The 4 Deserts race series is a series of 250km ultramarathons held in the Atacama Desert, Gobi Desert, Sahara Desert, and Antarctica. Competitors are only provided with water, tents, and medical support; they must carry everything else themselves. [more inside]
Scientists find translucent fish in a wedge of water hidden under 740 meters of ice, 850 kilometers from sunlight
Welcome to Union Glacier, Antarctica. "There is no great achievement or record broken, nor any real challenge to overcome. Instead [this documentary] concerns minor details; the everyday tasks of the staff that were made more special by the environment surrounding them. And in fact, I think that's what attracted me to make this film — the delightful trivialities of an average life, working in Antarctica." [Vimeo; 53 minutes; you can dip in and out of it]
Victor Gama is a self-taught composer and musician who has expanded his process of composing music for himself and others to perform into creating new or modified instruments, and is also involved with traveling to hard to access regions of Angola and recording local music, as documented on his website Tsikaya: Músicos do Interior. You can read an outstanding interview of Victor with Ned Sublette for Afropop, or read more on his creation of instruments as part of his creative process, or you can experience his performances on YouTube and his music on Soundcloud. [more inside]
The Art of Antarctic Cooking
What comprises “Antarctic culinary history,” Anthony writes, is “a mere century of stories of isolated, insulated people eating either prepackaged expedition food or butchered sea life.” It helped if some of these isolated, insulated people knew their way around the kitchen. “The cook, however good or bad, is an artist whose simple vocation is to make others lives happier,” observed chef Raymond Oliver. More magician than artist, a cook with an Antarctic expedition ranked as one of its most important members. His kitchen little more than a Primus stove, his ingredients either canned or scrounged, he conjured nourishing dishes as if from the gelid air.[more inside]
Warm water is eating away at the bases of West Antarctic glaciers in an irreversible runaway process: West Antarctic Glacier Loss Appears Unstoppable [the damn paper (paywalled)] [more inside]
Stuck in the Antarctic ice we set out to study - Erik van Sebille of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013 describes his fieldwork in Antarctica. The Guardian has extensive coverage of the expedition, including visiting the remains of a previous expedition, how they became icebound, and their rescue.
In a move eerily reminiscent of Dethklok's performance of the Duncan Hines Coffee Jingle (albeit at the opposite pole), Metallica will be performing in Antarctica. Just as the fictional death metal band partnered with a fictional coffee brand, Metallica bring their increasingly cartoonish presence to an audience "...of fans from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico who enter a contest through Coca-Cola Zero." Oddly, the band will be performing inside a dome on the Carlini Argentine Base with no amplification, and the performance will be transmitted to fans through headphones. [more inside]
Blisters, Cramps & Heaves documents his experience running "The Last Marathon" in Antarctica with two detailed blog posts incorporating elevation maps, photography, video, cartoons, and final stats. First post covers pre-race experience, second post the race itself. Act 1 | Act 2 [more inside]
Two months breaking ice (in under five minutes) is a very cool narrated time-lapse of the icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer moving through the Antarctic Ross Sea, following and tracking a phytoplankton bloom. [more inside]
"This is video of an aurora australis taken at the geographic south pole! I'm not absolutely sure, but it might actually be the first true video of an aurora australis here, as opposed to a timelapse of longer exposures. Sorry about the swearing - if you were there seeing it you'd probably swear too."
Dr Ainley, is there such a thing as insanity among penguins? What makes a penguin abandon its life and quest into the heart of Antarctica? What is a life well-lived for a penguin, anyway? What makes a human spend a year in a frozen wasteland? Is scientific curiosity kin to the derangement of the penguin? A short clip from Werner Herzog's excellent film, Encounters at the End of the World.
While travelling in Antarctica, journalism student Melissa Brennan took this short video at an intersection of a penguin highway.
January 13, 2013 marks the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society. The Magazine is celebrating by taking a yearlong look at the past and future of exploration. [more inside]
Sir Ranulph Twistleton-Wickham-Fiennes is 68 years old, a cancer survivor, and he's preparing to tackle a six month 2,000 mile trek across Antarctica at night. Partially to raise money for charity, but mostly because if he doesn't accomplish it, someone else might manage it instead.
