Friday, January 25, 2008

Coalition of the willing...

Whenever Iceland is featured on TV, the following day you are sure to get some email about it. This time was not different. They spoke about Iceland on The Daily Show. "Correspondent" Jason Jones states that the US are not winning the war in Irak because Iceland left the coalition of the willing. These 2 videos were shown on January 22nd and 23rd.

I searched a little bit and found that Jason Jones was here around mid-October to produce his "on location report".

10/18/2007 | 12:03

The Daily Show Urges Iceland to Dispatch Its Soldier to Iraq

Jason Jones, a correspondent of the US comedy news program The Daily Show, has urged the Icelandic government to reconsider its decision to withdraw "Icelandic troops" from Iraq.

Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Iceland’s foreign minister, decided to withdraw an Icelandic Crisis Response Unit (ICRU) member from a NATO training program for the Iraqi army in Baghdad last month. The ICRU-member, who holds the rank of major, was the only Icelander working for NATO in the country.

Jones, who has been here since Monday producing a story for The Daily Show about the foreign minister’s decision, held a press meeting at the Hilton Reykjavík Nordica yesterday. Dressed in a red robe and with a stars-and-stripes hat on his head, the comedian told attending journalists that Osama bin Laden hated Björk, according to Morgunblaðið.

Earlier he interviewed Herdís Sigurgrímsdóttir, the withdrawn ICRU-member whose name ironically means “a war diva”, and Stefán Pálsson, leader of the activist group Campaign against Militarism.

weather outside: snow showers, -1°C

Thursday, January 24, 2008

35 years ago...

35 years ago, in the early hours of January 23rd, 1973, an eruptive fissure appeared on the island of Hemaey. The eruption was to last for 155 days.

One of the most famous pictures taken during the eruption is the one representing the church covered with ashes and the volcano behind.

Heimaey being an important fishing port, it was a priority to stop the flow of lava that was risking of blocking the entrance of the harbour. Powerful pumps were flown in from the USA. Each pump had an output of 1000l per second.

Nowadays it is possible to climb Eldfell, the volcano created by the eruption. You can still feel the heat under your feet even 35 years after the event.

About 400 houses were covered by lava and ash. When you walk around the lava field you can see plates reminding you that a building used to be standing under your feet.

A project called Pompei Norðursins (Pompei of the North) started a few years back. The main goal of the project to remove the tons of ashes covering 7 to 10 houses of Suðurvegur, a street of the old town.

Weather outside: snow, -3°C

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

French films...

The 8th edition of the French films festival is starting this week (January 11th). 11 films will be shown in Háskólabíó and will open with the animation film "Persepolis".

Last year premiere was the very interesting "Paris, je t'aime", which is made of 18 short films and directed by over 20 film directors. My favorite short film was the one directed by the Coen brothers (Tuileries segment) featuring the actor Steve Buscemi in a hilarious quid pro quo in the Metro station of Les Tuileries.

A part from Persepolis, the films programmed this year are:

Very cold weather is announced for the week-end: a very good reason to go to cinema. Nonetheless, cold weather often means clear skies, and clear skies in means stunning sceneries. Below is a picture of Esjan taken yesterday from work around 2:30pm. The picture was taken with a phone so the quality is not there!

Weather outside: mostly cloudy, 0°C

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Da Vinci Code...

It looks like 2008 is going to be a funny year....

Yesterday we were told that a group of scientists believe the Holy Grail may be hidden in Iceland!!! Icelandic architect Þórarinn Þórarinsson and Italian cryptographer Giancarlo Gianazza seems to believe that the artifact is hidden somewhere in the Hrunamannahreppur region and therefore have asked the local authority to dig around Skipholtskrókar (in green on the map).

How does someone come up with this idea??? Well, Mr Gianazza "found" important clues in poems by Dante and artwork by Leonardo da Vinci... Sounds familiar??? Sure does, it's written Robert Langdon all over the place.

One of the far-fetched clues are the fact that you can overlap da Vinci's Last Supper with an aerial photograph of the region. What are the odds?

With such conclusive evidences, they have been granted the permission to dig a two meters deep and five meters wide ditch with a condition: they have to close the ditch after the research is done. They will be looking for a five meters large secret underground dome that would be the resting place of the Holy Grail.

Now going back to new year's eve, it was not the noisiest celebration I have witnessed here. Because of the strong winds, people must have decided to blow up their fireworks the following day (as we did) but just to give you an idea here is a small video of the evening:

Weather outside: Rain, 7°C