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Dilemma in Tromsø

The Challenge of Celebrating Ramadan in the Land of the Midnight Sun "Six years ago, Sandra Maryam Moe and the sheikh spent months exchanging emails. Is it allowed to eat and drink even though it isn't yet dark outside, Moe wanted to know? And if it is, when does the daily fasting period begin and end? When are the prayer times? Moe described in detail the dilemma facing her community and the sheikh sent her question after question. He too was wary of becoming the originator of a new practice."
posted by Omnomnom on Jul 26, 2014 - 53 comments

Norse in the Canadian Arctic?

Over the past three decades, a Canadian archaeologist found compelling evidence of a Norse settlement in the Canadian Arctic. Then she was fired. [more inside]
posted by Brodiggitty on May 24, 2014 - 48 comments

The Ket had seven souls, unlike animals, who had only one.

The Ket from the Lake Munduiskoye (2008, 30 min.) The Ket people are an indigenous group in central Siberia whose population has numbered less than two thousand during the past century. Although mostly assimilated into the dominant Russian culture at this point, a couple hundred of them are still able to speak the Ket language, the last remaining member of the Yeniseian language group. Recent scholarship has proposed a link between Ket and some Native American language groups.
posted by XMLicious on Apr 16, 2014 - 7 comments

Famine, Cholera, Opium, Romanticism and the Volcano That Binds Them

On 10 April 1815, Tambora produced the largest eruption known on the planet during the past 10,000 years. As described in Gillen D'Arcy Wood's new book, the explosion was only the first dose of Tambora's destructive power. In terms of its enduring presence in folklore, as well as its status in the scientific literature, 1816’s cold summer was the most significant meteorological event of the nineteenth century. After the tsunami and famine came cholera, opium, and failed Arctic expeditions. [more inside]
posted by shoesfullofdust on Apr 13, 2014 - 14 comments

Qallunaat! Why White People Are Funny

This documentary pokes fun at the ways in which Inuit people have been treated as “exotic” documentary subjects by turning the lens onto the strange behaviours of Qallunaat (the Inuit word for white people). The term refers less to skin colour than to a certain state of mind: Qallunaat greet each other with inane salutations, repress natural bodily functions, complain about being cold, and want to dominate the world. Their odd dating habits, unsuccessful attempts at Arctic exploration, overbearing bureaucrats and police, and obsession with owning property are curious indeed. A collaboration between filmmaker Mark Sandiford and Inuit writer and satirist Zebedee Nungak, Qallunaat! brings the documentary form to an unexpected place in which oppression, history, and comedy collide.
Qallunaat! Why White People Are Funny
posted by Rumple on Jan 30, 2014 - 40 comments

Is Canada's future in the North?

As part of a Globe and Mail series on the North exploring Canada's last frontier, writer Ian Brown and photojournalist Peter Power learn that the High Arctic, touted as Canada’s future, is like nothing any southerner expects. [more inside]
posted by jamincan on Jan 19, 2014 - 21 comments

“ a natural, obvious connection between the Arctic and outer space"

Declassified Spy Outpost Lurks on the Dark Side of the Earth
Canadian Forces Station Alert is "the most northerly, permanently inhabited location in the world, located only 817 kilometres from the geographic North Pole."
On Assignment At CFS Alert. CFS Alert (Part 1). [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 2, 2013 - 14 comments

And so in 1632 seven men were left in Smeerenburg to wait out the winter

We tend to think now of scurvy as mainly a punch line, if anything—“scurvy-ridden rats” is the kind of popular pirate epithet that appears in even the most G-rated family fare. Partly this is because now, fully understanding its mechanism, it seems a particularly ridiculous problem. But ask anyone who's suffered from it: it is a singularly horrid and terrible way to die.
- The Spoil of Mariners, Colin Dickey, Lapham's Quarterly.
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Sep 29, 2013 - 28 comments

Burp.

A new article in Nature warns that "the costs of a melting Arctic will be huge", thanks in part to the likely release of "a 50-gigatonne (Gt) reservoir of methane, stored in the form of hydrates" beneath the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, "either steadily over 50 years or suddenly". An abrupt release is "highly possible at any time", says Natalia Shakhova of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, who has observed plumes of methane up to a kilometre wide bubbling to the surface in the area. [more inside]
posted by rory on Jul 25, 2013 - 66 comments

The weather was unseasonably warm, an astonishing 50 degrees F!

