Pharyngula

Oslo in June

The word is out: on my way to the Gods & Politics conference in Copenhagen, I’m taking a little detour to visit Oslo, as this forum article mentions.

It’s true! It’s true! Tidenes happening før Skepsikonferansen 2010! En ravende, sinna, og nysgjerrig teddybjørn av en ateist og skeptiker kommer til vårt fagre land i noen dager før Ateistkonferansen i København 18-20. juni.

Han skal være her 16. juni, og skal holde en talk på Litteraturhuset 15.30 -17; om noe om Science Communication. Skal dele link til info når den kommer opp.

Dessuten overleveres han til mine klamme hender når han er ferdig med å skravle med UiO-pampene, og da skal vi finne på noe trivelig. Forvent moro. Hold av kvelden. Dere som liker ham da.

Vi takker CEES for at de inviterte ham, og nyopprettede Studentenes Skeptikerlag Oslo for å dele  ham med folket etter foredraget.

I have no idea what she said…but wait, did she call me a “teddybjørn”? Somebody will have to translate the rest for me, or since only Norwegians are going to care, maybe you don’t have to translate at all. Just let me know if there are secret plans in there to have me publicly crucified when I arrive.

Barring any Christian berserkers assaulting me when I arrive (not likely, given Norway’s godlesÃ¥s socialist reputation), it should be fun. The Trophy Wife™ is joining me on this trip, no doubt drawn by the call of the Motherland — her maiden name is good ol’ Norse, Gjerness, and while I’m mongrel American with my maternal Swedish/Norwegian roots muddled with a father who was just about everything else European, she’s one of those purebred Scandinavians. She may also be coming along to keep an eye on me, because she knows from experience that I’ve got a thing for Scandinavian goddesses.

We will be getting out for some social time while we’re there, too. I fear, though, a visit to a nation where beer may be replaced with akevitt. I don’t know if I’ll have the stamina.

Comments

  1. #1 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    a bit of flavored vodka isn’t going to kill you… probably

  2. #2 Sven DiMilo
    April 29, 2010

    A raving, angry, and curious teddy bear of an atheist and skeptic

    according to teh Google

  3. #3 ExitB
    April 29, 2010

    Per Google’s translate tool;

    It’s true! It’s true! Overall happening before Skepsikonferansen 2010! A raving, angry, and curious teddy bear of an atheist and skeptic come to our beautiful country for a few days before the Atheist Conference in Copenhagen 18-20. June.

    He will be here 16 June, and will hold a talk at Litteraturhuset 15.30 -17; about anything about Science Communication. To share a link to info when it comes up.

    Moreover, he handed over to my clammy hands when he is finished talking with the University-pamper, and when we think of something pleasant. Expect fun. Keep the evening. You who love him.

    We thank CEES for inviting him, and the newly formed Students Skeptikerlag Oslo to share him with people after the lecture.

  4. #4 Glen Davidson
    April 29, 2010

    See how god is punishing you for blasphemy?

    Next you’ll be punished by having to go to Tahiti in January.

    When will you ever learn?

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  5. #5 colonel cocoa
    April 29, 2010

    The Norwegian women consider having sex with complete strangers as being no more significant than a hand shake

  6. #6 TD
    April 29, 2010

    No secret plans to crucify you or anything similar that I could find (I’m swedish so some of the words are beyond me but I can read most of it ;) ). They may be planning something involving flavoured vodka though, based on the third section… But you should be fine! :)
    Anyhoo, welcome to Scandinavia!

  7. #7 blf
    April 29, 2010

    I cannot read greek, but have nonetheless successfully translated it to be:

    Extra puppies are pulled yellow waffle irons with greasy , datum poopyhead. Honourable wife squid pirate beard nails camera: Goats! Bears afterbefores.

    Now it’s clear. Glad to be of service.

  8. #8 johnathan.harrington
    April 29, 2010

    Alls left is that you come to Malta
    I’m sure the 94% Catholic statistics will love you :D

  9. #9 PZ Myers
    April 29, 2010

    I know a few Norwegian women, and no they don’t.

    That might be your personal experience; perhaps they consider sex with you to be as exciting and amorous as a handshake?

