Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On Travel


But this time it is a bit different.  Crab Boy and I are in the great state of Colorado, at meeting on how the aurora is affected climate change.  Wow.  It is a bit of a stretch, but this is what scientists do - leave no stone unturned!

The most interesting talk that I heard was from a woman who is quite unique.  She has to be about 75 years old, and wears dresses with flowers all over them.  She also wears a flower in her hair.  Unique.  She got up and gave a talk on why the idea of airlines worrying about flying over the poles because of high energy particle precipitation is complete bull sh*t.  She pretty much used those words.  It was hilarious.  I expected that her talk would be quite boring and casually dismissed, since she is an "old guard" scientist - no using any data from after I was born, but it was inspiring.  She looked back at ice core data and other long term data (old school!) and came up with the highest energy precipitation events that have EVER occurred.  Then she figured out how much exposure airplanes would have gotten during the events, and concluded that they would have had to fly around for something like 2000 hours in the middle of the storm (which lasted < 2 days), to get a dose that anyone would consider dangerous.  Now - she did say that a pregnant woman would have only had to fly around for something like 20 hours.

The very next talk was a report on some grant that people had gotten to study this very thing.  They used the latest, greatest data and models, and came to the exact same conclusion - but didn't actually say that it was then worthless.  They reported the numbers in the exposures that you would get, but didn't say anything about maximum dose rates or anything.  If you remembered from the previous talk, the numbers were almost exactly the same, so they were the same tiny dose.  They concluded that they had a great product and that the airlines should use their models.  I think that they concluded that the airlines don't need to use their models....

Crab Boy and I have eaten out a few time, gone on a hike, and had a good time with some friends.  We have hung out together and basically just enjoyed being together, which is what this whole trip was about (well, the science was there too...)

I discovered an interesting thing about children today - they don't know how to tie shoes anymore, since all of their shoes are either slip-on or Velcro.  Crab Boy just (re)learned how to tie his shoes this last week, after the purchase of a pair of new tennis shoes.  Here is a picture of his accomplishment this morning of tying his shoe for the 3rd time ever!  I would say that I almost cried, but, in truth, I almost cried when I found out that he couldn't tie his shoes in the first place.  But, after thinking about it, I can't actually remember the last pair of shoes that he had in which he actually had to tie them.  Ahhh... modern technology.  Tying shoes is so, like, iPods with buttons.

No comments: