Thursday, March 01, 2007

Status Report

My mum is really cute, I love her. Last week she wrote she has seen on TV that NYC has had some snow, and if we also have snow? This was probably the funniest email I've received this year. But interestingly, every week or so, someone asks this question. So. Here's the answer.

Folks. I live in C-A-N-A-D-A. That's the large thing between the USA and the North pole. If I'd mention it every time we have snow, this wouldn't be a science blog, but a snow blog. The people here don't know what to do with all that snow. Before I moved here, I never realized that it can become a problem if the stuff doesn't melt away. I mean, they push it to the sidewalks and into the backyards, but it just piles up. I have seen street signs vanishing in snow hills, no kidding.

Today, the radio announced actually 'snow' and not 'flurries'. This came together with the recommendation not to leave the house, a whole list of closures, and cancellations for events and meetings. Unfortunately, I had to leave the house again. (Well. I was out of Coke, so this was really an emergency.) I forgot to take a photo of the car before I had shoveled it free, just believe me it was covered by at least 20 cm of snow.

Yes, today is March 1st.

If that doesn't impress you, let me add: the car was covered with 20cm of snow - after it was parked in the lot for 1 hour.

Here are some photos taken in front of the groceries store. I know they won't win an award for photographic quality, but it's been something like -15 C, feels like -20 or such, and after 2 minutes my fingers were so numb I couldn't push the buttons any more. Not sure if it's obvious but the second photo shows a bench. A nice place to chill out.







While I was shoveling free my car, a jacket with a toque came by and said: Quite some snow, eh? I know, it's a cliche, but they really do use this 'eh' always and everywhere. I said: Name me one good reason to move from California to Canada! EH? This scared the guy away. But since I know my sarcasm sometimes comes out the wrong way: I just like to complain about the weather. I can't say I exactly know why I decided to move here, but I don't regret it. It's maybe the first time that I like to go to work, and that I don't feel completely misplaced. I didn't expect it to make such a big difference, but it does.

However. I've promised myself and my friends if I have my own institute, it will be on a sunny beach.

Yes, yes, I'm working on it...

31 comments:

cvj said...

Bee! As soon as you are ready to start that Institute on (or near) the beach, let me know. I've just the place in mind - here at USC. In not so many years, you'll be able to take the subway to the beach right from the campus... so the Institute can either be on campus here, or connected to the campus from the beach...

Cheers,

-cvj

JoAnne said...

Hi Bee, I just arrived at Fermilab for a 2 month visit, and can't believe the weather....I mean, it's cold outside and full of snow and the sky has been covered in 10 miles of clouds and rumbling thunder woke me up last night and now it's supposed to actully snow in real time tomorrow. How can people live like this! Not to mention that there are no fresh veges at the store (Or seltzered fruit juice, or non-ground decar coffee, or....what do people eat?) I can't believe I grew up here!

But, the physics is really nice....so, I know exactly what you mean.

Anonymous said...

Come on Bee. Germany has almost as much snow. A large part of the US has almost the same. The warm southern part of the US has earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes. These things kill. The nice clean snow in Canada make you appreciate the rest of the year so much more.

QUASAR9 said...

lol Bee, now that is what I would call 'cold drink' dispensers, and a cool place to 'chill out'

Why did you think they call it the Periphery Institute - and it can get colder still with the snow becoming the 'Artic' region - now that would be out on a limb.

So you prefer California Beaches.
However the Bermuda Triangle would probably be best for the Bee Institute or the Sabine Hossenfelder Institute to give it its 'official' name

QUASAR9 said...

Bee, I'll get round to popping in a comment at your Quantum Gravity Lab 'soon'

In the meantime, I'll open a shortcut to it @ The Black Hole Paradox and The no-hiding place Theorem.

If you have Time, You may want to address one or two of the questions or basic miunderstood errors in the coments box there - in laymans terms. Thanks!

All the Best - Q

Thomas Larsson said...

If that doesn't impress you, let me add: the car was covered with 20cm of snow - after it was parked in the lot for 1 hour.

In 1984 I was caught in a snowstorm in the French alps - 2.5m of snow in three days. On some cars you only saw the antennae, on others not even that. Some people were upset when the snow-removing machines ran over their cars and crushed them, because they were completely hidden under the snow.

amaragraps said...

