What I learned last week (#162): pebbling, avalanches, ice, and more!

Illustration of a tree

A weekly selection of what I was reading, drawing, writing, and doing.

We’re surviving this month but man, I’m ready for spring. February is the stormiest month in Scotland, hands down. This is my third February living here and each one has featured nasty storms pretty much non-stop.

Average temperatures are “advertised” as being between 5° C to 7°C, but this can be misleading because the moist air and/or wind chill factor can make it feel much colder. After dark (and daylight hours are around nine by mid-month, feeling shorter because of likely cloud cover), the mercury can plummet to well below freezing. Rainfall varies greatly, but is everywhere prevalent – Glasgow in February has an average of 75mm while Aberdeen experiences 55mm.

From climateandweather.com

No matter the rain, there is plenty of unconditional love that I’ve been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of.

Back to the ice and cold though, I came across an in-depth essay on what makes curling so cool (pun intended). I needed no convincing that curling was interesting and this just increased my appreciation of the sport.

Pebbling is what makes curling ice unique in winter sports. Rather than trying to make a smooth surface, curling ice makers deliberately texture it, by carefully sprinkling it with warm water (usually around body temperature). When these droplets hit the ice, they freeze, producing a dense pattern of rounded features all over the surface. Pebbling relies entirely on the skill of the ice maker, who walks along the sheet, swinging a specialist nozzle — the pebble head — from side to side in multiple passes. To date, no automated system can do as good a job.

If you’ve ever wondered how terrifying it would be to be both buried by an avalanche and be the team who tries to save you, this account of a mountain rescue in the alps is for you.

Random thought to end this week’s update on:

“Whether you’re a writer, marketer, consultant, or lawyer: Your work is craft, and if you hone your ability and apply it with respect and care, then like the skilled wheelwright you can generate meaning in the daily efforts of your professional life.” (Cal Newport, Deep Work)

Do what you do with respect and care.

See you next week! 👋🏼

Last but not least, check out what I’m up to now.

Comments welcome!

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