is, historically speaking, not a new occurrence for Turkey, with the last one happening 1980 I believe. Some other military strong-arming has happened after that, so one should perhaps not be to surprised what happened 15th of July.

What strikes me as more curious is how quick and widespread president Erdogan started cleaning out people across the board. From the military, obvious, but also from schools, academics are forbidden to leave the country and so on.

Now this might be some quick reacting from a president that likes to shut down independent TV stations and newspaper.
But still I am left wondering how quickly he acted, almost like he has had a plan for just this event and just waited for an opportune moment to act. One could go so far as to believe that he had his hand in the cookie jar, but that might be taking it a bit to far.
To clean out the military is obvious, if a military coup has happened there will be arrests in that organisation. But schools, that really left me baffled until I realised something about the president. He wants power and he neither need or want any opposition. Academics would be a pool of that, so striking them has a twisted logic. The same logic that shuts down critical newspapers or TV channels.

As I recently read George Orwell and one can not help but to see some striking similarities between his books and reality.

So a military coup gave the president a possibility to get rid of opponents, a summer cleaning if you will. I would not be surprised if the next step is to start jolting the constitutional court to move them his way. He has already stated that he “neither respect nor accept” the ruling from the constitutional court regarding the detention of two journalists that had their rights violated.
So without to much foresight I think we will see more power in the presidents hand. New constitutional amendments that will work in his favour.

That said, the military coup, if that would have succeeded, would have been even worse. Whatever you think about the president, he has been democratically elected, and that is always better than a military junta.
Shutting my eyes I however see several democratically elected leaders that themselves did not act very democratically and then I open my eyes to watch what will happen.

//JMS


Short Story

The insomniac sit-down-hi-ho

A late night story
fuelled by the crickets outside

 
I woke up, wondering why I did not sleep and then realized I already slept and just dreamt that I was awake.
It was a peculiar feeling, a slow-motion reality speeded up by the vague sensation that I had something I needed to do, I just could not remember what that was.
So I sat up in bed, the cover falling down to my feet, curling up like a worm, the folds creating a face that twisted in my direction, looking right at me as the cover came to rest on that invisible floor, the sheet of glass my mind had dreamt up.
“Why are you looking at me? “ the worm asked inquisitively.
I call it a worm, as that was the closest being I could relate to as I saw my dirty white cover hovering above a purple sea going down into infinity.
“Did I stare, I did not mean to you know, “ I answered, not unpleasantly, to it.
“My name is Usmandia”
“Usmandia, that is an interesting name.”
“It is some letters randomly arranged into a word, so yes it is interesting,” Usmandia replied.
“What do you do?”
“Me, I wait for you to fall asleep. Until then I observe you, I observe the sea beneath my non-existing body. It is really interesting you know!.”
I tried to imagine what that would be like, being an observer that observed only the things a sleeping mind would dream up. Usmandia continued to watch me, and I watch it, but watching someone is hard work so slowly my biological curtains started to fall down.
I woke up with a twitch, the sun struck my eyes like a baseball bat swinging against my confused mind.
Looking down I saw my cover on the floor, twisted like a worm, and its mouth said, “Your still sleeping you know.”
 
//JMS

The New Swans Gazette, issue 9

Issue 9, 2016-07-04

This will be the first installment of my attempt to write a crime story in poetry format. I hope you will enjoy it.

The decapitated man

Inspector Karphen, with hanging eyelids, a drowsy look on his face
watching the staff moving this person of late
now lacking one important fact, his head had gone missing
“Probably fatal,” he thought and wrote it down as a fact.

“Doctor what can you tell me? “ expecting not that much
the doctor did not let him down, not as such
“He lost his head, pretty important I would say,
for you not a problem, fatal for him,” the coroner exclaimed!

“Yes, yes, but what was the blade that decapitated this mans head?”
“You will have to wait and see, post-postmortem will tell us more,”
said the doctors in his usual grumpy way, leaving inspector Karphen
non-the-wiser, as they say.

He looked over the grounds, nothing strange except a bead
single and white, looking placed in the grass
with a single swoop he put it in a zip bag for forensic tests
might be important if the inspector had to guess.


To be continued

//JMS

 

The New Swans Gazette, issue 8

Issue 8, 2016-06-06

 The path to a Swedish national day

Why are we crazy Swedes celebrating our national day the 6th of June. Unlike many other countries we just picked a date from history and said “Lets make this our national day”.

So what we are celebrating is the inauguration of Gustav Vasa as king of Sweden, 1523, on the 6th of June and Sweden became a sovereign state.

Now we did not really celebrate this until 1983 when Parliament made this the national holiday. It was not even a free day until 2005.

So what is this day for me, well not that much to be honest. It is hard to bridge 400 years of history and after that just say that this day, this should be our day.

