Thursday, 18 January 2007

Journey to the Pole Of Inaccessibility

The Guardian has an article about a jaunt to the "Pole of Inaccessibility" being mounted by a British and Canadian team of 4. This pole is defined as the point furthest from the coasts of the continent, which is quite distinct from the geographic or magnetic poles (More about poles). When they get there, they expect to find a hut, built by a previous Russian expedition, replete with a bust of Lenin on the roof. This is only the first of the interesting points; it transpires that for "general kiting incompetence and muppetry"- kites being the de rigeur power option for the Antarctic professional on the go- team members are given the "Ovary Award". It's still a man's world out on the new frontier, apparently.
As well as raising money for charity, the team also has a serious scientific mission: counting penguin colonies. Apparently somehow counting penguin colonies will somehow help decide if there's enough food in the Antarctic to transplant a few polar bears (whose northern habitat is rapidly shrinking). Presumably the idea that we're supposed to get is that if there's enough fish for penguins, there's enough for polar bears. However, polar bears can charge on land at 25mph, while any nature documentary I've seen has penguins waddling along at a comically slow, grandma-like pace. Makes you wonder if fish-sharing is exactly what the scientific community has in mind.

1 comment:

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