Thursday, 29 May 2008

Watch your step

Shoes are to be registered here in Finland.

For almost two decades The National Bureau of Investigation has been planning to set up a national shoe-print registry here in Finland and by end of this year it is proposed to become reality. The police believe that the shoe-print archives could assist the authorities in solving crimes together with the already existing fingerprint and DNA databases.

Maybe watching a little CSI has helped along the way, making this fast move.

So from now on, watch where you step when off on shady business, or keep a pair of spare shoes with you at all times and be sure to rid of your old shoes in the nearest bin as soon as possible.

Come to think of it, maybe this is what we women tend to do here during the winter. We walk around outdoors in heavy winter boots, carrying our nicer indoors shoes with us in our bags, changing them when entering indoors. That means we are leaving fewer footprints, or maybe more divided footprints? Well at least mixed messages if to be interpreted with the aid of this shoe print archive.

Friday, 23 May 2008

No time to waste

I have lately been quite busy with getting my book ready to present for publishers, and now it finally is ready in three languages.

Just to slip in the post and mail to hopefully well chosen recipients, or to THE one that will publish it. And preferably by Christmas time as it is a book about Xmas.

The tedious bit about it has been printing all the copies, sorting them out with the illustrations and accompanying letters and presentations. I would have gotten it ready by end of the week but run out of envelopes and problems to sort out jammed into the same time and I had to prioritize the more acute things. But I am glad this is no professional envelope licking, like a political campaign I have volunteered to stuff envelopes and fortunately now I can get some pre-taped envelopes as I ran out of the old fashioned lickable ones. Colour cartridges for the printer and paper to print on it with were the other things I run out of, so I have some acute and serious shopping to do.

Time flies by and now we are already into end of May, soon to begin June. And I have forgotten about three dozen of good subjects to blog about have. Some made it to getting written down on a piece of paper, others I just thought about and forgot. All the same, you can never get time back and the time I have been spending off line has not been wasted.

School will soon be out with all the traditional festivities that come along with it and the beginning of the summer season with the occasional weddings and a few confirmations compulsory to attend to together with one “big” anniversary during the Midsummer weekend that might not be celebrated at all, as the person in question has been hospitalized for some time now and is more or less presumed not to return home anymore.

A girlfriend that just had to attend to a funeral on Friday has been so stressed with overtime at work that she was happy to have it to attend to get at least one day off in order to get rest some.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Choose your parents well

Dear spouse of mine watched a very interesting TV show some time ago, that I was unfortunately not able to see at the time, but was referred about very keenly so I had to google about it.

The programme was very interesting indeed, and I went through extensive research criss-crossing the Internet. As you might know, gene research has been going on for some time now and we learn more and more about genes and their effect on us as time goes by and I was surprised to hear that a gene mutation actually can be good for you!

I had always thought mutated and malformed genes were bad for you but no, not always, is the case so. In fact, possessing this particular mutated gene could save your life, and the lives of your children

About an average of 10% of the European population are estimated to have this mutation in their CCR5 gene. 16 % of the Finns and Russians and 14 % the Scandinavians possess the same gene.

This particular gene is called the CCR5 and the malformed itself has its’ own name, “Δ32”.

But first we have to leap back to the dark middle ages and then back to our time in order to understand what I am ranting about here. What was going on in the middle-ages? Well,” the black death” or the plague, was two thirds of the population of Europe and those with the mutated Δ32 inherited genomic sequence are those who survived, passing on their defect gene, which in this case was life saving, to their off-spring. Generations and generations passed by and then came the HIV-virus and AIDS.

You might now wonder where the connection is, if there is any at all, but I assure you that there is one.

Now comes the interesting part, the Finns are said to be resistant to HIV infection, but who wants to try it out on the entire population as they might be so absolutely wrong as they can be. According to research the possession of the Δ32 gene makes you of HIV if you inherit it doubly, that is from both your parents. If you have inherited only the half you are able to delay the onset of HIV once you’ve become infected.

So if you want to have unprotected sex and no worries about HIV, be aware of whom you chose as your parents and ancestors!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

No sleep nights

Even thought the World Championships in Ice Hockey are played in Halifax Canada, this meaning the matches are broadcasted in the middle of the night for us here in Finland, they still rule the TV evenings in many ways.

Weekly programmes get scheduled off their ordinary broadcasting time in order to show the re runs of the matches and even the nightly chat hosted by this one drag queen has a touch of ice-hockey with the host or maybe more appropriately “hostess” wearing the Finnish hockey team’s blue and white lion shirt. Fortunately the offspring is not that interested in watching ice hockey so there are no late nights due to the games being on so late, it is more a matter of surfing the Net. Or actually hanging around with friends all night on messenger, in stead of getting the needed amount of sleep for being able to cope with school and studies.

Today was another morning of close call, and yesterday went with the wake up time way past ten o’clock.

And my postings get later and fewer all the time because of these nocturnal activities.

The warm weather went and here we are again with temperatures way below the average and normal for this time of year. Fortunately it is not as cold that we have to switch back to winter coats but seeds sown in gardens might get frostbites if not covered properly.

Even I have sown a few seeds and will eventually plant them in the garden of a friend as I got interested in natural dyeing plants and wanted to try some out. I would have wanted to have them close by to study their development but they would probably not succeed on a balcony as well as in proper soil. One of the plants is said to produce a blue colour and the second will turn red so I am really looking forward to seeing how it all turns out in reality. The red is not to be harvested in a couple of years but the blue should be made to use as soon as there are leaves big enough, and there is a fair amount of the leaves to make use of them.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Alcohol too expensive

Apparently the price on alcohol is too high here in Finland.

After one week in office, the new director of Stakes, the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health, stated his opinion about the price of alcohol in Finland being too high. He also said that he would allow mild wines to be sold in small grocery stores.

