A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘finland

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait evaluates the doability of Elon Musk’s proposal for colonizing Mars.
  • blogTO notes that Casa Loma will be transformed into a haunted house for the month of October.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes NASA’s belief that Europa almost certainly has watery plumes.
  • False Steps shares an early American proposal for a lunar base.
  • Far Outliers notes the location of multiple massacres in Chinese military history.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that a far-right group is unhappy Alabama judge Roy Moore has been suspended.
  • The Map Room Blog notes the acquisition of a British-era map of Detroit.
  • Marginal Revolution speculates as to whether a country’s VAT promotes exports.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the end of the Rosetta space probe.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog charts increases in maximum life expectancy over time.
  • Seriously Science notes a paper arguing that small talk diminishes happiness.
  • Towleroad reports on a gay Cameroonian asylum seeker in the United Kingdom at risk of deportation.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes Instapundit’s departure from Twitter without noting why Reynolds is leaving.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on the complexities surrounding the possibility of another Finno-Ugric festival.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Antipope’s Charlie Stross looks at some outrageous but real figures from history.
  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait notes UGC 1382, a huge galaxy that looks small to the naked eye.
  • blogTO lists some destinations for Torontonians on Labour Day.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes Finland’s launching of a guaranteed minimum income experiment.
  • Language Log looks at a multilingual restaurant advertisement in Japan.
  • Marginal Revolution considers the issue of interest rates in the United States.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares photos that Juno took of Jupiter.
  • Otto Pohl links to an old article of his on black Eurasia.
  • Savage Minds considers ways anthropologists can archive for the longue durée.
  • Window on Eurasia looks on Russian public opinion on Russian policy in Ukraine, and reports on speculation about Western policy towards Russia if Russia goes further into Ukraine.
  • Arnold Zwicky links to a New York Times article on spam E-mail.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Antipope hosts a guest blogger with an interesting vision for a new iteration of cyberpunk.
  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling shares a link to a report on Saudi Arabian water resources.
  • Centauri Dreams shares a study of nearby brown dwarf WISE 0855.
  • Crooked Timber notes the amoral technocracy of the Speers.
  • Dangerous Minds shares vintage postcards from a century ago warning against the threat of feminism.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining the import of carbon to oxygen ratios in exoplanet formation.
  • ImaGeo notes the discovery of new dwarf planet RR245.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Australians scientists have declared an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in that country, conditionally.
  • Language Hat links to a site for learning sign languages.
  • Language Log tests an alleged Finnish joke about Russian occupations for linguistic plausibility.
  • The LRB Blog notes that Prime Minister Theresa May is not a victory for feminism.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the depopulation of Japan and looks at Britain’s low productivity.
  • Otto Pohl announces his impending move to academia in Kurdistan.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at Ukrainian emigration.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russian austerity will hurt Russia’s regions.

[NEWS] Some Thursday links

  • The BBC hosts an article by an Igbo journalist talking about his native language.
  • Bloomberg notes Brexiters’ hostility to the OECD’s prediction of British economic woe outside of the European Union, and looks at Venezuela’s physical shortage of bills.
  • CBC looks at how tourist operators in North Carolina are afraid the anti-trans bill might hurt their business in the long term.
  • MacLean’s and the Toronto Star look at the aftermath of two Alberta parents’ conviction for not getting their son adequate medical care.
  • The National Post looks at the idea of Hitler’s relative normalcy being problematic.
  • The New Yorker looks at how, increasingly and with good reason, people are identifying mental capabilities they have in common with animals.
  • Open Democracy describes official Belarus’ repression of anything to do with Chernobyl.
  • Politico looks at the popularity of Donald Trump with official Russia.
  • Quartz notes that so much technology is designed to default to the requirements of men exclusive of women.
  • Wired looks at Nokia’s venture into the realm of smart tech.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Anthropology.net notes the ancient Bronze Age trade routes between Iran and Mesopotamia.
  • blogTO notes the impending facelift of Osgoode subway station.
  • James Bow overhears a conversation at the DMV started by a guy who wanted special vanity plates.
  • Centauri Dreams notes a proposed satellite that would be dedicated to the search for planets around Alpha Centauri.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that stellar metallicity has nothing to do with planet formation.
  • Far Outliers notes religious warfare in the Central African Republic.
  • Geocurrents notes the superb Middle Eastern maps of the Institute for the Study of War.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the terrible effects of gentrification.
  • Marginal Revolution notes Finland’s introduction of a guaranteed minimum income.
  • pollotenchegg maps the distribution of Russian and Ukrainian populations in Ukraine.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes senior poverty around the world.
  • Transit Toronto notes that the last of the Orion V buses have left the service of the TTC.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Russia’s redirection of traffic from ports in the Baltic States, observes the need for a modern Ukrainian military, and suggests Russia will annex South Ossetia.