A day more in tune with the Swedish party spirit would be midsummer, now that is a day of celebrating. But as this is our national day I can only say, “Happy Birthday Sweden,” may you have 500 years more of prosperity.

Written by JMS

The New Swans Gazette, issue 7

lobbying-161689_640

Issue 7, 2016-06-01

The evolution of corruption

lobbying-161689_640The top down approach

A politician takes some liberties with public funds, to put it mildly, gives a project to a friend, embezzle some money.

His/her subordinates see that our manager, boss, elected official, is creating a cosy life for themelves, why should I not be able to do this also. The person does a little underhand dealings, maybe put some pressure on other people, use the power that has been entrusted to him/her, they get a piece of the cake.

The cakes grows smaller, the people under him/her see a diminishing cake and of course they want to eat some, so they do some smaller things. Smaller because this is what they can get away with, and the cake grows even smaller.

Finally the people see what is happening, they complain, “THIS IS NOT RIGHT, BUT WHAT CAN WE DO,” and with a shrug of their shoulders the present situation remains as it is, status quo.

The bottom up approach

You wait in queue to get some documents, the queue is so long, it is warm, you have no energy to wait, and then you see your friend. “Hey can you just help me out with this?” you might ask.

Of course your friend helps you out, he/she is a good friend, and another person has to wait in the queue that much longer.

Your friend, a congenial fellow, a likeable person, needs some help, like we all do.

The bureaucracy is such a hassle, so he checks with his friend, a small favour. He gets it, just a returned favour, nothing big, maybe help to get rid of a staff member that has been bugging him, write a petition, nothing big.

Finally we are at the top, you are ahead of the pack, ruler of the land, for 4 years or so. Of course you have had a lot of help, and you must return the favours, what kind of person would you be if you did not do at least that.

So you do, give a project here, help a friend out there and for this you deserve some cake, after all you are at the top. Now the cake looks a bit scruffy, hardly more than crumbs, so you scoop up what you can, so little after all.

In the basement

Here we are, the friendless few. We stand in queue, like we should, don’t want to get in front of some other person, they are after all waiting too. We pay our taxes, we like what they can bring, we get schools, roads, healthcare, the things that should help the poorest, the masses and not just the few.

It is a bit scary to see the cake go bad, smaller at every step, but what can we do? Maybe we have a friend that can help us out after all.

by JMS

The New Swans Gazette, issue 6

The New Swans Gazette

Issue 6, 2016-03-17

Because of a heavy work load, there have not been any issue the last couple of weeks.

However, to not let any readers hanging I have made a couple of videos you might enjoy, so here they are.

This one is called “Translators in Heat“. Don’t let the title scare you, noting sexual about it, just a homage to some horror films I quite like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72xgDRNEHRA

The second film,  “The faceless man“, is more of an art project than anything else. An important subject about what is happening in the world today. It was also a platform for me to learn Blender (3D animation), so it lacks some consistency between the scenes. I think you might enjoy it anyway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu591O2Ooqs

So that was all from The New Swans Gazette for now.

//JMS

 

The New Swans Gazette, issue 5

The New Swans Gazette

Issue 2, 2016-02-27

Content
Editorial
Poetry
News from Sweden
Film review


Editorial

1986 Sweden lost a bit of its nativity as Olof Palme was gunned down on a street in Stockholm. We had many crimes in Sweden before that, for example the occupation of the West German Embassy in 1975, by the terrorist group the “Red Army Faction”, but this murder was and still is a water shed moment in our history.

It started the countries journey from the social solidarity, that had been the norm, to focus more on the individual and those that are working.
The country went from focusing to help the ones that needed help, to help those that have a job. Now this is maybe a bit hard, but in this writers opinion it is the direction the country is going towards.

Palme was the last of the true socialist. Born in a family with a nobility name, considered a class traitor when he was a live, he still followed his hearth. Not everything was great, taxes was high, maybe the highest in the world, but on the other side you got a great safety net for that money. Now, decades since he passed out of history, taxes has been cut, a lot, and people are asking why there is no money for the public institutions, and at the same time they fight to keep their tax cuts.

We went from solidarity with the ones that have a hard time to, greed is good, now is that no a said thing.

 

//JMS


Poetry

Carpet beating blues
If you want to beat someone up,
try a carpet, they need it you know,
get that dust out of their system
and you get out some aggressions, perhaps?
I know it is a most miserable task,
to go BDSM on a carpet, 50 shades of dust as it were,
but no enjoyment for anyone, except the carpet,
being tied up and all, as they are.

//JMS


News from Sweden

The murder of a prime minister

1986, the 28th of February, at 23:21 Olof Palme, the prime minister of Sweden at the time, was shot and killed after having seen the film Bröderna Mozart. He had declined bodyguard protection for the rest of the evening, as he had not planned to go out any more, which is why it was only him and his wife when the murder was committed.

