Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Ethanol Pt.2: RE85 and cold-start

Indeed, the future of ethanol looks increasingly bright.

Here in Sweden there have been reports on cold-start problems with ethanol - this is why gasoline is a part of the mix that is the E85 fuel in Sweden in the first place. However, the new RE85 ethanol fuel (by ST1, made from biowaste, concept is called "Etanolix") does not have any gasoline; instead, it has components that actually solve cold-start issues. This makes ethanol a much more usable in cold climates. Its called "cold-optimization".

Tests have been made by VTT in Finland all the way to -25 celsius. The results of this TransEco-programme will be used by CEN (European Committee for Standardization).

The long goodbye to the era of fossil-based energy has begun.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Sweden is no. 3 in Europe in the use of ethanol as a fuel for vehicles, right after France and Germany. The latter countries being quite large in comparison to Sweden, its quite an achievement. Like in many things, there is much that could be improved.

The silly part is that most of the E85 that the numerous Swedes (and me) driving an ethanol-capable car put to their tanks comes from Brazil and is made from sugar cane (EU has a special agreement on lower tariffs for Brazilian ethanol). This is fuel is a first generation ethanol-product, as in difference to second generation fuel, which is synthetic.

The great controversy usually associated to producing ethanol from plants is the risk of it replacing food crops in developing countries and thus raising food prices. Considering the fact that ethanol is much more environmentally friendly pollution-wise compared to fossils, this disadvantage has been seen as the major stumbling-block for large-scale adoption of ethanol as fuel.

So far the supply of second generation product is very limited. Finnish chain ST1 recently bought all the Shell stations in Sweden, but they have not launched their advanced second generation RE85 fuel in Sweden, which is made of waste. Yes, waste. No need to import anything, the fuel can be produced 'locally', which again reflects into the cost and environmental effect of transport etc.


And did I mention, ethanol has a higher octane rating than gasoline. This paired with an engine that is optimized for ethanol (and lets not forget turbocharging) gives results that are fun-fun. There are some prime examples of good Swedish engineering, say Saab Biopower or Koenigsegg CCXR (1020hp on ethanol!). All of this makes me glad at the fuel pump.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Man has no whale - learning Swedish

My efforts to master the Swedish language continue.

Swedish is actually very close to English, being from the same family of languages. However, translating directly yields often funny results.

Lets say:

"Man har ingen val!"

One has no whale!
One has no choice!

If man has no whale, that must be changed. Said AHAB.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Seduction of certainty

Getting it wrong

is hugely popular. The human being is a group creature, and the opinion leaders are often wrong. In any issue, the future is difficult to foresee. No-one sees the complete picture, but the seduction of certainty holds a man captive.

More advanced thinkers can do meta. Meaning that they can look the way they themselves think. If one feels strongly about some subject, or a concept, it is very rewarding to ask oneself: "Why do I feel this way?". Done properly, this simple method can reveal a lot one does not want to see. It is remarkable what a dose of sanity follows from the uncertainty caused by this.

Some people make lists on all the ways they can be fools. It can be a tough exercise, if done thoroughly. In any case, its good to keep in mind that a human being does not learn that much from failure after all. This has been scientifically proven recently.

Anyway, the good stuff comes from the feeling of success.

Now, something practical:

Watch the news and write down what feelings arise with different stories, terms and concepts presented.

Another very Swedish phenomenon: complaints via WiFi network names

The has written before about the curious Swedish phenomenon of complaining to neighbours via notes so that one does not have to face the target. This often happens in shared facilities of apartment buildings, such as laundry rooms or hallways.

These notes are usually written in a tone that is passive-aggressive. The topics range from left trash to loud marital activities.

However, Swedes have discovered a new, even more effective method: WiFi network names (TheLocal calls it "Angry note 2.0"). WiFi is used by many many people in Sweden, and if you go into a apartment building, you will usually find a bunch of them. What a way to complain!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Tyler Brûle on my ol' hometown

I just took a look at Tyler Brûle's column (FT) after a long pause in doing so. To my pleasure I noticed that he has has written some about his recent visit in Helsinki.

