Oscar Wilde, with ample justification, said of the United States: "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between." Every time I visit Finland I am reminded of this quote with good reason. Here are a few pictures taken in Finland both at the conference an in Helsinki.

But first ... as a reminder that things change .,. pictures of the border between Russia and Finland. A reminder that that myths live longer than people.
With resolute hearts we set out, fearless adventurers, to cross the dread border between Russia ("the east") and Finland ("the west"). First we had to make it past the dread Russian Navy standing watch with all of the esprit de corps one might expect to see of its equivalent force in Idaho or Texas.
Ever mindful the lakes and rivers were likely stocked with piranha Where we saw the border fence
No ... not the one topped with coiled razor wire ... The dark metal one ... the razor wire protects the rail maintenance road
I sure hope all the right-wing nut cases in Idaho keep on stocking up their back-yard shelters. Maybe someday they'll lock themselves in side and stay there.

Ok lets move away from political hysteria to the Harmony conference at Rantasipi Aulanko Finland.
Opened by Oracle ACE Heli Helskyaho Tom Kyte
Chris Date making the mathematical case against Three Value Logic Sergey Shchukin: A successful Exadata deployment
Sunset Aulanko
Now lets look at some pics Helen took in Helsinki while I was doing what comes easiest ... talking.
Helsinki Central Train station  
Helsinki-Vantaa Airport Heading out over the Gulf of Finland over Estonia to Riga