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kottke.org posts about Antarctica

The sounds of an Antarctic glacier

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 01, 2018

Peter Neff is part of a team drilling ice cores from glaciers in Antarctica to look at how the climate has changed. But after they’ve done their work, they have a little fun dropping chunks of ice down the bore holes to make really cool noises (sound on, headphones recommended).

Oh, that *peeewwww* as it hits the bottom! See also the wonderful sounds of black ice skating, an incredible photo of the black ice covering an Antarctic lake, and “Whumph”: the sound of settling Antarctic snow.

The White Darkness, A Journey Across Antarctica

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 07, 2018

Henry Wolsey

After a long hiatus during which he wrote The Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann is back in the pages of the New Yorker with The White Darkness, a piece about modern-day polar explorer Henry Worsley, who attempted to cross Antartica in 2015, solo and unaided.

By the middle of January, 2016, he had travelled more than eight hundred miles, and virtually every part of him was in agony. His arms and legs throbbed. His back ached. His feet were blistered and his toenails were discolored. His fingers had started to become numb with frostbite. In his diary, he wrote, “Am worried about my fingers — one tip of little finger already gone and all others very sore.” One of his front teeth had broken off, and the wind whistled through the gap. He had lost some forty pounds, and he became fixated on his favorite foods, listing them for his broadcast listeners: “Fish pie, brown bread, double cream, steaks and chips, more chips, smoked salmon, baked potato, eggs, rice pudding, Dairy Milk chocolate, tomatoes, bananas, apples, anchovies, Shredded Wheat, Weetabix, brown sugar, peanut butter, honey, toast, pasta, pizza and pizza. Ahhhhh!”

He was on the verge of collapse. Yet he was never one to give up, and adhered to the S.A.S.’s unofficial motto, “Always a little further” — a line from James Elroy Flecker’s 1913 poem “The Golden Journey to Samarkand.” The motto was painted on the front of Worsley’s sled, and he murmured it to himself like a mantra: “Always a little further … a little further.”

This was the same trip attempted by Ben Saunders a few months ago. It’s also worth noting the Snow Fall aesthetic of the piece. What is it about winter that inspires this sort of multimedia package? Is it the white space?

A woman’s place is at the South Pole

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 29, 2018

Why is this 16-year-old girl holding a ham & cheese sandwich at the South Pole?

Jade Hameister

At 14, Jade Hameister became the youngest person to ski to the North Pole from outside the last degree of latitude. After she gave a talk about the journey at TEDx Melbourne, a video of the talk was posted online and the comments — like “Make me a sandwich” — rolled in from men presumably upset that Hameister isn’t preparing for a life of cooking & cleaning rather than polar exploration. After skiing across Greenland and then to the South Pole, Hameister had a message (and some lunch) for those men:

Tonight (it never gets dark this time of year) I skied back to the Pole again… to take this photo for all those men who commented “Make me a sandwich” on my TEDX Talk. I made you a sandwich (ham & cheese), now ski 37 days and 600km to the South Pole and you can eat it xx

How’s that Hameister & cheese sandwich taste, fellows? *bicep flex emoji* *dancing woman emoji*

“Whumph”: the sound of settling Antarctic snow

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 29, 2017

Polar adventurer Ben Saunders is currently about three weeks into a planned 1000-mile solo journey across Antarctica, blogging about it all the while. In his latest post, he describes the noise that snow makes when it settles under certain conditions, which he calls “whumphing”.

The only redeeming factor of all this fresh snow is what I’ll refer to as ‘whumphing’. I’ve no idea if there’s an actual term for the phenomenon, but I had the best whumph of my life when I first stepped out of the tent today. I assume it’s something to do with the weight of the snow settling, but the sensation is of the area of snow you’re standing on suddenly dropping by an inch or two, accompanied by a sound like a muffled thunderclap. If you’re lucky — as I was this morning — this sets off a chain reaction whumph, with a shockwave rolling out towards the horizon in every direction. It’s petrifying the first time you experience a whumph (in Greenland for me) but once you realise they’re harmless, it’s extraordinarily satisfying, like being a snowfield chiropractor, clicking tons of snow back into the right place.

