Who is the Green Candidate in Brazil?

When one reads international media hype on Marina Silva’s presidential campaign in Brazil, one sometimes gets the impression she is the green candidate. The candidate of the Green Party of Brazil stands for gay marriage, abortion rights and marijuana reform. His name is Eduardo Jorge. As far as I know, Marina Silva is opposed to all these things.

Authoritarian Proposal Threatens Academic Freedom at the University of Helsinki: What is to Be Done?

A proposal to create an authoritarian decision-making model for the University of Helsinki threatens academic freedom and trust. It has just arrived from our Rector, and I first heard about it two days ago. A key change would be about the selection of deans and heads of department. According to the proposal, they would be selected top-down, rather than by the academic communities as is the case today. Continue reading

Ehdotus vääpelijohtamisesta uhkaa tieteen vapautta Helsingin yliopistossa

Kuulin juuri, että Helsingin yliopiston johto pyrkii tuomaan selvästi aiempaa autoritaarisempaa päätöksentekomallia yliopistomme uuteen johtosääntöön. Erityisesti olen huolestunut esityksestä, jolla dekaanien ja laitosjohtajien valinta halutaan siirtää pois yhteisöiltämme. Continue reading

Electoral Impact of the Tragic Death of Eduardo Campos

One of the three leading presidential candidates of Brazil, Eduardo Campos, died in a plane crash today. Even if this is the time for condolences, political speculation on the impact of this tragic event is starting. This speculation can also be seen as an indicator of the importance his legacy. Let me offer some very preliminary remarks on what might happen now.

The main question that will be asked in the coming hours and days is whether his vice presidential candidate Marina Silva will take over the main candidacy. My guess is that even if there are likely to be important actors within the party of Campos who do not particularly like Marina Silva, her previously huge popularity makes her the most likely person to take over the main candidacy. Continue reading

Possibility of African Consent: Meeri Koutaniemi’s Pictures on Female Genital Mutilation

Meeri Koutaniemi is a Finnish photographer who has received various awards for her work in the last couple of years. During the first months of 2014, one set of her pictures stirred an interesting controversy. The photos on female genital mutilation were published in the biggest newspaper of Finland, Helsingin Sanomat, on January 5, 2014. They have also been seen through various other media, including Time. Continue reading

Onko Heikki Aittokoski oikeistointellektuelli?

Sain keskiviikkoiltana Twitterissä tomittaja Ari Lahdenmäeltä julkisen pyynnön: “osaatko suositella keitään fiksuja suomalaisia oikeistolaisia ja kirjoitustaitoisia seurattavia?” Mainitsin vastaukseksi kolme eri tavoin luonnehdintaan jollain tavoin sopivaa henkilöä, joiden ajatuksia seuraan itse mielenkiinnolla ja joissa kaikissa arvostan erilaisia ominaisuuksia: Risto E. J. Penttilä, Tuomas Enbuske ja Heikki Aittokoski.

Penttilän olen pyytänyt monta kertaa puhumaan opiskelijoilleni, koska hänellä on paljon painavaa sanottavaa ja on muutoinkin mukava mies. Enbuskelta olen toistuvasti nähnyt kiinnostavia huomioita vapaudesta. Aittokoski on mielestäni erinomaisen hyvä kirjoittaja, joka viljelee nautittavia poliittisia nokkeluuksia. Continue reading

Unknown Knowns of Russian

The Russian language has many unknown knowns. This is one of the pleasures of learning the basics of Cyrillic Alphabet

On Monday I was listening to Esko Aho, ex prime minister of Finland, deliver a talk about various kinds of challenges Finns face in Russian markets. As I was about to receive, a few minutes later, an award for the proposal to teach the Cyrillic Alphabet in Finnish Schools, I was trying to pick something from his talk.

At some point Aho was referring to Donald Rumsfeld’s well-known remarks on the known knowns and unknown unknowns. I had a vague recollection of reading that Slavoj Zizek had been emphasizing the importance of unknown knowns as something that Rumsfeld never paid much attention to. Continue reading

Left-Green Silent Majority of Bundestag

Behind all the talk about the number of votes for Angela Merkel, the German Bundestag seems to be getting a left-green majority. In theory, this means that the social democrats, the greens and the Linke could form the government and leave Merkel in minority. In practice, of course, this does not seem a probable scenario. If the three parties cannot find room for collaboration, their majority will not be able to speak the majority voice. It will therefore be a silent majority. Continue reading