2008-07-14 11:59:55.000 – Dennis Vienneau,  Teacher Extern

Can you see the virga?

It seems that the daily observer comments requires the writer of the day to make some sort of reference to the clouds that we’re mostly embedded in. Today’s comments will continue along that vain. We’ve been in the clouds for the most part for this shift. We came up on Wednesday and it was clear for a few hours and then it was clear again late Saturday afternoon. I took advantage of the opportunity on Saturday to hike down from the Observatory to Ball Crag to stretch out my legs. Marty, the Observatory cat, decided that he wanted to go hiking also and followed me. I tried to hike fast enough to keep ahead or even get away from Marty but that didn’t work. When I reached the Auto Road, along a location known as the Homestretch, I decided to turn around. I was getting concerned that Marty was getting further away from the Observatory and I was worried about him being near the Auto Road. Marty wasn’t happy. He had been “talking” to me during the entire trip down but his tone changed when I turned around. He wanted to keep going, he sat down, then lay stretched out, and sulked. He stayed that way next to the road until I had traveled some distance back towards the Observatory. The next thing I knew, Marty was bounding past me going up the trail and “talking” to me again. He would get ahead of me, then lay stretched out on a rock and wait for me to catch up and pass him. He would then bound ahead of me and lay stretched out on a rock again waiting for me to again catch up. This game was repeated until we reached the Observatory, upon which Marty disappeared. When I got inside the building, Marty was already there. He’s been up here longer than I have and knows all the short cuts.

Steve mentioned the disappearing snow pack on the side of Mt. Jefferson in his comments a couple of days ago. We had a brief glimpse, through the clouds; of a miniscule patch of snow yesterday and today it’s gone altogether. The last patch of the snow probably melted during last night’s rain.

As I sit at the computer composing my thoughts I’m distracted with the mostly clear sky right outside the Observatory’s windows. While this is a great reprieve from an almost constant state of being embedded in thick clouds whipping by, it makes getting work done difficult. I’ve been number crunching……………. and crunching………….. and crunching. I’ve been looking at data sets (note the plural) that have as many as 35,000 lines of data and trying to come up with the best way to manipulate the data to allow it to make sense and to make comparisons between the data sets. I might be making headway. We’ll see, I have a couple of more weeks to wrestle with the data.


Dennis Vienneau,  Teacher Extern

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