A Mags-ified Finland: Guest Post!

Sound bite:

Why does your nose run so much in the cold?

In the cold, your nose works like a radiator. To keep your nose warm, your body increases blood flow to your nose and the blood vessels expand so that as much warm blood as possible pumps through your nose. 92% of blood is water and because of all that extra blood flowing under the skin-surface of your nose, the water starts to drip out of your nose. The minute you go inside your nose warms up, the blood vessels contract and your nose will stop dripping. This mechanism is astoundingly reliable. In the cold, your nose works like a leaky radiator.

Visiting Kim in Finland

name pointing

Continue reading

Se on totta

A particular favorite phrase of Finns (at least the ones I listen to on the radio and watch on the TV) is ‘se on totta’ [say on toe-tah], which literally means ‘it’s true’.  There was a similar phrase in Hausa (‘gaskiya’, gas-key-ah), that was also used to express a sort of camaraderie of thought – like a verbal version of a fist-pound to your heart/chest to express that you believe the person/thought to be (in the) right.  I find myself thinking this phrase a lot lately – not sure if it’s a sign of a more relaxed and resigned attitude, but there it is.  Example: this forest is stunning.  Se on totta!

forest of frost Continue reading

Here comes the snow, dah dah dah dah…

This week I got snowed in at the Kevo field station.  Ensilumen (en-see-lou-men) is what they call the ‘first snow of the year that sticks’.  It’s slippery, and loose and not yet compacted.  I bused up to Kevo while it was really cold, but there was no snow on the ground yet, but when I woke up on my field day this week, this is what I saw from the front door of the station:

Continue reading

Have you lost something??

Unbeknownst to me, I have ‘lost something’.  I have no idea what, where or when, but a local man placed a cryptic phone call to one of the Kevo staff members’ cell phones to inform him simply that “the American girl has lost something”.  According to the recipient of this unsatisfactorily vague phone call, the caller then just hung up with no further explanation.  Personally, I would have been much more grateful for the shout-out had the caller told us either a ‘what’ or a ‘where’, or even a ‘when’.  The funniest part about the whole thing is that I keep getting asked if I’ve lost something by all the various members of staff and researchers here at the Kevo site.  Apparently the story of the phone call has spread, but not that I have been informed and quizzed, and am ignorant of, and somewhat concerned about, what exactly I’ve lost.  My biggest fear was that my ‘lost’ item was actually all my scientific equipment that I’ve (hopefully) permanently installed at my field site, and that this taciturn good Samaritan would take it upon himself to extract and bring it all back to me.  I visited my field site yesterday and all my equipment appears to be in order, but it did remind me that I should draft a sign informing passersby of the permanent and delicate nature of my installations.  And so the mystery of my missing item(s) continues.  And all this still leaves me wondering: how did he know I was American??