Lamont Weekly Report, January 28, 2011

I flew out to Seoul, South Korea last Saturday for the annual mtg of the global ocean institution directors - there were 28 there - from China, South Africa, Brazil as well as the usual suspects from the UK and Europe, and of course Scripps, Woods Hole and Hawaii.  It was a worthwhile meeting though I have to admit that there were no earth-shaking conclusions.  We heard presentations from the new head of the UN Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) - Wendy Watson Wright - who promised (as have several of her predecessors) to breath new life into this bureaucratic UNESCO entity. The one positive note however: despite everyone's grumbling about funding shortages, the reality is that the number of 'permanent' ocean observation stations around the globe is steadily on the rise. Certainly compared with ten years ago one can claim that truly substantial progress has been made.

I enjoy South Korea - the people are wonderful and the facilities are immaculate. A field trip out to KORDI (Korean Ocean Research and Development Institute) caused me to envy their resources for technology development.  Interestingly they are devoting huge resources towards the development of seabed mining technologies - I had not appreciated the
magnitude of the investments going into this, nor the level of commercial interest. (I have always thought that it was nothing but a CIA cover story for the construction of the Glomar Explorer!! But then I guess the price of  minerals was a little different in the 70's...)

The trip home on Thursday was frustrating - my non-stop flight from Seoul got to within 30 minutes of JFK before we were diverted back to Chicago O'Hare, where we sat on the tarmac for three hours before finally being cleared to proceed to NY, arriving about 5 hours late.Sitting in coach for eighteen hours stimulates new perspectives on a number of aspects of life...

Anyway, it was good to be back in the office and was impressed, as always, by the great job that Dick and his crew have done in keeping the Campus clear and functioning.   Art and I are spending more and more time together in meetings as we begin the transition process in earnest.  In the immediate short term, we are preparing for continuing Business
System Review meetings with NSF on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Chris Zappa set new standards this afternoon (as he so often does), when, upon being informed of his well-deserved promotion to the Senior Staff (many congrats Chris), he nonchalantly pulled a bottle of Glenfiddich out of his filing cabinet and, against all University policy, caused Arnold Gordon and I to join him in a celebratory drink. So, today, TG started a little early...

Have a great weekend. The first month of 2011 is almost over already.

- Mike