Category Archives: Övrigt

The Grodaeu Stockholm Walking Tours

Since traveling to exotic places and walking around is all the rage I decided to write a Stockholm walking tour guide. This walk goes from Stockholm Central Station to Tensta.

Stockholm Central (1) to Karlberg (2)

Exit the central station at the Kungsbron (Kings Bridge) exit. Turn right and cross a bridge. This will put you on Kungsholmen; the King’s island. This used to be where the King hunted. Now it’s where rich people live. Walk down a little stair to your right This puts you next to the water. Turn left, you will have apartments for rich people on your left and the water on your right. You will pass one of those sad, tiny inner city daycare yards and a lunchboat. After a while you can see Karlberg’s Palance across the water. Walk a bit further and by a black highrise you cross a little bridge over to the mainland.

Karlberg (2) to Bällsta bro (3)

Walk along the water. It is called Lake Ulvsunda (Lake Wolfstrait). No one knows why. Pass Pampas Marina where there are boats and a lunchplace. Next there is a 4H farm with goats and horses and stuff. After that there is a building with high fences and barbed wires and signs about security. This is Huvudsta Gård. They probably keep aliens in there or something. Next there is a tiny sad beach and a wooden bathing platform on your left. Later there is some sort of industrial area. As you continue the lake turns into a canal and the is a small bridge. There you turn right, away from the water.

Bällsta Bro (3) to Sundbyberg (4)

Almost immediately after turning away from the water you leave the quiet waterwalk and enter busy Sundbyberg. Technically it is not Stockholm but a different municipality (the most densely populated in all Sweden). Here there are restaurants are pubs and cafes and stuff. Take the left path where the road splits and pass the railroad tracks. Turn left on Järnvägsgatan (Railroad Street). It is called this since it runs next to the railroad. Imagine that. Walk until you see Ursviksgatan on your right. Turn onto it.

Sundbyberg (4) to Ursvik (5)

Follow Ursviksvägen.For a while you are still in Sundbyberg proper. Then there is a little lake on your right. Birds live there. After the lake you enter the strange wasteland around Hallonbergen (Raspberry Mountain). There is nothing there really. A house or two. An ugly little forest. It is strange more stuff isn’t built here. As you continue you pass below the highway (Enköpingsvägen) in confusing tunnels. The highway really cuts this area into two. Continuing (still on Ursviksvägen) you enter Ursvik. This is why the road is called Ursviksvägen. Because it goes to Ursvik. This is largely a newly built middle class area. They are still building lots of houses. Follow Ursviksvägen until it ends.

Ursvik (5) to Rinkeby (6)

Turn right on Milstensvägen. Walk perhaps 50 meters and then turn left on Marieborgsgatan. After a while you can see the highrises in Kista ahead to your right. The three tallest buildings in Stockholm are all here because you are not allowed to build them centrally. Straight ahead you see another highway and then Rinkeby. The tall black building is a new residential tower.  Here Ursvik is still being built, streching ever closer to Rinkeby and they are also building a walking path above the highway. Only a matter of time until Rinkeby is gentrified. Anyway. Walk straight ahead below the highway towards the black tower. To your left you have anothe highway and to your right the Järva natural reserve. Continue along the highway until you reach the black tower. Here the highway goes into a tunnel so you can turn left and walk above it. There is a pink statue of a fat grumpy looking man. When you pass it you are in Rinkeby.

Rinkeby (6) to Tensta (7)

You enter Rinkeby on Rinkebystråket. The main (only) restaurant/shopping street. After a while you can see the world famous Rinkeby square on your left. There is a Lidl and a kebab place on the square.  On the other side you can see the Rinkeby school. It is green. Turn right after the school. After a while you can see Spånga Kyrka, a beautiful 12th century church, straight ahead. When you arrive at the church you are in Tensta. Either walk around the cemetary or through if and continue straight ahead. After a little while you are on Tensta square. Inside the small shopping mall there is a pizzeria/pub where you can have a celebratory beer. Next to it is a metro station.

Swedish Election

Since there is so much crap written in English about the Swedish election I thought I’d do a post on it ending with Grodaeu estimates of propabilities for the most likely outcomes

Election System It works like this. You count the votes. Then the parties get a number of seats in parliament proportional to how many votes they get. There is one exception to this. You need 4% of total votes to enter parliament. This will become important later. An important consequence of the system is that no one is going to “win”. You can’t really.