Imaging The Arctic: "In Spring 2013, based out of the small settlements of Niaqornat and Kullorsuaq, expeditionary artist Maria Coryell-Martin will accompany scientist Dr. Kristin Laidre onto the pack ice of Baffin Bay." They are keeping an online field journal detailing Dr. Laidre's study of the effects of sea-ice loss on narwhals and polar bears, with Maria Coryell-Martin's illustrations accompanying field notes.
posted by ChuraChura on May 1, 2013 - 1 comment

Lightink ze vay.

They had to be fully autonomous, because they were situated hundreds and hundreds miles aways from any populated areas. After reviewing different ideas on how to make them work for a years without service and any external power supply, Soviet engineers decided to implement atomic energy to power up those structures. So, special lightweight small atomic reactors were produced in limited series to be delivered to the Polar Circle lands and to be installed on the lighthouses.
posted by cthuljew on Mar 26, 2013 - 14 comments

Life in Inuvik, Northwest Territories

Life in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, lying at the end of the Dempster Highway [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 16, 2013 - 17 comments

Nordic Odyssey

Beautiful New Yorker video from the deck of an Arctic transport ship.
posted by holmesian on Jan 10, 2013 - 5 comments

Frost Flowers Blooming in the Arctic Ocean are Found to be Teeming with Life

Frost Flowers Blooming in the Arctic Ocean are Found to be Teeming with Life [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Dec 11, 2012 - 7 comments

Chuckchi Jokes

Anyone familiar with the contemporary Russian humorous folklore (jokelore, or in Russian anekdoty) knows that one of the most popular series of such jokes revolves around the Chukchis, the native people of Chukotka, the most remote northeast corner of Russia. These jokes, especially popular in 1990s and 2000s, fit the international genre of ethnic stupidity jokes . . .
posted by jason's_planet on Nov 10, 2012 - 17 comments

"all gone by 2015"

While the 2007 IPCC report showed Arctic sea-ice still present in 2100, it is now an unfolding "global disaster" according to Cambridge Professor Peter Wadhams. Climate Code Red summarizes the science, saying the sea-ice is "in a 'death spiral' and likely to be gone in summer within a few years" ... "The sea-ice volume is now down to just one-fifth of what it was in 1979", and paints a newly emerging, rapidly worsening climate picture, urging climate scientists to sound the alarm on new data showing a world on the brink of dramatic tipping points, far sooner than anyone anticipated
posted by crayz on Sep 18, 2012 - 215 comments

Summer ice in the Arctic to disappear

Several measures of Arctic ice cover have hit record lows. Melting usually continues into September, so this year’s minimum should be below the 2007 record. The rate of melting far exceeds that predicted by most models. Predictions of when the Arctic might be entirely ice-free at the summer minimum are being brought sharply forwards.
posted by wilful on Aug 27, 2012 - 89 comments

"At least we aren't BP"

In light of today's news that one of two Shell ships slated to drill exploratory oil wells in the Arctic waters of Alaska's Chukchi and Beaufort Seas had slipped its moorings and was headed towards Dutch Harbor, in Alaska's Aleutian Islands... check out a collaboration between the Yes Men and Greenpeace that's been online since June: arcticready.com (Twitter) -- an elaborate site spoofing Royal Dutch Shell Plc, who have uh... promised not to sue.
posted by zarq on Jul 16, 2012 - 15 comments

Aone in the Arctic

Snowdrifter (single link Vimeo).
posted by Dipsomaniac on Jun 17, 2012 - 5 comments

Long Live Ligers

"It fits with what we would expect as a result of the rapid change in Arctic habitat." The stuff of science fiction is becoming increasingly the stuff of science fact. And now, it seems, you can crack open a white Coke (if you can stomach the campaign) and watch it all from the comfort of your couch. [more inside]
posted by huckhound on Apr 9, 2012 - 40 comments

Does this mean Canadians get to put Bjork on the hundred dollar bill?

Iceland eyes loonie, Canada ready to talk. Iceland, still reeling from the aftershocks of the devastating collapse of its banks in 2008, is looking longingly to the loonie as the salvation from wild economic gyrations and suffocating capital controls.... The Canadian government says it’s open to discussing the idea. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Mar 2, 2012 - 93 comments

The Arctic is failing.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its 2011 Arctic Report Card. Persistent warming has caused dramatic changes in the Arctic Ocean and the ecosystem it supports. Ocean changes include reduced sea ice and freshening of the upper ocean, and impacts such as increased biological productivity at the base of the food chain and loss of habit for walrus and polar bears. [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Dec 2, 2011 - 25 comments

Where the night's so bright, I gotta wear shades.

