Melting ice and faster internet


No question, we are getting more and more reliant on good quality internet access and online connectivity.  I remember a time when I would be able to go off to vacuum the house while I waited for a program to download from the mac bulletin board. What a slow but exhilarating time that was!

But today, we want speed – real speed.

So the reading about the possible advantages created by melting Arctic Ice for faster internet brought a wry smile to my face.

The internet might seem like an ethereal, invisible network that connects every laptop and smartphone on the planet, but in reality it is propped up by a very real, very large network of cables crisscrossing the ocean floor. For years, communications networks have relied on tens of thousands of fiber optic cables to establish connections between countries, with the shortest and most direct connections providing the fastest links to the internet. As the internet grew, so did this undersea network. But while crossing the Arctic Circle is the most direct path to lay cables to connect European and Asian networks, until recently Arctic ice has prevented installation.

As these new pathways are opening up in the Arctic, communications companies are jumping on the chance to lay new cables.
People in remote Alaskan communities will not only have access to services like online classes and medical data, but will be able to do things that most people take for granted, like streaming movies and television shows through services like Netflix.

via Melting Arctic Ice Might Mean Faster Internet for Some | Smart News | Smithsonian

Just another bag lady

I have been finding it particularly difficult to keep up with a lot of work and professional matters in 2015. The image of ‘just another bag lady’ came up at a physiotherapy session and the discussion about  how many bags it can take to keep things dry!  I am just another bag lady!  I’ve been putting my foot in plastic bags since about August last year!

I never thought I would learn to detest plastic bags so much, or tape, or the tangle that I could get myself into.  Big white plastic bags – and foot cast. Urgh! Since mid 2014 an old foot injury just kept getting worse, and after much orthopedic tape, moon boot weirdness, crutches and whatever else, I finally scored myself some surgery.

Long stobonesry short – Flexor Digitorum Longus (FDL) tendon transfer to posterior Tibial tendon (that’s a toe tendon transferred to my tibial tendon); a calcaneal osteotomy (cutting the heel bone and shifting it toward the inside of the foot); percutaneous Achilles tendon lengthening; and all tidied up with a nice screw, and titanium spacer. My new tendon is only 1/8th the strength of the posterior tibialis tendon it replaced (well it was totally ruptured, so wasn’t any good to me), so it takes 12 months to regain normal capacity.

Short story long – disrupted life (can’t walk for months yet).  Hence the particularly lackadaisical approach to this blog. It’s enough to keep up with work, and online commitments to students. It’s my goal to catch up eventually. In the meantime, everything ordinary is now a calculated challenge to get done.

Here’s a ghosty image of me hiding behind my  XRay  which I am holding up to the light in order to see my metal ‘additions’. Now my friends keep cracking jokes about metal detectors and airport security. Sigh.  But the good thing is I’m no longer tangled up with plastic bags.  Goodbye bag lady. Something positive at last :-).

Image: flickr photo shared by Pulpolux !!! under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license