Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Knit 'n pose

This autumn I've got the spark to knit again. (No crocheting, I still don't like crocheting.) My friend got a baby girl in May, so I thought to knit some Christmas present for her. I've also made some socks and found some nice mohair mixture garn which with I'm making a shirt. A pair of socks I already delivered, forgetting to take a pic of those, but in this pic there's the first pair ever I knitted. (The heel wasn't as hard I thought, considering how much it's always commented on.)

Some things I've knitted lately

The socks will come in need, since next Sunday I should be moving to Lapland for the winter season. Will be as much fun as a bucketful of marsupials.

And here as a treat a picture of me in the regional dress of my grandma (mother's side). I never met her, she died long before I was born. But the dress we still have, she made it in the early 1930s. In Finland, it is customary that people in different areas have typical "party dresses" that have colours and patterns distinctive to that area. (Like the Scottish kilts.) This is from Ilmajoki, a commune in the Southern Ostrobothnia. And yes, my other cat was a dreadful attention whore that evening, he was in every picture…

Ilmajoki regional dress

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spectral analysis

The summer has gone working with full throttle and I haven't had much time to do anything creative. (Unless you count some not-finished knitworks into the category.) Now I finally had some inspiration to create somekind of an Internet version of my Spectrum Task I did for my final thesis. So if you or anyone you know is a physics/astronomy enthusiast and would like to try some spectral analysis, here's the task for you.

You need to find out which elements are hiding in the given spectrum. Compare the absorption and emission lines to conclude the elements. This is still a very rudimentary version, I hope I'll be able to create a better version some day with redshift and hints to what the object could be. But if you happen to be e.g. a junior high physics teacher, this might be a good pastime for those really smart kids who always seem to be a bit head of their classmates.

Download the theory and instructions (2.1MB)
Download the element spectra (660KB)
Download 1st task (2.4MB)

You need to print and cut out the element spectra and print the tasks, so be sure you have scissors and printer around.

The answers for tasks you can find here. But are you sure you want to check that before trying?

Spectral analysis ready for investigation

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dying at the Discoteque

There was a terrible train accident in Spain yesterday. Today, media published a video, where we can allegedly see how the train comes far too fast to the corner and flies off the tracks. I say allegedly, because I haven't seen the video. I refuse to watch it, because I don't like the way media sells us death and destruction claiming it to be "news" and as something of a "must-see" so that we can do our ooh's and aah's and be afraid of the world and life itself.

People die, every day, everywhere. Accidents happen, you don't need to be in Spain for that. Here in Finland I am fine with the piece of news that there has been a horrible accident in Spain and my heart goes to the people who have suffered, but I don't need to have pictures of bloody people with the words "like in Dante's Hell" painted all over that. Why do media think that I want to be on the spot, looking at the agony, seeing how the train crashes? And why do they think I want to pay for that?

I've noticed I've really started to reduce my consumption of news, depressing or otherwise. There is so much suffering in the world that reading it constantly can really make you scared for your own life. And news are nowadays so fresh in the market that there is no time to check all the facts. Someone will publish it anyway, so why bother. It's really sad that they don't teach media reading skills starting in the elementary school or kindergarten.

I have to admit that I did use to read all the news of different tragedies. It made me feel something, somekind of devastation and sadness in front of death. But I noticed the feelings always rose only from the bad news. That's why I now go rather read a book or listen to music than follow the news that don't have any direct effect on me and my life. I don't know if it makes any difference, but at least I have the chance of noticing things around me rather than burdening myself with things I can't do much about anyway. There is nothing indifferent in that, just absorbing the facts and leaving the decorations to others. The investigators might need to see the film about the train. I don't.

Newspapers about Estonia tragedy
I remember Estonia-ferry tragedy very well. I woke up in the morning when the helicopters were flying non-stop over our house and we already knew something big had happened. I spared the newspapers talking about the accident. There was no internet then, nowadays it's become somehow even nastier and more sensational, even if the magazines at that time did their best to shock, too.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bachelor of Culture and Arts

So, I finally managed to graduate about a month ago. It's been rather hectic, got my old job back in the cathedral for the summer and my time has gone elsewhere than by the computer. But at least for now the school seems to be over. (Even if I have some ideas for the Master's programme, I'm only lacking less than 60 ECTS from that.)

For those who want to read (or browse through) my final thesis about interactive educational exhibitions, it's located here in Theseus. It became longer than needed, but the subject was also rather wide. I don't have much plans yet for the autumn, I'll just wait and see what the world will throw at my feet. :) We shall see...

