Grouse Ascent 2015 No. 10

29 07 2015

Route: BCMC

Time: 1:28:38

So I had a chat with the nice lady at the top and she told me that because Sunday’s route (BP trail then Skyline) took me so much longer than usual (by 2 hours!) the system had flagged it as a likely timing error and therefore not added it to my total. She assured me it could be added and sent “IT” an email to that effect, so that makes today’s ascent number 41… 10 to go before Everest is mine!

Sabre Jet Engine Hike – the technical details

27 07 2015

So I realised I’d not shared the gory technical details of the route we’d taken yesterday to find the J-47 General Electric jet engine up on Grouse.

The engine itself can be found with a GPS at: N49° 22.050′ W123° 04.702′ at an elevation of 793m

Basically you need to hack straight up the Skyline Trail (we reached it by first hiking the BP Trail to the east from the use car-park, but you can access it via Skyline Drive, or by hiking the powerline trail). It begins at N49° 21.507′ W123° 04.794′.

Head straight up the obvious track, following the pipeline and at N49° 21.911′ W123° 04.760′, you take a clear, obvious trail to the east and follow it as it gradually comes north to run parallel to the Skyline Trail. The engine is on this path, and there is absolutely no need to bushwack. After the engine, continue on the path, heading north. There’s a couple of forks, but stay on the more obvious path (to the left in all case) and rejoin the Skyline at N49° 22.112′ N123° 04.740′.

Continue up the Skyline Trail until you emerge at the bottom of the Screaming Eagle ski run at N49° 22.272′ W123° 04.736′. From here, head straight up the ski run, following the chair lift, until you come to the track heading over to the BCMC. This obvious turn to the left is at N49° 22.587′ W123° 04.802′. From here, you just follow the track, past the top of the BCMC trail and over the rock to follow the pipeline back to the chalet.

It’s about 6.4km in all, if you start with the BP Trail leg. If you want to try a much less travelled route up Grouse, you could definitely do a lot worse!

Ascent profile - BP Trail; Skyline Trail

Ascent profile – BP Trail; Skyline Trail

Topo map of the BP Trail/Skyline Trail

Topo map of the BP Trail/Skyline Trail

Google Earth - 3D view

Google Earth – 3D view

Grouse Ascent 2015 No. 9

26 07 2015

Route: BP Trail/Skyline Trail

Time: 3:23:32

Well, the time is pretty irrelevant on this one… I hardly took the direct route!

Starting at the car-park, Mrs E. and I headed east along the BP Trail for an hour or so to the Skyline Drive road. From here, we headed straight up the hill (and I mean Straight. Up.) We were actually trying to find the remaining parts of a General Electric J-47 jet engine from a crashed US F-86 Sabre that hit Grouse in 1954, killing its 25 year old pilot. We took the Skyline Trail most of the way up, then took a detour to the east so that we could visit the engine, which is now a kind of memorial to the dead pilot.

That makes 40 recorded ascents… but for some reason the Grouse Grind Tracker is only counting 39, despite logging all 40. Perhaps it’s smart enough to know I didn’t really do the Grind, so it’s disallowing the exceptionally long time.

When we got back to the car-park, one of the pay meters was still broken, so I told a guy about to begin the Grind that he was wasting his time continually pressing all the buttons. He was in luck though – I’d paid for an “all day” ticket, as I didn’t know how long we were going to be. He might as well continue to make use of it since we were leaving. He seemed disproportionately pleased with his good fortune, and headed off to the Grind in particularly high spirits.

Children With Prosthetics Could Soon Be Creating Their Own Lego Attachments

25 07 2015

Losing (or never having) a limb can place one at a huge disadvantage. As a child – adaptable though the little imps invariably are – one can be at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to one of the most influential learning processes we humans use… play!

This Lego-compatible prosthetic system from IKO literally allows kids to “hack” their own prosthetic and become part of their toy.

Beyond cool…

More at The Guardian.


I will disconnect you

25 07 2015

I can relate…

Father leaves his messy teens the perfect threatening note.

Mashable: I will disconnect you

For the love of Ada! 12 TV show pitches with a female engineering hero

25 07 2015

I always struggle with projects like this. I totally accept that women, “people of colour”, folks who self-identify their sexuality as something other than society might assume etc. are all under-represented in the mainstream, and are often still denied opportunities due to discrimination. Day-to-day ignorance can at best be annoying, and at worst down-right discriminatory.

