Sunday, July 20, 2008

English news in Scandinavia

With its rapidly greying work force, it has been some time since the European labour market has opened its doors, even if just a symbolic inch, to immigrant workers. It is my perception however (unbolstered by statistics) that among the refugees and the skilled professionals of the third world who enter the continent for work, while the former go on to naturalize, the latter return home, or move away to greener pastures where naturalization is easier (US, Canada, UK, Australia).

One incentive to retain and integrate professionals is to provide more local news in English. Since recently, English print edition dailies in Europe have been extremely rare. Here is a highly incomplete collection of English news and magazines in Scandinavia. Finland seems to be the last to have woken up, but I am optimistic.

Major resource: World Newspapers

Helsinki Times. Estd. 2007. Quality and circulation has improved drastically in a very short time. Printed weekly.
Helsingin Sanomat has daily English summaries and a weekly digest. But this service, like most things in Finland goes down for the summer!

Copenhagen Post. Estd. 1997. Tabloid format. I thumbed through it while I was there. International and local news. Very few pages though. Printed daily.
Jyllands-Posten, Denmark's leading daily, has an online News in English section.

The Local (Sweden). Estd. 2004. Excellent coverage of equality, women's rights etc. which are central issues in Sweden. Free online daily. A print edition doesn't seem to exist. They have started a franchise in Germany this year!
The Local (Germany): Estd. Feb. 2008. Online daily.
Japan News Review (Sweden). Estd. 2007. A unique and exclusive coverage of Japan. Includes redirects to other English news featuring Japan and compilations from Japanese news pieces. How strange!
There is also the rather trendy World News Cafe with newspapers from all over the world (about a week late), situated inside the Kulturhuset in central Stockholm.

The Norway Post: Estd. 2005. Online daily.
Aftenposten (Norway) has daily English summaries online.

Six Degrees (Finland). Estd. 2006. Coverage is very expat centric i.e. language problems, job market, refugee integration etc. Some travel pieces etc. A good place to look for city events (Turku, Tampere, Helsinki, Oulu). Prints10 issues a year.
The Reykjavik Grapevine. Estd. 2003. I came across it in some Espresso bar in downtown Reykjavik circa July 2007. Content is very eclectic. Perhaps targeted at the tourist market (who are all quite eclectic). Also quite prolific and prints 18 issues a year.
The Scandinavian Insider. Estd. 2006. Printed in Sweden and Denmark 4 times a year.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Moral high ground

Recently, I have passively, yet voraciously been consuming distilled wisdom from thought leaders in the blogosphere. Two exhilarating Chennai based blogs are krishashok and maami. They are so good that I could hawk them at traffic signals, pursue a disinterested bloghopper like you unrelentingly, and aggressively advertise them with illegal subliminal messages until you buy into them. In other words, I highly recommend them.

Anyway, a common accusation I have encountered in post-related-comment-page-skirmishes is: you are being self righteous. you are taking a moral high ground. My question is: isn't this accusation itself, moral?

Jalsafication of citations

Let us dispense with the boring Moore et al. and do some jalsa with it.

Recently, Marquez et hombres showed that...
For a recent review see Arunachalam and nanbargal...
As early as the 16th century, Columbus and cronies...
A compelling alternative was proposed by Paneerselvam and his oothukaadu machis!

The grip of an idea

I read somewhere that Boltzmann knew what it was to be in the grip of an idea. Is it possible to communicate the experience of the grip (form) independent of communicating the idea (content)? I wonder. This problem I would like to call contentization of form.

This is important because, it is often the grip that tends to unite people, leading to true comaraderie rather than the idea itself. The idea merely serves as a handle to grip, or a social object.

Summarily, form is socially important. We connect around form. This is a well known, yet little understood, fundamental idea which is at the heart of innovations in web 2.0 (there is room for twitter when blogger exists), marketing (coats de rhone vs. goats do roam), world peace etc. I am in the grip of it. How do I communicate it to you?

Quadratic phenomena

Definition: A dependent variable (y) that is a quadratic function of an independent variable (x), resulting in y(x) having a U or inverted U shape.

Intriguing hypothesis (to be tested):
y: Number of cliques in a city with high intra-clique cultural diversity
x: Cultural diversity of the city

1. Can you think of any other interesting quadratic phenomena?

2. Why are quadratic phenomena sexier/more convincing than linear phenomena (eg. my grandmother's age vs. crude oil prices)?

3. Are they more convincing because there are fewer quadratic sources of confound than linear sources?

4. Are quadratic phenomena sexier to (straight) men because of their curves? If so, is there a population of (straight) women who find linear phenomena more intriguing? (line = thrusting, pointy, hence more masculine). In this connection, there was a looney tunes animation with narration about a love story between a circle and a line.