KTH suggests reverse congestion charges
Traffic congestion charges are nothing new, especially in Europe, but Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), wants to change things up a bit. Rather than socking away all the money collected from congestion charges, KTH wants to use that money to upgrade bicyclists' rides. The more folks get involved with cycling, the fewer cars there are attempting to shoehorn into already congested urban areas; and incentivizing bike travel is one way to increase the number of riders even further. KTH suggests using congestion charges to offer a sort of credit, which could only be used for bike upgrades like studded tires, better suspension and the like. This is but one part of a larger strategy from the university, which also suggests allowing bikes on trains and creating two-lane "highways" for cyclists. Stockholm has plenty of riders already, but the trouble lies with suburbanites who may see cars as the wisest mode of transportation. Currently, most of Stockholm's congestion charge is going toward construction of a new expressway that will bypass the city using mostly underground tunnels.

New Swedish Crime Saga
A new Swedish crime saga, dubbed a Scandinavian version of the U.S. drama series "Breaking Bad," hopes to emulate the success of other Nordic television exports such as "The Bridge," with a dark tale of marijuana, mafias and motherhood in suburban Stockholm. "Gåsmamman" (Mother Goose) stars Alexandra Rapaport as a mother of three and accountant at a boat marina who takes over the family's illegal marijuana business after her husband is shot in a drug deal gone wrong. The producers of Gåsmamman hope the series will receive the kind of reception won by "The Bridge" and "The Killing," which led to millions of people around the world becoming fans of what is known as Nordic Noir detective and crime stories. Rapaport, who starred in the Oscar-nominated Danish film "The Hunt" and appeared in other crime series such as "The Sandman Murders," is also co-producer. Like many Scandinavian series, it has a strong female lead reflecting a Nordic emphasis on gender equality. If in Sweden, you can watch the first episodes on www.cmore.se

Facebook saves the bacon [of this pig]
A pig that escaped a Swedish slaughterhouse to avoid ending up on a Christmas dinner plate won a stay on execution from its owner after an outpouring of solidarity on social media. Determined to save its skin, the 250 pound sow took to its trotters on December 14 in Mjällby, a village in the province of Blekinge in Sweden’s south. A few days later the farmer caught up with the fugitive, who was in fine fettle after her romp through the countryside. "She's in great form, she must have stuffed herself with rotten fruit and other good things," the farmer, whose name was withheld, told the SVT public broadcaster. Having been raised on an organic farm the sow is used to roaming at her leisure, he said. Moved by the hog's flight, animal rights groups launched a Facebook campaign calling on the farmer to spare her from the slaughterhouse. After 2,500 people signed the petition the farmer relented to let her live. "Such a commotion! I've decided to let her live until further notice," he said.

Apple and Ericsson settle patent disputes
Swedish telecom giant Ericsson has reached a global licensing agreement with Apple that settles several earlier patent disputes between the two companies, Ericsson announced on Dec. 21. The terms of the agreement are confidential, according to the Ericsson statement, but it "includes a cross license covering the patents on essential standards of the two companies (including GSM, UMTS and LTE standards) and provides certain other patent rights. "In addition, the agreement ... solves all disputes related to violations of patents between the companies," the statement added. Ericsson had filed lawsuits in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands over the unlicensed use of its technology in iPhones and other wireless devices. As part of the agreement, the companies are to collaborate in the development of the next generation 5G cellular standards, the optimization of existing wireless networks for operators and also in video traffic optimization.