Tuesday, August 01, 2006
What exciting news I have for you today! As reported in news all around the world, including the ABC and Washington Post, rare and spectacular cloud formations were seen in Antarctica! The nacreous clouds, about 20km above the ground, have colours in them like mother-of-pearl shells, and indicate very cold temperatures. Scientists at the base were ecstatic: "Spectacular is an understatement. The clouds were such a special and welcoming sight now that the sun has just started to return near the end of winter. I am keeping my eyes towards the celestial dome and camera at the ready in the hope of some more."
Now let's not be too hasty to knock these guys. Just like up north, the south pole has one six-month night and one six-month day every year. These people were probably excited not so much by the clouds as by the fact that they could see anything at all! "Thank God!", the exclamation would have gone around the camp, "Its almost dawn!" A six-month night stint might sound exciting to some, but scientists don't have a big reputation for being swingers. Even assuming there was a mix of male and female there, would you try to make a move on a bespectacled Madam Curie lookalike who's going to have six periods before the two of you can possibly get away from each other? Still, there's not a lot else to do down there. The resident Botanist might put his life on the line to go find a 1-inch blade of grass, perhaps the Rock Geologist could give the 99.99% of work time he has free to help the poor Snow Geologist, who has more work than he can handle, and the Psychologist of course would be flat out trying to explain to the Penguinologist that his new wife won't be accepted by the rest of the community. The Artist-in-Residence, of course, could grab his palette of white, off-white, cream, achromic, alabaster, blanch, bleach, chalky, clear, fair, frost, ivory, light, milk, neutral, pearl, and snow paints and go out to paint a white rabbit wearing in a snowstorm.
In such an environment, you can easily see how a shout of "Look, a cloud!" would be welcome news indeed.