December 13, 2019

A polar bear lodge on wheels, efficient Finnish students, local legends of the aurora, and some northern holiday reading. All in this week’s newsletter.

A polar plunge on Somerset Island, Nunavut. (Courtesy Weber Arctic)


Our January/February travel special is out to the printer, so that should be arriving to subscribers early in the new year. We've also started putting together the March/April issue but the office will largely shut down for the holidays after next week. On that subject, I'll be putting out an abbreviated newsletter next week, then taking a week off before returning in January. In the meantime, thanks again to the hundreds who've subscribed to this little project over the past 10 months. 

As always, thanks for reading,
Jacob Boon 

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Congrats to Zacharias Kunuk, whose One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk was just named by the Toronto International Film Festival as one of Canada’s top 10 films of 2019. Far Out Magazine also named the feature as one of its
top 10 “under the radar” films of the year. (Now)

People around the world are starting to clue into what Northerners have always known, reports Jessica Davey-Quantick: if you want to stay warm, there’s nothing better than a northern parka. (Up Here)

What does it cost to win an election in Pond Inlet? About $10.50. That’s how much David Qamaniq spent in the September 16 by-election for Tununiq MLA, where he defeated opponent Charlie Inuarak (who spent $0 on his own campaign). (NNSL)

For your viewing pleasure: portraits of everyday life in Sikusiilaq (AKA Cape Dorset). Vice showcases the incredible archival photography published by Paul Seesequasis in his acclaimed book, Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun. (Vice)

Turns out the hardest part of crafting saw blades into strong, sharp, and stylish uluit is dealing with the online censorship from social media giants like Facebook and Twitter. (Up Here)
A polar bear lodge on wheels: For just $10,000 you too can book a trip on this rolling hotel in Churchill, Manitoba. (Curiocity)

“They want company. They want to take somebody from the Earth to come with them... That's why we say never whistle at them. You're not supposed to draw attention because they will find you.” Collecting local legends about the northern lights. (CBC)

Why do polar bears at sea have higher pollution levels in their bodies than those that stay on land? Put simply, they’re hungrier and the food they’re eating is much more contaminated. (Phys Org)

“Tucked away in the storage vaults of Library and Archives Canada’s Preservation Centre is a book that, despite being just eight pages long, is an important milestone in Inuit history.” The first printed use of syllabics to represent Inuktitut. A digital copy is also available to be read online. (Nunatsiaq)

It was an average year for human-bear conflicts in the Yukon. Conservation officers say there were 33 bears killed in the territory in “defense of life or property” over 2019. It’s a drop of almost 50 per cent from last year. But conservation officer David Bakica says that's only due to a warm spring providing ample bear necessities: “There were good berry crops.” (CBC)

Author Richard Van Camp stops by Unreserved to pick out the best books of 2019, and recommends three pieces of Indigenous literature to check out over the holidays. (Over in our December issue, journalist Kaila Jefferd-Moore and I also reviewed some other northern reading, just in time for the holidays). (CBC)
A glacial lake of meltwater in Greenland. (Photo by NASA)


Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than estimated, putting 400 million people at risk of coastal flooding in the next 80 years. “These are not unlikely events or small impacts; they are happening and will be devastating for coastal communities.” (Phys Org)

Once permafrost thaws a few inches in a single year, there's no turning back. It can abruptly start thawing by up to 10 feet within days or weeks—turning icy tundra into wetlands, and pumping out billions of additional tons of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. (National Geographic)

Finland’s new parliament is dominated by women under 35. Prime Minister San Marin will lead a coalition government with five female party leaders, four of whom are under 35. “A comment like this might sound strange to Americans, but when it comes to women’s representation in government, Finland and other Nordic countries are far ahead of the United States.” (Vox)

Speaking of Finland, the Nordic country apparently has the most efficient education system in the world: Finnish students (who don’t start school until age seven) test extremely well while putting in fewer hours of study than other nations’ children. (QZ)

Forget feral hogs, 56 hungry polar bears have invaded a Russian village. Bear presence in the area isn’t anything new, but WWF-Russia says the frequency and number of bears venturing into town are increasing. (Sky)
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