Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shot error

A shift on the RV Langseth, at least for my group, consists of two halves with two separate groups of people. Because the science group is “on” for 8 hours and “off” for 16, we interact or at least get to see the whole of the ship’s crew, whose shifts consist of 12 hours on and 12 hours off (noon to midnight and midnight to noon...our shift is from 8AM - 4 PM). The first half of our shift is under the supervision of Michael and Megan (aka Mergon) and the second half is under Bern and David. As pictures show from previous blogs, there are several computer monitors and tv screens that must continuously be checked to ensure that the recovered seismic data are of the highest possible quality. Fortunately, I only need to spend the majority of my time monitoring a fraction of the total amount of screens in the seismic lab, around 10 or so. During the first half of my shift I work on crossword puzzles with Michael, read a novel, work on my thesis, talk with Megan about the previous night’s happenings, and of course doing everything previously mentioned while monitoring the computer screens. Every day at 10 AM, Michael brings everyone mid-morning snacks, which are always welcomed with a sense of relief. The second half of the shift is a continuation of the first, although I focus on reading because the crossword puzzles are usually completed by the mid-morning snack.
As the science portion of the cruise is concerned, we are trying to make up a little time that was lost over the last couple days due to unfortunate weather. We had been fighting large waves and strong head currents that resulted in the ship sailing at speeds about as fast as someone walking. The current weather is much better; however, adverse conditions are again expected in the near future.
On that note I will segue to the title of this blog, “Shot error”.
When we first began the seismic acquisition test phase of the cruise, whenever some sort of error occurred during this process, a muffled sound emanated from a nearby speaker. Without ever hearing this sound before, I was sure it was just an alarm with no apparent connotation. Sounding like a jumbled mess of consonants with a vowel or two, “Hmmm errerrr” was all I could make out of it. Laughing it off the first few times and mocking it with Heidi, it was to my surprise when Megan told me that it was actually saying something. As for any acquired taste, I had not yet become accustomed to that audible computerized cacophony. The noise perpetuated from the speaker was in fact saying “Shot error” or “Gun error”. If the instruments aren’t communicating between one another as they should be, “Gun error” will sound. However, if a situation occurs where the arrays of guns do not fire simultaneously, or a missfire occurs, or even if they just aren’t working properly, “Shot error” will sound. It is imperative to record these errors both on paper and through a digital computer file. This ensures that anyone in the future who wishes to further inspect certain “shot points” may do so and easily identify the type and time of any problems that occurred. After hearing this voice more times than I can remember, I can now easily distinguish between the two errors when the computer decides to announce its presence and I’m pretty sure I would be able to understand more. Unfortunately, I think its vocabulary is limited to those 3 words.
As I finished typing the previous sentence, the speaker spewed out “Gun error”…I guess it’s back to work.

No comments:

Post a Comment