  10. #10 nonsensemachine
    April 29, 2010

    I looked through wikipedia at the demographics of Norway and the other scandinavian countries, and it turns out they all have like 88% religious, the vast majority belonging to the national Lutheran (I think it was) sect. They could be the christian socialist variety.

  11. #11 colonel cocoa
    April 29, 2010

    Waffles are delicious

  12. #12 colonel cocoa
    April 29, 2010

    PZ, Didn’t you see I am curious yellow? That was a Swede film. Same mindset as the Norsk. Don’t be such a prude.

  13. #13 PZ Myers
    April 29, 2010

    It’s another country with a state religion that most of the population nominally accepts, but practically ignores. I was raised Lutheran entirely because my mother’s side of the family emigrated from Sweden and Norway, where everyone’s religion had been pretty much set by historical circumstance.

  14. #14 PZ Myers
    April 29, 2010

    I’ve also seen Debbie Does Dallas. From this I have inferred all the sexual habits of Texans.

  15. #15 colonel cocoa
    April 29, 2010

    I too was raised Lutheran. Dating or having sex with Catholic girls was considered to be selling your soul to the devil. I did sell my soul, many times.

  16. #16 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DhjBEuJ8pt63x6eBKuPx0Jv9_QE-#7c327
    April 29, 2010

    “Teddybjørn” means goat-fucking monkey-shit eater. It causes me great pain to tell you this, but someone had to.
    Be careful, I think you may be the target of an elaborate practical joke.
    If you see a monkey or a goat, make tracks.

  17. #17 Blondin
    April 29, 2010

    Whatever you do don’t fall for the old Scandahoovian trick of getting you to try lutefisk by telling you it’s a delicious, traditional dish or some BS. It’s foul, poisonous, gelatinous muck that’s made out of fish and battery acid and garnished with sand.

  18. #18 TheNP
    April 29, 2010

    All I can think of is the Of Montreal song ‘Oslo in the Summertime’

  19. #19 PZ Myers
    April 29, 2010

    Hey, I told you up there I’m of Scandinavian descent. Every Christmas when I was growing up, out would come the lutefisk, reeking pale jiggling fish gelatin. My grandfather would smear it on his lefse, which always made me want to slap it out of his hands before he’d waste it.

  20. #20 blf
    April 29, 2010

    [Lutefisk is] foul, poisonous, gelatinous muck that’s made out of fish and battery acid and garnished with sand.

    Well, the Norwegians have to do something with all those whales.

  21. #21 bnightm
    April 29, 2010

    Dane here. She wrote:
    “A rambling, angry and curious teddybear of an atheist and skeptic is coming to our beautiful country for some days before the atheistconference in copenhagen, the 18th to 20th of June.

    He will be here the 16th of June and will make his talk at Litteraturhuset 15:30 to 17:00, about science communication. Will share link to info when it is available.

    Also, he will be delivered into my clammy hands when he is finished chatting with those spoiled people at University of Oslo, and then we will think of something nice. Expect more. Don’t make other plans for that evening. You that like him.

    We thank CEES for inviting him, and newly established Studenternes Skeptikerlag Oslo for sharing him with people after the presentation.”

  22. #22 Blondin
    April 29, 2010

    Well, the Norwegians have to do something with all those whales.

    It can’t be made out of whales, can it? Else why is it called ‘fisk’? I guess it doesn’t matter what it’s made out of – it’s unrecognizable after being buried in a toxic waste dump for a year before serving, anyway.

  23. #23 rowmyboat
    April 29, 2010

    A rough translation, as I know Old Norse, not modern Norwegian.

    Something about the 2010 Skeptic Conference. Something, something, something, an atheist and skeptic is coming to her fair land for nine? days for the Athiest Conference in Copenhagen on June 18-20.
    He (I assume that’s you, PZ) will get there June 16 and will hold a talk on communicating science at the Litteraturhuset (Literature Hall?) from 3:30 to 5 pm. She’ll post a link to the information when it is available online.
    Something something he to something something he is something with something with UiO-something, and will something something. SOmething. Something. Something.
    We thank CEES for inviting him, and something Oslo Skeptic Students for something him with something.

