Archive for the ‘Fun!’ Category

Back to Reality

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

tracey.jpgTracey Hayse
We’re back in Cambridge now. I woke up at 7:10 this morning after going to bed at 10:30 last night; I might still be a bit on the Icelandic time schedule. I thought that one more blog entry might be a good idea, just to conclude the trip and to get me back in the swing of things at MIT.

After a week of cloudiness, the sky finally cleared up Friday night. As we drove back from dinner looking out the bus windows, we caught a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis. It was a wonderful gift for our last night in Iceland. Many of us had never seen the northern lights and this was such an awesome experience. The lights were beautiful. As they moved, they seemed to whisper a reminder about what awaited us when we got back, eight-oh-twooo.

After such an incredible evening, it was sad packing up to head back to Cambridge, but we had one last hoorah; we went to the Blue Lagoon to relax in the geothermal seawater. Although this is one of the more touristy places to go, it was a really nice way to say a warm goodbye-for-now to Iceland.

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Icelandic National Anthem: The Student Version

Friday, March 28th, 2008

adambockelie.jpgAdam Bockelie
Thursday night with a group of Reykjavik University students. Since the radio show we’re producing in Terrascope Radio is probably going to have content on Icelandic culture, we figured that we would interview some students. We also wanted a clip of the Icelandic National Anthem. The two ideas combined tonight, and we convinced a group of Reykjavik University students to sing us their national anthem.

A group of us cornered one student while a second was rounding up a larger group to sing for us. In those crucial moments, he forced us to strike a deal: we sing before they do. Not wanting to jeopardize our tape, we were forced to serenade our Icelandic friend with the “Star Spangled Banner.” Unfortunately for him, none of us can sing. Though we did remember the words, we were off-beat and out of tune for the whole song. I don’t think he will ever ask to hear it sung again.

With our end of the deal fulfilled, we waited for the other students. When they arrived, they arranged themselves into choir formation. They began to sing, and I began to record…

reykjavik-university-students-icelandic-national-anthem.mp3

Almost Famous

Friday, March 28th, 2008

tracey.jpg Tracey Hayse
“MIT scientists learn about Iceland’s fisheries,” read the title of an article in an Icelandic newspaper this morning. We’re almost done with our freshman year of college, so I wouldn’t call us quite scientists, but we have been learning about fisheries. The article talked about our visit here and said something about energy (at least that’s what I gathered from an Icelandic college student’s attempt to translate). It was accompanied by a group photo. Yesterday, while at HB Grandi, Rodrigo and I were interviewed on speaker phone by a journalist whose questions were more leading than Mary to her little lamb.

Aside from getting in the Icelandic media, we had another unique experience today. After talking with the CFO of Hvalur, the only whaling company here, we got the chance to tour a whaling boat (unused for a decade or so because of the moratorium on whaling) and taste a bit of whale blubber. It had an interesting consistency, kind of like jello at four times the normal concentration of powder, and tasted a bit like cheese, because it is preserved in buttermilk. All in all it was very bizarre, especially considering the whale-hunting boats are kept on the opposite side of the same pier as the whale-watching boats.

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Iceland Air Traffic Control Center

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

adambockelie.jpgAdam Bockelie
Free time! That was Wednesday afternoon’s motto. Ten of us chose to spend the afternoon at the Iceland Air Traffic Control Center, which manages aircraft over a large part of the North Atlantic. Though it would never be permissible in the United States, we were given a full tour of the center, including the control room. We got to watch and listen as controllers directed aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean.

The controllers sit at stations with advanced computer software that allows them to track and visualize each aircraft. When an aircraft is in radar range, it can be tracked on screen. I was surprised to learn that a large part of the center’s airspace doesn’t have radar coverage. The airspace immediately surrounding Iceland is the only area over the northern Atlantic that does. Over the rest of the ocean, controllers have to rely on updates from pilots to keep track of the aircraft.

Though I knew a little bit about the aviation system before the visit, I learned a lot about how aircraft are managed during trans-Atlantic flights.

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Whale’s Milk Ice Cream

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

adambockelie.jpgAdam Bockelie
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
It’s Sunday night, our first dinner in Iceland. The ice cream dessert tastes a bit different from normal ice cream, and nobody but our fearless leader can come up with an interesting explanation. “Whale’s milk,” he says. He reasons that since Iceland has a whaling industry that’s severely restricted by international law, they’ve started to gather whale’s milk instead of whale meat. I don’t believe him at first, but he just keeps going, and I begin to think it might be possible…

Of course he was just making it up. But since I fell for it, I decided to help other Terrascopers fall for it as well. Emily and I roamed our hotel, searching for victims. We found a room full of them. Essentially, the conversation went like this:

Us: “How was dessert?”

Them: “Good.”

Us: “Did you know that the ice cream was made from whale milk?”

Them: Awkward silence and expletives.

After a few moments, we had to reveal the truth; we had duped them. Their collective sigh of relief meant only one thing: we had actually convinced them.

What did they learn? Don’t trust Adam and Emily when they talk about whale milk.

What did we learn? A well-crafted story will catch even the smartest students.

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