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  1. So, the Person Running @Sweden This Week Has Gone off the Rails

    In case any of you have forgotten, the official Twitter account for the nation of Sweden moves from person to person each week. This week, we've been treated to the musings of "Sonja," who posed the above question to the world. As you can imagine, it doesn't get much better.

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  2. Swedish Man Survived Being Trapped in Car For Months, Hibernated “Like a Bear”

    There's a pretty incredible story floating around the Internet today about a 45 year-old Swedish man who was rescued from his car after apparently being trapped inside without food for months. Some snowmobilers came across the vehicle buried in snow on a forest path, not far from the northern city of Umea. His rescuers were surprised to find someone inside, wrapped in a sleeping bag, and even more surprised when the man managed to gasp out that he'd been in the car since December 19th.

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  3. File-Sharing is Now an Official Religion in Sweden

    The Missionary Church of Kopimism, or in layman's terms, the Church of File-Sharing, was founded in 2010 by Isak Gerson, a philosophy student with a love of file-sharing that, well, bordered on religious. Now, after years of petitioning the Swedish government for official status, he finally got it. The idea was that through official religion, file-sharers might be able to find protection from persecution for their beliefs, which obviously include illegal file-sharing. But it wasn't just a bid for some kind of technical protection, as Gerson seems to take this whole religion thing kind of seriously.

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  4. Ring Lost Nearly Two Decades Ago Resurfaces on Carrot

    This is just one of those perfectly serendipidious stories you love to hear about. In 1995, a Swedish woman named Lena Påhlsson set her custom-made white gold wedding ring aside as she did the traditional Christmas baking. Amidst the hustle and bustle the tiny treasure vanished, and after years of searching she and her husband Ola accepted that the ring was likely lost forever. That is until this year, when Lena found a surprise in her vegetable garden.

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  5. Latest SOPA Defense: Sweden’s Apparently Non-Existent Yet Thriving Film Industry

    Rights of Passage

    The lawmakers on Capitol Hill are running out of ways to get people on board to vote for the U.S. Senate's highly controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (known as the Protect-IP Act in the House of Representatives), so now they're claiming that those scurvy-ridden internet pirates have completely obliterated the film industries of several countries, including Sweden. Sweden, a country that has apparently not produced any feature films since the advent of the internet ... except for, I don't know, Let the Right One In, the entire original Millennium Trilogy, you know. Nothing anyone's ever heard of ... if they are living under a Washington Monument-sized rock. Or they're just lying. But here's the good news: one lawmaker has a great idea to make this bill seem really unsavory to support: porn.

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  6. Sweden Is Crazily Lending The Country's Official Twitter To One Citizen A Week

    In a weird but awesome move, Sweden has started a campaign where its official Twitter account, @sweden, will be taken over and operated by a different Swede every week. The project is called "Curators of Sweden" and operates under the idea that "No one owns the brand of Sweden more than its people. With this initiative we let them show their Sweden to the world," as said by Thomas Brühl, the CEO of the national tourism agency VisitSweden. That's a nice sentiment, right? But surely they must assert some level of control over each operator. In short, no. In long, nooooooooo. And it's glorious.

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  7. 24-Year Old Woman Becomes the Youngest Member of the European Parliament, Also Second Pirate

    Buckle Buckle Swash Swash

    Back in 2009, Amelia Andersdotter, then 21 years old, ran for a seat in the European Parliament as a member of Sweden's Pirate Party -- and that June, she won. Now 24, Andersdotter is finally about to take her seat after years of bureaucratic delays, becoming the second member of the Pirate Party to become a MEP and the youngest person ever to do so. Among the major parts of her platform: a united Europe and a focus on telecommunications.

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  8. Swedish Man Gets Disability Benefits for Being Addicted to Heavy Metal

    Here's something you probably didn't know: Right now, Roger Tullgren of Sweden is recieving disability payments on account of the fact that he is addicted to heavy metal. No, he hasn't developed some sort of mercury or lead dependency, he just needs heavy metal music, badly. For years, his heavy metal addiction was a big part of his life and he claims to have lost his previous job as a result of attending over 300 concerts in the course of a year, often blowing off work to do so. The being the case, it seems that Tullgren was able to get an occupational psychologist to classify his love of heavy metal as a disability which is apparently enough to entitle him to disability compensation.

