Random weirdness for the week of July 24, 2018


Anywhere else on Earth this is merely a cute kid (redundant phrase) trying to pet an ugly cat (also redundant). But here it’s a criminal act that we’re arguably complicit in (not to mention being media whores for giving into the inevitable pussy, foxy and other non G-rated innuendo that follows).

We’ll start by noting the photo was taken recently in Barentsburg and let both of our regular readers draw their own conclusions about what’s going on. Next, to quote a certain Stable Genius, “what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” Because while that odd-looking creature (the non-human one) might look like a cat, they are a definitely no-no under Svalbard law and that means, no matter what the photo suggests, the officials in charge of the Russian settlement assure us – and we definitely trust their word above our homeland masters –nobody is grabbing any pussy there these days. Instead, this is officially an exotic species of Arctic fox. This is not new information to residents in Barentsburg – or many elsewhere in Svalbard – but publishing pictures of this (or any other similar “fox” that might or might not exist) tends to attract clawback. But since the official tourism company for the settlement published this on their Instagram page we figure it’s fine to show a kiddie fingering a – um, OK, even we don’t really need to go there…


Snow job: We went out of our way to put the Hall of Justice on ice, so to speak, but we’re still not seeing much of a resemblance to the Doomsday Vault. On the other hand, we haven’t seen any images of how the vault is supposed to look after the massive facelift to its entrance (and officials are getting rather stern about keeping people away). Image by DeviantArt.

Moving from one mainstay of this sacred space (bad sex humor) to another, take a guess which facility in Svalbard is being classified as the closest thing to a real-life Justice League on Earth? Yup, this week’s inevitable weirdness about the Doomsday Vault begins with a CNBC article headlined “Here’s how much it would cost to live in your favorite superhero’s hideout.” It seems some real estate analytics company looking for some PR “crunched the data to find comparable real-life locations for famous superhero lairs, which closely resemble their on-screen counterparts in terms of looks and location.” Their math concludes the Louvre Pyramid in Paris is Superman’s Fortress of Solitude and a stone mansion in New Jersey is the Batcave. As for the Justice League. “Carved out of a deep cave at a mountain base in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island, the headquarters of the Justice League most closely resembles the Seed Vault. The vault is built almost 400 feet into a mountain in Svalbard, Norway, and would set you back about $9 million.” Setting aside the problem of whether the Superfriends could co-exist with all the space aliens, zombies and others residing in the vault, we’ll just note that 1) right now the vault looks nothing like the Justice League due to the massive overhaul work being done at the entrance and 2) due to said work, the math on this is way off since the repair bill alone is roughly $15 million…


Respectfully submitted for your perusal: This cute, tiny hawkfish is here to serve man. Photo by Karl Hurwood/ Oceana.

Meanwhile, this week’s Best Obscure Reference to the Doomsday Vault goes to EcoWatch for an article headlined “‘Twilight Zone’ Reefs Win a Conservation Spotlight” (since being able to reference the vault and the Twilight Zone in the same sentence is its own reward). There’s also the fact it’s about reefs in the Philippines, making it of interest to the rapidly growing number of Longyearbyen residents from that country. While apparently there aren’t many pristine coral reefs there, scientists were surprised by the vibrancy of reefs and and marine life in the ocean’s “twilight zone” between bright surface waters and the permanent night below. The wonky details can be found in the article, but for our purposes the money paragraph is “Scientists now debate whether mesophotic reefs can shelter shallower species from climate change, like a Svalbard Seed Vault for corals. So far, the answer has been ‘it depends.'” There’s no attempt anywhere in the article to further explain what/where the vault is, so apparently it’s now a throwaway phrase, at least among some crowds.