Saturday, 4 April 2020

SANNA MARIN: the new, glamorous face of FINLAND

Sanna Marin - photo: Wikipedia
A friend from the US called. 'WOW. I just caught your prime minister on cable – she's a  knockout.'

I said: 'Yeah, and she's smart too. So are her four ministers – they're all women – four under 35'.

Not many recently elected governments are called upon to face a crisis like the CORONAVIRUS pandemic. But Sanna and her gang of four took up the task with energy, clarity and a plan. They inform the Finnish people at daily briefings. So far they've done a first-class job. There have been only 20 deaths – the lowest of the four Nordic countries*.

Sanna was raised by two women - her mother and her partner. Her film star looks have caught people's attention, but she's had to dig in and work – nothing was handed to her.  She's given Finland a new profile – young, energetic, international. But she is dead-serious about her current mission.  In my informal poll of Eki and other Finnish friends, they were united in their praise for the way the government has managed the virus-crisis.

Sanna is a poster-model for egalitarian Finland. On the weekends she goes to her husband and two-year-old daughter, shops unguarded at the supermarket and gets a dose of reality and escapes the surreal horror-movie pandemic. Her movie-star looks and excellent English have got a lot of attention for Finland. But in a war, competence and SMARTS trump all.

PS: SANNA MARIN hits the international bigtime - she is featured prominently in the March issue of American and British Vogue. A happy coincidence in the midst of all the Coronavirus angst.

 * April 4. 2020: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland.

Sources: Time magazine, the internet, Finnish friends

Next week: SWEDEN: open for business – RISKY of RIGHT?


Note:

Maggy is right about the polling of friends - I really like how Sanna Marin has handled the crisis and being the prime minister in general. She is smart, educated, calm, listens to experts, humbly admits mistakes when necessary... yea, i really like her, and the rest of current administration.

They have pretty much nailed the delicate balance and timing between 
the economic and social costs of restrictions* and slowing down the spread of the disease. That's what you get when you actually consistently follow the advice of the experts, instead of falling to the trap of political pressures. While Finland took on some measures later than other countries, the timing actually was pretty early considering the actual epidemic - Finland was late on the onset too.

The measures appear to be working: the number of new cases still grows, but linearly, not exponentially. We get less than 100 new infections per day, and that number has been somewhat steady for two weeks or so now (April 4. 2020), which means we likely have managed to flatten the curve as planned. If the curve was exponential, the new daily cases would be in the thousands already.




Of course, polling friends is just picking fish from your own little pond. There's considerable opposition in Finland - the country is still somewhat divided between the left-leaning government and the right-wing opposition. The opposition uses the crisis to try to advance their political gain, but with not that much success: they really can't oppose the measures without looking irresponsible so they pretty much must support the government - which is not really in their political interests. The only thing they can really do is to claim more should have been done, earlier, which just makes them look like hindsight-whiners.

The good news is, the True Finns party no longer leads the polls. 
The one-agenda wannabe-nazis have declined as they have no real solutions - racism and stopping immigration does not stop viruses. Sanna Marin's Social Democratic Party is now again the largest-polling party in Finland. 

*  The country was declared to be in a state of emergency, schools, and restaurants closed, no gatherings, social distancing, quarantine-like conditions for the elderly, isolating southern Finland from the rest of the country, etc.

CU

--
Eki

Monday, 16 March 2020

A HYPOCHONDRIAC's guide for coping with the CORONAVIRUS


The  CORONAVIRUS is all around us, but we can't see it. - a hypochondriac's nightmare. Some tips that might help.

DISCIPLINE and sticking-with-it are two of your best weapons. Taking care of yourself and your family in a pandemic can be boring and repetitive. It's easy to forget and let up your guard. Don't.

WASH-YOUR-HANDS is a no-brainer but so easy to forget. The rule is,  when you come home, after using the toilet, before you prepare food wash thoroughly on both sides, between your fingers, under fingernails for at least 20 seconds. Or count to 60 (watch how on CDC video).

DON'T TOUCH YOUR FACE
, another no-brainer. But almost impossible not to do. Keep a tissue handy. I now, say out loud, 'I touched my face', to make me more aware.

