Lame Duck DAQer

John Jacobsen
Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Home All Posts

Earlier post Eclipse Town southpole

Later post Outta Here southpole

2222729403_44f6aa2c66_o.jpg

Figure 1: IceCube party in Summer Camp

“Tengo get el f— out of aqui,” a young Kit Traverse mutters to himself under his breath while studying vector mathematics at Yale in Thomas Pynchon’s “Against the Day.” The phrase keeps rattling around my head as the hours count down to our straight-through flight to Christchurch the day after tomorrow. My eyes are tired, my brain is fried after 30 days with hardly half a day off, and my stomach has just about had it with the food here. I have hit my wall and, while I will do a bit of work tomorrow, mostly the day will be about packing, enjoying the surroundings and taking it easy.

Oddly enough, the work has also hit its own wall. The DAQ software which worked rather smoothly throughout a month of tests finally met its match when trying to read out all forty IceCube strings. I believe the situation is very workable, but a days’ worth of debugging didn’t uncover an easy fix. Still, we are at least a week or two ahead of our original schedule. I find it ironic, though, that the last test (and most important, at least psychologically) would be the one to give us trouble. At any rate, we have a month to find a solution, which still puts us light years ahead of where we were last year (where we were putting the code together with spit and duct tape at the last minute before the last flight of the season came to yank us off-station).

As things wind down I want to check in with some of my other goals for the trip.

Complete and abject failures

  • Regular drawing practice. I filled maybe three pages of drawings the whole month.
  • Skiing to the “love shack” at the end of the skiway. I didn’t make it there, it just seemed too darn cold to get my rear in gear and do it.
  • Pynchon’s “V” - I made it a good 150 pages or so but the book is staying here in the library, as I promised myself. “Against the Day” and “The Lord of the Rings” in audiobook form wound up being my fiction fixes.

Qualified successes

  • Kept to a meditation practice perhaps 3/4 of the days here.

Exceeded expectations

  • Ran almost every day, and made it up to nearly 5 miles. Beat my previous South Pole/high altitude mile record of 8:47 by a whole minute. Lifted weights and stretched. Physically this was an enormously helpful antidote against long hours at the computer, and cabin fever.
  • Work-wise I managed to meet not only most or all of my planned goals but also got a chunk of work in on a new project which will likely occupy a lot of my time this year. Also strengthened work relationships and managed to help several other people with their projects.

Unexpected surprises

  • The eclipse was a lovely natural and communal event.
  • Going out on the deck at random times without bundling up (in shorts even) and enjoying the electric chill and the stark blazing white ocean of ice for a few moments before taking refuge back in the warmth and chemical smells of the station.

It’s getting past bedtime - 8:40 PM and I am still up. I’m more or less on New Zealand days now. But just like this place is somehow like no-where, it is also somehow no-time: no night; arbitrary New Zealand time zone; shifting sleep schedules; and having to be aware of at least five different time zones (I regularly do time zone calculations in my head for all US time zones as well as Greenwich, England, which is the standard scientific/astronomical time base known as UTC).

At any rate, it is time for bed – this much is clear. Until tomorrow…

Earlier post Eclipse Town southpole

Later post Outta Here southpole

Blog Posts (140)


Home

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

Chasing the Sun 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

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

Home