Random weirdness for the week of June 13, 2017


John Lennon celebrates a 50th anniversary by sticking his face in snow. Doomsday Vault Derangement Syndrome continues with links to Nazis and global human infertility. Threats from space cannibals. And can palm trees Make Svalbard Great Again?

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Millennials might debate which of these deserves to go first, but of course it’s no contest: the Working Class Hero (and of course our quip about him above went right over Gen Y’s head). John Lennon chose to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by appearing on a mountainside across the bay from Longyearbyen. That remarkable discovery was made by British tourist Paul Murphy who from his hotel room took a photo of the former Beatle.  Murphy said he had to point out the image to his wife and two sons, but “as soon as I showed them where to look they were really surprised by it as well. Once you’ve seen it, you can’t not see it,” he told the website Echo


Fishy tales: We’re not suggesting this is a visual representation of the past few weeks of Doomsday Vault coverage or anything. Photo courtesy of WWI Today.

It’s been three weeks since The Guardian published its absurd “most-read” article about the “flooding” of the Doomsday Vault and the global lamestream media is still running wild with it. Take this sentence (please) in an article headlined “Remembering when the Arctic was a war zone:” “Nazis may no longer threaten Svalbard, but earlier this month, the entrance to the Global Seed Vault unexpectedly flooded after a spate of warm temperatures.” The absurd association was part of a narrative about the bombing of settlements and military facilities by Nazis in September of 1943. A neighboring archipelago to the south also gets a mention by dredging up a 1940 newspaper article headlined “Blitzkrieg and Cod Liver Old,” involving folks in Kentucky stressing because they might not be able to feed kids the fishy fluid because of a battle in the Lofoten Islands, producer of half the stuff in Norway. The islands “were strategic for the Nazis, as they sourced glycerin from fish oil to make explosives. In their surprise raid, the British burned thousands of gallons of fish oil, causing thick, black plumes of smoke to choke the skies.” As the journalists willing to ask the Tough Questions, ours would be asking the kids if they’d prefer taking cod liver oil or letting the Nazis make bombs with it…


Survivalism Svalbard style: Where supervillains and people dressed for winter weather look alike. Image by Brian K. Vaughan.

With those absurdities mauling the minds of the masses we feel the need to point out a substantially sorrowful seed story. It seems a feature film about the vault described as “Ocean’s 11 meets 2012/Children of Men” isn’t happening after all. Brian K. Vaughan, a writer of comics and screen stuff, floated his idea for “The Vault” several years ago, with a summary declaring “when a terrifying plague destroys crops and causes starvation on a global scale, the world’s greatest thief must break into the extremist-controlled Doomsday Vault to steal the one seed that could prevent the extinction of the human race.” But in a May 31 interview with Comic Book Resources he said there’s no plans to follow through since he’s focusing on numerous other projects, although “nothing ever really dies In Hollywood, so we’ll see…”

But while that fictional fight against evil isn’t happening, how about a real-life one involving cannibals from space invading another of our top-secret facilities? Alas, that plotline is in the hands of engineers and corporate PR spokespeople, so the results are roughly as rousing as the revived “Baywatch.” Basically, it’s all about a company that does business with the Svalbard Satellite Station teaming up with a startup that offers different in-orbit services “to ensure that future satellites orbiting closer to Earth don’t compete with its geostationary business endeavors.” But the money quote is catchy: “One of the reasons to partner with LeoSat is that there are less risks of cannibalization between GEO and LEO,” a Management Guy told Space News. Given that SvalSat is the focus on ongoing conspiracy theories about engaging in illegal war activities and espionage, surely someone will put that magic word to use…

And speaking of conspiracy theories, someone not fooled by Fake News about man-made climate change is praising Wiggy Trump for pulling out from the Paris Climate Treaty and using supposedly chilly Svalbard to support her argument. Trine Overå Hansen, in a column for Norge Idag, notes “it is a fact that temperatures have always fluctuated. For example, palm trees and magnolia were once found on Svalbard.” She goes on to assert “it is never scientifically proven that emissions of polluting gases cause the temperature to rise,” so it’s probably not all that important to also mention the era of tropical paradise occurred about 400 million years ago when the archipelago was just north of the equator. And since current climate change is only causing conditions last seen tens of millions of years ago, the only coconuts likely to exist locally are those not consumed by the mutant monsters in the Doomsday Vault.