Not one, but two.  Life changes quickly...



So yeah, yeah, it's been years since I posted a blog, but whatever.. life's crazy as a grad student.  This last semester was pretty stressful and I always had something 'more important' to do than compose a post.  Plus, I got tasked with updating the project blog, and nothing makes an activity more undesirable than requirement. 

I'm here in Europe for an ASLO conference and we decided to stop in a little early and check out Barcelona for a few days.  It's great here.  Wine is cheap, food is good, and people are generally friendly.  We have done some touristy things, avoided some touristy things, and generally found time to relax and enjoy the ourselves while NOT WORKING.  Okay, we did a little work. 

I've got some good photos, but I haven't uploaded many yet.  We will have a better internet connection when we arrive in France tomorrow.  I'll get them up then. 

Off to Nice and the land of frogs! 


Eff-ing gorgeous!

We are sampling here at our southernmost station, and we are pretty much
iced in (nothing we can't break out of, don't worry). The ice really makes
for a surreal and utterly amazing landscape. I might as well be on the
moon. The sun also barely peeks above the horizon, so the light, when it's
around, is that warm diffuse light of sunrise/set. I wish I had the
bandwidth to post some photos here, but check the NCSU blog (linked at the
top right) which should have some photos up in a few days.

A downside, though, is that it's butt cold outside. It's been a steady
-11*C and most of our sampling equipment freezes up within minutes of
setting it on deck. Sounds weird, but I actually like this little
hardship... makes the fact that I'm in Antarctica that much more real. I'm
lovin it!!


Sea Ice!

The passage across the Drake was pretty mellow. The seas were a little
churned up, but this is a much bigger boat than the LM Gould (the ship we
were on in February) and WAY more stable. I'm sporting the sea patch just
in case of seasickness, but I could probably get away without it. Better
safe than miserable.

We are now about 6 hours from our first station. We are doing the
southernmost station first, and are now below the Antarctic circle. Last
night we started hitting sea ice, though it's all pretty new. The call it
pancake ice and it's pretty obvious why. Anyway, we've also had clear days
and nights, so the scenery has been pretty magical and a little surreal.
I've got some photos that will be posted to the NCSU blog soon, but I'm
going to try to send one here if I can. Note that this photo was taken at
about 12:30. It was up for about 3.5 hours. Not quite sunbathing weather.

I'm in pretty good spirits and happy to be here....


Casting off..

Leaving the civilized world soon.  I won't have internet for the next 4 weeks.  I am totally looking forward to the fast. 

I will hopefully be able to update this blog on a semi-regular basis from the ship.  Pictures may be far and few between, but we will be able post photos to the project blog, a link to which you can find at the top right-hand side of this page.  From this point onward, please use the {at}nbp.usap.gov email address to contact me (if you got my email, you got the address....).

For now, morale is fairly high.  Most of us are quite happy to see one another after a long hiatus, and we all know what we're doing so things are running quite smoothly.  So far...

I'll probably have more to say when I'm not being rushed by a 10 am all-aboard and a line of people behind me to check the internet for the last time. :)


Southern Hemisphere

I like it down here.


A fellow Greener at the 'other' pole...

My fellow former Greener, Katrine is doing atmospheric chemistry in Greenland right now. She has a most awesome blog here.  Be sure to check out the wet hair experiment, which i hope to reproduce in the south with some of my long-haired colleagues.  I hypothesize that it will look the same, but all the ice crystals will be oriented in the opposite direction because it's in the Southern Hemisphere.  Crop circles are like that too.......

Weather in PA

This post is mostly a test to see if I can indeed post to this blog via email, but it's also a semi-interesting comparison of the weather in Raleigh and Punta Arenas.  What a difference 80 degrees of latitude make!

T-minus 48 hours

It's nearly ship out time, and I feel fine. I've got my lab shit packed. I got lots of warm gear (to go along with the giant pile of clothes USAP gives you when you get there). Getting the iPod filled up. Got the seasick meds. Writing the obligatory pre-departure blog post. Why does this seem like an old hat already?

I'm really looking forward to it, though. Something about being on a work vessel - you end up getting in such a zone. I gotta tell ya, removing oneself from news, home BS, and other miscellaneous distractions is so dang therapeutic. And despite the dark and the cold, it's Antarctica!! - and how cool is it to do work there? Very cool, indeed.So I'm pretty sure I will be able to post to this blog from time to time from the ship via email. I will also be the posting for the official science blog (http://antarctica-ncsu.blogspot.com/) so be sure to check in there too. Don't ask how I got roped into that...

Anyway, the quick and dirty itinerary.:
05 Jul 08 - Fly to Punta Arenas, Chile
06 Jul 08 - Arrive Punta Arenas, Chile
10 Jul 08 - Depart Punta Arenas aboard R/V N.B.Palmer
14 Jul - 1 Aug 08 (approx) - Sample benthos along WAP shelf
4 Aug 08 - Arrive in Punta Arenas
5 Aug 08 - Fly back to Raleigh
6 Aug 08 - Arrive in Raleigh NC and get chained to the lab with lots of work to do.


Mt Evans

Took a trip to Colorado last week to visit family and commemorate the life of my brother. Grayson Pointer died last year from a scooter accident, and his ashes were scattered on Mt Evans on June 19, the first anniversary of his marriage to his wife Lauren. So it's been informally decided that we will make an annual pilgrimage to the Denver area to summit the peak and remember. Here are some choice photos of the trip.


Broeker on 'fixing' carbon

Nice interview in the Smithsonian with geochemist Wallace Broeker. I can't help but agree with him that proposed solutions such as alternative energy and carbon credits are, while great ideas to pursue, are too little, too late to stem the changes in climate due to increased CO2 emissions. With the way our economy, political landscape, and infrastructure is laid out, a change to clean, greenhouse gas free, renewable energy is decades away. And with the recent testimony of NASA's Robert Hanson (PDF link) that we have merely a year to make drastic cuts in carbon emissions... yeah, this train's a-rollin. The interview is interesting and the book should be too.


Procrastination.. I know you.

Update: T-riffic Response: