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Posts published in January 2020

ASK THEM ANYTHING: FAQs for Svalbard science pros at forum include oldest rock, next ice age, microplastics, nuclear waste storage, zombie apocalypse

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Read Time:7 Minute, 18 Second

When it comes to popular Svalbard topics like climate change and zombies, there’s unquestionably a lot of non-expert nonsense out there.

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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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GOVERNOR: IF YOU CARE, BEWARE OF BEAR: Killing animal that has encountered tour groups in Bolterdalen in recent days is last resort, but public needs to avoid provocative actions

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Read Time:2 Minute, 4 Second

Growls of frustration are already being heard as officials are trying to cope with another bear lingering near Longyearbyen in recent days, including two encounters with guided tour groups. But while The Governor of Svalbard says it is doing everything to avoid a repeat of the controversial killing of a bear on New Year’s Day, it’s crucial the public do everything possible to prevent potentially harmful situations.

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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FENDING OFF A POLAR BEAR WITH A ROPE: Dogsled guide says bear approached tour group too quick to use weapon, scared it off by hitting it with brake rope on sled without incident

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Read Time:2 Minute, 17 Second

Marcel Starinsky says the dogsled group he was guiding was only 200 meters from the kennels at the end of a six-hour trip when a sight that will be forever remember appeared.

“Out of the darkness, over a greenery in the terrain, came a polar bear,” he told Svalbardposten late Wednesday. “It came right at my sled and my dogs.”

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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ALERT – ANOTHER POLAR BEAR NEAR TOWN: Governor sends helicopter to monitor bear seen Wednesday afternoon in Bolterdalen, tracks also seen on Longyearbreen on Tuesday

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Read Time:1 Minute, 23 Second

Update 6:30 p.m.: The governor is chasing the bear south through Bolterdalen and plans to continue chasing it to Tverrdalen.

Update 5:50 p.m.: Green Dog Svalbard also reported an encounter with a polar bear at their kennels about 10 kilometers east of Longyearbyen, the governor’s office told Svalbardposten.

Original story: A polar bear was spotted Wednesday afternoon in Bolterdalen, a valley southeast of Longyearbyen, prompting a warning from officials after bear tracks were also observed Tuesday on Longyearbreen south of town.

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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60% OF SVALBARD COVERED BY GLACIERS? NOT ANY MORE: It’s 55% due to climate change since 2003. And ice and snow levels are dropping 25 and 43 percent per decade, respectively

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Read Time:3 Minute, 5 Second

Time for another nugget of “common knowledge” about Svalbard to be liquidated, so to speak:  60 percent of the archipelago isn’t covered by ice, it’s about 55 percent.

While the updated figure might not seem massive to some casual observers, the reduction has occurred in less than 20 years due to climate change, according to an update of a major collaborative research publication released this week.

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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BETTER GUIDES AND FEWER TOURISTS? Norway’s government seeks certification requirements for guides, arguing for safety and protection even if it means fewer visitors

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Read Time:3 Minute, 53 Second

Requirements for guides in Svalbard to be certified to further a goal of safer and more environmentally sustainable tourism are being drafted Norway’s government, with the acknowledgement “this may lead to fewer tourists choosing Svalbard.”

But while the general objectives of the regulations were released Tuesday, the specifics – including whether they’ll address a multitude of concerns raised by guides and some others in the industry including labor workshift, safety, wage and other alleged unfair practices – remain to be seen.

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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SVALBARD SCIENTISTS DISCOVER BREAST CANCER CURE? Molecule ‘selectively killed cancer cells,’ but as of now ‘working hard to see if it is possible to make medicine’

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Read Time:1 Minute, 32 Second

Declaring a molecule found in Svalbard “can cure breast cancer” is a big, big headline, but – as with many scientific “breakthroughs” – comes with a big “what if.”

With that qualifier in mind, optimism a medicine will indeed be developed some day is being expressed by researchers at the Norwegian School of Fisheries (part of UiT Norway’s Arctic University) using a small molecule discovered in animals on the seabed off the coast of Bjørnøya in 2011. 

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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LORDAGSBIFF AT HUSET: A review of Svalbard’s most iconic mining-era meal

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Read Time:7 Minute, 10 Second

(Editor’s note: This review, written in the spring of 2018 as the opening of a planned ebook that remains unfinished, is being published in advance of the 60th birthday celebration of Huset on Saturday, when lordagsbiff will be served from 2-6 p.m. for 60 kroner.)

This is what it’s like to eat the ultimate traditional community meal in the world’s northernmost town.

You enter an unremarkable and isolated building near the foot of a glacier three kilometers from the town square, well past the walking range of tourists paying more than ten times as much to eat a tasting menu in the famous formal restaurant in an adjacent room. You take a quick left into a casual bistro just past the no-attendant (and thus no-tip) coat room, where a half-empty assortment of booths and tables with a bar against a long wall next to the kitchen awaits.

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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RANT: Rumor persists the bear killed on New Year’s isn’t the one that visited in 2016. It’s utterly absurd, unless it’s the biggest and stupidest conspiracy by officials in modern times

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Read Time:5 Minute, 10 Second

First, to the naysayers: yes, the lip tattoo and ear marker on the bear are a match. Unless two different official agencies are telling an easily-discoverable lie for reasons beyond comprehension.

Unlike certain parts of the world where leaders are spouting non-stop “alternative facts,” claims of “fake news” and – in a new classic uttered just yesterday – “no one said this wasn’t photoshopped,” even nonconformists at this newspaper tend to trust public officials are truthful about facts regarding major incidents such as the highly controversial killing of a polar bear on New Year’s Day.

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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ALERT (UPDATED 4 p.m. TUES:): Heavy snow and strong gale winds likely to result in high-risk avalanche and sea conditions through Thursday

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Read Time:1 Minute, 5 Second

Update 4 p.m. Tuesday: The forecast now calls for strong gale winds throughout Tuesday, near-gale winds and moderate snow Wednesday, and gale winds and potentially heavy snow Thursday. The avalanche risk forecast through Wednesday remains at Level Three (out of five), but is Level Four is eastern and southern Svalbard.

Original story posted at 4 p.m. Monday: A blizzard with up to 12 millimeters of precipitation and strong gales winds to 86 kilometers an hour is forecast throughout most of Tuesday, resulting in high risks of avalanche and hazards at sea due to fracturing ice, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

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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