The biggest murder investigation in Swedish history was instigated and the first lead they got was the murder weapon, a Smith & Wesson .357, based on the ammunition used. After that a lot of theories surfaced who could have committed the murders, from CIA to the Kurds. A reward of 50 million SEK was issued for anyone who could name the killer, the reward is still unclaimed.

1988 Christer Pettersson, a criminal and alcoholic, was arrested and convicted for the murder. Later he was acquitted in a higher court.

Olof Palme was, especially at the time of the murder, hated in some right wing circles in Sweden. He had been going after super powers like USAs involvement in Vietnam. Regarding the bombing of Hanoi he made a speech comparing it with other places where people were hurt and tormented like the genocide committed by the Germans in Babi Yar 1941.

He also took a firm stance against apartheid in South Africa.

Many theories have surface to the motive for the murder, and many of those theories have a connection with foreign powers. Others are regarding some right wing elements of the police that was unhappy with his politics.

The murder will most likely never be solved and is a water shed moment in Sweden, a naivity lost.

Short news

  • 2015, during a naval exercise, in Sweden, an unknown submarine was spotted. Classed as a 2, the second highest grade for detecting foreign naval vessels in Swedish waters.
  • The Swedish Democrats (SD) want to have the possibility to nullify citizenship for foreign born citizens.
  • An infant was left on the steps on the steps of a immigration office in Norrköping.
  • Paolo Macchiarinis, the surgeon under investigation for his synthetic trachea operations, are now being investigated in Russia for his operations there.
  • A 31 year old man has been arrested for suspected war crimes in Syria.

//JMS


Film review

Frost – Nixon – The Original Watergate Interviews

This is a documentary, a number of interviews with the former president Nixon preformed by David Frost. The interviews took place three years after he had rather resined then face impeachment. For you who don’t know the story behind this, it is like this. Some people did a break in of the democrats office in the Watergate hotel (Nixon was a republican). They got caught and that is the begging to unravelling, covers ups, phone bugging of the democrats. So that might have been it, until it turned out that people around Nixon started to give money to the persons arrested for them to keep their mouth shut.

The interviews were in total 28 hours but compressed for this film into 85 minutes. There is another DVD release with 2 discs that has about 380 minutes long, but that one I have not seen.

I think this is a fascinating memory of events that are not that far back in time. Frost really puts Nixon on the spot a couple of times and in general it is an interesting film to watch.

If you don’t like documentaries this is probably something best skipped over, but if you, like me like to know what has happened I recommend it.

As it is a kind of unique document I give it a 5 out 5 just because of that, and of course that David Frost did his job well.

//JMS

 

The New Swans Gazette, issue 4

Issue 2, 2016-02-20

Content
Editorial
Craiova guerilla-art-movement strikes again
Poetry
News from Sweden
Film review
Short Stories


Editorial

Time for the 4th issue of the New Swans Gazette. In this issue we will as per usual have some poetry, some news from Sweden and other bits and pieces. The continuation of the story “The Mechanical Man” can also be found.

In this editorial I will talk a bit about groupings.
It can be religion, the police “we don’t inform about each other” or any other grouping you can think of. They all have the mindset, it is between them, everyone else except us, and us, like it is a war. You can see this same phenomena in schools, with the clicks that forms, cool kids against the not so cool kids, you can see it everywhere.
In Sweden the refugees are bunched into a group, “They are just coming here to scavenge on our welfare”. Before the refuges it was anyone living on welfare or even being on sick-leave, “They are living on my tax money,” and in the future it will be some other grouping we direct our anger at.

This is the most dangerous phenomena I can think of, where you stop seeing individuals and only see the group, convicting everyone in that group based on the actions of a few, that is something that scares me. We don’t have to go far back to see where this mindset will lead us, Germany during WW2, Rwanda or the war in Bosnia.

So when I hear anyone saying, “Look we know how they are,” I will always try to say we don’t. But I am only human, with all the faults of a pattern seeking mammal, so I fall myself in the same trap. But I try very hard not to, which I think we all should do. If someone commits a horrible crime, that person is a horrible person, not the persons whole family or even the whole country she/he is from.

So lets form our opinions about any individual, based on the individual itself, and not based on the group we place them in, just because it is so much easier to judge groups instead of individual.

//JMS


Craiova guerilla-art-movement strikes again

The 13th of February, the Guerilla-art-movement of Craiova have struck again. This time, as appearing from nowhere, they put up their exhibition at the Teatrul National MARIN SORESCU in Craiova outside hall Ion. D. SARBU.

Headed by Veronica and Xaara they occupied, for a time, three panels and filled them with art in different styles, projecting different ideas.

This writer loves this concept of art not constricted by conventions or other restrictions, just presenting art for the pure joy of it.

