South Pole is Spook Country

A bit of fun after a long week.

 
 
 
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SCatSP1
 
more of the same

 
 
 
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again

 
 
 
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and again

 
 
 
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ha!
nice...
 
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Extremely Cool!
 
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Heh. Jeans weather at the South Pole.
 
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Cool
 
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The Man conquers the pole, ha!

Is that metal ball the geographical pole marker? Is that a dent I see on it?
 
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And if so what does that say about the world, man!?!?
 
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Ok. The reading is cool, the author is cool but was it really necessary to go to a freezing place to make your point ??? !!!
Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin
Wink
 
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Well, once you've been down here a while you get somewhat used to the temperatures and can shed some layers. It was about -25F with 14-knot winds when I got these pics taken on Sunday, which put the windchill at around -50F. It wasn't the most comfortable temperature/clothing combination, but I was only outside for 20 minutes or so.

The shiny globe, with a dent in it, is the ceremonial pole marker. If you look in the first picture there is a small pole with a brass top just to my left. That's the actual geographical pole marker.

I definitely had other motivations to come here for 13 months besides taking these pictures, but wanted to read the book and didn't have time before I deployed. You have to make your own entertainment down here, and this seemed like it would be an interesting way to spend a half-hour!

The week before some Star Wars fans, including me, got together and took photos in a jedi robe and wielding a lightsaber. The pics all got photoshopped together, and the organizer is going to try and get it sent in to Star Wars Insider (or some such fan mag).
 
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I would go there for one year. I'd probably get a lot of work done.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by CuspTech:I definitely had other motivations to come here for 13 months
Care to share?
 
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Let's see, motivations (in no particular order):

Remove myself from the rat race

Add my name to the list of <1,200 people who have spent a winter at SP

See the aurora australis

Feel what -100F is like

Work with science on the Ice

Get good long-duration isolation experience that is applicable to manned spaceflight

Leave the Ice again, find myself in the Antipodes, and get to take another great trip back to my side of the globe

Free room & board

Good food

Good company

Clean air

Why not?
 
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quote:
Originally posted by CuspTech:
Let's see, motivations (in no particular order):

Remove myself from the rat race

Add my name to the list of <1,200 people who have spent a winter at SP

See the aurora australis

Feel what -100F is like

Work with science on the Ice

Get good long-duration isolation experience that is applicable to manned spaceflight

Leave the Ice again, find myself in the Antipodes, and get to take another great trip back to my side of the globe

Free room & board

Good food

Good company

Clean air

Why not?
Are you able to save a fair amount of money while there as well?
 
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Yeah, there' not a lot of opportuity to spend money while on the Ice. In particular, if you don't drink alcohol or are prohibited from doing so by being on-call 24/7 (like I am for my two jobs here) there really isn't much to spend your paycheck on besides souvenirs.
 
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You mean Amazon Prime won't deliver there!? Smile
 
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quote:
Originally posted by CuspTech:
Yeah, there' not a lot of opportuity to spend money while on the Ice. In particular, if you don't drink alcohol or are prohibited from doing so by being on-call 24/7 (like I am for my two jobs here) there really isn't much to spend your paycheck on besides souvenirs.
What do they call you for?
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Fashionpolice:
You mean Amazon Prime won't deliver there!? Smile


 
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quote:
Originally posted by UberDog:
quote:
Originally posted by CuspTech:
Yeah, there' not a lot of opportuity to spend money while on the Ice. In particular, if you don't drink alcohol or are prohibited from doing so by being on-call 24/7 (like I am for my two jobs here) there really isn't much to spend your paycheck on besides souvenirs.
What do they call you for?


Well, when the freezer breaks, you need somebody on call to fix it right away or the biosamples will go to hell.
 
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I'm on-call for any sort of science issue that might come up with the projects that are my responsibility. The point of the station being here is science, so that takes a high priority.

I'm also the fire brigade leader, so when any alarm goes off we have to be ready to jump in our gear and respond.
 
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Does the fire alarm go off often?

Might need to take those flame units away from McCreedy and Childs.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by CuspTech:
I'm on-call for any sort of science issue that might come up with the projects that are my responsibility. The point of the station being here is science, so that takes a high priority.

I'm also the fire brigade leader, so when any alarm goes off we have to be ready to jump in our gear and respond.


Any classified cryogenics projects?
 
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Yes. But they're classified.

They probably have some good clean rooms down there for nifty nanotech.
 
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We have had a couple false (fire) alarms so far this summer, but nowhere near as many as they had back when the alarm system was still having its kinks worked out.

No classified cryo projects down here at Pole. In fact, I know of nothing down here that is remotely related to the military or intelligence services. The cryogenic program primarily provides liquid nitrogen and helium for cooling off the receivers of telescopes out in the Dark Sector. The meteorology folks also use helium to launch the frequent weather balloons, and some cryo products are provided to the medical folks as well.

We don't have any clean rooms, but do have a whole Clean Air Sector in which travel is highly restricted so the instruments in the Atmospheric Research Observatory (ARO) can continue to monitor some of the most unpolluted air on the planet.

Sign me up for the nifty nanotech position next year!
 
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quote:
Originally posted by UberDog:
Yes. But they're classified.

They probably have some good clean rooms down there for nifty nanotech.


Right, but I only want to know IF there are any. Smile He said there aren't. Cool, a place on earth that has not been corrupted by the US military.
 
