16 October, 1996
Today I'm a lab rat again. This is a schedule I rather enjoy, having the opportunity to work in both the lab and the field. It also gives me an opportunity to work on my web site. I'd like to include more photos but its rather time consuming.
There was a unique event that occurred at McMurdo last week. One of the support staff attacked two follow workers with a hammer. Both people had to be hospitalized with head wounds. The attacker had wintered over and went off the deep edge. FBI agents were flown in from Hawaii to investigate the assault and the attacker was kept in voluntary confinement. After the investigation, the attacker was taken to the closest US federal magistrate, in Hawaii. If this had happened in the US, it probably wouldn't have made the local news. Here, the event is a topic of conversation and there are lots of hammer jokes. I don't think anyone feels threatened but we all realize that when any large group of people work together there will be abnormal behavior.
This afternoon one of the people in the lab next door put out a beaker of water. In fifteen minutes it was frozen solid. The temperature with wind chill is -80F.
I've included a picture of what I see from the lab. I took a break at about 10:30 P.M. to walk out side and wake up. In the picture you can see the sea ice in front of the station and what looks like a low cloud in front of the mountains. This cloud is actually blowing ice crystals. To a person in the cloud it would appear to be a blizzard, but no snow is actually falling from the sky. Antarctica gets very little vertically falling snow even though there is lots of snow here. Most of the snow is really ice crystals that have been blow from the land.
It's a good day to be a lab rat.
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