Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Sound of Silence

Now that the latest storm is over (and our wi-fi has been restored), things are settling down to normal at Penguin Ranch.

Matt is checking his email . You can see Jessica's lab bench in the background.

Paul, Jessica, and Cass are working on the penguin corral. We are hoping to catch birds tomorrow if the weather is nice, but we need to secure the corral first.

Below is another photo on the corral work. Cass is using the Jiffy drill to make holes in the ice to secure the bamboo poles that hold up the fencing. Bamboo is incredibly strong. So strong that it can stand up to the fiercest winds. In fact, I've read that certain types of bamboo have the tensile strength of steel.

Cory is catching a few rays. His feet are on the ob tube lid.

I suppose it is not surprising to those of you who live in northern climes, but it is a marvel to me that if the sun is shining and there is no wind, it's actually not that bad outside, even if the thermometer is reading -10 C. I'm a native Californian and I don't do snow normally.

Here's a photo of me and our huts after the latest storm -- more snow. Sigh....

Below is the view from our huts across McMurdo Sound. What you see in the distance are the Royal Society Mountains, named after The Royal Society -- the national academy of science for the UK. It is similar to our National Academy of Science, but much older. The Royal Society was founded in 1660 by scientists like Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, and Robert Hooke. See: (Since this area was explored by the English, they got to choose the names -- it's only fair. )The mountain range looks so close, but is actually about 50 miles away. Scale is terribly hard to judge on the sea ice.

On quiet nights like this I enjoy walking out on to the sea ice near the camp. The silence is so incredibly profound when the wind has died that the only sound I hear is my own heart beating. I am always struck by the "sound" of silence. We live with such noise pollution most of the time. It's amazing that we can keep our sanity.

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

excerpt from The Sounds of Silence, by Paul Simon