Svalbardbutikken remained dark during its scheduled 10 a.m. opening Monday due to a failure of the store’s main power system, but repairs are expected to…
Posts published in October 2016
Seedy story: Review: ‘Seeds on Ice’ gets global raves – but does it reveal the ‘Doomsday Vault’s’ true secrets?
Nobody’s ever peed inside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which is a bit surprising given all the media/VIP tours and the fact there’s a chemical toilet in there. Then again, it’s not like a lot of normal human functions are happening in what staffers adamantly refuse to call the Doomsday Vault.
ALERT: Landslide near cemetery closes road between Huset and the old museum; other areas being assessed
Update 3 p.m.: The road to Endalen is also closed until further notice and there is still a high risk of further landslides, according to The Governor of Svalbard.
“In general, The Governor of Svalbard strongly recommends everyone to refrain from entering slopes and ridges in Longyearbyen and surrounding areas” a statement at the governor’s website notes. “This includes all commonly used tracks and trails in the area.”
Original story: A landslide triggered by heavy rain covered the road near Longyearbyen’s cemetery Saturday morning, prompting The Governor of Svalbard to close the road and conduct a helicopter search to determine if other areas are at risk.
Hard core exhibition: ‘Kullfolk’ shows a rock-solid workforce, now nearly vanquished, to a new era of ‘soft people’
“Miners don’t like having their picture taken,” said Birger Amundsen, minutes before presenting a room filled with about 30 enormous portraits of the workers’ dirty faces from the past 25 years in Svalbard.
Furthermore, the longtime journalist and author said he’s sad to see the coal miners being replaced “soft people” in tourism, an industry “without a core,” but since the room of his photos is at Svalbard Museum it means most of the people looking at his exhibit will be – wait for it – tourists.
9:30 p.m.: I walk into the restaurant/pub at Coal Miners Cabins and experience a moment of panic since it looks like the show’s already in progress on the big-screen TV, rather than the usual weekly show about villages near the Arctic Circle that precedes the series. A couple of minutes pass and I realize it’s actually a long infomercial for the company that owns this place and lots of other tourism businesses in town (the audio is muted and I realize there’s no subtitles). The fact it’s hard to tell the difference due to the similar editing styles (a few minutes each of dogsledding/snowmobiling, a scene in a restaurant/pub, a special event, etc.) highlights something I emphasized in last week’s coverage: a lack of overall focus and direction.
Under development: Government’s proposed budget for Svalbard in 2017 boosts science and airport security, omits avalanche projects – for now
New scientific research facilities and a few new officers to boost airport security are in. Avalanche-related construction projects are out – for now, although that might change during the next few weeks.
He’s a big fan of the global climate pact approved in Paris last year. And of Norway continuing to open drilling areas further and further north. How is that possible? Because, according to Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen, director of the Norwegian Oil Industry Association, “Norway has the purest oil in the world.”
Taking refugee: Usual month of telethon-related fundraising events to benefit unusually cruel situation for displaced
Yes, it’s been a tough year here. But tell that to the residents of Aleppo.
Helping them and refugees in many other areas is the focus of this year’s NRK telethon, with Longyearbyen as usual offering a month of local events leading up to the televised auction Oct. 23. Anne Lise Sandvik, head of this year’s local effort, said she doesn’t think local large-scale layoffs and economic downturn will affect this year’s giving.
Power hungry: 20 witnesses detail Svalbard’s future needs during Parliament hearing on revised ‘white paper’
It’s a long wish list and not exactly new, but now it’s officially on the agenda of the deciders.
An underwater power cable from the mainland, revised air traffic regulations, speeding up development of the fishing industry, investing heavily in infrastructure and figuring out what to do with Store Norske were among the many items presented by 20 witnesses last week during a hearing by Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Ranking the characters of ‘Svalbard: Life on the Edge’ from least to most interesting (sorta halftime edition)
Six down. Four to go. And it’s far from clear the current rankings will look anything like the final ones.
I’ve been at a loss as to how to rank the “stars” of the ten-episode BBC Earth docu-soap “Svalbard: Life on the Edge” (“Ice Town: Life on the Edge” outside Norway), mostly because I can’t figure out why the show is allocating scenes/storylines to everyone the way it is so far. But things have progressed far enough to say the initial rankings after the first “introductory” episodes were somewhat askew.