Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Mast raising. And economists.

On one of my recent trips, we brought the new Halley doctor, Susanna. The Halley base doctor gets some strange, fueling the plane. She fuels the plane for most trips, because she has to be at the skiway anyway, in order to revive our burned carcasses in the event of a fiery inferno upon takeoff or landing. So she has to sit and watch us go off on adventures, day after day. Until this day, when Mark the pilot said "Get in the plane, you're coming with us." She proved to be a helpful companion on this trip, to a place called HH00.

HH00 is my furthest site from base that has daily radio modem communication. 40km away. Accordingly, I issued a challenge to Rich, my long-time field companion: let's build the tallest antenna we possibly can. Here's our team:

Me, Mark the pilot, Rich the field assistant (i.e. mountaineering/ice expert), and Susanna the doctor.

We began with a 14m antenna. It didn't work. Bent 90 degrees, actually. The pole is 1 inch and hollow, so it's pretty bendy. So, we tried again...

We removed the bent segment and went with a 12m mast. And it worked.

We were all pretty proud of it. Rich was our foreman...and he just came off a night shift, so he did it half-asleep. Not that we could tell. But the mast is transmitting back to base 40 km away at 115 kbps. I could get passable Internet over it if I so chose.

Anyway, that's that - I just got Susanna's pictures so I thought I'd share them (with her permission).

Something else I'd like to share, on a completely different note, is more copyrighted material that I've been chuckling at lately. I've never been a huge Terry Pratchett fan, but in the Halley library I picked up a book he published in 2007 called "Making Money". Very prophetic - it's about a crook who gets in charge of a central bank and switches it to a fiat currency.

The excerpt below is an exchange between the guy in charge, Moist, and the bank's economist, Hubert, who has a mechanical-hydraulic contraption that models the economy. I find it hard to believe that Pratchett wrote this before everything went down the toilet!

"Show me what happens when people get fed up with banks," Moist said.

"Ah, yes, a familiar one! Igor, set up program five!' Hubert shouted to some figure in the forest of glassware. There was the sound of squeaky screws being turned and the glug of reservoirs being topped up.

"Igor?" said Moist. "You have an Igor?"

"Oh, yes," said Hubert, "But don't let that worry you. Just because I'm employing an Igor and working in a cellar doesn't mean I'm some sort of madman, ha ha ha!"

"Ha ha," agreed Moist.

"Ha hah hah!" said Hubert. "Hahahahahaha!! Ahahahahaha

Moist slapped him on the back. Hubert coughed. "Sorry about that, it's the air down here."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Sebringville to Ryan". Ryan, we met at Stratford Farm Market. (I have the elk farm) I also teach high school science and bio. I was visiting with your mom, and she indicated you might be around again near April. If you are and you would consider coming to the high school I teach at, I would love to host you as a speaker on Antarctic. If you are interested please contact me at Looking forward to hearing from you and all continues to go well for yourself and your friends down south!!