    Basically, she’s excited that you’r coming to har fair land, gives the date and time of a talk you’ve got planned, promises to keep readers updated, and thanks the people who invited you for doing so. I think.

  24. #24 mantel
    April 29, 2010

    Being a long-time Norwegian lurker, I will surely show up for the event. About a year ago or so I attended a debate here in Oslo about the “new atheists”. The debate was between a Christian, a faitheist and a “new atheist”. During the debate it came clear to me to an even greater extent than before how many Norwegians, including atheists, see religion as a rather benign force. The Christian and the faitheist treated the view that moderate religion opens for the more fundamentalist and dangerous variety with utter contempt, and the debate proved again Dawkins’s argument that religion automatically gets more respect than it deserves. Religion is generally seen as not being a problem here, irrelevant as it is for so many outside the standard ceremonies in the state church.(Never mind the fact that the suicide rate is higher than average for gay people, particularly in our bible belt). Many non-believers view religious belief with a lot of respect, even being a good source of our morality. Even several friends of mine who are non-believers have described Dawkins as “extremist” after reading the God Delusion.

    PZ, these are attitudes you may very well meet here. It would be really great to hear you counter them here in a society where religion for many is something nice, and something many non-believers see as a good tradition when it comes to ceremonies such as baptism, confirmation, marriage, funerals and Christmas (or “jul”, which I am very proud to say we still call it!).

    And yeah, I have served akevitt to several foreign visitors. Sadly, they rarely ask for more…. But as a Yule tradition it it sure beats going to church!

  25. #25 blf
    April 29, 2010

    [Lutefisk] can’t be made out of whales, can it?

    To the best of my knowledge, it’s not. That was intended to be a sarcastic comment about Norway’s commercial whale-hunting.

  26. #26 tomassruud
    April 29, 2010

    Velkommen skal du være!

  27. #27 tibfulv
    April 29, 2010

    Per Google’s translate tool;

    It’s true! It’s true! Overall happening before Skepsikonferansen 2010! A raving, angry, and curious teddy bear of an atheist and skeptic come to our beautiful country for a few days before the Atheist Conference in Copenhagen 18-20. June.

    He will be here 16 June, and will hold a talk at Litteraturhuset 15.30 -17; about anything about Science Communication. To share a link to info when it comes up.

    Moreover, he handed over to my clammy hands when he is finished talking with the University-pamper, and when we think of something pleasant. Expect fun. Keep the evening. You who love him.

    We thank CEES for inviting him, and the newly formed Students Skeptikerlag Oslo to share him with people after the lecture.

    ‘Overall’ should probably be replaced with ‘of the ages’ or something. ‘Fager’ is an archaic word meaning, correctly, beautiful, but having connotations of poetry and patriotism (in this context). ‘Anything’ should probably be ‘something’, but you guys got that. A ‘pamp’ is someone with a high office, so ‘the bosses.’

    ‘Skeptikerlag’ is a skeptics’ association.

  28. #28 prokrastinuft
    April 29, 2010

    I looked through wikipedia at the demographics of Norway and the other scandinavian countries, and it turns out they all have like 88% religious, the vast majority belonging to the national Lutheran (I think it was) sect. They could be the christian socialist variety.

    If one of your parents is a member of the state church, basically you’re automatically a member from birth, and have to manually end your membership if you don’t want to belong there. Most Norwegians just don’t bother doing it.

    Anyway, we are all immensely geeking out over the fact that you’re coming here PZ; expect a ridiculous amount of free drinks. ;)

  29. #29 TM
    April 29, 2010

    Holy shit, I have to be there and get my arse signed! It’s a norwegian tradition, you know.

  30. #30 Magaus
    April 29, 2010

    Being a Norwegian, this entry made my eyes pop out! Response: Please stay here for as long as you want. Norway hasn’t really got any religion-critic to speak of, and we sure could need one. I don’t think we would be that hard to convert either.

    By the way, some people here need to learn some more about lutefisk. Confer Wikipedia. And please: it doesn’t taste that bad!

  31. #31 blf
    April 29, 2010

    Velkommen skal du være!

    Second door on the left, down the corridor to the stairs, go up one flight, first right (but be careful not the trip over the giant squid), and ask the clerk. If he’s there, ask the one with flaming great red horns and giant hoofs—he’s more much helpful than the mice, and you if you’re polite, won’t even twist your head off before eating you.

  32. #32 Stephan Brun
    April 29, 2010

    Obviously you can’t be told about the secret plans to crucify you after the event. They are secret, after all.

    Oh, and I am tibfulv, above. Google hiccupped on me.

  33. #33 MadScientist
    April 29, 2010

    Ah, one day I may learn some Norwegian; it doesn’t help that most of them speak English and many of them want to practice their English around foreign visitors. Some tried to teach me a few phrases and were trying hard not to laugh as I mangled their language. Coincidentally I may be in Oslo in June (so much for being at TAM8); I wonder if I can take a Viking home when I leave.

    @Magaus: what’s wrong with lutefisk? I’ve seen variants of it from Europe through Africa and Asia (well, except that the lut part seems peculiar to Norway and neighbors). If you want something truly awful, try the mummified sharkmeat from Iceland.

  34. #34 sjefskjekkasen
    April 29, 2010

    Kjempenyheter! Tøft! Fett! Nesten ikke til å tro! Endelig! :D

    This was really a great surprise, PZ! And fits my schedule perfectly. Monday, excessive beerdrinking and Kiss concert, tuesday, sleep in hotel room, excessive drinking in evening, Wednesday, Litteraturhuset watching greatly admired teddybear!
    I’ll have to extend my Oslo-stay a little, but my trip now has a new main event :D (yes, I’m only gonna see Kiss once, before they die..)

    Norwegian girls.. well, we’re generally not so worried about God and stuff here in Norway, despite any figures or sporadic wingnuts. We usually do what we see fit, which generally means being nice to one another, carrying on with whatever. I actually knew Sasha Gabor (know him?) personally. After he returned to Norway some years ago he attended a student convension. Here he was literally swarmed by fans, which was expected, but he actually ended up having sex at the bathroom and later took two girls back home for an afterparty (Confirmed!!).

    I don’t know if it’s because norwegian girls are extra free spirited or if girls anywhere would do such a thing, but it can most certainly not have been because Sasha was unusually attractive. But you have the Trophy Wife ™ anyway, so..

    Skål, og velkommen skal du være, ærede leder!

  35. #35 Martin
    April 29, 2010

    But PZ, that’s the wrong side of the country! Oslo is too close to the bible belt for comfort, though not actually in it.

    Oh, and that “88% Christian” thing… it’s complete rubbish. I think I know more atheists than Christians, and I barely know any “proper” Christians. My grand parents are quite devout, but other than that I’m not sure I know of anyone who actually goes to church.

    In Norway, practically everyone is a member by default. I think perhaps we’re moving in the direction of the Church having a clean-up of members. Perhaps so that everyone who wants to be in has to say so, instead of the opposite. Perhaps I’m just dreaming, though..

  36. #36 shonny
    April 29, 2010

    Bra, og nå får jeg se om jeg kan finne litt mer ut av dette!

  37. #37 tommyj82
    April 29, 2010

    I’m from the bible belt here in Norway, and I will be attending this for sure!

  38. #38 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 29, 2010

    I’m not Norwegian, but I think “godlesås” has to be a gravy of some sort.

    And the goat thing isn’t a joke (note the categories).

  39. #39 sjefskjekkasen
    April 29, 2010

    I can’t help myself.. still excited.

    I’ll have to keep this moniker.

    BTW, my real name is Bent, which genuinely cracked up an Australian once… :D

  40. #40 puseaus
    April 29, 2010

    Cool! First Obama, now Medvedev and then PZ. No doubt what the high point of that list is.

  41. #41 kaylakaze
    April 29, 2010

    I couldn’t visit Norway ’cause I wouldn’t want to leave. I’d move there right away if they didn’t have such PITA immigration laws.

  42. #42 rsm_hokkaido#e7c56
    April 29, 2010

    All of the translations were mostly ok, after mashing them together. I liked the one by the Dane (#21), it was good but missed the negative connotation of ‘pamp’ which probably best translates into the idiom ‘fat cat’ in English. Sorry for the pedantry, it’s a habit.

