July 21, 2005
Think Different - Think Cool – Part Two
Heat, humidity, politics, and tension… These four aspects of summer life often intrude into where they neither belong nor should be welcomed. With substantial Zen training, of course, you can quickly dispatch them, but who has the time to sit in silence for hours each day with his personal guru?
Alas, there are other paths to nirvana, and today, I, Wile E., propose an extension of our Antarctic diversion; an extension of our escape from this, our banal reality of this superheated locality. Today I propose sublime penguins, frosty ice, majestic icebergs, and soothing skies…
Gentoo Penguin at Paradise Bay
Gentoos and Ice at Port Lockroy
Mammoth, Rock Hard Blue Ice
Ice (free of air) is stunningly blue and often ancient.
Castle Sized Iceberg off the Peninsula
Sublime Evening Sun
Stunning 11 pm Sunset
Concluding our great escape to the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, I provide you with these facts, many courtesy of wikipedia.org’s Antarctic pages.
- The Antarctic Peninsula is the only part of the continent that reaches beyond the Antarctic Circle. It is around the tip of the peninsula in January of 2005 where I snapped the images.
- Antarctica’s land mass comprises 13,200,000 square kilometers, making it the 4th largest continent.
- The Antarctic continent has the smallest permanent human population (0), the highest average altitude, the lowest average humidity, and the lowest average temperature of all the continents.
- Antarctica has been assigned the ccTLD internet country code “ aq”. (The ccTLD of Canada is “.ca”, France is “.fr”, etc.)
- Although they have little relevance since the advent of the Antarctic Treaty, seven countries, Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the UK, lay claim to wedge shaped sections of the continent. The UK, Argentinean and Chilean wedges all overlap one another. Germany claimed it’s own portion (as well as France’s wedge I would suppose) during WWII, and South Africa claimed itself a portion from 1963 to 1994.
- The magnetic South Pole is offset from the true South Pole to such an extent that it is actually over the frozen water and not over the Antarctic land mass itself.
- Pure Ice is, in fact, blue, and this is due to the absorption of red light. It usually appears white due to the presence of air within the ice which reflects the light before the ice has absorbed much of the red spectrum. By contrast, the daytime sky is blue for a completely different reason, the scattering of blue light by certain air molecules which absorb then release in random directions the blue light rays of the sun.
- The Amundsen-Scott Research Station is at the true South Pole and was constructed by and belongs to the US.
- Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen was the first man to reach the South Pole, arriving there on 14 December, 1911, just 35 days before Robert Falcon Scott. Scott, along with the rest of his team froze to death just 11 miles shy of reaching the safety of their fully stocked supply depot. Amundsen ate some of his sled dogs during the journey; Scott and crew ate their ponies.