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January/February Links

Interesting stuff from January and February, 2024
January/February Links

It all felt like a jaunt to the airport to board a plane until we started bobbing and weaving around ridgelines. I had no sense of what was normal in a helicopter. Each time we crested a mountain we'd get blasted by wind. The rotors chopped against the added resistance and this loudly vibrated the airframe, so I kept wondering if something was wrong. The pilot struck me as a little bit unhinged. We skimmed the treetops within 20 feet, and he set us down on cornices that looked like they'd fracture and take us and the chopper away in an avalanche.

It's been a life goal to helicopter ski with my dad and we finally made it happen this past weekend. But even Dad, a former fighter pilot and adrenaline junkie, confessed that he kept imagining every way the day could've gone wrong. On a slope angle, the blades of a helicopter can chop below head-height on a human, so when we jumped out, we had to hunker down in a group a few feet from the aircraft so we didn't get decapitated and then hold the gear in place so it didn't blow away in the rotor wash. Beyond that, you're skiing deep in the backcountry on 2,000 foot runs with all of the attendant avalanche danger. The guide skis down before you to make sure the snow is safe and to mark the route, but if something bad were to happen, you'd be pretty much on your own for a rescue. The heli skiing company issued us each an airbag backpack with a fluorescent orange handle that you can pull to deploy a big inflatable pillow. The pillow expands around your body and head in the event of a slide; the idea being that you bob on the top of the moving snow like a floatie in a pool instead of being sucked down and buried.

But once you're skiing, you forget about all the trepidation.

From the past couple of months

From me:

  • Heli skiing the Palisades (Idaho, Wyoming) shorts playlist [Link]
  • Ice climbing in Hyalite Canyon, Montana [Link]

Recovering Ukraine’s advantage in 2024 [Link]

Life aboard a nuclear ballistic missile sub [Link]

An uplifting take on the world’s existential crisis [Link]

The Holy Moment. A clip from the film Waking Life by Richard Linklater (via my Uncle Bill) [Link]

Mad God. One of the more horrifying and beautiful bits of film I've seen in my life (recommended by my friend Nic B) [Link]

Church Universal and Triumphant. When I was climbing up in Montana in January, my guide, Henry, mentioned that he worked summers in high school landscaping for people involved in this apocalyptically-focused, semi-Christian movement. They're pretty big on bunkers and stockpiling weaponry in rural Montana. The whole thing reminds me of the setting in Far Cry 5 [Link]

Mars in 4K [Link]

Beer Judge Certification Program style guidelines. As I gear up for a homebrew competition this year, I'm trying to pick a style to submit. The BJCP guidelines define style categories (color, aroma, flavor, etc.) that your beer needs to conform to for judging. What struck me is just how many there are [Link]

Database of jump scares in movies (via Annie Rauwerda) [Link]

The CIA’s map collection on Flickr (via Annie Rauwerda) [Link]

Why woodpeckers don’t get concussions [Link]

The Tragopan pheasant courtship display [Link]

Enjoy your stupid life [Link]

Schwarzeneggers of the Ring [Link]