    I’m also grumpy because I won’t be home for this, because I have to go to a wedding in the US. I claim there is a conspiracy.

    The 88% religious is simply because you are entered into to the state church at birth, and most people forget to send in the form to cancel their membership. Since there is a state subsidy per member of a ‘religious; organization, the church(es) have a vested interest in keeping it this way, so I recommend you resign from the church and enroll in the humanist organization (Humanetikerenes Forbund), so they get the money instead.

    On the topic of religious criticism. We have a couple of really good critics, the only problem is that they are mostly 1st or 2nd generation Norwegian and mainly concerned with Islam, as opposed to religion as a whole. Mostly the church gets ignored (unless there is a scandal, or some idiot proposes misogynist views), and other than my aunt and a couple of my nuttier school buddies (evangelicals) I don’t actually recall knowing any religious people. But I was the only one in my school who never went to church for the mandatory Christmas event…

    In the advice column:
    Don’t drink the beer, it’s mostly crap.

  43. #43 ronsullivan
    April 29, 2010

    The Norwegian women consider having sex with complete strangers as being no more significant than a hand shake

    But is it a clammy handshake?

  44. #44 Molly, NYC
    April 29, 2010

    If I were the Trophy Missus, you would never ever live down being called a “raving, angry, and curious teddy bear of an atheist.”

  45. #45 BicycleRepairMan
    April 29, 2010

    Every Christmas when I was growing up, out would come the lutefisk, reeking pale jiggling fish gelatin

    BLASPHEMER! Christmas eve is reserved for Mølje and then Ribbe, the only accepted alternative is Pinnekjøtt [/internal Norwegian tribal conflict mode ]

    Anyways, great news on the Oslo/Norway visit, I’m guessing a beer at Last Train afterwards would be appropriate?

  46. #46 Secular Transhumanist
    April 29, 2010

    I can’t believe no one has linked to this yet:

    Science vs. Norse Mythology

  47. #48 greyarea
    April 30, 2010

    &lt delurk &gt
    public crucification sounds appropriately glitzy, methinks.
    also, I’m totally there. Even though the topic of PZ’s talk is apparently, quote unquote, science communication related. It should obviously be something like “Hunting down and butchering the fading remnants of religion”, which would draw a large crowd from the Oslo blackmetal scene.

  48. #49 SaintStephen
    April 30, 2010

    #34 : Thanks for the info!

    I think I could do a reasonable Sasha Gabor impression, if I grew my hair long and used a lil’ makeup. Let’s see… hair grows at a rate of one half-inch per month… using the calipers on that pic of Sasha… about 12 inches of hair… that’s 24 months or so…

    If the Mayan calendar doesn’t screw up my plans, I’m going blond beaver hunting in Norway in 2012!

    (Have fun PZ, you angry teddy bear you!)

  49. #50 mostraum
    April 30, 2010

    Welcome to Norway! I just can’t understand why you’re going to Oslo when Norway has so much more to offer, like Bergen.

    But PZ, what does “godlesås” mean? My first guess is gudlaus/gudløs (/internal Norwegian language conflict mode) meaning “godless”, but it can also be some kind of Swedish sauce that I’ve never heard of.

    And a bit about lutefisk: firstly, it’s made from cod, not whale (whales aren’t fish). Secondly: if you’ve had it served as a gelatinous muck, someone’s been doing something wrong.

  50. #51 sjefskjekkasen
    April 30, 2010

    @#49

    I think I could do a reasonable Sasha Gabor impression, if I grew my hair long and used a lil’ makeup. Let’s see… hair grows at a rate of one half-inch per month… using the calipers on that pic of Sasha… about 12 inches of hair… that’s 24 months or so…

    Ha, alas, I think you’ll need more than his looks XD He had a great personality, was virtually a living legend (as PZ virtually is/becoming), not to mention a rep of being an epic stud….

    If the Mayan calendar doesn’t screw up my plans, I’m going blond beaver hunting in Norway in 2012!

