Sunday, January 25, 2009

Whale Wars 2008-2009: Possible Agreement to Allow Japan to Whale Closer to Home

This is an interesting article relating to the whaling issue in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. It talks a possible agreement that would decrease the amount of whaling the Japanese do in the Southern Ocean while at the same time opening up coastal whaling in Japan. This agreement is being promoted by the International Whaling Commission. It sounds like it might be something the Japanese would go along with, but I do not imagine the anti whalers going for it. Coastal whaling seems like the lesser of the evils, but I got to imagine it is not much more environmentally responsible than whaling in the Antarctic.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

January 26, 2009 Partial Solar Eclipse can be seen in Antarctica

There will be a partial solar eclipse on January 26, 2009. The regions that will be able to see this partial solar eclipse include southern Africa, northwestern Antarctica, Australia and Southeast Asia. The eclipse will last between 90 minutes to two hours depending on the location it is being viewed from.

Whale Wars 2008-2009: Sea Shepherds Offer to Back Off

The Sea Shepherds recently offered to back off of the Japanese whalers if the Australian government initiates court action against the Japanese. This comes with the other recent news encouraging the Australian government to take on the whalers for environment reason. It does seem like the Australian government will go for legal action at this time. The Sea Shepherds are expected to be heading back out to try to stop the whalers from whaling after refueling in Hobart.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Whale Wars 2008-2009: Australian Government

Usually I post about the Japanese whalers and the environmental activists when talking about the Whale Wars in the Antarctic. Today I was reminded that the Australian government has also at least somewhat taken a stance against the Japanese whaling, although they have not done much in terms in trying to stop them. This article, however, gives an interesting take on what the Australian government should do to stop the whaling. It suggests that the government should go after the Japanese on environmental concerns and not just the fact they are killing whales for sketchy scientific reasons. It talks about challenging the Japanese in the Antarctic Forum (I think this is something set up under the Antarctic treaty or the challenging at least somehow relates to the treaty) on environmental grounds, such as the increased risk of oil spills due to the whaling fleet being in Antarctic waters. The big concern for oil spills is due to the fact that the fleet refuels at sea using a refueling vessel.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Prince of Monaco Reaches South Pole

The Prince of Monaco reached the South Pole today after a two day cross country ski trip across Antarctica. I find it really amazing that a prince actually has some adventure spirit in him and he did not try the easy way of flying in like the news people did a few years ago as part of the special Today show thing that tried to promote global warming awareness. By the way the Prince of Monaco is doing his whole Antarctic trip, which ends January 22, to increase the awareness of climate change. Read more about this news item here.

Top Antarctic Predator is a Bug

I read a really interesting article today about a bug being the top predator in Antarctica. The bug is a Rhagidia mite, which is a reddish colored bug. It is also the biggest land animal on the continent, as it is a flightless midge and penguins do not count because they spend time in the ocean.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dutch Royalty to Visit Antarctica

Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima plan to visit Antarctica for three days next month (February 6-9, 2009 to be exact). The Dutch do not have an Antarctic research station, so they will be staying at the British Rothera Station. The visit is to correspond with the International Polar Year. Read more about the visit and Dutch status related to Antarctica here.

British Adventurer to Row Around Antarctica

British adventurer, Oliver Hicks, plans to leave from Tasmania (originally planned to go from New Zealand, but they denied him permission) to row around Antarctica. He plans to row in the furious 50s (degrees latitude) in his boat called the Flying Carrot. It sounds like New Zealand denied his request because of safety concerns with other adventures in recent times having problems, but they fail to realize that some have been successful lately as well, such as Fedor who sailed around it on his own last year. The Tasmanian government also said it was dangerous, but they do not have the power to stop him like the New Zealand government does. Sure, I think it is dangerous, but there has to be adventurers out there taking risks for any progress to ever be made.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

First Exploration of Hot Water Vents in Antarctica

Here is a story about some UK scientists that are leaving today to begin their journey to Antarctic to be the first to explore and study the life around hot water vents in Antarctica. They are also going to be looking at the life around cold seeps in the waters around Antarctica. The article goes into a lot more scientific details, so be sure to check it out at the link above if it sounds interesting to you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Canadiens Break Speed Record to the South Pole

Today Ray Zahab, Kevin Valley and Richard Weber reached the South Pole after almost 34 days of trekking across Antarctica. To be exact it took them 33 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes. The previous record was set last month by American, Todd Carmichael, with a time of 39 days and seven hours. Read more about this news item here.

Yellow Robot Submarine to Probe Pine Island Glacier

Here is an article about a yellow robot submarine that is going to be used to probe the underside of the Pine Island Glacier. The Pine Island Glacier is the fastest moving glacier in the Antarctic.

Monaco's Prince Visits Antarctica

Here is an article about the Prince of Monaco visiting Antarctica. Prince Albert II started his month long visit to the Antarctic area by spending two days visiting bases on King George's Island. He returned to Chile today and is expected to go to the South Pole on January 14. His trip to the Antarctic is a global warming awareness expedition.

Chinese Expedition Reaches Site for New Base

Here is an article about the Chinese reaching the Dome Argus zone, where they will soon begin to build the third Chinese base in Antarctica. The new base will be China's first inland Antarctic base.

Whale Wars 2008-2009: Japanese Claim Activists Disrupted Search for Sailor

Yesterday I posted about the news of a Japanese whaler drowning. Today I noticed an article about the Japanese claiming the activists hurt the search efforts, which is something I thought was entirely impossible because the activists had recently reported that they were returning to port for refueling. The Japanese say that the Sea Shepherd took advantage of the distress signal and approached with lights off. According to the Sea Shepherd they only offered to help including offering the services of their helicopter, but the Japanese refused the help.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Penguin Christmas Decorations Spotted 2008

Over the holidays I spotted a variety of penguin related Christmas decorations. Most were in good Antarctic taste, but a few in people's yards annoyed me because they displayed penguins with polar bears or even worse one specifically had penguins at the North Pole. Either way it is still fun to spot penguin decorations beyond my bathroom collection.

The above ones are of different yards in the Winterhaven neighborhood of Tucson. Every year they close down the streets and people can walk around viewing the mostly well decorated homes or take a hay ride through the neighborhood.

These photos are of the penguins my dad put in his yard. Two of them are mine, but I did not have a place to put them in my yard. The igloo one is my dad's.

These are photos of penguins under the big Christmas tree at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

Lastly here are some photos of a tree decorated with penguin ornaments at the Winter Fest at Navy Pier in Chicago.