Cosy cardamom autumn it is. That made me think those megasize muffins with cinnamon, vanilla and apple that they used to serve in Wayne's Coffee (its from Sweden, by the way). Delicious with a large cup of cappuccino. Not anymore, though. It can be shared, you know. No need to buy two of those small ones they only stock nowadays.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Internet goodies from Sweden

Yepp, its Spotify and Voddler. These are the two things that have affected most the way I enjoy my lazy-entertainment these days. Spotify for music, and Voddler for movies.

For example, I used LastFM for some time, but it looks like Spotify is to stay. It simply is the best thing for music, at least for the time being. Premium version is highly recommended, though - unless one is a masochist who enjoys listening to commercials every now and then. Spotify works beatifully with any party one might be arranging. Planning playlists is a joy, and its easy to compile stuff on the fly.

Almost no download when playing. Wonder if Monocle has written about this. They titulate themselves as the briefing on getting it right. Or something like that. What a great read it is, by the way.

I do remember Monocle founder Tyler Brûle writing in his FT column about the many possibilities in remaking the venerable concept of DVD rental stores, looking at the customer experience side. Lounging through shelves of DVDs, getting snacks and supplies, etc. On a lazy, rainy Sunday night.

Well, no more video rental stores for me. Its Voddler that "gäller". They some a lot of movies for free, and rentals over the internet are super-easy. Just plug your gold-plated HDMI cable to the telly and start.

These two are hardly the only good stuff that is brewing here in Sweden. Gött.

Now, if someone could just make a proper Spotify app for Nokia N900 (Maemo5). So I dont have to get nerdy.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Iain Banks has published some new science fiction: Surface Detail

Yes. This means I will part with some Euros.

Iain Banks (the Scottish writer who writes his non-scifi under "Ian Banks") is back with his scifi.

As a lifelong fan of good science fiction, I am, I must confess, excited about getting the latest one from the best. Yes Iain, that would be you. Now do not get arrogant :)

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Rather slow with book reviews, its 1998 I am at

Yes, I was at the library one day looking for something specific, when by chance I laid my eyes on Robert Stone's "Damascus Gate".

The back cover pitch by the publisher was as follows:

"From one of the most distinctive voices of his generation comes a novel of soaring vision and profound intelligence.."

I was not familiar with Robert Stone nor his generation. However, what caught me was the sales pitch. So much of modern literature (at least if we are talking thrillers and such) are highly structured. You know, twist in the plot every seven pages, chapters very short and almost precisely of the same length, the classic structure of "protagonist meets some problems, is sucked in to the vortex of issues from which he/she slowly recovers and attains a happy ending", which can - despite of its base psychological appeal - be tiresome. Not so very real for most people. Just the same'ol ancient formula.

As I needed some pastime, I grabbed it. So, was the book up to the high-flying sales pitch? The answer is yes. I am a little ahead of things here as I have not actually finished the book. Without knowing how it ends, I dare to call it good. The read has been very entertaining, and the intelligence Mr. Stone pours into his text is fantastic. Humour included. In fact, I was reminded of another American - the well-known prankster Robert Anton Wilson.

So what is the book about? A washed-up American journalist freelances, drinks and hangs out in Jerusalem, where he encounters a very imaginative cast of characters and the story is complete with the strange religious phenomena (Jerusalem Syndrome stuff) and a plot. That should be enough about the story - its not really that relevant at all. Why not? Read it, and eventually you will understand.

Good stuff Robert, I think you've done mankind a favour here, in a small way. Once I finish this one, I'm going to take a look at other stuff you have produced. Skol på dig!

PS. The cast of characters is really something. Consider Pinchas. Pinchas Obermann, the Israeli Psychiatrist. Jösses.

Monday, 4 October 2010

The last week of filming of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" in Uppsala

Great many film enthusiast's have been flocking to the cosy city centre of Uppsala as the filming of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" has been ongoing in David Fincher's direction. Its last week now, so there still is time for the enthusiasts. As the scenes being filmed are from the 60's, there is a lot of classic cars about, Police Volvo Amazons, etc.

The locals like this, especially many of the small businesses in the area, but enthusiasm remians great as local papers write along the lines of "Hollywood is around the corner".

Well, at least the traffic irregularities should cease as well :)

CBD - also known as the Cinnamon Bun Day

In the creme de la creme of Swedish traditions one finds the Cinnamon Bun Day (CBD), which is today. Cinnamon swirls (kanelbulla) are traditionally enjoyed during the autumn.

