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Choose your weapon wisely

Chocolate or skis? News from the Nordic countries stranger than fiction.
posted by sidra on Apr 18, 2014 - 0 comments

 

“Without Mercy” –U.S. Strategic Intelligence and Finland in the Cold War

Finland and American Intelligence: A Secret History
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 31, 2014 - 4 comments

Traditional Finnish Log House Building Process

This video shows the process of building a log cabin. It was shot in Finland. The narration is in Finnish, but you can turn on the English subtitles.
posted by tykky on Dec 6, 2013 - 36 comments

"Why Scandinavian Prisons Are Superior"

On Scandinavian prisons: why they are superior; what Norwegian high-security prisons are like; about a lower security Norwegian prison.
posted by insectosaurus on Nov 3, 2013 - 36 comments

Abandoned Buildings AND Cute Animals

Once upon a time, a man explored some abandoned cottages. The people had left long ago, but the houses were still being lived in. Fortunately, the man was a photographer.
posted by Lou Stuells on Aug 22, 2013 - 26 comments

"Government was created in this equal footing for men and women."

"The country has cheaper medical care, smarter children, happier moms, better working conditions, less-anxious unemployed people, and lower student loan rates than we do. And that probably will never change." In The Atlantic, a comparison of some of the socio-economic aspects of Finland and the USA. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jul 11, 2013 - 55 comments

And a child in every box

The Finnish welfare state gives every parent a box for their child. While so many politicians gnash their teeth and "think of the children", while cutting benefits or ignoring the massive number of kids dying from firearms, the Finns give every expectant parent a box. The box contains everything a parent needs to get started, including the box to sleep in (with a little mattress), and has been credited by public health officials with massively reducing infant mortality.
posted by petrilli on Jun 4, 2013 - 143 comments

Finnish Wartime Photograph Archive

The Finnish Defence Forces have put their archive of 170,000 WWII photographs online.
Some "night fighters".
Some American prisoners, probably from the ill-fated Convoy PQ 17 [more inside]
posted by Authorized User on Apr 29, 2013 - 20 comments

The Helsinki Bus Station Theory

Long known by photographers, the Helsinki Bus Station Theory explains the creative process in an interesting way.
posted by reenum on Apr 9, 2013 - 78 comments

Documentary - The Truth About Sauna: The Truth About Finns

Documentary - The Truth About Sauna: The Truth About Finns. Documentary about the importance of the sauna in Finnish lifestyle and culture. NSFWish ... Free-range Finns in their natural habitat (in and around the sauna) ... some of them nude. [May have to turn off under-18 filter to view]
posted by ZenMasterThis on Feb 23, 2013 - 47 comments

Northern Lights

The Nordic countries are reinventing their model of capitalism
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 8, 2013 - 33 comments

Mannerheim: General of the Czar, Marshal of Finland [1/9]

Mannerheim: General of the Czar, Marshal of Finland [1/9] (In Russian, with English subtitles) [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Nov 29, 2012 - 8 comments

Croudsourcing Democracy

Finland is about to start using croudsourcing to create new laws: Earlier this year, the Finnish government enabled something called a "citizens’ initiative", through which registered voters can come up with new laws – if they can get 50,000 of their fellow citizens to back them up within six months, then the Eduskunta (the Finnish parliament) is forced to vote on the proposal.

Now this crowdsourced law-making system is about to go online through a platform called the Open Ministry. The non-profit organization has been collecting signatures for various proposals on paper since 1 March, when citizens’ initiatives came in, but a couple of days ago the government approved the electronic ID mechanism that underpins the digital version of the platform. That means it can now go live on 1 October.

posted by troll on Sep 23, 2012 - 69 comments

International pop

"Euphoria", which won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest (previously), is a #1 in several countries, including Ireland, Austria, and Switzerland Of course, it's not the only song charting internationally that you might never hear on US radio. It should come as no surprise that one can readily find international hits online. For instance - Sweden, #4: Panetoz - Dansa Pausa Sweden, #9: Mange Makers - Drick Den This doesn't purport to be an exhaustive list, but rather a jumping-off point. [more inside]
posted by LSK on Jun 13, 2012 - 25 comments

Life in the mist

Tove Jansson's short stories about artistic creation are often chillingly cold. The artists she portrays have become lost in their isolated solitude, their creativity, which shuts other people out. Portraits of such loneliness are drawn in three short stories in the collection Lyssnerskan ('The listener', 1971), 'Ekorren' ('The squirrel'), 'Svart & vitt' ('Black & white') and 'Vargen' ('The wolf’), which probably frightened many readers - particularly those who knew and loved her Moomin books - away from Jansson's work. In their cosmos, warmth is unknown; their landscapes are frozen, just like the people who seek expression for their artistic dreams. [more inside]
posted by smcg on May 31, 2012 - 19 comments

