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.
An integral part of work as a researcher is collaborating with other researchers. One way to do that is to attend conferences. I’ve now seen two of them myself: last summer I was helping with organizing the EPS conference on plasma physics in Espoo, this week I was participating in Physics Days 2014.
While the EPS conference is a large international event, Physics Days is a organized for the Finnish physics society. This year the event was held in Tampere, and I’ll try to discuss it briefly, as the conference is still fresh in my mind. I’ll tell about my personal contribution and other interesting presentations (not that I’m implying that my talk was very interesting), say something about the other activities and take a moment to ponder the nature of the event.
As a brief summary, my own contribution went alright considering the circumstances, but I had to start wondering the role of an event like this and what should one present there. This was supported by some exciting talks by more experienced people. I would still say that the conference is worth attending, as it does not take too long (three days), gives you a broad overview of Finnish physics research, and offers some chances to network and just have a good time. Physics Days 2014 gave me some valuable experience and I might attend the conference again, if the opportunity presents itself.
You know you’re old when you see people referring to IG and instantly think about IRC-Galleria when they’re actually talking about Instagram. But yes, I’ve recently started using Instagram myself, also. You would think that I don’t need any more social media in my life, but I decided to give it a try anyway. It’s a shame my Samsung Galaxy SII has a shitty camera, but I can try to cover the lack of quality by applying unnecessary filters – isn’t that how you’re supposed to use Instagram? Anyways, if you’re interested in following me over there, my username is Popelotto.
My most recent trip abroad took me to St Petersburg. It was just a brief visit from Wednesday to Friday, although I think it was pretty appropriate to end it on the Finnish independence day.
I had never been to Russia before, so it was an entirely new experience for me. It only takes three hours and 30 minutes to get from Helsinki to St Petersburg using the Allegro train. Considering this, it kind of feels ridiculous how you need to apply for visa filling all sorts of forms and giving all sorts of credentials. I actually did not even have the passport until the trip, so that made the process even more ridiculous – everything for just a three-day trip.
Seppo Räty, a Finnish javelin thrower, once said famously: “Saksa on paska maa”, which translates to “Germany is a shitty country”. His comment came after a failure to qualify for the finals in Stuttgart in 1993. While I’ve had some negative experiences with Germany, I’m not ready share his sentiment.
I visited Germany last week for the second time ever. Last year we went to Gamescom in Cologne, this time it was the IPP Plasma Physics Summer University in Greifswald. It’s pretty relevant to my studies and my work as I’m currently doing my Master’s Thesis on fusion research in Aalto University. I’m not going to bore you with the physics details – at least not at this time, I’ll probably try to finally write something on the subject here on the blog soonish. Now I’m just trying to write about the other stuff regarding the trip.
There is no shortage of different zooms for Micro Four Thirds cameras. Most of them are pretty cheap and not that high end stuff. The most expensive zooms are the Panasonic f2.8 zooms that correspond to the classic 24-70mm and 70-200mm zooms on full frame. They would most likely be awesome, but like I said, they’re pretty expensive too.
From the cheap zoom collection I currently own the Olympus 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 one. It’s not fast, but it offers a fantastic reach for somewhat bright environments. I bought it last autumn, since I didn’t have anything that reachy and it was pretty cheap: I think I paid something like 150 euros for the lens, a 8GB memory card and a smallish Olympus Pen bag. I haven’t used the memory card yet, but it’s good to have a backup, and I mostly use the bag to store my lenses, even if it would fit the camera and maybe two lenses.
Olympus recently revealed their newest camera model for the Micro Four Thirds. I know that Panasonic has actually announced two new models, but I didn’t find them particularly exciting. Okay, GF6 might work as a second body, but I don’t know about G6. Maybe if its video features are truly exciting.
But anyways, Olympus announced E-P5. There had been a lot of speculation and rumors about what features the camera would include in the end. I haven’t had the chance to actually try it myself but based on pictures and specifications it seems to be a sexy beast.
The body style of E-P5 stays true to the PEN design and it looks really good, especially in silver and black. borrows many features from the E-M5 while improving them and then adding some while lacking some, probably just to differentiate it enough compared to E-M5. I’m not going to go through all the specifications here, you can read them from other websites (Ming Thein’s blog, for example) and press releases, but I’ll point out a few interesting things.