My bachelor's thesis

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Yesterday I stumbled to the good old music from Sentinel, a computer game we used to play a lot with Amiga when kids. The eerie music (here in Youtube) and the constant panicky feeling when playing the game were rather captivating. It's a game I'd still gladly play today. Anyway, after checking a couple of shots from the game boards I decided to give a try and build a small 3D paper model of the Sentinel itself. It took me a while to figure out how to make the hat, etc., but it didturn out to be quite ok in the end (except that it looks a bit like a duck if you watch it from top).

It is disturbing, though, to sit here my back turned to the thing. A part of me is waiting to hear that turning sound... Maybe one day I'll build a lamp or an alarm clock or a burglar detector out of it. (It would be a great outfit in a party, too.) Would scare the hell out of me, anyway, to add a motion sensor and make it turn. Hmm, I definitely see some stop motion possibilities here...

Sentinel paper doll

Friday, April 5, 2013

Gravity Pinball

I'm still writing my final thesis and still creating some concepts for interactive astronomy stuff. Today I tested an idea I've had for some time, just to see if it would work. I've been wanting to include some kind of a pinball machine that would use small gravity fields to guide the ball. I build a very crude version this morning out of plastic wrap and push pins, but it actually worked surprisingly well when I rolled small wooden pearls along the wrap. Einstein's theory of relativity, anyone?

Gravity pinball

Friday, March 22, 2013

More jigsaw puzzles!

As some of you might remember from my previous posts, I love to do jigsaw puzzles. Well, not all of them, but the big and challenging ones (preferrably with science / industrial related pictures). Late last year I found one which I just could not let slip from my hands. (Especially since I still haven't found those ones I lost.) I've been doing it every once in a while and today I finally managed to finish it! One of my characteristics I'm most happy about is my patience. Or is that persistence? Well, who knows, but now I'm already rather worried about what should I do next. Good jigsaw puzzles are so hard to find...

The 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle of Manhattan skyline
(Clicketi click to the pic to make it a bit bigger.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Northern lights

Last time I've seen the northern lights I was on the ferry on my way to Germany - two years ago. I was terribly disappointed last season when I didn't manage to see any show at all and I was rather worried that this season it might be the same. (In Finland the nights are not dark enough for star/aurora gazing after mid-April.) Yesterday, though, I noticed that the aurora radars were quite active before the sunset. I kept an eye on them, since I know the situation might change very fast, in both directions. When the next hour with decent activity started I packed my camera and headed for the lake nearby (it's still frozen) to the spot where I had been observing the comet Panstarrs the last couple of days.

What resulted was one of the best aurora shows I've ever seen in my life. I remember one really good one from a couple of solar cycles ago and one from my childhood in our holiday home, but for this I had really prepared since I was on the spot right from the start when it became dark enough. Finnish Meteorological Insitute has aurora alerts and when the magnetic field gets active in Nurmijärvi, which is about the same latitude as Tampere, it is seen as bars in their watch and as possible auroras, too. As seen from the graph, the bar went through the roof around eight o'clock. Normally they say it's "active" when it's 30. So, 570 would promise pretty good auroras, I'd say.

Nurmijärvi aurora alert 17.3.2013

When that show at 8 pm started I danced, cursed, shouted, screamed (very typical of me when I see auroras or meteors) and took shitloads of photos. Yes, I was very happy. (More than 25 years of amateur astronomy still hasn't made me love it any less.) When I started to freeze and walked home I mentioned pretty much all the passersby that there is an amazing aurora show just going on. They were happy that I said that since it's hard to pick behind the streetlights.

It was amazing.

Some of the aurora I saw 17.3.2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Final thesis getting on

Since I should be graduating this spring I've been quite busy with my final thesis lately. I've finished with the theory part and am now trying to create the concepts for a hypothetical astronomical exhibition - interactive of course. To get ideas I've had to revive my knowledge about astronomy and physics. Not bad, actually, it is a lot of fun even if some of my ideas for possible concepts are probably not exactly sane.

Yes, final thesis, what a great excuse for reading quantum physics!

Doing the background research for my final thesis

Friday, February 15, 2013

Brooding cards

I've been proned to depression and other difficulties with my mental health most of my life. I often try to analyse too much and as often it never leads anywhere, since e.g. feelings are not terribly easy to explain with logic. To my irritation I've noticed that lately my state has been slowly falling down towards depression again. Luckily at least, nowadays I can recognise the symptoms and do something about them before it is too late.