The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months near the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, where the sun remains visible at the local midnight. This short, time lapse film was shot in June 2011 over 17 days and incorporates 38,000 images. The photographer/videographer traveled over 2,900 miles throughout Iceland. Midnight Sun (SL-vimeo, via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 18, 2011 - 24 comments

Broken Promises

High Arctic Relocation. In the 1950s several Inuit families were relocated from the relatively balmy Inukjuak, in northern Quebec, to settlements in what are now called Grise Fiord and Resolute in the far north of Canada with few resources to survive the extremely harsh climate. [more inside]
posted by dabug on Sep 9, 2011 - 24 comments

First Air Flight 6560 Crash

First Air flight 6560 crashed yesterday in Canada's High Arctic. Fifteen passengers were on board, including four crew and eleven passengers. All the crew members were killed in the crash, while three pasengers survived. The plane crashed five miles from the airport in Resolute. Rescue efforts began immediately, as hundreds of military personnel were in Resolute participating in the annual Arctic military exercise Operation Nanook, an operation which includes an exercise in which military personnel respond to a mock air disaster. As a result, military helicopters, medical personnel, Canadian Coast Guard, and local fire and medical crews were on site and ready to respond immediately.
posted by smitt on Aug 21, 2011 - 25 comments

Russia's Arctic 'sea grab'

Russia is expected within months to claim to the United Nations its right to annex about 380,000 square miles of the Arctic.
posted by - on Aug 14, 2011 - 45 comments

Land of the Midnight Sun

The Arctic Light: filmed between 29th April and 10th May 2011 in the Arctic, on the archipelago Lofoten in Norway. SLVimeo; 3.22 [more inside]
posted by bwg on Jun 6, 2011 - 8 comments

Of spies, special forces and drone strikes

Warfare: An advancing front - "The US is engaged in increasingly sophisticated warfare, fusing intelligence services and military specialists" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 21, 2011 - 19 comments

Nunavut

The Trials of Nunavut: Has Canada created a northern Haiti? Despite hundreds of millions of dollars a year spent via Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Nunavut government, and many other federal agencies, we have the following situation: [more inside]
posted by thewalrus on Apr 1, 2011 - 77 comments

"having the knowledge will help them, if at some point they have to use the moving ice."

"A group of Inuit experts, community researchers, and university researchers, have worked together over the past several years to document specialized Inuit knowledge about sea ice." [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Mar 27, 2011 - 29 comments

Have a ball with this one ...

"Snowball Cam has no visible moving parts but [is] able to roll across most terrains, even up hill." A new generation of spycams - very mobile spycams - have been prowling the northern arctic islands of Norway for an upcoming BBC TV program on polar bears. Bilzzard Cam has two electric motors that propel it across the snow - on skis - at speeds up to 40 mph. When threatened by the bears, it releases the onboard decoy device - the Snowball Cam - seen in action here.
posted by woodblock100 on Dec 23, 2010 - 34 comments

you post this stuff on the blue

You Know You Have Been In Finland Too Long, When...
posted by infini on Jul 21, 2010 - 50 comments

Happy 40th Glastonbury

The 2010 Glastonbury Festival begins on the 23rd June at Worthy Farm in the village of Pilton, Somerset. [more inside]
posted by jontyjago on Jun 21, 2010 - 24 comments

Methane and Climate Change

Climate change could be accelerated by 'methane time bomb' Atmospheric methane levels began rising in 2007, when an Arctic heatwave caused sea ice to shrink significantly. Now new preliminary results suggest levels have continued to rise through 2008 and 2009. The new figures [were] disclosed [earlier this week] at the start of a two-day conference on greenhouse gases at the Royal Society in London. (more here; via).
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 on Feb 24, 2010 - 47 comments

Time to get in the water, ya?

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen (previously) relates the harrowing tale of a sweet, insistent, and ferocious lunchmate (note - clip begins with a dramatic drumbeat, mind your speakers) [more inside]
posted by Hypnotic Chick on Nov 12, 2009 - 37 comments

Move over Suez Canal, there's a new route in town

For hundreds of years, mariners have dreamed of an Arctic shortcut that would allow them to speed trade between Asia and the West. Two German ships are poised to complete that transit for the first time, aided by the retreat of Arctic ice that scientists have linked to global warming. Arctic Shortcut Beckons Shippers as Ice Thaws.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 11, 2009 - 24 comments

North America's Hidden Arctic

"I filled my water bottles , fuel bottle and ate some snacks. I reset my altimeter to 1300ft and started shortly past 2pm. The first sign stated 'Eagle Plains 363, Inuvik 735'. The distances were measured in kilometers with green km posts every 2km along the road. A few kilometers down the road, I crossed an old fire burn area with dead trees still standing. The sun was shining and I was eager to get started on the road. The gravel was occasionally soft as the road slowly climbed along the valley." An enterprising man relates his journey up the Dempster Highway on bicycle. [more inside]
posted by Avenger on Jun 19, 2009 - 14 comments

