5 May, 2000
Raytheon Polar Services, National Science Foundation, Palmer Census Question 76: How many kinds of squid live in the Southern Ocean? We spent most of today packing and finishing last-minute tasks in the lab. The Gould arrived this afternoon, our transport to take us back to the rest of the world! On many Friday nights poker games have been organized. Tonight there was a large one played in the open area in GWR that has already had the walls torn down. There are two groups without which we could not be here in this fascinating place. The general agency behind all American work in Antarctica is the National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent United States government agency that is responsible for promoting science and engineering. It funds, manages and assists over 20,000 research and education projects every year. The United States Antarctic Program, that we are all part of, is only one of those projects. Check out the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) website (www.nsf.gov/home/polar/) to find out more about the range of science investigations that NSF supports at both poles. A researcher who wants to work in Antarctica must write up a proposal about what he wants to do, why it is important and what kind of funding and support the project would need to carry it out and then submit it to OPP. To take care of station and ship operation; information, technology and communications; logistics; facilities engineering and construction; and science support (see 5/3/00 journal for more detailed info on support staff), NSF contracts out the job to a support agency on a10-year contract. The current Antarctic Support Contractor is Raytheon Polar Services Corporation (http://RPSC.raytheon.com). Once a project is funded, the researcher works mainly with RPSC to get field work needs such as schedules, transportation, equipment, etc. squared away (see explanation of SIPs in journal 3/29/00). In April one of the station staff sent out a survey to everyone on station to find out what kind of people were working at Palmer. Here are the Palmer Census results thanks to Cheryl Hansen!: All 34 people here completed and returned the census form. The average Palmerite lives in Colorado, but visits Washington regularly. She/he is 34 years and several months old. He/she has 2 siblings and is probably the youngest in the family. (If not the youngest, then probably the oldest, maybe the middle, but almost never the only.) She/he has spent far too much time on the ice..... (5 seasons!!) He/she has traveled to 5+ continents and has almost a 50% chance of having driven the AlCan highway. The main reason for coming to Palmer? Probably the first season for the adventure, the second season for the money, and the third season "'cause ya jus' don't fit in anywhars else...." Activities on station for him/her include nearly everything there is to do; and back in that other world, activities are very active. Almost no couch potatoes! 1. Which state/country do you consider home? Colorado - 23.5% Washington - 17.6% Alaska - 8.8% Missouri - 8.8% New York - 5.9% Florida - 5.9% Minnesota - 5.9% California - 5.9% Alabama - 2.9% Pennsylvania - 2.9% South Dakota - 2.9% Wisconsin - 2.9% Wyoming - 2.9% Canada - 2.9% Germany - 2.9% 2. Average Age? 34.7 Median Age? 34 3. How many siblings do you have? 1 Sibling - 32.4% 2 Siblings - 29.4% 3 Siblings - 17.6% 5 Siblings - 8.8% 4 Siblings - 5.9% 9 Siblings - 2.9% 0 Siblings - 2.9% 4. Where are you in the birth order? e.g. Oldest, Middle, Youngest, Only Child... Youngest - 38.2% Oldest - 32.4% Middle - 26.5% Only Child - 2.9% 5. How many seasons have you spent on "The Ice?" 2 Seasons - 32.4% 6 Seasons - 14.7% 5 Seasons - 11.8% 4 Seasons - 11.8% 3 Seasons - 8.8% 1 Season - 8.8% 10 Seasons - 2.9% 9 Seasons - 2.9% 8 Seasons - 2.9% 7 Seasons - 2.9% 6. How many continents have you visited? 5 Continents - 29.4% 6 Continents - 26.5% 4 Continents - 17.6% 3 Continents - 14.7% 7 Continents - 11.8% 7. Have you ever driven the Alaskan/Canadian (Alcan) Highway? No - 55.9% Yes - 44.1% 8. What is the single reason why you are at Palmer Station? To see more of Antarctica, adventure, unique experience, get away from everything I know and love to make sure I know and love it for good reason, money, talked NSF into it, education, kidnapped, see penguins, leopard seals and other wildlife, didn't get enough of the place last year, science, South America vacation time after, happiness, can't handle 9 to 5 grind, change, seemed like the thing to do, because I was asked/told, working on Ph.D, no single reason, unusual and interesting place to live and work, always wanted to come here. 9. What is your favorite hobby/activity to do at Palmer Station? Treadmill, see wildlife, socialize, boating, hiking the glacier, dancing, watching animals, working in lab, playing pool, skiing, diving, photography, baking, outside stuff, making puzzles to drive people nuts, collecting, watching my surroundings, painting flowers, it's so fun here I can't pick just one, working, chatting with people, making things in carp shop. 10. What is your favorite hobby/activity to do while at home? sailing, playing softball, triathlon, traveling, x-country skiing, fishing, making dinner, visiting friends and family, birding, hiking, photography, none of your business, going to good restaurants, rock climbing, basketball, baseball, diving, reading, listening to music, being outdoors, hunting, bike riding, camping, activities with my son, baseball games, camping, swimming, exploring, riding motorcycles, chatting with people, anything with my fiancee, home? who has a home? Although this survey gives only a brief peek into the type of individual who comes south to work on the ice, I hope more about their personalities has come through in various earlier journal entries. It has been a wonderful privilege getting to meet and work with all these people, and I will be sorry to leave them behind. Answer 75: No, there are no native people in the Antarctic; but at some research stations, families are allowed and children have been born. These people could not live in the harsh environment without the support of their home countries and have not adapted their lifestyles to the region.
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