Sunday, February 24, 2008

Antarctic Book: The Magic School Bus' Penguin Puzzle

The fun animated series of books and television shows for kids includes a fun Antarctic themed chapter book that I recently read. This book is called Penguin Puzzle and is about the class going on a field trip to Antarctica. They accidentally get turned into penguins and experience life as penguins until they figure out how to return to being just kids. Along the way they learn about Antarctica and different Antarctic penguin species. Interspersed with the text of the story is short reports and notes inserted to learn additional facts about Antarctica and penguins. The end of the book also has some short one page reports by the students in Mrs. Frizzle's class about some of the species of penguins including African, Galapagos, and Gentoo penguins. Overall this is a really fun fictional story that has the added educational value of science facts for kids around ages 7 to 10.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Fish Discovered in Antarctica

Recently a new so-called weird fish was discovered in Antarctica. Photos of the new fish can be seen here. This fish along with 5 other previously unknown species were caught by a British research vessel on a 2005-2006 expedition in the Antarctic.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Update on Russian Sailing Around Antarctica

Here is a recent article about Fedor Konyukhov's progress in trying to set the record of sailing around Antarctica. It is mostly about the rough seas he recently was facing.

Second Korean Antarctic Base

Korea plans to open another base in Antarctica. It is not exactly in the near future, but expected to be done by 2011. The second base is expected to be located nearer to the South Pole than their current base on the Barton Peninsula. Here is the short article about their new base plans.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Antarctic Marathon March 5

The Antarctic Marathon will be held on March 5. Here is an article about one of the people planning to participate in it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What Animals Will Invade Antarctica due to Global Warming?

I found two articles today about different animals that could enter the Antarctic environment if warming continues. One is the shark, which currently do not enter the Antarctic waters because they are still too cold for sharks. It is predicted that within the next 100 years the Antarctic waters could become warm enough for sharks. This could pose a major threat to sea life in the Antarctic because most of the creatures remain slow moving and soft bodied like those creatures in the Ancient Seas. Read more about sharks invading Antarctica in this article.

A second animal that is invading due to global warming is the crab. With warmer waters in the Antarctic they will be able to live there without fear of magnesium poisoning. Again they will easily prey on the sea life in Antarctica because the species here do not have the defenses similar species that have evolved in habitats already with crabs have. Read more about the crab invasion here.

Both species would pose a threat to the biodiversity in the Antarctic.

Friday, February 15, 2008

House Antarctic Episode Update

I earlier posted that the Frozen episode of House that is about solving a case via webcam of a person in Antarctica was to air as a repeat on USA tonight (Feb. 15) at 11pm. I just checked the TV Guide listings and it looks like instead it is airing today at 9pm EDT (8pm for those whose primetime starts at 7pm on FOX. It will be on USA tomorrow, Feb. 16, at 11pm EDT (I assume 10pm for those with the earlier primetime, but I could be wrong, so check your TV Guide listings.

Clues to Origins of Life

Here is an article about how the Antarctic Lake Ellsworth could help answer questions about origins of life. They believe that because the organisms have developed so isolated here that they could help unravel the mysteries about the origins of life.

President of Brazil visits Brazilian Base

The President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is visiting the Brazilian Antarctic base this weekend. Along with him will be the some ministers and the Commander of the Brazil Navy. He will be the second Brazilian President to visit the base. The first visited back in 1991. Read more about this here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Venezuelan Antarctic Expedition

Venezuela has recently launched its first ever expedition to Antarctica and hopes to eventually set up their own research station in the Antarctic. The team of scientists are sailing from Uruguay to Antarctica on a 45 day expedition. One of the topics of their research is of course climate change in the region. Read a little more about this expedition here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Global Warming Affecting King Penguins

The headline of this article on King Penguins caught my attention not just because I have been very interested in the endangered status of all penguin species since I wrote my college research paper on endangered penguins two years ago, but also because you do not often see stuff on King penguins. It is far more common to see stuff on Antarctic species like the Emperor and Adelie penguins. This article talks about how global warming is affecting King Penguin colonies. The threat is related to the decline in food supply due to warming oceans.