Curious to see if whumphing was documented elsewhere, I did a little poking around. In a 1920 mountaineering book called Mountain Craft, Geoffrey Young talks about sudden settling due to sub-surface snow that’s less dense than the snow above. On a slope that can lead to an avalanche but on a flat Antarctic surface, you just get the muffled thunderclap.

I was also delighted to find that the legendary Roald Amundsen, who led the first expedition to reach the South Pole in 1911, noted the very same effect in his book detailing the journey: The South Pole. In a false start to the expedition in September 1911, facing poor visibility and a temperature of -69 °F, he and his men decide to stop and build igloos for warmth. After settling in, they heard a noise.

That night we heard a strange noise round us. I looked under my bag to see whether we had far to drop, but there was no sign of a disturbance anywhere. In the other hut they had heard nothing. We afterwards discovered that the sound was only due to snow “settling.” By this expression I mean the movement that takes place when a large extent of the snow surface breaks and sinks (settles down). This movement gives one the idea that the ground is sinking under one, and it is not a pleasant feeling. It is followed by a dull roar, which often makes the dogs jump into the air — and their drivers too for that matter. Once we heard this booming on the plateau so loud that it seemed like the thunder of cannon. We soon grew accustomed to it.

Amundsen seemed rather less charmed than Saunders with whumphing, but it’s wonderful to witness the experience of it shared between these two explorers across more than 100 years.

Melting Antarctic glaciers could raise global sea level 11 feet by 2100

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 24, 2017

Writing for Grist, Eric Holthaus reports on some research about a pair of fast-melting glaciers in Antarctica that could add 11 feet to the global sea level.

The glaciers of Pine Island Bay are two of the largest and fastest-melting in Antarctica. (A Rolling Stone feature earlier this year dubbed Thwaites “The Doomsday Glacier.”) Together, they act as a plug holding back enough ice to pour 11 feet of sea-level rise into the world’s oceans — an amount that would submerge every coastal city on the planet. For that reason, finding out how fast these glaciers will collapse is one of the most important scientific questions in the world today.

To figure that out, scientists have been looking back to the end of the last ice age, about 11,000 years ago, when global temperatures stood at roughly their current levels. The bad news? There’s growing evidence that the Pine Island Bay glaciers collapsed rapidly back then, flooding the world’s coastlines - partially the result of something called “marine ice-cliff instability.”

The ocean floor gets deeper toward the center of this part of Antarctica, so each new iceberg that breaks away exposes taller and taller cliffs. Ice gets so heavy that these taller cliffs can’t support their own weight. Once they start to crumble, the destruction would be unstoppable.

“Ice is only so strong, so it will collapse if these cliffs reach a certain height,” explains Kristin Poinar, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “We need to know how fast it’s going to happen.”

Eleven feet of sea level rise would be, uh, hugely problematic for the world’s coastal areas:

Three feet of sea-level rise would be bad, leading to more frequent flooding of U.S. cities such as New Orleans, Houston, New York, and Miami. Pacific Island nations, like the Marshall Islands, would lose most of their territory. Unfortunately, it now seems like three feet is possible only under the rosiest of scenarios.

At six feet, though, around 12 million people in the United States would be displaced, and the world’s most vulnerable megacities, like Shanghai, Mumbai, and Ho Chi Minh City, could be wiped off the map.

At 11 feet, land currently inhabited by hundreds of millions of people worldwide would wind up underwater. South Florida would be largely uninhabitable; floods on the scale of Hurricane Sandy would strike twice a month in New York and New Jersey, as the tug of the moon alone would be enough to send tidewaters into homes and buildings.

Alarming, but read the whole article. Scientists are still trying to figure out how probable this scenario is…early days still.

Update: The site Climate Feedback, a network of scientists that evaluates media coverage of climate change, recently rated Holthaus’ piece as “high” on the credibility scale and described it as both “accurate” and “alarmist”.

Scientists who reviewed the article found that while it accurately described recent research on these processes, it should have provided more accurate context on the timescale of these sea level rise scenarios and the scientific uncertainty about how likely these scenarios are to come to pass.

Incredible photo of the black ice covering an Antarctic lake

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 10, 2017

Lake Vanda Black Ice

Hilary Dugan is a limnologist, which means she studies inland bodies of water like rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and marshland. Specifically she studies lakes:

As a limnologist, I study how terrestrial and atmospheric changes, such as warming air temperatures or land use patterns, alter biogeochemical fluxes and aquatic processes in lakes.

