Footage of the eruption in Iceland

A friend and colleague sent me the following link: youtu.be/8cICS9MtRRw.

// Oliver

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Salafisten: Lies!

Irgendwie scheinen das alle Menschen mißzuverstehen. Gemeint ist hier das englische Wort “lies”, also Lügen. Somit ist doch die Aktion auch relativ passend umschrieben.

// Oliver

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Is God great?

Just a thought-experiment.

Monotheistic faith seem to emphasize that their respective deity is great. In particular in the Islamic world the respective phrase is used quite a lot. I assume that’s “great” in the sense of big or in the form of another special, but nondescript, quality. I also think that I have finally found out why this emphasis is placed by monotheistic believers ;)

Clearly, if you take the overall number (and greatness) of all possible, alleged and worshiped1 deities we have a number that approaches ∞ (infinity). If we now take any monotheistic faith, they explicitly claim the existence of a single (1) deity only and argue that there are no others – much like an atheist does with their one deity, by the way.

Anyway, if we keep this strictly mathematical we must conclude that ∞-1 is still and you cannot sensibly compare ∞-1 with . Accordingly a believer of a monotheistic conviction is in fact no different from an atheist – or rather, the difference is so minuscule that it should be negligible by mathematical standards.

Alas, if a quality such as “greatness” is introduced, it’s not a question of quantity anymore. Now it’s no longer about deity X versus infinitely many other deities, now it’s an infinitely great deity X versus infinitely many negligible deities. I suppose this bumps the value of deity X in a believers mind to a size way beyond even the summary value of the remaining infinitely many possible, alleged and worshiped deities.

Anyway. My conclusion from this is that people of faith2 and those without faith share more than both of them would consider or admit at first. Namely they share the profound disbelief in ∞-n deities, where n stretches from 0 for atheists and 1 for monotheists to something higher for other faith systems.

// Oliver

  1. in past, present and future []
  2. monotheistic or not does not matter []
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Wait, what was I missing here?

Haaretz reports a shoot-down of a Syrian fighter jet. What gives this story a bad taste is the claim that it went 800m into “Israeli territory”. Don’t get me wrong, violation of a country’s territory is violation of a territory. Only that the territory in question were the Golan Heights, land that the Israelis annexed in 1981 after having it captured from *drumroll* Syria in the Six Day War in 1967.

I guess the Golan Heights have become de-facto Israeli territory, but they are internationally considered disputed land. I don’t know how exact navigation of a Su-24 is, but 800m doesn’t seem a lot to me at the high velocities a fighter plane can reach.

Now, clearly the dispute over the territory means that Syria and Israel consider each other enemies. After all the Six Day War was waged in order to secure the territorial integrity of Israel, because the Golan Heights were of some strategic importance.

I just wonder whether the very real risk of loss of human life is justified in such a – excuse the pun – borderline scenario. Luckily there was no loss of human life as far as I gather. The pilots ejected before the hit by the missile.

Still, it leaves a bad taste to read how our media reports about it – basically taking the IDF reports at face value. Since censorship is rife inside Israel, it makes sense for correspondents working from there or the Israeli media to skip some details about the Golan Heights1, but for editors elsewhere in the world it’d make sense to mention all the facts.

// Oliver

  1. and I guess the public in Israel has a very decided view already on the matter of the Golan Heights []
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Why you’ll want to visit Iceland #15

Friendly young folk.

I’d also like to officially introduce to all you Icelanders a new word I created: kindaljósfaðir. That is a male person helping sheep to give birth to lambs. It’s the logical modification of the most beautiful Icelandic word ljósmóðir (literally: light mother, a midwife).

Lambs at Laugarvatnshellir / Lämmer bei den Laugarvatnshellir

Lambs at Laugarvatnshellir / Lämmer bei den Laugarvatnshellir

Gute Gründe Island einen Besuch abzustatten #15

Eine freundliche junge Bevölkerung.

