Just look at it.
This is how cold it is in Norway right now. (i.imgur.com) (Thanks, arbitrary aardvark!)
Just look at it.
This is how cold it is in Norway right now. (i.imgur.com) (Thanks, arbitrary aardvark!)
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!"
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)."
Sa hei til intetanende elg med fjernstyrt helikopter (Thanks, Espen!)
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.
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.'"
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.
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.
Here's an abridged translation of a Imagonem interview with Heikki Holmås, Norway's new minister of International Development. Holmås is a lifelong D&D player and LARPer who won the Norwegian D&D championships in 1989 and was sent to GenCon in Milwaukee. Holmås recounts his favorite campaigns and describes how he things RPGs and LARPs can be used for political ends, including settling longstanding, militarized disputes.
- RPGs can be extremely relevant in putting people in situations they’re unfamiliar with. Save the Children have their refugee games. I have friends in Bergen who’ve run human rights-RPGs. But you have to be professional. You create real emotions when you play role playing games, real emotions that stick, he says.
- That’s kind of the slightly scary aspect of role playing games, which has to be considered. At the same time, it’s what makes it possible for RPGs to change the world. LARP can change the world, because it lets people understand that humans under pressure may act differently than in the normal life, when you’re safe.
The minister of Development has taken note of a Norwegian LARP-project in Palestine later this year.
- I don’t know all the details, but there’s no doubt that you can put Israelis into the situation of the Palestinians and vice versa in a way that fosters understanding and builds bridges. Those things are an important aspect of role playing games which makes it possible to use them politically to create change.
(Photo: Imagonem/Ole Peder Giæver)
This year-old butter ad from TINE, Norway's "butter monopolist" manufacturer, eerily presages Norway's notorious, Atkins-fuelled butter shortage.
Reklamefilm TINE Smør - Superchef (Thanks, Samurai!)
Norway's supplies of rich creamery butter have bottomed out as a result of a national high-fat diet mania. I assume the diet is also low-carb but I'm not sure -- the article says that the butter shortage is causing trouble for families planning to do traditional (high-carb) Christmas baking. Perhaps the low-carbers caused the run on butter, and everyone else is feeling the pain?
Butter is now selling on Norway’s top auction website, with a 250-gram piece starting at around $13, roughly four times its normal price.
Just weeks before Norwegians will be expecting to eat plenty of buttery traditional biscuits and other homemade Christmas treats made with love and the liberal inclusion of dairy products, residents of the world’s second-richest per-capita country can’t even hope for help from a friendly neighbour who is rolling in butter.
Top dairy producer Denmark lies just across a narrow sea channel, but its stores of creamy butter will be kept out of the country by the high import duties of Norway, the only Nordic nation that does not belong to the European Union.
In this video, a Danish comedian does a convulsively funny routine about the swimming rules posted by Norwegian beaches. The subtitles were done by someone whose English is a little imperfect, but combined with the translator's footnotes and the comedian's affect, it's still pretty goddamned hilarious.
(via Making Light)
“We were eating. Then shooting and then the awful screaming. We saw how the young people ran in panic into the lake,” says Dale to HS in an interview.Why does it matter that they're married? Well, because in some jurisdictions, when the question of gay marriage comes up, those who object to it say that gay marriage is associated with low moral character and a general erosion of public ethics. It's a belief you'd have to be mad or terrified to embrace, but perhaps some of those scared or crazy people will have their hearts softened by this incredible example.
The couple immediately took action and pushed the boat into Lake Tyrifjorden.
Dalen and Hansen drove the boat to the island, picked up from the water victims in shock in, the young and wounded, and transported them to the opposite shore to the mainland. Between runs they saw that the bullets had hit the right side of the boat.
Since there were so many and not all fit at once aboard, they returned to the island four times.
(Image: cropped, downsized thumbnail from Helsingin Sanomat, taken by Maija Tammi)
From China Mieville's stirring rant about the pundits who declared that the Norway attacks must be the work of Islamic terrorists, then shamefully backpedaled and made excuses about how Breivik was a Paladin of the West, or was inspired by Islamic terrorists, or that in some way, Islam was to blame for Breivik's rampage.