Substitute for oil
After Hurricane Katrina hit the coast of the United States, oil and gasoline prices have skyrocketed. In Finland, there is a continuing discussion on whether or not the Government should lower the gasoline tax. Currently, oil is being pumped from reserve supplies to lower the most acute rise in prices. Could there be another possibility? What if the declining Finnish agriculture would turn to producing renewable fuels, such as biodiesel? The possibilities for this are real.

Reality-TV and ads
Lately, there has been a debate going on about where the boundary between acceptable sponsoring and unacceptable product placement should be drawn. No one really seems to know what the limits are. Even the leading Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority official is unable to say anything clear. In the meantime, advertisers are more and more interested in product placement, as new technology brings along possibilities for the viewer to skip normal ads.

Stickers and ads
Recently, there has been an increase in sticker ads in the streets of Helsinki. Even the statue of Mannerheim, the former president and war-time leader of Finland, has been affected. The city of Helsinki has had a campaign against graffiti and stickers, but pasting up commercial stickers does not worry the officials of the city. “If you compare this to the Asian tsunami or Hurricane Katrina, it is not a big deal”, says the leader of the campaign. At the same time, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma is running a large exhibition on street art. It seems that the controversy between street artists and city officials is not going to disappear.

Phone booths for sale
In the era of mobile phones, phone booths have come obsolete. Telephone companies are selling them to the public, and new ways of using them are constantly being invented. Currently, there is at least a sauna, a bar and a shooting gallery built inside old phone booths. Only one thing is prohibited: you are not allowed to build a toilet in old phone booth.

Cutting down on expenses at the University
The Ministry of Education plans to radically decrease the number of university personnel. There is a plan to get rid of 1100 jobs in the University of Helsinki alone. Cuts are planned to be implemented by the year 2011. Rector of the University of Helsinki Ilkka Niiniluoto is worried about the plans. He sees them as opposite to the aim to make universities produce better research and skilled labour.

Vindicator of prostitutes
Researcher Anna Kontula is writing a study about being a prostitute in Finland. So far her research and comments have caused much controversy. Many other researchers in the field of women’s studies are against her views. She has even received death threats from people angry with her work. On the other hand, she is a mother and a member of the Tampere City Council. Her special interests in this field are the rights of families with children. She finds it funny that most people do not realize that prostitution researcher Kontula is the same person as council member Kontula.

The deaf rapper
Young rap artist Signmark is a very special character. He has been deaf since birth and is probably the only rap artist performing his songs in sign language. Signmark is worried about the attitudes towards deaf people in Finland. Most people think that being deaf is an illness. Signmark himself thinks of the deaf as a language minority.

Edited by Reeta Holma and Ylioppilaslehti staff