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Geir Haarde becomes ambassador in Washington, DC

Photo courtesy of the Embassy of Iceland  

ruv.is – Former Prime Minister Geir Haarde (Independence Party) began his tenure at the start of January as Iceland’s Ambassador to the United States in Washington, DC. Last July, the foreign minister appointed Haarde and Árni Þór Sigurðsson as ambassadors. After ambassadors are appointed, the agreement of the guest state is sought, and the United States government approved Haarde in September. He takes over as ambassador from Guðmundur Árni Stefánsson, who has been ambassador in Washington since 2011. According to information from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sigurðsson will begin his tenure in the ministry at the end of the month. Nothing has been decided about the next steps.
Reprinted with permission from Icelandic News Briefs, published by KOM PR.

Kyndilmessa: in the absence of groundhogs

Photo courtesy of denstoredansk.dk Author: Stefan Jonasson, Winnipeg, MB

Unless you’ve been hiding in a burrow yourself, you’re undoubtedly aware that the second day of February each year is Groundhog Day, one of the lesser holidays of the calendar year, although it did provide the inspiration for an entertaining movie some years ago. There are years when more attention seems to be paid to the day, especially in places that have endured a harsh winter.
The humble groundhog is utterly unknown in Iceland, where the only land mammals before the arrival of humans were the Arctic fox and the mouse, save for the occasional polar bear which drifted ashore on the ice and then starved to death. In the absence of groundhogs and the fun little festival to which they lent their name, the Icelanders observed Kyndilmessa (or Torch Mass), which those who pay attention to such matters know as Candlemas in English. Originally known as the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, it marked the day on which Mary was thought to have undergone her ritual purification at the Temple in Jerusalem and to have presented her infant son Jesus. There are at least five different names for this feast day in Icelandic but Kyndilmessa is the one that’s stuck!


Back to the future

Photo courtesy of the World Economic Forum, Flickr.com Author: Kevin Jon Johnson,Osaka, Japan

To predict the future, study the past; hindsight develops foresight. Repetitions and remixing do happen in history. This is the advice given by Jane McGonigal, director of research at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California, the world’s oldest future forecasting organization. The social upheavals caused by the industrial revolution may best evoke the present, a second machine age.
Erik Brynjolfsson
Erik Brynjolfsson, an Icelandic American, and his colleague Andrew McAfee from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), foresee a future full of peril and promise. Like the future seen by former prophet Njáll Þorgeirsson, the future Brynjolfsson maps out appears bleak and dark – but unlike Njáll’s personal tragedy, the one Brynjolfsson and McAfee portray will touch us all.
Brynjolfsson serves as Schussel Family Professor of Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has contributed strongly to the world of IT productivity research and to work on the economics of information more generally.
Brynjolfsson earned his A.B., magna cum laude, and M.S. in Applied Mathematics and Decision Sciences at Harvard University. He received a Ph.D. in Managerial Economics from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Brynjolfsson has served on the faculties of Harvard, MIT, and Stanford. His research has been recognized with nine “best paper” awards by fellow academics, including the John D.C. Little Award for the best paper in marketing science. Brynjolfsson has founded two companies and has five US patents.


More Articles...

  1. Jónína Jónasson Britton – lively and going strong at 100
  2. A farewell interview with Ambassador Guðmundur Árni Stefánsson



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