The works are intriguing, presented in a scale down way, avoiding all pretensions. They are perfectly situated outside the hall, to get culture from within but also from without the theatre performance.

I do not know how long it will be up, but if you have chance you should really go and see it, before it again dissipates into the shadows, to reappear at some other place.

//JMS


Poetry

Is it good, is it bad, is it what

I had a good idea today
at least I thought so
until my conscious asked me
“How do you know?”

Thinking about this for a while
in all honest I did not think at all
had my coffee and sandwich with no other thoughts at all
until my mind asked “Well what is your answer?”

Well dearest meddling brain of mine
what are you talking about
making me forget the idea I had
now I know, that is bad

If I just could remember what it was
that thought I had before
someone interrupted my train of thought
is that no life, or is it what?

//JMS


News from Sweden

What food do the elderly pay for

In Sweden, if you are a pensioner, you can apply and get food sent home that you only have to heat in the microwave/oven when you can not cook for yourself.. This food you of course have to pay for from your pension, how much you pay depends on your pension and what municipality you are living in. Lately this food has come under criticism because of its lack of taste, bad quality and so on.

In Jönköping the politicians decided to check the food unannounced and after they had eaten they had only praise for the food and quality of it. The problem was that the people responsible for cooking the food made a special menu with ground meat steaks for the politicians but the pensioners got Pölsa (something similar to the Scottish Haggis). Now Pölsa is not a bad dish if prepared correctly but that is beside the point.

To make a special meals for the people who should check the quality just makes this writer questioning what they are trying to hide, and if they did not want to hide anything, why create a special menu.

Short news

  • A 30 year old women died from a stab wound in Säffle.
  • The flue has struck hard this year, requiring more younger people to require intensive care.
  • A 17 year old Swedish girl, arrested in Wien, has been convicted of planning to travel to IS held territory. She got 1 year of probation.
  • The profit for Volvo has increased with several billion SEK.
  • A mother is in court for trying to kill her baby.

//JMS


Film review

The Wasp Woman from 1959, horror/sci.fi, directed by Roger Corman and Jack Hill

The plot is thin in this film, but in general it is like this. Starlin (Susan Cabot) head of a failing cosmetic company is loosing her looks. She manage to get hold of some manages to get the enzymes from a queen bee that should stop ageing. Starlin takes it and turns into a homicidal bee woman.

The story is thin, the filming is rather crappy and they had no idea on how to get some suspense into the plot. The special effects are as bad as you could make them in the late 50s. So in short it is a bad film, a B-movie if you will.

However I quite like it, a film to watch and laugh at, especially when the killer queen bee-woman preferred way of killings is just to run at the person and, well that is it. The biggest drawback it has as a B-movie is the bad quality of the film. It is grainy, the sound is bad, so it is a bit of a hassle just to watch it.

The grade can only be the lowest, a 0. But if you are a B-movie enthusiasms like me, then it jumps up to a weak, very weak 2 out of 5.

//JMS


Short Stories

The mechanical man

Copyright: Magnus Svanström, 2016

Chapter 1 – the accident, continued

Now Mr Aldershoot, you just calm down, your just in a bit of a chock,” the nurse said as the three of them stood me up. With the sound of joints creaking ever so slightly, I watch myself in the mirror as I am being helped to the chamberpot. A face, scared, one eye replaced with a spinning wheel, the other having what looked like a spy glass staring back at me. My had been my legs showed under the hospital gown I was wearing, some copper alloyed supports where my legs had been. We reach the chamberpot, but I don’t urinate, instead the nurse unbutton my shirt showing the working innards of my body. A marvel of cogs, wheels and a small steam powered plant that moves everything. She twists a valve that expels some steaming hot water into the pot.

Look carefully Mr Aldershoot. Every time you feel the need to pass water you do like this. It is very important or you could flood your system!”
“But, what happened, what…”
She doesn’t pay any attention to my questions, just ask if I understand what to do and how important it is.
“Yes, yes, I understand, just take me back,” which they do.

The nurse goes out, and as she does I hear the inner workings of my body, like a ticking clock and then a safety valve releasing steam, the same way some of those calculating steam driven machines do.
A doctor appears and I know he is one, as that is how he introduces himself.
“Hello Mr Aldershoot, I’m doctor Jones, I hear you are up and about and a little bit distraught by your own appearance.”

What happened to me doctor, why did you turn me into a freak?” I need to know what happened, why they did this to me, I feel the anger boiling up.

The doctor sits calmly, he does not get agitated even though I am, and with his calm demeanour I soon simmer down enough to be able to hold a polite conversation.

Well your father arranged this of course, who else but him could have have provide the technology and the money for it.”

My, my, my father did this to me. For gods sake why and where is he?”

…to be continued.

//JMS