Monday, September 05, 2016

Race around the Pole

I've never been to the South Pole, but I work with others who have--and some even wintered-over. When IceCube was drilling its 2.5km deep holes in the ice, we had a lot of people in the drilling crew. They stood 8 hours shifts--the system kept running 24/7 (OK, there were a lot more than 24 hours in the day). If you work for 8 and sleep for 7 or 8 hours--what do you do with the rest of the time? Remember that these are clever, adventurous (or they'd not have taken a job at the Pole), creative, and very good at making and fixing things--and repurposing things.

Once upon a time, the Race Around The Pole was a bigger deal than it is now--a recreation for people sitting in the middle of nowhere.(*) It is still an important event--people devise some costumes and run/walk/whatever on this year's track around the South Pole. But a few years ago things had gotten a little competitive.

How about a dragon racing around? And yes, that's a hot tub in the back. I presume the ladies represent captive princesses. Hot water is gold there, btw.

Or perhaps a chariot?

It looks to me like the chariot wheels were made from the leftover spools that held the cable we shipped down.

Unfortunately, although we all cheer for the creativity, funding agencies tend not to have a sense of humor, and I gather word came down to scale it back. Since the drilling's done we don't have as many engineers down there anymore, so it's probably moot. But it would be cool to spend time working alongside a group like that.

I got the images from, but I couldn't link them directly--see them for more.

(*) I'm tolerably sure the airlines try to time various in-flight activities to keep the passengers from going stir-crazy. Food, ads, movies, whatever -- to break up the noisy monotony of an 8-hour flight.

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