    Well, we won’t find out until december 2012 if I’m not mistaken, and I would’nt come here then.. (brrr, fuckin’ cold!), but if you wanna, let’s meet up in the spring 2013, and we’ll go together :D I’m pretty sure we’ll both be around still (in a world sexually extatic over having dodged another apocalypse :))

  51. #52 SaintStephen
    April 30, 2010

    @sjefskjekkasen #51:

    Ha, alas, I think you’ll need more than his looks XD He had a great personality, was virtually a living legend (as PZ virtually is/becoming), not to mention a rep of being an epic stud….

    You may be right. I’m not a living legend, and my personality may not measure up. But two out of three ain’t bad.

    ;-P

  52. #53 sjefskjekkasen
    April 30, 2010

    @SaintStephen

    You mean two out of four? Well, your studness-reputation is not heard of up here, so I guess you’ll be pretty much on scratch there ;) If you hone your Shasha-impression well enough, I guess you’ll be able to turn some heads, at least .. ;)

  53. #54 Lars
    April 30, 2010

    “Godlesås” doesn’t mean anything. Either PZ wasn’t entirely serious, or he ment “gudesløs” or rather “gudløs” which means godless.

    But it’s on a Wednesday. I’m working on weekdays! How can I come and drink akevitt with PZ when the drive is 8 hours each way, and I have to get back to Bergen and go to work in the morning?

    Huh? HUH??!!??

    This all sucks.

  54. #55 nitusen
    April 30, 2010

    I’m looking forward to this! Last year i missed(!) Dan Dennett when he was here. Not going to do a similar mistake this time. Welcome to Oslo!

    btw.. I laugh out loud when I read what people write about Norway in the comments… But I guess I really can’t expect everyone to know much about our small corner of the world. :)

    It’s pretty much like Minnesota, but with less christian fundies, less republicans and even smaller cities. :)

  55. #56 Sam C
    April 30, 2010

    Saa mange feil…

    Blondin at #57:

    lutefisk … foul, poisonous, gelatinous muck that’s made out of fish and battery acid and garnished with sand.

    Filthy lies! It’s bleach, not battery acid! Get your pH right!

    Mostraum at #40:

    And a bit about lutefisk: firstly, it’s made from cod, not whale (whales aren’t fish).

    Whales are fish, doesn’t the bibble say so? Consult a proper baraminologist!

    Good to see lots of discussion here of Norwegian “julemat” in all its horrors. Most Norwegians think the deriviation of this word is “jul” (Christmas, English Yule, pronounced like that) and “mat” (food). Actually the first syllable is a contraction of “juli”, the month of July, because that is the time when it is traditional to bury all the food that one plans to eat at Christmas in the ground, except some special stuff which goes on the roof of the cabin.

    If it’s not buried soon enough, in the cold climate it won’t be rotten enough before Christmas.

  56. #57 ine.b.larsen
    April 30, 2010

    Oh noes…

    I was so happy about this, thinking “I can take a short flight and see PZ Myers, here, in Norway!”.

    But nope, I have exams, from the 14th of June and onwards. That’s what I call bad timing.

    I hope you’ll be coming to Scandinavia next year too. We aren’t as cold up here as we seem.

  57. #58 hallstrom.anders
    May 1, 2010

    As a longtime reader of Pharyngula, I really look forward to meeting you in Oslo. When I first got the news yesterday I immediatly called the leder of “studentenes skeptikerlag” and asked for more information. Problem was she is on vacation i Florida and I got to speak to a rather tired and maybe a little confused woman (I was rambling on as a madman…)

    Well I sent her a mail instead.

    Skål PZ! looking forward to oslo..

  58. #59 marit.simonsen
    May 1, 2010

    @ Anders: I still haven’t gotten your email.. Try again : studentenesskeptikerlag ATT gmail.com.

    Anyone else wanting to be updated about our activites, just email us. We’re based at the University of Oslo, but are open for all students in Oslo. Events are open for all.

    Oh MAN! This is going to be fun! Hooray for PZ in Norway!

  59. #60 marit.simonsen
    May 1, 2010

    @ Anders: oh, there it is. Multiple email-accounts. Sorry about that.

  60. #61 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawknV7WcagE93xPElIxz4yCpmz5z8u-nJ-0
    May 3, 2010

    Great news for us in Oslo!

    I’ll be sure to mention it on my blog :)

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