Chasing the Sun

John Jacobsen
Sunday, January 2, 2011

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Earlier post Downhole southpole

Later post Bardo southpole

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Happy New Year to everyone from the skies somewhere over the western USA, en route to LAX. This is my ninth and probably final trip to the Geographic South Pole, and if you’re reading this you probably know me and know I’ve been preparing for this trip off and on for a number of months (and, in some ways, for decades — more on that later). Now I am finally under way, and I’m relieved to be launched and finally headed towards whatever this journey will bring.

I have done some writing and some photography on every trip, and published writing or photos in some form during most of them — in some cases just emails to friends and family; more recently, in blogs. There are a few reasons for doing this, not the least of which is to let loved ones know where I am and that I’m safe. I also find that the writing process helps me to capture, absorb and explore the experience of going somewhere few people get to go. But it is also an opportunity to give some of that experience back to all the people who have contributed (at least in the form of tax dollars) to support me and my colleagues in the US Antarctic Program.

This Year’s Blog

My intention is to post photos and text here every day for the next 28 days or so. My entries may therefore be briefer than they have been in past years. I will try to cover some of the the basics of the trip (why go; logistics; etc.). I also may indulge in personal musings on the whole process and about the overall experience over the past fourteen years. Finally, I want to invite you to contact me and let me know if there is anything you would like me to explain, describe, etc.

Special Goals

In previous years I have tried to enumerate certain personal goals or projects in advance (in addition to objectives for work, obviously). These goals have been things like workouts, regular mindfulness meditation practice, art projects, places to see, books to read, etc. I have supplies along for all those things, but for this year I would like to set one goal, which is to be as awake as possible to the entire experience as I can. This may mean fewer activities than in past years, (or shorter blog posts, except for this one!); but this is probably my last trip down here and I’d rather enjoy the things that come along of their own accord than to try to chase around to see or do everything I missed on previous trips (or re-do things I’ve already done).

Why Is This The Last Trip?

Many people have asked why this is the last trip (and have pointed out that I’ve said that every trip would be the last). This year truly is different in that this is the last construction season for the IceCube project — we have deployed the final of 86 strings just a few weeks ago, and when these seven latest strings are brought online, the detector (already operational in limited forms since 2005) will be complete, so there will be very little need to send people like myself in future years (of course who knows about future projects, etc. — but really, folks, this probably is the last time for me).

How to Get Updates

Some people have asked how they can get notified when the blog is updated. I would prefer not to spam people’s inboxes with notifications, since I don’t know who really wants to get a daily update and who would rather not. So, there are a few ways which should all work well:

  1. Just visit http://johnj.com/ and look at the Recently Updated links;
  2. Subscribe to the RSS feed for this site (use Google Reader or other blog reading software);
  3. Follow me as “eigenhombre” on Twitter
  4. If we are Facebook friends, follow my status updates;
  5. If you want just the photos, they will be posted on Flickr, possibly a day or so before a subset of the pictures make it to the blog. There is an RSS feed for just the photos, as well.
  6. If you really want an email notification, there are free services on the Web that will notify you when an RSS feed is updated, so please use one of those.

If you think of someone who would be interested in the blog and who I am not in contact with on Facebook or Twitter, please do forward them the link to the blog.

Many thanks, and a fruitful, peaceful and prosperous 2011 to all.

Earlier post Downhole southpole

Later post Bardo southpole

Blog Posts (140)


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Reflections on a Year of Daily Memory Drawings art

Repainting art

Daily Memory Drawings art

Questions to Ask art

Macro-writing Macros code clojure

Lazy Physics code clojure

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

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

ISO50 southpole 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

Settling In southpole

Revolution Number Nine southpole

Red Eye to McMurdo southpole

Faults in Ice and Rock southpole

Bardo southpole

Downhole southpole

Coming Out of Hibernation southpole

Managing the Most Remote Data Center in the World code southpole

Photoshop on a Dime art

Man on Wire misc

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

Passing Notes southpole

Translation southpole

The Usual Delays southpole

RNZAF 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

Midrats southpole

IceCube and The Beatles southpole

Video: Flight to South Pole southpole

The Pure Land southpole

Almost There southpole

There are no mice in the Hotel California Bunkroom southpole

Short Timer southpole

Sleepy in MacTown southpole

Superposition of Luggage States southpole

Sir Ed southpole

Shortcut to Toast southpole

Pynchon, Redux 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

Nope southpole

First Delay southpole

Batteries and Sheep southpole

All for McNaught southpole

The Big (Really really big…) Picture southpole

t=0 southpole

Giacometti southpole

Descent southpole

Video Tour southpole

How to subscribe to blog updates southpole

What The Blog is For southpole

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