Dear Bee: I'm working on being my own institute node in Southern France or Southern Spain. Come over to this side of the Atlantic again...

The snow in the places I've lived never bothered me.. it was the lack of sunshine (in Germany) that was a killer for me. However, I traded a lack of sunshine for a severely broken infrastructure so the parameters in my optimization problem need some more tweaking.

Plato said...

I think you learn to appreciate the seasons, and with that, one can become very attuned to the changes in life? Being philosophical here. :)

You can envy of course, those that are planting, while currently, I am still looking at "three feet" of the white stuff.

But hey, how much do you think one would appreciate if you can choose to hop on a plane anytime?

It will mean that much more? And the station currently held does not become so unbearable. Planting roots can be a stable thing, where ever you are. Remember the fall colours?

Be nice to your Mum.:)Show her your blog.

Frank said...

The one time I went to PI, in the middle of summer, I was expecting to go there and to be cold. Instead it was humid, 30 degree centigrade and we had the AC running at max while still sweating.

That was quite unexpected. I realized later that Waterloo is actually at the same latitude as Marseille! (almost, 43 17' vs 43 28')

BTW, is there no little degree circle on english keyboards? It does appear so!

fh

Frank said...

As for the beach institute, may I suggest a small greek island?

Bee said...

Hi Clifford,

I've just the place in mind - here at USC

I'll come back to it... (I'm serious about the institute). I personally would prefer it somewhat outside the city. But you know what really sucks about Waterloo is not that it's a small city. It's how long it takes to get to the next (useful) airport. Okay, there's an airport in Kitchener, but the only place one can sensibly get to from there seems to be Detroit. And who wants to go to Detroit? It occurred to me that all of my life I've lived in places with good international connections. Heck, even Santa Barbara has an airport! (It's not much of an airport, but at least it brings you to LA.)

So... Is there any place with a beach and a reasonable airport between Santa Barbara and Big Sur, or south of LA, north of San Diego?

Btw, which beach is it that one would reach with the subway?

Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi JoAnne,

*lol* you know that story about the guy at Fermilab who allegedly lived from Coke and Snickers out of a vending machine for several weeks, and actually got scurvy? (Okay, I don't believe it, but it sounds true enough.)

Have a good time, nevertheless, take care

B.

Bee said...

Hi Anonymous,

Come on Bee. Germany has almost as much snow. A large part of the US has almost the same. The warm southern part of the US has earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes. These things kill. The nice clean snow in Canada make you appreciate the rest of the year so much more.

The climate in Europe is much more 'moderate' in the meaning that it is less extreme. I always mix up the winds, so I wont even try to explain it. But yes of course. I only suffer through the winter so I can enjoy the summer, that's the purpose of my being. I'll try to keep it in mind when I scratch off the ice rain from my car later.

I have a friend in Montreal. It always cheers me up to talk to him, it's even colder there. You know, the it-could-be-worse-renormalization.

But okay, I admit, I wrote this post in a fleeting moment of self-pity.

Hi Frank,

I realized later that Waterloo is actually at the same latitude as Marseille! (almost, 43 17' vs 43 28')

Yes, I noticed that too :-) It's kind of surprising though that the weather conditions differ quite a lot nevertheless. E.g. one thing that drives me really nuts is that the weather changes so rapidly and unexpected within hours.

Hi Amara,

The snow in the places I've lived never bothered me.. it was the lack of sunshine (in Germany) that was a killer for me.

Yes, that's true. At least, we have had a lot of blue sky and sunshine here, even through the winter. Germany is generally just grey and dark, up to the point that one hardly notices the sun rises at all.

Hi Plato,

I'm always nice to my mum. And she knows my blog ;-)

Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi Frank,

BTW, is there no little degree circle on english keyboards? It does appear so!

Well. I guess I might be able to produce one if I press 5 keys together or so. Over the years I've become awfully pragmatic with funny ascii signs (like ä Ö ß - does that still exist?). I'm like: if one can understand it anyhow I try to avoid them.

(I have Cousin though who's like 12 or something and struggles with my missing Umlauts.)

Best,

B.

Cynthia said...

Bee, come to think of it, there might be a silver lining in all that C-A-N-A-D-I-A-N snow! In fact, buried deep within all that 20cm of snow could lie the frozen-in-spacetime relics of this Holy Grail, which you so aptly mentioned in your previous post. :)

By the way, I'm somewhat curious as to why your most previous post lacks a comment thread...