Photographs of polar explorations 1845-1960

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]
posted by Lanark on Mar 6, 2009 - 12 comments

The Road to Nowhere

We're on the road to nowhere and when we get to the end of this road, nowhere is exactly where this expedition begins. Only 22 people have ever skiied unsupported to the North Pole, none of them American. Starting today, John Huston and Tyler Fish hope to become the first. If all goes according to plan, they will reach the North Pole in 55 days. They will be blogging from the ice. [more inside]
posted by Commander Rachek on Mar 3, 2009 - 14 comments

What really happens on the ‘Ice Road Truckers’ frozen highway

“With this road, safety comes first all the time, and Ice Road Truckers just made a mockery of everything we do.” One journalist’s experience on the frozen road in the Northwest Territories. Made famous by a TV show, the road now sees less use in part due to a decline in demand for the NWT’s non-blood diamonds.
posted by joeclark on Feb 7, 2009 - 20 comments

Fridtjof Nansen

Fridtjof Nansen's Polar Saga. Part One: 1,000 Days in the Ice "It was an outlandish idea: freeze a ship in the Arctic Ocean and ride the drifting ice across the North Pole." Part Two: Chasing Nansen's Ghost. "Two adventurers set out across the Arctic in the footsteps of Norway's pioneering polar explorer."
posted by homunculus on Dec 22, 2008 - 3 comments

NorthWest Passage

Ice:A Victorian Romance, is an exhibition of fifty-five rare books and journals, with lovely illustrations. [more inside]
posted by hortense on Dec 21, 2008 - 8 comments

Arctic icemelt unambiguous evidence

Arctic Melt update: Scientists now have unambiguous evidence that the theorized phenomenon known as "polar amplification" has in fact been occurring for the past 5 years. It was not expected to be seen for at least another 10 or 15 years. "We're in a vicious positive feedback loop." [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Dec 18, 2008 - 87 comments

The Economist: The World in 2009

In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges, will have to learn to say "No we can't", Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees, we will judge our commitment to sustainability, scientists should research the causes of religion, we will all be potential online paparazzi, English will have more words than any other language (but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops, Iran will continue its nuclear quest while diplomacy lies in shambles, the sea floor is the new frontier, we should rethink aging, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project -- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it -- though it has some unfinished business to attend to, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom.

The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 27, 2008 - 31 comments

The Northwest Passage

Scientists are now revising earlier projections about the speed at which global warming will impact the arctic ice sheet. By 2013 it could very well disappear in the summer months, opening up new sea lanes for commerce and, potentially, "a quarter of the earths oil and natural gas resources". Several arctic countries are thinking ahead, while it appears others have been for quite some time.
posted by Glibpaxman on Nov 23, 2008 - 47 comments

Santa set adrift

For the first time in at least 125,000 years, the Arctic ice cap is an island. (previously)
posted by Knappster on Sep 1, 2008 - 55 comments

Blogging from the top of the world

Dispatches from Polar Scientists -- A compilation of blogs "in celebration of the International Polar Year (2007-08), [giving] you an up-close-and-personal look at research in extreme environments through the thoughts and experiences of the scientists working there. We’ll post their photos, videos, and blogs on this site."
posted by fourcheesemac on Jul 16, 2008 - 10 comments

Naalagiagvik -- The Place Where You Go to Listen

The Song of the Earth -- New Yorker music critic Alex Ross writes on composer John Luther Adams, who has created an installation work at the Museum of the North in Fairbanks, Alaska in which geologic, astronomical, and meteorologic data are converted, in real time, into "a shimmering synthesized carillon." For a tiny hint of the experience, you can watch this Youtube video Hear more about the work from Living on Earth.
posted by fourcheesemac on May 6, 2008 - 6 comments

Impermafrost

"We badly underestimated the degree of damages and the risks of climate change," said Lord Stern in a speech in London yesterday. "All of the links in the chain are on average worse than we thought (pdf) a couple of years ago." [more inside]
posted by [expletive deleted] on Apr 18, 2008 - 56 comments

Bye Hoboken, as you drown in climate-changed caused floods

New Jersey is drowning, or rather it would if the the future as predicted by David Spratty & Philip Sutton in climate code red comes true. Philip Sutton said in an interview that "within five years the Arctic ice in the summertime will be all gone.". With all the ice melting, the waterlevels rise - will your house be under water?
posted by dabitch on Feb 22, 2008 - 66 comments

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