One thing which I hate is that there are certain thoughts that haunt me over and over again. It does not matter how many years I would have tried to resolve them, they always return and never seem to change much. When I get the mood, I can just contemplate for hours without any other result than getting me more and more angry at myself. (As often, it is typical for people like me to be extremely harsh on themselves.)

To prevent the excessive torture of the thought that lead you nowhere I handicrafted brooding cards for myself. The text states: "Brooding card. This card gives you the right to brood over any preferred area for 20 consecutive minutes. Use max. 1 time per day." There are three cards, so all in all I am perfectly allowed to ruminate my things for one hour each day. (It might sound a lot, but believe me, it is very short period of time indeed in the life of mentally disturbed.) I will not allow myself to exceed that quota, though. If I'm not able to find the answer in that time, either there is none or I'm not ready to face it yet. Whatever the case, it's not useful to waste the time for pointless mulling. I much rather read a book anyway, and my always exaggerating conscious has no proper way to force me feel guilty anymore. :)


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ender's Game

The one most influental book I've ever read in my life is definitely "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. I was around 12 when I got it from Ursa (Finland's biggest amateur astronomy association) as a freebie since I bought so many other books from their bookshop. I've read it countless of times after that and I still find new aspects every time I read it. It's also always makes me cry.

Some time ago I found out that they are doing a movie out of the book - a thing I've been waiting and afraid of for abour 20 years now. There's been comic series available for some time now, and even if I'm not terribly fancying the idea (the book is pretty much perfect in its own account), I ended up buying the collections for "Ender's Game" and "Ender's Shadow" (a parallel novel Card wrote 14 years after the original Ender). From these two the latter is better. In the "Shadow" the people actually look different and it's clearer to read then the "Game". The "Game" also falls short in several pretty important plot twists (e.g. Locke and Demosthenes is completely left out). The reason why I love the book so much is the deepness in the characters, especially Ender, naturally. That doesn't come that much out in the comics, but I guess it's not needed in such entertainment.

Here's a picture from the novels as well as my copy of Ender. The movie will be interesting, this book is one of those things that is impossible to film, because 6-years-old kids with IQs of 170 is hard to find. But I'll see the film nevertheless.

Ender's Game comics

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Interactive exhibitions

I'm slowly but steadily writing my final thesis for my studies. It is about interactive exhibitions, say, like science centres and stuff. I wrote few essays about the subject for my background work last autumn, so mainly I've been copy pasting my own work for the thesis. (Very convenient.) I noticed it was slightly tricky to find much stuff about the subject, so I'll put the first essay with all of the general stuff over here if anyone finds it helpful. (The ebooks pdf I posted here few months ago has already been downloaded 398 (!) times. You can never tell how popular some of your stuff gets... I hope it helps people, too.)

Interactive Exhibitions (1.4MB)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Heavenly spheres

Some time ago, I went to Tiger - the shop where they sell all kinds of small things cheap. I normally loath such places (I'm not a fan of small decorations unless I make them myself), and now I went there only to spend some time. My thoughts were mostly "crap, crap, crap" until I saw one thing: a piggy bank shaped like a celestial globe. Well, there goes my determination not to buy anything. There are very few things that make me weak, but I must admit everything related to heavenly spheres and star charts do.

So of course I had to buy it. I'll save some money every now and then, don't know yet what to buy, though. Probably books. I gave in and ordered the book I've longed for a while now: Harmonia Macrocosmica. So, there is some inspiration coming to this way, soon. :)

Star globe shaped piggy bank

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Long time no see. After travelling around the world (Aussies and NZ), working over the Christmas holidays and all sorts I hope I finally will manage to write my thesis. In the sense it is not hard, I have most of the stuff in my head and just needs to get vomited out. I'm aiming at graduating this spring.

Winter in Finland is always rather interesting. First, I am always tired. I am one of those who need the sunlight to be awake. So, normally during winters I hibernate in some stasis between depression and melancholy, but during the sunny days (too rare on these latitudes) I get some boosts of energy. The cold doesn't bother me that much, even if my skin suffers from the dry air. Still, I kinda find those -27°C mornings refreshing. I like the feeling when breathing in your nose hair freezes.

There is actually a law in Finland about compulsory reflectors during the dark time. I never heard anyone got a ticket for not wearing one, but I know myself how hard it sometimes is to see pedestrians on the side of the road when driving a car. Personally, I don't like the hanging reflectors since they always get stuck and fall off. Last month I revived my old idea of separate reflector sleeves and handicrafted these things that eventually ended up to my jacket. They look pretty nice also during the day, since I think black jackets are rather boring. (That's why I bought the cap from Hunting and Fishing New Zealand in Timaru.)

Reflectors I made for my jacket