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The local news has been full of stories about the bison-run on one of the paved roads in Yellowstone National park that preceded a 4.7 magnitude earthquake by a couple weeks.

Here’s the CNN story that includes the video of lumbering bison and, having driven in the park many times with bison on the road, my initial reaction is that I just wish they’d move this fast when we’re behind them because, while looking at the rear end of bison four-across is kind of interesting at first, it is much less so after 15 or 20 minutes.

Apparently some survivalist type thought the end of the world was finally nigh as the volcano that left a caldera 50 miles wide by 30 miles wide (yes, it’s a little bit larger than most volcanoes) was again threatening the  planet.

According to this Reuters report (and the interview subjects in the video above), scientists don’t put much credence in the re-awaking theory but, rather, think the animals were just feeling “frisky” on a warm spring day.

Goodbye Teradyne (Revisited)

Saturday marked the 7-year anniversary of my departure from SoCal semiconductor test equipment manufacturer Teradyne and the end of a 20+ year career as an engineer.

I don’t miss it a bit and echo the comments made the last time I looked at this post a couple years ago when I noted, “… it brought back lots of memories and, after clicking on the link to “maps” at the end of the post, I can’t help but recall the scene in Top Secret when Val Kilmer was having a bad dream about not having studied for a test in high school, only to be relieved when he woke up and found himself being beaten by Nazis”.

Anyway, here’s that post I had all cued up prior to going into work on that last day in 2007.

***

After more than seven years, today is my last day at Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE: TER), a major manufacturer of test equipment for the semiconductor industry.

I’d like to thank all the great people I’ve worked with over the years and I wish you all the best of luck in the future.

Since joining the company in January of 2000, time spent here has been mostly enjoyable – writing software for a world-class semiconductor test platform has had more than its share of excitement and challenges.

I can’t say that the last year or two have been as enjoyable as some of the earlier ones. Maybe it was because I was distracted by other interests.

Maybe too it was because “perpetual fire drill” is no way to live and there’s been a steady stream of talented engineers out the front door. Despite assurances heard by employees, the attrition rate doesn’t look normal to me.

Yes, I know things are changing – good luck with that.

I really can’t complain – Teradyne has been pretty good to me. I’m just tired of software and tired of Southern California – it’s time to move on.

(more…)

The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek

The Tunnel Creek avalanche at Stevens Pass, Washington occurred a couple years ago and I remember hearing about it at the time as being a great tragedy, but I was only recently directed to this NY Times story on the subject that, last year, won a Pulitzer prize for feature writing and is now available as an interactive multimedia feature piece called “Snow Fall“.

For anyone interested in alpine skiing in general and backcountry skiing in particular, this is a must read and the related video is below.

Like similar stories I’ve come across, poor decision-making was at the root of the disaster.

This particular incident was notable because it included some of the world’s most experienced backcounty and professional skiiers who, due to peer pressure and other related social factors that occur in large groups such as this, made the critical mistake of throwing caution to the wind when they really should have known better.

Happy New Year!

A Jim Carrey Happy New Year – twelve years old and still very, very funny, and, once again, available for embedded viewing right here after a short commercial message. Note that a 10-minute version of this memorable appearance on David Letterman is available here.

— Happy New Year to one and all and thanks for reading! —

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