For a non-Finnish person sitting with several strangers in a hot room – naked – sounds maybe a little bit strange, but I do it pretty regularly. I’m of course talking about sauna, that essential invention that is often seen as something very Finnish. Another thing that’s very Finnish is being silent, no matter if you’re sitting in a bus or in a sauna.

I like sitting in sauna, especially alone. It’s one of those pure moments of peace you seem to rarely get these days. I also think too much about what other people think about me, even though I’m one of those “strong and silent” types, at least when among strangers. Combined these features may lead to some uncomfortable situations in sauna: I am always worried about how much water I am supposed to pour on the stove when other people are present. Otherwise I think I would be fine with just sitting in there. Naked.

I was actually thinking about this very thing recently while sitting in sauna after a workout. Then when I went to take a bus home, I noticed another strangely related phenomenon. You know that situation when there are several people waiting for a bus at the bus stop, a bus arrives, and all those people raise their hands to signal the vehicle to stop. Just thinking about it, it feels a bit strange, doesn’t it? But that’s also very Finnish, I would say. Like sitting in sauna, not being worried about being naked but worrying about talking to other people. Huh.



There aren’t that many people that speak Finnish, thus it is only natural that one does not really hear Finnish spoken when leaving Finland. It is always interesting to notice this transition when traveling abroad. Usually the transition happens at the airport or during the flight.

The nature of this phenomenon depends on whether you’re traveling alone or with friends. If you’re alone, you’ll just tune out of Finnish suddenly hearing on the airport or in the plane is quite jarring, but if you’re travelling in a group, you’ll probably stop picking your words less carefully, as the people surrounding are not very likely to understand you. I would imagine that the feeling is very different if your native language is English, even though some countries don’t boast that good of a proficiency in English.

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It wasn’t until I bought a smartphone that I really started listening to podcasts. Of course, finding podcasts that are worth listening to is quite difficult and to be honest, even though I’ve been recording podcasts for a few years, I might want something entirely different of the podcasts I am going to listen to myself. Luckily, I’ve found a few good shows, so why not discuss them here?

Let’s start with Startalk Radio. If you’re into science, you’ve probably heard of Neil deGrasse Tyson. You might know him by his appearances in TV shows such as Big Bang Theory and Stargate Atlantis, as well. Heck, he has even had a brief visit in DC’s Superman comics. He is the guy who people blame for the fact that Pluto is not a planet anymore. If you’ve been watching the new Cosmos series, he is the narrator of that documentary series.

Neil also happens to be the host of Startalk Radio. As the name perhaps points out, Startalk Radio deals mostly with astronomy and cosmology stuff, but sometimes they deviate to discuss other subjects as well. For example, one episode had an expert on answering questions about diseases and pandemics. But mostly it’s Neil sharing his wisdom in an entertaining fashion. His deep voice makes him a great host for a radio show (not to dismiss his ability to host a TV series, as seen on Cosmos).

The style of the show is very much like a TV or radio show: the episodes are usually divided into pretty short segments and the transitions happen through commercials and brief music snippets relevant to the subject at hand. The duration of the episodes matches that of many TV dramas: 42 minutes (maybe it is also a reference to Hitchhiker’s guide to galaxy, who knows).

While many podcasts rely on the chemistry between the participants, Startalk builds heavily on Neil’s charisma and ability to explain difficult concepts rather well. There are usually other participants as well, but their role is mostly about supporting Neil by providing funny commentary and the “stupid” point of view, as the guests are not necessarily experts in any field of science, and the show works and flows usually very nicely.

However, there have been some really bad missteps, mostly the episode “A conversation with God”. Besides the Mythbusters episodes, that was the only episode I had to just stop listening to. In the case of the Mythbusters episodes it was more about me not caring that much about that particular TV show, while the God episode was just plain bad in my honest opinion.

But still, if you want to have some rather light and entertaining but still science themed podcast to listen to, you should most def give Startalk a go. You might even have to chance to hear Bill Nye talking, and that is definitely a plus.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t have a long history with beer. I drank practically no beer until last year, and I still don’t drink it too much, but when you see people enjoy it so much you have to wonder what they actually see in it. Also, drinking just long drinks or ciders can get a little bit boring after a while. So I’ve decided to try tasting some beer.

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