Random weirdness for the week of April 17, 2018

Random weirdness for the week of April 17, 2018

Well, the governor did issue a warning last week about photographing polar bears. And sure enough, this was definitely a “don’t get too close” moment for a group participating in a recent More »

Some locals are thinking about offering Canadian polar beat meat on menus. It isn’t going over well among residents here

Some locals are thinking about offering Canadian polar beat meat on menus. It isn’t going over well among residents here

It’s much fattier than beef and the liver is fatal (years ago the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel used to issue certificates to guests who had “eaten a polar bear entirely at their own More »

Learning from loss: Local and visiting Red Cross rescuers try new type of training exercise based on 2015 avalanche

Learning from loss: Local and visiting Red Cross rescuers try new type of training exercise based on 2015 avalanche

Rescuers frantically dug the human-like shape out of a tightly packed mix of snow and smashed bed debris, then one of them laughed when someone asked if they could guess the sex of the “victim.” After More »

Increasingly international: Percentage of foreigners in Longyearbyen, Ny-Ålesund doubles in less than a decade

Increasingly international: Percentage of foreigners in Longyearbyen, Ny-Ålesund doubles in less than a decade

A total of 29.7 percent of residents in Longyearbyen and Ny-Ålesund are foreigners, a total that has more than doubled in less than a decade in a steady increase that appears likely More »

Random weirdness for the week of April 10, 2018

Random weirdness for the week of April 10, 2018

The inside of an industrial building is the new fishing hot spot? A Stupid Criminal Trick involving a coat thief was foiled when he set an apartment on fire? Damn (by which we mean dammit More »

 

Random weirdness for the week of April 17, 2018

polarbearcamera

Well, the governor did issue a warning last week about photographing polar bears. And sure enough, this was definitely a “don’t get too close” moment for a group participating in a recent outdoor photography class.

Some locals are thinking about offering Canadian polar beat meat on menus. It isn’t going over well among residents here

polarbearmeat

It’s much fattier than beef and the liver is fatal (years ago the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel used to issue certificates to guests who had “eaten a polar bear entirely at their own risk”). But a cluster of Longyearbyen residents are feeling serious indigestion without taking a bite of it in reaction to a suggestion the meat could again appear on local menus.

Learning from loss: Local and visiting Red Cross rescuers try new type of training exercise based on 2015 avalanche

rescuebody

Rescuers frantically dug the human-like shape out of a tightly packed mix of snow and smashed bed debris, then one of them laughed when someone asked if they could guess the sex of the “victim.” After carefully loading the “body” – in reality a life-sized doll – on a makeshift stretcher consisting of a loose board among the debris they tossed it back in the corner, then shoveled snow and wreckage back on what apparently was a “her.”

Presumably not all of that would occur during a real avalanche rescue. But the hasty you’re-saved-you’re-not operation was part of an afternoon where about 40 Red Cross rescuers from Longyearbyen and the mainland divided into four teams to practice four different rescue aspects involving an avalanche submerging a residence and the surrounding area in snow and wreckage.

Increasingly international: Percentage of foreigners in Longyearbyen, Ny-Ålesund doubles in less than a decade

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A total of 29.7 percent of residents in Longyearbyen and Ny-Ålesund are foreigners, a total that has more than doubled in less than a decade in a steady increase that appears likely to continue, according to a report released last week by Statistics Norway.

Random weirdness for the week of April 10, 2018

freehugs2

The inside of an industrial building is the new fishing hot spot? A Stupid Criminal Trick involving a coat thief was foiled when he set an apartment on fire? Damn (by which we mean dammit why didn’t we get this first) The Official Local Paper Of Record Run-Of-The-Mill News got the scoop on some wild weirdness this week.

Fowl decision: Government rules Polar Permaculture must kill its 80 quails by Friday due to livestock ban, disease fears

quails

“We must kill all of our quails by Friday the 13th, 2018.”

That blog post was written a day before what will be a very unlucky day indeed for 80 quail at Polar Permaculture that must be killed because the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has ruled the birds violate a ban on importing livestock in Svalbard and are a potential disease risk.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of April 10, 2014

trashantlers

Two Svalbard beach cleanup projects get 1.1M in government grants
Two Svalbard beach cleanup projects are receiving more than 1.1. million kroner in funding from the Norwegian Environmental Directorate as part of an 80-million-kroner nationwide marine pollution removal effort.

Behaving badly near bears: Governor considers access restrictions due to high snowmobile traffic disrupting wildlife

bearwarning

Imposing access restrictions on popular fjords where numerous polar bears have been observed is being considered by The Governor of Svalbard due to high numbers of snowmobilers, some of whom are violating rules prohibiting disturbing the animals.

Fill of Filipinos: Rapidly growing community of residents from Philippines host first evening to celebrate food, culture

filipmain

Louie Sangalang, 40, arrived in Longyearbyen from the Philippines on Aug. 4 intending to travel much further north a few days later to run the North Pole Marathon, only to get a huge and expensive setback when the race was delayed at least a week, leaving him stuck in town. But during his first day here he visited the local supermarket where he was certain one of the women working there was from his homeland.

‘Gotten scary’: Profits from tourism’s huge rise comes w/ huge pains in housing shortages, work conditions and disruptions

masstourism

Complaints of disruptive behavior by tour companies and individual tourists at all hours and during all months. Workers being forced to leave because the proliferation of AirBnb rentals means they can’t find housing. Guides considering unionizing due to what they call abusive take-it-or-leave it contracts.

The rapid rise of mass tourism is a problem being felt across Europe and beyond, with the deluge of visitors appreciative of an area’s beauty stirring up a rapid and ugly rise of hostile feelings among people living there. But as with many things, the situation in Longyearbyen is occurring in unique and extreme ways due to a staggeringly rapid change that has seen several hundred coal mining jobs replaced by tourism workers during the past few years.