This I do not dispute. Believe me – after a lifetime of using scissors designed for “normal” right-handers, I totally understand silent institutionalised discrimination, and the very real pain it can cause. Not to be flippant (being a left-hander is hardly causing me the same level of lost opportunities that being born female, even now in the 21st Century might), but there are many many forms of discrimination in this world, and not all are so obvious or acknowledged as is sexism. The power of these discriminations is that they are often unpremeditated. They are endemic in the way society behaves and defines “normal”. In the same way as having only right-handed scissors makes life awkward for me, expecting a nursing mother to use a smelly public toilet to feed the next generation, or only having steps to the entrance of a city building is not an active demonstration of cruelty. It is merely the result of catering for “the norm” and almost accidentally causing discrimination. The deliberate cruelty comes when such situations are recognised, acknowledged and still left unresolved.

On that level then, I applaud attempts to try and rectify the imbalance. The problem though is that it tends to do little to rectify the underlying issue. It simply addresses the results of the discrimination in one or two small, personal ways. This “positive discrimination” helps the beneficiary overcome the prejudice in one small situation – say a job opportunity – but does little if anything to address the underlying problem. This needs a much more slow and steady approach. And education. And consideration.

In the specific case of sexism for example, I firmly contend that to say “women are equal to men” is false. Indeed, in many ways and in many situations, women are far superior.

The real issue isn’t equality of the gender, but equality of opportunities available. There is no reason to exclude women from applying for even physically demanding jobs based on their gender. Based on some objective test of strength, capability, skill, sure, but not explicitly their gender. Many men would fail such tests too. The equality should be in the access to opportunity and the objective meeting of some requirement, not in being of a specific gender.

Particularly in intelligence or creative spheres, women are easily as capable as men, and there is no reason on Earth that women should not be better represented in the fields of say management, software development and car design. Here, the challenge is as much one of perception and the need is at least partially to encourage women themselves to not buy in to the mantra that “that’s a man’s job”. This project – to launch a TV show that has a central female character in an engineering-based role – is an attempt to address the latter. To have a role model for today’s young women that they can indeed excel in what may otherwise be still perceived as a male domain. The recent women’s FIFA World Cup tried for all its worth to portray strong female role models, and I wait eagerly to see if it has had any positive impact.

It was with some shaking of my head then that I read the pitches for the show. They can be found here: 12 TV show pitches centered around a female engineering hero.  Fashion designer Tilly Tailor? Really?! @Gnosis: Veronica Mars meets Gossip Girl meets Hackers? Oh dear Lord… These pitches say as much about the current low expectations of TV as they do about the continued stereotyping of women, but given the project’s goal, I expected more.

The clear leading contender for me was one based at least partially on a real female engineer… though she would never have been called that in her day. Only legitimate daughter of Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace (after whom the programming language Ada was named) was real. As was Charles Babbage. He is much more well known in computing circles as the inventor of “The Differencing Machine” – the first attempt to have a programmable computing device. The technology of the time didn’t allow it to be completed but a working version is now on display in the UK’s Science Museum. Ada though… she developed the first algorithm, intended to run on the machine. Arguably she’s the mother of programming.

Mashable: Ada Lovelace

It’s not clear from the piece in Mashable whether the pitch is based on the recent graphic novel “The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer”. I already have this on my goodreads “To Read” list. I’m waiting for the paperback version. It was only published in April. I hope so – the book looks like a rollicking good yarn by British graphic artist Sydney Padua.

It would behove new students studying computing to not just focus on the likes of Babbage, Von Neumann, Holerith, Turing etc., but also give Ms. Lovelace her due. Credit to my own teachers back in the late ’70s… she did indeed get a mention.

Grouse Ascent 2015 No. 8

23 07 2015

Route: BCMC

Time: 1:36.05

Joined by an ex-colleague – Jeremy – this week. Great to catch up on the news, and he was gracious enough not to disappear over the horizon with Number 2 Offspring (she finished a whole 30 minutes ahead!). We did set off at a punishing lick though, and made the half way mark in under 45 minutes. It was still pretty warm (23 degrees when we returned to the car) and that is at least one factor to the reason I’m still 7 minutes off this year’s best time up BCMC.

That makes 39 recorded ascents… one more to go for the next mountain!