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About Skalpadda

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    The Cold North
  1. I Had A Random Thought...

    Reminded me of something I heard Terry Pratchett say in an interview: "..we are shaped by the universe to be its consciousness. We tell the universe what it is. In my religion, the building of a telescope is the building of a cathedral". I don't believe that's true, but it's a nice thought. I've often wondered how exactly the thought processes of babies work. Without language and experience forming expectations about how the world works, how do you think? Imagining being concious but not having the vocabulary needed to reason about anything is almost a scary thought for an adult but clearly we've all been there.
  2. The threat of Big Dog

    "Robotic insect: World's smallest flying robot takes off" That thing could fly into your ears. While you sleep.
  3. I am dangerously foreign. Please don't eat me.
  4. I love making pancakes in various forms, favourite for desert is traditional Swedish pancakes (large and flat, so not like the American variant) with vanilla icecream and cloudberry jam. A variant that doesn't seem to be common outside Scandinavia is "oven pancake" or "fat pancake". It's yummy, cheap, easy to make and any leftovers will keep fine in the fridge for a day or two and can be re-heated or eaten cold. Perfect student food, and it even involves bacon! Here's how you make some: 6 eggs 1 litre milk 5 dl flour 1 teaspoon salt A wee bit of butter to butter up your pan. Bacon! (optional) Set your oven to 225 degrees (Celcius). Mix eggs, milk, flour and salt like a demon. Lightly butter up a large pan. Go read some forums while the oven gets hot. Pour the batter into your pan. Generously apply bacon on top (optional) Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-30 minutes. When it's done it should rise to the edge of (if not over) the pan and be a goldeny-brown pancake colour. Most Swedes will serve it with lingonberry jam (if your country is cruelly lacking in lingonberry goodness you might find some at IKEA) but some like sweeter jam, honey or fresh berries. OMNOMNOM
  5. Youtube-TV

    The Brain Scoop is excellent, educational, fascinating and grosstacular.
  6. Unnecessary Comical Picture Thread

    Finnish is not a germanic language and isn't related to the other Scandinavian languages at all (apart from some loan words) but has a language branch all of it's own (along with Estonian, Sami and some other minor "baltic-finnic" languages), which explains a lot of it's peculiarities. I'm not sure about other Scandinavian languages but in Swedish double vowels are usually only found in compound words with a few exceptions like "öar" (islands) and "åar" (streams). ÖÄÅ don't have any special standing here, they're just vowels like the rest of them. I can't think of any words, compound or not, that uses more than one in a row though I'm sure you could construct some.
  7. Assange

    Hello, long time lurker, first time poster etc. I see a lot of the same questions pop up in discussions about this all over the place and the news coverage of the Assange saga has been more than a little peculiar. While I'm certainly no legal expert and I don't know everyhing about this case I am Swedish and have access to our media and at least some familiarity with our legal system, so perhaps I can give a slightly different perspective on some of these things. A lot of this may have been covered already (I didn't read every post in the thread thoroughly) but these are some of the most common things I see pop up around this. 1. He's not charged with a crime and the arrest warrant was issued by a prosecutor, not a court. The Swedish equivalent to being charged with a crime is called Lagföring and in order for that to happen Assange needs to be questioned and the case against him needs to be ready to go to court. For obvious reasons this isn't the case and while you can argue that there's something wrong with the way the Swedish legal system works it's a bit disingenuous to claim that the case against him should be dismissed simply because the formalities of the Swedish legal system don't exactly mirror those in Britain or the US. The fact that the arrest warrant was issued by a prosecutor rather than a judge also seems to have caused a lot of raised eyebrows but again this is not an uncommon thing here (nor in many other European countries) and what those criticising the case often conveniently leave out is that the arrest warrant has been upheld by both the district and appeals courts here in Sweden. 2. Why can't they just question Assange in the UK? They certainly could and I personally think it would have been a good idea to do so. What the prosecutor's office have told Swedish media is that a) If the case goes on to court they're going to need him in Sweden anyway, and b ) The prosecutor chose to issue an arrest warrant and that's the line they're going to follow. Basically "we don't want to lose face". 3. He is being accused of rape because a condom broke / he is accused of "minor rape", etc. He is accused of initiating unprotected sex with a sleeping woman. That may not be the kind of violent act we commonly associate with rape, but under Swedish law it is and according to the British courts it would be considered rape in the UK as well. 4. Why can't the Swedish Government give guarantees that he won't be extradited? The counter question is: Why should they? It would be quite an extraordinary thing to do and Swedish law as well as international law prohibits anyone from being extradited if it is believed that the motives are political or that they risk torture, inhumane treatment or the death penalty. That's not to mention the shitstorm of epic proportions that would blow over the government if they did allow Assange's extradition to the US (the Swedish media and population generally aren't very US-friendly). It would also give the impression that the government didn't trust Swedish courts, which I very much doubt is a signal they'd want to send. Those who say that the government are unable do this are wrong however, since the Riksdag have the right to overturn court decisions in matters of extradition - there's just no good reason for them to give any kind of guarantee in advance. 5. Getting him to Sweden is only first step in a conspiracy to send him on to the US. It just doesn't add up for me. First of all, by trying to get him from Sweden the US would need not only the approval of Swedish courts and the Swedish government (which would effectively suicide by approving an extradition), but also the permission of the UK. Add to that that nothing Wikileaks has done is criminal under Swedish law (whistleblowing is in fact specifically protected by law) and they'd have to be pretty gosh darned creative to even make a case against him. The notion that Sweden is somehow more vulnerable to US pressure than the UK also seems odd, given that we're comparing a neutral country with largely social democratic values and 200 years of peace and the UK which as far as I'm aware has extremely close political, economic and military ties with the US. Perhaps I'm missing something, but that equation seems off. This is getting awfully long, so I'll leave it there. I'd just like to make clear that I have no personal beliefs on whether he's guilty or not; I don't know nearly enough about the case to form any solid opinion. He seems like a rather unpleasant character which I'm sure isn't doing him any favours, but being a bit of a dick isn't illegal and he's certainly not the only one guilty to what a great big mess this whole thing is. I can't think of any case that's been so poorly handled by everyone from media to prosecutors to the governments involved as well as mr Assange and Wikileaks themselves. Then again he's managed to avoid being hauled over here for a good while now, so perhaps he's secretly a genious.