Monthly Archives: January 2013


I just realized that my little weblog turns thirteen years old today! Wow, a teenager… let’s hope it doesn’t start behaving like its age and acting out now. ;-)

This was my first entry (wow, don’t André and I look young?), and you can find the other “birthday entries” here: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.

Ah, nostalgia… back then (September 1999, first digital photo that exists of me):

And now (July 2012 actually):

The desert really is a dangerous place

MetaFilter: The hunt for the Death Valley Germans

“In 1996, a family of German tourists went on vacation in the desert Southwest of the US. They disappeared in Death Valley sometime late July of that year, and despite repeated searches, their remains were not found until 2009. Tom Mahood details how that happened.”

This story, especially Tom Mahood‘s detailed accounts of his searches, fascinated and terrified me at the same time. André and I visited Death Valley National Park on our very on September 8, 1999. It was about 115°F (46°C), and I only lasted a few minutes outside the air-conditioned car. Back then we had basically no hiking experience, especially not in the desert in the summer, but I’d love to go back there some time. Death Valley is a fascinating place, but the story of the four Germans is a cautionary tale.

   Photo taken in Death Valley on Sep 8, 1999

I also read Tom Mahood’s reports on the search for Bill Ewasko, which began in June 2010 and is still going on. Ewasko went missing after going for a solo hike in Joshua Tree National Park, which was the first park André and I visited in 1999, (I’ve also been there while on a student exchange in 1992 when it was still a National Monument).

Next vacation destination?

Departing Space Station Commander Provides Tour of Orbital Laboratory

“In her final days as Commander of the International Space Station, Sunita Williams of NASA recorded an extensive tour of the orbital laboratory and downlinked the video on Nov. 18, just hours before she, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency departed in their Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft for a landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan. The tour includes scenes of each of the station’s modules and research facilities with a running narrative by Williams of the work that has taken place and which is ongoing aboard the orbital outpost.”

Sunita Williams holds the records for number of spacewalks for a female and most spacewalk time for a female. She ran the first marathon by an astronaut in orbit and was the first to complete a triathlon in space as well.

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