Dogs Part II

15.12.2010 kl. 20:04

Frontier Psychiatry

14.12.2010 kl. 19:39

Julian Calendar

I've just realised, in my ruminations upon the Wikileaks Cause Célèbre, that in 15 years time there'll hundreds of delinquents called Julian roaming the streets.

The mind shudders.
14.12.2010 kl. 19:17

Obituary: Kari Tapio

Kari Tapio was the most successful popular singer in Finland since Olavi Virta, he died Tuesday at the age of 65.

Abroad he is being dismissed as a Eurovision wannabe, singing schlager - highly sentimental lyrics with catchy tunes. In Finland today there is a 22 page supplement on his life in the Iltalehti daily tabloid. Somewhere between these two extremes is the career of a hard-working musician separated from the rest of the world by a singing language understood by only 5 million people. And loved by even fewer, beyond the smart confines of the Kehä 3 ring road around Helsinki.

Kari Tapio's appeal was, like the US country music that he admired and learned from, essentially to the `Duunarit' or working class. Tapio's music was the soundtrack to truck driving, small dance halls (the Finns love to dance), gas station cafés and Saturday morning hoovering.

He drove himself to every one of his 15 or so gigs every month, often day after day across the country before a few days rest - even just before he died at home of a heart attack. I'd guess his gigs were pulling, at a minimum, 150.000 € a month - probably much more. But Tapio, arch-duunari as he was, took a salary like everyone else and paid his taxes like everyone else: even though his would be over 50%.

He said, quite simply, that all Finns enjoy such state services - education, healthcare etc - that he had to pay his full whack of taxes like everyone else. An unusual star and high-earner! He said also that he put honesty above all else.

If you've ever been a performer, you'll know that winding down the adrenalin after a performance is tough. You can't just shower, change, go back to the hotel and sleep. It takes 2 or 3 hours to come down. In a small hotel in the middle of nowhere there is nothing but the hotel bar and the hard-drinking local denizens, to whom the appearance of their idol is a cause for celebration. And the next night will be the same. He never let his fans down, but he let himself down.

I never liked the music but I respect the man.
09.12.2010 kl. 23:32

Get my drift?

I'd like to point out we're under nearly 50 cms of snow here and we've only just started December.

As Old Tapio says: "When drifts of snow pile up like mountainous seas, you're fucked"
07.12.2010 kl. 23:47


        GOVERNMENTS around the world today stressed that just because they are trying to crush Wikileaks to death, it does not necessarily mean that you will be next. 

You're going to be just fine

Important officials in fancy offices in grand capital cities said the only reason they are erasing the whistleblowing site from existence and trying to arrest its spokesman on some trumped-up rape charge was because it had done some things they didn't particularly like.

One government spokesman said: "We know that you wouldn't do that. Sure, you might get upset about budget cuts, but that's all part of the everyday rough and tumble. It's not like you are engaged in a relentless campaign to expose us as liars, cheats and murderers.

"No, as far as you're concerned everything is going to be just fine. As long as you just keep watching television.

"Of course at some point we may have to step in and decide exactly which television programmes you're allowed to watch, but again, it's really nothing for you to get all worked up about.

"Especially with your diabetes and your high blood pressure."

He added: "No, you'll be just fine with it, and of course if you weren't, then we would just switch you off as easily as pressing the stand-by button on your remote control. But that's obviously not going to happen to you. For goodness sake, why on earth would it?

"So we're agreed then - everything's cool and that man that we're beating to death in the corner of the room is just some smart-alec with a horrible website - probably with photos of children on it - that could very easily have killed you. Good.

"Anyway, I think that's the second half of Loose Women coming on, so I'll let you get back to it.

"Sorry to have bothered you."

From the Daily Mash
05.12.2010 kl. 14:32

Your brain, olkaa hyvää

05.12.2010 kl. 12:06

The Mothers of Invention

The real heroes of ratata are the heroines. The mamas with the magic.


It is one of the web phenomena first noted in the later 90s, with html talk forums: active users included many young smart mothers. Having kids changes your social life. Unless you’re rich or have a large extended family, going out without the children is saved for very special occasions. So after the kids go to bed, there’s just the media to spend time with. Before webtalk the only choices were TV, radio, print media or hobbies. And if you are peripheral to the ‘scene’, and especially if you live, because it’s cheaper and better for the kids, in suburbia, then webtalk can engage you daily in a wider world that you aspire to.


And of course these were smart mothers, because they had PCs at home and were not afraid to use them – maybe they used them also in their job or had become acquainted in further education. The smart mums are still with us, and I think it’s great.


Blogging is one the cheapest hobbies you can have. All it costs is your time (once a kind person provides the platform). And having an audience of strangers – even just a handful – is empowering. Yes, the content of many blogs might appear superficial, but we are at the very beginning of media decentralization. Bloggers today are ‘practising’. I don’t know what it is a rehearsal for, but I’m all for it.