Issues 

  • Immigration: Contrary to popular belief Sweden never had open borders. There was however a large amount of refugees arriving in 2015 (last four years foreign born population in Sweden increased from 15.9% to 18.5% mainly due to the Syrian born population increasing from 0.4% to 1.7%). After this asylum rules were tightened. Some want to reverse this and some want to tighten further.
  • Schools: Sweden has experimented with probably the worlds most permissive charter school system. The results have been shit (although with some recovery last years).
  • Healthcare: The system is performing well in international studies but it’s operating quite close to full capacity so sometimes things don’t work out well. No one is entirely clear on what to do so there is no obvious political conflict.
  • Environment: This debate is largely on how to limit CO2. There have been some minor moves here, most notably an airflight tax.
  • Crime: For some reason this receive massive attention internationally but barely makes it into top 5 issues when voters rank them but anyway. Some (almost all) want more police, some stress social issues, some want to blame immigrants.
  • Taxes: No one seems to really care. They are high though. Some want them lower.
  • Economy: The economy is fine. The government tries to run on this and the opposition tries to say there is a looming disaster.
  • Austerity: Almost complete agreement that running massive budget surpluses indefintely is a good idea. Some BDSM thing or something. Anyway. Not an election issue.
  • EU: No one cares.
  • Foreign policy: No one cares.

Parties Listed by result in 2014 election

  • Social Demokraterna (S): Big tent leftist party. Don’t do anything dramatic. Current government party.
  • Moderaterna (M): Used to be big tent rightist party. Lately they have moved further to the anti immigrant right and opened to cooperating with the far right.
  • Sverigedemokraterna (SD): Far right racist party. Only party running on leaving EU.
  • Miljöpartiet (MP): Leftist environmental party. In government currently.
  • Centerpartiet (C): Neoliberals. Free market party on the right with positive attitude to immigration. Historically have cooperated both with right and left.
  • Vänsterpartiet (V): Far left party. Lately focused mainly on opposing charter schools and a positive attitude to immigration.
  • Liberalerna (L): Neoliberals. Same as C but more negative to immigration. Love charter schools.
  • Kristdemokraterna (KD): Christian party on the right. Same as M but Christians.
  • A number of smaller parties are also running. Unlikely any of them will enter parliament. The most notable are: Feminist party, Pirate party, MED (SD but a bit more racist), AfS (SD but a lot more racist)

Government Currently the government is a S+MP minority government supported by V. Before that there was a M+L+C+KD minority government. The way the system works you can have a reasonably stable minority government if there is no bigger group of parties opposing you.

Polls

Below are the latest poll of polls compared to the election result in 2014. It looks like Left Party (V), Center (C) and Sweden Democrats (SD) will gain while the two big parties (S and M) will lose. There is a theory that SD always outperforms polls since they did so in 2014 (but not in 2010) but a theory with two data points of which one supports your argument is dodgy at best.

Things to keep an eye on

  • Which parties make it into parliament: Three parties (KD, L; MP) risk dropping  out. The Grodaeu probabilities are: KD 60%, MP 10%, L 10%. KD is on the right so this weakens the probability for a win for the right.
  • Which is biggest of M+C+L+KD or V+MP+S. If the former, the right will just govern. If the latter the question is, will the right accept this? In principle they could ally with SD and govern (unless V+S+MP>M+C+L+KD+SD which seems unlikely). A strong showing from M would make this more likely.

The Grodaeu result probabilities

These are my guesses for possible coalitions and how likely they are. They are no necessarily parties in government, but alliances. For instance SD will not end up in government, but M and KD could form a government that needs them and lets them affect policy.

  • S+V+MP majority government [6%] → Charter schools will be limited. Probably some minor tax increases and increased benefits.. Immigration policies more or less unchanged or perhaps a bit more permissive.
  • S+V+MP minority government [35%] → No change.
  • S+L+C+(possibly MP) [8%] → No change. Maybe a minor tax cut to please the right
  • L+C [5%] → Fragile minority. Would have trouble getting much done so few changes.
  • M+L+C+KD minority government [28%] → Would have trouble getting stuff done so no dramatic changes. Maybe a tax cut or two.
  • M+L+C+KD majority government [3%]→ Lower taxes. Maybe a benefit cut or two. Nothing dramatic.
  • M+L+C+KD+SD [10%]→ Lower taxes and moves to limit immigration.
  • M+KD+SD [5%]→ Most extreme result. Still no Trump/Italy style revolution and no Swexit referendum but much more restrictive immigration policy and probably more obstruction in EU. Something like the current Danish/Austrian government.

On Teaching

Background  In September I was laid off from my overpaid analyst job (OAJ). No need to feel sorry, I was bored to death, have since deliberately not looked for similar jobs and even turned down a more technical job because reasons. Anyway, what I decided to do was to be a substitute teacher. The way this works in Sweden is you have to take a bunch of on call assignments at random places before you get longer contracts so that’s what I did. I am now in a longer contract but before that I had been to 16 different schools scattered all about, including one week teaching a class from world famous no-go suburbs Rinkeby-Tensta, so I’ll share some general musings about this.

Recommendation Substitute teaching is a nice thing to do if you don’t really have clear plans on what to do next. Compared to (as a randomly picked example) sitting on your ass at McDonalds it has several advantages:

  • You are doing something really useful
  • You get paid. Not fabulously but still
  • It looks reasonably ok on a CV
  • You get to see lots of places around where you live that you probably would not have visited otherwise.

