Antarctica: January 2006


Everyone's outside to watch the placement of the new geographic south pole marker. The auger is a red herring.

BK and Dehlia standing by the 2005 pole location.

First the sign gets moved...

And then the new marker is placed. (Dehlia designed last year's marker, so she gets the honor of unveiling the new one.)

Everyone likes this new shiny object.

The crowd around the new pole marker lasts for a long time.

Me and the new pole! (I kind of feel like one of those 419 scammers holding up that sign.)

The new marker shows a model of the elevated station. The 2005 marker is visible in the upper left of the photo.


Not only is our winterover already going insane, but he's also spreading the insanity to other decent members of the group.


Yuki is getting yet another superhero costume with help from Alison.

Kiwon as triangle man...

...a movie star in the making.

Yuki in his latest superhero incarnation, as universe man. (He's got a watch with a minute hand, a millenium hand, and an eon hand.)

The BICEP rendition of "Particle Man" will premier at the South Pole International Film Festival (SPIFF) on January 21, 2006. Be there!


Denis, leader of the Dowell reception committee, is going to be a Walmart greeter when he grows up.

There's Dr. Dowell on the right, waving at us...

...and bundled up in quite a lot of ECW gear for such a warm day. :-)

Darren and Denis, just a few minutes before the limousine arrived.


BICEP's last do-not-freeze box got delivered today. Kiwon is holding up a critical piece of scientific equipment that arrived in this shipment. (Darren looks confused.)


Two C-130s on deck today.

Admiral Darren. (This picture is for Greg. Yup, we're still getting plenty of mileage out of Loot.)

Denis as a pirate. Arrrr.


The admiral, hard at work.

A bunch of distinguished visitors came through today. John and Denis are entertaining the crowd.

This group of visitors was small, so they got shirts...and they were very happy about it.

The last group included John McCain and a bunch of other senators and congress folks.

Gazing out at the DASI groundshield.

Dr. Barkats explaining what's inside the cryostat.

Denis and the distinguished visitors.

Sarah giving an electronic virtual tour of QUaD.

The delivery of a critical piece of scientific equipment.

The senators and congressmen were looking at this photo on my laptop...I noticed later on that the neighboring tab on my web browser was a libertarian website.

The return of James Brown bingo! Yuki is playing using a "subtractive" technique (eating the chocolate chips as the numbers are called).

The BICEP bingo players.

Denis is thinking hard about his bingo strategy.


Just another lazy Sunday...


Chao-Lin vs Denis, each equipped with their favorite tool from the "desperate measures" drawer.


We found a dead body in the lab today.

...but turns out it was just a sleepy Yuki.

A windy, windy day.


Yuki and I went to visit Robert in the RF building today. Lots of racks of computers and electronics, and lots of colorful blinky lights.

Robert is the only person who works out here (!!), and he's responsible for all three satellites that connect the Pole to the outside world. I don't think he sleeps much.

The front of the giant dish that talks to the MARISAT and GOES satellites. The whole dish is enclosed in a sphere (to reduce wind loading).

Yuki and Robert climbing the stairs to the back of the dish. There's a little hut that contains the azimuth and elevation drive motors.

The back side of the dish. Cool eh? The echo effect in the sphere is amazing. :-)

Yuki and the entrance to the sphere.

A last look at the back side...this thing is really big.

The RF building is quite a walk from the station -- past the end of the berms.

Me and the sphere. It looks smaller from the outside than it does from the inside.

On our way back to the station, we found this guy's head in the snow.

He's experiencing mild discomfort...

...because he's missing a chunk from the back of his head.


White trash party in the summer camp lounge tonight... Paul went all out on his costume and even found a mullet wig.

Claire found some impressive stuff in the skua shack too.

Patrick says that the matching shirt and hat are his fancy Sunday clothing. Now that's class.

More people dressed up for the occasion.

...and a group photo.


The "South Pole Annuel Speling Beee" was held today. The contestants, from left to right: Bobby Da-veet-da, the symbol formerly known as Prince, Sugar, MasterBaker, and SPAM.

This picture is for Crystal -- you, too, could be in this position.


BICEP got another visitor today; Rick Feinberg, the editor in chief of Sky and Telescope magazine.

Denis is explaining all about BICEP, inflation, quantum fluctuations, and you.


We lost our clear blue sky today, but got a beautiful halo in exchange...unfortunately it didn't last very long.

The best one I've seen so far -- two rings, an inverted upper arc, and rays of light coming from the center encircling the entire sky parallel to the horizon.


After an extremely busy day in the lab...

SOUTH POLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2006! Dr. Bahls and Patrick are setting up the equipment.

The kitchen went all out for this event and passed out cups of popcorn.

Checking the sound levels while the crowd grows.

In addition to popcorn, people even set up palm trees. Now that's classy.

Hien's taking a photo of the BICEP crowd.

When he's not busy being Admiral Dowell, Darren does product endorsements for fine foreign beers.

A crowd of general assistants clustered at the front of the galley...they're leaving us on Monday! :-(

Tyler, Jill, and Tony.

I got to sit next to one of the directors! (Apparently he was refusing to sign autographs though...)

Caesar being his usual self.

This is the most number of people I've ever seen packed into the galley.

I guess they got jealous of Denis's outfit.

The start of SPIFF! The films were outstanding. :-) (I hope to bring a dvd of them back to Pasadena...)

After the festival ended, the GAs went off to celebrate their last weekend on station. Naturally, after I saw Liz with her box of jello shots, I joined them.

...and ended up in the summer camp lounge.

Dancing to the fine selection of disco and other music that Derek provided.

Straight out of Garden State. (Poor Tyler!) The evening ended with a handful of people passed out on the sofas.

While the sharpie was being passed around, I contemplated adding some artwork to the jamesway walls...but I couldn't top this one.


No photos today, but a new record for people here with interesting jobs... I met a guy here who got offered a job to go scuba diving to look for about 1 billion dollars of gold on a sunken treasure ship. (He says the pay isn't so good.)


I found a platypus trying to squeeze into the calibration source today.


Ice Cube was deploying a detector string today, and a bunch of us went over to watch the excitement.

Unfortunately the detectors were long gone down the hole, but watching the cable descend was still fascinating.

Two kilometers down...pretty scary. Freezing cold air was flowing out of the hole.

The cable is fed from outside and drops down through a hole in the ceiling.

The platypus got tired of hanging out with BICEP and waddled over to the Ice Cube drill bits instead.

Checking the status of the string...

John, Hien, Andrew, and the platypus.

...standing a safe distance away from the hole. The Ice Cubers say that stuff has accidentally fallen in before.

The cable reel slowly unwinding outside the drill tower.


The third and final installment of James Brown bingo! (Hien's excited.) We're warming up with a game of speed Scrabble.

The second prize of the evening, a bag of fine coffee. One step above the first prize of the evening, a fanny pack.

Last one standing gets the coffee...

Kiwon and his Froot Loops. (This game is X marks the spot. We requested "pi" for the next game...a beaker special.)

Denis is trying to get ahead in the game while Kiwon's grabbing a cup of tea.

Despite Denis's efforts, Kiwon walked away with the $130 cash prize. There was much rejoycing.

A strange but peaceful scene on the bookshelf in the game room.

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