The Spectator

Dealing with trolls the Swedish way

Plus: the European capital with most foreigners (it’s not London)

Dealing with trolls the Swedish way
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How to deal with a troll

In Scandinavian mythology, trolls were shady creatures who lived below ground and varied in size from giants (in Iceland) to dwarfs (in Sweden). They snatched infants and replaced them with baby trolls, or ‘changelings’, in an attempt to improve their breeding stock. They could, however, be tackled:

— By leaving a knife on a baby’s cradle, the trolls being frightened of iron.

— By ringing church bells constantly.

— By baptising infants quickly, as trolls will not snatch those already christened.

— By exposing them to sunlight.

Hello, strangers

Which European capitals have the highest and lowest percentages of foreigners in their populations?

HIGHEST

Luxembourg

65%

Brussels

34%

Zurich

31%

Riga

26%

London

22%

LOWEST

Warsaw

0.6%

Sofia

1%

Vilnius

1.4%

Bratislava

3.1%

Budapest

3.3%

Source: Eurostat

Catching your death

The World Health Organisation says the current Ebola outbreak has had a mortality rate of 70 per cent. Some worse diseases to catch, by mortality rate:

Haemorrhagic smallpox

c.100%

Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis

95%

Lujo haemorrhagic fever

80%

Inhalation smallpox

75%

The long run

Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi was seriously injured in the Japanese Grand Prix, but it is over 20 years since a driver (Ayrton Senna) died in a race. Is Formula 1 now safer than driving on the roads?

— In 2011, there was one death among car occupants for every 250 million vehicle miles driven on British roads.

— Formula 1 races are just over 190 miles in length. Races have had between 22 and 26 drivers over the past 20 years and the number of races has averaged 19 per season. So in 20 years Formula 1 drivers have raced for about 1.73 million miles.

— Therefore, Formula 1 would have to go another 143 periods of 20 years — i.e. 2,860 years — without a fatality before you could call it safer than British roads.