Random weirdness for the week of June 11, 2019


OK, scary as that angry girl shooting magic (or whatever) from her hands might seem, what we’re really concerned about are those diamond-shaped things you might suspect are merely harmless snowflakes. Because it seems like that’s what’s making those magic hands possible. Also, it’s possible some magic horses living underwater in Svalbard might have something to do with all this.

All that might seem surreal elsewhere, but of course it’s pretty much just part of life here for the Frozen Chosen. And if that didn’t clue you in, we’ll troll you by letting you know Elsa is apparently perplexed by orders to venture into places unknown in the north and maybe seek out some folks whose magic is less chill than hers. Which, getting to plain English (“finally, thank God!” – every person reading this), seems to be the gist contained in a whirlwind of hints in the trailer for “Frozen 2,” the sequel to the 2013 megahit that caused an explosion (and resulting implosion) in Norway by obsessed tourists from (largely) the U.S. and elsewhere. Our Heroine and her companion Anna are supposed to now venture “across the enchanted lands and into the unknown” of a place that seemingly can only be Svalbard unless it also involves crossing an ocean to Greenland. Apparently Elsa’s having some performance problems with her hands (“that’s what he said” – every reader with the hormones of a 13-year-old boy) and since her powers have to with ice and snow, somehow finding those foreigners from other seasons may be A Thing this time. And fanboyz (and girlz) are speculating that maybe those flakes (or “parallelogram-shaped crystals in the sky”) contain secrets to the who/where/whatever of those folks. And the magic horses and all that? If you must know (or, rather speculate – or do your own trolling with alternative facts), feel free to check out the chatter for yourself while we move on…

Speaking of destructive Americans and alternative facts, here’s a headline to hasten the heart: “Trump in the High North?” Of course, “hasten” can apply equally to fear or arousal – and in case we’ll note the “just another lamestream media article” by High North News concludes by noting “Norway can be pleased that Trump seems to get along with Jens Stoltenberg,” referring to NATO’s secretary general and former Norwegian Prime Minister. As for the meat (well done if you’re a Trump devotee, naturally) of the article, it all depends on how you feel about the premise that under him “the Pentagon points to both China and Russia as possible threats in a ‘strategic race’ in the Arctic.” Which isn’t too different than his predecessor(s), except in all the ways it is (which is to say most). China, for instance, is about “challenge (its) emergence to as many arenas as possible” instead of the previous mentality of seeking cooperation. And instead of the previous aggression due to Russia’s perceived hostility in the region and the sanctions resulting from the Crimea crisis, ” Trump highlights and points to challenges with Russia in the north” (emphasis theirs). All that, along with Trump’s polar opposite positions on things like climate change, pose a bunch of challenges for Norway as it tries to deal with disputes on Svalbard policy (and the treaty controlling who gets to exist and exploit natural resources here and in boundary areas), as well as establishing international Arctic rules and regulations greatly affecting the future here. Which, skipping all the boring policy stuff, is why the article hails the personal relationship thing. Even if it’s not equal to Trump getting yet another “beautiful letter” from his BFF in North Korea who keeps doing stuff that annoy snowflakes worried about things like nukes and mass starvation, there’s always hope Jens offers enough warmth to get the wiggy one to chill a bit on his burning passion for Vlad…

Finally, since we’ve been trolling you a bit this week, it seems only fair to let you ponder the possibilities of payback by letting you know “‘Have I Been Pwned’ Is Up for Sale.” If you’re wondering what that could possibly have to do anything with us, here’s the lead sentence from one of the many write-ups (because this is, y’know, big news in that particular world): “Troy Hunt, who has been running HIBP solo for six years, launched ‘Project Svalbard’ so the site can evolve with more resources, funding, and support.” Have I Been Pwned (HIBP) is apparently something he does to let folks know if they have comprised data (great if you possess it, not so much if you’ve been possessed). The project’s name is inspired by the Doomsday Vault, but Troy says “it’s time for HIBP to grow up” because he’s been doing the whole thing by himself and he can’t keep on between doing other things that actually make the money he needs to survive. Um, gee…where have we heard that before???






Trump in the High North?
Ice is melting in the Arctic. Russia invests in military bases and oil fields. China knocks on the door and claims they are a “near-Arctic state”. Norway has since 2006 argued that the High North is our most important strategic area of focus. Now, Trump has also opened his eyes to the Arctic, which might entail that Norway ends up in a pinch.

, has other thoughts. Two and a half years into Trump’s presidency, the White House has still not formulated a concrete policy for the Arctic.

Trump administration’s desire to challenge China’s emergence to as many arenas as possible.

When the United States describes the situation in the High North as a black and white scenario – in line with Trump’s general foreign policy rhetoric – Norway ends up in a pinch. The nuances of the situation in the north are more important for a small country like Norway that shares a border with Russia, than for the United States under Trump’s “America first”-policy. Norway must thus work hard to ensure that decision-makers in Washington DC understand the country’s vulnerable position.

Norway can be pleased that Trump seems to get along with Jens Stoltenberg. Trump was central for the decision to extend Stoltenberg’s period as NATO’s Secretary General until 2022. The political game between the United States, Russia and China in the Arctic will continue in the years to come, and Norway is placed in the middle of it.

USA Arctic strategy Norway China Russia

New U.S. Department of Defense Arctic Strategy Sees Growing Uncertainty and Tension in Region
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Japan’s Mitsui and Mitsubishi Take 10 Percent Stake in Novatek’s Arctic LNG 2
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Tromsø Scientists Make Scary Findings in Norway’s Arctic Population: “Saturated” with Environmental Toxins
Jun 07 2019 – 12:42
Loss of Arctic Sea Ice Affects Weather in Europe and North America
Jun 11 2019 – 16:04
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