Iceland

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Yogurt comes in a variety of types and can be used for both sweet and savory dishes.
Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Greek yogurt cups may be some students’ go-to snack during this final week of classes, but if you’re looking to shake up your routine, remember this: There’s more than one way to eat yogurt.

Dairy yogurt is made by adding bacteria cultures to plain milk that ferment and give the yogurt its classic tart taste. Yogurts are high in calcium and protein, and the cultures have been shown to improve digestive health.

Many standard yogurts lining grocery store shelves are laced with additives and extra sugar, so be sure to read the ingredients list and nutrition facts before making your selection. Natural yogurt options usually only include the milk and cultures, as well as natural sweeteners such as agave or maple syrup and natural flavorings such as vanilla bean.

Greek yogurt, which is strained more than regular yogurt to give it its thickness and more pronounced taste, tends to have more protein and less sugar. Although it is low in calories, it can be high in fat, so opt for nonfat or low-fat choices.

Plain Greek yogurt is a healthier alternative to sour cream in many instances, such as when you’re marinating a chicken or choosing a potato salad base. A dollop of yogurt also makes a great addition on top of soup for presentation and taste purposes.

Icelandic-style skyr is a close relative of Greek yogurt. They’re both strained extensively and don’t include the whey of their traditional thin counterparts. It’s a relatively new type of yogurt to hit American shelves, but it’s been made and eaten in Iceland for more than 1,000 years. If you like Greek yogurt, chances are you’ll love skyr.

Nondairy yogurts have also seen a recent boom in production and consumption. They typically feature almonds or coconuts as the base. Skip the store-bought versions, however, and make dairy-free cashew yogurt at home by blending soaked cashews, water, lemon juice and other flavorings.

Plain cashew yogurt can be turned into savory sauces for vegan and vegetarian dishes alike. Try adding chili paste to it and dousing your next tacos with the spicy goodness.

Yogurts of any style can be used in baked goods such as muffins and cakes. Thicker yogurts are best for more dense goods, such as hearty blueberry muffins. The rich taste of chocolate also pairs well with the yogurt’s sour notes.

For a filling breakfast, blend yogurt with bananas, eggs and oats for a healthier take on pancakes. If you’re short on time, add yogurt to your standard smoothie and blend away.

Chia pudding and overnight oats are another way to get in your yogurt intake for the day without much effort. Check out our blueberry chia pudding recipe using Icelandic-style skyr below:

Recipe:

‚ÄčIngredients:

  • – 1 cup vanilla Icelandic-style skyr
  • – 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • – 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • – 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Directions:

  • – Place all ingredients in a small bowl, and stir together until fully incorporated, slightly smashing the blueberries to release some of their juices.
  • – Cover with a lid, and place in refrigerator for at least one hour, or overnight. Serve and enjoy.

Tabs on Tech

Twitter teamed up with Spotify and Rdio to release a new Twitter Music app.

Iceland designs app to prevent accidental incest

For the 320,000 inhabitants of Iceland, accidentally hooking up with a close relative is a legitimate concern for the party-going crowd. But thanks to the “IslendingaApp,” singles will no longer have to privately consult Iceland’s ancestry database. App users can simply bump phones to determine if they have any close genealogical roots. If two people happen to share a few branches on the family tree, the app will send out an “incest alert” which comes in two varieties: a ringing sound and a text message. Three university students at Sad Engineer Studios created the application, which is now available for download on the Google Store

Twitter launches new music app

Teaming up with Spotify and Rdio, Twitter services will now extend into the music business with a new application for iPhone and Android operating systems. Twitter’s new service, which the company debuted Thursday, will function in a similar manner to Spotify in that mobile users can see the music that others are listening to. The program also recommends new artists based on trends in popularity and each user’s listening history. Full songs are available to listen to and because the application is linked with the iTunes store people can download songs directly. Later this year, Twitter expects to begin allowing TV clips to air on its feed along with new advertisements in an attempt to expand its services into new media realms.

Google Fiber in Utah

Provo, Utah, will become the third city in the United States to undergo construction of a new fiber network. Google Fiber is a service that provides high-speed Internet access to customers who can manage the $70 monthly fee. Unlike the two other cities planned to receive Google Fiber, Austin and Kansas City, Provo already has a partially built fiber optic network in place called “iProvo.” Due to unforeseen budget constraints, the city of Provo was unable to finish the network and instead opted to sell the construction contract to Google. 