Right now, Dugan is in Antarctica on a research trip to Lake Vanda, where she took this amazing photo of the 12-ft sheet of black ice covering the lake. (She also took a video of herself walking on the ice.) Beautiful.

Lake Vanda sounds fascinating btw: three thermal layers of water that don’t mix (the bottom layer is a toasty 73 °F) and it’s one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, more than 10 times saltier than seawater (although very little of that salt is contained in the upper layers). The lake is also home to the The Royal Lake Vanda Swim Club, a largely abandoned tradition of skinny dipping in the lake when the ice melts enough to permit it.

Ben Saunders embarks on Trans-Antarctic Solo expedition

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 08, 2017

Ben Saunders Antarctic Solo

In 2013, polar adventurer Ben Saunders, along with his partner Tarka L’Herpiniere, set out from the coast of Antarctica to ski to the South Pole and back again, unsupported (meaning they carried all their food and supplies with them). They completed the 1800-mile journey in just over three months, but fell short of doing it unsupported.

This year, Saunders is back in Antarctica by himself, attempting the first solo, unsupported, unassisted crossing of the continent in the Trans-Antarctic Solo expedition. The really cool part: he’s blogging the whole trip. He’s already completed day one of the 1,024-mile journey, consisting of a short little 45-minute jaunt to set up his tent before hitting it in earnest on day two. Good luck, Ben! I’ll be following along on the blog, via Twitter & Instagram, and tracking your progress on this map.

Update: A bittersweet update from Ben today (12/28/2017). After 52 days and 650 miles, he’s reached the South Pole. But he’s also not embarking on the return leg of the journey, thereby ending his expedition. A further explanation will come — it’s likely his journey was taking much longer than he had food for — but what I wrote when his last expedition ended prematurely holds:

Adventure is never about battling the environment or elements or whatever. It’s always a struggle with the self. And as this battle reached a fevered pitch, Ben and Tarka were not found wanting. Calling for resupply, and thereby giving up on one of the major goals of this expedition 10 years in the making, was probably the hardest thing Ben has ever had to do in his entire life. But he did it, for his family, his loved ones, and his teammate. Ben, Tarka, I’m proud of you. Thank you for letting us follow along on your journey, for showing us what is humanly possible, and for the reminder that pushing the boundaries is never about how far you can tow a sled but about what you do when confronted with the no-win scenario: beating yourself.

Congratulations, Ben!

Welcome to Union Glacier

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 11, 2014

While working as a filmmaker as part of the Scott Expedition, Temujin Doran made a beautifully shot and edited short film about a small team of people who live and work on Antarctica’s Union Glacier during the summer.

For me, this film seems a bit like an antithesis to many expedition and adventure documentaries. There is no great achievement or record broken, nor any real challenge to overcome. Instead it concerns minor details; the everyday tasks of the staff that were made more special by the environment surrounding them. And in fact, I think that’s what attracted me to make this film - the delightful trivialities of an average life, working in Antarctica.

Wes Anderson-esque. (thx, joseph)

Nearly there

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 05, 2014

Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere are reaching the end of their 105-day, 1800-mile solo (nearly) unsupported journey to the South Pole and back again. Towing sledges across unchanging icy terrain for 100 days doesn’t exactly make for compelling reading, but it’s been a highlight of each morning during the past three months to read what the boys have been up to. I hope offering my congratulations on a job well done isn’t premature.

The forests of Antarctica

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 28, 2014

There is fossil evidence that Antarctica may have been covered by forests.

The discovery has come in the form of fossilized impressions of wood and leaves in the region of Antarctica’s Mount Achernar. Even the stumps of ancient tree trunks have been uncovered, believed to date back to prehistoric times.

It is commonly accepted that during the late Permian and early Triassic periods, as much as 250 million years ago, the whole world would have been far hotter than it is today.

Sarah Feakins, a biogeochemist from the University of Southern California, posits that the Antarctic coast was once lined with beeches and conifers; based on evidence taken from leaf waxes found in sediment cores extracted from the Ross Ice Shelf.

A period of warmer climate around 15 million years ago, known as the Miocene period, could have had areas of the Antarctic resembling the kind of forested tundra seen today in New Zealand or parts of Chile. Chemical study of the leaf wax samples indicates that during the summer months, the coast of Antarctica could have been as warm as 15°F.