Iceland is the one that sparkles

Scandanavia And The World: A web comic of outrageous national stereotypes bluntly portrayed by cute little cartoon bobbleheads, that will nonetheless help outsiders learn to differentiate among the Nordic countries. With explanatory text.
posted by Diablevert on May 21, 2012 - 48 comments

There is more than one of everything

Finland has always looked both west and east, notably the Loviisa nuclear power plant used Westinghouse instrumentation married to a Soviet design, earning the nickname 'Eastinghouse'. They hedged their bets on rather less safety-critical issues as well. Having little success in the Eurovision Song Contest (until they changed tack relatively recently), they also entered (and won) its Soviet counterpart: Intervision. [more inside]
posted by Talkie Toaster on May 14, 2012 - 9 comments

"I want to marry a lighthouse keeper..."

The strange story of Market Island
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 25, 2012 - 19 comments

Welcome to the Jungle

On Saturday, iconoic rock band Guns N' Roses was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Missing from the event? Axl Rose. Matti Fagerholm. Wait... who? [more inside]
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Apr 17, 2012 - 39 comments

hundreds upon hundreds of tales to tell, all on a 40 × 24 character grid.

Entries for the International Teletext Art Festival are currently being broadcast on teletext pages 525-545 of Finnish broadcaster YLE. [more inside]
posted by rollick on Mar 14, 2012 - 9 comments

78 78s

78 78s - In Search Of Lost Time - is a streaming mix of beautiful 78s from around the world, collected and curated by Ian Nagoski. "I started sifting through boxes of junky old 78s that no one else wanted about 15 years ago, and almost right away, I made a rule: Anything that wasn't in English, buy it." [more inside]
posted by carter on Jan 29, 2012 - 15 comments

Finland votes, round 1

Finland votes – as visualized by national broadcasting company, click Sivakoikaa! (Ski!). (About the candidates). First round of Finland's presidential elections has finished with Sauli Niinistö (conservative) and Pekka Haavisto (green) winning 36.7% and 18.7% of votes. If no-one wins over 50% in the first round, the second round will be held amongst the top two candidates two weeks later. Haavisto has steadily doubled his share in polls, where Niinistö has halved his share from his best polls. Among his other achievements in international peace and being green, Haavisto could be the first openly gay elected head of the state.
posted by Free word order! on Jan 22, 2012 - 26 comments

Get sideways for 1000 EUR

Folkrace is a class of rally racing originated by the Finns. Run with old, cheap cars, it's intended to be the racing class for everyone. Watch F1 champ Mikka Hakkinen train up Top Gear's James May for a Folkrace.
posted by thedaniel on Jan 8, 2012 - 18 comments

Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted

The goal of the [education reform] program that Finland instituted was never excellence. It was equity. Excellence was merely a happy byproduct.
posted by DRMacIver on Dec 30, 2011 - 43 comments

Where Sibelius fell silent

“Our souls are worn down through continuous contact with one another,” Sibelius wrote in his diary. And: “I am building a studio for myself—at least one. Next to me are all the children whose babbling and pranks ruin everything.” But he never did build himself a studio; instead, he relocated his study upstairs and forbade the noise of any instrument while he was in the house. The children had to wait until he had gone for his daily walk to do their music practice. [more inside]
posted by smcg on Dec 13, 2011 - 16 comments

Sharing is caring, isn't it?

On the 6th of December 2011, as has been traditional for the past 9 decades since Finland's Independence, the President, Tarja Halonen and her spouse, Dr Pentti Arajarvi host what is known as the Linnan juhlat or Castle Ball, an extremely popular televised reception for the notables of the nation. Along with the usual dignitaries, the President is also permitted to select invitees based on merit - entertainers, athletes, individuals - whom she feels have been in the news in the past year. This year Peter and Teija Vesterbacka also were invited due to Peter Vesterbacka's work as the CMO of Rovio. Teija Vesterbacka wore a red dress for the evening that had design concepts from one of the birds in the mobile game Angry Birds. Highlighted in the Finnish news by the very select group of photographers permitted entry to this exclusive event, it was when the photograph of this dress went viral among global MSM that the angry birds began to fly.
posted by infini on Dec 8, 2011 - 29 comments