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Well, we do rely on the Air National Guard's LC-130 flights for our main transportation and supply in the summer, but in the winter it's a totally civilian show. Even in the summer there aren't any military personnel stationed at SP.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by CuspTech:
Well, we do rely on the Air National Guard's LC-130 flights for our main transportation and supply in the summer, but in the winter it's a totally civilian show. Even in the summer there aren't any military personnel stationed at SP.


I'm interested in the psychological and interpersonal aspects of the experience. Is there any tension between people? About what? How do you deal with it?
 
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Psychological and interpersonal aspects in general, or between civilians and military personnel?
 
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quote:
Originally posted by CuspTech:
Psychological and interpersonal aspects in general, or between civilians and military personnel?


I meant civilians. You did mention that some of this may apply to the Mars program. Are there any social psych types gathering data on the interpersonal dynamics and the like? Are you keeping diaries? Are there webcams recording data in public areas?...
 
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quote:
Originally posted by CuspTech:
Well, we do rely on the Air National Guard's LC-130 flights for our main transportation and supply in the summer, but in the winter it's a totally civilian show. Even in the summer there aren't any military personnel stationed at SP.
Hasn't Raytheon come up in conjunction with SP discussions here? isn't it a little disingenuous to call them civilian? cause to me, the company name just screams "military industrial complex"...
 
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As far as I know there aren't any current studies being done on the psychology of us down here right now. Perhaps it's being kept hush-hush to avoid the observer effect if it is. There definitely have been studies done in the past related to the space program. Last year they did some physiological study at pole on iodine deficiency or something like that. I'm not sure.

The only cameras that monitor areas are in the power plant, sub-ice utility tunnels, and out approaching the Atmospheric Research Observatory.

Yes, I'm keeping a journal.

There definitely can be tension between folks down here. There are very few places to get away from everybody, and when your living space and workplace essentially coincide it can make for an even more stressful situation. Work disputes have the potential to become disputes in your free time. One major source of "drama" is when couples' relationships go sour down here. Especially in the winter, when there are so fewer people around, this can (so I understand) align the rest of the folk into factions supporting the two estranged parties. You have really no way of leaving to just get away, and there is physically no way to leave the station during the winter months because it's too cold for the aircraft to fly.

I haven't really had any disputes with anybody so far. I guess you have to temper yourself to the idea that you could get kicked off the Ice or lose your bonus should you act too inappropriately at work or in your free time. Fisticuffs are an immediate ticket off the Ice, so are a pretty poor means of conflict resolution (as they are anywhere).
 
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How many researchers/staff are there total? Tens or hundreds? Sorry, I have no idea...
I'd hate being stuck with somebody I don't click with. You cannot just hit Ignore like you do here. That you know of, has there ever been a serious case like people hurting each other physically as a result of these dynamics?
 
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quote:
Especially in the winter, when there are so fewer people around, this can (so I understand) align the rest of the folk into factions supporting the two estranged parties.


Talk about obsessive pattern recognition.

*or*

Man's Compulsive Search for Meaning
 
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Very potentially claustrophobic, imho. Great photos!
 
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quote:
Originally posted by psyclone:
quote:
Originally posted by UberDog:
Yes. But they're classified.

They probably have some good clean rooms down there for nifty nanotech.


Right, but I only want to know IF there are any. Smile He said there aren't. Cool, a place on earth that has not been corrupted by the US military.
Dude, his base is on top of an exteresstrial gate for fucksakes!

I seen the pictures. My friend showed 'em to me.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by psyclone:
How many researchers/staff are there total? Tens or hundreds? Sorry, I have no idea...
I'd hate being stuck with somebody I don't click with. You cannot just hit Ignore like you do here. That you know of, has there ever been a serious case like people hurting each other physically as a result of these dynamics?
Once thought about setting a story down there... without the aliens though.... character study... a bit in the vein of The King is Alive.

You use the ignore button?

I don't. It's... impure.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by UberDog:
quote:
Originally posted by psyclone:
How many researchers/staff are there total? Tens or hundreds? Sorry, I have no idea...
I'd hate being stuck with somebody I don't click with. You cannot just hit Ignore like you do here. That you know of, has there ever been a serious case like people hurting each other physically as a result of these dynamics?
Once thought about setting a story down there... without the aliens though.... character study... a bit in the vein of The King is Alive.

You use the ignore button?

I don't. It's... impure.


Wasn't "Smilla's Sense of Snow" taking place down there?

Ignore button? Not really. Rants and inanities are quite entertaining, so why ignore them?
 
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Well, we have about 250 people here during the summer. I'd guess maybe 2/3 are support staff and the other third are "beakers" (as is the Ice slang for grant-funded researchers).

I don't know of lots of violence between personnel down here. If anything happens it's probably between people who've had a bit too much to drink and/or between jilted ex- and current boyfriends.

Claustrophobia is a bigger problem in the winter when there are no flights for 8-9 months, and you are absolutely going to be nowhere but here (and spend most of that time in the dark).

If somebody irks you, it can be hard not to bump into them repeatedly down here. You really have to watch your behavior, since the workplace is the living place is the recreation place.

Anyhow, I'm actually going to be leaving Pole for a bit less than a week in the near future. Another science tech and I are going to head off to the higher and colder Gamburtsev Province, where at 3,500 meters we will be installing an autonomous magnetometer project that is currently here at Pole. It's hundreds and hundreds of kilometers away, and is just out in the Flat White. We're both amazed we'll be getting the opportunity, and it will be great to finally get to go work at a deep field camp.
 
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