Let it be known that I have just enjoyed a warm kanelbulle, fresh from the oven. With a liberal glass of milk. This noble symbol of Swedish home baking tradition definitely deserves its on day on the calender.


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The hunt for Sweden's best vodka martini

Alas, many duties have kept me from pursuing the knowledge of where to get the best vodka martini (VM) in this country. I was planning to do some research in Stockholm next month, but it has to be postponed.

However, I have not been entirely without the pleasures of good martinis. I recently visited Helsinki (or Helsingfors in Swedish), and took the opportunity of enjoying a splendid VM before dinner at the American Bar (hotel Torni in the heart of the city ). Still probably the best in town, and you'd be hard pressed to find better anywhere. In the world. They stubbornly refuse to reveal the lenght and intensity of stirring that yields this wonderful result.

I have to do some testing.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Urban existence

Yes. Roman satirist Marcus Valerius Martialis (who is, for some inexplicable reason, called "Martial" in English) was from provincial Hispania, and moved to live in the sprawling imperial capital in AD 64. From then on, he wrote much on the urban lifestyle.

Here is one:

Why does Vacerra spend his hours
in all the prives, and day-long sit?
He wants supper, not a s**t.

Apparently, large public lavatories (maybe 100 seats on long slabs of marble, flushing by running water below) were popular places to discuss politics, theatre, literature, etc. Somehow one thinks that the public toilet-arrangements in Rome were better a couple of thousand years ago than they are today. Go and figure.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Day 12 - day of the slacker

Lagging. Behind. Argh.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Day 6


30 pocket book pages done, 150 to go..

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

An experiment - a novel in 30 days

For the next 30 weekdays I will be writing a novel. The objective is to get a draft version of 180 pages together within this time. It will be interesting to see if I can manage this task, considering my limited experience concerning writing.

I am writing this down so it will be more difficult more me to weasel out or give up.

Semi-historical fiction it is. Starting tomorrow.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Why Vesper is not Vesper anymore

Ian Fleming made this classic drink famous via his novel "Casino Royale" (the year was 1953). The thirsty protagonist is a British agent James Bond, who always checks into hotels using his own name. Talk about travelling incognito, when all the bartenders, hotel managers and massage therapists from the top hotels from Hong Kong to New York know the man by name!

In any case, I did my homework on this recipe a long time ago. It is nice to notice that the Wikipedia article has caught up with reality as well. The problem with trying to create the experience Ian Fleming would have been enjoying is twofold:

1) Kina Lillet is not made anymore.

2) Most modern vodka is not 100-proof, and also the gin needs to be 94-proof. However, these can be found (Wikipedia mentions 100-proof Stoli and Tanqueray gin).

The closest product to Kina Lillet is Lillet Blanc by the same producer. Check them out here.

So what is the difference between Kina Lillet and Lillet Blanc? Kina refers to quinine, which gives the drink a twang of bitterness, and that is precisely the ingredient that has been toned down. So why is that? Quinine comes cinchona tree in South America, and it was the first effective treatment for malaria. It also has fever-reducing, anti-inflammatory and painkilling effects. However, overdose can lead to death or complications.

The Quechua Indians in Peru used to mix ground bark of Cinchona tree to sweet water, thus creating tonic water. It was used to stop shivering in low temperatures. Thanks to this, not only Bond got to sip his Vespers, but also mankind got a taste for gin tonics, which were introduced by the army of the British East India Company. The tonic water with its quinine would keep malaria at bay in the tropics.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Hollywood version to be made from "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" etc.

Now this is interesting news. Apparently Columbia Pictures has bought cinematic rights to all the books in Stieg Larsson's excellent Millenium-trilogy. The books are:

1) Män som hatar kvinnor (literally "Men who hate women") = The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

2) Flickan som lekte med elden = The Girl who Played with Fire (here the name in English is a direct translation)

3) Luftslottet som sprängdes ("The air castle that was blown away/exloded") = The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The story is very peculiar, unfolding bit by bit throughout the trilogy. Very well worth reading, and the Swedish film versions were highly successful. Noomi Rapace did a perfect job portraying Lisbeth Salander to expentant retinas. I do suspect that critical to success is the cast. The director is David Leo Fincher, who gave us such movies as Seven and Fight Club, so that side of the affair should be a-ok. Now, supposedly Daniel Craig (the James Bond guy) has been attached to play the other starring role (the journalist Mikael Blomkvist who uncovers Lisbeth Salander's past in the books, and apparently is modelled by Stieg Larsson after his own personality), so the big question is that from where will they find someone to replicate Noomi Rapace's stellar performance?

