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Logistics In Extreme Places

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caldrail

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Post Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:48 am

Logistics In Extreme Places

Just in the last hour I watched a documentary on Russia Today about how the Russians supply their bases in the Antarctic. As you might expect, they are very impressive with their initiative and ability to adapt to the conditions - summer temperatures are 40deg below zero and can go as low as -89 in winter ! I'd not considered this sort of thing before. I just assumed the Russians flew supplies in whenever the weather was good, but apparently they're very dependent on sea travel. Ships have to sometimes break ice to get there and if the ice is too thick, they simply moor on the side of sea ice and unload, resulting in what can turn out to be very long and arduous overland travel with caterpillar trucks. Add to that the unpredictability of this ice - an AN2 landed near the ship to refuel and change supplies when the ice broke off, meaning the ship had to hoist the aeroplane out of trouble there and then. All in all a fascinating insight in to what turns out to be a very hazardous enterprise.
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Post Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:10 am

Re: Logistics In Extreme Places

From what I seen, living in east Russia is no joy, the summers are very short and not that worm and the winter is very cold and long, not some place I would like to live that's for sure.

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caldrail

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Post Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:37 am

Re: Logistics In Extreme Places

One reporter in what was actually southern Russia took great delight in showing how cold winter could be by throwing the contents of his coffee cup away. It turned to ice immediately.

I should mention also that these sea voyages to Antarctica operate once a year. On one occaision, breaking ice sent two thirds of the consignment to the bottom of the sea and the bases had to make do until the next supply. That really is living tough.

As a curiosity, I have stumbled upon a reference to people living in Siberian regions in ancient times who were reported (but not witnessed) to sleep six months of the year. I don't know if that's a typical abstraction ancient mediterranean scholars might make given the six month day/night cycle of the poles, or whether a peope out there were actually hibernating. David Attenburgh has recently claimed human beings have stopped evolving - he should know better - but certainly there have adaptions and mutations since primeval times. South American peoples for instance are capable of handling high altitudes better. African peoples display a talent for athletic activity - we know that stone age australian aboriginies were the fastest human beings on foot that we have any evidence for (faster than Usain Bolt by a clear margin according to imprints of feet found by archaeologists). Only since the domestication of cattle have human beings vbeen able to digest milk in adult life. Blue eyes have only appeared as a mutation in the latter half of human existence. But all of that is a bit different from adapting to circumstance and surviving by knowledge, wits, and dogged persistence.

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