Tesla's "car-as-service" versus your right to see your data

Espen got a parking ticket for his Tesla, and he's pretty sure he can exonerate himself, if only the company would give him access to his car's data, but they won't.

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Anonymous edits to Norwegian Wikipedia from Norwegian government IPs


Here's Jari Bakken's collection of edits made to Norwegian Wikipedia from the IP range assigned to the Norwegian parliament and government offices.

Imagine how great it would be if all these Norwegian bureaucrats, wonks, officials and others declared their interest and made their efforts public, working with Norwegian wikipedians to improve the quality of the encyclopedia in the open.

Anonymous Wikipedia edits from the Norwegian parliament and government offices [Jari Bakken] (via Hacker News)

Anders Breivik threatens hunger strike over "torture" of only getting a PS2

Mass-murderer Anders Breivik has issued a second letter of complaint about the conditions he's endured in a Norwegian prison since killing 77 teenagers attending a conference for the youth wing of a left-wing political party (here's the first, which runs to 27 pages and features a demand for moisturizer). This time around, Breivik is upset that he is forced to use an outdated Playstation 2 and isn't allowed to choose his own games; wants his uncomfortable cell-chair replaced with an armchair or sofa; and more. He threatens a hunger-strike if his 12 demands are not met.

As Lowering the Bar points out, Breivik's demand that his daily searches be ended is somewhat reasonable, especially if he's not mixing with the general population, as these would appear to be more about vindictive punishment than safety. But a hunger strike over being forced to make do with the award-winning 1999 game Rayman Revolution rather than more adult fare is a just grandstanding, as is calling the PS2 situation "torture."

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Gingerbread Optimus Prime

Caroline Eriksson's gingerbread Optimus Prime was constructed for Norway's Gingerbread Gallery contest. It really is the standout of the competition, though this ramshackle house Stave Church from Runar Solbern is pretty impressive.

Kinetic solar system jewelry


Norwegian jeweler Miriel Design (AKA Josephine Ryan) has created a bunch of kinetic solar system necklaces, available in her Etsy store. Here's a set of photos of them, and here's her discussion on Reddit. The pieces vary in price, from $380-$500, depending on their complexity, but they're all flat-out gorgeous, and represent a tremendous amount of precision labor.

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All Norewegian books to be digitized, made available

The National Library of Norway has struck a deal to digitize all of its Norwegian books and make them available online to anyone coming from a Norwegian IP address. This is great work, and a model for other countries. (It probably helped that Norway's publishers enjoy a laudable program of subsidies and incentives, including funding to translate foreign titles into Neu Norsk).

NSA engaged in illegal mass-spying on Norway's phone system


Norway is the latest US ally to erupt in outrage at the news that the NSA was intercepting millions of its phone calls in total disregard for Norwegian law. A new Snowden leak shows that between Dec 8, 2012 and Jan 8, 2013, the NSA logged 33,186,042 Norwegian phone calls, intercepting an enormous amount of sensitive data about Norwegians' private lives. Last June, the former Norwegian prime minister was assured by senior US officials that no such interception had taken place. In addition to being a NATO member, Norway is a close surveillance partner with the US, part of the "nine eyes" surveillance partnership.

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Norwegian company launches "eggs for boys" and "eggs for girls"


Finn writes, "Prior, Norway's leading brand of chicken and eggs, has just launched Princess Eggs and Pirate Eggs, to get children to eat more eggs. A friend of mine was quoted as saying: 'If this is what's necessary to get kids to eat more eggs, there's something wrong with the way you raise them. The product per se is as old as the hills, but the packaging is new, and it's a marketing stunt -- gone horribly wrong! The next product launch: School eggs! Now, there's a facepalm moment for you!"

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Just look at this shattered banana that gives mute testimony of the bitter cold of Norway.


Just look at it.

This is how cold it is in Norway right now. (i.imgur.com) (Thanks, arbitrary aardvark!)

Remixable video of Norway's four seasons from a train

Eirik Solheim is an amazing geek and CC activist at NRK, the Norwegian public broadcaster. He writes, "We filmed a train ride four times. One time for each season; winter, spring, summer and autumn. Then we used an accurate GPS-track to sync the four videos using some clever programming in combination with after effects. Giving us endless possibilities for spectacular video footage. You can watch it on the web, but we have also made it available for everyone to download in full HD -- and licensed it with Creative Commons so that you can edit, remix and share!"

Nordlandsbanen: minute by minute, season by season (Thanks, Eirik!)

Quadcopter vs moose

Espen sez, "Tech-enthusiast Eirik Solheim (@eirikso) at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) was out fooling around with his quad-copter this weekend, and managed to sneak up on a slightly confused moose. The enthusiasm then reached new heights (audio is a must)."


Update: Eirik sez, "I am amused by the fact that people seem to like the quad-moose video so well. Even if they don't understand the enthusiastic commentary track... But it leaves a lot of questions, so I updated my blog with some answers.

Sa hei til intetanende elg med fjernstyrt helikopter (Thanks, Espen!)

Norwegian hotel calls cops on man because they got his name wrong and thought he used an assumed name; police arrest him in the nude; hotel charges him for the room

Matt sez,

Sorry, this is in Norwegian but it's definitively a story that deserves more attention. In summary, Norwegian Dagfinn Bjelland visits Clarion Collection Hotell Atlantic in Norwegian town of Sandefjord. The reception spells his name wrong, which then makes them suspicious he checked in under a fake name, because apparently no-one goes by the name they typed in. They call the police, who show up and confronts him, and for good measure while he's naked in shower! After some clarification and searching his room they accept the wrong name and the police leave. However, the guest is of course furious and leaves. And does he get his money back? No - and the comment from the hotel director Kari-Ann Norén is "He had used the room and our facilities".

