Stories tagged Himalayas

Oct
15
2010

I'm watching you...: No, not you, JGordon. Get over yourself.
I'm watching you...: No, not you, JGordon. Get over yourself.Courtesy NOAA Photo Library
I always assumed that I was under near-constant supervision by government satellites. I figured that because satellites can’t really see me inside stores (where I do all my shoplifting), they’d be making up for lost time by watching me put stolen clothing on the dog (in the yard) and having my bubble baths (near a window).

At first it was creepy … but then it was sort of comforting. Like a nightlight. A nightlight that’s always looking at you.

Well, it turns out that my privacy may actually be pretty low on NASA’s list of priorities.

See, a new online system was just launched in the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, which should allow scientists and concerned organizations access to images from NASA satellites. Cool, I thought. I’ll get a fancy new hat. But, no, it just so happens that the images aren’t of me relaxing on the roof, or of me washing my car in carwash-appropriate clothing—they’re images of the Himalayas, and the massive glaciers they hold.

I wouldn’t say that I’m “devastated,” exactly. But I am crushed. I thought we—NASA and I—had something. I mean, yes, those images are recorded and distributed to track the effects of climate change on Himalayan glaciers, and, yes, the glaciers appear to be shrinking at an alarming rate, and, yes, more than a billion people depend on the water released by those glaciers, but … what about my feelings?

Hopefully, the data provided by the satellites will help the people in vast regions of Asia to prepare for floods and, perhaps eventually, severe shortages of fresh water.

In the meantime… I guess I’ll just hide some nanny-cams around the house. To feel looked after, you know?

[It's Blog Action Day 2010, and this year's theme is water.]

Oct
20
2008

These are what snowy footprints look like: Just  a visual reference for you.
These are what snowy footprints look like: Just a visual reference for you.Courtesy EJP Photo
There’s snow on the cryptocouch, y’all. How did it get there? I thought the cryptocouch was in a basement somewhere. (That’s what you say.) And that’s what I thought too.

We were wrong. The cryptocouch, it seems, is very much a mobile entity. Sure, it lives in a basement, and that’s where we all (w’all) most often sit on it, but the cryptocouch also travels. It’s like that bed from the Nintendo Entertainment System’s Little Nemo: The Dream Master (Nemo! Help your cat, little man!)—the sucker flies. It flies.

It has to fly, because how else could we explain the snow? See, the cryptocouch has just recently returned from the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, where it was following a group of Japanese researchers on a mountaintop nearly five miles high.

This particular peak, Dhaulagiri IV, happens to be where the Japanese team claims to have found traces of the legendary yeti. That’s right, y’all, yeti is in the house again already. He’s just not in your house. The primary goal of this expedition was to catch a yeti on film.

And that didn’t happen. But they did find something almost as good: yeti footprints in the snow. (Oh, that’s where all that snow came from, cryptocouch.)

Photographs of the prints can be found at the link above, or at the team’s own site here. Don’t get all sassy if that link doesn’t work, though—you aren’t the only one who wants to see yeti footprints.

If you can’t see the photos, or refuse to do anything that you’re told to do (I’m with you there, brother), here’s the deal: the footprints (or footprint, I’m not totally certain) were found in crusty snow on the mountain, and measure about 8 inches long. The leader of the team insists that they don’t belong to any of the other local animals, saying that his team has been coming to the region for years, and knows what bear, deer, wolf, and snow leopard prints look like; these prints look different.

On a previous expedition, a team member thinks he caught a glimpse of the silhouette of a possible yeti. It was about 200 meters away, but he estimated its height at about 1.5 meters (slightly less than 5 feet). So this particular yeti doesn’t have all that imposing of a figure.

Short yeti or no, we aren’t here to judge, are we? Well, we sort of are, but we aren’t handing out value judgments. We’re here to evaluate the evidence, and to decide if it’s likely that there’s a diminutive hairy man roaming the slopes of the Himalayas. The footprint isn’t quite doing it for me, but the couch saw fit to make the trip, so we’ll be sticking with the yeti for now.

Out.