Charles Wilkes: An American Explorer

The other day I was browsing the National Portrait Gallery and came across a sword (pictured below). The caption caught my attention because it talked about the man who owned the sword, Charles Wilkes, surveyed the Antarctic coast in the early 1840s. Thus I decided to look him up. I found this website that has a great description of his expedition that included visiting Antarctica. His expedition was authorized by Congress and was wider in scope as more of a Pacific expedition. It lasted from 1838 to 1842. His surveying of the coast of Antarctica in 1839 and 1840 provided the earliest conclusive proof that the continent of Antarctica really existed.

Gas Heaters

You may not live in Antarctica, but that does not mean you do not live somewhere were it gets cold. This site has a variety of gas heaters including garage heaters and space heaters. There large variety of heaters can be used for different purposes including heating a garage, workshop, or workspace. The types of heaters they have include ones that use propane, natural gas, kerosene, and diesel. They also have some good information explaining the differences between the different types of heater styles and fuel choices. This can help you determine which type of heater would serve your needs best.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Uses of Krill

Here is an article about krill and how it is becoming increasingly in demand for humans. Human uses include soy sauce flavoring, dietary supplements, and even cleaning old paintings. The article discusses how hunting krill could begin to threaten animals that rely on krill.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Antarctica: An Adventure Of A Different Nature IMAX Movie

This movie, Antarctica: An Adventure Of A Different Nature, was originally made for IMAX theaters back in the 1990s. The other day I noticed it as one of the DVDs I could check out at my local library and of course being the Antarctica lover I am I just had to check it out. Watching it on my home television may not be as amazing as an IMAX theater, but it is still fun to watch and shows some amazing Antarctica scenery. It really gives the feel of being there. Check if it is at your local library or click the product link below to buy it on Amazon. Here is a lesson plan of questions to have students answer as they watch the movie.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Japan Resumes Whaling

Now that the environmental activists have stopped following the Japanese whalers they have resumed their agenda to hunt 1,000 whales. They are killing them in the name of science, which is allowed, however it is debatable whether the whales are really being killed for scientific reasons and even if they are if it is necessary way of research, especially considering the amount they plan to hunt. Read about it here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

50 Year Old Soup

A Czech team of researchers discovered some soup left behind in Antarctica by the British 50 years ago. They actually ate it and the news report here says they are all feeling fine. I just thought this was a funny thing to read in the news.

Monday, February 4, 2008

UK Considered Abandoning Antarctic Program

Here is a very interesting article. It is about some secret papers that reveal that in the 1950s the UK considered closing down their Antarctic Bases. The reasons given are the cost of maintaining them and the territorial claims made by Chile and Argentina. Very interesting with its connection to the current territorial claims going on with the seabed surrounding Antarctica.

House Episode Last Night

It took forever for this show to come on last night, as the Super Bowl post game show had to finish, but it finally came on at 10:30pm and I am glad I stayed up to see it. I did figure out that this was in fact the first airing of the episode. It was a really great episode of House. It was really interesting how they had him working on a case via webcam and it was one where he actually spent time with the patient because he like her. If you missed it, I will not give away the ending, but will just say it was very interesting to learn that such a small thing could cause so much problems and that how because of the cold of Antarctica she did not notice it. I looked it up on and discovered it is replaying on the USA channel next Friday, February 15 at 11pm for me on the East Coast (check your TV guide to find out your local time for this airing, as for some it may be different) for those who missed it.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

House Episode Related to Antarctica

I just realized that there was an episode of House on tonight that I had not seen before coming on tonight. It is a new episode (may be one of those that reairs as new on Sunday, but has actually played early in the week). The plot relates to Antarctica with him working via webcam on a case with a person in Antarctica. I am totally excited to watch it. It comes on at 10pm tonight here on the East coast. I assume it is on at 9pm for Central and Mountain time and then at 10pm in Pacific time.