[H&F] [DM] “Refugee Crisis and the North”

Friend of the blog Jussi Jalonen has just posted, at the group blog History and Futility, the essay “Refugee Crisis and the North”. Here, Jalonen takes a look at the way the Syrian refugee crisis has impacted both his Finland and neighbouring Sweden, looking at the political climate in both countries. One thing I particularly liked is his prediction of different outcomes for refugee assimilation in each Nordic country, based on–among other things–the two countries’ very different recent histories of immigration.

Some time ago, my hometown on the West Coast made a decision to accept refugees from Syria. The decision was historic. Although the town of Rauma has always had a relatively substantial community of guest workers and immigrants, the town has not accommodated refugees or asylum seekers so far. This morning, the residential building which was supposed to be used as a reception center for asylum seekers became a target of arson attack. Only a few days before, an old garrison building intended for similar use was burned to the ground in Kankaanpää. Evidently some people in Western Finland do not like the idea of providing housing for asylum seekers.

Another piece of news today came from Sweden. The school teacher who was injured in the Trollhättan attack in October has now died from his wounds. The attack made international headlines two months ago, and was also a sign of the times; a sword-wielding masked young man with far right sympathies assaulted a local Swedish school, in a violent assault against the immigrant students. So far, no comparable incident has occurred in Finland, although occasional direct assaults against asylum seekers have taken place. Three weeks ago, an Iraqi asylum seeker was stabbed by three local men at the reception center of Kangasala.

While a good part of the people in both Nordic countries have participated in volunteer work on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers, the refugee crisis has also triggered a wave of xenophobia. The European refugee crisis has occurred at the moment when the Nordic countries are experiencing the apex of the ongoing radical right-wing populist reaction. Sweden, which appears to be accepting the largest number of refugees, is going through a massive political realignment, as the so-far isolated and solidly anti-immigration Sweden-Democrats have enjoyed record poll support, occasionally as the largest political party. The refugee crisis has contributed to additional political radicalization, and earlier this year, the Sweden-Democrats terminated all cooperation with the youth organization of the party. Already in the spring, a number of SD youth activists were discharged due to their links with neo-Nazi groups.

The situation in Finland is somewhat different from Sweden. The main populist party, the True Finns, which contains its fair share of hard-core anti-immigration extreme nationalists, is exercising political power, having accepted a position in the new center-right government coalition. The party has found itself in a very precarious position, especially since Finland, as the only Nordic member of the Eurozone, is now facing impending austerity measures, and the center-right coalition is also enacting new, tougher labor laws. So far, the True Finns have quietly abandoned their former social conscience and their commitment to the consensus society. The party has acceded to these packages, and even moderated their position towards the EU bailout programs. The disappointment of the party rank and file has been visible in the polls, and the support of the party has plummeted. This has generated additional pressure for the True Finns to somehow crack down hard at least on the refugee crisis, and the party has been clamoring for new anti-immigration legislation modeled after Denmark, including cutting the welfare benefits of refugees and asylum seekers.

I’ve also linked to this essay at Demography Matters, here.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 5, 2015 at 12:41 pm

[LINK] “Russian Border Anxiety Grows as Finland Beefs Up Military Budget

Finland’s strained relations with Russia is the subject of Raine Tiessalo’s Bloomberg article.

The western nation that shares the longest border with Russia is building up its military arsenal, just in case.

Having already moved as close as politically possible to NATO, Finland now wants to spend more on its own war ships, fighter planes and army personnel. Defense Minister Jussi Niinisto says his government has little choice under the circumstances.

“The crisis in Ukraine and increased global tensions have led Finnish policy makers to think that we must take care of our own defenses,” Niinisto said in an interview in his office in Helsinki this week.

A lawmaker for the Finns Party — the nationalist junior partner in Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s ruling coalition — Niinisto has already pushed through Finland’s first increase in military spending in three years. That followed repeated incursions by Russian fighter planes into Finnish airspace in the aftermath of President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea.

The added cost of beefing up Finland’s military is putting pressure on an economy that has contracted for the past three years and that was stripped of its top credit grade at Standard & Poor’s in October 2014.

“Even though Finland is going through hard times, defense and internal security are the only sectors that will get more funding,” Niinisto said.

According to the Finnish Defense Ministry, spending is set to rise 9 percent next year to 2.89 billion euros ($3.1 billion), equivalent to 1.4 percent of gross domestic product. The government has agreed to raise the defense budget by 150 million euros from its current level by 2020.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 4, 2015 at 5:17 pm