WTFinland

Last year Minnesota Wild prospect Mikael Granlund turned heads with his Floorball-style (or 'lacross-style' for the uninitiated) goal during Finland's semifinal game against Russia in the World Championships. Mikael's younger brother Markus notched a similar goal today.
posted by mannequito on Nov 18, 2011 - 23 comments

Education and Finland

Four days ago Smithsonian Magazine published an in-depth examination of the Finnish education system (and what the U.S. can learn from the Finns). Here's a quote: "Schools provide food, medical care, counseling and taxi service if needed. Stu­dent health care is free... Besides Finnish, math and science, the first graders take music, art, sports, religion and textile handcrafts. English begins in third grade, Swedish in fourth. By fifth grade the children have added biology, geography, history, physics and chemistry." [more inside]
posted by bguest on Aug 22, 2011 - 126 comments

To The Finland Station

Portugal, in the throes of an IMF / EU bailout that Finland could block, sends a video letter to convince Finland to support the rescue effort. Finland responds. Bonus: crisis the focus of Portugal's Eurovision entry this year.
posted by chavenet on May 10, 2011 - 59 comments

An Extended Finnish Saturday Matinee

Finnish YouTube user Ishexan has uploaded seven English subtitled movies in parts: Broken Blossoms (1919), Aelita (1924), The Gipsy Charmer (1929), The Tragedy of Elina (1938), The Activists (1939), The Wooden Pauper's Bride (1944), and Sampo (1959), which is based on the epic poem The Kalevala. The films are mostly Finnish, though Aelita is a silent Russian sci-fi film, and Sampo was a joint Finnish and Soviet production. More film clips inside (mostly Finnish documentaries and "dorky musical numbers"). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 30, 2011 - 12 comments

Tell me more about these Finns

Winston Burdett, one of the original Murrow's Boys, was a reporter for CBS Radio. He covered World War II, the invasion of Norway, the Axis retreat in North Africa (mp3), the invasion of Sicily (mp3), the invasion of Italy (mp3) and the capture of Rome (mp3). But from 1940 - 1942 Winston Burdett was also a spy for the Soviet Union. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Feb 13, 2011 - 3 comments

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry

The recently released motion picture Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is based on two short films by director Jalmari Helander: Rare Exports Inc. (2003) [previously] and Rare Exports: Official Safety Instructions (2005). (NSFW due to naked Santa)
posted by Knappster on Dec 24, 2010 - 5 comments

The Fleeing Finns

Record-breaking numbers of Finns leave the national church of Finland following a gay rights panel discussion on TV. [more inside]
posted by sively on Oct 18, 2010 - 61 comments

Laila Kinnunen

Laila Kinnunen was very popular in Finland in the fifties and sixties. She sang beautifully in Finnish, but had also the ability to perform in many other languages. As performer Laila was quite versatile, just compare these two performances. Though in her heart of hearts she probably wanted to be a jazz singer. [more inside]
posted by severiina on Oct 14, 2010 - 4 comments

Welcome to the Evil Federated Empire of Europe

Europe according to... is a project to map stereotypes of European countries according to other countries and groups of people. [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Sep 22, 2010 - 57 comments

Recruiting the Top-Third

Top-performing nations recruit 100% of their new teachers from the top third. In the US, it's 23% - and 14% of high poverty schools. A new study by McKinsey and Company examines what Finland, Singapore and South Korea do to attract top graduates to teaching, including selective admissions to teacher training, competitive compensation, a more professionalized work environment, cultural respect and greater opportunities for advancement. Doing the same in the US would cost roughly $180 billion a year. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Sep 20, 2010 - 84 comments

Some people actually kiss while doing it.

Letkis is a Finnish dance. Oh, here’s the music. And here's the history. Some people (the French, of course) actually kiss while doing it. Many other nationalities have picked it up, like the Japanese and the Hungarians. Here's Finland's baddest rap group doing their take. But the clip that prompted me to delve into all this letkiss-ania in the first place, were these sharp Italian twins (via Schadenfreudian Therapy). [more inside]
posted by Faze on Sep 6, 2010 - 18 comments

Making a Difference

"Sure, Bono and Richard Branson can change the world. But there are millions of individuals making a difference who are not rich or famous." The Christian Science Monitor's ongoing Making a Difference section focuses on "that unheralded community – 'to honor the decency and courage and selflessness that surround us.'” [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 2, 2010 - 4 comments

you post this stuff on the blue

You Know You Have Been In Finland Too Long, When...
posted by infini on Jul 21, 2010 - 50 comments

Hevisaurus

Hevisaurus are a Finnish kid-friendly, all-dinosaur power metal group.
posted by zamboni on Apr 9, 2010 - 40 comments

The White Death

Simo Häyhä is often revered as the deadliest sniper in history. Using nothing more than a Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle with stock iron sights, Häyhä is credited with felling 542 Soviet soldiers during the Finnish Winter War (with as many as 150 more kills by SMG). Nicknamed "The White Death", Häyhä spent weeks in snow-covered forests, enduring sub-zero temperatures while sniping Russian officers, weapons crews and snipers. The Soviets placed a bounty on Häyhä's head, utilizing counter-snipers and artillery fire in an attempt to kill him. Over the course of only three months, the 5'3" Häyhä (a farmer by trade) killed upwards of 800 of the Red Army soldiers deployed to Finland. Despite eventually being shot in the face by a Russian sharpshooter, Häyhä recovered and passed away in 2002 at the age of 96.
posted by Tenacious.Me.Tokyo on Jan 28, 2010 - 244 comments

Moomin Valley

Moomin Valley - Interior design project, inspired by the works of Tove Jansson (via)
posted by Artw on Jan 11, 2010 - 27 comments

Rock, rap, metal and folk music from Sápmi

SomBy were the winners of the Liet International 2009 song contest for minority european languages and cultures. Sámi rock, you say? But wait, there's more! There's Alit Boazu from the Norwegian side, and Tiina Sanila, a Skolt Sámi singer from Finland. And yes, there is Sámi metal, from the band Intrigue. There are plenty other Sámi musicians across Sápmi and outside of the genre of rock, of course. There's Amoc, an Inari Sámi rapper from Finland; Adjágas who are folky and bluegrassy at times; Niko Valkeapää, who is more ambient and electronic; and of course, Mari Boine, recently knighted for her long career of artistic work (translation). [Sound, MySpace warnings] [more inside]
posted by taursir on Dec 25, 2009 - 5 comments

ringtone

Helsinki Mobile Phone Orchestra playing Phones in C [slyt] by Otto Romanowski
posted by infini on Dec 23, 2009 - 11 comments

They shoot bunnies, don't they?

There is contention in Sweden over the use of rabbit cadavers as bioenergy to provide heat in Värmland. The rabbits are invasive species, initially pets that were released into the parks in the city of Stockholm. Lacking any natural predators, the rabbits thrive on vegetation, eating their way through the city's central parks. The culling last year set a local record with nearly 6,000 rabbits removed from Stockholm's parks, mostly from Kungsholmen. Some concerned citizens have formed a group, Vilda kaniners värn (Society for the Protection of Wild Rabbits, Google translation). They speak out against the culling and provide alternatives to killing the rabbits, citing methods used in Helsinki (including plant protection) as more humane alternatives. (Biofuel details and more after the break.) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 21, 2009 - 47 comments

Sami reports about golden eagles hunting reindeer calves confirmed by BBC

The BBC has captured footage of golden eagles hunting reindeer calves in northern Finland, confirming Sami reports. For more about the Sami, you can watch this series of videos, which cover a wide range of subjects, among them the language, arts and crafts, religion and music. And here is more about Sami reindeer folklore.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 21, 2009 - 38 comments

Somethin' New From Chemistry

Graphic Concrete is a process with which textures, patterns, typography, images, or works of art can be "printed" on concrete surfaces, with subtle and dramatic results. Invented by Finnish designer and architect Samuli Naamanka, Graphic Concrete is being used in projects all over the globe.
posted by mattdidthat on Sep 10, 2009 - 21 comments

The Little Mac Classic That Could

A Mac Classic shows bullies what's for in "3½ inches is enough" by Unreal Voodoo. This demo (actually written to run on a Mac Classic) was presented at ASSEMBLY, Finland's largest computer festival. More highlights from ASSEMBLY are available at GameSetWatch. The demos are mostly trippy and impressive hand-coded animations as one might expect, but there's also a live action short featuring a Rube Goldberg machine.
posted by ignignokt on Sep 4, 2009 - 17 comments

I'm doing fine with my shoes right now...

Sneakers: A Short Film Meditation on International Shoe Culture [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 12, 2008 - 9 comments

Paavo Haavikko (1931-2008)

Paavo Haavikko, one of Finland's (and Europe's) foremost poets, died earlier this week. As well as poetry, his seventy or so published works included essays, novels, plays for the stage, radio & TV, and opera libretti. (via) [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on Oct 9, 2008 - 8 comments

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