Übrigens: wenn man in Island kind ißt, verspeist man Schaf1 und nicht etwa menschlichen Nachwuchs. Gleichermaßen verwirrend ist für manchen Ausländer daß Isländer öfter mal über sex reden, obwohl sie nichts anderes als die Zahl Sechs im Sinne haben.

Zum schönsten isländischen Wort ljósmóðir (Hebamme, wortwörtlich: Lichtmutter) habe ich noch eine Erweiterung anzubringen. Einer meiner Kollegen hilft in jedem Jahr auf dem Gehöft seines Vaters Lämmer auf die Welt zu bringen. Er ist also ein kindaljósfaðir (wortwörtlich: Schafslichtvater, also die männliche Entsprechung zur Hebamme, aber für Schafe).

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  1. bzw. Lamm []
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Why you’ll want to visit Iceland #14

Breathtaking views around Þingvellir (literally: ting field).

By the way, the ting, that is the Germanic tribal gathering, and the English word thing1 are directly related. A thing (or ting) originally used to be a judicial matter to be discussed and decided during the ting. It later acquired the meaning of physical matter.

Þ (þ) is pronounced exactly like th in English and only occurs at the beginning of words2. It is voiceless (Þór). Its counterpart Ð (ð) occurs only inside words or at their end (Óðinn).

What do you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest?3

View from Þingvellir / Ausblick von Þingvellir

View from Þingvellir / Ausblick von Þingvellir

Gute Gründe Island einen Besuch abzustatten #14

Atemberaubende Ausblicke um Þingvellir (wortwörtlich Tingfeld).

Übrigens sind der Ting, also die germanische Stammesversammlung, und das deutsche Wort Ding4 direkt verwandt. Ein Ding (bzw. Ting) bezeichnete ursprüngliche eine juristische Sache, welche im Rahmen des Tings besprochen und behandelt wurde. Später kam dann die Bedeutung körperlicher Sachen hinzu.

Was tut man wenn man sich in einem isländischen Wald verläuft?5

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  1. as well as German Ding []
  2. keep in mind that Icelandic allows for compound words and that each compound can start with Þ! []
  3. answer: you stand up []
  4. auch Englisch thing []
  5. Antwort: aufstehen []
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Brave man!

Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def, endured on camera what the hunger strikers in Gitmo have to endure while being force fed. Kudos to the man for this bravery.

Go watch the clip, if you dare.

// Oliver

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Why you’ll want to visit Iceland #13

Geysirs and hot springs.

By the way: the prototypical Geysir that gave its name to all of its kind only erupts irregularly now. What most tourists don’t realize is that the one that erupts regularly and which they see is called Strokkur and the actual Geysir is silently boiling a few meters from Strokkur, often neglected by visitors.

Little geysir / Kleiner Geysir

Strokkur

Gute Gründe Island einen Besuch abzustatten #13

Geysire und heiße Quellen.

Übrigens: der ursprüngliche Geysir, welcher allen anderen seiner Sorte den Namen gab, spuckt nur noch hin und wieder. Was die meisten Touristen nicht begreifen ist, daß der Geysir welcher regelmäßig ausbricht und bewundert wird Strokkur heißt und der eigentliche Geysir1 ein paar Meter weiter leise vor sich hin köchelt.

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  1. also vom Namen her []
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Why you’ll want to visit Iceland #12

Beautiful motives all around.

This one could be the wallpaper in a popular desktop environments, for example.

Sky over meadows

Gute Gründe Island einen Besuch abzustatten #12

Bildhübsche Motive.

Dies hier könnte beispielsweise das Hintergrundbild einer bekannten Desktopumgebung sein.

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Why you’ll want to visit Iceland #11

Gullfoss (literally: golden waterfall). This mighty waterfall is one of the Golden Circle’s tourist attractions. Its sheer power and size as well as its history are compelling.