    Since then, he has found a new job that is very accommodating to his situation. Tullgren is allowed to listen to his heavy metal music at certain times during work, dress how he likes and even miss work for concerts providing he makes up the hours afterwards. All in all, it seems like a pretty sweet deal. Needless to say, there are other occupational pyschologists who feel that this might go a little too far. While addiction may be classifiable as a disability, they argue, steps should be taken to treat the victim instead of accommodating him. Swedish newspaper The Local quotes a Stockholm psychologist who puts it like this:
    "If somebody has a gambling addiction, we don't send them down to the racetrack. We try to cure the addiction, not encourage it."
    Still, if you can get someone to pay you and encourage your addiction, rock on dude. You hit the jackpot. (The Local via Marginal Revolution)

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  9. Mind Your Step Street Illusion [Video]

    Mind Your Step is a street illusion created by Erik Johansson. It is located at Sergels torg square in Stockholm, Sweden, and will be on display from June 7-11, 2011.

    (Bits and Pieces vis Geeks Are Sexy)

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  10. Playground Toy Looks Somewhat Unsafe [Video]

    This type of violently whirling playground toy was apparently more common stateside in the old days, but it's pretty obvious why it wouldn't cut muster today. (The Daily What refers to it as a "spinning lawsuit factory.") The kids in the video do look like they're having fun, though. This video was taken at Skånegläntan Park in Stockholm, Sweden. (via Best of YouTube / The Daily What comments)

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  11. 18th Century Taxidermy Unkind to Noble Lion

    This is, or rather was, a Lion. How did this happen to a majestic king of the Saranghetti? The story goes that in 1731 King Frederick I of Sweden received a lion as a gift from the Bey of Algiers, and was so enamored with the beast that when it died he tried to have the beast taxidermied. After all, what was a source of prestige in life could continue long after death when properly stuffed and mounted. The only trouble was that for whatever reason, the taxidermist was only given the pelt and the bones of the beast to work from. The story goes that the poor taxidermist, lacking the modern conveniences of Wikipedia and Google image search just didn't have the find understanding of large feline bone structure to put together a convincing facsimile. What you see above is the result. Now, I am no expert, but I think that's only half the story, because when seen from the side the lion actually has quite a ferocious appearance.

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  12. Swedish Boy Skis into Bear Den, Survives

    12 year-old Olle Frisk was skiing with his friends near ­Funsdalen, Sweden when he fell through the snow  and directly into the den of a female brown bear. The bear awoke and attacked the boy, biting his legs and scratching his back with her claws. Frisk's reaction to this situation is startling, but it likely saved his life. "I accepted death. The feeling was ‘let it come,’" said Frisk, as quoted by the UK Mirror. “She threw herself on top of me. It was only when I stopped trying to fight that I was given a chance." After he stopped struggling, the bear let go of him and went out of the den. “It then became quiet and she stepped over me and left, thinking I was dead,” he said. Once outside, Frisk's friends managed to scare the bear off, and came to his rescue. Frisk was taken to a hospital where he was treated for his injuries, and is reported to be recovering well at home. But the story isn't over. Wildlife experts had been keeping watch over the bear's den, looking to see if she returns to care for the three cubs inside. When she did not return, the decision was made to shoot the three bear cubs. Despite his injuries, Olle said he thought that decision "was wrong." (The Mirror, Gadling, image and story via

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  13. Danish Mail to Trade Stamps for Text Messages

    Danish philatelists (look it up) will soon be in mourning as the country's post office has announced their intention to offer a digital alternative to postage stamps starting on April 1, 2011. Instead of affixing adhesive squares for proof of payment on letters, the new system will rely on text messages. The system seems similar to systems in the U.S. which allow people to make charitable donations by sending a text to a pre-set number. The charge is then added to their monthly bill, and the money sent to the organization indicated by the sender. The only difference with the postage code system is that after the text is sent, the user receive a special code which they write on the envelope. The code is scanned at mail sorting facilities, and canceled just like a stamp. Those philatelists I mentioned earlier might see this as the beginning of the end for postage stamps, and mourn the passing of the artistic little squares. However, I would point out that with this new system, anything you want could be made a stamp. A sticker, a painting, a drawing made by the sender themselves. The possibilities are endless. The hope is that offering a digital payment system will make it easier to send mail, and perhaps increase system usage. Digital stamps first debuted in Germany, and now Sweden is also looking at starting a similar program later this year, and perhaps success in these two countries will make other postal systems consider adopting it. Now, it is worth pointing out that while I've seen many sources corroborating the story, the fact that it is scheduled to be begin on April 1st gives me pause. It is extremely unlikely that someone would stage so elaborate a prank based around the Danish postal system, but if that turns out to be the case: we warned you. (The Local via The Daily What, image via Tecca)

