The week before AGU is generally frantic, but this year it is even more so. I fly out at the crack of dawn on Sunday.
It was great to see so many Lamonters at the EI Holiday party on Tuesday - rather unexpectedly (to tell you the truth) that turned out to be a lot of fun!
We entertained (very successfully) the Board of Directors of the Tinker Foundation on Wednesday morning - the highlight being Robin Bell's presentation about her work in Antarctica. And on Wednesday afternoon we held one of our regular meetings with our Advisory Board. Although it was a routine meeting it was for me a real landmark - we had 22 folks in the room for a really active and energetic agenda afternoon-long. We have come so far from where we were a 2-3 years ago, when we were hard pressed to get attendance from more than 6 or 8. At the meeting we received a pledge from one of the members for a $100K gift towards the Comer Ultra Clean Lab - a clear sign of the health and effectiveness of
this group. This does not happen by itself - it is solely because of the hard work and professionalism of Barb Charbonnet and her folks in the Development office.
The agenda was further enhanced by presentations from Nano Seeber on the great Sumatran earthquake and from Bill Ryan on his new Apple iPad app. This is scheduled for release on December 12th - go to the iTunes store, look under "Education" for the app called the Earth Observer - and all your Holiday gift concerns will be solved. We plan to do as much publicity as possible of this fabulous application at AGU in San Francisco next week.
Helping with this, and a host of other activities at AGU - including a Lamont led press conference on the Arctic, will be David Funkhouser - the newly appointed science writer for Lamont. David is presently on a very steep learning curve, but he is highly experienced in his profession and I ask everyone to lend him every assistance to learn about the Observatory. He is one of our most important ambassadors and the more he knows about us, the better he can do his job.
Among many important Lamont-led activities at AGU there will be a number of activities led by our Integrated Earth Data Applications group (IEDA) - check out their brand new web site: http://www.iedadata.org. As mentioned in a previous report, this is a really important asset for Lamont researchers - please take advantage of it.
We signed a new MOU with the Japanese ocean research institution JAMSTEC this week, so anyone interested in working cooperatively with colleagues at JAMSTEC should be aware that there is an 'umbrella' agreement under which any and all cooperative activities can be expedited.
The House passed an appropriations bill that is a disaster for NSF - it reduced the 7 per cent increase previously approved for 2011 down to zero. The story is far from over - has to go to the Senate and through conference so anything could happen, but it is not a good sign...
Please do not forget the great Lamont Alumni party in San Francisco next week - same place, same time 630pm on Tuesday 30th Floor of the Mariott Union Square - see you there.
Travel safely and have a good weekend,