Category Archives: From here to nowhere and back

Digitalizing gender stereotypes

Some days back I overheard teenagers discussing. She was clicking a social app and he was watching.

Browsing a social app

He: “You are giving blind likes. You do not even read the updates, you just like them.”

She grinned and continued clicking.

He: “I only give likes to things that I really like. I do not ever give blind likes.”

I had to think about this. What was the reason for the differing approaches and how their friends would react to their approaches? My conclusion – without consulting them – was that her likes were targeted to her friends as persons rather than to the actual content. By liking she indicates that she likes the friend. He makes a strict difference between a friend and the content and only gives a like if the content really pleases him.

I can imagine them meeting the same friends in real life. She would smile immediately when greeting a friend.

Girls greeting

He would not bother smiling when greeting

Boys greeting

but would only smile when the friend shares a joke.

Boys sharing a joke

That’s about stereotypes for today, folks. This is not to be taken seriously, just wanted to make some fun.

Visualized experiences on packing all belongings for a move

I recently went through a packing process to move all our family’s belongings to one address to another. The expectation was that this will be a major effort and require lots of time. So I started packing well before the expected moving date.

The start of the packing process was nice and sweet: place well behaving objects that are not needed daily in cardboard boxes. Well behaving in this context means that the objects are of similar shape, make tidy piles and fill up the box efficiently.

Packing squares

As the process continued, the shapes gradually turned into more challenging ones but with some effort were still manageable and produced efficiently filled boxes.

Packing retangles

Managing challenging shapes efficiently generated a feeling of the situation being under control.

Packing circles

Even arbitrarily shaped items found their counterparts in the boxes and packing continued in energetic mode.

Packing miscellaneous items

Sooner or later I inevitably run into items that were too large to fit in any box.

Item is too large to fit in a box

These were limited in number, however and were still possible to manage.

Piling chairs

The nerve-wracking part of the process was surprisingly the last 5 % of the items. This is the seemingly endless parade of tiny and medium size items hiding at the dark corners of cupboards and drawers. Things that cannot be abandoned as yet but refuse to be categorized with any of their companions making mixture boxes that you definitely would not go through and re-place at the destination.


The deeply frustrating fact of the packing experience was that the progress was by far not linear. The less time I had used for packing in total, the faster it was to fill up one box. And the more boxes I had packed, the more time it took to pack one box more. This made almost impossible to estimate the time needed to pack the remaining items.


I had an ambitious goal to pack wisely meaning that on each box I wanted to be able to write a maximum three word description on the content of the of the box. The last two or three boxes were labelled just “Miscellaneous” but overall I felt that I the task was successfully completed.

After all this, I would expect to be able to provide advice on how to manage a similar kind of process the next time. The advice can be reduced to the following:

  1. Resell/donate unnecessary items constantly.
  2. Recycle constantly those items that do not qualify for reselling/donating.
  3. The earlier you start the earlier you will finish. With any schedule, you are likely to find yourself in the hurry at the end.

Navigating in the fog

I was kayaking earlier this week in a foggy morning. The sea was dead calm and the surface of the water disappeared into the fog with no line of horizon to be seen. I experienced a surreal moment as a couple of seagulls appeared flying over the sea. My initial thought was that they had taken off without much thought as after a hundred meters from the shoreline you could see nothing but the fog. Then I realized that they are well equipped with the wings to fly, webbed feet for swimming and a compass integrated in their brain enabling them to move even between continents. So that’s about not being prepared. I paddled on making sure that will keep close enough to the shoreline not to get lost.


Did volunteers build Stonehenge?

Last week I had an opportunity to visit Stonehenge. Surprisingly, it is only a two hour bus drive from London Victoria station. Multiple tourist service providers offer half a day trips from Victoria to Stonehenge and back.

Walking around the monument and listening to the audio guide I was wondering if volunteers built Stonehenge. There was no mention of slaves being used for the construction work. But how the workers were motivated? How was the motivational speech at the Project Stonehenge kickoff? “Friends, let’s put up a giant stone ring for future generations to come to wonder and admire! You’ll carry and shape the stones and I’ll tell you how to mount them.”


Way or another they managed this project and there the stones still are, the admiring visitors walking around in a large circle around the monument. It’s only a two hour drive from London Victoria. Strongly recommended, if you have a chance to visit!

Artistic experiments with an empty head

Some years back I went to an art course By Riikka Mäkikoskela. Two lessons that have stick in my mind were are ones that started not from innovation or inspiration but from an empty head in front of an empty canvas.

In the first one we were asked to use charcoal to color the paper all black. When this was done, we started wiping out the blackness with cloth and an eraser. I remember throwing a piece of shammy leather against the paper. Dropping off the leather left a shape of a rose on the black paper.

For the other exercise we were requested to bring a soft pillow with us. This was not for sleeping against the table but for crumbling the pillow into an arbitrary shape and making pencil drawings of the shadows on the pillow. Something like finding imaginary characters from clouds in the sky except for that the pillow was stabile compared to continuously re-shaping clouds.

Initially these seem to be invalid approaches for any serious business where analytic thinking and reasoning are the driving forces. On the other hand, many great inventions have been born by accident. When the results are not matching with the expectations, the expectations should be moved aside for a moment to openly think what the results could be used for.

Open mind

In this world, are we coming or going?

This fascinating piece of stairs can be found at the western side of Lasipalatsi building in Helsinki. You can even spot them on Google maps. Search for Lasipalatsi and zoom in. The stairs are visible at the wider end of the cutted cone shaped roof of the Lasipalatsi building. There is a movie theater under that roof.

Lasipalatsi stairs on the wall

Is this an architectural trick designed to enliven the long, white wall or is it just a quick fix to solve an internal problem externally? The two doors are simply two doors, not any grand entrances or exits. If they were originally a quick fix, I do not mind. The construction is still fascinating.

Notices on the drawing: The ladder as well as the handrail are white in real life. / I took the original photo in early spring, on the first day when it was possible to eat at an outdoor terrace without freezing to death. There was a seagull flying above the building but I was too slow to catch him in the photo. You can imagine him high up in the blue, blue sky.