Alarming increase in dementia. Royal ship becomes movie. More read ebooks. Carl Philip gets his boathouse. The zebra's stripes.
Alarming increase in dementia
Every other Swede runs the risk of dementia. These alarming results come from a fresh study from Umeå University, which looked at the development of dementia among 85-year-olds and older people. “In 5 to 7 years, the number of people with dementia went up 40percent,” says Yngve Gustafson, professor in geriatrics at Umeå University. One surprising result shows that having bypass surgery increases the risk. Since the beginning of the 21st century, scientists in the so-called Gerdastudien have looked closer at the elderly in Västerbotten and Finnish Österbotten, and they are almost done with their 10-year follow up. “If these numbers are correct,” says project coordinator Martin Gustafson, “then we have to reevaluate earlier prognoses. Earlier calculations don’t seem to be correct.” That such a great number of people who have had bypass surgery operations later fall victim to dementia is not strange, according to Gustafson. He believes it is because it is more common today to operate on older people with heart issues. And today more than ever before, people with heart issues live to be older than 85 years old.
Royal ship becomes movie
Hollywood has fallen for the story behind the Swedish royal ships Mars, Svärdet and Kronan—three 16th century ships that sank off the coast of Öland but were fairly recently found. “Americans think it’s really cool, to them it’s like a real ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’ They don’t know the Swedish story, but the fact that the three ships are in such great shape appeals to them,” says Richard Lundgren, the diver who found Mars, to daily Barometern. Mars was built in 1561 for the first Swedish hereditary king, Erik XIV. She was the largest ship in the Baltic Sea: approximately 70 meters (230 feet). With more than 150 guns and cannons, she had more firepower than any warship before her. After an explosion on board, she went down in her first battle against a Danish fleet aided by ships from the German city of Lübeck. Svärdet, a legendary tall ship built in 1642, was also one of the largest warships of its day and a prime example of richly decorated “gaudy” ships, built largely to impress the enemy. Svärdet was lost in the largest naval battle in the Baltic, off the island of Öland. She was set afire by a Dutch ship after having held her own for almost five hours. The commander, admiral Claes Uggla, chose to go down with his ship rather than surrender to the enemy. Svärdet's sister-ship, Kronan, was built in the 1670s as the flagship of the Swedish fleet, one of the world’s largest seagoing vessels and one of its most heavily armed. Like Svärdet, Kronan was a “gaudy” ship, designed to intimidate the enemy with size and fanciness. It didn’t work in this case.
More read ebooks
More and more Swedes read e-books. Last year over 80,000 e-books were sold, three times as many as the year before. And the number of Swedish titles is growing. It is Elib, Sweden’s greatest distributor of electronic books that has produced these numbers. One explanation for the growth spurt is there are more e-readers or tablets out there. Smart phones have also made electronic books more readily available. “There were hardly any tablets in Sweden two and a half years ago,” says Py Söderström, marketing director at Elib. The e-reader looks like an iPad, but with the difference that its focus is the reading experience. Even libraries utilize Elib’s services and have noticed a growing interest for e-books. In some places e-books have become so popular that libraries have had to put restrictions on loans because it simply became too expensive. Elib works as a distributor between publishers and retailers of e-books; among the bigger retailers are Adlibris, Dito and Bokia.
Carl Philip gets his boathouse
Prince Carl Philip has been granted exemption to build a new boathouse the size of 40 square meters (430.5 square feet) on his farm outside Västerljus, according to a notice in Södermanlands Nyheter. The decision was made by the planning board in Trosa, which went against the executive committee’s rejection. “Never before have we been in disagreement in a case like this,” says chairman of the board Tomas Landskog. The board agreed to let the prince build the boathouse since they believe it is not going to prevent public access to the water.
The zebra's stripes
Do you know why the zebra has stripes? For a long time, researchers believed the stripes were there to confuse lions and other dangerous beasts. But a new study shows that the stripes actually protect against much less scary enemies. The discussion about the zebra’s stripes is quite a controversial one—ever since the 19th century it has been debated why these little horse relatives look so strange. Now a group of Hungarian and Swedish researchers, led by evolutionary ecologist Susanne Åkesson at Lund University, have taken a new angle. Horseflies, the females of which feed on blood, are attracted to polarized light—light waves that are oriented in a particular direction that we experience as glare. This glare lures the bugs most likely because it resembles light reflected off water, where they lay their eggs. Åkesson and her colleagues have found that on horses, black fur reflects polarized light better than brown or white. After newer experiments, the team has found that zebra stripes are the best fly repellent, and the narrower the stripes the better. The results may help explain why zebras' skinniest stripes are on their faces and legs. "That's also the place where you have the thinnest skin," said Åkesson. Why then don’t horses have zebra stripes? Åkesson believes the answer may be that there are more horseflies in Africa compared to more temperate regions. Also modern horses may have had their natural bug repellant bred out of them by humans. "We have maybe created coat patterns that we like but maybe not what would have been favored in nature," she said.