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Archive: March 14, 2016

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Iditarod: In the Nome stretch, Seaveys vs Sass

Monday,  03/14/16  09:10 AM

Brent Sass and team on Norton SoundGood morning Iditarodians...  overnight the race for first really coalesced into a three team fight to the finish.  Defending champion Dallas Seavey looks like he's going to repeat, followed by his father Mitch, also a champion, and Brent Sass, who has run a great race but looks to be fading. 

[right: Brent Sass and team on Norton Sound]

Inspection of the Iditaflow race tracker shows that Brent has consistently run longer and slower than both Seaveys, and it doesn't look like he'll have the speed to pass them.  Still stranger things have happened (like the finish in 2014), so we watch. 


Aliy Zirkle and team at ShaktoolikAliy Zirkle has consolidated fourth, finishing in the top five yet again (!), and it looks like there's an interesting race shaping up for fifth, with Wade Mars ahead of Peter Kaiser, Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Noah Burmeister, and Nicholas Petit.  Jeff King has made it up into the top ten which is amazing considering the attack he suffered at Nulato.

[left: Aliy Zirkle and team approaching Shaktoolik]


Dallas Seavey and team at ShaktoolikThe leaders are just now approaching White Mountain, where they have to take a manditory eight hour break.  After that it's a "sprint" of about 100 miles to Nome, along the coast.  My algorithms are predicting that Dallas could break his own record of 8 days, 14 hours, so stay tuned for that!

[right: Dallas Seavey and team leave Shaktoolik]


Mitch Seavey and team at ShaktoolikMeanwhile, here are some more amazing pictures from the trail, taken by musher / blogger / photographer Sebastian Schnuelle.  Be sure to follow his updates on

[left: Mitch Seavey and team outside Shaktoolik]


Wade Mars and team outside ShaktoolikWade Mars and his team outside Shaktoolik.  Wade has run a great race, steady all along, but has been just a tick slower than the Seaveys and Sass.


Peter Kaiser and team outside ShaktoolikPeter Kaiser and his team outside Shaktoolik.  Peter is coming on strong and has an outside shot at the top five.


Wade Mars and team on Norton SoundHere's a great shot of Wade Mars and his team on the ice of Norton Sound.  Yes, there is wind. Whew.


Mitch Seavey and team on Norton SoundMitch Seavey and his team on Norton Sound.  Unlike a lot of mushers Mitch doesn't "help" by running along the sled or poling.  He saves his energy for taking care of his team, and it's worked out well for him.  Let's see whether he can catch his son!


Brent Sass reaches Koyuk (in first!)Brent Sass reaches Koyuk (in first!)  This will probably be the high point of his race, before he was passed by Dallas and Mitch.  Still loving the fluorescent green booties :)


DeeDee Jonrowe outside GalenaAnd speaking of fluorescent, this shot of DeeDee Jonrowe outside Galena.  DeeDee hasn't been up with the leaders this year but she's running a solid steady race, and will finish in the top half.


Here's the GPS tracker view as of this morning:

Iditarod - 3/14/16 at 10:00 AKST - please click to enbiggen
(please click to enbiggen amazingly)

[All Iditarod 2016 posts]



Iditarod: Seaveys and Sass, sprint to the finish

Monday,  03/14/16  07:15 PM

Dallas Seavey and team pulling out of White Mountain, on the Nome strechI thought I'd check in with another Iditarod update, since it's likely that the race will be won sometime late tonight / early tomorrow morning.  Checking the Iditaflow race tracker we see that defending champion Dallas Seavey is now solidly in first, having just completed his mandatory 8-hour rest in White Mountain; he is now off on the final stretch of 100 miles to Nome.  His Dad (and ex-champion) Mitch Seavey is about 45 minutes behind, with about 30 minutes left in his rest.  Third place Brent Sass is now about two hours behind, with 1:45 left in his break.  Those are the three teams which have a chance to win, and honestly Dallas looks pretty good.

[right: Dallas Seavey and team pulling out of White Mountain, on the Nome stretch]


Dallas Seavey and team first into ElimChecking the slopes of the vertical lines you can see his speed in the past 100 miles was at least as good as Mitch's, and considerably faster than Brent's.  He is not quite on pace to beat his record of 8 days 14 hours, but he could pick it up in the Nome stretch and yet beat it.  That would have him finishing at 4:00AM in the morning Alaska Time.

[left: Dallas Seavey and team first into Elim]


Aliy Zirkle and team into ElimFourth place Aliy Zirkle is six hours behind; she's also in White Mountain in her break, and although she's run a great race as usual she is probably out of it.  Fifth place Wade Mars is just getting to White Mountain, closely pursued by Peter Kaiser. 

