Random weirdness for the week of June 20, 2017


Yeah, lots of people make fun of Svalbarði’s “super premium” glacier water that costs 400 kroner per 750-milliliter bottle here and twice that elsewhere. But at least it’s marketable as a unique taste of the purity of Svalbard. That can’t be said for the latest bonkers beverage that’s roughly the equivalent of grinding up the world’s most expensive steak and using it to make chili.

Two varieties of Isfjord Premium Arctic Single Malt, purportedly made with 180,000-year-old glacier water from the archipelago, are now being sold by a distillery in Denmark. The maker states both types are aged for eight years “#1 and #2” (as junior high mentalities everywhere indulge in a “heh-heh-heh” moment). According to a “Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt,” the properties of #1 are: “Nose: Soft chocolate and raspberry, with a hint of grist. Palate: Creamy and vanilla-forward, with a pinch of cinnamon. Finish: Honey and raisin lasts.” As for #2: “Nose: Gentle waves of earthy smoke, with plenty of caramel in support. Palate: Full-bodied sweetness, a touch of peat and some juicy apple notes. Finish: Lingering orchard fruit sweetness. A crackle of pepper.” Both are 42 percent alcohol and the 500-milliliter bottles cost £60.08 (646.45 kroner, which has a cooler flow than whatever the distillers are intending with the British price…and the per-milliliter price is an equally cool 1.2929 kroner, although it’s more expensive than Svalbarði’s’s abroad per-milliliter price of 1.06666666667). So what Enquiring Minds want to know this is week is, since experts say whisky is better with a dash of water, who’s going to be the first to combine the local lavish liquids?…

Speaking of things tempted to make us drink (which includes getting up in the morning), it’s been a month since the lamestream media went berserk about the “flooding” of the Doomsday Vault and the nonsense is still being spewed out. Or, more precisely, lots of absurd headlines and opening paragraphs are topping more mundane material about how the vault needs a pricy upgrade, but the seeds are in no danger from the water that’s been trickling into entryway 100 meters away. Take this Twilight Zone headline – “Seed Vault: Destination of world’s last man” – above an article at Blasting News that contains nary a peep about some suppositional sole survivor. Or one that edges close to a post-mortem of the facility by the U.K. publication The Conversation (motto: “academic rigour, journalistic flair”) is headlined After Svalbard: why safety of world seed vaults is crucial to future food security. The author focuses largely on the need to significantly increase global crop production and develop new species to cope with climate change, but opens with more doomcrying about the Doomsday Vault. “There is a fearful irony to recent news of flooding at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway,” the article states. “This was supposed to be humanity’s most impregnable bulwark against famine, but it is now endangered by global warming, one of the very threats that it was supposed to protect us from.” The article does note that no seeds were harmed and vaults like the one in Svalbard are an important part of Earth’s food future – in the last three paragraphs of a 16-paragraph article. We’re guessing the folks in charge of the vault are longing for the days when the biggest annoyance was people calling it the Doomsday Vault and claiming it was part of a Legion of Doom conspiracy to control humanity’s food supply and minds…

But lest we accuse the outside world of ignorance, perhaps it would be wise to spend some time at our new state-of-the-art library that opened this month. The National Library of Norway released a regional analysis this month showing people in Svalbard checked out the second-lowest number of books in 2016 with a per-person average of 2.5 (ahead of Finnmark at 2.2 and trailing Nordland at 2.6). Our editor tried to get in a boast that he beat the average handily, but our fact checkers discovered he really checked out the same book four times (and failed to return it in time most of those).

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