Korona: the game is on.
Image from hintaseuranta.fi
SOCIAL DISTANCING at least two meters apart - another 'easy to forget'.  When I got some good news I threw my arms around the guy. What a dumb thing to do but totally natural.

SCHEDULE YOUR DAY, if you're hanging out, or working,  at home. It makes the surreal seem more normal. If possible, get outside at least a couple of times a day in the fresh air and sunshine. Vitamin D boosts the immune system.

STOCK UP, if possible, only once a week. The scenes in the US of people with baskets chockablock with toilet paper and other stuff make you lose your faith in civilization.

WORK-AT-HOME has turned out not to be not all that much fun. Eki is used to it. But the Shark says she misses her friends, lunches together and the camaraderie. It's worse when so many public places are closed.

STERILIZE YOUR HOUSE with sterile wipes or alcohol. Clean your phones, doorknobs, light switches, and anything you touch all the time. The Convid-19 virus lasts on surfaces for a long time. And if you're like me, you've never done this before.

SLEEP is one of the most important tools for fighting off illnesses. Go to bed at the same time  (before midnight) and wake up at the same time. Get six to eight hours of solid sleep. Note to EKI: stop pulling those all-days and all-nighters.

EXERCISE and fresh air are medicinal. Get out for a walk or a bike ride at least twice a day. Love my collapsable, titanium Nordic walking sticks. Give up the gym. Lift weights at home.

TALKING (and texting) to family and friends and having some laugh is therapy. Eki knows, if it's Monday it must be Maggy.

BOREDOM is a big, bugaboo of social isolation. A good time to play board games, if the kids are home, read that 875-page book you got for Christmas, throw out junk, take a 10-20 min. nap after lunch, write a real letter and shock someone when they get the mail. Anything to keep the bid, bad B at bay.

PENICILLIUM SOUP, a recipe from Marianne Hovi, ENT doctor at AAVA in Helsinki: three sweet potatoes, lots of garlic, one onion, a couple of stalks of celery, three TBLs olive oil, red hot pepper to taste (be careful, it's easy to put in too much), half tsp turmeric, grated fresh ginger, salt, and pepper.

GARGLE a couple of times a day with boiled water and salt. HONEY is healing.

Sources: Washington Post, New York Times, internet, personal experience


Next week: SANNA MARIN: the new, glamorous face of FINLAND 


Note:

I rarely say this, but Maggy is right. This is the real deal and should be encountered with the appropriate seriousness. And no, that does not mean hoarding the stores. True food shortages are unlikely. Shopping for a few days or a week at one go may be smart, it reduces the number of social contacts, shopping for months is not. And what's up with the toilet paper? I tried to find the origin of that lunacy, couldn't really find it - there's apparently no reason whatsoever for this global craze.

Anyway, the above instructions seem to be pretty wise overall, i'd say perhaps the most important of those are the wash-your-hands thing, and social distancing.

In my case, social distancing is pretty easy - i already work mostly from home. The future gigs may be on hold indefinitely - after the currently open jobs are done, i have no idea whether there will be work or not. Which is a bit scary for a freelancer with no permanent employer. My guess is, there won't be many shoots in the coming weeks or months. Hopefully, some of the desktop gigs will still flow in.

My wife works as a practical nurse, in-home care. She still needs to get to work and back using the subway. This is not optimal, as the commute increases the risk both for her (she's in a higher risk group due to diabetes), as well as her patient. During the day, they have been instructed to practice social distancing, for example avoiding malls and other public venues. Yet, the elderly need to eat too, so they need to do the groceries, and staying indoors indefinitely is not healthy either.


My mom is 80, and has a suppressed immune system due to her arthritis medication, so she's in a voluntary, indefinite quarantine for now. We'll do the necessary shopping etc. between myself and my brother, so she doesn't have to. Luckily, she lives in a place where she can take walks in the nearby woods without risking social contacts, so she's not completely tied to indoor life.


Hobby wise, we've put our band on hiatus for now. Perhaps i'll have more time to concentrate on learning new techniques, stuff like 3D virtual reality and coding. I've wanted to dive into that for quite some while but never had the time. I'll try to make the best of this new situation, and the possible involuntary vacation that looms in the horizon.


