Random weirdness for the week of Sept. 22, 2015


These guys are supposed to be our new role models for proper behavior in Svalbard. What’s wrong with this picture? It might be helpful if they were’t lecturing us while riding a polar bear around town.  We’ll get to see what other hypocracies they’re up to Oct. 21 when an animated video staring Sval and Bard is released. According to Visit Svalbard, they’ll be educating folks about a list of 10 common-sense regulations in the archipelago related to environmental safety and protection. Photos and other tidbits are being leaked out on the project’s Facebook page until then,


Most of these creatures are happy. One most definitely is not: A colorful collection of critters helps an Atlantic cod “decompose” during a five-day span in January. Photo courtesy of NTNU.

We don’t like reporting things twice unless we’re desperate to fill space (see the Oktoberfest article, where we write about the opening of the local brewery for the third or fourth time), but the official publication of a long-running study about marine life in Svalbard’s waters during the polar night features some really cool photos – none of which we’re publishing here. Instead, we’re featuring a screenshot from a video showing the surprisingly vibrant ecosystem at its fittest. Most of it anyhow, as a variety of creatures can be seen feasting on the carcass of an Atlantic cod on the seabed during the time-lapse video filmed during five days in January. The study by about 100 scientists from seven countries during three winters in Kongsfjorden countered the assumption life is relatively dormant in the chilly winter waters. “We have basically assumed that when it is dark, there is no primary production and there is no activity,” said Jorgen Berge, a UNIS professor who was the study’s lead author. “The system is just waiting for the light to return.” He said it’s unknown how much the lively scene is the result of that myth known as climate change, which also helped make the study possible since the ice cover of a decade ago has largely vanished…

And in this week’s social shaming involving bodily waste, the locals have turned their attention from tourists peeing in public to locals leaving their dog’s doo-doo on the walking paths in the center of town. But rather than just complaining, some are suggesting various contests for things like who posts the most pictures of dog droppings or owners who pick them up.