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It’s a genetic thing…

APPLAUSE AND THREE CHEERS TO…

deCode Genetics and SAA – National Center of Addiction Medicine, who have signed a cooperative agreement to work on isolating the gene that causes alcoholism and other addition. deCode, as some will know, is an Icelandic company founded on the brilliant premise that this is one of the best places in the world to study genetics, seeing as how we’re so horribly isolated and have spent all these centuries intermarrying and whatnot. [Oh, my! Could this be significant?] In any case, the EU has given this little project its blessing to the tune of ISK 330 million, which is the highest amount of dosh ever awarded to a research project in this country.

Hell, if it weren’t so damn inappropriate I’d prolly suggest having a drink to celebrate.

TRIVIA: THERE ARE 331 AA MEETINGS PER WEEK IN ICELAND

Which seems like a helluva lot, considering the entire population of the country is only 290,000. That’s like a small suburb of your basic metropolis holding 331 different AA meetings every week. A brief glance at the Icelandic AA website reveals that there are 20 different meetings in the Greater Reykjavík Area today alone and if you were so inclined you could start at 8 am and continue pretty much through until 9 pm.

Now you might surmise from all this that we’re a nation of drunks. And indeed, there is a certain unfortunate image that seems to linger, of Icelandic teenagers passed out on sidewalks and puking in doorways on any given weekend. A sight that, unfortunately, one is occasionally accosted by. But in YT’s opinion, Icelanders do not really imbibe more alcohol than other Western nations, it’s just that their drinking habits are, well, slightly more extreme. Like imbibing the amount that, say, the average German takes in on a weekly basis, on Saturday night alone.

Also, it seems less taboo in this country to admit to a problem than in many other places. Something like 10% of Icelandic men have gone into rehab at one time or another, including government ministers and other prominent personages who will publicly admit to it without even flinching. In fact, almost all workplaces in this country treat alcohol rehab as sick leave and are happy to facilitate recovery upon request. Which all in all I’d have to say is pretty healthy.

THE WEATHER

Started out blustery and freezing cold, but as the day progressed the wind died down and the sun came out. Temps even went up to around the freezing mark, so when YT went out for a run she was pleasantly surprised not to get freezer burn on the inside of her lungs. Happy to see that down by the seashore they’ve been cleaning up – there was a humongous pile of seaweed and other sea gunk, considerably taller than YT, (who is about 5’6 – 163 cm if you speak metric) just waiting there for… something. Temps currently –2 degrees. Sunrise was at 10.44 and sunset at 16.34.

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