Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dog Pool

I've been working with Conan, trying to teach him to swim. He loves the water, but just can't get past the sensation that there is no bottom under his feet. I've eased him into deeper water a couple of times, but he doesn't go there voluntarily. I saw a woman with a corgi at the Louisville dog park a few weeks ago. Her dog had a life jacket, and was a swimming fool. I got Conan a similar vest, and it does seem to give him a little more confidence in deep water. This weekend Scott Carpenter pool in Boulder is letting dogs swim free. I went there yesterday with my dad and Conan, and made a little more progress on the swimming lessons. Unfortunately, there really wasn't anywhere in this pool to ease him into deeper water. The shallow end is four feet deep, and the diving part is ten feet. Way over Conan's head. He was sniffing around the deep end, and accidentally fell in. He scrambled back to the edge and I fished him out. He didn't seem too freaked out, but I don't see him doing that sort of thing on purpose any time soon. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bike Trailer for Conan (No Antarctica Content)

Been just pluggin' away working in my cubicle lately, so not a lot of cool Antarctic news to post. I'll be deploying to Mac Town for a couple of weeks around Turkey Day, which will be right during the absolute population maximum. I might be sleeping in a broom closet.

In the meantime, I've been hanging around with Conan a lot while not at work. We go for about a half-mile walk every morning so he can water the fire hydrants and fence posts. Every evening, we go to the dog park after work. The good dog parks are about a twenty minutes drive from the house, so it takes a chunk out of the day, but it's worth it. I try to take him with me everywhere I go on my private time, within reason. I figure he sits in a 10'x20' dog run all day with no stimulation (outside of the occasional deer or squirrel encounter), so I owe him some quality time after work. I'm actually starting to get to know some of the dog park regulars, which makes me feel more at home.  I've been an avid mountain biker for a long time, and just have barely touched my bikes since Conan came along. Hard to mix biking and dogging.

Well, I've found a solution. I found a bike trailer that is specially designed for hauling dogs around! I can load Conan up in the trailer, and ride to the dog park. I thought it might be a little scary for him, so I eased him into the idea. I put together the trailer in the middle of the living room where he could become familiar with it. I offered him a "cookie" (milk bone) inside the new contraption, and let him sniff around. I took it outside and hooked it up to the mountain bike. I unzipped the doors, and drew Conan into it with treats. I zipped him up inside, and agreed with him that this was definitely going to be a fun adventure. The trailer is a little small for Conan, but I think it'll be just right when he learns to poke his head out through the sunroof. Today I just pushed the bike with trailer and Conan in tow around the cart paths in the neighborhood for a half a mile or so. With him in it, it's going to be a load going up hills. The subdivision where I live is close to the Cherry Creek Trail, which runs from near Castle Rock clear down to the middle of downtown Denver. This fall I plan to spend a lot of time out on the bike paths with my little buddy in tow.

National Ice Core Lab

This week I got to tour the National Ice Core Lab at the Federal Center in Denver with about 35 other polar folks. Really interesting stuff-- got to go back in the big freezer and see where they have ice from as far back as Little America 5 in the '50s. We got to ask a lot of questions, and we all learned a lot of cool stuff. For instance, we learned that the NICL has ice samples from the Vostok ice core, which contain frozen lake water from the boundary of the ice sheet and Lake Vostok. That means it has bio-organisms from a lake of liquid water that exists under more than two miles of ice! Maybe I'm an ice geek, but I think that is pretty cool stuff. Speaking of cool, it was about -35F in the warehouse. Same temp in the ice processing room where we saw grad students and technicians sawing, planing, and polishing ice cores to prepare them for experiments. The ice they are working on now is from the WAIS (West Antarctic Ice Sheet) Divide project. Some of the most important global climate research going on now is being conducted on ice samples going through NICL. Scientists can actually plot global temperatures from gas bubbles in the ice cores. By studying oxygen isotopes and dissolved carbon dioxide, they can make a chart of the temperatures on earth for thousands of years.

I'm bummed that I'm only slated to go to the ice for a couple of weeks this austral summer (around Thanksgiving). I'd really like to get closer to the science. See:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rocky Grass, Antarctic Links

Pretty much settled into the Colorado summer, dodging thunderstorms and trying to find a nice, dry dog park. Went to a killer bluegrass festival last weekend-- Rocky Grass up in Lyons. The venue is a grassy meadow next to an icy creek, with a great band shell, and fantastic acoustics. I left my mandolin at home, since it was way too hot to ever leave it in the car, and I didn't have any other cool place to stash it. I met Bill Bussmann, of Old Wave mandolins there. He built my most recent mandolin, and it's a beaut. The festival was great-- Tony Rice cancelled, so David Grisman and some friends showed up unexpectedly. Quite a jam.

I've settled my plans to deploy to the ice this austral summer-- I'll be going down in the middle of November, and staying for a couple of weeks. I'll be sure and post an account of my mini-summer. In the meantime, here are a couple of links relating to the ice. Here's the Palmer station manager on Jeopardy: . Here's an article about a recent recipient of an NSF Artists and Writers grant: