STP: What was I thinking?

Hey guys.  So there’s this thing I signed up for, it’s called STP, or Seattle to Portland.  It’s a 200-mile bike ride between – you guessed it, Seattle and Portland.  It’s spread out over two days, but if you’re as un-athletic as I am, that’s still a pretty tall order.  I’m not sure whose bright idea it was (Dax), or why I succumbed to the peer pressure to join (Lora), but our lab group is now officially in.  That’s right, all of us, including our advisor, Will.

I’ve done one training ride (ie. a ride that’s longer than my commute).  It was last Tuesday with Dax.  Google maps tells me that it was about 30 miles in total.  It took me 2.5 hours.  Awful.  I thought I was dying, especially at the end.  My house is on a hill, so the last five miles or so were just a kick in the teeth.  As soon as I got home I wanted to eat like five pounds of poutine.  Which, luckily, was not available to me at that point.

Tomorrow, Sunday morning, we have another training ride planned.  This time we are making the (to me) very ambitious journey to the Red Hook brewery in Woodinville.  That’s a total of about 14 miles longer than what we did on Tuesday.  Only this time it’ll be with Rob and Lora too.    The very best part of this plan is that in the middle of those hellish 44 miles, we are stopping for food and beer.  Sweet nectar of the gods.

Here’s a crappy little drawing I made.  I hope it illustrates how I feel about the ride we’re supposed to do tomorrow morning.

Seismometer at UNH

Hey there, blog readers (yes, both of you!)

I’ve been super busy lately, so no posts.  But I’m going to cheat, because Monica just posted something cool enough for me to mention on her behalf.  She announced on her blog today that the University of New Hampshire has its first seismometer!  Woo hoo!  For now it’s installed in a vault beneath James Hall – how mysterious and exciting…  Check out her pics and descriptions here.

Tracking trash in Seattle

Ever wonder where your trash goes?  I mean, it doesn’t just disappear into a black hole when you leave it on the curb.  A bunch of folks in Seattle volunteered to plant tracking tags into their old shoes, cell phones, and batteries, before tossing them in the bin.  The first generation of trackers used signals from cell phone towers for tracking.  The second generation used a combination of GPS and cell tower triangulation.  These little transponders were really hi-tech, with motion sensors and hibernation mode for energy conservation.

This whole operation was masterminded by researchers at MIT – check out the site here: TrashTrack Project.  I found this video on Wired Blog, where they had a post on The 2010 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, funded by the journal Science, and also the National Science Foundation.