Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Via Business Insider: A study published in the Lancet finds Iceland to be tied with Sweden and Singapore as the healthiest countries in the world in terms of the indicators for the health-related Sustainable Development Goals as established by the United Nations. In the study, 188 countries were assessed based on factors such as mortality rates, pollution, sanitation, water quality, and disease, in combination with demographic indicators such as poverty and education. The leading countries scored 85 in the index. Finland is close behind with an score of 82, Followed by Norway (82) and Denmark (79), all tied with a few other countries with the same scores. Every nation has its particularities. For example, prevalence of overweightedness is high in Iceland, alcohol consumption is high in Denmark, and Norway needs to work on its disaster preparedness.
Monday, September 26, 2016
Via Gizmodo: So before you feel tricked by a technicality: Inuktitut does have a written language, but it’s just not an alphabet. Instead, as Tom Scott explains, it uses a related system of symbols to express sounds called an abugida. This writing system is in use in the far north of Canada and was originally invented by Christian missionaries. Inuktitut—which can use one compound word to say the equivalent of an English sentence—is built on consonant/vowel pairs. In order to accommodate the language’s sounds and structure, a new set of symbols was developed. (Because different parts of the Arctic were colonized at different times though, Inuktitut is only somewhat comprehensible by people in Alaska or Greenland.) In written Inuktitut, a letter’s shape determines the consonant sound while its rotation shows the vowels that follows it, e.g. ᐃ or ᐊ. Diacritical marks tell a reader if the vowel sound is long or short, and superscripted symbols show how the sound ends, like the ᖅ in that stop sign image. As a writing system it’s both elegant and alien, so if this is too difficult to visualize, I’d highly recommend watching Tom’s video.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
The Swedish Government Wants To Drastically Increase Police Mandate To Find And Return Denied Asylum Seekers
Via Business Insider: At a press conference the Swedish government just presented a proposal for effectivizing Sweden's way of dealing with asylum seekers who have had their applications denied. "Currently 500 people per week are leaving Sweden, but we want to increase that pace", says Anders Ygeman, Minister for Home Affairs, reports Svenska Dagbladet. The proposal contains nine main points, focusing on increasing the mandate of the police in finding, securing and returning asylum seekers, and clarifying the respective responsibilities of the police and the Swedish Migration Agency. One proposed point is to enable police to search for persons at workplaces. The reason behind the proposal is the perception that it's taking too long for the nation to return persons who have had their asylum applications denied. Another explanantion is that there are many employers exploiting such individuals for cheap illegal labor. Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson, even thinks the proposed measures will improve Sweden's ability to accept refugees. "We think we'll see an even more effective reception", he said according to SvD. Here are the nine points of the proposal, as reported by Dagens Nyheter: 1. Increased enablement of the police to carry out workplace inspections. 2. The police will be enabled to take fingerprints at internal controls of foreigners. 3. Extended mandate for the police to confiscate passports and identity documents. 4. Employees of the Swedish Migration Agency will be obliged to inform the police of contact with an individual whose asylum application has been denied. 5. The police will be able to return responsibility for enforcement to the Swedish Migration Agency when voluntary expulsion is possible. 6. The police will be the enforcing authority by default also in cases of renewed enforcement. 7. Extended possibilities to place persons taken into custody in places other than those specifically designated for that purpose. 8. Facilitation of the authorities' expulsion of families with children. The police and the Swedish Migration Agency should handle the custody of children the same regardless of which of the authorities made the decision. 9. Legislation concerning which agency has responsibility for what should be clarified.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Via Business Insider: The Norwegian car market has the highest percentage of electric car sales in the world. Generous subsidies make even Tesla's affordable for many, but not all Norwegian's are satisfied with their purchases, and are seeking reimbursement. 126 Tesla-owners from Norway are uniting in a lawsuit against Tesla Motors on the claim that Tesla has falsely represented the performance of their cars. The claim concerns the upgraded model of the Model S sedan P85D, Bloomberg reports. According to Tesla the car is able to accelerate from 0 km/h to 100 km/h in 3.1 to 3.3 seconds in tests, but that is incorrect in the car-owner's exerience. The proposed reason is that the model's engine simply lacks the required amount of horsepower. The case will be addressed in court in December.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Via Business Insider: This morning, Sweden's center-left government presented its proposed budget for 2017, and Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson was painting a bright future for Sweden. ”The Swedish economy is very strong", Andersson said and continued: "We have the highest growth in our region, unemployment is falling and the large deficit we inherited when we took power has been basically wiped out". Andersson predicts that finances will return to balance in 2018, and stuck to a growth forecast of 3.5 percent for this year. The Government now wants to increase spending by around 0.6 percent of GDP in 2017, with 23.6 billion kronor ($2.68 billion) in budgeted reforms in 2017. This number will then increase to 28.1 billion ($3.28 billion) in 2018, 33.4 billion ($3.9 billion) in 2019, and 36 billion ($4.2 billion) in 2020. The Government also presented a number of tax proposals to increase tax revenues by about 7 billion kronor. The proposals include: * prohibiting deductions for interest expenditure on certain subordinated liabilities * abolishing the right to income tax deductions for official meals * limiting upward adjustment of the threshold for state income tax * introducing tax on chemicals in certain electronic products * increasing the tax on alcohol Spendning will focus on increasing welfare, with ”major investments” in health, education and social services, according to Andersson. ”Sweden's growing population makes strengthening welfare particularly important. The Government continues to prioritise welfare services and in this bill proposes that an additional SEK 10 billion a year be made available to municipalities and county councils in general government grants. This will enable them to take a long-term approach to developing their welfare services taking local conditions into account. Together with the Government's previous welfare investments, these resources correspond to the cost of roughly 30.000 employees in welfare services", Andersson writes in a statement.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Via Unknown Country: A recent photograph of something in Loch Ness that appears to have a head, a hump and a tail has generally dismissed as seals at play. And indeed, the head on the right bears some resemblance to the head of a seal. The problem is that seals are not indigenous to Loch Ness because the waters are too murky for them to navigate. If the photograph was indeed taken at Loch Ness, there is a genuine chance that this is an unknown animal.
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Via Business Insider: Samsung is finally recalling its Galaxy Note 7 after reports that some batteries were exploding inside the device. The fact that roughly 70 Note 7 devices have overheated in the past few days, in the US alone, is definitely scary. And this isn’t the first time batteries have exploded within their host phones. But Swedish serial entrepreneur Christina Lampe-Önnerud, also known as the Queen of Batteries, has the solution. ”A safety problem such as what's unfolding with the Samsung Galaxy 7 takes all of us back to basics. The global battery industry must assign to safety the same priority it gives to energy density and cost when batteries are designed and manufactured. This should include having the fire retardants be an integral part of the battery cell design, combined with simplification of the cell structure", she tells Business Insider. Lampe-Önnerud states that her startup Cadenza Innovation was founded to bring these new approaches to the market. ”Our battery product architecture and design prevent the thermal runaway that causes batteries to catch fire - while also enabling industry-leading energy density and low cost. Our team members have spent their entire careers in the lithium-ion battery industry. We're hopeful that by sharing our innovation through licensing, we can contribute both to better performance and higher safety - and do that at prices that drive the new energy paradigm for electric transport and electric grid solutions". She has no doubts about the future of lithium-ion batteries. ”They have proven to be the best portable energy storage solution for nearly two decades, and will be for many years to come - for uses ranging from mobile phones and laptops to vehicles and the grid”.