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  14. Julian Assange Loses Case, Faces Extradition to Sweden

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lost his UK extradition hearing, and he has seven days to appeal the court's decision before he is extradited to Sweden. Assange has not actually been formally charged with any crime; rather, he is wanted for questioning in relation to allegations that he sexually assaulted two women while in the country last summer. The judge presiding over the UK trial rebuked Assange's Swedish lawyer, Bjorn Hertig, for misleading the court in a "deliberate" fashion about the efforts of the Swedish prosecutor to contact Assange before he left Sweden; Hertig said that prosecutor Marianne Ny did not make an effort to contact Assange, but later corrected his statement. Assange's lawyers expressed their disappointment with the decision, and questioned the fairness and transparency of the legal process facing Assange in Sweden: Geoffrey Robertson said in a statement that Assange would be "tried in secret behind closed doors in a flagrant denial of justice," and that he feared that the Swedish prosecutor's efforts were front for an eventual US effort to extradite Assange. Full legal ruling below:

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  15. The Sweden Solar System

    At first, I thought this was yet another Wikipedia defacement and some kind of Swedenophile had changed around the page on Sweden to make it the center of celestial neighborhood. Thankfully I was wrong, and what you're looking at is the world's largest scale model of the solar system. Starting with the sun, as represented by Ericson Globe building in Stockholm, the 1:20 million scale model spans the entire length of the country.

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  16. Fog Will Not Save You From Vikings

    Vikings are already famous for their beards and badassery, not the least of which springs from their sailing prowess. Spreading from Sweden and Norway, the Vikings sailed and settled Northern England, Iceland, Greenland, and were the first Europeans to arrive in North America. They also pillaged and terrorized an unready European populace with their ferocity and totally sweet boats, but a lingering question faced by historians is how they managed to sail as well as they did with such limited technology. Navigation in the far north poses several unique problems.

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  17. Laptop Thief Considerately Returns Victim’s Data on USB Memory Stick

    Losing your laptop is a pretty awful fate -- most of us around here break into a cold sweat when we're separated from ours for about 15 minutes. In addition to being pricy devices, our laptops contain our most personal data, which can rarely be easily or fully replaced.  One professor at Sweden's Umeå University recently had his laptop stolen after carelessly leaving his backpack in a stairwell for just a few minutes. He never got the laptop back, but a week later, he was surprised to find that the thief had backed up all of his documents and personal files and mailed them to him in a USB stick:

    The professor was shocked to discover the thief had copied all the documents and personal files from his laptop to the memory storage device, a process which likely took hours. All things considered, the professor is delighted at the outcome, despite the loss of his computer. He hopes, however, that other thieves can learn to be as compassionate. "Often when people lose their computers and cameras, it is understandably not the gadget itself that is the most important. The content is often irreplaceable."
    (The Local via Neatorama. title pic via Flickr user Ambuj Saxena)

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  18. WikiLeaks’ ISP Raided by Swedish Police (But not Because of WikiLeaks)

    PRQ, the Internet service provider that hosts some of WikiLeaks' files, was reportedly raided by Swedish police today as part of a sweeping raid against file-sharing sites across Europe. TorrentFreak reports that police raids hit "The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Germany, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Hungary and Sweden." Swedish prosecutor Frederick Ingblad has confirmed, however, that "[this operation] is not about Wikileaks."

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  19. Rape Case Against WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Reopened

    In late August, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was accused of rape and a warrant was issued for his arrest in Sweden, but it was quickly withdrawn; however, Swedish prosecutors have announced their intent to reopen the investigation, saying that there is "reason to assume that a crime that falls under public prosecution has been committed."

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  20. Julian Assange Accused of Rape by Swedish Authorities [UPDATED]

    A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, on suspicion of rape and molestation. Swedish authorities are calling for him to contact the police for questioning. Assange's first comment on the accusations (seen above) linked to the Swedish tabloid Expressen, who apparently broke the story. Later tweets denied the accusations and with the implication that they were part of an effort to damage Wikileaks itself.

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