The greatest survival story ever

image of book cover
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing.

Although I started this blog as a place to describe my travels, sometimes I enjoy armchair travel as well. I recently had the chance to re-read Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, which has to be one of the world’s most incredible survival stories of all time.  All the more so because it is a true story, chronicling the adventures of Ernest Shackleton and his men in their Antarctic expedition of 1914-1917. Launched almost exactly 100 years ago, their goal was to complete the first trans-continental crossing of the Antarctic from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea, just a few years after the first human visit to the South Pole. As it happens, they never landed on Antarctica, being trapped in the ice of the Weddell Sea upon arrival, then over-wintering on the ice while their ship was slowly crushed.  In an astonishing quirk of timing, a modern ship was trapped a few weeks ago by ice in the same sea — requiring its tourist occupants to be evacuated by helicopter to another ship (as of last week, the ship is free but not yet out of trouble).

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A quick week in India

Photo of Charminar building, Hyderabad.
Charminar market area, Hyderabad.

I’ve just returned from a quick six-day trip in India, visiting Delhi, Hyderabad, and Bangalore (each for two days) in support of our research on the use of mHealth technologies in India. I met collaborators at IIT Delhi, explored new research collaborations at MediCiti near Hyderabad, and presented a paper at the NetHealth workshop in Bangalore.

Children at a government-supported child-care center in the village of Rajballaram, near Hyderabad.
Children at a government-supported child-care center in the village of Rajballaram, near Hyderabad.

But I also had some time to get out and explore, by poking around the streets of New Delhi on Sunday afternoon, exploring the historic sites of Hyderabad, and visiting my favorite places in Bangalore.  Although I enjoy snapping photos of the monuments and historic sites, I have to admit that it’s the people that I enjoy so much.  I’ve collected about a hundred good shots in one slideshow, and (with great difficulty) whittled it down to a top-20 slideshow for those who just want a quick peek.

Happy New Year

David at the summit.
David at the summit.

To welcome in the new year, as we have done so often before, I headed off with a group of friends to a cabin on the side of Mount Moosilauke in the core of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Great Bear Cabin is a cozy log structure nestled along the Appalachian Trail as it heads northward up the slopes of Moosilauke, and has become somewhat of a traditional winter outing for me and my kids. Although my kids were unable to attend this time, our party included three children and eight adults – friends for over thirty years – including one of the original builders of the cabin. With the woodstove roaring, and the woods frosted from a recent snowfall that glazed the trees and blanketed the nearby meadow with 10″ of fresh powder, we were cozy indeed.

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