Random weirdness for the week of Jan. 22, 2019

spilldrill

Guess it’s time to confess to again being part of a massive media coverup about stuff happening here, conspiring during the past week to declare a big trial in Oslo about catching crabs in Svalbard (no, not a red-light zone expose, much as we keep getting demands for one) is in reality mostly about which countries will get to drill for oil in the surrounding waters in the future. But our scheme to make it sound like a “what if” scenario have been foiled by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency which, having revised its World Factbook during the past few days, reveals Svalbard is is already producing and exporting a rather large amount of crude oil. The spy agency asserts we’re producing 194,300 barrels of crude a day (which would rank us 36th in the world if we were a separate country) and exporting 16,070 barrels (good for 53rd). That’s nearly one-eighth of the total production for Norway (which ranks 15th). While the question might be how that much activity can be covered up so effectively, obviously there’s plenty of hush money to spread among employees, the so-called Fourth Estate and Greenpeace. Oh, speaking of the griping greenies, those spying on Svalbard also detail our current as environmental issues: “ice floes are a maritime hazard; past exploitation of mammal species (whale, seal, walrus, and polar bear) severely depleted the populations, but a gradual recovery seems to be occurring.” Hmmm…what clearly overhyped Fake Science is nowhere to be seen? One more fun fact: the CIA entry for area is “total: 62,045 sq km; land: 62,045 sq km; water: 0 sq km.” So anyone who claims they’ve taken a swim in a lake here or is crying for help because they’ve fallen through the ice of one and is freezing to death is clearly just babbling more balderdash…

wikieditor

Top authority: Since this guy is determining our true trivial tidbits, here’s the scoop on Svalbard’s supposed savant.

Speaking of infallible reference guides, the always alert collective at Wikipedia (a.k.a. self-described “Wikignome” with the username of Reywas92) has declared Longyearbyen (and other Arctic areas) is getting carried away with their “world northernmost” claims. So they’ve purged plenty of polar proclamations – or as Reywas92 puts it in Wikispeak: “Remove many absolutely absurd, overly specific, WP:INDISCRIMINATE pieces of unencyclopedic trivia. So, so, so much more of this list should go as WP:TRIVIA, but these are the worst offenders, many of which feel like sheer advertisements).” Say goodbye to our selfish claims about longtime events like Dark Season Blues, Polarjazz and Oktoberfest (but the two-year-old Longyearbyen Literature Festival is still worth reading about), music groups like Polargospel and the Longyearbyen Mixed Choir (at least the Store Norske Men’s Choir is still a nugget), businesses offering plumbing and tattoos (but massages don’t have the editor as tense), and other seemingly non-commercial items such as the northernmost Lenin statue and bank robbery. For even more entertainment peruse the entire list to see what is still worthy (we’ll concede Reywas92’s point it’s an awful lot) and how inaccurate/outdated plenty of items are – anyone modestly familiar with Longyearbyen should be able to spot many we have the rightful claim to (graffiti, alas), don’t (marathon, given that one is run near the North Pole) and are badly outdated (the red kebab wagon that vanished many years ago). Of course, it’s entirely possible we’re just Wiki whiners since among the deleted categories is “alternative newspaper,” which it turns out coverage is (or, rather was) cited as the “reliable source” a number of the eliminate entries…

Finally, for those familiar with the tired joke “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out,” it seems that’s actually scheduled to happen this April at the Barneo ice camp that hosts North Pole expeditions and other activities every April. For the past several years Norway and Russia have engaged in a series of sandbox squabbles about the camp due to and/or causing a variety of political, logistical and environmental problems (to mention the financial woes and stress of expeditioners paying dearly for lousy/cancelled “adventures of a lifetime”). But this year a goodwill game at Barneo between former top players from various countries is being organized by Vyacheslav Fetisov, a star back in the old Soviet Union days who’s now a part of Russia’s upper house of Parliament.  He told the TASS news agency that while the current contradictions in international politics are unprecedented, “people understand that this is a good opportunity to focus not on some local conflicts, but on something global.” That something is apparently climate change, with the match announced shortly after the most recent UN climate summit in December, with Fetisov asserting international leaders are highly supportive of the concept and “we have no right to leave any traces there.” And while the game may well be smooth skating with no egregious penalties or pollution, leave it to us armchair war worrywarts to scuffle things up. In citing U.S. support for the match, for instance, Fetisov said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called it “a super idea” – which will probably further ensure Donald “Chinese Climate Hoax” Trump does everything he can to stage the political equivalent of a “rolling coal” protest while the players are on the ice. Second, speaking of no traces, it’d be interesting to hear Fetisov’s take on the trash Russian crews recent dumped overboard from a nuclear sub north of Svalbard, as well as the wreckage of a plane that crash landed at Barneo a few years ago and was left to sink into the ocean because nobody took the trouble/responsibility to ensure it was removed…

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