A little googling reveals that industry rumors swirl around Ellen Page, Mia Wasikowska, Emily Browning, Sara Snook, Rooney Mara, Sophie Snook, Natalie Portman and Carey Mulligan.

As for Daniel Craig, the role entails a less physical job if one compares to the action packed Bonds. He is the man who made a testosterone-oozing action hero out of James Bond, who in late Sean Connery interpretations had a middle-aged mans belly and dealt with an opponent by throwing his own urine sample to the assailant's eyes. Well, unless the guys at the Columbia do not want changes to the script making Mikael Blomkvist a tougher guy.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Maybe logic, but slowly

What good is an EU?

Well, just read a delightful story on Wired. EU is moving to standard, one-for-all mobile phone charger starting in 2011. Irrationally all mobile phones have come with a charger, and the old one has been chucked to the bin, every time, once a year for many people.

It is about time that action is taken regarding the ridiculous amount of unnecessary waste produced by our unsustainable economy. EU has other measures of rationalization ongoing as well, such as aiming for maximum recycling of metals as a part of its raw materials strategy.

Its really not so hard to make big improvements with technology that has existed for a long long time. How about a magnet powered bike light instead of a batterypowered?

It is very strange, that even though T-model Ford that was introduced 1908 had a 'flexifuel' engine (it can use either gasoline, ethanol or any mixture of the two), only now 2nd generation biofuels are coming to market - such as the advanced ethanol produced from waste by ST1 in Finland. Additionally, Mr. Porsche introduced the first hybrid car in 1900 (Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid), which had a friction free drivetrain. It took some time before Toyota Prius hit the market after that. Now why is that?

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Travel and the middle-man

Despite of knowing better, for reasons unknown (or was it so that an offer was very good - or seemingly so, of course) I made the mistake of using an internet-based travel middle-man (these low margin businesses seem to be all over nowadays) to make some reservations earlier this summer. And problems I got. Guess if you can get hold of this Swedish middle-man when the excrement hits the fan in scorched place far from home. And guess if they want you to be able to in the first place. This is a very common phenomenon in internet-based business.

The customer service is basically designed to be difficult to reach. When standing at the lobby desk of a 5 star hotel and realizing that you have to pay for an extra night (that you thought you had already paid for), there's nobody to help you to sort things out. And when you get back, it takes over 20 days to get an answer to your complaint. And the attitude is very poor indeed, and one becomes suspicious that maybe they do not answer many complaints at all. The business is low margin and any compensation will turn the transaction to red immediately. Nevertheless, these people like to pour money into advertising, but their marketing has not reached the level on which they would do the very professional thing of starting to calculate and compare the cost of getting a new customer versus retaining an old one..

Always deal with carriers and hotels etc. directly. Lesson learned. And a good reminder it is of the fact that I can be a fool in so many ways.

Monday, 2 August 2010

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra conjures up memories

Once upon a time I lived relatively close to the Irish Film Institute in Dublin. In a way, that was one of my favourite spots in the town, and it supplied many rainy late nights' worth of entertainment during those years, ranging from serious documentaries to B-scifi and horror. Their output was heaven sent when Cineworld etc. have succumbed to the same depressively repetitive format which also covers much of the mainstream radio, music channels and other media.

IFI is located at the edge of the Temple Bar disctrict, so analytical post-film pints were also close at hand, not to mention IFI's own restaurant and bar. It resembled me of the old Cinema du Parc in Montreal (which now apparently has reopened, good news for the locals..). I dont think that IFI would never go as risqué as CdP when it comes to lineup (mostly a good thing, I do remember a couple of incidents with half of the audience leaving in the middle of the show etc during some controversial horror, nauseous customers and so forth), but it did a wonderful job at getting much of the cool indie and documentary material on the silver screen. Its so much more fun to combine things, have dinner, good movie, and analytical pints afterwards. Very rewarding - mostly. Not everything was a success - I do remember suffering through some very bad ones, the The Night of the Lepus from the seventies maybe takes the first prize. Add a noisy audience 80% alternative nerds (there is some sort of crappy horrorthron festival ongoing that week) who have decided that every extremely bad movie is actually funny by default. Argh. Dont take you date to see this one..

