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Shackleton is an all-time bad ass.

gtfopocalypse (dan m), Monday, 14 February 2011 22:10 (eight years ago) Permalink

Got that right.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 14 February 2011 22:32 (eight years ago) Permalink

apparently bad-ass enough to allow a zombie with no pupils on his expedition team

congratulations (n/a), Monday, 14 February 2011 22:33 (eight years ago) Permalink

and the dog on the far left is a shapeshifter!

uncle twikkelingssteurnissen (unregistered), Monday, 14 February 2011 23:05 (eight years ago) Permalink

has anyone seen this?

caek, Monday, 14 February 2011 23:07 (eight years ago) Permalink

apparently it's been screening on discovery in the UK

caek, Monday, 14 February 2011 23:08 (eight years ago) Permalink

Robert Scott's abandoned hut is just astonishingly beautiful and terrifying (you can see some high-res photos of it here and here: best viewed in full size). some of the furnishings came from the Shackleton Expedition, which reused the hut years after Scott met his doom.

that video looks interesting, caek. I hope it shows up on Discovery in the US at some point.

uncle twikkelingssteurnissen (unregistered), Monday, 14 February 2011 23:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

i read the worst journey in the world last year and posted this:

Will finish The Worst Journey In The World this weekend. Incredible book. Surprisingly funny. Not Jeeves and Wooster, but occasionally laugh out loud good. And obviously what happened is incredible and it can't help but be thrilling. It's a bit "one crevasse after another" (lol sounds like my friday night) for the first 300 pages or so, but from the winter journey to the penguin rookery onwards (obv. including the polar journey) it's just wonderful. And I really enjoyed the unusual structure of the last couple of hundred pages, which is assembled from diaries of multiple people in multiple parties and ends up jumping backwards and forwards revealing what happened in a rather crafty way (although obviously you know the basic story).

caek, Monday, 14 February 2011 23:24 (eight years ago) Permalink

tl;dr version: read if u like antarctica

caek, Monday, 14 February 2011 23:25 (eight years ago) Permalink

caek, Tuesday, 15 February 2011 00:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

south pole bar, winter 1977

caek, Tuesday, 15 February 2011 00:44 (eight years ago) Permalink

first sunrise after winter, 21 september 1977 just before flights start arriving again
and this is what they sang

caek, Tuesday, 15 February 2011 00:53 (eight years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

this appeals to me on so many levels, make me sad that I've not seen places like this for myself.

not_goodwin, Saturday, 5 March 2011 01:27 (eight years ago) Permalink

seven months pass...


TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Friday, 7 October 2011 15:35 (seven years ago) Permalink

(the zombie guy is frank wild)

mark s, Friday, 7 October 2011 15:47 (seven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Great stuff (and a link to the original piece if you'd like to go all in).

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 16 November 2011 23:19 (seven years ago) Permalink

nature had a seriously good week this week, with these mountains and ionian water

caek, Wednesday, 16 November 2011 23:28 (seven years ago) Permalink

european even

caek, Wednesday, 16 November 2011 23:28 (seven years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

toandos, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 02:45 (seven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

In which mark s digs deep, with Scott/Amundsen as a launching point for all kinds of things:

Ned Raggett, Monday, 30 April 2012 14:31 (seven years ago) Permalink

deep into the zone of pitchforkmedia

Ms Tum-Bla-Wi-Tee (nakhchivan), Monday, 30 April 2012 14:32 (seven years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

"I'm going online, I may be some time..."

second dullest ILXor since 1929 (snoball), Tuesday, 17 July 2012 19:57 (six years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

RIP Nick Johnson, writer of the terrific Big Dead Place book and blog:

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 6 December 2012 08:44 (six years ago) Permalink

Yeesh. Heavy stuff. Rip.

caek, Thursday, 6 December 2012 10:32 (six years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

that last link post here is just awful (, on many levels. i know the person writing it was dealing with intense pain, but it's probably not a good idea to imply that the author of a rejection letter was the cause of someone's suicide. she has to live a life, too. ugh. the south pole, man. fuck.

Karl Malone, Saturday, 2 September 2017 04:26 (one year ago) Permalink

four months pass...

i meant to revive this a while back when i finished reading his book, but just want to second the recommendation of Big Dead Place. elvis mentioned it above, caek recommended i read it, and mookie even sent me an e-book version! it was an ILX-sponsored reading journey, and now i'm happy to hop on the Big Dead Place train as well.

the book is about living and working in antarctica, mainly the McMurdo station. but it's not about the environment or the hazardous conditions, and certainly not about scientific research. instead, it's about surreal bureaucracy, one of my favorite topics. johnson worked in the waste management department at the station. johnson must have been a nightmare for the NSF (the operator of the station, with the authority residing in Denver) - a worker who recognized the absurdity of his working environment, had the talent to express it eloquently (and hilariously), and the willingness to name names and embarrass management. i imagine he would have found the working environment absurd in just about any workplace administered by the government - ime, the entire federal government is like a bad episode of The Office - but the extremes of antarctica really brought out something special in him. i'd like to think that i would have been his friend in mcmurdo, if i was there, toeing the line with authority. but who knows, i may have been the guy who gets promoted to lower management as an emergency fill-in and then ends up being the buttoned up stooge passing along orders from Denver that everyone hated. or the weirdo down the hall who never left the room except to bring out buckets of frozen piss and pick up more beer.

at any rate, i finished his book several weeks back and it's one of those writings that has really struck with me. RIP nick johnson.