[right: Aliy Zirkle pulling into Elim]


Joar Leifseth Ulsom on the way to White MountainThey're going to have quite a race for top five, and I'd have to give the edge to Peter based on apparent running speed.  Also in the hunt are Norwegians Joar Leifseth Ulsom, about an hour behind Wade and Peter, and Ralph Johannessen, about 1:30 behind.

[left: beautiful shot of Joan Leifseth Ulsom and his team mushing along to White Mountain]


Brent Sass and his team at ElimHere are some more cool shots from the route, as usual taken by Sebastian Schnuelle, who is blogging on the official Iditarod website.  Having an experienced racer out there giving hour-to-hour updates from the checkpoints is so cool.

[right: Brent Sass and his team pulling into Elim with those trademark lime green booties]


Wade Mars and team at ElimNice shot of Wade Mars and his team pulling into Elim.  He waited just long enough to leave Elim before Peter Kaiser got there; they're going to have quite a race to White Mountain.


Peter Kaiser and his team flying to White MountainAnd here is Peter Kaiser and his team, flying out of Elim toward White Mountain.  Currently he has over 1mph on Wade (8 vs 7), that could be enough to move into the top five.


Noah Burmeister and team at ElimNoah Burmeister's team in Elim, raring to go.  They are definitely in the competition for best dressed with snazzy jackets and matching boots.


Jeff King and his team at ElimHere's an interesting shot of 10th place Jeff King and his team pulling into Elim.  Jeff is quite an innovator; he pioneered the "caboose" behind the main sled, and now has this interesting stovepipe / cooker arrangement for heating dog water and dog food quickly.  Jeff seems to have recovered amazingly from that unfortunate incident in Nulato.


So here's the situation: the top five teams all at White Mountain with 100 miles along the coast left to Nome. 
There's still the Safety checkpoint but most of the time it's just in and out. 
The first teams are likely to reach Nome late tonight / early tomorrow morning.

Iditarod - 3/14/16 at 18:45 AKST - please click to enbiggen
(please click to enbiggen amazingly)

[All Iditarod 2016 posts]



happy Pi day!

Monday,  03/14/16  11:24 PM

happy Pi day!Hi everyone ... happy Pi day.  Did you compute some digits?  (NASA did...)

Weird: Mathematicians discover a conspiracy in prime numbers.  I'm not a number theorist, but it seems likely that this is a result of representing primes in base 10, and not actually a fundamental asymmetry.

The trouble with TPP, the case against ratifying the Trans Pacific Partnership.  Doesn't surprise me at all to find there are tons of unwanted side affects when you try to manage economic relationships this closely.  Bah.  Let the markets decide...

The new WASPs: it isn't a Rand vs Hobbes world, after all.  "One of the great fictions we've perpetrated on ourselves is the belief that we ultimately face a choice between Ayn Rand and Thomas Hobbes: an atomistic, individualistic, capitalistic ethic that rejects the philanthropic impulse categorically vs. Leviathan, an almighty potentate to which we owe allegiance because the alternative is bellum omnium contra omnes, a life that is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. In fact, the opposite is closer to the truth: When you have a thriving free-market economy throwing off great gushing rivers of profit, the most successful people begin to look for satisfaction in something other than 22-bedroom beachfront estates."  Yes.

Should be required reading for all those considering a vote for Bernie Sanders.

Forbes: Obamacare impact on premiumsI sometimes often like rereading old posts, and just came across this one, which seems particularly apt given current debates about Socialism and Obamacare: Universal Healthcare:

"Health care in the U.S. is the best in the world, for those who can afford it. Better than the U.K., better than Canada, better than the Netherlands. In those countries there is no private profit motive for healthcare providers which drives them to be best. Good thing for them they have the U.S. market pushing technology of which they can then take advantage. ... What is also true is that health care in the U.S. is not as good as other countries for those who can't afford it. That's because good health care is too expensive. So the question is, how to make it more affordable. And the answer is, let the market figure it out.

True as it ever was.

America's Cup racing - foiling cats!You know what's cool?  America's Cup racing.  These foiling cats are amazing.  I'm so glad they've gone to smaller boats, too; it makes the whole thing seem more accessible.  Would *love* to go for a sail on one of these!

I was watching cycling on NBCSN the other night and boom there it was, America's Cup racing, on TV.  I've never seen that before.  Now that my Tivo knows this could happen, I'll see it a lot more :)


Mathematica: computing piSo, want to compute some digits? 
Just launch Mathematica, and here you go:


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