Satellite City in Barrow, Alaska

Today was another unusually warm and beautiful day in Barrow, Alaska.  Clear skies and lower 50s.  We, however, were locked in the server room all morning completing the setup of our servers.  After lunch we got to get out and see some more of the surrounding area.  We took a trip to see “Satellite City”, an area outside of town where all of the satellite dishes are located.  It is interesting how the dishes point at the horizon, instead of up in the sky.  In order for them to work properly, there can’t be anything in front of them.  Luckily finding empty space  isn’t much of an issue.  

Barrow Satellite City
Barrow Satellite City

There are absolutely no wires connecting Barrow to anyway else.  Power is generated just outside the city by a power plant that runs on a natural gas reserve.  All communications – data, voice, and video must be sent and received over satellite or long-range radio.  The BARC has 6Mbps of bandwidth being sent and received over an AT&T satellite, the equivalent of four T1s . Internet speed is Continue reading “Satellite City in Barrow, Alaska”

Witnessing a Seal Necropsy

While working in the Barrow Alaska Research Center (BARC) today, I was able to witness part of a seal necropsy.  The scientist that was performing the procedure was cataloging the animal for later study.  It is part of a study on communicable diseases in marine mammals.  In particular, she is studying sicknesses that can be passed from animal to human and vice-versa, similar to the swine or avian flu.

The procedure was pretty far along by the time we were invited in.  I will warn you if you have a weak stomach, do NOT view the pictures in this post.  There are some raw pictures, but it doesn’t come close to being there and smelling it.  Shortly after the necropsy, we went to the cafeteria for dinner.  I passed on the fish that was offered. Continue reading “Witnessing a Seal Necropsy”