In November, 1970, just outside the Norwegian town of Bergen, two kids found the partially burnt remains of a woman's body. Surrounding the woman's remains were a number of objects: some bottles of water, a rubber boot and a burnt newspaper. All of the labels had been removed from the woman's clothing. Why the woman – known in Norway as the Isdal Woman, named for the remote valley that she was found in – died or who she was has been a mystery for close to 50 years.
Norwegian journalist Marit Higraff and BBC documentary maker Neil McCarthy are working to shed light on the Isdal Woman's very, very cold case. Working together, they've produced a new podcast called Death in Ice Valley. The first episode is available to download or stream, right now.
During the course of the podcast, Higraff and McCarthy will talk to those that investigated the crime back in the day, as well as forensic experts and anyone else they feel might propel them towards the answer of who the Isdal Woman was and why she died. But they're not stopping there. Listeners of the podcast are invited to talk to one another and the podcast's producers about the case on social media, in the hope that a breakthrough for the case could be crowdsourced.
I listened to the first episode yesterday. It starts slow, as many BBC radio productions often do. But the questions that the pair of journalists raise surrounding the Isdal Woman's death and what they uncovered, even in the first episode, has compelled me to continue with the series to see how things turn out. Read the rest
Whaling isn't as cool as it used to be, and it's far from necessary. Many of the products we used to make from whale carcasses, such as lamp oil or whale bone baleen – which was used to make everything from typewriter springs to shirt collars – have been replaced by modern technologies. So it's puzzling to hear that Norway has announced a 28% increase of its whaling quote this year.
According to The Guardian, the new quota will raise the number of whales that the Norwegian fisheries are allowed to harvest to 1,278 animals. The increase smacks of political bullshit, given the fact that, in recent years, Norway's fishing industry wasn't able to kill enough whales to meet the existing quota. In 2017, Norwegians only killed 432 whales. Two years earlier, their fisheries took out 660 animals. That sounds like an industry in decline to me. But Norway has a different spin on the falling numbers: high fuel prices and too few whale processing plants have kept the nation's fishing industry from fulfilling its quota.
“Greenpeace believes Norway should take the logical consequences of the International Whaling Commission’s ban on commercial whaling, the widespread opposition to whaling, as well as the lack of local market for the products, and close down this unnecessary and outdated industry.”
The increased quota might be a stab at stimulating Norway's fishing industry, creating new jobs and infrastructure spending. If that's the case, it's a shortsighted plan, at best. There's only three countries in the world that still authorize whaling: Norway, Japan and Iceland. Read the rest
Deep in the Jostedalen glacier in Norway, musician Terje Isungset puts on an annual concert played on instruments made of ice. It just completed its 2018 run, though they had to move further north this year to an icy lake due to warming temperatures. Read the rest
This cute Planet Earth-style video was created by the pro-Norwegian business organization Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon (NHO) as a way of highlighting the many benefits of working in Norway. It shows what the starting day of a young Norwegian's (the "youngster") first real job might be like, all narrated as if he were integrating into the "den" of his new "pack."
(Holy Kaw!) Read the rest
Architecture firm Snøhetta released its design concept for Under, a restaurant planned for the coast along Norway's southernmost tip. Read the rest
Members of the Norwegian Facebook group "Fedrelandet viktigst" ("Fatherland first") mistook a photo of an empty bus whose seats had been draped with black covers for a bus full of women in burkhas and went Brevik-bananas, decrying the rampant Islamification of Norway and generally being easily frightened, fragile Aryans. Read the rest
This screen from a crashed point-of-sale screen at an Oslo pizzeria reveals that the restaurant was covertly scanning and analyzing the facial expressions of each customer, identifying their age, gender, affect, and attentiveness. Read the rest
Norway is one of the few places cold enough to support the seasonal sport of frozen sand skateboarding. Worth a watch just for the gorgeous vistas with the sun on the horizon. Read the rest
Norway has committed to join an international initiative that plans to raise millions of dollars to replace funding shortfalls from Donald Trump's ban on American-funded global NGOs that offer information about abortion. Read the rest
YouTube thinks I love frozen lakes after posting about walking on clear ice, so here is a video of a nearly exhausted moose saved from drowning by two cool Norwegian folks. Read the rest
Caroline Slotte is a sculptor in Finland who layers old, decorated china plates atop one another, then carefully removes material from successive layers with precision masking and sandblasting and carving, created 3D scenes with gorgeous depth. Read the rest
Michael Fletcher collaborated with Alan Mathieson to capture drone footage of northern Norway's mist-shrouded mountains during this summer's midnight sun. It's like watching a moving Bierstadt painting. Read the rest
This famed 5,000-year-old rock carving on the island of Tro, near Nordland, Norway, depicting a figure on skis, is one of the most important historical sites in the country. Two teenagers may be prosecuted for scratching into the stone to make the artwork clearer. (Above: image at left is before, right is after.)
The boys came forward last week, and apologized for their actions.
“It was done out of good intentions," said local mayor Bård Anders Langø. "They were trying to make it more visible actually, and I don’t think they understood how serious it was."
According to The Telegraph, the teens may still face prosecution under Norway’s Cultural Heritage Act.
“It’s a sad, sad story,” Nordland Country archaeologist Tor-Kristian Storvik said. “The new lines are both in and outside where the old marks had been. We will never again be able to experience these carvings again the way we have for the last 5,000 years.”
Read the rest
As I type this, the consumer rights organization has been broadcasting its live-reading of terms of service for Instagram, YouTube, Kindle, Spotify, Snapchat and other popular apps for more than one day and eight hours. Read the rest
When Norway -- historically one of the poorest countries in Europe -- struck oil in the North Sea, the country put the proceeds into a "sovereign wealth" fund that invested it in other industries and used the returns to pay for an extensive welfare state that has given Norwegians one of the highest standards of living in the world. Read the rest
In 2011, the Norwegian design studio Skrekkøgl scuplted a massive 50-Euro-cent coin and shot it from above with a tilt-shift lens alongside numerous full-sized objects to make them seem to be cunning miniatures. Read the rest
This dude makes Norway looks cold, but also cool. Read the rest