This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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Ice on the wings

deicingDe-icing aircrafts is the constant messer-up of winter flight schedules. You can do it like they do it on Heathrow: spend 10 minutes drenching each wing, minutely combing through every square centimeter of the wing with the flashlight, causing an average delay of 1 hour for a rush-hour departure. Or you can do it the Finnish style: zap-zap-final-finishing-look and done. All in a matter of 2 minutes. It saves drenching the airport in toxic liquids, and somehow, saving time and substance does not seem to cause any more accidents. Because ice on wings can be deadly.

(Helsinki, Finland; February 2018)


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Snow chaos? Never in Finland

airportwinterIn London, Heathrow airport closes after 5 centimeters of snowfall. If it can be expected, flights are “proactively canceled” even two days before, to ensure smooth running of most critical services. News broadcast snow warnings, and travelers are stuck on the airport for days.

In Helsinki it is business as usual after 20 centimeters of snow. Sure, it is a bumpy ride on the snow-packed, frozen taxiways. Sure, one has to jump into the freshly fallen snow and somehow drag one’s cabin bag behind, wheels locked and uncooperative. Sure, flights are a little delayed. But the eight or so huge brush-equipped snow plows zooming across the runway in formation at some 60 km/hour speed every once in a while is what makes most of the difference. Is it really not worthwile for Heathrow to invest in a little basic snow-how?

(Helsinki, Finland; February 2018)


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In June: nightless night

sunsetThis is what we in Finland call a “nightless night”. 10.45 in pm in mid-June, and getting lighter still, until the old pagan festival of midsummer in the third weekend of June which falls on or a few days from summer solstice. In Helsinki, the sun sets at 11 pm and rises again at 4 am. In the northern one-third of Finland it never sets until later in the summer.

This was then. Today the day is five and a half hours shorter than in June. And it will be much shorter still until the year is over. Time to begin consciously maintaining daily energy levels, so we do not burn out while it is dark.

(Helsinki, Finland; June 2017)