Wednesday, March 08, 2006

International Polar Year


Our little corner of the globe (and its antipodean counterpart) will be the object of intensive scrutiny during the International Polar Year coming your way in 2007-2008. But that's two years, you say - actually, it is thirteen months.

I was under-impressed, however, with the scope and nature of the scientific enquiries proposed during this period, to whit:
  • The role of the high latitude oceans in the global water cycle
  • Enhance the network of surface drifters in water and on sea-ice to provide information on sea surface temperature, marine meteorology, and ocean currents
  • Snow and ice/albedo feedback, and the related negative feedbacks (eg. cloud) that regulate polar and global climate
And the list drones on and on.

Where are the proposals of true relevance to those living north of the tree line in remote communities? Here are my research proposals:
  1. Why does a turnip cost $10 CDN when its input costs are $1.25 for the vegetable and 75ยข for the transport?
  2. Why are local and regional politicians elected for 2-year terms when it takes at least 3 years to learn the ropes? By the by, the first two years of any Arctic politician's term is usually spent looking for ways and means of increasing their honoraria and expense allowances.
  3. Why do we not have our own electoral division in Quebec (125 seat legislature) when our territory is more than a third of the province's land mass?
  4. Question: how many low-income people can you cram into a three-bedroom house before the combined family income makes them ineligible for social assistance programs?
  5. Why are Inuit, who have hunted polar bears, whales and wolves for countless milennia, so terrified of a house fly?
  6. Is it possible to die from alcohol starvation in the Arctic, where I am limited to a Biafran's ration of 26 ounces per month?
I assume there are vasts oceans of research grants out there: the CBC informs that Canada alone has committed $150 million. Anyone want to help me respond to the Requests for Proposals?

Footnote Factoid: The first International Polar Year was spearheaded by Austro-Hungarian naval officer Karl Weyprecht in 1882-83. Less than successful, they became ice-bound in Hamburg, and spent all their research funds in that city's famous bordellos.

3 Comments:

Blogger Anna said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:51 PM  
Blogger amaruk-nanuk said...

Hey there never been down that alley yet and hopefully won't in this life time. Hope you get well soon as I'm anxious to read more of the horror stories of the dreaded honey bucket.
Sweet Memories

9:00 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

amaruk-nanuk: We aim to please here at the White Bear's Blog. Tune in next week for some honey bucket havoc.

comment deleted: I only did this because you asked me too. I have kept hard copy and encrypted digital files of your missive for future reference, though. BTW - what you wrote was very nice, if a little twisted.

8:28 AM  

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