Viking sunstone found
BBC reports that a crystal found aboard a shipwreck might be something similar to a sunstone, a sort of mineral attested in several 13th and 14th century written sources in Iceland, one of which describes it as used to locate the sun during overcast skies. The “Viking sunstone” was found by a team from France, and they believe the transparent crystal may have been used by Viking mariners to navigate large tracts of the sea before a magnetic compass was invented. The team, from the University of Rennes in France, says they found the crystal aboard the wreck of a British ship sunk off the island of Alderney, in the English Channel, in 1592. The crystal is oblong and the size of a cigarette packet, and was found next to a pair of dividers, suggesting it was part of the navigational equipment. It has been proven to be Iceland spar, a form of calcite known for its property of diffracting light into two separate rays. This particular piece was found long after the heydays of the Vikings of course, but may it perhaps be the same kind that the written sources from Iceland refer to? Vikings used longboats to explore and conquer parts of Europe, Greenland, Iceland, Russia, and North America.

The King has begun his Sweden tour, his 'Eriksgata'
Sweden’s head of state, King Carl XVI Gustaf and his wife Queen Silvia, have begun their tour of Sweden. Together they will visit all Sweden’s counties until the end of summer. “We hope to meet as many people as possible,” the King announced. It is now 40 years ago that Carl Gustaf became king of Sweden, and there will be plenty of celebrations. “It is good to have memorable years. It is a platform on which you can look forward, but it is also a place from which you can look back in time,” the King says in an interview published on the royal Swedish court’s website. It was a young regent who came to the throne in 1973 – Carl Gustaf was only 27 - and much has happened to the country since then. “I think the court has more transparency today. There’s been an enormous change, and the process of change continues all the time. The role of the head of state is written into the constitution,” he continues in the interview. The royal couple landed at Oskarshamn’s airport on Wednesday in the morning, where they were greeted by the county governor. Their tour will continue until August 20, when Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia will be in Örebro. “These trips are an amazing opportunity to get a gathered impression of the development and the future in all the different counties,” he says. “We hope to meet as many people as possible. Women and men, young and old, new and old Swedes, all of whom help in shaping our country.” For more info, see: www.kungahuset.se

Breast milk – a cure for colon cancer
There are substances in breast milk that have many magic powers. And now new research shows that there’s a particular substance that can cure colon cancer, according to an article in Sydsvenskan. This substance is called Hamlet and was found by researchers ten years ago. A new study by scientists at Lund University shows that the molecule can cure colon cancer, in tests done on mice as well as humans. “The treatment gave clear effects,” says the leader of the research team Catharina Svanborg, Professor of Clinical Immunology at the university. Svanborg now hopes that studies can begin on patients with colon cancer, but says it will take time before this can move from research level to actual pharmaceutical preparations. The molecule Hamlet (Human alfa-lactalbumin made lethal to tumor cells) is made up by protein and fatty acid.

Emmaboda invests in burkinis
The locality of Emmaboda (with 4,824 inhabitants, and located in Småland) wants to buy burkinis, the sort of swimsuits that covers the whole body except face, hands and feet, so that all women can swim in the municipality’s swimming pool. The idea comes from the Technology and Recreation Board; burkinis, it is thought, is a better idea than having certain hours set aside at the pool for women who for religious reasons do not want to swim in the company of men. Said the Board: “Women have the right to swim the way they otherwise present themselves; that is fully clothed”. The proposal now moves to the municipal board.