Antarctic Astronomy Diaries 2003/04

   

   
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Sunday, January 18, 2004

9-10/1



Hey, hey, it's Saturday! But it's not starting too well. There is a notice
in the TV room stating that due to Marisat problems, no emails can be
downloaded today. When I am in Sydney, I don't really mind a delay of email,
especially since 90% of them are asking me to buy a breast enlarging balm or
telling me that I can participate in a scam that will make me an overnight
millionaire. At Dome C however, I have become quickly dependant to this
source of communication with the outside world. I even get cranky if I don't
get at least one every twelve hours. Not being able to receive email is also
synonym of not receiving the news paper. Normally, at ten o'clock everyday,
the person in charge of the computer network downloads all the emails. At
the same time he goes on the internet to download news papers in French,
Italian and English. I always enjoy reading it after lunch. I usually eat
too much and it takes me half an hour to be able to anything more than crash
on a chair and read political or economical facts that don't really affect
anyone here at Dome C. The only down side is that the paper in English is
from Philadelphia (.there is no one from Philadelphia at Dome C.) and it's
really hard for me to find interest in the housing price in that city or in
the retirement of the city's football team coach.



Of course after dinner, my digestion time is just as long, if not more, so I
found a new source of entertainment to help me during this difficult time. I
found a chess board as well as a motivated opponent. We are both keen on
playing a game every evening. He's a very good player and my lack of
practice in the last couple of years mean that he already leads two games to
one. We even have the added difficulty of having the baby foot players
screaming a couple of meters away from us or people telling us what move to
do next (as if pros like us didn't know what we were doing..). I remember
playing a game of chess with Jon at a conference a few years ago and I think
he won. Maybe we'll play in the AASTINO while we get Colin to do all the
work for us. Now that I think about it, chess would be a good way to measure
the brain capacity of a person placed at high altitude. By playing a
statistically large number games against a computer both at sea level and at
Dome C, the ratios of game won would give us the proportion of brain power
we lose here. I think I'll write a proposal to the French polar institute to
carry out this test next year.

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