Tag Archives | Finland

Philatelists’ Delight? The Gay Bondage Stamps of Finland

Courtesy Itella Posti Oy; original image: Tom of Finland Foundation

Courtesy Itella Posti Oy; original image: Tom of Finland Foundation

You have to hand it to the Finns: they may have singlehandedly created a whole new generation of philatelists. Slate reports on the new gay bondage stamps designed by Tom of Finland:

The United States has some pretty cool stamps and, once the Harvey Milk stamp is released next month, at least one commemorating an openly LGBTQ American. But it’s difficult to imagine a future where America’s stamps are as amazingly, graphically gay as Finland’s. This fall, the country will begin selling stamps that feature the “confident and proud homoeroticism” of Tom of Finland, an artist renowned as “beyond question the most influential creator of gay pornographic illustration.”

Itella Posti Oy, the Finnish equivalent of U.S.P.S., boasts that Tom of Finland—also known as Touko Laaksonen—is “considered one of the most well-known Finnish artists around the world”:

His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion.

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Why Are Finland’s Schools The World’s Best?

Finland-Kirkkojarvi-School-631The secret seems to be emphasizing art, foreign languages, and physical activity, paying teachers like lawyers and doctors, and doing away with standardized testing. A shame that the United States is trending in the opposite direction regarding all of the above. Yes, it helps that Finland is a small, wealthy country with extremely equal income distribution, but its neighbor Norway follows a more “American” education model and with inferior results. Via Smithsonian Magazine:

Besides Finnish, math and science, 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.

Not until sixth grade will kids have the option to sit for a district-wide exam, and then only if the classroom teacher agrees to participate. Most do, out of curiosity. Results are not publicized. Finnish educators have a hard time understanding the United States’ fascination with standardized tests.

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Finland First Country To Make High-Speed Internet A Human Right

nerd-46422Finland has a passed a law requiring that major internet providers provide one-megabit internet connections for all households (at whatever price each household can afford, it seems). That said, 96% of the Finnish population already has consistent internet access…so the point of this law is more just to flaunt how great life in Finland is. BBC News writes:

From 1 July every Finn will have the right to access to a 1Mbps (megabit per second) broadband connection. Finland has vowed to connect everyone to a 100Mbps connection by 2015.

The Finnish deal means that from 1 July all telecommunications companies will be obliged to provide all residents with broadband lines that can run at a minimum 1Mbps speed.

Speaking to the BBC, Finland’s communication minister Suvi Linden explained the thinking behind the legislation: “We considered the role of the internet in Finns everyday life. Internet services are no longer just for entertainment.

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Poll: 75% Of Finns Don’t Want The Swine Flu Vaccine

sikainfluenssa.biz writes

In Finland at least three somewhat big media outlets, Ilta-Sanomat, MTV3 and Helsingin Sanomat, have held polls asking the Finnish people if they are going to take the swine flu vaccine. The results are as follows.

The first online poll was held by MTV3. It’s unclear how many people took part in it, but 61% said they do not want the swine flu vaccine.

Nearly 12,000 people answered the Helsingin Sanomat gallup, and the overwhelming majority, 75%, answered “No”.

Then a third poll at the end of September held by Ilta-Sanomat rendered the exact same percentage as the Helsingin Sanomat gallup, 75% will not be taking the vaccine. Over 16,000 people took part in the Ilta-Sanomat poll.

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