CU
--
Eki

PS: Korona (pictured) is a desktop game that's like the poor man's billiard. Dunno whether it's a thing anywhere outside Finland. When i was a kid, we used to play it. A lot.

PS2: Right after writing the above, pretty drastic measures were put in place here in Finland. The country is now shut down - people over 70 are in mandatory quarantine at their homes, schools and borders will be closed, gatherings of over 10 people are forbidden, people are encouraged to avoid public places. And so on.
https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/finland_closes_schools_declares_state_of_emergency_over_coronavirus/11260062


Monday, 17 February 2020

‘NOISE’: from NIGHTWISH, Finland's hottest music group




Eki
sent me the link to ‘NOISE’ - the video he worked on. I wasn't prepared. It opens with a man in a hooded robe carrying a baby. What follows is a dark, dystopian eye-popper. The hooded characters are the chorus (at least that’s my take). The action: a dancing frenzy of fantastical social media users, including kids. They’re taking ‘look-at-me’ selfies. ‘Noise'  gives us a surreal,  powerful peek at the black side of SoMe. You know it won't have a happy end, but you can't stop watching. The collaboration between the director, Stobe Harju and the metal symphonic band is seamless and brilliant: the music tells the story, the visuals show us who we are. ’NOISE’ has had over one and a half million views since it was posted in early February 2020. No surprise. It hits a nerve.

The complicated action, shot in front of a green screen, had to be coordinated in the edit. The video had a big-budget and it shows. The frenetic action mirrors our narcissistic addiction to SoMe. And our compulsive need to star in our own movie.  The chic, bizarre costumes for ex. a wire frame from a 19th-century hoop skirt, worn by a woman is a cage for her child, punctuate the story. Some characters pop out, especially the old man scarfing pills. It takes more than one look to take it all in.

Eki will write how the video was made. But 'NOISE' hit me in the gut. SoMe and we humans are joined at the hip. That CPs are designed to be addictive is a given. And we’re hooked. Kids especially - teenage girls average 100 texts a day, boys 60. Professionals* who work in media have written and lectured about the dangers. The Characters in ’NOISE’ are oblivious of the havoc and damage they are doing. The kids are their victims. The video tells a universal** story. It’s a cautionary tale. The end is a shocker. You won't forget ’NOISE’, even if you try.

*Sherry Turkle, media professor at MIT, Cambridge, Mass: ‘Reclaiming Conversation’ (check her talk online: ‘Connected but alone’)

**5.7 billion CP users

PS: Eki and I made an anti-CP rap video: ‘Gotta Get In Touch’

Sources: Eki, internet

Next week:  TRUMP: hil-HAIR-ious & EVIL


Note:

Well, glad you liked it. As far as the story and message go, it's, of course, open for everyone to make their own interpretations and discoveries. And in Nighwish's case, the fans dissect these videos to the smallest of detail - they find most of the easter eggs in the video - as well as some that were not even intentional ;-)

There are literally dozens of youtube reaction videos out there now, that shows a fan's reaction to seeing the music video for the first time.

As is usual for Stobe's music video work, the resources were again stretched to the max, even though the budget was decent in Finnish terms. These music videos are a labor of love for him, and it shows. We were still fine-tuning the shots the night before the release - almost three months after the shoot.

Technically, the video was just as ambitious as it is storywise: the whole thing was shot on a greenscreen stage with a computer-controlled camera crane, which allowed us to do complex camera moves repeatedly and with precision, and have the performers isolated so that they can be composited on top of other imagery.

This is how people can show as multiple "clones" in the shot - we were doing the same shot over and over but with the performers in different positions in each take. The crowd of hooded SoMe cultists was actually just four people - we multiplied them using the same technique. For example in the scenes in the Mona Lisa gallery, there weren't dozens of extras, but rather just four, cloned all over.
The backgrounds are 3D animation and matte paintings, created mostly by Janne Pitkänen and Stobe. And that's pretty much the whole post-production team - the three of us spent many sleepless nights working on the project - each at our homes, connected by a chat. A video about social media, made via social media. There's the irony for you.

