Weekend Diversion: Preparing for Winter

It’s something we take for granted in our modern, civilized world, but a really severe winter brings a lot of challenges with it. Dar Williams, in her song February, sings a beautiful piece about living through the worst of it:

Some places have it far worse than others. For instance, in many places of the world relatively close to the equator, the dead of winter still brings tremendous amounts of daylight:

In other places closer to the Arctic/Antarctic circles, the winter solstice barely brings any daylight at all, making for an incredibly dreary, depressing time:

But some people thrive in the cold. Some people can take what would be a challenging, intense situation and simply do their best work under those circumstances. My friend Brian was only 11 degrees away from the North Pole this summer, and loved it. But now one of my cherished SciBlings, grrlscientist, has an opportunity to do something just as cool at the other pole, but she needs our help.

Quark Expeditions is looking for an official blogger to join their expedition to Antarctica. And she is not only in the running, and not only one of the leading vote-getters, she’s the best qualified person of all the top candidates. Seriously, go check it out here, sort it by popularity, and here’s what you’ll find:

The first guy? Can’t even write properly! It’s seriously appalling. The second guy? No understanding of science whatsoever, and it looks like the only reason he’s got so many votes is because of his relation to another Osmond. The third person? That’s our Grrl! Go vote for her here! (Yes, you have to register.) This isn’t just about helping out another scienceblogger, it’s about declaring that the most coveted jobs should go to the best people. And I can’t think of a better message to send this Labor Day. So seriously, go vote for her. Help her make the most of her keystrokes.

Otherwise, the best I have to look forward to this winter is another one of these in Portland:

Good luck, Grrl!


  1. #1 Bob O'H
    September 6, 2009

    I’ve been up to Finnish Lapland in kaamos (that’s the time when the sun doesn’t rise), and it’s really beautiful: the light is really soft with the snow. Of course it doesn’t last long, but there are other things to do in the evening.

  2. #2 Rory Kent
    September 6, 2009


    I also checked out Luis Monteiro’s entry. Whilst I wouldn’t call his writing ‘appaling’, he certainly did not seem particularly mature, and I certainly would not read ‘science’ written in that manner. Grrl is the Girl!

  3. #3 James MC
    September 6, 2009


  4. #4 MadScientist
    September 7, 2009

    Hey Ethan, can you find any photos of the sun through the Arctic/Antarctic midnight? It would be cool to see the sun dipping down then rising again rather than the familiar arcs in these photos of the sun rising and falling.

  5. #5 ThirtyFiveUp
    September 7, 2009

    Ethan Siegel, my question, which is a repeat comment from your Post,
    “Learning from a Huge Mistake”

    Sunrise and Sunset.

    Are there replacement words which are accurate?

    I would like to use them if they have been invented.

  6. #6 Sili
    September 7, 2009

    Part of me really wants to go down there, but I’m even less qualified.

    And with a history of depression – clinical and seasonal – I doubt anyone would let me.

  7. #7 beeg
    September 7, 2009

    You should forward this to PZ @ Pharyngula, his army of poll-crashing atheists will get her to the top spot in no time 🙂

  8. #8 Suzanne
    September 13, 2009

    What the heck is that video? Was that an ice storm. I live in the upper midwest and I can’t think of anytime I’ve seen cars sliding around like that. It was like a demolition derby. If you don’t know how to drive in snow you tend to do everything wrong but that’s just wild.

    – Suzanne

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