Midrats

John Jacobsen
Saturday, January 19, 2008

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Earlier post IceCube and The Beatles southpole

Later post Post Deploy southpole

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1/18/08 2350h NZT

A quick update, since it’s been a few days.

It’s just before Midrats (the midnight meal) here, which would be lunch for me. Some skiers just arrived at the Pole, from God knows what coastal part of Antarctica. From the desk where I’m sitting I can stand up and see the actual geographic pole just a hundred yards or so away.

Things are going pretty well. I’m gradually getting synced to the night shift schedule, and am pretty well acclimated, aside from dry skin and occasionally having to catch my breath. I’m up to over 2 miles on the treadmill, most of it running, and managed to sleep 6 hours today, a record since I arrived.

I’m a little embarrassed to say I haven’t been outside except to take a few pictures… and to learn how to drive a snowmobile. Several of us took a safety class down at the Garage Arch after one ‘Cuber got slightly injured in a snowmobile accident. The instruction boiled down to learning various ways to start the thing, what the speed limits are, what terrain to look for, and safety around heavy machinery. I don’t anticipate driving around much but it’s actually a good survival skill to have down here.

Work is going well, and is actually a bit slow at the moment since we are waiting for strings to freeze in before I can do all the tests that are planned. I’m actually stuck at the South Pole waiting for water to freeze – go figure. In truth I have plenty of work to do and am using the gaps to catch up on work I would have to do in the North if I were there. It is a good opportunity to catch up with the pulse of the project and get reacquainted with everyone. I also got a fascinating explanation from Steven Meyer of the other big project down here, the South Pole Telescope (ironically based out of University of Chicago just a few blocks from where I live). They are doing some very cool science. Maybe I’ll try to explain it here in an attempt to understand it better sometime.

The project has drilled 15 holes this year, already a record, with the 16th to deploy in 24 hours or so. If it’s another nighttime deployment (they have mostly been, for some reason) then I will help out on this deployment.

Not too much else to report at the moment, other than that I just posted several photos from the journey here on my Flickr page; I’ll try to post a few every day or so, time permitting.

Earlier post IceCube and The Beatles southpole

Later post Post Deploy southpole

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