(via @daveg)

Fear and loathing near the South Pole

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 02, 2014

70 days ago, Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere set out from the edge of Antarctica, bound south. Their goal was to ski, alone and unsupported, to the South Pole and back along the route Captain Robert Falcon Scott travelled in 1912. I’ve been following their blog every day since then, and they were making the whole thing — skiing 19 miles/day in -30° white-outs hauling 300 lbs. and blogging about it the whole way — seem easy somehow. They reached the Pole the day after Christmas were hauling ass (and sled) back toward the coast.

But their seemingly steady progress hid a potentially life-threatening truth: they needed to be skiing more miles a day in order to travel quickly enough to not exhaust their food supply. They’d been missing their mileage goals and in an attempt to catch up, weren’t sleeping and eating as much as they should have been. Things could have gone very wrong at this point, but luckily Ben and Tarka came out ok.

Our depot was still 74km away and we had barely more than half a day’s food to reach it; eight energy bars each, half a breakfast and half an evening meal. 16km into the following day Tarka started to slow again as he led, before stopping entirely and waving me forward to talk. “I feel really weak in the legs again”, he said. “OK. What do you want to do?” I answered snappily, before realising this was on me. I came here to be challenged and tested, to give my all to the hardest task I have ever set myself and to the biggest dream I have ever had. And here was the crux. This was the moment that mattered, not standing by the Pole having my photograph taken, but standing next to my friend, in a howling gale, miles away from anyone or anything. “Let’s put the tent up”, I said, “I’ve got an idea”.

Adventure is never about battling the environment or elements or whatever. It’s always a struggle with the self. And as this battle reached a fevered pitch, Ben and Tarka were not found wanting. Calling for resupply, and thereby giving up on one of the major goals of this expedition 10 years in the making, was probably the hardest thing Ben has ever had to do in his entire life. But he did it, for his family, his loved ones, and his teammate. Ben, Tarka, I’m proud of you. Thank you for letting us follow along on your journey, for showing us what is humanly possible, and for the reminder that pushing the boundaries is never about how far you can tow a sled but about what you do when confronted with the no-win scenario: beating yourself.

There and back again, South Pole edition

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 28, 2013

Scott Expedition

Right now, two men on skis pulling 440 lb sleds are inching their way across the Antartic continent, bound for the South Pole and then back again. Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere are attempting to complete, solo and unsupported, the same journey that claimed the lives of Robert Falcon Scott and his party in 1912. They’re calling it The Scott Expedition.

Saunders has been working towards this goal for more than 10 years with many false starts. His former partner in exploration, Tony Haile, explains the journey before the journey:

In short, a South Pole expedition is pretty much the worst way to spend four months you could possibly imagine, but if you were to ask Ben I don’t think he would say that’s the tough part. The tough part is getting to the start line in the first place. Antarctica is far away from everywhere and doing anything in Antarctica is ridiculously expensive. Imagine if you kept a car in New York but the only way to fuel that car was to charter a private jet and fly fuel in from England. That’s the logistics of an Antarctic expedition and between us we had no cash and no clue how to get any.

We didn’t go to the South Pole in 2003. Or 2004. Or 2005. Living month to month on whatever I could scrounge together, putting together small expeditions or managing other people’s just so I wouldn’t lose my connection to the cold places, I grew to fear and then hate my parent’s yearly Christmas letter to their friends which would explain ‘Anthony has decided to postpone his South Pole expedition for another year to raise more funds’. For Ben and I, we had proclaimed a grand goal. We had told people year after year this was the year we were finally going to go south. And every year we had to look at the nervous smiles as we publicly failed. Again and again.

The journey is just underway…the plan is to travel 1800 miles to and from the South Pole and you can track their progress online and read tweets and blog posts from Ben and Tarka along the way. Back in 2005, when Ben and Tony were planning this trip the first time around, they sold miles of the expedition for donations of $100 apiece. They didn’t make it that year obviously and in the days before Kickstarter, crowdsourcing $180,000 was a bit more difficult than it is now. But I bought a mile back then (I actually got mile #900, the point at which they’ll reach the pole) and I am beyond excited that they’ve set off and can’t wait to see how the trip progresses. Good luck, Ben and Tarka!

