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The thief

Running along the wall of our dining room is a large dresser, the end cupboard of which is almost filled by photo albums. Ever since the birth of our first daughter, we have selected the best of our digital photographs and had them printed in albums. Albums for summer holidays, albums for short breaks and […]

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Going corona loco

Separated from each other for months now, many teams at my work have adopted scrum-style ‘stand-ups’ to stay in touch. These are brief meetings in which everyone has a chance to tell what they have done, what they plan to do, and if there are any problems they need help with. Last week, that third […]

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Impossible equations

On the 21st of April, the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte held a press conference to announce changes to the measures against the corona virus. In his introduction, he emphasized many times the ‘duivelse dilemma’s’ (devilish dilemmas) he had faced in deciding the appropriate course of action. I sympathised completely. Weighing up the pressures of […]

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The modern-day oracle

As a young teenager, I begged my parents to buy me the Magic-8 ball. You could ask the ball yes-no questions, and then, when you turned it upside down, one of 20 possible answers would float up against the small plastic window – ‘Signs point to yes’, ‘My reply is no’, ‘Better not tell you […]

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This true story is based on a film

I love a good – or even middling – horror about an epidemic. I’ve sat through Outbreak, 28 Days Later, Train to Busan and Cordon, to mention just a few, along with the more humorous ones such as Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead, stuffing crisps and chocolate in my mouth while enjoying a pleasurable […]

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Parental love in the time of corona

When my first daughter was a year old, we visited friends and heard about their plans to leave their son with their parents for a weekend, so that they could go away alone together. I couldn’t understand them – we loved going on holiday with our little one! Years on, and a child further, I […]

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The (un)importance of decisions

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost This quote perfectly illustrates how I feel about making important decisions. I stand at a junction, and the path I take will have a radical effect […]

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The smart choice

At the end of a workshop to kick off a new project, I sat in the cosy brickwork cellar of a trendy restaurant with a group of colleagues. As my children’s bedtime approached, I quickly whipped out my Nokia 6021 phone to send a good night message. While busy, I noticed the researcher next to […]

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What’s in a name?

Lying on my desk is an item that is completely out of pace with the modern digital age – my address book. It is the same one I have had since I was a teenager. The spine is broken and the paper has come off the front cover, showing the thick cardboard underneath. Written on […]

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Inventing traditions

The Christmas season is full of traditions, and they were particularly strong in my childhood home. Every evening during Advent, we read part of ‘A Christmas Carol’, timing it to finish on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve itself, we ate traditional Finnish food – roast ham, swede, carrot and potato ‘boxes’, and rice pudding. We […]