Gullfoss

Gullfoss closeup / Gullfoss von Nahem

Gullfoss and sky / Gullfoss und Himmel

Gute Gründe Island einen Besuch abzustatten #11

Gullfoss (wortwörtlich: Goldwasserfall, bzw. goldener Wasserfall). Dieser gigantische Wasserfall ist eine der Attraktionen des Golden Circle1. Seine Kraft ist überwältigend.

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  1. eine der Rundreisen die Touristen buchen wenn sie nur sehr kurz im Lande sind []
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Evil Icelanders :)

They always set off those volcanos with names hard to pronounce for international journalists. This time Bárðarbunga, which indeed has nothing at all to do with Silvio Berlusconi.

Why can’t they set off Hekla or Katla? Those are relatively easy to pronounce. Even Laki … perhaps another revolution in Europe? :mrgreen:

Bring it on, Icelanders!

// Oliver

PS:

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Why you’ll want to visit Iceland #10

Svartifoss (literally: black waterfall). This waterfall is an interesting sight because of its rock structures. It’s a light hike into the Skaftafell national park which offers other attractions, too (including camping grounds).

The photo shows it form afar to tease you folks ;)

Svartifoss in Skaftafell

Gute Gründe Island einen Besuch abzustatten #10

Svartifoss (wortwörtlich: Schwarzwasserfall, bzw. schwarzer Wasserfall). Dieser Wasserfall ist durch seine Gesteinsformationen ein interessanter Anblick. Es ist eine leichte Wanderung im Skaftafell-Nationalpark, welcher auch andere Verlockungen zu bieten hat (inklusive Zeltplatz).

Das Foto zeigt ihn aus der Ferne um euch zu ärgern ;)

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Why you’ll want to visit Iceland #9

Fjallsárlón (literally: mountain river lagoon). Quite spectacular in its own right although smaller than Jökulsárlón. It’s on the way between Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón.

Fjallsárlón

Gute Gründe Island einen Besuch abzustatten #9

Fjallsárlón (wortwörtlich: Bergflußlagune). Auf ganz eigene Weise großartig, auch wenn sie kleiner als Jökulsárlón ist. Sie ist auf dem Weg zwischen Skaftafell und Jökulsárlón.

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Why you’ll want to visit Iceland #8

Jökulsárlón (literally: glacial river lagoon). Setting for two Bond movies and overall just spectacular.

I am not providing photos of all its grandeur because you need to experience it yourself ;)

They’ve got birds, too.

Jökulsárlón

Jökulsárlón

Gull chick at Jökulsárlón / Möwenjunges an der Jökulsárlón

Gute Gründe Island einen Besuch abzustatten #8

Jökulsárlón (wortwörtlich: Gletscherflußlagune). Bühnenbild für zwei Bond-Filme und überhaupt großartig.

Ich zeige hier keine Fotos der ganzen Großartigkeit, weil man es selbst erlebt haben muß ;)

Piepmatzen gibt’s da auch.

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Why you’ll want to visit Iceland #7

Solidified lava formations all across the country (this is near Hraunfossar and Barnafoss). You have to check out Hraunfossar and Barnafoss anyway, they’re impressive, especially the Hraunfossar.

Seltún

Gute Gründe Island einen Besuch abzustatten #7

Erstarrte Lavaabdrücke überall im Lande (das hier ist bei den Hraunfossar und Barnafoss). Ihr müßt euch die Hraunfossar und Barnafoss ohnehin anschauen, sie sind sehr beeindruckend, insbesondere die Hraunfossar.

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Free to die

… are the black citizens of “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.

“Certainly a Taser is an option that’s available to the officers, but Tasers aren’t 100 percent,” Dotson said. “So you’ve got an individual with a knife who’s moving towards you, not listening to any verbal commands, continues, says, ‘shoot me now, kill me now.’ Tasers aren’t 100 percent. if that Taser misses, that [individual] continues on and hurts an officer.”

