Oliver turns 8 tomorrow and when I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday, he said he wanted to shoot a Casey Neistattype video about his day tomorrow. That isn’t going to be that hard to create or edit and I thought I would just upload it to my channel. Then Oliver realized that he doesn’t have a YouTube Channel of his own and was stressed. Last night I built one for him and you can find it here. He ruthlessly micromanaged me while I made the edits today.
So he was thrilled with it until tonight when he realized he has no subscribers and is worried his video will be a flop. Can you do me a favor and subscribe to his channel tonight or tomorrow? A couple dozen subscribers would make his day. That way when I upload this video tomorrow night, he’ll have an audience.
Tucked away in a mountain located on the Svalbard archipelago in Norway, also home to The Northmost Town on Earth, is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The Vault is home to more than 860,000 plant seed samples deposited by dozens of different countries from around the world (even North Korea) and is closed to access about 350 days per year. But the folks from Veritasium were able to finagle a tour of the facility during one of its rare open days.
This facility was built to last about 200 years and withstand earthquakes and explosions. It was placed on the side of a mountain so even if all the ice on Earth melts, it will still be above sea level.
Other fun facts about the Vault: the temperature in the storage rooms are kept at minus 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit to hinder seed growth/deterioration, the permafrost in which the Vault is built will maintain the low storage temp in case of electrical failure, GMO seeds are forbidden due to Norwegian law, and the first withdrawal was made last year by Syria because of the civil war.
So I have been walking about 25 kms a week the last two weeks. I have learned a couple of things.
My House of Marley headphones rub on my face making a “swoosh swoosh” sound as I walk as the cord rubs across my beard. Annoying so I am using a different pair. It’s not like they are so great they are worth putting up with that noise.
It is quicker to walk through Nutana and go across Broadway Bridge and then through downtown and then Caswell Hill to get home than any other route.
It feels like it should be quicker to go to the University and then across the CP Rail Bridge but I am wrong.
Speaking of the CP Rail Bridge, I learned something while walking that route home. I can’t go down stairs. I kind of fall down stairs which was really concerning to me.
To skip back, on December 22nd, I had been consumed by a dangerously high fever for two days. I was incredibly sick but I also wanted a cold drink so I got out of bed, walked down the stairs and passed out from the top. I woke up in great pain at the bottom of the stairs with a couple of broken ribs and I realized that despite being declared infection free, the infection was running up my legs. So to recap, I was laying at the bottom of my stairs, broken ribs, knowing that I was incredibly sick and still didn’t have a cold drink. Ever since then I have been nervous about going down the stairs.
Since I have started walking long distances, I have learned that neither leg is working like they used to work. One leg destroyed by infection. The other leg destroyed by a large hole I accidently burnt in my ankle. Great job. Not only that but as I am walking they both respond differently from day to day which seems normal as they are getting into shape.
Yet going down stairs seems to be some sort of mystery and to be honest, it has been terrifying to me. When I go down the stairs at the CP Rail Bridge at the weir, my heart rate goes up and it I find myself gripping the hand rail going down and instead of going down one step at a time, it’s kind of a controlled fall.
So on Sunday, Wendy and I went down for a walk along River Landing. Part of it was me figuring out how to go down stairs again.
After shooting this, I found myself heading up and down the stairs. As much as it freaked me out I made some progress. Who would have thought when this started that two years later I would figuring out how to walk again. Yesterday it actually felt like I had two legs again rather than just two things that hurt a lot but didn’t work well together.
The only other problem is that I have is stopping quickly. It’s like my legs have bad brakes on them. I am not sure why this is but it’s the next thing to figure out. Years ago they did some tests on my reflexes on my feet and basically they no longer talk to my brain. I am assuming that their lack of communication is what is causing me problems.
Other than that, it’s slow progress and feels pretty good.
I saw Charlie Clark’s email newsletter this week and read his thoughts on the new arena debate. I didn’t really buy his arguments or rather lack of argument but it started me thinking on where you would put a downtown arena if we wanted to build it. I grabbed a camera and a tripod and went for a walk.
I set up the tripod for the last shot and it worked a lot better. I wish I had for the other ones but I was stopped a couple of times by both police and a City of Saskatoon employee. All of them were super cool about it, they recognized me and wanted to see what I was up to but it was kind of through me off my game. The next vlog will be better.
REACHING THE MARSHY spot on southwestern Staten Island where good boats go to die requires a car, sturdy footwear, and a willingness to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Though a sliver of the Arthur Kill ship graveyard is visible from the nearest road, the site’s full grandeur only becomes apparent once you sneak beyond the “No Trespassing” and “Beware of Dog” signs and hack through a miasma of seven-foot-tall reeds that stink of brine and guano.
The thicket finally dead-ends at a colossal pile of junk: thousands of splintered beams of lumber mixed in with broken engine parts. Just beyond this debris field lie as many three dozen ghostly ships in various states of decay, abandoned decades ago in this isolated corner of New York City.
The Arthur Kill ship graveyard was never meant to become such a decrepit spectacle. In the years following World War II, the adjacent scrapyard began to purchase scores of outdated vessels, with the intention of harvesting them for anything of value. But the shipbreakers couldn’t keep pace with the influx of boats, especially once people started to use the graveyard as a dumping ground for their old dinghies. Plenty of ships fell into such disrepair that they were no longer worth the effort to strip, especially since many teem with toxic substances. And so they’ve been left to rot in the murky tidal strait that divides Staten Island from New Jersey, where they’ve turned scarlet with rust and now host entire ecosystems of hardy aquatic creatures.