Iceland

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Greenland's Vikings Weren't Farmers, They Were Walrus Hunters

They apparently had a lucrative ivory trade going on: researchers

(Newser) - For a long time, scientists wondered why Vikings settled in Greenland as farmers, since livestock doesn't thrive there and the growing season is truncated, notes Hakai Magazine . But while speculation as to why they eventually abandoned the island territory range from climate change to soil erosion , researchers now think... More »

Now Legal in Iceland: Blasphemy

Pirate Party spearheads law's repeal

(Newser) - Iceland has repealed an anti-blasphemy law that has been on the books since 1940, meaning its people are now free to ridicule religion to their heart's content. The country's parliament, the Althing, voted almost unanimously to remove blasphemy from the Icelandic Penal Code yesterday, the Iceland Monitor reports.... More »

Does Creativity Up Your Risk of Mental Illness?

Iceland researchers say there's a genetic link, other scientists say it's flimsy

(Newser) - The "mad genius" is back in fashion with a new claim that there's a genetic link between creativity and genius, the Guardian reports. A study published in Nature Neuroscience analyzed 86,000 Icelanders to flesh out genetic variations that double one's risk of schizophrenia and more than... More »

7 Folks Named 'Gudmundur' Have Most Unusual Job

They're a 'human search engine' in Iceland

(Newser) - What do a washing machine, a crocodile, and glacial water have in common? Gudmundur of the West is on the hot seat to answer that question this week, and if he can't figure it out, maybe Gudmundur from the North or Gudmunda from Reykjavik can help him out with... More »

Iceland Erecting First Norse Temple in 1K Years

Membership in neo-pagan tribe has recently tripled

(Newser) - Norse paganism fell by the wayside in Iceland when Christianity swept through some 1,000 years ago. Now a modern movement—which views gods as metaphors with lessons to impart, reports the Guardian —is erecting the first temple to Norse gods since the age of the Vikings. "I... More »

Pair of Quakes Rattle Iceland Volcano

Aviation alert issued after 5.1, 5.3 earthquakes

(Newser) - Two earthquakes measuring over 5 in magnitude—the biggest yet—shook Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano today after the country issued an aviation red alert warning that an ash-emitting eruption may be imminent. Iceland's Meteorological Office recorded earthquakes of 5.3 and 5.1 in the early hours. It said... More »

Iceland Raises Volcano Alert to Highest Level

Bardarbunga eruption begins, but it's all underground for now

(Newser) - It looks like Bardarbunga is getting ready to pop. That would be the Iceland volcano rumbling of late and threatening to disrupt air travel in the manner of Eyjafjallajokull in 2010 . Iceland officials say a "subglacial eruption" is now underway, reports AP , which quotes a volcano expert who says... More »

Iceland Volcano May Threaten Flights

Bardarbunga threat level raised to orange

(Newser) - Four years after Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano seriously disrupted aviation , another tongue-twister may be set to blow. Iceland's meteorological office says the area around the Bardarbunga volcano has experienced its strongest earthquake since 1996 and there is a chance the "current activity will result in an explosive subglacial... More »

Family's Problem: Daughter Harriet's Name 'Illegal'

But Hjörný, Haddý, Hekla, Hrafnhildur are just fine in Iceland

(Newser) - You might see why a government would be reluctant to hand Adolf Hitler a passport, but what's so bad about Harriet? A couple living in Iceland say the government has refused to issue their 10-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son new passports because their names, Harriet and Duncan, aren't... More »

Odd Murder Confessions From '70s Second-Guessed

Suspects weren't sure whether they'd been involved

(Newser) - In the 1970s, six people confessed to killing two men in Iceland, apparently explaining the victims' mysterious 1974 disappearances and ending what the justice minister called "the nation's nightmare." But the suspects, who were all convicted—with one sentenced to life in prison—at first didn't... More »

Missing Cat Back Home After 7 Years

He had left in a snit when a dog joined the house

(Newser) - The cat came back—after seven years. The unexpected reunion took place in Iceland, when Birkir Fjalar Vioarsson got a call from a shelter informing him that his cat Orvar had shown up, reports the Reykjavik Grapevine . Orvar bolted in 2007, apparently displeased about the family's addition of a... More »

Iceland Jails Bank Bosses

Execs inflated share price before financial collapse

(Newser) - Iceland has done something highly unusual with some of the bank chiefs blamed for the country's 2008 financial collapse: put them on trial and sent them to prison. Four former Kaupthing Bank bosses have been sentenced to between three and five years for market abuses relating to a deal... More »

For 1st Time in Iceland's History, Police Shoot, Kill

Gunman was killed after shooting at officers

(Newser) - Police in Iceland have shot dead a 59-year-old man who fired a shotgun at them—a tragic event in any country, but an unprecedented one for the island nation, which attained independence in 1944. The incident is believed to be the first time anybody has ever been shot and killed... More »

World's Oldest Animal Lived to 507

Ming was killed when scientists cracked open its shell

(Newser) - The oldest animal ever known lived from 1499 until the day researchers cracked its shell open, killing it in the process. Ming, an ocean quahog from the species Arctica islandica, was initially thought to be a record-setting 402 years old. But the scientists who found it on a seabed near... More »

Best Country for Women Is ...

Iceland, again

(Newser) - When coming up with the best countries in terms of gender equality, think Nordic. Iceland again leads the annual list put out by the World Economic Forum, which crunches stats on education, health care, jobs, politics, and more, reports the BBC . That makes five years in a row for Iceland,... More »

Number of Slaves on the Planet: 30M

Victims in 162 countries; half are in India

(Newser) - Slavery continues to afflict almost 30 million people across the planet—in every one of 162 countries surveyed in a new report. India is home to 13.9 million slaves, by far the largest number; relative to population, however, Mauritania has the highest rate, with 4% of the population enslaved... More »

Surprise: Iceland's Strange Pillars Formed by Lava

They're common in ocean, but these are first seen on land: Study

(Newser) - A new study has finally spelled out how some weird-looking land forms in Iceland came to be. Sadly, the local legend that they were tossed there by warring trolls turns out to be wrong—but the real reason is pretty interesting in its own right. They're lava pillars,... More »

WikiLeaks to Iceland: Grant Snowden Asylum

Assange cites 'personal sympathy' for leaker

(Newser) - After a year in Ecuador's embassy , Julian Assange is now seeking asylum for someone else. WikiLeaks is in talks with Iceland's government to secure asylum for Edward Snowden, Assange said; an Iceland spokeswoman said Snowden supporters have indeed been pushing for it, the New York Times reports. The... More »

Iceland Moves to Ban All Online Porn

Iceland pols call porn a human rights violation against women and children

(Newser) - Calling all porn a civil rights violation against the women who appear in it and the children who see it, Iceland is considering a ban on Internet pornography, reports the Daily Mail . Iceland's interior minister has created a working group to find the best way of doing so, with... More »

Iceland Teen Can Use 'Unapproved' Name

'Blaer,' meaning 'light breeze,' wasn't on list of OK names

(Newser) - An Icelandic 15-year-old whose name had been, for all official purposes, just "Girl," has won a lawsuit to keep her given name. Iceland's government had held that she couldn't use the name Blaer because it wasn't on the country's approved-name list, which rules out... More »

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