“In a lethal situation, they used lethal force,” he added.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson (Source)

What the heck does he mean by Tasers aren’t 100 percent? Yep, that’s true if he meant not 100% lethal. That’s the fucking point of “less-than-lethal” weapons as they have been euphemistically named after it has been proven numerous deaths were indeed directly connected to tasing and “non-lethal” just didn’t work as a marketing buzz anymore. The guy didn’t have a gun. Yep, he allegedly had a knife – let’s assume that’s true. There were two police officers. Isn’t one of them trained in melee combat? How can it be that self-defense trainers have this exact scenario – an attacker with a knife approaching you – on their courses and police officers are not capable of using these techniques to tackle him? One could still have pointed the gun at him while the other tackles him.

Also, since when is it part of the job description of a police officer to have no risk at getting hurt? And the lethal situation became only lethal by the shooting. I mean nine shots, honestly? Most hunted animals have been given more dignity.

It seems the ongoing militarization of the US police has indeed led to a shift in their paradigms, and not just in the heads of police officers wearing camouflage.

// Oliver

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Why you’ll want to visit Iceland #6

Bubbling hot mud pools at Seltún and elsewhere.

Seltún

Gute Gründe Island einen Besuch abzustatten #6

Blubbernde heiße Schlammlöcher bei Seltún und anderswo.

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Why you’ll want to visit Iceland #5

Old houses in Árbæjarsafn (Árbæ-collection).

There you can see how Icelanders lived through the centuries. I also recommend visiting the National Museum (Þjóðminjasafn Íslands) and the Saga Museum (or alternatively the museum about Egill Skallagrímsson in Borgarnes).

Moss houses at Árbæjarsafn / Mooshütten im Árbæjarsafn

Gute Gründe Island einen Besuch abzustatten #5

Alte Häuser in der Árbæjarsafn (Árbæ-Sammlung).

Dort kann man sehen wie Isländer in den letzten Jahrhunderten lebten. Ich empfehle auch das Nationalmuseum (Þjóðminjasafn Íslands), sowie das Sagamuseum (oder alternativ das Museum über Egill Skallagrímsson in Borgarnes).

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Anders “Fokk” Rasmussen: Iceland crucial to NATO

Helvítis fokking fokk!

The NATO flag was flying at the ministry of foreign affairs, approximately a hundred meters from our office here in Reykjavík, on Wednesday. I pointed it out to my colleagues who hadn’t recognized it while we took a stroll to the coffee house and back.

Apparently NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, was visiting.

“Since the end of the Cold War NATO has tried to approach Russia through constructive collaboration. Now we have realized that Russia sees us as the enemy,” Rasmussen told Morgunblaðið.
(Source)

Where constructive collaboration refers to the collaborative NATO efforts acquire new NATO members in Eastern Europe and construct more NATO bases closer to the Russian border. Rasmussen simply wanted to keep it short and crisp, I reckon.

In these unpredictable times, we need NATO more than ever. I count on Iceland’s support as we make the Alliance even fitter, faster and more flexible.
(Rassmussen, as quoted by the Reykjavík Grapevine)

Actually, since the Warsaw Pact is a thing of the past and NATO has been warmongering on since the end of the Cold War, why not simply dissolve it as well? It would be high time …

// Oliver

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Why you’ll want to visit Iceland #4

Enchanting sunsets in summer towards the North1 around midnight by the seashore (and while resting your feet and legs into hot water near the Seltjarnanes lighthouse).

Sunset / Sonnenuntergang

Gute Gründe Island einen Besuch abzustatten #4

Bezaubernde sommerliche Sonnenuntergänge Richtung Norden2 um Mitternacht an der Küste (während die Füße und Beine im heißen Wasser nahe des Leuchtturms von Seltjarnanes ausruht).

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  1. yep, towards the North! []
  2. ja, richtig gelesen: Richtung Norden []
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