School dicipline A lot of schools have discipline problems. On average of course schols in socioeconomically weak areas have more problems than others, but it is surprisingly random. A class in a posh area can be troublesome and a class in a poor area can be well behaved. Curiously this can even vary a lot within the same school. I have developed a little theory about this. What really matters is number of trouble students (TS). These will be more common in poor areas (possible reasons, ADHD, alcoholic parents, parents who just don’t manage, frequent teacher changes, whatever) but can exist everywhere. If you have zero TS everything is smooth, one is still ok since the others will discipline him/her, two is starting to be a problem and four or more means chaos. In a class with 28 students and P(TS,poor area)=8%, P(TS,rich area)=4% you get:

  • P(0,1 TS, rich area)=quiet class=69%
  • P(0,1 TS, poor area)=quiet class=33%
  • P(>3 TS rich area)=chaos=2%
  • P(>3 TS poor area)=chaos=18%
  • P(2,3 TS, rich area)=intermediate=28%
  • P(2,3 TS, poor area)=intermediate=49%

I can think of several solutions to this. One is that since teachers in tougher areas are often very very tired (and thus perform less well and are sick more often meaning more substitutes meaning the problems get worse) the amount of money per student should be higher in trouble areas so teachers could get 80% positions with the same pay. Another would be to have more special need schools to where you ship off trouble students.

Charter schools There is a lot of debate in Sweden on charter (privately run, public funded) schools vs public schools. There are obviously many aspects to this, I personally think they are bad mainly because they have a negative effect on the entire school system with the student as customer idea. Judging from my, limited, personal experience there are obviously passionate and good teachers working in both types of schools. In areas with a lot of academic parents both types of schools work fine, but in trouble areas the charter schools are worse.

Kid ages 16-19 year olds (and kids in university) are a lot easier to teach than 11-15 year olds. I think there’s two reasons for this:

  • The percentage of restless kids drops as they grow older.
  • School is only compulsory until 15/16 in Sweden. Therefore some of the most troubled kids will be gone in later years.

The latter point is an (I think global) issue. There are some kids around 13-15 who are clearly deeply unhappy about being in school. To solve this either society should try to create jobs for younger kids and makes compulsory school shorter, or you try and create a school environment also for these kids, probably with a larger element of practical subjects.

An effect of this is that it is hardest to recruit teachers for 13-15 year olds. Here the solution is obvious, it has to be reflected in the salary. Ideally salaries should be: Teachers for 11-15y olds > teachers for 6-10 year olds > teachers for 16-19 year olds > university professors.

Now what I have signed up for one year of teaching 16-19 year olds. Still not sure I will be doing ten years of this but so far it beats my previous job. Salary a bit lower but Swedish teacher salaries are actually quite ok. In principle I should do a 1.5 year teacher pedagogical training if I wanted to continue as a teacher, but the teacher shortage in Sweden is such that schools really won’t be able to pick only certified teachers.

How to talk to a woman who has muted you on Twitter

These days, many women mute men on twitter. Yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them. If you suspect a woman has muted you, here are three easy tips for creating a spark with her.

  1. Ask other Tweeps if they can @ her for you, and ask if she muted you and why.
  2. Create a new Twitter account with the name @whydidyoumutemeXXX, then start @ ing her obsessively.
  3. This is really the best option: Just keep @ing her! After all, you’re not really interested in what she has to say.

My personal tech ecosystem

Inspired by this post I decided to share my personal tech ecosystem.

  1. Windows phone It’s like a normal phone except: It looks a bit different (big tiles instead of icons). It has 90% fewer apps. The apps it does have are often in Beta testing that never finishes. The big plus is that Twitter never updates so I have Twitter from 2011 with star faves.
  2. Tablet I don’t carry an iPad around (why the fuck would anyone do that?). I donated the tablet to the kids. Before doing so I tidied it up and filled it with nice, seemingly fun instructive educational games without ads. The kids have now removed all the educational games and filled it to the brim with awful princess games just to spite me.
  3. Laptop I have one of these with a touchscreen. I like it. It’s oddly satisfying to get it to do stuff by stabbing at the screen with your finger. When I was young touching computer screens was a big taboo. It runs Windows 10. What can I say? It’s better than Windows 8.

Lunch at Pepe’s

pepe_neroMost Fridays I have lunch at Pepe Nero on Kungsholmen. The procedure is simple, you go to the counter, choose one out of three items from a set menu and state if you want a beer or not.  Also there is pizza.To the metroliberals on Twitter, for whom lunch means having livery clad waiters bring you oysters and craft beer, it may seem primitive, but strangely enough it works.

Many different people come in here: construction workers, office workers, staff from nearby shops, retired people from the neighborhood. Even if not deliberately eavesdropping you often hear snippets of conversation; People talk about their kids, plans for the weekend, complain about their bosses, or sometimes simply gossip. As you can see this is quite different from the usual conversation on Twitter, which means…squat actually. It doesn’t mean anything or give me any kind of insight in these people’s lives.