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Finland for Thought » 2005 » June | Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & the United States | Blog of an American living in Finland

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             Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & United States

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30.6.2005

Alcolocks coming to Finland

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:50 pm
 

What do you call an alcoholic Polish person? An “alcolock” !! Get it? :lol: (Polish people are sometimes called Polocks) Okay okay, that was a really lame joke. But anywho…an “alcolock” is a device which is installed in your car to prevent you from driving drunk. Before you’re able to turn on the ignition, you first must blow into this device. If you’re drunk, it won’t start up. And during your drive, it will randomly start beeping, requiring you to blow into it or else your horn will start sounding. And they’re coming to Finland

Finland is to introduce Friday the first of the breath alcohol ignition interlock devices, or “alcolocks”, devices that require a repeat drink-driving offender to blow into a breath analyser to switch on a car’s ignition circuit.

In the trial, having an alcolock fitted is a voluntary option to an unconditional driving ban imposed on a drink driver. Further, those convicted of drink-driving would have to agree to an intoxicant addiction assessment programme as well as well as follow-up checks.

The costs, around 150 euros per month, are to be incurred by the driver.

They only cost $60/month in the states, I know about these a tad, my buddy used to have one. No surprise they’re twice as expensive here. With a high monthly fee like that, drivers will simply refuse the alcolock and just instead drive around with a suspended license.

And there’s already ways to beat these alcolocks very easily – simple and inexpensive devices (even home made devices) that simulate fresh air being blown into the nozzle are already on the market. Chronic drink-drivers won’t leave home without one of these babies.

In Sweden, though, it is proposed that all new cars will have to have an alcolock on board by 2012. Saab has already announced it could include an “alcokey” with its cars where drivers must blow into the key before starting the car. Lorries and buses will have the alcolocks before 2012.

Leave it to Sweden to lead the industrialized world in stripping away people’s liberties, and leave it to Finland to be right there behind them. Sweden will have alcolocks in all new cars by 2012? Okay so Finland will do it by 2015.

These alcolocks are too just too easy to beat, the chronic drink-drivers will all have their anti-alcolock devices, or they’ll just learn how to hack the automobile and disable the system. And I’m looking forward to the first alcolock-related accidents where the driver reaches down to blow into the device and smacks into another car head-on. It will happen.

Want to take a chunk out of a drunk-driving? How about deregulating taxis for starts. People avoid taxis because they cost an arm and a leg, or because there aren’t enough of them at peak hours. Deregulate the market, get more taxis out on the street and make them cheaper – more people will use them and will be less likely to drive drunk.

29.6.2005

Funerals in Finland – A Kodak moment

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:46 pm
 

Ever looked through a Finnish photo album? It’s an emotional rollercoaster. First off is young Erno’s christening, then little Lassi’s birthday party, then big Juha’s wedding…then there’s Mom laying in the casket at her wake…then vacationing in the Canary Islands, then a Midsummer BBQ… – so what’s with bringing the camera to a funeral? I don’t know how people would react if you whipped out the digicam at an American funeral, cause it’s never happened, it’s unthinkable.

I’ve embraced and thoroughly enjoyed the vast majority Finnish traditions, although photos of the funeral is something I don’t quite “get”. My German buddy and I were trying to figure out how photos at funeral became tradition in Finland. He figures that Finns feel death is just another important aspect of life, and should be kinda “celebrated” as well as mourned (…or something like that). My ridiculous theory is that Finns never taught themselves any camera etiquette – for fear of embarrasement, no one ever spoke up and said, “Hey, maybe taking pictures at a funeral isn’t cool.”

So tell me, why do Finns take pictures at a funeral? How do you feel when you flip through the family photo album and see Dad’s funeral? Is this a tradition throughout all of Finland?

Asylum shopping in Finland

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:37 am

Just like most everything else in Finland, asylum shopping is expensive as well…

The Finnish Ministry of the Interior estimates for Finland to receive some 4,000 asylum applications this year. Of those, 60 per cent are so-called Dublin cases, that is, the applications have already been turned down by another European country.

“These asylum seekers can be characterised as asylum shoppers. Asylum shopping is very expensive for taxpayers. Only through cooperation can we stop them taking advantage of the system,” Mr Rajamäki said in a government statement.

The percentage of Dublin cases is highest in Finland of all European countries. Half of them arrive into Finland from Sweden and a quarter from Norway.

Heh, funny how Finland is like a last resort for them. Looks like our strict immigration policies are known worldwide.

Finland’s Family Federation and Sweden’s RFSU campaign for condoms

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 9:12 am

“Don’t be a Neanderthal, wear a condom.”

TeliaSonera top execs investigated by Swedish police for alleged bribery

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 9:10 am

CEO Anders Igel and head of Swedish operations Marie Ehrling are suspected of bribery in Sweden

Many Pay Excessively for Medicines

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 9:09 am

Only one in ten medicines are exchanged for a cheaper generic alternative

Rotating Asylum Seekers Cause Immigration Headaches

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 9:08 am

Around 60% of all asylum seekers in Finland have had similar applications turned down in other European countries

Border Guards’ Strike Ends

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 8:34 am

First group of Guards would be returning to work on Wednesday morning

28.6.2005

Spiel des Jahres – Game of the Year

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 4:39 pm

For those who don’t know, I’m a bit of a board game fanatic. In particular, “German Games” (or sometimes called “Designer Games”) – The German “Spiel des Jahres” (Game of the Year) is like the Oscars for board games. The winner was annouced yesterday and the honors went to “Niagara” designed by Thomas Liesching. Here’s a description from BoardGameGeek…

Niagara is set in the not particularly safe world of rushing waterfalls. In the late 18th Century, the Shawnee and Iroquois Indians pointed white Desperadoes, Mercenaries and Adventurers in the direction of hidden caches of valuable jewels, in the hopes of turning them against one another and away from their territorial expansion ambitions. Players play as some of those Adventurers.