The real camera movement was tracked to match it with a virtual camera in the 3D space. This made sure the digital sets lined up with the actual footage we shot.  

I was on set as a VFX supervisor, trying to make sure the video was shot in a way that the post-production would be doable, but most of my work was done in front of the computer in the months following the shoot.


I did the backdrop for just one scene, the one with a mountain of boxes. My main responsibility was to composite the shots, bring all the individual elements together to a coherent whole, a single hopefully believable image. The greenscreen mostly took care of isolating the subjects so that they could be dropped on top of the computer-generated backdrops,  but in some cases, they had to be meticulously painted frame by frame, a task called rotoscoping (thanks to Stobe for taking a lot of this burden).

All this complexity was made even more difficult by the rather extreme technical quality specs used in shooting and editing the video. The camera originals were shot at 6K RAW - essentially, every shot consists of frames that are equivalent to 6048 pixel wide high-quality images from a still camera. For each layer, for each second, we shot 50 of those. The footage was shot in 4:3 aspect ratio to allow freedom to move the frame up and down if necessary in post.

The final master was done as a 2:34 widescreen crop, at a lower UHD (4K) resolution with a high bit depth - lower, but still four times more pixels to process than in regular FullHD. And as such, the shots were extremely slow to process - especially as there could be a lot of layers on top of each other, that all needed to be filtered for noise reduction, chroma-keying, spill reduction, color matching etc.

I have a decently fast computer with 16 cores and 64 GB of memory, but it was strained to the max with these files. The render time alone was likely weeks in this project - and that's not including the time spent rendering the 3D backgrounds. The director, Stobe Harju, did the final color correction for a look - usually, that is simple and fast to calculate, even real-time, but this time just the final beauty pass for this 5 and a half minute video took in the order of a full workday to render. I'd estimate the whole project used something in the order of 5-6 terabytes of data. That is a LOT for a 5 -minute video.

The crunch to make the video happen was somewhat insane, and like many times before, we decided that this is the last time we go through this hell. Ever.

We'll see. The decision hasn't held so far ;-)

Here's some earlier music videos by Stobe that i also worked on:

Nightwish: Islander
Poets of the fall: Locking up the sun

Poets of the fall: Carnival of rust
Poets of the fall: Lift
Lovex: Guardian angel

CU
--
Eki

Thursday, 6 February 2020

EKI & I made a BET*: Who will be the Democratic CANDIDATE?

Eki and I both want Trump dumped. He's put his money (100 €) on Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.  I'm backing  Mike Bloomberg. Yeah. I know. He's going to buy the election. But it takes BIG money to run a presidential campaign. And he's spending his own. The others will be financed by super-PACs. Small donations from devoted donors won't do the job.  Blame the Supreme Court. When they gave Citizens United the green light, the big-bucks dam broke.  Now huge amounts of money fund campaigns.  Mike is my choice for a lot of reasons.

The Ghost Of Leonid Brezhnev (see notes.)
His three terms as mayor of New York were not 100%, but the 9 million-plus citizens, where minorities are in the majority, liked Mike. After the disaster of 9/11, he made city safer, more liveable, healthier (more people were covered by health insurance) and more fun. Tourists piled in, the economy improved.  Stop and Frisk was, and is, a big black mark. Meant to protect the most vulnerable people, instead the police harassed mostly blacks and Hispanics. Bloomberg apologized. But it was too little, too late. In spite of S & F, a lot of influential blacks, including many mayors across the country, are backing him.

He's got the best data-driven organization in the campaign. His anti-Trump ads have hit their target - the president took the bait. He flipped when he saw them on Fox news. If Bloomberg doesn't win the nomination (he's at 8% in the national polls), he has a Plan B -  support the Democratic nominee, fund Democrats running for the Senate and the House and voter registration. For years his foundation has supported climate change activists, access to better and more affordable health insurance and gun control groups. Mike Bloomberg made his  money the hard way – he worked for it. Now he wants to use it to beat Trump and TAKE BACK AMERICA.

*Eki bet 100 e that Trump would be impeached. I lost that one.

Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, internet

Next week: DAVOS: climate change was the theme and the wold's movers, shakers and multi-rich partied like there was no tomorrow

Note: 

I predict Bloomberg has no chance. I really do not think people want another billionaire to the white house. Maggy thinks he could win because he can afford to buy the election, i think he will lose because of that. We will see.

Times have changed. I think a solid fan base, enthusiastic crowds and real grassroots support both in real life and in social media are the key. Not the money (though Bernie's small donations do pile up to a considerable war chest).

Probably.

Also, i think the average Joe and Jane have really, really started to question is socialism such a dirty word after all. Roads, other infrastructure, law enforcement, military etc. are paid collectively after all - they are socialistic in nature. Why can the rest of the western world provide the citizens public health care, education etc., and thrive, but the richest country in the world can't? Is the ghost of Brezhnev really that scary?

And isn't it clear to everyone by now that Reaganomics failed, that cutting taxes for the rich accomplishes nothing but to fill their pockets? That despite trying for decades, no gold trickles down from the rich after all?

And then there's the environmental crisis. The libertarians that have successfully derailed the narrative for decades are finally losing the battle, despite the fortress of science denialism that is the GOP. The citizens are 
finally waking up. A winning candidate must have the environment high on his/her list.

This holds true for the USA as a whole, but even more so for the Democratic Party voters. To me, it looks like they are ready for a change, and a big one at that. I think the time is ripe for a truly progressive President. The only such candidates are Warren and Sanders.

...oh, progressive in the US terms. Here in Finland, and a lot the rest of the world, both would be considered centrists, perhaps center-right even.

CU

--
Eki

"The Ghost of Leonid Brezhnev" is a composite image created from multiple source images from Pixabay and Wikipedia. Thanks to the authors.

Monday, 20 January 2020

JULIA HERTELL & SAMULI WOOLSTON: how a Finnish family cuts their CARBON FOOTPRINT

Julia Hertell thinks climate change is the most hot-button issue of our time. So does her husband. When they got married they started right off by asking their wedding guests to bring presents that were old. They decided to only have two children. Thought about adopting, but decided they were too old. The couple doesn’t own a car, instead, they use electric bikes with big boxes to transport their kids, take public transport and car-share. Julia gave up flying for one year, except for two business trips.

Their apartment is furnished with lots of old and used things. The family's diet is mostly vegan. For the girl's birthday parties, they ask the parents to chip in 3 to 5 euros each and buy only one present. Their friends love the idea and have copied it. Gifts to family and friends are concert tickets, vouchers for spas, organic food. They use old-school cleaning products: soda, black or linseed soap, bio-detergent for the dishwasher and the washing machine. They buy clothes made of natural fiber. Avoid plastics. They don't have a dryer (emits more carbon dioxide than air conditioning). Their frig is small, with a top freezer.

Julia and Samuli are architects. They try to include energy efficiency in their work. When Julia designed her father’s house* in Hanko, her goals were to make it beautiful, functional and eco-friendly. The house is built on a rocky site. It's heated and cooled thermally – two drill holes, 230 m into the rock, do the trick. The wine cellar isn't heated or cooled. It takes energy from the surrounding rock and is the same temperature year around. Julia says the energy efficiency regulations for insulation are geared to keep the heat in. The 450 mm insulation in the walls and roof is too thick. The house is warm in winter, but it can get hot in the summer. Open windows and a sea breeze make it comfortable.  Julia and Samuli are not alone in their efforts to lower their imprint on the climate. Millennials, especially, are on board. They know that for their future and their children's future, it's imperative to cut their CARBON FOOTPRINT. But we better all pitch in to avert ‘a climate apocalypse’**.

* Joni Hertell’s house was featured in a Danish TV program.

**Greta Thunberg. (Time magazine Person of the Year). She and Donald Trump get star billing at the World Economic Forum in Davos the week of January 20. The theme is climate change:  Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.

Source: Julia Hertell

Next week: Eki & I have a BET: who will the DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE?

Note:

When it comes to climate change, individual choices matter. Even tiny changes create a huge impact when we multiply the individual choices by the eight billion or so humans on the planet. Larger changes, like reducing meat consumption, limiting unnecessary travel, and most importantly, having fewer kids make much bigger an impact. Doing all this is applaudable.

