Boing Boing 

Where to host history of Scandinavian right rescued from the Memory Hole?


A Boing Boing reader has gotten ahold of a controversial Norwegian magazine article documenting the history of the Scandinavian right, tracing the connections between the Third Reich collaborators and the present-day anti-immigrant movement -- it's an article that was suppressed by Norway's new far-right government, which used threats against the publisher to get it withdrawn.

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Norwegian atheist velociraptor trike: the movie

Remember Norwegian artist Markus Moestue's velociraptor trike, which he pedalled cross-country to protest religious education in state schools? Well, now there's a video documenting the trip.

Half the remains of slain Vikings in England are female

In Warriors and women: the sex ratio of Norse migrants to eastern England up to 900 AD, published in 2011 in Early Medieval Europe 19/3, Medievalists from the University of Western Australia survey the remains of fallen Vikings found in eastern England that had been assumed to be male, partly because some were buried with sword and shield.

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Norwegian atheist's velicoraptor trike


Norwegian artist Markus Moestue pedalled it around the countryside to protest "the dogmatic religious education of children."

Crossing the Bible Belt [Markus Moestue]

(via JWZ)

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

Norway's new Minister of International Development is a D&D champ who thinks LARPs can change the worlds


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.

At least according to Norway’s new Minister of International Development, Heikki Holmås. (Thanks, @apehaer!)

(Photo: Imagonem/Ole Peder Giæver)

Norwegian butter crisis predicted a year in advance in "funny" ad from butter monopolist

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!)

Norwegian butter supplies dip, prices spike, during high-fat diet mania


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.

Norway needs butter now (via Making Light)

(Image: Lamb butter, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from quinnanya's photostream)

Norway's world-beating ebook stupidity

Espen sez, "Yesterday, the Norwegian book industry introduced a scheme where they would sell electronic books on little plastic cards, to be inserted in proprietary readers - an astonishingly stupid idea even by their standards. Here is my riff on that idea - and a solution to the 'books as status signals' conundrum."

Danish comedian explains Norwegian swimming rules

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)

Married lesbian couple rescued 40 teenagers from drowning during Utøya shooting

Irene says, "Among the tourists who were near Utøya on July 22, during the terrorist attack, were Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen, a married lesbian couple from Finland who deserve the title of heroines. When they heard the gunshots, they went in their boat to help. They made four trips in all, and were able to rescue about 40 teenagers from probable death."
“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.

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.

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.

Married lesbian couple rescues 40 kids during Norway shooting rampage (Thanks, Irene!)

(Image: cropped, downsized thumbnail from Helsingin Sanomat, taken by Maija Tammi)

Norwegian PM refuses to let terrorist attacks drive his country to intolerance and paranoid "security"

Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg has vowed not to let the terrorist attacks on his country be used as an excuse for taking away fundamental freedoms. He's treating the attacks as a policing matter (a crime), not as a military matter (that is, something requiring a "war on terror" with concomitant war-footing). He acknowledges that his country will be changed by the attacks, but he's hopes it will be "more open, a more tolerant society than what we had before." My goodness, what I would have given to hear those words sometime in the autumn of 2001.

Norway’s Premier Vows to Keep an Open Society (via Reddit)

Pundits deploy retrocausality to blame Islam for Norway attacks

"It is not disputed that Breivik technically did it: the question, surely, is who is going to have made him do it? Europe awake. Yestermorrow there will was be going to have been Jihadi retrocausality to contend with."

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.

Jazz parade in Molde, Norway to commemorate terrorist victims

The terrorist attack on Norway coincided with the annual Molde Jazz Festival, which traditionally concludes with a jazz parade through the city. The festival organizers changed their parade route to lead to the Molde Cathedral, and the performers played a solemn jazz funeral march through town. The video (not embeddable, unfortunately -- thanks for the embed code, Costeau!) is incredibly moving. Google Translate from Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet follows:

Today it goes to Molde Cathedral which has opened its doors to all who need help to cope with grief, uncertainty and despair. 11 young people from Molde in Utøya, and their fate is still unclear.

Jazz ceremony, the 60 to 70 young people from Hampshire, sets the "West Lawn Dirge", an old funeral march from New Orleans. The plaintive f-minor theme, followed by some slightly lighter stroke before the mourning mood again takes over, filling the main street. Silent people wreaths march route. Many of them crying, and eventually ends several hundred to the parade, follow it into the cathedral and takes in the bishops' words of comfort and a standing invitation at any time to seek help in the large, quiet room.

Moldejazz i sørgemoll (via Making Light)

Glenn Beck compares murdered Norway campers to "Hitler Youth"

Glenn Beck has found new depths of depravity to plumb, this time by comparing the campers who fell victim to Anders Behring Breivik's murderous rampage to "Hitler Youth," because they were attending a "political camp." The camp in question is a 60-year-old annual event that where young people gather "learn about and be part of democracy." Which is weird, because that isn't very similar at all to the Hitler Youth, a paramilitary organization that "instill[ed] the motivation that would enable HJ members, as soldiers, to fight faithfully for the Third Reich."
"There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like, you know, the Hitler youth. I mean, who does a camp for kids that's all about politics? Disturbing," Beck stated in the first minute of his syndicated radio show Monday.
Glenn Beck hits 'new low'; compares Norway victims to Hitler Youth (via Reddit)

(Image: Glenn Beck, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from gageskidmore's photostream)