Showing posts from 2012

Mt. Meeker

After a summer of running and a couple trips to Rocky Mountain National Park, I felt like I was ready to climb Mt. Meeker. I didn't want to climb it alone, but luckily one of our new doctoral students, Elizabeth Schlessman, wanted to climb Meeker, too. Knowing the peak of fall weather was at hand, we set out on a beautiful Saturday to see if we could summit Longs's nearest neighbor.

Elizabeth and I hit the trail around 6:30 and steadily moved above the trees and got the classic view of Meeker and Longs. This is really a wonderful place, and getting there was far easier than I remembered it from my climb of Longs in 2000. Then again, this time I was in shape, accustomed to the altitude, and not carrying 45 pounds of camping gear.
I couldn't have imagined better weather for this day. Not too hot, or cool, or windy, and practically no risk of storms. Post-monsoon climbing is great!
Most of the challenge of climbing Meeker lies in the gully above Chasm Lake up to the Loft. It&…

Ali Bernard, Lolo Jones, and the Women of the London Olympics

Coming into the Olympics, I had a hunch that these games were going to be remembered for the performances of the U.S. women. Maybe it had something to do with the local media attention on Missy Franklin, or my native state's attention on Gabby Douglas and Lolo Jones, but it seemed there was a lot more talk about our female Olympians than there was for the men. (Michael Phelps is the obvious exception. Remember, NBC thought it was worth skipping part of the Opening Ceremony so we could listen to Ryan Seacrest ask him about his fear of spiders.)

Now through 13 days of competition, it appears my hunch was right. U.S. women have so far won 51 medals to the men's 38 (neither figure counting the bronze won in tennis mixed doubles), and the women have struck gold twice as often as the men, 26 to 13. Give yourself this quiz: Name a male U.S. Olympic gold medalist who isn't a swimmer. (crickets) Give up? It's not easy, because there have only been three: Vincent Hancock in shoo…

St. Vrain Mountain

After a month or so spent getting my running legs solidly underneath me, I figured it was finally time to head west into the mountains and climb something. After looking at destinations relatively close to Boulder, I chose St. Vrain Mountain, a peak located on the border of Rocky Mountain National Park and the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
While St. Vrain isn't that far from Boulder as the crow flies, getting there meant driving northwest to Lyons and then southwest to Allenspark. Thankfully, the gravel road south out of Allenspark was in great shape and it wasn't far to the trailhead. I was a little surprised at the lack of trail register, and that made me think that maybe this trail gets used less than I thought. I started hiking around 8:20 on good trail and was soon in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
The trail stays mostly just to the north of the creek and the grade is pretty steady with few switchbacks. At about N 40° 10.2' W 105° 33.5 it turns south and crosses several snow…

Scott Carpenter, Aurora 7, and Boulder

Fifty years ago today, astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the earth. The 1960s were a busy time for our space program, so the 2010s are going to be a busy time for 50-year space achievement anniversaries.

I've been a bit of a space junkie ever since I was a young boy with my Kmart telescope and Space Shuttle models. My very first "Do you remember where you were..." moment was the Challenger disaster, and even when NASA wasn't in the spotlight I was getting up in the middle of the night to watch Shuttle launches and landings.

One of the perks of being a student at CU-Boulder is the university's history of producing astronauts (20 at current count, which I believe is more than any institution other than the military academies) and our strong involvement in building space craft and experiments (we're the top NASA-funded university in the world). There's a great exhibit in the CU Heritage Museum where you can see a moon rock, vario…

My Podcast Predilection

I think my main modus operandi is to interact with as much information as possible. I read for school, keep track of a couple hundred news feeds in Google Reader, watch documenaries, and follow really smart people on social networks who share good things. It's a full-time job, and I love it. Now that the semester is over, I can try to stay more up-to-date with a growing number of podcasts I follow. Being a PhD student is a very immersive experience, but podcasts are one way I keep myself stretched in more than just one direction. Here's a list of what I watch or listen to on a regular basis: I keep up with a ton of technology news and debate by following Leo Laporte and others on his podcasting network. Here are the podcasts I prefer to watch:

This Week in Tech (This is roughly the tech equivalent of "Meet the Press," but far, far less formal)
Tech News Today (Today's their 500th show, and I'm sure I've never missed one)
Security Now (Steve Gibson an…

2011 Year in Review

It would be easy to oversimplify the past year. After all, most people would find the life of a full-time graduate student to be relatively dull: reading, attending class, reading, writing, reading, teaching, and reading. Maybe I'm exaggerating the amount of reading I've done, but maybe I'm not -- I added up the cost of all the books I ordered from Amazon in 2011 and came up with a total of just short of $1200. And that doesn't include all the pages from journal articles, blogs, and other websites that I've read.

But it's not just about reading. It's about engaging with ideas, and therein lies many of my favorite moments of the year: time spent with fellow students and professors, talking and debating. There are pros and cons to the cohort system in the School of Education at CU-Boulder, but when your cohort-mates are as good as mine, it's a plus. So special thanks to (in no particular order) Ben, Sara, Alaina, Ashley, Katie, Clara, Karla, Ryan, Antonio…