Random weirdness for the week of Jan. 3, 2017

seaicemove

Since this week’s fishwrapper is pretty much all about random weirdness, it seems fitting to start this space off with an item that conveniently combines some of the more eye-opening stats of the past week. We’ve run stuff all year about record-high heat and precipitation, and record-low sea ice, so the record year-end figures weren’t in themselves all that shocking to us. But even so it did boggle our tiny minds to read the “Dec. 19-like” storm that hit last week pushed the edge of Svalbard’s ice sheet 60 to 70 kilometers further north, according to the Norwegian Metereorlogial Institute. Junk scientists will of course say this is one of those accelerating and cumulative climate change things that happen when extreme weather and waves meet the extremely thin ice that has replaced the thicker stuff from past days. But those who speak post-truth to power know it just means the Creator really, really wants us to stick lots more holes in the ocean floor so we can watch all that oil come out …

Or maybe he (no PC gender iffyness here) is just opening more waters for ships carrying tourists since we barely have any right now. So says Smarter Travels in an article headlined “Ten Secret Places To Go Before Everyone Else”. The text is perfect for looking to set the clock back to the days when icky things like gay marriage and “happy holidays” were taboo: “With Iceland now increasingly attracting travellers, thanks in part to free stopovers from Icelandair and Wow Air (um, we were taking advantage of this 15 years ago), it’s time to look elsewhere for a crowd-free Nordic vacation. And while Svalbard…doesn’t currently have any free stopover…it does offer unique scenery and wildlife – including polar bear, reindeer, walruses, and seals — and few tourists…Of course, with the threat of polar bears, carrying a firearm is recommen-ded.” Oh, the outdated places you’ll go with this advice (and won’t when you learn a weapon is more than “recommended”)…

But ’tis the season for annual travel articles – often written after “hosted” trips by tourism companies, often written by desktop globetrotters repeating each others’ cliches – and most seem to contain at least a glitch or two. Such as India’s Economic Times in an article about five no-go zones around the world (flashback: a couple months ago someone actually stated this place has been overrun by Muslims). In this case, it was just another article about the Doomsday Vault, with the assertion that “only a designated researcher or plant breeder can enter the facility.” Which doesn’t seem too absurd until you start looking at all those pictures and documentaries of media folks, celebrities and other not-always-VIP types taking the somewhat regular tours there.

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