Random weirdness for the week of March 29, 2022: Yet another UFO visits Svalbard, where people and NFTs are fleeing toward to be saved from the sun and pillagers

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UFO (hey, it’s unidentified to us) over seas of Svalbard via Google Earth

We’re not sure why it qualifies as news, even for a British tabloid, since UFOs and their occupants have a sizeable presence in Svalbard (source: internet), but a shoutout nonetheless to Edward Jones (not to be confused with the financial guru who’s high on coke) for spotting the latest invader in a Google Earth image of the seas near the coast. Of course there’s tons of naysayers saying it’s actually Jesus, Michael Jackson, Bobba Fett piloting Slave One (thus not an “unidentified” alien craft) or even a passing seagull…but in terms of getting headlines they’re not keeping up with the Jones’  version of The Truth.“I’m a big believer in UFOs, I’ve seen a few with my own eyes,” he told The Mirror of London. “I know what I saw and it wasn’t a seagull, I never saw a seagull that looked like that…I don’t think it’s a body ascending and I definitely don’t think it’s Michael Jackson. ” He figures UFOs favor the polar regions and while, “I definitely think it’s not from this Earth,” suggests the other possibility is it’s “something the military is working on.” Yeah, that’d be kinda Not Cool in terms of the Svalbard Treaty with its “non-warlike activity” prattle, but as anyone familiar with the likes of “His Dark Materials” and “Star Wars Battlefront” can attest that provision seems to be just a suggestion…

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Since we’ve now got doomsday vaults for seeds, data, germ warfare, Oreos and other things, perhaps it’s understandable this supposed Svalbard snackables sanctuary doesn’t quite look like any of them. Screenshot from trailer video courtesy of Netflix.

Speaking of dark materials, the following hits awfully close to home given current events: A man who “makes a heroic sacrifice when he drives the Russian tanker into his enemies, allowing the group to escape to the chopper while taking out most of the NATO and Russian soldiers in the process. However, the chopper has limited range and although they can fill up on fuel, the question remains of how and where will they find it?” That sounds quite plausibly “ripped from the headlines,” as the saying goes, although a rather “huh?” twist comes when it turns out finding sanctuary means “they must now travel to Svalbard before they are caught out by the sun.” All that is the setup for the TV series “Into the Night,” now entering its third season after the situation above was the cliffhanger to end season 2. It seems there’s also inevitable stuff involving the local doomsday vault, bunkers and lots of murders we never get around to reporting (because, of course, we’re part of any/all conspiracies up here as long as there’s pay involved). As for eluding sunlight, yeah we just celebrated Solfestuka and the midnight sun arrives next month, but those clever heroes have discovered “like water and concrete, it appears that ice can protect against the sunlight…”

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An Israeli startup specializing in algorithm-generated, um, art, stores the NFTs of them in one of Svalbard’s many doomsday vaults far from where anyone can see them (not that they’d impress since they’re “framed” in three-ply foil bags). Photo courtesy of Art AI.

Also seeking refuge here in a neighborly way are NFTs (go hit Google if necessary so we don’t have to explain that digital muck) now being “deposited for eternity” in the Arctic World Archive (a.k.a. the “other doomsday vault” just up the mountainside from where the seed sanctuary is). The AWA folks partnered with some company called Top Dog Studios which “established the Non-Fungible Vault to offer unique artists and collectors a secure way of storing their valuable digital assets and keep it attainable and accessible into the unforeseen future,” according to EU Reporter. “Over 70,000 unique pieces of art will be stored, having traded over $5.9bn on the Ethereum blockchain.” Like the rest of the data vault’s collection, the NFT deposits are preserved on silver-halide film designed to last for more than 1,000 years. The money quote, so to speak, comes from Top Dog’s top dog Paul Price: “Traditional art has stood the test of time with pieces created some 45,000 years ago still in existence, yet NFTs minted 45 days ago are already missing.” Well that’s one way to spur a debate about the economic/aesthetic worthiness of prehistoric Sulawesi island cave art verses art consisting of an insanely long string of electronic zeros and ones stored in a cave in Svalbard…