Nicholas Johnson, author of Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica, committed suicide on November 28, in West Seattle. His friend and former roommate Jason Anthony (mentioned in the acknowledgements of Big Dead Place) has written an obituary. An obituary from the book's publisher, Feral House. An adaptation of Big Dead Place remains in development with HBO. Previously.
You're about to be the base doctor at Halley Research Station in Antarctica for a year. For ten months, no one gets in or out. Fourteen lives are in your hands, including your own. What do you put in your medical kit? And how do your choices differ from those of your predecessors (Eric Marshall and Edward Wilson) a century ago?
Use Google street view to explore some past and present Antarctic Research facilities. [more inside]
"Blizzards and freezing cold were one thing. Penguin perversion was another. Worse was to come, however. Levick spent the Antarctic summer of 1911-12 observing the colony of Adélies at Cape Adare, making him the only scientist to this day to have studied an entire breeding cycle there. " Penguin sex habits study rediscovered at Museum. [more inside]
In the coldest spot on the earth’s coldest continent, Russian scientists have reached a freshwater lake the size of Lake Ontario after spending a decade drilling through more than two miles of solid ice. Maybe the mountains of madness are underground. Lovecraft would loved to have seen this.
Join a research expedition to Antarctica's Mertz Glacier. Stunning photos, videos, interactives. [more inside]
Last February work was completed on the South Pole Station. Curious how all that material gets to the bottom of the world? Not enough time to sit through YouTube goodness? Catch up on the latest research or just get a dose of cuteness. (my first post here...go easy on me!)
An Australian journalist on board an icebreaker has spotted a mysterious piece of wood sitting on top of an iceberg in the Antarctic, posting photos reminiscent of the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Cue crazy theories about its origins. [more inside]
Time-lapse photography from above the polar circles • Antarctic: [ Following the sun around the horizon - Lunar Time Lapse (with a great aurora) - Aurora Australis - Scenes from around McMurdo and Scott bases - A day in the life outside the window at a McMurdo lab ] • Arctic: [ Bering Sea icebreaker ramming through pack ice - Icebreaker navigating through brash ice and swells at night - Same, at regular speed, in daytime - Sunrise in Greenland - Midnight sun from Grøtavær, Troms, Norway - Solar Eclipse from the Polish Station at Svalbard - Arctic sea ice, 1978-2009 - James Balog's TED talk about time-lapse proof of Alaskan glacial loss ]
The team of scientists and young researchers at POLENET, stationed at Byrd camp on the west Antarctic ice sheet, have been video podcasting since October 2009. Their seventh features kickin' music by the Weepies. SLYT: Antarctica (song)
During his unsuccessful 1908 attempt to reach the South Pole, universal badass Ernest Shackleton left five crates of Scotch whisky and two crates of brandy buried in the ice under the floorboards of his hut at Cape Royds. The crates were dug up in February, and conservators are working on ten of the 114-year-old whisky bottles, some marked with ‘British Antarctic Expedition 1907 Ship Endurance,’ with an eye on replicating the long-lost blend. [more inside]
Director Guillermo Del Toro has announced that he will no longer be directing The Hobbit, and has made a follow up statement today. Speculation is rife as to what he might work on next, having given up that massive commitment. Some are speculating, based on this AICN interview promoting the movie Splice, that going forwards with his adaptation of HP Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness may be on his mind again.
Every year for the past 26 years, the United States has faced off against New Zealand in rugby ... on the ice sheets of McMurdo Sound. [Pages 2, 3, 4] [more inside]
How we lost the cure for scurvy. "Now, I had been taught in school that scurvy had been conquered in 1747...but here was a Royal Navy surgeon in 1911 apparently ignorant of what caused the disease, or how to cure it. Somehow a highly-trained group of scientists at the start of the 20th century knew less about scurvy than the average sea captain in Napoleonic times."
