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#JackieRichardson was the number one keyword search that brought new readers to this blog. The irreplaceable Ms. Jackie has lost the top spot to two searches that indicate trending issues.
People Seeking Information about Tumblr
I’m not the only one who had problems with tumblr’s email confirmation. Based on the number of people who drop by my site to read that post, the problem is ongoing. Note to tumblr’s boffins – your to-do list is missing an item.
People, you must trust polarprisca on this…HRH was not in Antarctica this year. He was in the Arctic. Harry didn’t tell his grandmother he was going to walk part way to the North Pole, because he didn’t want to worry her. Thoughtful lad.
I met an octogenarian when I sailed to the North Pole who hadn’t told the management of his senior’s home where he was going, for exactly the same reason. True story.
An extra hit of adrenalin
Some people ride roller-coasters, jump out of airplanes, or travel to war zones for an extra hit of adrenaline. My personal choice are the polar regions – the Arctic and Antarctica. Because the danger is basic – humankind against the elements.
Where do you spend most of your time playing in the online sandbox? Twitter, Facebook, WordPress? Most of us belong to more than one social network. However we tend to play in one more than others. [Why one network rises to the top like cream would be an interesting study: note to self.]
Because of my vocation/avocation, I have a 3-way tie for favourite sandbox, with WordPress being the community that I couldn’t live without on a desert island. Linkedin and Facebook are two communities with completely different personas. Linkedin is button-downed, business like – that’s a sandbox where I have to stay clean and neat when I’m playing. Facebook, on the other hand, is more like a clean pair of jeans and a comfortable t-shirt. It is my favourite virtual pub.
On Linkedin, in March 2010, I began a “group” – Polar Professionals. The goal was to create a cross-discipline virtual space where people whose work relates to the polar regions could share information and points of view. I didn’t imagine that it would grow to 150+ members from around the world. Academics, researchers, travel professionals, retired military, and business people with a vested interest in the Arctic and Antarctic belong.
What’s the value of belonging to Linkedin’s Polar Professional’s group. One member says it is the subject matter specific URLs to what the world is writing about the polar regions. Another says it is the networking capabilities.
If you are a polar professional or just profess to be passionate about the Arctic and Antarctica – check it out.
Just when I thought there is nothing new to learn on our planet, scientists in Antarctica discover new species of life. Where these new creatures were found is the really fascinating bit. An iceberg calved revealing a portion of the ocean floor that had been ice covered for a very long time. Et voila – new sea creatures.
I was nearby when a somewhat smaller berg calved. My back was to the action, but I heard it! I turned and witnessed an amazing site. A raft of penguins and two dozen seals converged on the spot where the piece of ice had fallen. The newly minted iceberg had churned up the bottom of the ocean – we were in a shallow bay where icebergs had run aground. The animals were converging on an Antarctic smorgasbord. We sat in our Zodiac, floating quietly, and watched the animals dine. Fabulous!
When I talk to people about visiting Antarctic inevitably I’m asked about emailing photos or connecting to social networks. Keeping in touch with friends in family in real-time appears to be an expectation of travelers in the 21st century.
When I explain that it is nigh onto impossible to send photos or to Tweet and Friend from the 7th continent, I disappoint. There is an article on a South Carolina newspaper’s website that is going to make my explanation why Internet communication is difficult harder to swallow. Antarctica air traffic control is based in South Carolina.
The key to understanding how flights over Antarctica can be monitored from an entirely different hemisphere is to understand that the basis of Antarctic communication is satellites, not land lines.
Internet and phone connections on ships sailing in the Antarctic are via satellite. That makes the cost per KB expensive and makes uploading and downloading large files a challenge. As one radio room operator said to me, “The upload of a large file by satellite link is often interrupted, and so it fails.” [I've cleaned up the original quote which referred to excrement and was delivered with a voice quivering with frustration.]
Quark has introduced a ship that includes a 10MB communications access card with every voyage. That is a USD$75 dollar value. Yep folks…$75 for 10MB of satellite communication.
The yacht Beserk with its three-man crew has been lost.
The polar regions are risky places. That is a fact. The Antarctic seas are some of the roughest on the planet – and have been since man began sailing. So why do men and women pit themselves against the elements in the Arctic and Antarctic, risking their lives – and the lives of others.
The lives of others…it is the collateral damage that irks me. There are sane people, with selfless courage who risk their lives for us every day. Soldiers, first-responders, police – they chose to be protectors – to be on the front lines just in case. Just-in-case should not include adventurers who knowingly risk their lives in pursuit of adventure.