Random weirdness for the week of July 7, 2015


Svalbard’s toughest polar bear is playing the lead role in a new “Amazing Places” video titled “The Islands Where Guns are Required.” The video, part of a series by producer Tom Scott, is fueling a lively debate among gun fans and opponents, including questions about what kind of firepower would be needed to take out the star of the show (tripwire explosives end up being part of the debate, thanks to a massive overestimation of their potency).

Other videos from Svalbard focus on the Doomsday Vault and how miraculous it is there are modern things like wi-fi. But not everybody watching seems to come away with a clear understanding of the area. Guns.com, noting Svalbard’s remoteness and bitter cold, declares “it made a good idea to locate the Global Seed Vault there as sort of a Noah’s Ark of plant species as a hedge on the apocalypse. There, guards at the worlds most hard to get to garden center keep a 24-hour armed watch against random polar bears.” Bad grammar aside, the only full-time armed guards we’ve seen outside the vault were on “The Futurama Holiday Spectacular” back in 2010…


Stone stupid: These misunderstood Klan heroes apparently have ties to our seed shrine.

We’ve been known to stretching things a bit to connect weird happenings in the world to Svalbard (which is to say, we do it all the time), but we can’t figure out how somebody has managed to tie the Confederate flag, Hitler, the Klu Klux Klan, the Taliban and the fourth dynasty creation of The Great Sphinx of Giza to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Yet a picture of our local zombie hideout is featured in an article titled “Confederate Land Art: The Apotheosis of Racist Iconography” that delves into the questionable history of folks who created some of the world’s best-known landmarks. We might understand if the article was yet another conspiracy rant about Bill Gates and Monsanto taking over the world by controlling our food supply, but here’s the bizarre passage that seems like it was inserted by a random word generator: “Green design today, inspired in part by precedent but more by new technologies, environmental imperatives, and economic adjustments also looks at ways to merge with the earth itself planet (plant?) and according systems both in form and function. Norway’s Svalbard Global Seed Vault of 2008 by its public works office Statsbygg provides a peerless metaphor, a ‘living Fort Knox.'” It then proceeds to the blowing up of sixth-century sandstone Buddhas of Bamiyan. In short (since we’re out of space), WTF?