Moshe said...

Don't generalize about Canada, rumors are that on the west coast it rarely snows, and there are quite a few nice beaches if you are still looking for a location...

Bee said...

Hi Moshe,

true. A friend who was in Vancouver last week told me it was mostly rainy but not really cold. I've never been there though. However, there's no denying that Canada is north of the USA, and most of it is covered with snow a large fraction of the year.

Hi Cynthia,

buried deep within all that 20cm of snow could lie the frozen-in-spacetime relics of this Holy Grail, which you so aptly mentioned in your previous post. :)

Does that mean, we'll have to wait for summer to find it? But believe me, the idea to 'unfreeze time' has gotten an additional dimension over the last months ;-)

Best,

B.

Anonymous said...

so, is your mum one of the anonymous or just a lurker?

- Rob

Rae Ann said...

Those photos are fine! It must be a bit of a shock to go from California to Canada. But PI does seem like a very great gig even with lots of cold and snow. Hey, even though I'm not a physicist can I come to your Institute when you have it? ;-)

Moshe said...

Yeah, you were only 99% right... also I noticed you wanted sunny beaches, well, that may be a problem.

Bee said...

Hi Anonymous,

she's an anonymous lurker.

Hi RaeAnn,

sure :-) But you'll have to bring your son!

Best,

B.

stefan said...

Germany has almost as much snow.

Hmm, I just wonder where ;-) In this so-called winter, the Frankfurt region has not seen any snow at all so far. Meteorologists say its the warmest winter since systematic records exist... The drawback: February was extremely rainy, with only a handful of days of sunshine.

Best, stefan

Anonymous said...

(I'm the first anon)
Ontario also enjoyed warm winter Dec-Jan. So when the usual winter arrived in Feb people get upset.

The 'trouble' with PI is its location - Waterloo is in the middle of the snow belt. Lake effects snow from Lake Huron get dumped in Waterloo aplenty. Move off 10km and things get a lot milder. Now don't complain too much because it was German immigrants who founded Waterloo.

With this in mind, a better location for the SH Institute for Black Hole Physics could be in the U. Toronto campus ground. After all the Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics is already there - so one can take it over and change its name. And you can take a quick flight to major cities within 1000km from the downtown Island Airport. As for funding, Canada has so much oil money it doesn't know where and how to spend it.

All the best to your new project.

Bee said...

Hi Anonymous (whichever),

I'm just reflecting on the fact how much people like to talk about the weather. I mean, isn't that amazing how much comments two photos with snow attract? I suspect the simple reason is that everybody can say something about the weather that is most likely correct and nobody would doubt it. I mean, I'd give it to everybody who's able to use a computer that he's also able to look out of the window and read a thermometer. Maybe that's the whole mystery with the global warming debate. It's not that people think the topic is so important. They just like to talk about the weather?

Cynthia said...

Maybe as the snow melts this spring, immortal gravity will unfreeze and leak into our 3+1 dimensions, revealing itself to us mortals...

QUASAR9 said...

lol Cynthia,
so is it gravity holding an ice cube together, and when it melts, the gravity just evaporates - and earths' gravity absorbs the liquid ice which like a flux seeps into the into the 'ground' - or is it something more exotic goes into another 'dimension' - and oscillates between dimensions

TunnelVision said...

So let me make sure I got this right. It snows in C-A-N-A-D-A?

hahaha,

Bee said...

Indeed, see also Oh Canada:

A completely representative recent survey among my friends and relatives asked for their associations to Canada. The results in order of importance:

1. Snow
2. Maple syrup, maple leaves, maple trees, and other maples
3. Forest
4. You just moved there (well, I told you it was completely representative and double blind and all that)
5. Snow

Further not top-ranking but interesting associations were: bears, nose-bleeding, Tim Horton's, palm trees (hahaha), ice wine and snow.

Cynthia said...

Hi Q!

Remember it's your choice for the choosing...So just pick whichever one strikes your fancy!

By the way--long time, no see!

Until later...
Cynthia

stefan said...

I didn't know that maple syrup and cold winters are correlated:

Warm Winters Upset Rhythms of Maple Sugar

Anonymous said...

You can please send all of your snow (and cold) to us snowboarders here in Vermont,
thank you!