Passing Notes


John Jacobsen
Thursday, January 22, 2009

Home Other Posts

Earlier post Translation southpole

Later post Tourists southpole


Figure 1: My room in the A4 wing of the Elevated Station

Been here about 58 hours so far and the reason I am counting in hours instead of days is that my sense of days is pretty shot. I have a screwy sleep routine: 10 hours awake, 3 hours asleep. Lather, rinse repeat. I am trying to be up at night (we keep New Zealand time here) for the satellite hours but usually that entails a long nap in the middle, which curtails my sleep during the day. I’ll figure it out.

Despite the goofy schedule and the altitude, last night I felt well enough to walk with Dave out to drill camp and watch the nineteenth and final IceCube string deployment. Being outside reminded me of how beautiful it is here and how hard that is to see until you are actually out in it, seeing the changing sky, the sastrugi, the myriad structures scattered about the snow, structures which do not qualify as architecture but are solely and completely engineering.


Figure 2: Ryan takes a well depth measurement during deployment.

Seeing the last deployment was a real pleasure, partly because I didn’t have to work it — I was a tourist, a real treat after having worked on perhaps a dozen or so deployments myself. It was also sweet because the drilling and deployment went so well this year… and also bittersweet, perhaps, because it was the last deployment I’m likely to see. I took photos and some video which I will post as soon as I can.


Figure 3: Heading back from the Dark Sector

Around midnight we decided to head back. A bunch of the drillers were driving back in the “Ford Gran Neutrino” (the modified van which IceCube uses to shuttle back and forth to the Dark Sector), and Dave and I squeezed in. After we crossed the skiway, the van stopped and the drillers started discussing the expedition which was camped near the station. A small handful of jacked-up and modified Toyota trucks have driven here from a Russian base in support of a ski race across Antarctica. It was decided to pay the campers a visit, so we drove the van over there and piled out, admired their trucks, and started talking with a member of the expedition.

Apparently about 300 people have skied, walked, or driven to South Pole this Summer. These people live in a sort of parallel universe which is disconnected with that of the station. They are allowed a cup of coffee inside and not much else; and few people walk over to their makeshift camps near the Pole marker. So it was a treat to talk to this fellow who has had a pretty different experience in Antarctica. After a few minutes of conversation he pointed to Sven and said, “Hey, you’re Sven!” Then he handed him a note written on a scrap of paper from a case of beer. It was given to him by a member of yet another expedition which he encountered during his trip, to give to Sven at the South Pole! We all laughed. Even though it is nearly as empty as Mars (i.e. nearly zero people per square kilometer), Antarctica is a small place!


Figure 4: Sven greets an expeditioner

After delicious burgers at Midrats, we started work. There is ever so much to do and I am starting to get acclimated enough to be able to focus on it. The task at hand is to connect the nineteen new IceCube strings to the rest of the detector, and to calibrate them to prepare for the new physics run starting April 1. Also to carry out a variety of software upgrades and make sure everything works correctly. Also, to report progress to the north and to coordinate all the activities to minimize conflicts.


Figure 5: Watching the Obama Inauguration

This evening, after another short sleep, we watched highlights of the Obama inauguration, hand-carried on a DVD on today’s flight. (The CBS news clips carried over the Armed Forces network carried the word “Live!” at lower right, which was certainly ironic in this setting, days after the fact.) It was pretty amazing to see our Hyde Park neighbor take the oath for the Oval Office.


Figure 6: A solemn moment

Now for a first foray to the gym, and to start into work again.

Earlier post Translation southpole

Later post Tourists southpole

Blog Posts (170)

Select from below, view all posts, or choose only posts for:art clojure code emacs lisp misc orgmode physics python ruby sketchup southpole writing


