Sweden’s fast with broadband.
Akamai, a company that provides a distributed computing platform for global Internet content and application delivery, has published a report that lists the countries with the fastest broadband connections. South Korea tops the list with 14.6 megabits per second, number 2 is Japan with 7.9 mbps (megabits per second), third is Hong Kong with 7.6, fourth is Romania with 6.2 mbps and on fifth place is Sweden with 5.7 megabits per second. Sweden thus has Europe’s second fastest broadband. United States comes in as 18, with 3.9 mbps.

Your boss – a sham?
The Swedish newspaper “Chef” (Boss) has researched feelings of fraud, bluff or sham among Swedish directors and the result shows that Swedish bosses aren’t as confident as many people think. Every other Swedish boss said he/she feels inadequate, and that he/she feels lucky not to have been found out. “I am not at all surprised. When I talk to friends who are also directors, I realize many feel like this,” says Catharina Enblad Nordlund, editor-in-chief of the newspaper. This phenomenon received its English name, “Imposter syndrome” by American psychologists in the 1970’s. In the poll made by “Chef”, 45% of the bosses answered that they have felt like a fraud or a bluff. Enblad Nordlund believes these feelings are more common among bosses than among employees. “Its’ not unlikely that there is a connection between being overachieving and being afraid of being exposed as less than perfect.” Remember, she concludes, that even a boss might be in need of encouragement sometimes.

Study adviser on Facebook.
Study adviser Malin Wingårdh has chosen a different path to reach her students: The social networking website called Facebook. That’s where Wingård chats weekly with her students, answering their questions and giving advice. “I began using Internet as a channel already 6 years ago,” she says. “Most of my students could be found on msn then, but many are now on Facebook, so I began working there too.” Wingårdh explains that the advantages of being on Facebook are many. It’s easier to follow up someone’s questions, and venturing out into the world of her students, making connections with them there, is rewarding. “I still keep in touch with students who are no longer in school,” Wingårdh says. “And these students are experts in what it is like to study at high school. Their feedback is important.” Wingård’s Facebook-name is “Syo-Malin”, and she has become very popular among students. She updates her status with news and other pertinent information, and every Thursday between 8:30-10:30 pm, she holds a chat where both students and parents are invited to ask questions. “It doesn’t take much for students to feel that somebody’s listening to them. For me it goes without saying that I should be on Facebook. At the same time I want to point out that my advice there is a complement, it is not a substitute for meeting with the students face to face.” www.facebook.com

Dashed wedding plans.
The financial crisis has done a number on Sweden (too). One such evidence is that fewer people are getting married. According to new information from Statistiska Centralbyrån (Statistics Sweden), the number of weddings are dwindling, and especially in counties like Västernorrland and Värmland, which are particularly badly hit. During the first ten months of 2009, 42,662 Swedish couples got hitched. That was 2,083 (or 4.7%) less than in 2008. With that, the trend of first time marriages was also broken. That Statistics Sweden left the November and December months out of the equation will probably not mean much: Most Swedes still prefer to get married during the summer months. “We’ve had a steady increase in the number of marriages for a long time,” says Tomas Johansson, a statistician at Sweden Statistics. “In all likelihood, there will come a time when the market is filled. That is what is happening now, and it is occurring at the same time as the downward economic trend, meaning the decrease is slightly stronger than it had been otherwise. In the two counties worst hit by the economy, Västernorrland and Värmland, marriages have decreased with 15 and 14.6% respectively. Ethnologist Eva Knut at Göteborg University has taken a closer look at Swedish people’s wedding customs. “More and more people want grand weddings and the cost for those have skyrocketed. In 2001 an average wedding cost around 50,000 SEK ($7,000), five years later it’s more like 80,000 – 100,000 SEK ($11,300 – 14,130)” she says. But the country’s wedding magazines aren’t suffering. Says editor-in-chief Anna Fürst at Allt om Bröllop (All about weddings) “On the contrary. Weddings have never been hotter than now. Everybody’s talking about them.” Could that have anything to do with the upcoming royal weddings? Perhaps the fact that Victoria and Madeleine are saying “I do” will change the minds of other Swedes? Other interesting marriage facts include: The average length of a Swedish marriage is 12 years. The longest ones, almost 18 years, are those in Grästorp, while marriages in Stockholm are usually over after 9 years. In the Jämtland province women and men wait till they are 36 and 40.3 years old respectively before they get hitched. Thus they make the oldest bridal couples in Sweden. The youngest grooms can be found in Malmö, they are around 32 year old when they get married. The youngest brides live in Sävsjö and are 29 years old in average. The average age for a first marriage in Sweden is 35 years for men and 32 for women. As reported by Dagens Nyheter.