Random weirdness for the week of Jan. 9, 2018

foxlights

We run lots of nudity during our nearly ten years of existence, but we feel safe declaring this the foxiest photo ever published b a tabloid. And it was taken a virgin, no less. This shot of a polar fox under the Northern Lights near Longyearbyen was captured on film Jan. 5 by Lise Loktu, a cultural heritage advisor for The Governor of Svalbard, who said this is her first photo of a fox. As animal porn goes, it definitely delivers a glow…

ny1

It’s you, not me: This fireworks photo doesn’t look lame because I’m a bad photographer. I’m a very stable genius at pushing my big button. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

On the other hand, we’re hoping it’s not an omen, but for all those who were all-too-happy to bid farewell to surreal ’17 we’ll note that the fireworks celebration welcoming in the New Year seemed, um, a bit less than glowing. It started a few minutes before midnight and tapered out within about 20 minutes, by far the shortest show of sparks we can remember during our time here. Still, because starting a new year means we should look for the good in things (at least until the inevitable thing that makes us cynical again happens almost immediately), here’s guessing the large and local canine population was quite merry the night’s banging was short…

One thing we wouldn’t mind leaving behind in 2018 is the phrase “alt-right” and giving attention to folks in that faction espousing some of the nastier stuff. But we’ll note (relatively briefly) that Svalbard did up emerging in a 4chan.org discussion based (of course) on an incorrect premise. The original poster started things by claiming “Svalbard is an entirely visa-free zone. Everybody in the whole world can move to Svalbard, live there for 7 years, and be awarded Norwegian citizenship.” Nope, although it’s a misconception some have had before. But along with setting the OP straight and making some of the usual observations about weather, wildlife and whatnot here, there’s the collection of comments that are exactly as crazy as you’d expect. “Iceland and Norway should honestly prepare for a mass migration to their countries from the West and I’m not even kidding. Many conservative/right wing/ethno centric folks are giving it serious thought after realizing there is no turning back the wheel in US and western Europe. And Danish/Norwegian isn’t a difficult language for English speakers to pick up either…Toughen up your immigration laws unless you want Norway and Swalbard to look like Brazil in 100 years. Find and root out any jews who have found their way in your systems. You have been warned.” Another asserts that – actually, forget it; it’s not worthy of even this space…

Finally, looking forward on an optimistic issue (unless you’re the previous group of people), since Norway has emerged as the world’s leader user of electric vehicles (52 percent of consumer sales) we thought we’d mention an article by the website Jalopnik that details “Nissan’s Long, Strange, Electric Journey”. Among the vehicles featured is the Prairie Joy EV, which was “announced in 1996 as the world’s first electric vehicle equipped with cylindrical-type lithium-ion battery power. It was limited to fleet sales, around 30 units were sold to various entities from 1997. It was also used as a support vehicle for six flawless years by the Japanese National North Pole Exploratory Team at their research station in Ny-Ålesund…It proved the feasibility and durability of the lithium-ion battery under extreme conditions.

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