Runic letters nothing but rubbish?
What do the rune stones tell us? They tell us about travels and family situations or nothing at all - because sometimes the runic letters spell nothing but rubbish, according to a new study. Showing that one knew how to write was at times more important than the actual meaning of the words. Marco Bianchi is a researcher at the Institution for Nordic languages at Uppsala University, and his study shows that there are runic writings that lack any meaning whatsoever, and that there are even runic writings that don’t look like regular runes at all. “We may feel that the language is what’s most important, but what I try to show is that language is just a part of it, the ornamentation is of equal importance,” says Bianchi, who believes that the meaningless runes have to do with the transition from heathenism to Christianity. “Writing was important to Christians. Being able to write was a sign that you were modern, therefore many wrote just for the sake of writing. This writing has no meaning at all.” The rune stones with “meaningless” writings aren’t as well made as other rune stones, which indicate that they were made by less competent rune stone makers. These rune stones are fairly rare, though. Real runic letters are like snakes across the stone, going this way and that, but they usually begin in the bottom left corner. However some have no real order at all, and Bianchi compares them to the newspapers or web pages we have today, with several different headlines, tempting the reader.

The attraction of Daniel
Victoria fell for him, and so will you. According to a new study made by Demoskop and the newspaper Expressen, few Swedes (only 3%) believe Daniel Westling will do a bad job as Prince Daniel. Especially women are positive about him. Seven out of ten Swedes believe Daniel will be excellent in his new job as Prince, women and older Swedes are most positive, as are those who voted for Fredrik Reinfeldt and his alliance. Says Demoskop’s CEO Anders Lindholm: “Daniel has a surprising support in all groups. Surprising, since we really don’t know much about him.” The study also reveals that more than 50% of all Swedes feel that Victoria is the royalty who best represents Sweden. Lars-Erik Berg, professor in social psychology at Skövde Högskola, believes Victoria’s popularity has to do with identification. “She is young and beautiful,” he says. “Many people would like to be like her. The excitement over the wedding in general has to do with lack of excitement in our own lives. Small children play make-believe games in kindergarten, and in a way that’s what this wedding is to grown-ups. It is our own wonderful pretend wedding, it will make us a bit happier.”

Free subway on wedding day
On June 19, the day of the Daniel and Victoria’s wedding, there will be no public buses in Stockholm due to the amount of people out in the city. There will instead be more subway trains than usual and no ticket inspections. There will also be extra staff in the subway system to help visitors.

Smiths and nobility in Daniel’s family tree
He is a Prince-to-be, but a closer look at Daniel Westling’s family tree reveals smiths, crofters, soldiers, and nobility with ties to Dalarna - all according to a new book. “Daniel descends from the original Swedish nobility,” says Björn Engström, a gardener and genealogist. “I’ve come as far a the first of the so-called Svinhufvud families. Many of our current noble families are related to them.” Engström is himself a distant relative to Daniel Westling’s father Olle, and he has authored a new book about Daniel’s family tree. Engström has spent 40 years tracing his own genealogy, and the book contains 70,000 names. What it shows is that Daniel Westling’s family, on his father’s side, has connections to both Finland and Russia but mostly to the Dalarna region of Sweden. A great part of the nobility during the time of Gustav Vasa lived on farms near Falu Great Copper Mine, and Daniel is related to them. “I think it’s great to be able to prove that even Daniel has noble blood,” says Engström.

Stieg Larsson stories unearthed
It seems the entire world has Stieg Larsson fever. Wherever you go, there’s always someone reading one of his Millenium books. If you’re hungry for more Larsson, then listen to this: Two short stories by the famous Swedish author who tragically died of a heart attack in 2004 before the release of his trilogy, have been found at the Swedish National Library. The stories, entitled “The Crystal Balls” and “The Flies” and in the sci-fi genre, were written when Larsson was but 17 years old and were rejected by the Swedish magazine Jules Verne. In the cover letter accompanying the two stories, Larsson writes that he is “a 17-year old guy from Umeå with dreams of becoming an author and journalist.” He calls the stories his “first tentative efforts” at writing. Håkan Färje, a spokesman for the library, said they received the stories as part of a private donation of the magazine’s archives in 2007. He added that it was up to the author’s heirs to decide whether to publish the stories.