Friday, April 16, 2010

Unfriendly Skies

Unless you're deaf and blind and spent the last 24 hours in your closet, you probably heard that there's a volcano with an unpronounceable name in Iceland that's currently erupting. The volcanic ashes are drifting South-East over Scandinavia towards Central Europe. Due to the risk of engine failure, a significant part of the flight traffic in these areas has been entirely shut down.

For a multi-layered set of complex reasons I have to be in Frankfurt on Monday. I am actually officially on vacation next week, no really. This means now I'll be on the road the whole weekend. There's a blogpost on magnetic monopoles in the pipe, but it still needs some cleaning up. Either way, this is just to say, you might not hear from us much for a while.

18 comments:

Steven Colyer said...

And so, once again, I am glad I live in New Jersey. Not too hot in summer (unlike Wash. D.C.), not too cold in winter (unlike Boston), few Earthquakes, few tornadoes, zero Tidal Waves (unless Snooki visits), and best but not least ...

... NO Volcanoes!

:-)

Congrats to Europe on its 2-day unexpected holiday. Always try to look at the bright side. As we say in America: "Try to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

Bee said...

Wait till the wind turns... ;-)

But yes, the bright side is I get to see Copenhagen and Hamburg on the way.

Steven Colyer said...

Indeed, but the time we get Hurricanes (which I forgot to mention) from the Caribbean, they are but "strong storms", and none have removed the vinyl siding from my house ... yet. They call them "Nor'Easters" here, because they seem to come from the northeast, but indeed come from the south, given the counter-clockwise rotation of such storms that we now know, but which were unknown in Benjamin Franklin's time, who studied them, as he did so much else, good ol' Ben.

Longer sentences available on request. ;-)

Copenhagen ("The salty old Queen of the sea") and Hamburg (Beatles!) are wonderful places, enjoy.

Then get down and dirty with Frampton's arXiv pre-print, thanks.

Austin said...

A group of amateur and professional volcano fanatics is following the eruption - with some pretty detailed discussion as well as some decent modelling and predictions - at the eruptions blog on scienceblogs (http://scienceblogs.com/eruptions/).

If nothing else, you can sit around and look at pretty impressive pictures of what's giving ATC nightmares.

Uncle Al said...

Like string theory, this is perfectly reasonable yet mostly untrue,

http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/volc.htm

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

It seems you can’t catch a break with your travels of late, with as I recall the last time you had trouble with securing a flight and then just narrowly avoiding a strip search by Canadian immigration officials. These were at least being troubles of human design, which can be overcome more easily, yet now nature has conspired against you.

Now you have reported taking to the road to reach your destination, suggesting you’re driving instead of going by rail, which from the Googling of it looks like quite a arduous journey as being roughly 1500 kilometres or 15 hours. I hope you have planned a overnight stop on the way and from my estimation København in Denmark (or Copenhagen for us English speakers) seems to be the half way point, so perhaps you could spend the night in the city of Neils Bohr and the birth place of quantum mechanics.

This is just to have you mindful that momentum and location can’t be simultaneously made certain, so as to advise you pay more attention to your maps and not be so concerned with the time, as I wish you a good and safe journey.

Best,

Phil

Thomas Larsson said...

Drive safely. You will not be the only one who got the idea to hit the road.

But I see that you made it to Copenhagen, though.

Bee said...

I'm staying in Copenhagen over night. There wasn't much traffic on the roads. Here they have a TV in the hotel lobby with flight stats, it reads: cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, canncelled, cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, cancelled, canncelled...

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

You guessed correctly :-) I'm in Copenhagen now and Stefan is coming by train in the evening. Tomorrow we'll continue to Hamburg. It is indeed a long road trip, yes, it's about 1,500 km. Trying to recall when I've been in Denmark last time... Must be two decades ago or so. Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,


So you did stop over in København, which I figured you might as it being the logical thing to do. Strange I also thought it be a good place to have Stefan come to meet you by train to perhaps briefly take in the city, enjoy each others company and help with the driving the rest of the way. I just had a thought as to what reaction one might get if referring to what Bohr, Heisenberg and company came up with as the København.Interpretation :-) I do hope you and Stefan have a nice trip back to Frankfurt and not surprised you may need first to stop for a Hamburger or two before yours arrival :-)

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

From your side bar notes it says you hit the road again two hours ago, which then means it will be at least another two hours before you will have to stop for a Hamburger :-) Interestingly Google shows three routes with four hours being the shortest and quickest, taking you over a large body of water to an island and then to the mainland again, which must be a tunnel as a bridge would seem to be too long.

Anyway it looks like a interesting trip and I hope the weather is cooperating for you and Stefan. Oh yes, looking further ahead after arriving in Hamburg it will be another four hours before you will need to stop for a Frankfurter, which in this part of the world would be known as a hotdog. No that’s wrong, as you and Stefan have a place it Frankfurt you could each be yourselves considered as one :-)

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

Yes, you were right again. We're in Hamburg now, meeting friends here and staying over night. Onwards to Frankfurt tomorrow. The Frankfurter sausage btw is not called Frankfurter in Frankfurt, it's called Wiener instead, similar to how the bakery Berliner is not called Berliner in Berlin. In any case, here in Germany it's well into Springtime already (in contrast to Sweden) and we hear in the radio that the first airlines are starting to complain about the flight ban, while the weather forecase says the wind will continue to blow South-East (ie from Iceland) till the end of the week. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Neil: This might help you understand why I think analogies between GR and Electrodynamics cause more confusion than insights.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

I’m sorry if I’ve had it sound like the major cities of Germany are populated by fast food items, though you must admit to it painting a somewhat humorous mental picture. Also I’m glad to hear the weather is fine and I hope it remains so for both you, Stefan and all the other Hamburgers, Frankfurters and Berliners that are of your acquaintance :-)

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

I thought it might be informative for your European and some other readers out there, to note that although the car trip you are now on is certainly a long one, it is comparable to driving from Toronto, Ontario to Thunder Bay Ontario Canada. This although is only roughly three quarters of the distance to traverse just Ontario alone and although the larger of our provinces is only one of ten. It might also interest some that to traverse the entire country of Canada would take about three full days (24 hours each) without stopping to rest, eat or have a washroom break; not to mention having to change your oil before you’re done. So I was thinking this trip of yours would be a good warm up if you and Stefan ever decided one day to return to Canada and take to the road in adventure.

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

Click here for the latest on airports closings including a country by country breakdown. AirCanada says newfoundland may be affected. Change in the wind, Phil? In any event, Moldova looks good to go. ;-)

Two items caught my attention on that page:

• European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso ordered formation of a group to study the effect of the volcanic ash cloud on the European economy and the air travel industry.
and
United Kingdom

• The British Royal Navy is deploying two ships, HMS Ocean and HMS Ark Royal, to rescue travelers stranded by the ash, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced. It's not clear where the ships are now or how long it would take them to get to their destinations, the Ministry of Defense said.


Perhaps the Brits are waiting for President Barroso to form a study group on that as well? Just keep puttering around, be back to you in a week.

Neil B said...

Any serious chance this volcanic eruption (especially, if there's a followup like many scientists predict) will make it cooler this summer?

Neil B said...

BTW tx Bee for link about gravity and EM. It's rather a mess, isn't it?