Thursday, January 31, 2013

Värmefläkt update

As per my post last week, I bought a Dyson fan to see how it was in person. I was pleased to hear that it wasn't as loud as some reviews made it out to be. Even at its highest setting, in our large bedroom, I didn't think it was a problem.

It also put out a decent amount of heat; our room gained about a degree every 6 minutes in my extremely simple test. And it is built to the usual Dyson levels of fit and finish. It oscillates like butter and the whole thing is silky to the touch.

This one is the grey and blue model (although the box said white, strangely enough). I still think I'll get a white one as we will be using it in the white kitchen area. Overall a successful test and I am edging closer to purchase.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Last list of design stores

Nothing fancy, just a few links of places that I like browsing:

More exciting subjects soon, including paint, wire brushes, and the countdown to my 1000th post!

Monday, January 21, 2013


...that's Swedish for "heating fans". We have lots of oil-filled radiators in our stuga, and things warm up nicely after a few hours, although in the colder days of April and October, it takes a day or so to get acceptably toasty.

We have one radiator with a fan, which is much more efficient at warming up the house quickly. However, we're going to need to get a new one. The fan is giving up the ghost with increasingly loud squeaks, and I'm sure it won't be running at all when we're back there in a few months.

Fortunately, there are lots of different types to choose from.  Clas Ohlson has quite a range of värmefläkts on their website.

To be honest, though, I have my eye on something more exotic. Dyson, those makers of hi-tech vacuum cleaners, now sell a bladeless heating fan. It's quite small and efficient, although it is much more expensive than the more common fans available.

I couldn't find it available for sale in Sweden, so I e-mailed Dyson in the UK. Within 24 hours, they referred me to their Scandinavian branch, and those people replied with shopping information within 12 hours. Impressive.

Sure enough, it can be bought in Sweden, and in fact, I found it online for a surprisingly good price: about $424 at today's exchange rate, compared to $433 at my local Lowes. Amazing.

Besides being a hi-tech device which appeals to the nerd in me, it also can serve in the summer as a cooling fan, which would come in handy on sunny July days. The only drawback I've read about (besides the price) is that it can be noisy. I'm thinking about buying one at the local Lowes for a test. If I do, I'll report back.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Överkalix parish registries

Överkalix is an isolated city in far northern Sweden with has today about a thousand hardy inhabitants. It's become known for a study that took place there, which took advantage of the careful records kept in the church parishes.

These records kept detailed track of not only the marriages, births, and deaths, but also of the harvest each year. Being an impoverished and remote place, the residents of Överkalix starved when the harvest failed. Conversely, years of great bounty allowed Överkalixians to eat very well indeed.

Scientists found that boys who enjoyed those rare overabundant winters — kids who went from normal eating to gluttony in a single season — produced sons and grandsons who lived far shorter lives. Put  simply, the data suggested that a single winter of overeating as a youngster could initiate a biological chain of events that would lead one's grandchildren to die decades earlier than their peers did.

The phenemona that causes this is "epigenetics"— changes in gene activity that do not involve alterations to the genetic code but still get passed down to at least one successive generation. I've drawn the above quotes from a fascinating TIME article from about two years ago. The YouTube video above is a BBC Horizon documentary on epigenetics, which I found just as interesting.

I find it really cool that the attention to detail by a little parish church in a cold corner of Sweden could lead to such scientific breakthroughs!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

More photos from Annika and Olle!

I received a few photos overnight from Annika and Olle on Aspö.  There's a bit of snow and it's a few degrees below freezing out there.

All of the latest images are on Annika's Flickr page, for those interested!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Another funky design shop

This one's in Copenhagen, as one might guess from their website, They have lots of funky little things, but my favorite is the bau lamp. It's a build-it-yourself kit, so each lamp is unique. I like that idea!

Monday, January 7, 2013

A high-design little shelf

Dwell magazine recently sent me to Objekten, a cool online purveyor of objets d'art. The company is in Brussels, and they have a wide array of modern furniture and accessories.

I visited many such design stores in Belgium and Holland; they seem quite common in even smaller cities like Brugge and Utrecht.

One thing they carry is a foldable wall pocket called "Leaning," which I think is a very cool way to store hats, gloves, keys, etc. It might be fun to have one by the door of our guest house. The folding edges are fabric and can be ordered in many different colors.

Friday, January 4, 2013

More Eurovision Austerity

A friend sent along this CNN video about financial austerity causing a number of countries to drop out of this year's Eurovision. I can see how it would make political sense not to spend money on something so frivolous during austere times. But then again, doesn't everyone need a laugh now and then??? And what better way to provide a big laugh than Eurovision!!!