Thursday, September 23, 2010

A great catering service in Stockholm

This evening I had one of the best dinner meals that I'd had in Stockholm at a PhD defense party. The caterer's name is Thomas Omfors.

If you plan to throw a dinner party by hiring the catering service in Stockholm, think of him as an option.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Johan Cöfcrantz Ramsey

With my colleagues, I went to a small jazz club (Glenn Miller Cafe) in Stockholm tonight. And my mind was blown up by an amazing jazz drummer named Johan Cöfcrantz Ramsey. He's a dynamo. He lifts up and down the tune very effectively with his drums. The way he changes the rhythm during the improvisation is always unexpected and dramatic, but he manages to avoid unraveling the whole tune. Usually, a jazz drum solo starts after other musicians stop playing, but in his case he's already started his solo when the audience realizes the solo has started. It's just fun to listen to his drums. Such a drummer is very rare in jazz, I suppose.

The experience was close to the one I had in New Orleans. Only if at least one of the other players were as assertive as he was. (I don't really like a band led by one musician.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A theory of the origin of the state

I always wonder what caused the emergence of the state. The answer to this question has an important implication to poverty reduction in developing countries because one of the biggest causes of underdevelopment is state failure (the best example of this is Somalia).

Google search takes me to an interesting theory proposed by an anthropologist named Robert L. Carneiro in his 1970 article. In a nutshell, the state emerges in agricultural land surrounded by mountains, seas, and deserts. In such an area, when all the cultivable land is cultivated, villages start fighting each other to conquer more pieces of land to sustain the population. When the conquerors rule the conquered, there is a need to create the administrative structure. This is the origin of the state.

But this theory was proposed 40 years ago. There must be a refutation to this theory, or some refinement to this theory by now. If I learn those, I will write a sequel to this post.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Housing in Stockholm (again)

After 3 years of living in Stockholm, reading a news article on the rental housing market in Stockholm like this one doesn't make me feel anything. Otherwise you as a foreigner won't be able to feel happy in this city.

But when I read that new arrivals from foreign countries to Stockholm University are camping in the campus because they fail to find an apartment to live, this sounds too much.

As far as I know, none of the political parties in Sweden ever mention this issue in the upcoming elections.

I'm moving (again) later this month. I was lucky to find a Swedish PhD student who studies in the US for a year from this autumn. Which also means that I have to find yet another apartment after he comes back next June.

That's life for foreigners in Stockholm. If you plan to live in this city, be prepared.