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Archive: March 8, 2016

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Iditarod: day 2 ... up the Alaska Range

Tuesday,  03/08/16  09:34 AM

Nicholas Petit and team coming into Finger LakeThis morning we recap Iditarod 2016 day 2, as "the peleton" make their way up the Alaska Range to Rainy Pass.  The leaders have already started down the backside, through the most treacheous sections of the race, Dalzell Gorge, and then Farewall Burn.

[at left, Nicolas Petit and team]


Dallas Seavey and team through Rainy PassLeader Nicholas Petit has nearly made it to Nikolai (#12 on the map below), closely followed by defending champion Dallas Seavey (#16) and his father, four-time champion Mitch Seavey (#19).  Wade Mars, Hugh Neff, Peter Kaiser, perennial contender Aliy Zirkle, and brothers Lance and Jason Mackey complete the top ten.  No surprises so far.  Many of these teams will stop and take their 24-hour rest in Nikolai.

[at right, Dallas Seavey and team]


Dalzell GorgeThe reports are that the Dalzell Gorge is in much better shape this year than it was in 2014, a year when many competitors wiped out there, and more than a few had to drop out afterward.  Plenty of snow and good trails. 

[at left, Dalzell Gorge trail]


Farewell BurnSimilarly for the Farewell Burn, a desolate area in the middle of nowhere where you are surrounded by the ghosts of old trees burned by a fire.

[at right, Farewall Burn...]


sunset into NikolaiRace veterans say if you can make it to Nikolai, you can make it to Nome.  Of course there are still 700 miles to go, long cold stretches along the Yukon River, and icy wind along the coast of Norton Bay.  The possibly of dogs encountering moose.  And the ever-present possibility of bad weather.

[at left, sunset coming into Nikolai]


[The pictures are from the amazing Sebastian Schnuelle, a successful musher in his own right who is following and blogging the race, and taking a bunch of great pictures.  Be sure to follow him on the Iditarod website.]

Onward to Nome!

Iditarod 3/8/16 at 7:49 AST - click to enbiggen
(click to enbiggen amazingly)

[All Iditarod 2016 posts]



Tuesday,  03/08/16  09:44 AM

return ... to zeroHa ... did I say I had recovered from my cold?  Kidding.  Precelebration is the root of all failure.  Anyway, yesterday was one of those days; I spent the whole day refactoring some code to make it better, only to realize at the end that it was not actually better.  This morning I'm back to the code as it was on the weekend.  Sigh.  I have been enjoying the Iditarod so far, as always (go DeeDee!), and am now deep into the mysteries of SVG ... and making a filter pass.

So this is cool: MIT scientists stunned by scalable quantum computer.  Apparently they have now made five "qubits".  I remain skeptical about quantum computing, but then, Einstein was skeptical about quantum mechanics, too.  Worth watching.

Apropos: this McKinsey report (!): the growing potential of quantum computing.

Not all research is equally cool: this paper appears to imply glaciers have gender.  Wow, that's about all I can say.  You almost think this must be a hoax, but then you realize, as a hoax it would be too obvious.

ice fishing in Astana, KazakhstanHere we have Ice fishing in one of the world's coldest cities (Astana, Kazakhstan).  I've been to Astana, but fortunately it was in Spring.  Astana is not only the coldest capital city in the world ... it is also one of the warmest.  I guess the weather in the Kazahkstanian steppes is ... variable.  A good place to be a climatologist!  (of any gender :)

Brad Feld with an interesting rumination: No one gets out of this alive.  (Where by "this" he means "life".)  "While I fantasize about the singularity and hope I live long enough to have my consciousness uploaded into something that allows me to continue to engage indefinitely, even if it’s a simulation of mortality, I accept the reality that life is finite.So far ... :)

3D TV ... makes a comeback, this time without the funky glassesThe glasses-free technology that made me believe in 3D TV again.  The human factor here is pretty important.  After watching Avatar I was convinced 3D would take over, but it hasn't, not even in movies, and I think that's because of the glasses.  The same problem that will afflict VR.

Leam Motion's VR controllerSpeaking of VR: Leap Motion's Minority Report -style gesture controller gets smarter, faster, and more accurate.  This is way cool, the input side of the VR equation is just as important as the output side.

Oblong's Mezzanine in medicine: Mercy Virtual Care centerAnd more speaking of VR (and more Brad Feld): Mercy Hospital virtual care center supported by Oblong.  Remote healthcare is one of the most compelling applications for AR/VR, removing the barriers of space and time to bring expertise to people who need it.  Oblong was founded by the people who made Minority Report, and began as a company making gesture controllers; their Mezzanine product now drives rooms with the walls covered in monitors, and supports wands as well as gloves.  Much better for business and medical settings where people are not going to wear goggles or gloves.

NASA tech: cordless vacuums and so much moreAll of which goes to show, you need more NASA technology in your life.  A nicely done post on the NASA tumblr which shows off some of the tech developed for space which later made it into our lives (and no, Tang is not included :)  I think the ongoing research on human bodies and how they are affected by space is some of their most important work.

NASA also do a lot of research on Solar storms...

solar flare!


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