blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Virtual synchrony and the Taughannock Falls

There is no obvious connection other than that we thought about these things on the same day.

This morning while I ate a solitary breakfast at the hotel, Chris bounded up the big hill to the Cornell campus, to meet Prof. Birman at the Gimme Coffee bar in the Bill and Melinda Gates Hall, where he (Chris) spent an interesting hour discussing Virtual Synchrony with the man who had invented it in 1988. Chris first used it in 1992, as an engineer working on the London Local Fibre [telecomms] Network.

When I was ready to set off, I walked up to the campus by a more exciting route, up the Cascadilla Gorge Trail which is a stone path and steps up beside a whole series of cascading waterfalls, tall bridges overhead. I got very warm climbing the last lot of steps from the river up to the bridge on College Avenue, so was glad of the chance to cool down for a few minutes when I reached the Gimme Coffee place. Chris came hurrying down from an upper floor to fetch me to meet someone he'd been introduced to, Prof. Robert Constable, a mathematician of repute who was a colleague of Leslie Lamport and used to be the Dean of the Ithaca faculty. This gentleman later proudly showed me his name, carved into a pillar by the front door of the Gates Hall. We sat in his room for a while, listening to his thoughts on the latest developments in his field of work and he sent Chris a copy of the paper he and his colleagues are about to publish.

After a drink at the campus' bagel shop I showed Chris the gorge trail and so walked down it too, back into town where I found Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" in a second hand bookshop.

The hotel porter gave us a shuttle ride to the airport where we had a rental car booked and waiting. This allowed us to explore outside Ithaca this afternoon: up Rte 89, the "Scenic Byway" that follows the western side of Cayuga Lake. We hardly drove further than a third of the way to the top end of the lake, but this was meant to be a leisurely excursion. Our first stop was at the Taughannock Falls lookout point, on a cliff a long way above the river. The water drops more than 200ft, apparently, and the cliffs are twice that height. It was a magical view, and from where we stood we could see that there were people at the base of the falls as well, so we decided to drive back down the road to find how to get there. Easily done; the walk to the view (past other waterfalls, weirs and rapids, under shale cliffs with trees growing on them at near-impossible angles) was only 3/4s of a mile along a flat trail. The big nearby trees with their newly green leaves added to the loveliness of this walk.

Across the road was another State Park where we could sit at a picnic table and appreciate Cayuga Lake from its shore. At the next picnic table along, a gang of students were appreciating one another. Chris and I decided to drive onwards as far as Interlaken, which is not at all the same as its Swiss namesake, but a village with a sizeable Baptist Church and other such historic buildings, founded in 1815, set in vineyards and open fields smelling of fresh manure. It does have distant views of the lake, but not of Seneca Lake, the next Finger Lake along to the west; we may take a look at that tomorrow morning if we have time. We reached Interlaken via Trumansburg and Covert; there was a roadside icecream shack at Trumansburg where I bought a "toddler's" (i.e. small) sundae. We returned along the Scenic Byway again, and had a Taste of Thai for supper on the Ithaca Commons.

There are some surrealist murals around the multi-storey parking in this town, certainly more eye catching and appealing than plain concrete.

This evening we made use of the hotel's pool and "spa" tub, to bring a relaxing day to its conclusion.

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