Posit

A Stroke of Innovation

Our name may be changing, but our commitment to helping data scientists use open source software to ask and answer important questions remains the same.

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01

Transforming Iceland

When you think of Iceland you imagine dramatic landscapes, the northern lights, and the Blue Lagoon. The ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ is home to natural beauty, yes, but it also has some of the top thinkers in science, environmental issues, and economics. In the capital city of Reykjavík, scientists are using data to impact the lives of citizens in many ways, including their swimming pool culture.<br /> <br /> We sat down with Chief Data Officer Óli Páll Geirsson and his team in Reykjavík to learn more about their impact and how they’re using data science to better the lives of the citizens of their city. Reykjavík is transforming. Socially. Politically. Technologically. Important things are happening here. Óli’s contribution to this journey started two years ago.

portrait of Óli Páll Geirsson
Text: Population Iceland 366,425; Reykjavîk 122, 853; Rest of Iceland 243,572; 50 km, 50 mi; Sources: World Bank, United Nations

02

Life in Iceland

“It can be harsh like a lunar landscape, but it can also be vivid and green. I have these moments when I’m biking to work and it’s dark. I can see the stars and I can see the moon. What a moment. I’m experiencing this moment as part of the universe. I can see the universe at its deepest.”

landscape image of Iceland oceanfront terrain
landscape image of Iceland terrain
landscape image of Iceland terrain

03

Social Swimming

So what does one do on an arctic island where the winters are long and the summers are short? The obvious answer: pools.<br /> <br /> Not the kind that you’re thinking of – dirty, chlorine-filled tubs of water in uninspiring places. Pools in Iceland are beautiful. Therapeutic, hot bodies of water set against dramatic landscapes. They’re powered by geothermal energy, the result of Iceland’s convenient location on two tectonic plates.<br /> <br /> Natural water in Iceland doesn’t need to be heated. It’s pumped out of the ground already at 80 degrees Celsius, or 176 degrees Fahrenheit. Pools are what people in Iceland do. It’s where they start their days, end their days, catch up with their fellow citizens.

people soaking in a geothermic pool in Iceland

04

Deep Culture

In the winter months, sunset is only 4 hours after sunrise. 2 hours in some northerly towns. A consequence of this is vitamin D deficiency. Thermal pools offer a solution to this challenge. Icelanders, even on the coldest, darkest days, can go to the pool and strip themselves of their clothes, exposing their skin to what little sunlight is available. The hot water protects them from the freezing wind.

people soaking in a geothermic pool in Iceland
people soaking in a geothermic pool in Iceland

Turning tough questions into meaningful impact

So what does one do on an arctic island where the winters are long and the summers are short? The obvious answer: pools.<br /> <br /> Not the kind that you’re thinking of – dirty, chlorine-filled tubs of water in uninspiring places. Pools in Iceland are beautiful. Therapeutic, hot bodies of water set against dramatic landscapes. They’re powered by geothermal energy, the result of Iceland’s convenient location on two tectonic plates.<br /> <br /> Natural water in Iceland doesn’t need to be heated. It’s pumped out of the ground already at 80 degrees Celsius, or 176 degrees Fahrenheit. Pools are what people in Iceland do. It’s where they start their days, end their days, catch up with their fellow citizens.

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