This phenomenon may well be the reason for the existence of another terrifically bad movie that I saw a couple of years back. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra is an American parody of the 50's cheap horror/scifi films with notoriously crappy special effects. In effect, the ingredients are: 1) very low budget, 2) turning colour footage to black/white in post production, 3) director demands as woody performances from the cast as they can humanly manage, 4) everything is explained to the audience by teh characters (like the scientist working, wearing a white coat surrounded by lab equipment "As I am doing my scientific work.." etc, 5) there is a supernatural skeleton and a space mutant involved. No need to describe the plot more than that.

The taglines tell it all:

From the company that brought you "Zombies of Mora Tau" and "Lawrence of Arabia."

This was the day the Earth was disemboweled in terror!

Supreme shock sensation of our time!

None Can Stand Its Mental Power!

It is very bad indeed, but for some reason I want to see the sequel "The Lost Skeleton Return Again". I dont know why. However, I seriously doubt that the Swedish Film Institute would be showing it anytime soon. Art house is serious business :)

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Mini Me

The Swedish summer is slowly turning towards autumn, and its time to do a little bit of reflection. A traditional Swedish "semester" is a time spent free of worries, stress and generally seriousness, usually in a summer house on the coast or by a lake. For 3-4 weeks. I have certainly indulged in it all after all the travel and hassle during June.

I cannot think of anything more healthier for the body and soul. The Nordic summer holiday is pure quality of life: The crisp morning swims in the lake, barbecues, sailing, crackle of open fire, dramatic thunderstorms, good company and a ton of fika. And a lot of time to think and to realize all the things I have been missing all the years living outside the Nordic. Except gadflies and mosquitoes however :)

The semester is now over and I am back in the city. I almost thought that the tropical night temperatures of this peculiar summer of 2010 would be over, but it looks like there are many hot days in store yet. Warm as my thoughts.

The weekend is also turning towards the end and life is gearing up for another period of increased complexity and pace. Here is a small piece of minimalist elegance and clarity for those darkening autumn nights:

"Mini Me"

Russkij Standart platinum vodka

How to:
Load a shaker with ice, cool the vodka in the shaker with vigorous motions in a general pace of a waltz, pour to a coctail glass, add a few drops/splash of Angostura

The result:
A crisp silver sky with an orange glow of the first or last rays of the sun. Enjoy.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Where on Earth..

..can these be found?

Monday, 5 April 2010

On formality

One can hardly underestimate the lasting, quaint joy in life that can be only generated by formality. Formality in correct dosage is a thing which can give a meaningul glow to any day burdened by grind and repetition. Think prayer here. Excellent.

Once a year an event requiring formality so deep that it feels nearly sinister is a must.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Winter storms and Olympics, plus a flight of an eagle

It is - again - time for the Winter Olympics. I am definitely glad about living once again in a climate that has actual seasons. Last night was a stormy night. I went to get some supplies to the local store late in the afternoon, before the weather would come howling in. The hissing, or swishing sound of a fine shower of dry snow landing on trees and earth is one of those things that will get your skin tingling. I could smell the firepalaces and perhaps wood-fired saunas (the best kind) coming from the villas in the area. Later the snow would come down in an almost horizontal manner. I've missed this. A leisurely Sunday morning opened with a fast-paced jog into the sunshine and fresh powder in the forest.

As I've been missing downhill skiing, I've been watching the alpine disciplines on TV. Sweden has a long time alpine tradition of success, but this time aroud we got some serious entertainment. Sweden's veteran skier Anja Persson - who has a number of Olympic medals in her pocket already - suffered a very dangerous fall after a flight of sixty meters into which she was launched from a high speed. Miraculously - or maybe due to her superb ability to control her body - she came out from it with buises only, and continued undeterred to a bronze medal next day. She has one cool head.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Car Trouble

Yes, thats a Bugatti Type 41 (aka 'Royale'). I recently read from Wired that it is maybe the most coveted collector car in the world. Its production started in 1927 and Ettore Bugatti was planning to sell these to the European royalty. Alas, the Great Depression intervened. It is quite a set of wheels, definitely your style if you happen to be the monopoly man. What a peculiar specimen of industrial produce!