Yet it's not enough. Not by a long shot.

The thing is, we really need to get to zero emissions in the long run, sooner the better. That means structural changes in the society and the near-complete elimination of fossil fuel use. And this cannot be done on the level of individual humans, not even on the level of individual countries.

The prisoner's dilemma from game theory
** forbids this. Making choices that would be best for everyone can be disadvantageous to an individual unless everyone cooperates. And in this case, this means everyone on the scale of our planet.

So, international treaties are the way to go - cooperation on a global scale.

The mere idea of this world-scale regulation, as well as the lost profits, are poison to some. They are powerful, well funded and prepared to do anything to stop global regulations from happening. And i think it's a crime.

I would not be surprised to see something like the tobacco trials waged against the most powerful climate denialists in the future. Or, even Nüremberg-like trials. They are committing their crimes against humanity after all.

** 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9Lo2fgxWHw

CU

--
Eki


Saturday, 4 January 2020

SHOWDOWN 2020


"Showdown" © Little Margie Productions 2019.

The  2020 US presidential election will make Cage Fighters look like toddlers in a playpen - Trump digs Down & Dirty.  The dirtier the better. And he might win*.  The Dem lineup looks limp. We need a Captain America to beat the pants off this Joker.  Or four more years of a wannabe dictator. Trend-trackers say the liberal democratic system has taken a hit: Trump's rule is a text-book example.

The news from Finland is more upbeat. The Shark tells me that the young (34), smart, glamor-girl Prime Minister, SANNA MARIN, has the whole country tuned in to politics. Eki said he's happy with the fresh wind that blew into parliament. The fake-named 'True Finns' party is the biggest, but other parties, all headed by women, out-gun the TFs.  Sanna Marin got worldwide attention when she was elected. A terrific image for the country.  Now we'll get to find out how this matriarchal government preforms.

The media, legit and fake, especially in the US, are giddy with glee about 2020. They see a banner year for scandal and skullduggery. The New York Times and the Washington Post have had big subscription jumps. Reporters, commentators, bloggers, media-rats have had a blast bashing Trump, or pumping him up. Littlemargieproductions got into the act. Eki and I made three VOTE 2020 videos***. 'SHOWDOWN' stars Trump. The reaction has been love it or hate it. Anti-Trumpers send fanmails. Pro-Trumpers aren't talking to me. Eki has set me off in a new direction.  Our next VOTE video has the working title: 'HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN'. Let's hope.

* Battleground states Trump won in 2016 that clinched his election. Even though Hillary Clinton got almost 3 million more votes. The Electoral College ain't fair, but it's the US system until Americans go to bat to change it, so that every vote counts.

Must win states: Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, No. Carolina

** FOX  News, Tump's right-wing propaganda outlet has the most viewers (apprx. 2.3 million in Dec 2019). One bright Fox-spot: commentator, Chris Wallace, who has the nerve  and intelligence to ask tough non-partisan questions.

*** VOTE videos: ABE LINCOLN Tweets, WE NEED YOU 2020, SHOWDOWN 2020

Sources: New York Times. Washington Post, internet, the Shark, Eki

Next week: JULIA HERTELLL & SAMULI WOOLSTON: how a Finnish family cuts their CARBON FOOTPRINT



Note: When it comes to US elections and Dems, both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are good candidates - old, sure, but not senile, like the front runner candidate seems to be. They would also beat Trump quite easily, i think. Despite being touted to be too far left, their policies are actually supported by the majority of Americans. And of course, from the North-European point of view, they are more centrists than leftists - the US perceived center is our right-wing ;-)

Well, not really. 


We unfortunately do have alt-right wackos too, and right now they do well in polls. Sanna Marin's party, the Social Democrats, is the largest party in the parliament.
But the True Finns do lead the polls right now. Which is horrible.

Oh, I think i explained the situation badly to Maggy, so to re-iterate: currently True Finns are *NOT* the biggest in parliament, the Social Democratic Party is.