Not only is the story itself bad, but the attitude from the hotel and police is remarkably offensive. The hotel director just states "we have a lot of problems with prositution and drug dealers", while the police spokesman states that "we had our reasons to investigate the tip". According to the story he was neither charged for anything or there was any particular reason for the search than the name being misspelled. But regardless they all imply that the treatment is justified for reasons they can't or won't share.

Dagfinn (31) anholdt naken etter at hotellet stavet navnet feil

Africa for Norway: raising money in Africa to help poor Norwegians struggle through the frozen winter

Ntwiga wries, Who says Africa can't contribute: Radi-Aid has Africans singing and working together to send radiators to our cold brethren in Norway in this their time of Christmas need. Choice tidbit: 'It's kind of just as bad as poverty if you ask me... Frostbite kills too.'"

Africa For Norway - New charity single out now! Official christmas video

Norway's foreign minister on why Breivik didn't have a special, secret trial

Jonas Gahr Store, Norway's foreign minister, has written a NYT op-ed explaining why his country refused to treat the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik any differently from other criminals -- because Breivik's cause is served by treating him as a sort of criminal superman whose crimes are so special that normal justice can't apply to them.

Confronting and undermining the narratives and ideas of extremism must therefore be one of our key tasks. To do this, we must retain the courage of our convictions in the face of extremism.

Virtually all modern forms of extremism accuse liberal Western democratic systems of being hypocritical and, ultimately, weak. Al Qaeda portrays the West as anti-Islamic imperialists masquerading as promoters of democracy. Right wing extremism suggests the West is committing cultural suicide through its lax judicial system and naïve multiculturalism.

Both have committed horrific acts designed to bait us into betraying our values and making them martyrs. In fact, it is remarkable to see the many similarities between these two sorts of extremism in their disdain for diversity and their indiscriminate violence against civilians.

In this context, it is a mistake to treat crimes committed by extremists as exceptions, subject to special processes. They must be held accountable in accordance with and to the full extent of the law. Hiding suspects from public view merely dehumanizes the perpetrators and undermines any moral or judicial lessons.

Learning From Norway’s Tragedy (via Making Light)

How the press is distorting the Breivik trial to make video games central to the narrative


On Rock, Paper, Shotgun, John Walker tears into the mainstream press's treatment of mass-murderer Anders Breivik's video-game habits. Breivik's gaming has been prominently mentioned in press accounts, and the Norwegian prosecutor also called attention to it. Breivik himself described his World of Warcraft sessions as a "martyrdom gift," a "sabbatical year," and stated that he played to unwind after a difficult stretch of work in planning his atrocities and writing his 800,000 word manifesto.

Later, Breivik talks about using Modern Warfare to prepare for his massacre, calling it "a simple war simulator." But as Walker points out, Breivik's description of what he did with the game in order to train for his assault doesn't actually jibe with the way that the game works -- Breivik describes doing things that the game doesn't do. Walker points out that most of Breivik's statements about his motives and inspiration are treated skeptically by the press and prosecutors, but where Breivik describes using games to prepare for slaughter, his statements aren't just taken at face value, they are enthusiastically amplified and elaborated.

Walker shows that this reporting slant is widespread, across different news entities with different audiences, from CNN to The Irish Times to Al Arabia News. It seems like the press has already made up its mind about what role games play in social violence, and will cherry pick and even distort facts to support that narrative.

That’s not what Modern Warfare is, or lets you do. The scripted corridors, nor the multiplayer, offer no useful practice for any such actions, and don’t allow you to simulate practising killing policemen in the manner Breivik describes. There is of course the infamous No Russian airport level, in which you play as an undercover agent with terrorists, and are able to shoot (or not shoot) civilians and policemen, but I think it’s unreasonable to suggest that it offers what Breivik claims. Of course there are many other shooters out that that would let you create your own specific scenarios, attempt to rehearse escaping from armed forces, and so on. But Breivik, in keeping with much else of his rhetoric, doesn’t make much sense here. It is very unfortunate that while a sceptical press has been enjoying picking over his comments about being a member of the Knights Templar, and disproving them, they see no need to question his remarks on using Call Of Duty as a simulator for combating armed police in real life. Instead here it’s assumed he’s being honest and clear-headed. It’s also important to note that Breivik’s memoir makes it clear that he only played MW2 after he had entirely planned the attacks, and it was in no way influential on his decision to kill anyone.

The same Times report then explains how Breivik named all his guns, citing El Cid for having done the same for his favourite sword, but oddly doesn’t then condemn the learning of history. Instead, astonishingly, it just reports the names for all the weapons, and doesn’t even mention the possible concern that he was in possession of them. They also don’t mention the enormous detail written in the manifesto about how these guns were legally and illegally acquired, and the enormous amount of time he spent at shooting ranges, practising firing them. Factors that, you would imagine a journalist reporting on how he had trained for his attacks, would think relevant to bring up. But no, instead, only Modern Warfare and World Of Warcraft are mentioned.

Yet again I feel compelled to repeat the refrain: were gaming genuinely a dangerous factor, something that could cause someone to become a murderer, we would want to know about it, and you can damn well believe we’d be reporting on it. What more serious matter could there be for gamers than to be aware of this? This is not about defending gaming, but about defending truth, and truth in reporting. And it is woefully lacking in the so-called respectable papers over this matter. The headline in the Times bears no relation to what is actually said by Breivik. It obfuscates the year he spent playing WoW to give himself a rest with the couple of months he spent with Modern Warfare, and it ignores the huge amount of time he spent actually practising firing real weapons. While taking massive amounts of steroids.

Breivik Testifies About Gaming, Press Ignores The Facts