Friday, May 30, 2008

Television Shows with Penguins: Adventure Camp's "Pole to Pole" Episode

Adventure Camp is a reality television show on the Discovery Kids Channel. In the show kids from the UK and USA join up for an adventurous summer camp experience in Florida. In the "Pole to Pole" episode they go to extremes, which includes shoveling snow in the penguin habitat at Sea World Orlando. The penguins they have at the Sea World Penguin Encounter exhibit include the Antarctic species of Adelie Penguins and King Penguins.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Television Shows with Penguins: Bindi the Jungle Girl's "End of the World" Episode

Bindi the Jungle Girl is a kids television show that airs on the Discovery Channel. The show is hosted by Steve Irwin's daughter, Bindi. The show features several clips of her dad out in the natural habitats of the animals she teaches a little about in each episode. The "End of the World" episode includes clips of her dad in South America and Antarctica. It does seemed little too unbalanced towards the South America side, but it does have clips of him on the Antarctic Peninsula showing Gentoo penguin, Adelie penguins, and Port Lockroy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Television Shows with Penguins: Curious George "Zoo Night" Episode

I stumbled across penguins appearing in a Curious George episode while watching a collection of the show's episodes on the Curious George - Zoo Night & Other Animal Stories DVD. The "Zoo Night" episode is about the monkey named Curious George accidentally getting locked in the zoo. As he tries to find his way out, he ends up letting the animals lose and then must get them all back in their proper habitats. One of the animals featured are penguins. The penguin appearance is quite brief, but it is there.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Video Games with Penguins: Mario Kart

Since the Antarctic news is getting slow with the Antarctic winter setting in and the main research season done, I decided to start another penguin series of posts to go with the Movies with Penguins and Television Shows with Penguins series I already started. This new series will include screenshots and/or video clips of penguins appearing in different video games. If you know of any video games with penguin character appearances, then please let me know by commenting on one of the posts in this series.

To start off the series below is the video clip I did of the N64 Sherbert Land race track in Mario Kart for Nintendo Wii. This is a fun race that was originally on the N64 version of Mario Kart and it features some penguins that you have to try not to hit when as you race through the icy scenery.

Television Shows with Penguins: Wonder Pets! Save the Penguin Episode

The Wonder Pets! is a show for preschoolers that plays daily as part of the Nick Jr. block of shows on Nickelodeon. In the show they save baby animals. In the "Save the Unicorn!, Save the Penguin!" episode they save baby penguin in the second part of the episode. This is not among the best preschool shows, but it does try to teach a little about animals and teamwork. It, however, is a kind of obnoxious show, especially with one of the characters have a speech problem, which in turn does not help preschool viewers learn how to properly pronounce some words. The penguin episode, though, is still kind of cute and interesting with them saving him on an iceberg.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

McMurdo's 'Smurf Shed' Destroyed by Fire

It may be cold in Antarctica, but it got kind of hot when a fire destroyed a building at the Antarctic McMurdo Station last Monday. The so-called 'smurf shed' was a blue building that was used to store equipment used in maintaining roads in Antarctica. Read more about this and other crazy stuff that has happened in the last year at McMurdo in the article here.

Celebrity Cruises Plan to Invade Antarctica in 2010

This is really sad news to hear. The Celebrity Cruise Line has announced that they will begin doing drive-by Antarctic cruises in 2010. I really these large ships do not belong anywhere near Antarctica. While I do think people should be allowed to visit Antarctica as tourists they must still be responsible tourists and if you are going to go you should actually experience the continent. Oh, and I also am against the Hurtigruten alternative they mention in the article because they are also bigger than what I think belongs as tourist ships in the area.* The other line they mention may be one of the smaller research vessel ones, but I am not sure. I do know that there are plenty of decent options of small research vessel type cruises.

*Side Note on Hurtigruten: This is a great cruise line that I have been on in Norway. There Norwegian coastal cruises are very much recommended by me. I just do not think there ships belong in the Antarctic, although they are not as large as what the Celebrity Cruise Line will be bringing into the Antarctic.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Television Shows with Penguins: The Backyardigans

The Backyardigans is a great television show for preschoolers that plays regularly as part of the Nick Jr. segment on Nickelodeon. One of the main characters of the show is Pablo the Penguin. It is an interesting show about five animal friends having imaginative adventures in their backyard. The penguin character is not exactly a realistic penguin, but he is recognizably a penguin and not a made up species like Uniqua (one of the other main characters) is.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Antarctic Climate Change Models Overestimated Warming

Recently there have been several articles written about the climate change models of Antarctica being off. Here is just one of them. The climate change models had predicted to have risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century, however the change was actually only 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit. It appears the prediction was thrown off mostly due to the ozone hole, which causes swirling winds and keeps warm air from hanging around.

While the continent as a whole has not warmed as much as expected, this does not very accurately tell about how the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed several degrees. Also, for the rest of the world the models have pretty accurately shown climate change in the 20th century.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fedor Finishes Circumnavigation

Fedor has completed his solo sailing around Antarctica. His record setting time is 102 days 56 minutes and 50 seconds. In honor of him being the first Antarctic Cup participant Gate 12 located at 0 degrees East/0 degrees West is being named the Konyukhov Gate.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

DDT Found in Penguins

DDT is an effective, but harmful pesticide that was banned in the U.S. in the 1970s. Throughout the world it is nowadays very rarely used, except for places with malaria outbreak issues. It was never used in Antarctica, which is kind of obvious since the flightless midge is like the only Antarctic bug and it is not a nuisance bug. It has, however, gotten to Antarctica and has been found in penguins.

Here is an article I read about DDT being found in penguins. The article discusses how the use of DDT has slowed, but the amount of DDT found in penguins has remained the same. It also mentions that the melting of glaciers is causing DDT to be rereleased into the atmosphere having been locked away in the ice. The DDT is absorbed by microbial organisms, which the krill eat and in turn the Adelie penguins (that is the penguins used in the study discussed in this article) eat the krill. It is disturbing to see that the DDT is basically being reintroduced to the environment through ice melting and not from it being used, however, at least it does not currently appear to be affecting the penguins.

Antarctic Documentary Wins International Award

Here is an article about an Antarctic documentary winning an international award. The documentary is called Pure Antarctica: Spirit of Shackleton and it was the 2008 Summit Creative Award competition winner. The documentary was done by Russ Shackleton, a distant cousin of Ernest Shackleton. The film follows in the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton's famous 1914 Endurance expedition.

Fedor Expected to Finish Circumnavigation on Wednesday

Here is a recent article about Fedor Konyukhov's progress in circumnavigating Antarctica by sailing alone. This journey began back in January and has been an over 14,000 nautical mile one. Today is day 101 of his journey and tomorrow would be 102 and the end of it if all goes as expected. This will be the benchmark record for those competing for the Antarctic Cup will have to beat to win. The article also talks about his near miss involving a sperm whale.