The first player to be able to claim ownership of five jewels is the winner. But the chase after the riches has some snags. The speed of the river is always changing, since the speed depends on the decisions of the players and the changeable weather. And once a canoe goes over the walls, it’s a hefty investment to replace it. And there are also the Desperadoes to contend with, who aren’t above trying to plunder the riches from Adventurers returning home. Niagara is distinguished by an innovative movement mechanic as well as a beautiful three-dimensionsal rendering of the waterfall setting.

It’s a fantastic game, fans of “Carcassonne”, “Settler’s of Catan”, and “Ticket to Ride” (Menolippu) should all enjoy this. Head to lautapelit.fi and order a copy now or goto their store in downtown Helsinki.

niagara-finland

FileSharing – When the left and right hold hands

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 3:26 pm

The long awaited Grokster Supreme Court Decision is in and they lost, the justices voted unanimously 9-0 against Grokster. Frontman of the band Wilco, Jeff Tweedy, speaks out against the ruling…

“It is sad that conservatives and liberals in the Supreme Court can hold hands and agree unanimously on a decision so squarely on the side of big business and so damaging to the side of culture.”

…one of the many reasons why I’m neither a conservative nor a [American] liberal. Rapper Jay-Z is enthusiastic about outcome…

“This is a great victory for artists, songwriters and all of those who make their living through the creative process.”

Jay-Z made his millions by advocating guns, dope, hoes, murder…but he speaks out against downloading an mp3. Nigga pleaseee… :roll:

This court case wasn’t really about Grokster (for the rest of us) – it’s about the future of P2P and this ruling is a step in the wrong direction on a slippery slope. However, I’m not quite sure I even support Grokster’s actions exactly – Make a copy of your DVD and send it to users online…no problem whatsoever. Now, making millions off the others copying DVDs and sending them to others, there’s where I see an issue.

Grokster makes its millions by selling advertisment on it’s service while people surf for files to download. But I could say the same thing about Yahoo! and Google. Those two search engines are excellent resources for finding copyrighted material (so I’ve heard), yet it’s no problem that they sell advertising. So you’d say, “Well Yahoo and Google are used for other things than copyright material” and I’d say, “Well so is Grokster.” Unsigned bands utilize these type of services to get their music out to the public. Then you might say, “Well Google is only used 1% of the time for copyrighted material while Grokster is used 99% of the time for copyright material” and I’d say, “So if your online service suddenly gets used execessively by P2Pers, you should be shut down?!”

So it’s a complicated issue and although I have my doubts about Grokster, I’m disappointed to see the U.S. Supreme Court rule this way. But one thing I am sure of, when governments and companies hold hands like this…we’re all screwed.

Lesbian trapped in a man’s body

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 2:26 pm
 

It’s summertime and there isn’t much news out there, so we’ll have to enjoy this:-)

When your husband wants to be your wife – Judi fell in love with Mike, but is making it work with Mikayla…

They are a happy couple raising a child together in New Hampshire, and sharing custody of their three other children. Four years ago, Judi Howden married Mike (Mickey) Howden. Today, she is married to Mikayla Howden, after Mickey had a sex-change operation.

At the time of their marriage, Judi Howden knew Mickey had questions about his sexuality. A month into their relationship, Mickey mentioned that he used to cross-dress. Then, he said that he still cross-dressed. Finally, he told Judi he was a lesbian trapped in a man’s body.

Jakomäki

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 1:05 pm

I was driving by this yesterday and had to turn around to take a picture – anyone who has seen Nousukausi will recognize this (and if you haven’t, you need to go rent the movie tonight, it’s excellent). Jakomäki wasn’t exactly the dump I expected it to be (although it’s summertime in Finland, I don’t think anywhere looks bad) – but I think it’s the Jakomäki natives which makes the neighborhood so interesting, they were a lively bunch at 3pm on a Monday.

U.S. & Finnish Workers Working Striking Together

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:12 pm

Paper mill workers in U.S. & Canada show solidarity for locked out workers in Finland…

Nashville. Tenn, June 16, 2005 “ Today thousands of union members who work for Stora Enso and UPM Kymmene in the United States and Canada are demonstrating their support for 25,000 union members in Finland, who have been locked out by these and other paper companies in Finland. They will be wearing stickers inside the plant expressing their support of the locked-out workers and taking their case to local management. Further local actions are expected if no settlement is reached in Finland.

We believe that only by sticking together all over the world can we maintain high standards and fairness for workers in this industry, no matter where they work, said USW Regional Director Richard LaCosse, whose jurisdiction covers Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, Minnesota and other states.

us-finland-paper-union

Hat tip to Erno I. for the link!

Finland Opening Door For U.S. Wireless Firm

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:37 am

Plans to build a high-speed wireless data network using Flarion’s gear

Max Payne Computer Game Goes to Hollywood

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:34 am

The film will be produced by Scott Faye and Julie Yorn

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