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Iceland

Iceland’s Government Wants to Make Sure Women Really and Truly Get Equal Pay

It's one thing to talk about closing the gender-based wage gap. But now Iceland has taken steps toward becoming the first country to make employers prove they pay their employees equally.

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What American Feminists Can Learn from Icelandic Women About Making History

Like American women, Icelandic women comprise about half the population, and have achieved goals like paid parental leave for both sexes and higher education rates for girls. Their methods can work for us.

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Things We Saw Today: New Star Wars: The Force Awakens Characters Revealed Through Toy Release

It makes sense that there'd be some stores accidentally breaking street date on Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise. With those broken street dates comes information about The Force Awakens, like our two unknown characters here in this photo.

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Thor’s Got A New House: Iceland Is Building the First Temples To Norse Gods They’ve Had In A Millennium

"ANOTHER!"

Thor, Odin, and Frigga would be very pleased by this: Iceland is building its first major temple to the Norse gods in, well, a very, very long time. Since Vikings was at its most relevant, basically.

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Things We Saw Today: Quick! To the Batmobile (Slippers)!

There's no time to sleep, Robin!

I've got to get me one of those.

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Witches, Wise Women, and Widows: A Cultural Look at Viking RPG The Banner Saga

Essay

There was a storm warning in Reykjavík the night I started playing The Banner Saga. As my computer booted and my tea steeped, I made the rounds in my apartment, securing the latches of my windows — double-paned, of course, to keep the cold out. Bare birch branches writhed eerily outside, and the sky, which had danced pink and green four nights prior, was coal gray. It was a good night for a Viking story. I glanced at my watch as I launched the game. I had to start playing, but I was eager for my partner to come home. Most Icelanders I’ve met have a strong affinity for their heritage, but my partner is a cultural paladin. Our shelves are crammed with epic poetry, archaeological resources, and dictionaries of dead languages. When my mom came to visit last summer, my partner had a story (or a song) for every mountain and waterfall we drove past. There’s a single-handed battle axe resting against her bedside table. Y’know, just in case. I didn't want her to play the game with me. I wanted her to snark.

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Supreme Court of Iceland Will Rule on Destruction of Elf Habitat, Our Supreme Court Seems Extra Boring Today

Occupy Rivendell.

A highway project in Iceland has been halted as elf advocates have taken to protesting the project's completion, because it will disturb the elves who live there. Yes, elves, as in the mythical creatures. A 2007 study by the University of Iceland uncovered that 62% of people surveyed wouldn't say for sure that elves don't exist.

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Icelandic Lawmakers Float Idea Of Granting Edward Snowden Citizenship

The proposal has received minimal support in Iceland's parliament, though.

As Edward Snowden celebrated his Fourth of July in Moscow yesterday (or, maybe didn't celebrate, what with the whole being wanted by the U.S. government thing) representatives of the Icelandic Pirate Party brought forward a proposal to offer the NSA leaker Icelandic citizenship. That would make it possible for Snowden to travel to the country and apply for asylum, adding Iceland to the short list of possible places Snowden could make a new home for himself without fearing extradition by the United States.

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Endangered Whales Turned Into Ingredients for High-End Japanese Dog Treats

Some things should just not be fed to dogs.

Japan, we need to have a talk about your luxury dog snack market, because "endangered fin whale" is not an acceptable ingredient for dog treats. That's what one Japanese specialty pet food company has been selling, though, and they're now taking flack over the idea because for the love of all that is good, what kind of money-hungry deviant would do something like that? And Iceland, don't think you're off the hook for saying nuts to the international community and preparing to kill nearly 200 fin whales this year, many of which will be butchered and exported to become important items like "dog treats for the rich and monstrous." Not cool, you guys.

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The Mayor of Reykjavík Voted In Iceland’s National Elections Dressed As a Jedi

For A More Civilized Age

It's not so surprising when you consider that the mayor in question is comedian Jón Gnarr, who ran for election as a joke back in 2010 and was quite surprised when he actually got elected. Part of his platform as the head of the made-up Best Party was that he refused to talk to other candidates unless they'd watched all five seasons of The Wire. There's a documentary, if you're so inclined. Or you can just look at this picture of him voting while dressed as a Jedi. (via: Neatorama) Are you following The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

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Iceland Latest Country To Move Towards Internet Porn Ban

It's common knowledge that the Internet is primarily a method of delivering pornography to consumers at unheard of speeds, but that may not be the case much longer in Iceland. Lawmakers there are the latest working to put in place a firewall that would block citizens from viewing pornography online. Iceland isn't the first Western nation to take a swing at 86ing Internet porn -- the United Kingdom has flirted with the idea in the past -- but a growing call among lawmakers suggests it might be the first nation that has an actual shot at passing legislation to make the Internet measurably less naughty.