But as said, the "wannabe-nazis" raise their ugly heads in current politics, and their 
favorite party has a large support in polls.

Luckily, there's over 3 years to the next election, and their bubble will likely burst before that. I do not believe that almost a quarter of Finns would really support their racistic, xenophobic, misogynic and anti-science policies. I'd say the success in polls largely stems from people falling for the easy populist rhetoric, without actually understanding who the party they say they root for actually stands for.

That's going to change, the information will get out. So far, the True-Finns have gotten off easily, as they have been perceived as a fringe movement. With this kind of poll success, that will not fly anymore. They will be challenged, they will be exposed for what they are.

One interesting side note - as the alt-right-wing's noise has become frequent, loud and annoying enough, it seems that the population at large has gotten enough of it, and is now finally standing up against them, or at least contemplating it. 


Even the current Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö highlighted the issue on his New Year's address to the nation. And he's as conservative and bland as a Finn can get, no strong opinions about anything really.

Also, there's a brand new Baltic Herring Movement, which is an anti-racist, pro-science non-partisan movement to fight against the alt-right fringe's nonsense. The members try to keep gates on the flood of trash talk from the right fringe that has poisoned the online discussions, and also do peaceful demonstrations etc. In just two days, the Herrings Facebook group grew to over 20 000 people. That is a lot in a small country like ours.

https://newsnowfinland.fi/domestic/baltic-herring-movement-most-finns-oppose-the-rise-of-the-alt-right

I said to Maggy that this time i will not have the time to write an essay for a comment... well, i wonder how long my comments will be on the day that i do ;-)

- Eki

Friday, 22 November 2019

OODI* we love you: Helsinki's LIBRARY 2.0

Oodi, Odi, Ode - Photo by Kuvio

Hitchcock's 'The 39 Steps' was playing at OODI. It would the first time I'd see it on the Big Screen And my first visit to the most talked-about  building in Helsinki. The exterior wowed right off the bat with its bold, casual, 'come-on-in' attitude. We went to the cafe on the main floor, bought a glass of wine and looked around. For people of a certain age, like me, it was the 'shock of the new'. No Books**(on the 3rd floor). For kids, especially the 2nd floor, with its high tech 3D printers, power tools, music-making equipment, and more, it must be hog-heaven. OODI is no ordinary library.

Eki and I worked on a proposal to make a doc about the library and ALA – the architects who won the competition. I went to their office and met the young partners: Juha Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Samuli Woolston.  It was the kind of place you wanted to plunk yourself down and go to work. Like OODI, it was casual, chic, functional, friendly and international. YLE turned it down. They said the library would get so much attention they didn't need to commission a doc. They were right.  OODI was named the best library in the world. And best new building in Finland.  ALA is on a roll. They keep 51 architects busy. Their commissions include the University library in Lyon, France and the new entrance terminal at Helsinki's airport. When I asked Samuli what he thought clinched the deal for ALA to win the competition, he said the judges were impressed that they had got so much into just three floors.

A part of the city's 2.3 million book collection changes every thee months. It's so popular they sometimes run out of stock. The second floor is where you make and do stuff. The main floor has the cinema, a concert hall (the night we were there they had a jam-packed rock concert), a cafe-restaurant and faces a plaza with a direct view of the Parliament. Commissioned by the city to celebrate 100 years of Finnish independence (06.12/1917 – 06/12/2017), you couldn't find a better symbol of freedom. Let's all drink to that. Kippis. Skol. Cheers.

*OODI (F), ODI (S), ODE (E)

Sources: ALA, New York Times, internet, internet, Joni Hertell, Robert Pettus, personal experience

Next week: Greta Thunberg: Climate Change JOAN of ARC, or just a kid with an idee fixe?

Edit: Not much to add here - i have only been at Ode once, attending a lecture on drones and upcoming new regulations on flying them. They have a nice auditorium (actually, more than one, AFAIK), but one thing remains even with brand new facilities: the AV system never works. In this case, they had a hard time playing back videos with sound and full resolution. Perhaps it was just a fluke that can be attributed to the place being new, but still... it's funny how these things never just work. There's always some issues, even at best of places, it seems ;-)

CU

--
Eki