And last month the director general of the KTL, the National Public Health Institute, proposed that the alcohol content of medium strength beers should be lowered by about one percentage unit. The two national institutions will merge into one by beginning of next year. I wonder how they will cope, joined together?

I have no idea whether these officials are politically nominated or if they have to apply with credentials for their respective positions but these are once again just opinions. The National Public Health Institute is normally opinionated against the consumption of alcohol from the national health point of view and the opinions of the members of parliament also differ from person to person. Still, the majority of people in this country are in favour of drinking their accustomed alcoholic beverages and most likely would favour lowered prices and better availability, especially now with the beginning summer season with opened bar terraces and sidewalk cafes.

The discussion whether or not to, is endless.

So, is the glass half empty or half full?!?

Monday, 5 May 2008

Stop eating and breathing?

The Government ensured that there would be no rising prices at the time when Finland changed its’ old customary Marks into the European monetary systems Euros but despite this everything seems to be much more expensive now than it used to be. Then came the global warming and saving the planet earth from heating up and so began the campaigning for more environmentally friendly energy solutions with energy costs still soaring.

The EU in its’ great wisdom shared the pollution rates equally, that is in this case is not in equally big parts, instead it means each member countries ability, with its’ technology and economical resources taken into consideration counting the country’s ability to adjust into the required decreases of polluting carbon oxides and cuts backs are to be made in the emission. The poorer and the less developed the country, the less to take into concern about these matters it seems.

The more farmland that now has been converted into growing renewable energy sources across the world, the less area has been left to grow food for people. And now the "silent tsunami" as it's being called, with ever increasing food prices is beginning to have an impact on the poor, even here in this welfare state called Finland. With the rising prices of food the remaining farmlands have to be turned into corps as cost efficiently and time consuming as can, and this might result in even more pollution than earlier. Smaller farm area needs to produce more, it resulting in suddenly rising levels of fertilizers leaking into rivers and lakes, finally ending up into the Baltic Sea, at least according to some recently published speculations. So the poor Baltic Sea that has been suffering of pollution for so long and was in hope to be restored into a sea instead of the sewage pool it more or less has become. This seems to be a yo-yo bouncing up and down, with no real outcome.

So; avoiding pollution of the air decreases food availability and raises the pollution in the water.

Is there really anything more we can do except stop eating and breathing?

Maybe the EU could in their great wisdom decide who should stop eating and breathing, at least to equally measured parts like with the emissions? Maybe eat 20% less food and breathe 15% less air?

And as always this still is a win-win situation for the businesses concerned no matter they are selling their newest technology to cleanse the air or the sewage water, or develop new more efficient artificial fertilizers and pesticides.

The weather has also here has been extremely warm for this time of the year with several days’ summer heat of well above 20 degrees Celsius now, in beginning of the month of May and no rain to talk about for a long time.

The winter was unusually warm with hardly no big temperature drops to -20 degrees here in the south. As well as less snow than usual with the more rain but with the annual flooding this spring have gone missing to a minimum raise in water levels in the lakes and rivers. Mind, I am now talking about southern Finland where there already is a prevailing summery weather, the north still has to get out of the winter’s grip and there might be some flooding there as usual.

Anyway, finally the lot is out of my hair and the house is left silent and I enjoy the first serene silence and absolute tranquility from any reminiscence of soup cooking for the ill. A good shower of rain would do good right now decreasing the pollen levels in the air, as well as soaking up the ground for the growing plants. It might do well for the crops to grow this summer. If no rain comes there still is no use of the fertilizers they spread. And besides, a record crop would still not have any real outcome on the food prices in this age of globalization.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Truth serum?

Since the last time I blogged the whole family has been down with this years’ unusually virulent and persistent flu, for myself it has now been dragging on into the third week now but there might be a part of my pollen allergies intertwined with it.

Soup has for some time now been scooped and digested in abundance together with tens of pots each day of well brewed chamomilla tea. The herbal tea served steaming hot with luscious spoonfuls of golden honey poured into it. Drunk several times a day it really helps to beat the flu except in my case as I seem to be allergic to either the chamomilla tea or the honey, in large amounts and digesting it several times a day. Today for the first time I got a bunch of wood anemones, my favourite flowers. Normally I get them for Mother’s day which is a couple of weeks away but with this heat wave they might already have bloomed over and wilted by then. That is if the for this time of the year unusually hot spring weather continues. Most of the birches have got tiny small leaves by now and the grass is green.

So it has been quite boring as well as uncomfortable to have been ill for this long. My trip to the local pharmacist the other day to stock up with some painkillers was an ordeal with fever but since I was the only one well enough to go there I had to be clench my teeth together in order to safely get there and back.

Dear spouse of mine called the doctor’s the other morning and leaving a message on the answering machine he did not even remember his own phone number and had to ring back three times before he listened to me and wrote it down on a piece of paper to get it right. That’s what fever does to you, a head full of slime and with a runny nose and sneezing all the time, it makes you look and sound like just the idiot you feel.

I had planned to go to some special spots to get some early spring photos but with this lot home constantly needing some more soup, I may not get the chance to do it this year, even if I would recover quickly and be sane again. And I will never, ever try to cure any cold or flu with a hot bath with a snifter of brandy. That really knocks you off your feet if not your brain. Zonked and down with fa high ever, not a good combination. The outcome is lethal if you have anything you want to stay as secrets as you are not fully at the height of your intelligence. Out of drunkards and children’s mouths comes the truth they say here.

Maybe this method of mine with fever, not bath and brandy could be used as an alternative to all the drugs like scopolamine and others, used to get the truth out of spies. Maybe it also could also successfully be used on tipsy spouses or offspring entering home in the early morning hours. Just one catch, how to give them the fever.