Gib Finney’s sequel to THE POWER OF UN
Mystery Pockets
13 June 2008, Finney @ 7:30 pm

[This post written 6/13/08; position: lat -57’49”, long -44’28”; temp -1C; wind chill -18C]

First, hi, Lorenzo, I will answer your latest questions. Plus, we are sending the name “The Mosquito” to the airplane team. We Three Musketeers all love this name and think it would be great for the second plane. Also on that subject, it looks like the weather is turning bad. (You might notice it’s colder today than yesterday.) Which means the chances of flying the plane in the next few days are not so great. So Steve E. and Kim have been building a kite (!), and Jake is working on a bigger, stronger slingshot. The slingshot speaks for itself, but the kite is a new idea. They don’t have the perfect materials. At the moment, the kite frame is plastic hose, and the kite fabric is heavy duty garbage bags. They will do a test today to see if it will lift the weight of the GPS beacon along with the Nerf football. The kite’s name is Crusader Rabbit, which Steve says is an old cartoon character from when he was young.

Lorenzo’s second question is about the iceberg, and why it is so flat on top. First, I know an iceberg that’s over 2 miles long seems huge, but out here, it’s actually pretty small. In a couple of days, we will be moving to one that is humongous compared to this one, believe it or not. This iceberg (and the new one we will soon be seeing) are both “tabular” icebergs. Dr. Helly explained to me that this comes from a Latin word, “tabula” that means a board or tablet. Our word “table” comes from this same Latin word. So tabular icebergs are supposed to be flat on top. But why? It’s because tabular icebergs are pieces that have broken off from big glaciers on the Antarctic continent, or from the ice shelves, which are big sheets of ice extending out into the sea, like the Ross and Larsen Ice Shelves. So, in a way, you could say this iceberg was born flat. It’s just a small piece that broke off from a big, flat sheet of ice, and probably not all that long ago — a year maybe.

The picture above is one of the weirdest things I have seen lately, and as you know, I have seen a few weird things lately. At the science meeting a couple of days ago, Paul McGill showed us the few minutes of video they got from the ROV just before they lost contact with it. This is what it saw under the iceberg! Underneath, the ice has all these strange little pockets all neatly arranged in a pattern, almost like a golf ball. Nobody knows for sure what this is all about — why these pockets happen, or what they are exactly. For that, we will have to wait, but we’re hoping it won’t be too long. The Amazing Engineers, Alana, Paul, Steve E., Kim, Brett, and Marko are at it again. They have spent the last few days roving around the ship looking for bits and pieces to make a new ROV out of! It’s like they’re on a scavenger hunt. All kinds of things might be useful for building a new ROV. They have found a couple of thruster motors no one was using, and a video camera and other stuff they will mount on a frame. It will be “rough n’ ready” compared to the old ROV, but maybe it will work, just like the guys in the old movie “Flight of the Phoenix,” one of my favorites to watch on rainy days, who make a new plane out of a crashed one.

Ash and Rainy and I have had a secret meeting about Strike. We are going to try to have a conversation with him, probably tonight or tomorrow, and thereby find out who or what he is and what he is doing on this ship.

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