This blog is still alive, just in semi-hibernation. When I want to write something longer than a tweet about something other than math or sci-fi, here is where I'll write it.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Extreme Ice on Nova
If you missed the Nova episode this week, Extreme Ice, you can watch it on streaming video over at the website. Of course, it's PBS so the whole "check your local listings" thing is still in full effect. It will be repeated ad infinitum. For any climate change deniers who might wander by my blog, and I know there's at least one, you will not enjoy this show, because it isn't fair and balanced about the shrinking ice sheet in Greenland.
Damn PBS libtard commies.
If I may bring up my odd fetish for The Big Girls in a completely inappropriate setting, the way My People feel about giant women is a metaphor for how people feel about nature itself. The natural world is both compellingly beautiful and mind numbingly terrifying, often at the exact same instant. I have lived most of my life in a place with the mildest "seasons" imaginable, but the pictures of icescapes are some of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen in my life. I was having lunch with a friend yesterday who has been to Antartica, and he has never felt anything in his life like being in a boat looking up at a 500 foot tall ice cliff, hearing sounds like thunder made by parts of that sheet in the distance cracking and falling into the indescribably blue sea.
In this show about Greenland, there are pictures of one of the fjords where icebergs are born, but more compelling still is the real time disappearance of a meltwater lake. Through satellite photos, it has been well documented that meltwater lakes vanish in the space of 24 hours on occasion, but no one had seen this happen up close. The makers of this documentary did catch such an event on film, where a lake of water the size of Manhattan and 50 feet deep disappeared before their eyes. Relatively narrow tubes form in the ice that send the water from the top of the ice sheet to presumably the bottom, where it acts like a lubricant making the entire ice sheet slide faster into the sea. The picture of the top of this waterfall, taller by far than Angel Falls in Venezuela but existing for only a few hours, is spectacularly beautiful, but I also got the feeling that I was glad the photographer was there and I wasn't. Where the shot was taken from, the chances of things going very badly very fast were very real. This guy was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to document this, but there was also more than a little luck that he and his camera made it back to civilization so we could watch this in the comfort of our homes.