Random weirdness for the week of Sept. 12, 2017

reindeerkids1

The sight of gunshot-riddled reindeer carcasses hanging from what’s normally a swing set at Kullungen Kindergarten is yet another reminder Svalbard is a right-wing conservative haven, no matter what stereotypes they have about Norway being an Arctic version of North Korea. The beginning of the school year – in those dreaded “government schools” that brainwash youths – means the tykes at the kindergarten as well as older students at Longyearbyen School each get to participate in their annual hunting trip near town. Each group of students has their own official hunting quota and, while an adult accompanying the kindergarteners shot the animals, the young ones helped with the skinning, hanging and other portions of the hunt. Hilde Aske, a teacher who too the photo above, noted the weather “was not to despise” and, despise the many visits of a polar bear family near town recently, none were spotted on this day (which in this instance is a good thing). Typically the meat is used for the stew or some other dish during an evening of activities as part of a nationwide fundraiser for various causes during the fall…

“I send an envelope of semen to the World Seed Bank every few months, but they won’t confirm that they’ve received it.”  Thanks to Thomas Moretti’s for saving us the trouble of writing a catchy introduction for his titillating quest. The 23-year-old bachelor tells Honi Soit (a University of Sidney publication devoted to the struggles of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation) 23, he’s looking for a significant other to breed with, but he’s painfully aware he hasn’t got much time. “I started to worry about potentially not being able to continue the family line about two years ago,” he ejaculated while scooping the foam off his cappuccino, according to the article. He came across the Doomsday Vault while researching ways to save his own seed and, since two of the three storage rooms are empty, figures they have plenty of space. So he’s been persistent in his advances, although the article notes he isn’t practicing unsafe monosex. “First, he jacks off into a zip-lock bag. Then, ensuring he has pressed all the air out of the bag (‘to prevent oxidation,’ he advises), he seals it and places it inside a padded airmail envelope. Finally, he affixes a label bearing the address of the seed bank and the form needed for international postage.” He sent six samples so far but, alas, “I haven’t ever gotten confirmation that they received it and logged the contents, or that they received it and rejected the contents. Nothing.” While we’re too limp to call the vault officials for comment (no doubt part of the reason we haven’t seen any action ourselves for quite some time), we’ll note that 1) while sperm theoretically can be frozen forever, experts only report a handful of babies being born from samples frozen 12 to 15 years (and one birth from a sample stored 28 years), which means Moretti should be able to wiggle his magic wand then, and 2) sperm banks need to store samples at -127 degrees Celsius (-196F) to preserve them, while the Doomsday Vault operates at -18C – when the power isn’t out due to “flooding”…

And since we can’t seem to resist Doomsday Vault tie-ins (i.e. mouse sperm in outer space a couple of weeks ago), we’ll make a brief detour to the hurricane-battered coast of Florida where climate change worrywarts are pondering “A Panic Room for Corals.” Hakai magazine reports marine biologists are collecting tiny fragments of living corals and storing them in tanks of seawater at a laboratory on a narrow patch of land in the Florida Keys. The scientists note the reefs face numerous other hazards such as oil spills and degrading water quality, and some species have already lost more than 97 percent of their populations. “Our ideal scenario is to ensure that you have every coral species protected, because it’s important that we’re able to be ready for any unforeseen environmental impacts,” Michael Crosby, the president of the company responsible for the project, told the magazine. That’s followed by the requisite tie-in: “The idea is akin to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a remote seed bank buried in permafrost and thick rock halfway between the North Pole and Norway. The vault is designed to be the final backup against famine should the world’s crops fail.” But since freezing species in the Arctic doesn’t exactly work for coral, the idea is a chain of “banks” throughout several tropical regions…

Finally, after literally digging in dumpsters for food in last week’s issue it seems only fair and balanced to start things here with a trip to the other end of the consumables scale. The cliche is there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but we’re not sure the folks at Svalbarði will agree after reading a Hong Kong Free Press article titled “Shoppers aghast over sale of HK$950 bottled water carved from melting glaciers near the North Pole.” Actually, the story itself is pretty lame in supporting the headline, since the only input from shoppers in the entire article is a short paragraph reading “‘Cashing in on melting ice caps?’ asked one user on a closed Facebook group. ‘What is the world coming to?’ asked another.” Yup, a couple of non-public posts supposedly represent the shopping public. The rest of the article is ironically promotional, noting the company claims the Svalbard glacier water has an ” “exceptionally light mouthfeel” and “it makes an ideal gift for those who want to experience a different type of fine water that has been taken from unparalleled Arctic waters.” Furthermore, it notes a percentage of each sale goes to the Doomsday Vault “to ensure food security in the event of disasters caused by climate change.” But luckily for lazy reporters the claim in the headline got a boost from most of 30 or so readers posting comments during the day the article appeared, included high-minded thought such as calling the company “asshole of the decade” and “anyone who buys this has to be a monumental asshole.” But lest you be tempted by the advice to always ignore reader comments, one does offer a handy tip: “”I buy all my Svalbardi water direct from the website. At only €60 a bottle, it’s half the price that Great charges. Bargain!” Of course, we can’t rule out this being a company shill or Russian hacker…

Leave a Reply