Monday, November 30, 2009

Sunlight for 2.43% of the Month of November

Technically the sun set today before three in the afternoon. I say technically because while the sun might technically be up, it doesn’t mean I saw it. Not because I spend the majority of my day inside staring at a computer screen, but because clouds managed to hide it. Almost for the entire month of November. I am not immune to hyperbole, but I am serious. The sun was absent for nearly the entire month of November.

Turns out the average amount of November sunlight in Sweden is 54 hours. That’s not a whole lot considering there are 30 days. However, it is more than two full days of sunlight. This month though was well below average. Depending on your sources, I was privy to 17.5 hours of sunlight, or 14 hours of sunlight. Either way, that is less than 24 hours of sunlight. That is less than one full day of sunlight.

The month of November has a total of 720 hours in it. Let’s be generous and say that there was actually 17.5 hours of sunlight. That means there were 1050 minutes of sunlight. That means an average of 35 minutes of sunlight every day. Only 2.43% of the month of November saw sunlight. Which means Stockholmers were without sun for 97.57% of the month. 97.57%.

Let’s put that into perspective. 97.57% is an A+ in nearly all measures of grading scales. 98% is the rate of effectiveness if you were to use a condom perfectly. 97.2% of Argentineans over the age of 15 can read and write. 98% of Antarctica is ice. And 97.57% of the population masturbates. The other 2.43% are liars. That’s not true; I stole that from my high school history teacher. But you get the idea.

I wrote a couple of posts this month about homesickness and about creative Swedish winter advertising. Clearly my subconscious was at work wanting to either go home to Colorado and at sunlight that numbers in the days not hours, or sit in front of a billboard giving off artificial light. Instead my skin is more pale than usual, at least the skin that can be seen through my hair. My golden locks are darker than ever. And I am seriously questioning the mental stability of anyone who willingly moves to Sweden. Myself included. Did I mention that the sun shone for less than 18 hours over the course of 30 days?

Welcome to Sweden. But not really.

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  1. I think you are on some BS about condom functionality!

  2. My mom is constantly telling me about how nice the weather is back in North Carolina. Like I need her to remind me that November is extremely cold if it drops below 50F (10C) I just keep telling myself that summer is coming (summer is coming, summer is coming). And light lots of candles. And try to avoid windows during the day. (summer is coming, summer is coming...)

  3. Well, on the other hand, at least Swedes don't face the same skin cancer risks as, say, people in Florida or California =P


  4. I hear ya Hairy. This really freakn' sucks. I couldn't believe how early the sun started going down today. Sooo depressing...

  5. Well just come and visit Luleå (918 km north of Stockholm) for a week or so. Stockholm will feel like paradise afterwards!

    Today it's been pitch black outside with a constant rain of sleet pouring down from the sky.

    But hell, I don't complain. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger! Right? Right!? RIGHT?!


    - Simon

  6. That's depressing. Sounds like a sunny vacation is in order.

    Last year I read an article about masturbation with that same joke...except it suggested that masturbation probably isn't quite that common. Or maybe the percentage of liars is just higher.

  7. Yeah, it's kind of tough. I think even the most positive person out there might get affected by this lack of light.. Oh, well, they compensate in the summertime!

  8. I hope you are taking a vitamen D supplement!

  9. @anonymous – indeed.

    @anonymous – I’m not really sure what that means. Either way, I’m standing by my statistics.

    @Shawna – summer is coming is my morning mantra.

    @anonymous – oooh, the silver lining. I like it.

    @SwedishJenn – I think I might be able to handle the early a bit better if it came out some during the day.

    @anonymous – Simon... I don’t even know what to say. Im sorry. I think you need a hug.

    @E – Agreed. And are you trying to tell me that I had a high school teacher that may have been recycling jokes? Or that the article writer stole the joke form my high school teacher. I think that is the more likely scenario.

    @Hermione – thats true... they do great work during the summer. But in November, June seems very far away.

    @mamma – nope. Just eating some yogurt.

  10. Ok, so November is officially the worst month of the year in Sweden, but now that we've survived it I really don't think the darkness itself is so bad. It's the fact that one's tired all the time because someone turned the light out (think "varför blev det kväller?" from Ronja) that's the worst part. At least for me. In most other aspects I find the darkness cozy. But Hairy - please tell me you use a (or better yet - severeal) reflectors?!

  11. Clouds, condoms of the sky, shielding us from sun light...

    on a serious note.
    i moved from Calgary, one of the coldest places to live in--> -55 C on average during the winter; yet we get more sunlight than sweden. its depressing and extremely confusing.

    i haven't seen the sun in 2 weeks.

    btw hairy, way to prove that your good at math!!! ;) 10 points!

  12. High-quality-brand condoms have a 100% effectiveness rate if used properly.

  13. Man, I am just with you all the way. I was running a couple of weeks ago and suddenly, the sun came. I was like a bear after winter. I ran, bliking up to a rock, rolled up my sleeves, took off my gloves, and stood with my face in the sun. The old people walking there dogs looked at me and laughed. They knew I wasn't one of them. It was only about 10 min of shining, but hey, I had a high that lasted like 2 days. I totally get sun worshippers.

  14. Hej, I saw the sun today... December might be a good month :)

  15. @Jessy - I wouldn't count on it... December is the darkest month of the year. If you don't like overcast all day, how are you going to like pitch black darkness?

    Sorry, didn't mean to break your spirit, just being realistic here...

  16. @Robbin. I beg to differ. I am pretty sure you did mean to break his spirit. And enjoyed it.

  17. @m8surf
    ROFL! i agree, i think he really wanted to pop that almost floating bubble

    @ Jessy and Robbin

    honestly, i prefer the darkness in December because at least its blue, like the night sky during summer, not similar to November's depressing, Gray storm cloud that you feel 'almost' hovers on top of your head...

    is it me who noticed that it started frosting and snowing yesterday(the 1st of December)???

    dear god, even the weather is on schedule here. fascinating!

  18. @m8surf - That was just mean... Just because I'm evil doesn't mean I like to hear it from other people... Btw, my name is Robban, not Robbin!

    @LostinTranslation...Literally (did I get that right?) - Well, I guess you're right and at least there's Lucia, Christmas and New Year's eve to light the darkness, that is December, up.

  19. I just can't even fathom the sun not coming up for one day...much less an entire month. That has to be the worst thing about Sweden. I hope the winter goes by quickly for you.

  20. Welcome to Scandinavia ;)

  21. Perhaps now you will understand Ingmar Bergman lol ;)

  22. @terander – I use no reflectors. Instead I wear bright orange gloves and a bright orange hat. And hope that my sunny personality will keep the cars away from me.

    Plus the reflector I had fell off last winter and then, who knew, winter came again and I was unprepared.

    @duaa – two weeks. Wow. Im sorry. I dont know why Im apologizing but Im still sorry.

    @anonymous – I respectively disagree. Pretty sure every solid study of any sort of birth control shows that they all have fallacies (to a lesser extent). And that 98% is the generally accepted number for condoms.

    @m8 – the first sun worshippers actually emigrated from sweden. Little known fact. You can look it up. But not yet. Check my facts tomorrow.

    @Jessy – its started out nice so far!

    @Robban – thats just the lack of sun talking.

    @m8 – lets be nice. Robban is also suffering from a lack of sun.

    @Lost in translation – frost and sunlight. Thats hard to beat for a first of december.

    @Robban – hi.

    @mama – actually now that we’re in december Im just hoping for some snow. Thats all I ask for.

    @Karl – seriously. It all makes sense now.

  23. November really is notorious for its suicide rate in Nordic countries. Darkness really gets to you, doesn't it? It seems I was really lucky to visit Stockholm in 21st of Nov because it was sunny for the most of the day!

  24. Your theory about Robban might make sense if it were only a winter phenomenon. I was thinking it was due to poor circulation in his lower extremities (in light of his passionate defense of tight pants and fondness for the moose knuckle). But don't listen to me. I'm still disappointed that he never posted a picture.

  25. @Hairy Swede - I hope you're right. Hopefully December will beat November by a percent or two.

    @E - Just stop it! God! This is like dagis all over again!

  26. @E - And no, I don't wanna talk about it!

  27. Robban - I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about. Nevertheless, I'm sorry. Forgive me?

  28. I saw your Tweet about never taking kids to a Swedish hockey game, now I'm curious as hell! Why?!

  29. That "the first sun worshippers actually emigrated from Sweden" is not true at all. The end.

  30. @RobbAn - Förlåt. I didn't realize it started that far back. It does explain quite a bit. Maybe if you didn't make all the other kids eat your sandcakes on the playground things would have worked out better...just a thought...

    E- preschool

    But seriously, the first sunworshippers had to be Swedish. I have sort of created my own religion around the sun already. And come Midsommar this year I will totally party like it's 1999. It suddenly makes perfect sense. The most sun all year? WHAT could be more worthwhile to celebrate? Weddings, births of new babies...Nope, Sunshine baby!

  31. Ah. Preschool. Thank you, m8surf. Since preschoolers don't know anything about circulatory issues I won't take exception to Robban's comment.

  32. @smek – youve got good timing then if you managed to get a sunny day in Stockholm.

    @E – oh moose knuckle. It does strange things to people.

    @Robban – I think it might have already beat it. Or at least come close.

    @E – I just wish we could all get along.

    @anonymous – Im pretty sure that Swedes, alcohol, competition, and small children dont mix. At all. Ever.

    @Cyclop – what? How dare you question my assertions.

    @m8 - sounds like a lot of old baggage is coming up from childhood memories.

    @E – At what age would you have taken exception? Third grade age? Fifth? I don’t even remember learning about circulatory issues until at least 6th or 7th.

  33. I was being intentionally obtuse...since I'm pretty sure Robban was calling me childish. But I really don't hold it against him. Sounds like school was I find his disagreeableness rather charming.

    The fact that you even have a general idea of when you learned about circulatory issues is admirable. I must be getting old because I really can't remember those kinds of things about school. People are always doing friend requests on FB and I swear I can't even remember 90% of them. So long ago.... :)

  34. its hell getting old. I should know. half way to fifty. its depressing.

  35. Shut up! I'm halfway to 60 and I'm sure that has to be worse.

  36. thats rough. the big 3-0. a third of the way to 90 even.

  37. 30 never sounded so tragic. Good work.