Karl Malone, Sunday, 14 January 2018 19:11 (one year ago) Permalink

yes! great book. i didn't make the government bureaucracy connection with you, but it makes sense that would ring true for you.

gonna post this again now we have embeds

π” π”žπ”’π”¨ (caek), Monday, 15 January 2018 05:28 (one year ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

(xpost with new yorker thread)

i haven't read this yet but even a quick scroll through suggests it will be good:

Karl Malone, Friday, 9 February 2018 01:26 (one year ago) Permalink

Encounters at the End of the World was so good. just interviewing all of the random people from all over the globe that end up there was v fascinating. the spooky minimal wildlife stuff was interesting as well. like when they are listening to the seals under the ice and it sounds like the most insane synthesizer filters. the place looks otherworldly beautiful - the cathedrals of ice sculptures reflecting light underneath the vast frozen seas, the crystal caves, the blinding force of the winds, the extremophiles that survive without oxygen, sunlight, or carbon. its all so extra-terrestrial!

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 9 February 2018 01:56 (one year ago) Permalink

Extremophiles are the ultimate adventurers. These organisms thrive where other microbes don’t dare venture: boiling water holes, freezing lakes, and toxic waste dumps.

Now, researchers have sequenced the genomes of two extremophiles that love life extremely cold. They live at the bottom of Ace Lake in Antarctica, where there is no oxygen and the average temperature is a brutal 33 degrees Fahrenheit.

The two organisms, called Methanogenium frigidum and Methanococcoides burtonii, produce methane and are known as methanogens.

Methanogens are unique among organisms in their ability to survive a wide range of temperatures, from the freezing point of water to 185 degrees Fahrenheit and everything in between.

In a new study, scientists sequenced the genomes of M. frigidum and M. burtonii and compared their genomes with those of heat-loving methanogens to identify features that may help these microbes adapt to their cold surroundings.

Some of these hardy organisms also live in oxygen-starved environments, without sunlight or carbon, and scientists believe that studying these microbes could reveal the boundaries of extreme environments that support life here on Earth and on other planets.


So what if Earth isn’t the only place these kinds of microbes live?

Some scientists speculate that methanogens could provide clues to life on other planets, such as Mars, and Europa (Jupiter’s sixth moon).

Evidence suggests that beneath the icy surface of Europa, there may be subsurface oceans that could support extremophiles like M. frigidum. The Antarctic lakes of the Vestfold Hills and their hardy inhabitants may, in some way, resemble the environment on Europa.

Other research suggests that some methanogens could survive life on Mars. Scientists at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville have grown methanogens in Mars-like soil and under Mars-like conditions.

After the Viking voyages to Mars in the 1970s turned up no trace of life, as we knew it, some scientists dismissed the idea of Martian life. Twenty years later, with the discovery of organisms that can survive without oxygen, carbon, or sunlight, researchers are rethinking the boundaries of what environments may support life.

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 9 February 2018 01:58 (one year ago) Permalink

i find this page extremely poignant

π” π”žπ”’π”¨ (caek), Friday, 9 February 2018 04:06 (one year ago) Permalink

karl malone you should read the worst journey in the world

π” π”žπ”’π”¨ (caek), Friday, 9 February 2018 04:07 (one year ago) Permalink

four months pass...

via the best blog (but CW weirdly glib description of suicide)

Nicholas JohnsonA bit of iconic history, otherwise elsewhere described as the "WikiLeaks of Antarctica..." is the iconic book Big Dead Place. Author Nicholas Johnson, unfortunately, is no longer with us after he blew his brains out in 2012, but his work survives. And his work has now been given a new lease on life. On 30 April, ABC's program Earshot aired a 30-minute podcast/download which describes and details Nicholas's work, life, and the rest of his story. The interview and accompanying web pages include the voices and photos of several friends. Two ABC links of interest: this page gives basic information about the episode along with links for listening to or downloading the story...and this page gives additional background information as well as more photos. But that is not all. Nicholas' sister worked to get THE BIG DEAD PLACE WEBSITE back up to coincide with the release of this documentary. Have a look! Not everything is there, but there is a lot of the good stuff. The photo of Nicolas at left shows him at work in the McMurdo waste barn in about's from Kathy Blumm and used by permission.

π” π”žπ”’π”¨ (caek), Saturday, 9 June 2018 20:20 (eleven months ago) Permalink

great book; didn't know about the suicide (although it's . . . not exactly shocking)

mookieproof, Saturday, 9 June 2018 20:24 (eleven months ago) Permalink

(but CW weirdly glib description of suicide)

oddly, the place where i first learned about his death described it in the same way:
maybe it was an inside joke, or perhaps just a way of addressing it that seemed in keeping with his style of writing. i'm not sure.

the earshot episode was good, although i didn't really like whoever was reading in the voice of nicholas johnson. reminded me of the old iron chefs with the english dubs

obviously DLC (Karl Malone), Sunday, 10 June 2018 00:18 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Thanks for the link. Weird personal trivia.... my copy of Big Dead Place has actually been to Antarctica. Haven't been there yet.

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 10 June 2018 04:54 (eleven months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Thank you all for suggesting Big Dead Place. It's Rivethead... On Ice!

pplains, Monday, 25 June 2018 03:04 (eleven months ago) Permalink

seven months pass...

good account

π” π”žπ”’π”¨ (caek), Tuesday, 29 January 2019 23:35 (three months ago) Permalink is good too.

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 31 January 2019 06:17 (three months ago) Permalink

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