Freesteel Blog » Expo recap from base camp

Expo recap from base camp

Sunday, August 11th, 2013 at 8:09 am Written by:

Expo is small this year. Everyone is up the hill, except for me and Becka, and Becka isn’t with me at base camp because she has disappeared to a different caving expedition run by Austrians for the week. The weather has reverted to type, with several days of rain.

I’ve been working and programming for a change and my eyes are sore. A recap of some things.

In the last week of July when it was perfect flying weather I was at the 16th International Congress of Speleology in Brno.

It happens every four years and was a little too proto-scientific for me. I followed up every talk that had to do with data loggers and temperature sensors, and the general message is that nobody really knows what to do with the data. In particular, the Hoffman institute who collects lots of lovely data, and then stuffs it all into an excel spreadsheet with no idea what to do with it later.

In spite of the attendance by all the major contributors to the field, there was no scheduled workshop on cave surveying software. (Software is not real science, see?) So we had to invent one in a cafe at short notice.

Becka had a go at the speleo-oplympics and got scars from the chest tape on the 100m prussick (done in a T-shirt). Unfortunately it wasn’t a fair fight because a couple of Russian ladies who took this sort of thing a lot more seriously and probably trained throughout the year came along and cleaned up. People came out to see them race through the SRT obstacle course, which they did many times to get it right.

Then we got to expo. We’ve had the mid-expedition dinner. Got a visit from the deputy mayor of Bad Aussee for our 30th year of squatting in the same campsite every summer.

Yesterday we went canyonning in Strubklamm. Seems you can do a canyon too many times. I knew every corner off by heart. The jumps were good, although they didn’t seem to require the usual amount of dithering, standing on the edge, Will I? Won’t I? When do I go?

There’s kind of a decision-making protocol happening in your brain, with one part holding you back because it’s a silly pointless dangerous thing to do, and one part that eventually has the guts to over-ride it.

It’s like that with the hang-gliding. Except you can get sufficiently focussed on waiting for the moment when the wind is right that your guts are tricked into missing the moment. It needs to throw its veto in at the exact instant when you could simply step back, and this requires accurate timing as to when you higher brain is minded to be about to do something ridiculous. If the trigger for the action is external rather than internal, then it’s a little more tricky for it know when to step in react. It gets there too late when you’re already off.

It is exquisite magic that you can become a speck in the beautiful sky. Of course, it does not look like that when you are up there, because all you see is the ground around you looking down. The realities of where you feel and where you are are quite different. You’re in another dimension.

Meanwhile, I’m working through yet another half-baked idea on 5-axis machining, after all the other ones have failed. I’m getting far enough away from the usual approach that something might work. I do know now that it should not be done by (a) drive surface projection or (b) contact point driving, so it’s all about finding the alternatives.

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