Early in the days of exploration of Antarctica, Australian geologist Douglas Mawson turned down an invitation to join Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova Expedition in 1910 (Cool Antarctica previously). Instead, Mawson lead his own expedition, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (December 1911 to December 1913), an expedition to chart the 2000-mile coastline directly south of Australia, one of the least-visited parts of the continent throughout the early years of Antarctic exploration. The group's efforts and activities are well documented, and many remnants of the expedition remain on Antarctica. The conservation of Mawson's Huts is now an ongoing effort from Association of Australasian Palaeontologists (AAP) Mawson's Huts Foundation. While most efforts were focused on the recovery and treatment of artifacts inside the main hut, the group also searched for the Vickers (Aviation) monoplane that was modified to become an "air tractor", or motorized sledge. The remains of the plane were last seen in 1975. Now the plane has been found, thanks to an exceptionally low tide and a bit of luck. [more inside]
A Squid on the Ice. From fermion, an Antarctic mefite: "The continuing saga of Science and Adventure with the Squid (that's me) in and around Antarctica's McMurdo Station. Includes cool science, musings on Lovecraft, the logistics of Antarctic life, and lots of pictures. We're hoping to get out to the Dry Valleys sometime soon." [via mefi projects]
Daryl Peveto is a freelance photographer and videographer with a passion for social documentary storytelling. Over the last few years he has worked on issues ranging from American nomads to bullfighting in Tijuana to Antarctica: The White Continent to the black market economies of Peru. His photoblog is a sketchbook for story ideas and visual explorations.
In 1999, Dr. Jerri Nielsen was the only doctor in the winterover crew at the South Pole Station in Antarctica. While there, she discovered and treated her own breast cancer until she could be airlifted out. She died yesterday of breast cancer at age 57. [more inside]
Saturday Flash Hangover: Help a penguin Learn to Fly and scratch "flighless bird" from that stupid wikipedia article. [more inside]
Blood Falls - The iron rich red liquid gushing from a buried Antarctica lake shows how life may have existed on a snowball Earth, or on Europa.
Antarctica travel blog, done Big Picture style. Kevin Fox, formerly a designer at Yahoo and Google (who wrote a great response to Doug Bowman's design-by-metrics post) took a trip to Antarctica a couple months back and has been slowly updating a mini-site, exhaustively describing and showing photos from each part of each day he was down there. There are icebergs. There are penguins. There is swimming. There is drinking. It's all done in a wonderful large image Big Picture style that makes me drop everything whenever the feed updates. Start at the top and read the whole way through.
Freeze Frame a new collection of over 20,000 photographs of British and international polar explorations from 1845-1960, from the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge. [more inside]
The Ukrainians have a station about 50 miles south of Palmer, called Vernandsky. We all piled onto the resupply icebreaker ship one weekend and took a trip down to pester them and say hi, sort of a "Howdy, neighbor!" type thing. That was cool, they have a still there and make their own vodka. It's, uh, potent. Tsaven Nava talks to SA about working in Antarctica.
Australian Duncan Chessell (autoloading video) plans to spend four months trekking across Antarctica's frozen wasteland to reach the South Pole. Currently, he's leading a team of seven to the peak of Mt Vinson, Antarctica's highest point. He intends to make his trip to the pole 100 years after a similar feat was attempted by the great British explorer Robert Falcon Scott (previously). Meanwhile, another team aims to "become the youngest, fastest team in the world to reach the South Pole unsupported and unguided."
An Air New Zealand Airbus A320 crashed in the Mediterranean last week while on an acceptance testing flight at the end of a lease. The tragedy occurred on the 29th anniversary of the airline's worst disaster, the crash of sightseeing flight TE901 in the Antarctic. Beginning in 1977, the popular one-day flights took passengers on low level flights over the Ross Dependency, with experienced guides providing commentary. TE 901 flew on beautiful, clear day, and yet the DC-10 collided with the side of Mt Erebus, killing all 257 on board. The original accident report cited pilot error, but that was only the beginning. [more inside]
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