Shackleton in color

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 02, 2011

Color photographs of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic expedition by Frank Hurley.

Shackleton in color

Early in 1915, their ship ‘Endurance’ became inexorably trapped in the Antarctic ice. Hurley managed to salvage the photographic plates by diving into mushy ice-water inside the sinking ship in October 1915.

(via @polarben)

ATMs in Antarctica

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 21, 2010

There are two ATM machines in Antarctica. They are located at McMurdo Station and operated by Wells Fargo. Here’s an interview with a Wells Fargo VP about the unique challenges of operating those machines.

You know, the other thing too that you may find interesting — I don’t know how much you know about folks that need to go down to Antarctica — it’s a huge process to do it. So when we’re preparing for the vendor visit, it’s like a ten-month process. The reason being is, they obviously go in the off-season when it’s obviously warmer because no planes fly onto the ice in their winter months. And so anybody that goes to Antarctica has to be cleared with a physical, a dental, and a psychological evaluation, because if for some reason the plane can’t get out, you’re trapped down there until the next season.

(via jimray)

Rediscovering the cure for scurvy

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 09, 2010

Maciej Ceglowski tells the story of how the cure for scurvy was discovered, lost, and finally redsicovered, but not before it disrupted Robert Falcon Scott’s 1911 expedition to reach the South Pole.

This is a good example of how the very ubiquity of vitamin C made it hard to identify. Though scurvy was always associated with a lack of greens, fresh meat contains adequate amounts of vitamin C, with particularly high concentrations in the organ meats that explorers considered a delicacy. Eat a bear liver every few weeks and scurvy will be the least of your problems.

But unless you already understand and believe in the vitamin model of nutrition, the notion of a trace substance that exists both in fresh limes and bear kidneys, but is absent from a cask of lime juice because you happened to prepare it in a copper vessel, begins to sound pretty contrived.

Why Antarctica isn’t melting much

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 20, 2010

Antarctic ice isn’t melting as much as predicted because the overall global warming trend and the Antarctic hole in the ozone are at cross purposes with each other. Temporarily.

As the ozone hole heals in the coming decades, the winds will weaken, the continent will become much warmer in summer — and melting will increase.

Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 20, 2010

In 1961, surgeon Leonid Rogozov was the only physician stationed on an isolated 12-man Soviet base in Antarctica when he developed appendicitis. He had to remove his appendix himself.

“I didn’t permit myself to think about anything other than the task at hand. It was necessary to steel myself, steel myself firmly and grit my teeth. In the event that I lost consciousness, I’d given Sasha Artemev a syringe and shown him how to give me an injection. I chose a position half sitting. I explained to Zinovy Teplinsky how to hold the mirror. My poor assistants! At the last minute I looked over at them: they stood there in their surgical whites, whiter than white themselves. I was scared too. But when I picked up the needle with the novocaine and gave myself the first injection, somehow I automatically switched into operating mode, and from that point on I didn’t notice anything else.

Anticipating cries of “photos or it didn’t happen”, his assistants documented the scene: here’s Rogozov operating on himself (and another).

To the South Pole on foot

posted by Jason Kottke   May 05, 2009

Down 50 pounds, running on 15% lung capacity, and unable to remember coordinates properly, Todd Carmichael works his way toward the South Pole, still attempting to set a speed record.

“I just don’t know what to do,” Carmichael says to the camera. “No way of communicating with anyone. No way of making water.” His voice rises with resentment. “I have no water! That’s it. I have no water. If you don’t have water, you don’t have life.”

The two comments following the story are also interesting. One is from a member of a Canadian team who broke the speed record a few days after Carmichael’s attempt ended.

The abandoned supply shacks of Antarctic explorers

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 17, 2008

The abandoned supply shacks of Antarctic explorers Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton are still intact and have been preserved by the cold.

While the preservation of food in the freezing temperatures and dry climate has been noted, bacterial decay still occurs. Besides, the World Monuments Watch describes it as one of the hundred most endangered sites in the world, and New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust (AHT) has been working in the last years to preserve it from corrosion.

These structures and the supplies contained within are almost 100 years old.

Let’s talk Antarctica blogs.

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 21, 2008

Let’s talk Antarctica blogs.

