New release : multicultural fantasy romance Marked By You

Friday, May 11, 2012

Movin' On Up



I've been offered a job in Iqaluit, which is a little distance from Toronto (see map for further details). It's a four-month contract position, so I should be back before the winter really sets in, which is a bit of a relief since winter temperatures in Iqaluit can get down to -45 C. -65, with wind chill. You can see how close the place is to the Arctic Circle, which means the sun rises just after 3 am.

It's going to be quite the experience. I've never lived anywhere so far north; apparently that's all permafrost, so there are no trees or even much vegetation. Iqaluit is also the only territorial capital which is not connected by highways to the mainland, so all groceries have to be shipped or flown in except for local fare such as caribou, seal and Arctic char. I'm going to be flying up there Monday morning, and I don't know how reliable my Internet connection will be after that, but I'll use any free time (when I'm not working or taking in the local culture) to get some writing done.

Wish me luck, guys!

11 comments:

Maria Zannini said...

It must be one heck of a job. Best of luck out there.

Marian Perera said...

Thanks! Frontier medicine should be an interesting experience.

Loren said...

Looks interesting. You'll be farther north than I've been - I once went to St. Petersburg, Russia.

Some notable sort-of microbiology for that region: to the northwest of Baffin Island, where Iqaluit is, is Somerset Island, which has 1.2-billion-year-old fossils of a red alga. Identified from its cellular features, it's the oldest known unambiguous eukaryote.

Marian Perera said...

Ooh, fascinating on both counts - St. Petersburg and the eukaryote.

Loren said...

My father was a visiting math professor at St. Petersburg some decades ago, back when it was still Leningrad. I was there only a few months in the fall, and I remember watching lots of ice floes go down the river. I wasn't there for the summertime midnight-twilight "white nights".

I remember its old buildings and it being rather technologically backward in some ways, like the windows departing from flatness enough for distortions to be visible.

But I also remember some of its fancy artwork, like in the Tsars' Winter Palace, and I remember some of its subway-train stations being rather ornately decorated.

The long summer days likely inspired the legendary land of Hyperborea, a land far to the north where the Sun shines all day. However, the long nights of winter didn't get as well known, perhaps because it's easier to travel in the summer than in the winter.

Loren said...

As to that early eukaryote, its main fossil competition is called "acritarchs", more or less "I don't really know what it is, but I have to call it something". They are microscopic blobs or bubbles of refractory organic material, something like pollen and spores. They go back as far as 3.2 billion years, but they got larger and more diverse after about 1 billion years ago, some of them growing spines and the like. First prokaryotes, then lots of eukaryotes after about 1 b.y. ago?

The paper on that red alga's discovery: http://paleobiol.geoscienceworld.org/content/26/3/386.abstract -- Bangiomorpha pubescens n. gen., n. sp.: implications for the evolution of sex, multicellularity, and the Mesoproterozoic/Neoproterozoic radiation of eukaryotes

Sarpedon said...

I also have been to saint Petersburg.

I found getting one of those little blindfolds was very helpful for sleeping-otherwise its too bright at night in the summer.

I wonder if Ialquit has the same sort of day/night life as saint pete's. Somehow I doubt it. Anyhow Good luck!

Marian Perera said...

Sarp - now that I've arrived here I can attest to Iqaluit being very quiet. :)

Rafael said...

Best of luck in your grand adventure.

JH said...

Luckily, your experiences on the Arabian peninsula have well prepared you for this change in climate.

gypsyscarlett said...

Wishing you all the best! Sounds like it could be quite the adventure. Can't wait to hear how you are doing there.