Only two percent of financial transactions in Sweden are made in cash. Fitting then that King Gustav Vasa will be replaced by Dag Hammarsköjd in the new 1000-krona bill.
In their hit 2015 two-man comedy show Ägd, Swedish comedians Henrik Schyffert and Fredrik Lindström ran a bit about a Swede walking past a beggar and instead of giving him or her money, she just pats her pockets and shrugs her shoulders apologetically as if to say she’d give some money, if only she had some cash.
It always got a laugh because it was so easy to relate to. It felt true not only because the citizens of this Scandinavian welfare state have a hard time confronting underprivileged people in person to begin with, but also because nobody in Sweden carries cash with them anymore.
If they can’t pay with a debit or credit card, then surely the seller will accept Swish, an electronic payment solution that connects the users mobile phone number with a bank account and enables quick and secure transactions between consumers.
“Only about two percent of all payments in Sweden are made in cash,” says Jacob de Geer, CEO and co-founder of iZettle, a seven-year-old mobile payments company known for its payment card readers.
An old man in Indiana named Glenn was once asked at a church meeting about his religion. He replied, “When I do good I feel good, when I do bad I feel bad, that’s my religion.” Now, Glenn’s words of wisdom probably wouldn’t have spread much farther than Indiana if Abraham Lincoln hadn’t heard him speak and later repeated Glenn’s words to describe his own moral compass.
Altruism as a concept isn’t very old. The word itself didn’t exist until 1851 when the French philosopher Auguste Comte coined it based on the Latin word alteri, “others,” but the act of giving may go back to the beginning of time. “When I do good I feel good” is something most of us can relate to.
A good deed does make us feel better. A smile of thanks after you’ve helped a person lift a stroller off a train, or the gratitude in the eyes of a beggar when a few coins land on the bottom of their paper cup, will make you feel like a good person.
And most of us want to be good people. It’s the definition of “good” that varies.
Believe it or not, I do remember the moment I read the April 1997 issue of the Rolling Stone magazine. I was traveling on business – if you consider government employees’ travel as business – in Newfoundland in Canada. I had just checked in at my hotel in St. John’s and hadn’t had time to finish reading the article on the plane so fighting off the jetlag, I picked up the magazine again.
And this is what I remember: MTV’s trend watchers said that the next big thing would be “good”. Not just a good thing, but that being good, instead of bad, would be the next megatrend in pop. They said they could see signs of the pendulum going from the dangerous Madonnas, and Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” towards artists and movies that represented goodness.
I remember it because it surprised me and because I hoped it to be true. Because I considered myself a good guy, a nice guy, and for once, I also wanted that to mean that I was cool as well.
For a fearful person, there can hardly be a worse place than the airport. An airport offers a concentration of people – and fears. There are the crowds, the closed spaces, the impending airplane ride. Public places mean lots of germs and lots of strange people. Foreigners who do not speak your language are everywhere.
For many of us, there is the common fear of buying a cup of coffee and realizing at the register that you do not have enough money and cannot speak the language – and are naked, too.
A few months ago, I wrote about the world and people behind the scenes at the Hockey Hall of Fame’s resource center, to be included in the Hockey Hall of Fame Treasures book, which will be out in November. While surfing aimlessly today, I saw that you can already pre-order it.
I’ve worked at a few World Championships with Matthew Manor, the photographer who shot the artifacts for the book, and I know that the boy can shoot.
I may post my chapter here a little closer to the launch.
Cainophobia or Cainotophobia, Cenophobia or Centophobia, Kainolophobia or Kainophobia, or Neophobia is defined as the persistent and abnormal fear of anything new; things, ideas or situations, of novelty. In its milder form, it can manifest as the unwillingness to try new things or break from routine.
Anybody wanting to spread some fear into any organization – sports team, company, army – only has to say the following sentence, and panic will ensue: “There will be some changes made around here.”
But, it’s not really change we’re afraid of, is it? We can’t live without change. For example, most of us living up in the northern hemisphere like having different seasons. Aha! But we know what the seasons are, don’t we? We know what to expect. In fact, we love different kinds of clothes, food, we like variation. (Unless you suffer from food neophobia, and only eat things you’ve had before).
At 13, Magnus Carlsen became the world’s youngest grandmaster and the third youngest of all time. Today, at 19, he’s the youngest world No 1 in the game’s history.
The Norwegian wunderkind has stormed his way to the top of the chess world, and could become the youngest world champion ever.
Time’s running out, though, if he’s to depose Garry Kasparov, who rewrote the record books at 22.
The reigning champion, India’s Viswanathan Anand, successfully defended his crown against Bulgaria’s Veselin Topalov this year, which means Carlsen won’t get a title shot until 2012. Kasparov is now Carlsen’s advisor and coach.
There are several things that I like about this writing business, but one that really suits me well, is the fact that I don’t have to have an office that I have to go to write. I can just open my laptop cover and start typing. Well, sort of.
Here are a couple of my offices during this trip. The first one is the one where I typed the iihf.com game reports, and the second one is my hotel room. Not much glamour in this line of work, believe it or not.