Antarctic Journal is one of the best; it’s written by a grad student studying penguin ecology. Big Dead Place is also great (but not strictly a blog); check out the stories and interviews section. Also of note but of varying quality and timeliness are a blog by the British Antarctic Survey, John Bean’s Antarctica blog, a U of Delaware blog, Antarctic Blog, and Antarctica Blog.

I’m still looking forward to the SOUTH expedition blog whenever that happens.

Update: One more: 75 Degrees South. Very nice photos, as in this post. (thx, pete)

Update: More Antarctica blogs and such: UAB in Antarctica, Blog Rogers (which includes info about the book, Antarctica: Life on the Ice), Nathan Duke, elisfanclub, Concordia Base, Base Dumont d’Urville, Mr Rose Géophy CZT45, and Andrill. (thx, everyone)

A map of the lakes and rivers

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 18, 2007

A map of the lakes and rivers underneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Referring page is here. (via pruned)

The scale of the IceCube neutrino detector

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 01, 2007

The scale of the IceCube neutrino detector is amazing…a cubic kilometer telescope 1.5 miles deep into the ice caps of Antarctica. (via pruned, which has more thoughts on the architecture of particle physics)

Antarctic glaciers are losing ice, but not

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 17, 2007

Antarctic glaciers are losing ice, but not because of melting. “In Greenland we know there is melting associated with the ice loss, but in Antarctica we don’t really know why it’s happening.”

English, as She is Spoke at McMurdo

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 05, 2005

English, as She is Spoke at McMurdo and Pole, AKA slang from Antarctica. (via his purpleness)

Scientists have extracted ice cores from Antarctica

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 30, 2005

Scientists have extracted ice cores from Antarctica that date back 650,000 years (the previous high was 400,000 years). The cores show that modern levels of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide levels are the highest they have ever been.

Heading to the South Pole and back…on skis

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 21, 2005

I'm supporting SOUTHBen Saunders is a little bit crazy. He does stuff like ski solo from Russia to Canada via the North Pole just for the heck of it. When I was last in London, I called him up to make dinner plans and he apologized if he seemed a “little” tired because he’d been out for a “bit” of a run this morning. That short run turned out to be 20 miles. (At dinner that evening, Ben and his training partner, Tony, ate everything on the table short of the cutlery.)

Ben’s latest endeavor is his upcoming expedition across Antarctica to the South Pole, dubbed SOUTH:

Here’s the plan. The first return journey to the South Pole on foot and the longest unsupported polar journey in history. In October next year, Tony Haile and I will set out from Scott’s hut, on the shores of McMurdo Sound on a 1,800-mile, four-month round trip, from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back. No dogs, no vehicles, no kites, no resupplies. We’re calling it SOUTH.

The great Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen made the only return journey, using dogs, 93 years ago. His rival Captain Scott died on his return from the Pole just 11 miles from the relative safety of his largest depot. Since then every expedition has either been flown out from the Pole or used dogs, kites or vehicles. Many people have blamed Scott’s failure on his reliance on human power, and many experts still believe an entirely human-powered journey of this magnitude to be impossible. We think otherwise.

Expeditions of this sort are generally funded by large corporations who give money in exchange for advertising and sponsorship opportunities. On his last expedition to the North Pole, Ben blogged (and photoblogged) daily using a PDA & satellite phone and was cheered along by the thousands who read and commented on the journey. So for SOUTH, Ben and Tony are doing something a little different…they are seeking financial support from private individuals (and companies/groups/etc.). For a donation of $100, you can “own a mile” of the expedition, which means you get a listing on the site, a listing on the front page when your mile of the expedition is completed, your name enscribed on one of the expedition sleds, and your name on a flag planted at the South Pole. Ben and Tony are great guys and I would love to see them succeed, so give them a hand if you can.

Antarctic base will be built on skis

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 19, 2005

Antarctic base will be built on skis. The movable station “will prevent the possibility of the base drifting out into the ocean on the back of an iceberg that has ‘calved’ off the shelf”.

How to turn a block of Antarctic

posted by Jason Kottke   May 17, 2005

How to turn a block of Antarctic ice into a giant neutrino detector. “To turn the ice into a telescope, all you have to do is drill an array of 80 holes half a meter across by 2.5km deep using a very powerfull jet of hot water. Then lower a string of 60 optical detectors into each hole before they refreeze, conect them up to some powerful computer analysers and you are good to go.”