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What Better Way to Honor Victorious Olympians Than to Put Their Penises On Display?

Yes, those are what you think they are. Although the Icelandic Men's Olympic Handball Team was eliminated yesterday, a few of its members can make a claim that few other professional handball players can. Guðjón Valur Sigurðsson, Ingimundur Ingimundarson, and the rest of the 2008 silver-medalists can say that they are featured in the Icelandic Phallological Museum. So, I guess handball is kind of a big deal in Iceland, huh?

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A New Production Video From the Iceland Set of Game of Thrones [Video]

Winter Is Coming

Winter is coming, indeed, and on the set of HBO's Game of Thrones, which shot on location in Iceland, winter nights are pretty much endless. In this new production video -- which was posted yesterday, on Valentine's Day, because they love us and want to make us happy -- the cast and crew talk about the insanely cold weather, the amazing scenery, make green screen jokes, and talk about the grand total of four hours of daylight with which they have to work. I can't wait for the second season to start so I can watch while indoors. (via YouTube) Previously in Game of Thrones

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Icelandic Web Site Helps Icelanders Find Out If They Are Committing Incest

Good News Everyone!

While it has produced the larger-than-life personality of Björk, Iceland is not a very big country. With a population of just 300,000 people, a common problem when two people decide to pursue a romantic relationship is how closely related they might be to each other. And not like "What if our ancestors had sex on the Mayflower?" More like, "What if our great-grandparents are the same?" Okay, that's an exaggeration. But, apparently, it's not that unusual to find yourself dating your own third or fourth cousin, and some Icelanders are finding that a bit too close for comfort. But now, Íslendingabók is here to help the people of Iceland stop themselves from becoming the next accidental Lannisters!

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Majestic "Moonbow" Makes Rainbows Seem Gaudy, Cheap

When Iceland isn't spewing volcanic ash into the air or Read More

US Judge Rules Twitter Must Hand Over Icelandic MP User Information in Wikileaks Case

US judge Liam O'Grady ruled this past Thursday that Twitter must hand over information regarding Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of the Icelandic parliament and also a supporter of the controversial anti-secrecy site Wikileaks. The ruling comes after months of fighting to keep what Jonsdottir views as private information out of the court's hands, and could have far wider implications.

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Icelandic Experiment Plans to Trap CO2 in Limestone

With carbon-reducing technologies only just now going mainstream and dangerous amounts of the greenhouse gas already in the atmosphere, scientists are considering drastic solutions to the problems of global warming. One such approach beginning next month in Iceland aims to trap CO2 in limestone, removing it from the atmosphere. The 6-12 month test, called CarbFix, has a short-term goal of giving Iceland's geothermal plants a means to trap and store carbon brought up during operation and become truly carbon-neutral. The longer-term implications, however, could be on a global scale.

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Iceland Uses Social Media to Draft a New Constitution

When Iceland gained independence from Denmark in 1944, it more or less copy-pasted the Danish constitution and adopted it as its own. Sure, they made a few changes here and there, like changing "king" to "president," but the tiny Atlantic nation has needed to update its governing document for some time. The country is now drafting their own home-grown constitution, but has decided to allow Icelanders to make comments and suggestions on the draft document through various social media platforms. The approach is two-fold: Icelanders can make suggestions for the constitutional committee to consider, and also comment on the constitution online. Iceland is taking a highly moderated approach to suggestions they receive electronically, with local committees vetting suggestions before sending them on to the constitutional committee and public online discussion. Though Twitter, YouTube, Flickr are part of the effort, Facebook is apparently the most popular platform for discussion.

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Pictures from Iceland’s Latest Volcanic Eruption

On May 22, Iceland's most active volcano Grímsvötn began erupting in the east of the country. It was a spectacular eruption, sending a massive ash plume 12 miles into the air. From the Christian Science Monitor:
The eruption of Grímsvötn, Iceland’s most active volcano, on Saturday evening is believed to be far more powerful than that of Eyjafjallajökull last year. Experts estimate that Grímsvötn produced between 100 and 1,000 times more material per second when it exploded. The plume it generated was twice as high as Eyjafjallajökull’s.
The ash is expected to blow towards Northern Ireland and parts of the U.K. over the next few days, though it is not expected to choke off air travel as Eyjafjallajökull did last year. It's also much, much easier to pronounce. Read on below for more pictures from this dramatic eruption, and how it's affecting the Icelanders.

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Fog Will Not Save You From Vikings

Vikings are already famous for their beards and badassery, not the least of which springs from their sailing prowess. Spreading from Sweden and Norway, the Vikings sailed and settled Northern England, Iceland, Greenland, and were the first Europeans to arrive in North America. They also pillaged and terrorized an unready European populace with their ferocity and totally sweet boats, but a lingering question faced by historians is how they managed to sail as well as they did with such limited technology. Navigation in the far north poses several unique problems.

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