I am very excited and honored to join the Southern Fried Science Network, otherwise known as The Gam. However, I must be honest. I was a little nervous about how well I would fit in when I was asked to join after reading what The Gam is:
GAM. Noun – A social meeting of two (or more) Whale-ships, generally on a cruising-ground; when, after exchanging hails, they exchange visits by boats’ crews: the two captains remaining, for the time, on board of one ship, and the two chief mates on the other.
(Moby Dick, page 216)
My first reaction was, “But I don’t have a ship! OH NOES!!!!!” So naturally, I went out and got one. Granted it’s not a whaling ship or anything, but I’m pretty proud of my Condor-class sloop, the HMS Shearwater.
To get a ship, I joined the crew of the HMS Shearwater. It’s really not a bad deal. While most crew members must get special permission to leave the ship, I may come and go as I please. Last I checked in, we were at port in San Diego. It was partly cloudy with some light winds from the west, and the high air temperature was 73 degrees. Also, it was August 2nd, 1914.
No, I’m not a time traveler. I joined aboard the crew of the HMS Shearwater through the citizen science project Old Weather. Through Old Weather, I am helping scientists build better climate models by reading and transcribing World War I era captain’s ship logs. This information will also be of use to historians who want to learn more about these ships and the people on board.
To make this official, I added myself to list of crew above. I started out as an ensign, but after just 5 days of working on the ship, I was promoted to Lieutenant My next goal is to take over as Captain of the ship.
I mentioned Old Weather briefly a few weeks ago after its launch and already 12% of the logs have been transcribed. So, I suggest that you jump aboard if you want to help climate scientists, are interesting in World War I naval history, or have ambitious goals like becoming the captain of a World War I naval ship in the 21st century. You can also follow @oldweather on twitter and find out about what others are discovering. Having done my share of entering data collected in the field , I must say Old Weather is very user friendly and the penmanship in the logs is immaculate (seriously, no one should be allowed to collect data in the field until they have entered a few dozen pages of data sheets with atrocious handwriting). If you’re still not convinced, Old Weather put together some great videos on their site about the project.
And in all seriousness to anyone who may have followed me and is unfamiliar with The Gam, it’s not about having a ship. The Gam is a collection of excellent science bloggers covering a range of topics and issues, and I am proud to be one of them. So, go check them out!