From Elegance to Speed code lisp clojure physics

Common Lisp How-Tos code lisp

Implementing Scheme in Python code python lisp

A Daily Journal in Org Mode writing code emacs

Show at Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center art

Color Notations art

Painting and Time art

Learning Muscular Anatomy code clojure art emacs orgmode

Reflections on a Year of Daily Memory Drawings art

Repainting art

Daily Memory Drawings art

Questions to Ask art

Macro-writing Macros code clojure

Time Limits art

Lazy Physics code clojure physics

Fun with Instaparse code clojure

Nucleotide Repetition Lengths code clojure

Updating the Genome Decoder code clojure

Getting Our Hands Dirty (with the Human Genome) code clojure

Validating the Genome Decoder code clojure

A Two Bit Decoder code clojure

Exploratory Genomics with Clojure code clojure

Rosalind Problems in Clojure code clojure

Introduction to Context Managers in Python code python

Processes vs. Threads for Integration Testing code python

Resources for Learning Clojure code clojure

Continuous Testing in Python, Clojure and Blub code clojure python

Programming Languages code clojure python

Milvans and Container Malls southpole

Oxygen southpole

Ghost southpole

Turkey, Stuffing, Eclipse southpole

Wind Storm and Moon Dust southpole

Shower Instructions southpole

Fresh Air and Bananas southpole

Traveller and the Human Chain southpole

Reveille southpole

Drifts southpole

Bon Voyage southpole

A Nicer Guy? southpole

The Quiet Earth southpole

Ten southpole

The Wheel art

Plein Air art

ISO50 southpole art

SketchUp and MakeHuman sketchup art

In Defense of Hobbies misc code art

Closure southpole

Takeoff southpole

Mummification southpole

Eleventh Hour southpole

Diamond southpole

Baby, It's Cold Outside southpole

Fruition southpole

Friendly Radiation southpole

A Place That Wants You Dead southpole

Marathon southpole

Deep Fried Macaroni and Cheese Balls southpole

Retrograde southpole

Three southpole

Transitions southpole

The Future southpole

Sunday southpole

Radio Waves southpole

Settling In southpole

Revolution Number Nine southpole

Red Eye to McMurdo southpole

That's the Way southpole

Faults in Ice and Rock southpole

Bardo southpole

Chasing the Sun southpole

Downhole southpole

Coming Out of Hibernation southpole

Managing the Most Remote Data Center in the World code southpole

Ruby Plugins for Sketchup art sketchup ruby code

The Cruel Stranger misc

Photoshop on a Dime art

Man on Wire misc

Videos southpole

Posing Rigs art

Metric art

Cuba southpole

Wickets southpole

Safe southpole

Broken Glasses southpole

End of the Second Act southpole

Pigs and Fish southpole

Last Arrivals southpole

Lily White southpole

In a Dry and Waterless Place southpole

Immortality southpole

Routine southpole

Tourists southpole

Translation southpole

RNZAF southpole

The Usual Delays southpole

CHC southpole

Wyeth on Another Planet art

Detox southpole

Packing southpole

Nails southpole

Gearing Up southpole

Gouache, and a new system for conquering the world art

Fall 2008 HPAC Studies art

YABP (Yet Another Blog Platform) southpole

A Bath southpole

Green Marathon southpole

Sprung southpole

Outta Here southpole

Lame Duck DAQer southpole

Eclipse Town southpole

One More Week southpole

IceCube Laboratory Video Tour; Midrats Finale southpole

SPIFF, Party, Shift Change southpole

Good things come in threes, or 18s southpole

Sleepless in the Station southpole

Post Deploy southpole

IceCube and The Beatles southpole

Midrats southpole

Video: Flight to South Pole southpole

Almost There southpole

The Pure Land southpole

There are no mice in the Hotel California Bunkroom southpole

Short Timer southpole

Sleepy in MacTown southpole

Sir Ed southpole

Pynchon, Redux southpole

Superposition of Luggage States southpole

Shortcut to Toast southpole

Flights: Round 1 southpole

Packing for the Pole southpole

Goals for Trip southpole

Balaklavas southpole

Tree and Man (Test Post) southpole

Schedule southpole

How to mail stuff to John at the South Pole southpole

Summer and Winter southpole

Homeward Bound southpole

Redeployment southpole

Short-timer southpole

The Cleanest Air in the World southpole

One more day (?) southpole

One more week (?) southpole

Closing Softly southpole

More Photos southpole

Super Bowl Wednesday southpole

Night Owls southpole

First Week southpole

More Ice Pix southpole

Settling In southpole

NPX southpole

Pole Bound southpole

Bad Dirt southpole

The Last Laugh southpole

First Delay southpole

Nope southpole

Batteries and Sheep southpole

All for McNaught southpole

t=0 southpole

The Big (Really really big...) Picture southpole

Giacometti southpole

Descent southpole

Video Tour southpole

How to subscribe to blog updates southpole

What The Blog is For southpole

Auckland southpole

Halfway Around the World; Dragging the Soul Behind southpole

Launched southpole

Getting Ready (t minus 2 days) southpole


Subscribe: RSS feed ... all topics ... or Clojure only / Lisp only