Random weirdness for the week of Feb. 17, 2015

Le Monde polarjazz
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We can’t understand a word of it (beyond “Svalbard,” “Longyearbyen” and a few names, of course), but Le Monde nevertheless has one of the best online articles we’ve ever seen of Polarjazz (even if they got the name slightly wrong) by an uncredited artist who presents the festival as a graphic novel with song and interview audio clips. Organist Bugge Wesseltoft gets the most musician love, including (warning) a portion of his concert that autoplays when the page is loaded, but there’s also dramatic landscape and blizzard sketches, as well as some amusing caricature-like depictions of certain locals…

Meanwhile, certain folks in Britain continue to occupy the other end of the journalism scale, with a recent headline in The Telegraph of London proclaiming “The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever.” It seems graphs temperatures at three weather stations in Paraguay for the past 60 years were “dramatically reversed” to show a warming trend rather than a cooling one. That “sparked some discussion between colleagues at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute,” who ran some tests comparing temperatures recorded in Svalbard by different institutes and – shockingly – found some “not been subject to the same quality control and homogenization” as others. Oh, by the way, they also noted the Telegraph’s “charlatan bent on spreading misinformation” neglected to mention there’s tens of thousands of stations collecting data worldwide, and adjustments up and down are made as more accurate information becomes available so, um, three stations isn’t exactly a representative sample. People who want to read the technical details and more readers comments with the word “homogenization” than we care to count can check out tinyurl.com/lto93n9

Finally, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault celebrated its seventh birthday this week and, while there weren’t any high-profile deposits like some past years, it got a shoutout from lots of geek and science publications as Swiss researchers announced they’ve discovered a way to store massive amounts of data as a DNA-coded string in a way that, if kept in the -18C Doomsday Vault, could preserve the data for more than a million years.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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