Ratata comes in the plain vanilla content format of personal pages (or mini-zines), accompanied by unthreaded comments. Graphics and videos are easy to post. Because of the format, interactivity between ratata bloggers is relatively low and online discussions of any depth almost never develop, although the gestalt of ratata is the real discussion. For thematic discussion, threadedness makes a huge difference. These are personal diaries,. What has developed is not a localized Facebook or Twitter (though many users are involved in these too), but a kind of lo-kultur board where personal creativity is valued. Ratata is the JCR of the university of life.


The ratata user/audience is urban and wannabe socially fashionable. There’s very little philosophical text depth at all. The only issue is happiness and the search for it (a worthwhile quest in itself, though too few people understand that happiness created through the unhappiness of others is the Ponzi scheme at the center of Capitalism). The ratata tone of voice is often the usual one of young people at the start of their careers. These personal pages are social networking CVs. And among the 1000 active ratata bloggers are some very talented writers, photographers, fashionistas, observers, confessionalists, photo-manipulators, cooks, comedians and all the usual aggregated sharing of what’s happening. Quite a few of those present now at ratata will be the iplayers of the Finnish future.





I’d like to propose 2 extensions to ratata: both of which would require a different kind of coding for threaded discussions. And both would be issue-based rather than ego-based.


The first extension would be a daily open thread which would enable instant sharing of information, ideas and comments – across the membership.


The second format would be an issue-based diary system with threaded commentary.


I really cannot believe that all the members of ratata are unconcerned with the fact that most of us are using resources as if we had more than one planet, or the political threats to our personal freedoms, etc etc.

04.12.2010 kl. 12:00

Proud to be European

And why so many things about the US now disgust me.

I am proud to call myself a European, and especially a Nordic citizen. I live with the hope that Europe might yet institute some of the mainstays of Nordic society:

  • Free and equal access to education for all
  • Virtually free healthcare
  • Relatively transparent politics without corporate influence
  • A professional non-jury system of courts
  • A prison system aimed at rehabilitation
  • Collective bargaining
  • Freedom of speech
  • Narrow salary differentials
  • Relatively unpoliticised media
  • Efficient and diverse public transport systems
  • Defence forces only (peacekeeping) + national service
  • The separation of retail and venture banking
  • Careful management of innovation chains
  • Research cooperation between state, corporations and academia
  • Focus on clean technologies
  • High standards of food safety
  • Minimal corruption
  • Respect for the organic ecosystem
  • Long holidays for workers
  • Run by engineers, not lawyers
  • And so on.

Together these values create a stable, safe, just, equitable, compassionate and sustainable society - in theory. The Nordic countries are not perfect - far from it. Neither are they ideologically socialist: more consensus-minded, which is not quite the same thing. But they do work - rather efficiently. Taxes are not as high as often claimed, though higher than the European average - but most Finns, at least, would say that the services that are provided by the state are worth the reduction in their so-called disposable income.

These values are not individually unique to the Nordics - it is the combination of them that is unique. And there are many reasons why these values have evolved through a particular social history that is very different from, say, those European countries that passed through the social fragmentation of the Industrial Revolution.

This period of social stability in the Nordics is only 50 years old. It may not last. But it is worth defending and promoting so that it can survive and prosper - sustainably.

I am proud to be a European because I believe many European citizens aspire to these same values, and may one day be able to persuade their governments to adopt them.

I am also proud to be European because I enjoy the cultural diversity of European countries. I am also a (critical) admirer of the European Union: the institutions are efficient - it's the inept application of EU policies and funding in member countries, which leads to many of the perceived problems with the EU. And the global values that the EU projects are worthwhile and mostly supportable.
18.11.2010 kl. 11:48


Pintandwefall (a reference to their poor alcohol tolerance) are a quirky thrash surreal nubility bundle of energy and ideas that can swerve from ramones to acapella street poet strangeness. Best new band I've seen in a long while.

27.03.2010 kl. 09:45

Updated sharing with Lockerz

12.02.2010 kl. 15:20


A new micropayment system from one of the Pirate Bay founders - How Flattr Works from Flattr on Vimeo.

12.02.2010 kl. 15:19

The Robin Hood Tax

10.02.2010 kl. 12:56

Yomama bin Shoppin

25.01.2010 kl. 18:16

No comment

18.01.2010 kl. 22:53

Mr X has been wandering in the media desert for 40 years. He has spoken to the Burning Bush. He will now lead his people to the Promised Land. "Los Angeles give me Norfolk Virginia, Tidewater four ten o nine Tell the folks back home this is the promised land callin' And the poor boy's on the line." See my first diary for more info... Mr X is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 1.0 Finland License.