During the last few months there has been intense debate in the Swedish media about the iconic car maker SAAB, as its future has been quite uncertain. Like Volvo, it has been a kind of a manifestation of Swedish mindset and style in designing and building cars. Both companies were pioneers in car safety (for example, it was Volvo who originally came up with the 3-point safety belt that has probably saved untold numbers of lives), and they still like to build those 5-star Euro NCAP rated vehicles. Very comforting if you have a family in the car. Even Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson has commented on the calming effect of driving a SAAB.

However, both companies have been sold to American car giants years ago. The idea was that as a part of huge corporations they will have the access to newest technology and extensive sales networks. However, with SAAB at least, the opposite has happened. SAAB used to be a piece of unique Swedishness relished by a devout global fanbase, but soon corporate men with souls of accountants made sure that it bacame very much like the average mass produced European car. As SAAB seemed to have reached the end of the road, there was something akin to an awakening in the Swedish press and public - suddenly the realization of losing the other half of the car industry with all related businesses seemed to strike home, as at the same time, Ford sold Volvo to the Chinese.

It now seems that car industry will join the ranks of vanishing cogs of industrial base as its reduction steadily continues. Shipbuilding is long gone, and with it all the jobs and export income. The government was suggesting to the SAAB employees that they should start to build windmills instead. What a dreadful prospect! If one has seen the eyesore of fields littered with towering windmills in the West of Sweden, one has seen enough :) Sweden is one of the most free-trade enthusiastic countries in Europe, and I do suspect it has to do with the fact that Swedes subconsciously believe that they will fare well in an open situation, being able to export much. Sweden does have a very long tradition of exporting manufactured goods (for example, in the 1700's, 80% of the produce of Swedish cannon foundries went to export). Except that they soon wont produce much, so what is there left to export, is the realization.

USA and the major European countries with big car industries have seen to it that their car industries stay in the country and keep on employing and tax-paying. Tax-payers money has not been spared in the bail-outs (as anyone can calculate the cost of an army of unemployed who have very limited buying power in the economy). Except in Sweden. Whereas many talk the talk of free trade lovin', few walk the walk when its against their own direct interest. Except Sweden, where fath is genuine and true.

However, if you cannot produce, and the parties doing the producing for you decide to cut off your supply, one may end up in a difficult situation. And have to improvise, like these guys:

Does it have a 3-point belts and side airbags? Nevetheless, I have a feeling that these guys will be upgrading soon. Good things come to those who wait.

Monday, 25 January 2010

I say. 4th popular search string that lead people to Swedish Notions: "Anna Anka sex midgets"

I just checked out Google Statistics to see if anyone has been reading my boring blog during the quiet period that is the beginning of this year.

And what do I find out? Number four search string that lead visitors to the blog was "Anna Anka sex midgets". Whoa. I'm quite sure I havent written much about sex midgets. About the Swedish Hollywood Wives programme yes, but not sex midgets. I wonder what these accidental visitors are after. Quite the peculiar taste I must say, being quite morally relaxed myself.

Gotta love free Google tools. So much fun after a day at the office.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Doing it the old fashioned way

After some years of living without a TV I now have found myself with quite a flat screen in my living room. And what do I see? People who visit teh gym 6 times a week advertising a device that stimulates abdominal muscles. Electronically. Bzzzt!

The promise ususally going along these lines: "Just 2 minutes per day while watching this commercial in the privacy of your home you will get flat stomach/dream abs/long awaited success in life/whatnot..". Body fat is not discussed at all.

The really serious implication of these advertisements is that there must be a buying audience for these products, otherwise they would not be aired. Abasement. In any case, the best way to get ruthlessly fit is to get in touch with mother nature:

Fitness you must, and I cannot think of a better way than doing a run on a cushioning blanket of fresh snow in the winter forest. Since my skis and tillbehör are in another country, running it must be.

A giant bubble has landed in the forest. My god!

Strictly no horseplay. But skiing is quite alright. Be sure to be dynamic, though.

A troll gym:

Rules of the stadsskog: