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    • Pegeen
      Reading streakScoutScribe
      2 years ago

      This certainly raised more questions than answers. The place sounds fascinating and rich with possibilities for research, especially in the valleys and concerning space. But where is the evidence to support it’s all worthwhile to rebuild?

    • ericadu4 years ago

      Ha, I feel like the author kept it fairly on the light side - my main reaction was, wow, didn't know there was an turkey trot and bars in Antarctica.

      • jeff
        Top reader this weekScout
        4 years ago

        Seriously. I've read human interest stories about McMurdo Station in the past and this piece didn't offer anything new. From the title I was expecting more information about the infrastructure or the value of the research programs that depend on it but was left disappointed.

        I feel like since they mentioned "the perils of collapsing ice caps" in one sentence and published this in the "Climate" section we're supposed to automatically be outraged that they might not get hundreds of millions of dollars to keep doing whatever it is they're doing down there. The author even mentioned that the whole operation is basically a relic of the Cold War and didn't give any examples of specific research that requires such a massive amount of resources.

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScout
          4 years ago

          Russia has 50 icebreakers. We need 500!!!

          • bill
            Top reader of all timeScout
            4 years ago

            That's a joke.

            • jeff
              Top reader this weekScout
              4 years ago

              So was the author's argument. Russia is the largest country in the world and yet they've only got like 1 or 2 warm-water ports that don't freeze over for part of the year. They need a fleet of ice breakers just to stay operational year round.

              • bill
                Top reader of all timeScout
                4 years ago

                Good point. Makes sense.

        • lsweeney19884 years ago

          Interesting how the NY Times uses science and policy as clickbait for lifestyle commentary and pictures of costumed runs. I was left with so many questions. Where do they get the costumes? Do people show up with a suitcase of onesies and take them home again every year? Is there an active thrift shop market?

          Do you think the Times sent their reporter to Antarctica for this story or were they already there on vacation and chatted up some locals to get their meal expenses reimbursed?

          • jeff
            Top reader this weekScout
            4 years ago

            Do people show up with a suitcase of onesies and take them home again every year? Is there an active thrift shop market?

            Both, I’m sure. From what I can gather from other articles and interviews I’ve read, McMurdo serves, at least in part, as a government-funded escapist fantasy camp. It’s a place where socially inept nerds and other damaged souls can go to avoid engaging with reality and drink and get laid on the taxpayer’s dime. As a socially inept nerd, I understand the appeal, but I don’t think we should be paying for it.

            The trouble with government research programs is that there is no profit motive to guide resource allocation or signal success or failure. I’d like to see the funding cut completely and all the assets auctioned off. If there really is a compelling reason to have people doing research down there let a university or other private institution take over.

      • kaspermjk4 years ago

        Same here, the article made me wonder more about what living there was like and what kind of subcultures (or even an underworld) could exist in such an isolated place.

      • wookiecowabunga4 years ago

        I'm not a fan of the barber, but a $10 haircut at McMurdo is worth jumping on.

        • tylerbc4 years ago

          Totally worth the trip down there.

    • erica4 years ago

      Looks like Australia wants in on the fun: http://www.antarctica.gov.au/icebreaker

      The $1.9 billion package will cover the design, build and 30 year operational and maintenance lifespan of the icebreaker, representing the single biggest investment in the history of Australia’s Antarctic program.

      Scheduled for 2020. Go big or go home.

    • erica4 years ago

      I felt similarly to most other people: I want to know what scientists are doing at McMurdo Station before I have any opinion on how much money should be allocated to their research. The authors mention that these scientists study "the perils of collapsing ice caps, the mating habits of penguins, the deep history of the Earth, and the great mysteries of the cosmos." Are these the biggest issues facing our world today? Maybe the collapsing ice caps, but scientists can and do study the effects of global warming in more accessible parts of the world. In my opinion, there are a plethora of social issues we need to address before turning our attention to the mating habits of penguins.

    • Darko4 years ago

      Hmm, well I would have to learn about the importance of the research that they're doing down at McMurdo Station before I instinctively get mad at Trump/Republicans for limiting funding there.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScout
        4 years ago

        Interesting. You, jeff and ericadu all seemed to have the same reaction: "I think 'they' think I'm supposed to care, but why should I?" Scientific research and exploration is important in its own right. Especially at this time and in this part of the world. Seems like a no-brainer. My feeling was that the federal government, of course, should pick up the infrastructure tab. And scientists should (and I think do?) fund their own projects, allowing them to ride around on super sweet snow mobiles.

        • erica4 years ago

          I couldn't disagree more. It is not a "no-brainer" to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on anything ever, much less an obscure part of the world in which a small handful of people even know what's going on.

    • jlcipriani4 years ago

      Definitely read more like a human interest story about the rugged-yet-festive inhabitants of McMurdo than an informative piece about the importance of the research being done. I am prepared to believe that the ice and space research is enormously significant - but this article does not enable to explain why. The author appears to believe that every reader will have an pre-existing grasp on the work being done and an intuitive response that anything Republicans want to cut must be worth preserving.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScout
        4 years ago

        I didn't read this and think "Republicans are dropping the ball." If anything, I thought, "Obama dropped the ball."

        • wookiecowabunga4 years ago

          I felt the same way. It seems like Republicans are moving in the direction toward getting a new icebreaker, however, the planning and design budget shouldn't be anywhere near the grand total it will cost to build the ship by 2023. Seems like a perfect opportunity to pass the buck to the next guy, or if (god forbid) Trump is reelected. In the wikipedia entry for the Polar Star, the US' only icebreaker capable of accessing McMurdo, the ship needed $400 million in repairs back in 2008. Since then, its only received $57 million for upkeep. Yikes.