Taking control.

2009-03-16 00:42:21.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

Take control how you see fit.

Over the weekend, I have had to deal with the movement of time. On Saturday, I had a birthday and had to leave yet another year in the past and move one year ahead. But such is life, time continues to fly forward; there are seldom any do-overs, or make-ups. We take the good and bad and move forward, hopefully learning from the past to prepare for our future. This got me thinking of an idea for this weeks Obscast (a video “blog” for our members that we produce weekly about our lives on the summit). In the video, we are given a magical remote control that lets up manipulate the past and present as we see fit. In reality, this could never happen but just think of the ways it could help out on the summit.

The observatory spends over half the year in the fog, sometimes for days or even weeks at a time. To think that with a tap of a button, we could pause the present, rewind to a sunny day, bask in the sun then fast forward to resume our week. The precipitation can, located at the center of the summit, is unprotected from 100 mph winds and has to be collected every six hours when necessary. To think that with a press of the slow-motion button, we could reduce the wind speed to a slower speed and safely make our way to and from the precipitation can with ease. The crew gets an unusual weather event that we want to remember in the future to share with guests. Instead of trying to remember the date and describing everything, we could bookmark it for later and just flash back to that event to show people what we experienced.

A lot of Edutrippers ask how they can experience the century club. Usually, they won’t get the weather they need to attempt such a feat but with a tap of a button, we could find a day in the past and let them try it. If they fell or touched the railing, no problem, we just rewind a few seconds and have them try again. Or when Edutrip guests are trying to sleep with five other strangers in our bunk room, they could tap the mute button and sleep through the one person that is snoring so loud the observers in the weather room can hear them. Or use the sleep button to rest and then set a time to get up for sunrise the next morning. Not able to get a sunrise or sunset, no problem, just use the audio/video settings and adjust the hue, contrast, and balance of the fog to get something interesting.

But sometimes it is the interesting weather that wreaks havoc on the observers or the instruments. We too could adjust the settings to something that suits our needs or if something breaks due to bad weather, we could rewind to calmer weather and take the instrument down before it breaks. For companies testing up here, we could record the day and send them a days worth of data so they could see exactly where their instrument failed or press the angle button and get different point of view of where their instruments failure point was. Instead of taking over an hour in the back of a snow cat to ride up the mountain, we could hit exit or eject and be down a lot quicker. And instead of worrying about generators versus electrical line, we could just hit the power button and keep things going that way.

I am sure the list goes on for the positive aspects but then there are negative aspects to consider. What if the remote broke in the middle of a function? Being infinitely looped in a moment to live over and over like the movie “Groundhog Day”. Having to live life in slow-motion making one week of fog last twice as long. Instead of mute, the volume is at full blast making every howling wind sound like a freight train in your head. Or having everything stay in purple after the hue adjustment gets stuck. Or pressing power off and having the batteries die in the remote keeping us in the dark or not existing indefinitely.

Unfortunately we cannot use the positive aspects nor do we have to fear the negative aspects of such a remote as it does not exist. To experience our past, we have to imagine and interpret it by reading our charts and log books from the events or tell of events through oral tradition. We have to work through the weather presented to us good or bad. And although we forecast the weather ahead of time (usually) how that weather affects us is just as much a mystery to us as it is to those who visit the summit. As time moves forward each day, we have no idea if we will keep our internet, what instrument may fail us, or who might call 911 asking us for help. We just work through it and move ahead the best we can. And I guess that’s the best any of can do because although time is flying by the good news is we’re the pilots so we can steer our lives how we see fit and see where time takes us.


Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

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