Holiday

Mostly on holiday now at our little cabin on the lake in Finland. High summer here, the run-up to Juhannus next week, the main holiday of the year. Daylight round the clock and the forecast is good, not always a sure thing here.

Water temperature at 17C now, not too cold to jump in – briefly. Will be enjoying a quiet week at the lake with our new Finnish friends. The magic number this year is five – baby ducks and swans.

Collected photos from this so far two month long, slow trip around the world post here.

Haluatko Lukea Jotain Mielenkiintoista?

It means something close to “Want to read something interesting?” This is my wobbly beginner’s Finnish.

Finnish is maybe not the easiest thing for speakers of the Latin group of languages to learn, as you can see by trying to decipher a random front page of the country’s biggest newspaper, the Hensingin Sanomat. Like this one from last week:

Finnish, spoken by about five million people, is a “Finno-Ugric” language, with vague origins in the Ural mountains. Have a look at this nice photo essay about Finno-Ugric people called In Search of Russia’s First Inhabitants.

Winter Weekend Reading

In our part of the world we’re getting our first blast of Arctic cold in a few days, so here is some reading to enjoy by the hearth this weekend – a little travel writing, some politics and a bit of science.

First, enjoy this as you prepare a suitably hearty stew: In honor of Finland’s 100th birthday next Wednesday, the BBC Radio 4 program, Finland at 100. Hyvää syntymäpäivää, Suomi!

And the reading:
The Damascus Journals by Roua Horaieh at The Millions
X marks the self by Thomas Jones at LRB
It’s the Kultur, Stupid by Timothy Garton Ash at NYRB
The secret tricks hidden inside restaurant menus by Richard Gray at BBC
The Nationalist’s Delusion by Adam Serwer at The Atlantic
In Search of the Common Good by Kenan Malik at Pandaemonium
Sukayu Onsen by Justin Nobel at nowheremag.com
What if consciousness is not what drives the human mind by Davis A Oakley at theconversation.com