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3 December, 2002

3 December, 2002

A blank day, in most senses. Up early to make the load-out at the bagdrag building up the hill. Snowing lightly. Climb up to a cab that started above my head, in a vehicle called a Delta, for a ride out to the sea ice runway. Cab is full of sleepy pole-bound travellers, and graffitti finger-drawn in the deep grime. 20 minute ride out. Highlight: two Weddell seals (dark mama & big lighter furred baby?) wriggling off the roadway.

OK, we've got a hold. Sit tight in the galley, and if you need to use the bathroom, it's in the second building over. So we sat tight, and talked physics. Christian Spiering, the pre-eminent German physicist, showed us pictures from a Russian-led neutrino experiment built in Lake Baikal that he's been working on, and walked through a very nice power point lecture on the current state of neutrino astronomy. It helped a bit that he intimately knew each of the current experiments, the people and the successes and shortcomings.

In the meantime, the weather really descended. Out the window, it was hard to see the next building, 50 feet away. I was thirsty, and drank a liter of water in an hour and a half, and just as I was getting up to brave the elements, we were rounded up for the drive back to McMurdo, before the weather went from condition 2 (bad) to condition 1 (total whiteout, nothing moves). So I got back in the Delta. Air Force guys spent the whole way talking about their various trainings getting dumped into ocean water blindfolded and under a parachute, and what they'd do if the Delta broke through the sea ice. The ride back took twice as long as the out ride, and the talk and my full bladder.Well, it was a long morning of no progress. If we get to pole tomorrow, that's a week from Christchurch. Yow.

Computer work the rest of the afternoon, report back at 3. No. Go back and "Stay in touch." I had girlfriends that told me that, at the end of the last conversation we had together. And so it was. Flight postponed until 5, then cancelled at 5 until tomorrow. The planes can't stay at the pole, and they have to come back to McMurdo, so it's not only, "Is the weather OK right now?" but, "Will the weather be OK 5 hours from now ?"

Finished the SONIC FUEL TANK video from the cool tank Phillipe & I found yesterday and posted it on the web site. It sounds great.

And we finished the French version of the AMANDA movie, and Christian is translating into Russian. See, the devil makes work for idle hands. Especially in a whiteout.

A painting which illuminates the galley. The National Science Foundation brings artists, writers, and musicians to Antarctica, and I like that. It's a beautiful place with a strong, stark aesthetic, and more people need to have the opportunity to know it. Visit ? No, but experience through art or music, yes.

The clock in the galley in Building 155. All roads point north.

This is a tricked out McMurdo ice van. These traction wheels are available at the McMurdo Pep Boys :)

This sundial is parcticularly attractive in this very functional place. The gnomon (center stick) points almost vertical. Do you know why ?

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