That’s the Way

John Jacobsen
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

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Earlier post Faults in Ice and Rock southpole

Later post Red Eye to McMurdo southpole

Thursday, Jan. 13 2011 11:37 p.m. UTC

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Figure 1: ARO, antenna, geographic pole marker, and pedestrian

Satellite is up in a few minutes so I’d better prepare today’s post. Been jonesing for a bath the last couple of days. Those 1-2 minute showers every couple of days are getting old.

We have a massive exodus of IceCube drillers leaving in a few minutes (all but one, 21 in all) on today’s passenger flight. Hopefully they won’t get stuck in McMurdo — the C-17 from Christchurch has apparently boomeranged two days in a row due to weather in Mac Town. Or rather two nights in a row, since they are still doing night flights to McMurdo. I feel bad for those people who have had to get up in the middle of the night several days in a row. Unfortunately I too will probably have a night (or early morning) flight to Christchurch in a week, unless the weather gets a lot colder.

I had planned originally to spend some posts explaining what IceCube was and what exactly we’re doing. I guess I haven’t really done that yet. I apologize to any readers who haven’t already heard me babble at length about neutrinos in person; this may seem to you like an even more random and strange endeavor than it already is. A detailed description of our tasks here right now would probably be too technical anyways. But a simple explanation that might suffice for now is that we are testing the new equipment installed this year, both deep in the ice (the final seven “strings” of light sensors, deployed about a mile and a half below the surface), and the new computers in the IceCube Lab on the surface, and, most crucially, getting everything to talk to each other and perform the initial checks that everything is working OK. After we leave, two winter-over scientists will remain behind to run the experiment throughout the Austral Winter, supported by a scrum of experts in the North who will reach down over the satellite, perform periodic calibrations and software upgrades, and generally help if/when things break from time to time.

I had expected to use some of my time here to beat down my backlog of features to add and bugs to fix in my primary project (“IceCube Live,” a server used to control the experiment and a Web site used to monitor it). I have done some of that, but in reality most of my time has been spent helping other people here… which, I suppose, is really how it should be.

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Figure 2: Evening game of nine-ball

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Figure 3: Everybody at lunch

Favorite tunes/bands heard in the galley here:

  • Kruder and Dorfmeister’s K&D Sessions
  • Tom Waits, intro song from “Down by Law”
  • Led Zeppelin, “That’s the Way”
  • Sufjian Stephens, “Come On Feel the Illinois(e)” (I miss Chicago! Not to mention hot baths…….)

Earlier post Faults in Ice and Rock southpole

Later post Red Eye to McMurdo southpole

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