Tag Archives | Iceland

Icelanders Avoid Inbreeding Through Online Incest Database

Ingólfr ArnarsonSo says Samantha Grossman in TIME:

Nowadays, some light Internet stalking is as common a pre-date ritual as showering or putting on a clean shirt. But for Icelanders, that online screening process can include running a date’s name through an incest database.

Sound ridiculous? Consider this: when you live in an isolated nation with a population roughly the size of Pittsburgh, accidentally lusting after a cousin is an all-too-real possibility. But a search engine called Íslendingabók (the Book of Icelanders) allows users to plug in their own name alongside that of a prospective mate, determining any familial overlap. The site claims to track 1,200 years of genealogical information about the island’s inhabitants. Anyone with an Icelandic ID number — that is, citizens and legal residents — is accounted for, the New York Daily News reports.

Not only can the site rule out courtships that might be a bit too close for comfort, but also it helps users determine if they share family ties with any famous Icelanders.

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Iceland Declares Independence From International Banks

Parliament Building in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Parliament Building in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Bill Wilson writes at NetRightDaily:

Iceland is free. And it will remain so, so long as her people wish to remain autonomous of the foreign domination of her would-be masters — in this case, international bankers.

On April 9, the fiercely independent people of island-nation defeated a referendum that would have bailed out the UK and the Netherlands who had covered the deposits of British and Dutch investors who had lost funds in Icesave bank in 2008.

At the time of the bank’s failure, Iceland refused to cover the losses. But the UK and Netherlands nonetheless have demanded that Iceland repay them for the “loan” as a condition for admission into the European Union.

In response, the Icelandic people have told Europe to go pound sand. The final vote was 103,207 to 69,462, or 58.9 percent to 39.7 percent. “Taxpayers should not be responsible for paying the debts of a private institution,” said Sigriur Andersen, a spokeswoman for the Advice group that opposed the bailout.

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Iceland Uses Social Media to Write New Constitution

Coat Of Arms Of IcelandAaron Saenz writes on Singularity Hub:

The newest government in the world was designed with help from comments on the internet. God help us all.

After Iceland’s economic collapse in 2008, the island nation decided it was time to write a new constitution, this one not based on its parent country of Denmark but rather made from the original ideas of its citizens. Iceland’s small population of 320,000 elected 25 assembly members from 522 ordinary candidates (including lawyers, political science professors, journalists, and many other professions), who in turn opened their process up to the public in an unprecedented fashion.

The Constitutional Council was highly active on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr, where they solicited comments and suggestions for the new government. On Friday July 29th, 2011, the Iceland parliament officially received the new constitution, comprised of 114 articles divided into 9 chapters. Set to be reviewed, and then put before vote for ratification by October 1st, the internet-assisted document marks a possible paradigm shift in governing.

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Iceland Considers Making Cigarettes Prescription-Only

Photo: Hendrike (CC)

Photo: Hendrike (CC)

Cigarettes seem like the last thing a doctor would prescribe, but Iceland may be moving to outlaw the sale of cigarettes in stores and only allowing pharmacists to dispense them. The proposal was written in hopes of reducing the amount of smokers and emphasizing the health concerns rather than the marketing tactics. Those with a prescription for cigarettes will be considered addicts getting the chemicals their bodies have become accustomed to. The Guardian reports:

Iceland is considering banning the sale of cigarettes and making them a prescription-only product.

The parliament in Reykjavik is to debate a proposal that would outlaw the sale of cigarettes in normal shops. Only pharmacies would be allowed to dispense them – initially to those aged 20 and up, and eventually only to those with a valid medical certificate.

The radical initiative is part of a 10-year plan that also aims to ban smoking in all public places, including pavements and parks, and in cars where children are present.

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Welcome to Iceland: ‘Press Freedom Haven’

iceland_parliamnet_0WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange has been all over Scandinavia lately. First a columnist position for a Swedish tabloid, now he’s in Iceland to help parliament protect the freedom of speech in the media. From RTÉ:

After Iceland’s near-economic collapse laid bare deep-seated corruption, the country aims to become a safe haven for journalists and whistleblowers from around the globe by creating the world’s most far-reaching freedom of information legislation.