“Iron Man 3” in 4-D

For those who have grown tired of the cliche 3-D cinema experience, the new “Iron Man 3” movie will be a smelly change from previous shows. In Nagoya, Japan, the movie will be released in 2-D, 3-D, and 4-DX formats. A typical 4-DX experience consists not only of sights and sounds, but also of smells, seat motion and wind effects. While these particular movie effects are not yet available in the United States, they are already available in other countries including Mexico, Thailand, Russia and Japan. The 4-DX “Iron Man 3” will premiere in Japan on April 26, later opening in the United States on May 3. 

Leap Motion will be bundled with new HP computers

Leap Motion is an incredibly accurate motion tracker. With a precision of up to 1/100 of a millimeter, the program tracks even the slightest nuances in a person’s movements. Hewlett-Packard announced that it will bundle a new line of computers with Leap Motion Sensors starting this summer, although other details have not yet been released. The sensor will be available for purchase separately on May 13 for approximately $80.

In this Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 photo from files Blaer Bjarkardottir, left, and her mother, Bjork Eidsdottir, are photographed in front of a pond in Reykjavik.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — A 15-year-old Icelandic girl has been granted the right to legally use the name given to her by her mother, despite the opposition of authorities and Iceland’s strict law on names.

Reykjavik District Court ruled Thursday that the name “Blaer” can be used. It means “light breeze.”

The decision overturns an earlier rejection by Icelandic authorities who declared it was not a proper feminine name. Until now, Blaer Bjarkardottir had been identified simply as “Girl” in communications with officials.

“I’m very happy,” she said after the ruling. “I’m glad this is over. Now I expect I’ll have to get new identity papers. Finally I’ll have the name Blaer in my passport.”

Like a handful of other countries, including Germany and Denmark, Iceland has official rules about what a baby can be named. Names are supposed to fit Icelandic grammar and pronunciation rules.

Blaer’s mother, Bjork Eidsdottir, had fought for the right for the name to be recognized. The court ruling means that other girls will also be allowed to use the name in Iceland.

In an interview earlier this year, Eidsdottir said she did not know the name “Blaer” was not on the list of accepted female names when she gave it to her daughter. The name was rejected because the panel viewed it as a masculine name that was inappropriate for a girl.

The court found that based on testimony and other evidence, the name could be used by both males and females and that Blaer had a right to her own name under Iceland’s constitution and Europe’s human rights conventions.

Blaer had told the court she was very happy with her name and only had problems with it when she was dealing with state authorities who rejected it.

The court did not grant her any damages. The government has not indicated whether it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

LONDON — Iceland's former prime minister faces trial Monday as the first world leader criminally charged over the 2008 financial crisis that left the world teetering on the edge of financial disarray.
Geir Haarde became a symbol of the get-rich bubble economy for Icelanders who lost their jobs and homes after the country’s main commercial bank collapsed, sending its currency into a nosedive and inflation soaring.

He is accused of negligence in failing to prevent the financial implosion from which the small island country is still struggling to emerge.

Haarde's trial — the culmination of a long fight by the politician to avoid prosecution — marks a new chapter in the aftermath of the meltdown: accountability.

The former prime minister has rejected the charges, calling them “political persecution” and insisting he would be vindicated when he appears at the Landsdomur, a special court being convened for the first time in Iceland's history to try him.

Legal experts say he has a strong chance of beating the charges, because of the strength of his legal team, growing sympathy for a politician alone in shouldering blame, and because the court's structure — laid out in 1905 — is flawed because it allows lawmakers, not lawyers, to press charges.

In the crisis's immediate aftermath, as unemployment and inflation skyrocketed, many sought to affix blame for the havoc across the 330,000-strong nation. A wave of public protests forced Haarde out of government in 2009.

Some have argued that Iceland's financial meltdown was tied to the global crisis, and that the government could not have predicted or prevented it. But a parliament-commissioned report put much of the blame on Haarde and his government, saying that officials “lacked both the power and the courage to set reasonable limits to the financial system.”

It was up to lawmakers whether to indict those officials. After heated debate, Haarde was referred to the special court. Legal experts say such a vote makes the road ahead particularly rocky.

“This whole scenario has demonstrated that we need to change the system,” said Robert Spano, law professor at the University of Iceland.

The special court will consist of 15 members — five supreme court justices, a district court president, a constitutional law professor and eight people chosen by parliament. The court was founded to deal with criminal charges against Icelandic government ministers.