Sweden's feathered finalists
After more than 50 years, the Swedish Ornithological Society is getting close to naming Sweden's new national bird. While the blackbird has been the national bird since a 1962 vote that was representative of only 5,000 citizens, the response has been huge to update the selection to be more inclusive of birds with a wide geographic representation in Sweden as well as more voters. In a four-step process that started earlier this year, the country's bird watchers and general public have been casting their votes here and via paper ballot for a list of 40 birds thatís gone through three preliminary elections, narrowing the final selection down to 10 finalists. Already at more than 40,000 votes, ballots will continue to be cast throughout July and August, with the winner announced at the Falsterbo Bird Show in early September. The 10 remaining contenders include the common, though not necessarily loved, magpie, raven and blackbird. The bullfinch, red hook and wagtail are also still on the list.

Swedes and Norwegians simulate a newbornís sight
A team of scientists in Sweden and Norway has for the first time simulated the sight of a newborn baby. Science and psychology has long known that a babyís sight is very poor at birth, but this study marks the first understanding of a newborn's blurred vision and how they see faces and expressions. Based on the findings of previous studies, the researchers produced moving images of adult faces expressing various emotions. The images were showed to 48 adults whose perceptions were measured when certain visual data was eliminated. "We reasoned that if an adult human subject could make out what was presented, a newborn child could, in principle, do it too," said study co-author Claes von Hofsten of Uppsala University in Sweden. For the first time, based on how well adults could make out emotions in the simulations, the researchers confirmed that infants as young as 2 days old could also see their parentsí expressions at a distance of about 30 centimeters (12 inches), which is about the same distance between a mother's face and her nursing baby.