The project is being developed with the help of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

It flies in the face of a growing tendency of governments trying to stifle a barrage of secret and sometimes embarrassing information made readily available by the internet.

On 16 June a unanimous parliament voted in favour of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a resolution aimed at protecting investigative journalists and their sources.

‘We took all the best laws from around the world and pulled them together, just like tax havens do, in order to create freedom of information and expression, a transparency haven,’ Birgitta Jonsdottir, the member of parliament behind the initiative, said.

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Top Bank Executives In Iceland Jailed, Sued For Billions

jon-asgeir-johannesson2Yet another instance in which the United States could learn something from our Scandinavian brethren: In Iceland, bank executives who helped bring about the nation’s financial meltdown are being rounded up and jailed, issued international arrest warrants, and sued for billions of dollars. AFP reports:

More than a year and a half after Iceland’s major banks failed, all but sinking the country’s economy, police have begun rounding up a number of top bankers while other former executives and owners face a two-billion-dollar lawsuit.

On Wednesday, the administrators of Glitnir’s liquidation announced they had filed a two-billion-dollar (1.6-billion-euro) lawsuit in a New York court against former large shareholders and executives for alleged fraud.

Four former Kaupthing executives, who all live in Luxembourg, have meanwhile been arrested in Iceland in the past week and Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant for that bank’s ex-chairman, Sigurdur Einarsson.

Former head of the bank’s domestic operations, Ingolfur Helgason, and former chief risk officer Steingrimur Karason were arrested late Monday on arrival from Luxembourg, just days after former Kaupthing boss Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, along with Magnus Gudmunsson, who headed the bank’s unit in Luxembourg, were taken into custody.

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Amazing Northern Lights Show Over Erupting Iceland Volcano (Photo)

Major props to “ice,” an Icelandic photographer with one very cool collection of photos of the current volcanic eruption in Iceland. Not so cool is that the volcanic ash in the air over northern Europe has stopped all UK air traffic, so for anyone planning to meet the disinformation crew at the London Book Fair next week, stay tuned…

Here’s the pick of the crop of photos, showing the Northern Lights a/k/a Aurora Borealis:

(c) 2010 Ice - shown here in reduced size as fair use.

(c) 2010 "Ice" - shown here in reduced size as fair use.

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Emigrate to Iceland

From the Telegraph:

It’s described by the UN as the third best place to live in the world and the vagaries of economics make it more accessible than ever before to visitors and, their inevitable corollary, émigrés.

Sigga Groa Thorarinsdottir, marketing manager of UK and Ireland for the Icelandic Tourist Board, claims that the lower value of the krona has led to interest from Britons wishing to visit and settle in the previously expensive country.

According to statistics released by the board, Iceland experienced its highest ever visitor numbers in January and February this year. In January, 4,312 Britons visited the country compared with 3,865 for the same month in 2009. In February, there was a further rise of 25.6 per cent from February 2009, with an increase to 6,116 visitors. Overall in 2009 Iceland had more than 61,619 British visitors.

Thorarinsdottir said: “Despite the economic downturn, Iceland continues to be a popular destination for British holidaymakers all year round.

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Icelandic Elf Sex (Video)

From The Vice Guide to Sex:
Iceland is a country where the majority of people believe so firmly in elves extreme measures are taken to avoid upsetting them. Sometimes that means changing a road’s path to avoid elven territory, for Hallgerdur Hallgrímsdóttir, it means boning them. Hallgerdur claims many Icelanders have been doing elves in secret for centuries. There’s even a myth covering the inter-hominid couplings. Hallgerdur receives a lot of flack from her countrymen for spilling the beans on elf sex, so we hope you appreciate her act of smutty treason. Although Hallgerdur has a boyfriend now, she recently claimed that “sex with humans is boring”. In her blog she goes into great detail about her experience sexing it up with elves. Here’s an excerpt: “Elf sex is possibly the safest sex on earth. They don’t carry sexually transmitted diseases and you cant get pregnant or make an Elverine pregnant unless you both want to, which is not unheard of. And YES there are female elves, elverines. And they’re HOT HOT HOT, even to girls. That reminds me: All elves are bisexual, but guys and girls not ready for some same sex action don’t worry, no elf will do anything you don’t want to. They can sense your longings and not-longings.”
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