Alternative reward: 35,000 words about seasickness.

August 1st, 2015

A Kickstarter for your consideration: Maciej Ceglowski is soliciting donations to take a 36-day voyage to the Ross Ice Shelf, Bay of Whales and subantarctic islands, and write it up real good.

I propose to take a 36-day voyage to the Ross Sea in Antarctica in February, 2016 and write a series of articles about the journey. For the past 13 years, I have written a popular-ish weblog at idlewords.com, and I know some of you have read and enjoyed my posts. Don't try to deny it.

In the past I have traveled to, and written about: Yemen, Argentina, China, Poland, Iceland, Australia, Romania, Transnistria(!) and the mysterious land we know only as "Canada". I've done so on my own dime, and writing about it has been part of the fun of traveling for me.

This trip is a little different, in that visiting Antarctica costs a small fortune. So I am here, hat in hand, asking for help to make the journey in return for a promise to write some really interesting and engaging prose about it in return.

The trip I have in mind is a 36-day organized sea cruise on a Russian icebreaker to the Ross Ice Shelf and Bay of Whales, with stops along the way at Australian and American bases (including McMurdo sound) and numerous subantarctic islands. A detailed itinerary appears below.

Most Antarctic tourism is limited to voyages along the Antarctic Penninsula lasting just a few days. Only about 350 tourists a year visit the Ross Sea, an area of immense historical and natural interest reachable only from New Zealand.

I've written extensively about Antarctica before (a serious example at http://idlewords.com/2010/03/scott_and_scurvy.htm, a funny example at http://idlewords.com/2006/03/ruling_antarctica.htm). If those posts appeal to you, I think you'll be in for a treat if I manage to actually see the place firsthand.

In particular, I'd like to write about the Ross Ice Shelf (in connection with climate change), the curious German and Italian bases on our route, penguins and migratory birds (who doesn't love penguins?), whatever secrets I glean from the 25-member Russian crew, Polynesian history in the godforsaken cold sub-antarctic islands, the fight to eradicate rats and rabbits from these places before they can eat all the birds, and probably (if past Antarctic writing is any indicator) 49,000 words about ice.

In concrete terms, I pledge to write at least seven substantive articles, totalling at least 35,000 words, by May of 2016. People who pony up at least $11 will get this in a nicely formatted downloadable form, along with a podcast version (mp3 files) for listening to on the go. […]

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Flipped Iceberg

February 12th, 2015

Alex Cornell, on shooting pictures of an inverted iceberg:

Of all the things I've made in my life, I would *not* have expected a photo of ice in water to end up being covered so widely.

I have to admit that I was half-hoping that the iceberg being inverted would mean that the whole nine-tenths-of-an-iceberg-is-underwater principle would also be inverted, so that the picture would reveal an immense inverted pyramid of ice sticking out of the water and towering over the photographer, with just a relatively tiny chunk of ice being below the waterline. Physics doesn't seem to work that way, sadly. Even so, the pictures Cornell shot are still pretty damn spectacular and definitely well worth a look.

[Via Daring Fireball]

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IDS would approve

May 5th, 2014

Best. British. Job Ad. Ever!

[Via The Yorkshire Ranter]

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Ice breaking (with added penguins)

May 6th, 2013

Another time-lapse sequence, this time of the US National Science Foundation's icebreaker the Nathaniel B. Palmer, traveling through the Ross Sea in Antarctica. Pink ice. Blue ice. Penguins. What more could you ask for?

[Via MetaFilter]

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"The fact that the Kiwis have to practice now shows how far we’ve come."

March 24th, 2010

Rugby on Ice:

At the foot of an active volcano 900 miles from the South Pole, Tom Leard leads a fearless band of men and women over a battlefield of frozen sea, beneath a relentless sun. Ash billows out from the peak behind them as they approach their enemies, who stand staggered across the barren stretch of ice, clad in black from head to toe.

[…]

Here, on a January day in Antarctica's frozen McMurdo Sound, Leard and company have come for the latest installment of a decades-long tradition: A rugby match, played between the American and New Zealand research bases, on a field of sea ice 10 feet thick.

[…]

Today's match is the 26th in the series – which New Zealand leads, 25-0. Zero is also the number of 'tries' – rugby's equivalent of touchdowns – the Americans have scored in the history of the rivalry, which is the southernmost rugby game in the world. […]

And yes, the post does include a photo of the 'Ice Blacks' doing the haka

[Via MetaFilter]

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Blood Falls, Antarctica

March 17th, 2010

A creepy-looking blood-red waterfall in Antarctica.

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Scenes from Antarctica

November 11th, 2008

The Big Picture does Antarctica.

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