Random Weirdness for the week of Aug. 11, 2015


Rejoice people of Svalbard: this is the fastest place Earth for ordinary yokels to download porn. It might not seem like it when 100 tourists are all trying to use the library’s free public wifi network, but Svalbard and Jan Mayen have the world’s fastest average internet connection speeds at 36.5 megabits per second (mbps), according to a new report by Akamai, a content delivery network responsible for 15 to 30 percent of all web traffic. But The Telegraph of London, in an article about the study, notes the area “has one unique IP address, so the result is somewhat skewed.” Also, Svalbard loses out when it comes to average peak connection speed, with Singapore (98.5mbps) and Hong Kong (92.6mbps) blazing past third-place South Korea (79mpbs). By comparison, the average connection speed worldwide is 5mbps…


About those annual dinosaur digs here: Are they really just removing fossils or, as this map suggests, are they extracting a more liquid form of the rotting beasts?

First it was our vast white powdery “coke mines.” Now it seems we’ve got another secret extraction happening in Svalbard as a map combining data from lots of government and private entities shows Spitsbergen has two active oil/gas fields (yup, on the island itself – no “near Svalbard” or “at the same latitude” hedging). It’s safe to say we haven’t exactly noticed an impact from the drilling apparently taking place there, so we wouldn’t be all that worried expect it’s just a tiny portion of a map intended to show “Russia’s dominant militarization of the Arctic.” The map and an article published by Business Insider show Russian red spots are definitely outpacing the spread of purple dots in all other Arctic nations, except we can’t help suspecting the intelligence sources may have something of a “Mission Accomplished” accuracy to them …

Our local brewery is finally offering folks an intoxicating experience, but it turns out the mean ol’ government – which took years of persuading before they overturned a ban on making booze here – is still finding ways to keep us from indulging. It seems they forgot Svalbard when changing Norway’s Alcohol Act last December to allow sales on New Year’s Eve, election day, and the day before and after Easter, according to NRK. But fear not: they’ve sobered up and are including us as of Oct. 1.