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Ice Palaces in Montreal, 1883-89

With the exception of remote luxury ice-hotels and a few contemporary winter festivals, large-scale, humanly constructed ice architecture has become increasingly rare. This is either a shame or simply a reflection of our increasingly pragmatic culture, depending on your perspective. But from 1883-1889, anyone living in or traveling to Montreal could enjoy the incredible Ice […]

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Shackleton’s 100-yr-old Whiskey

What kind of whiskey would you offer this man? While we wait for meetings in the Copenhagen Climate Conference to draw some conclusions about the future of Ice, The Ice Cubicle takes a moment to consider some ice from the past – and what it saved for us. The expedition: It’s no news that Ernest […]

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Ice Trumpet: Terje Isungset

Ice music produces a range of sounds that seem familiar and strange at the same time. There’s an airiness in some sounds, while other ice pieces sound almost like glass when struck. In this excerpt from a London concert, last December, the Norwegian free-jazz composer and percussionist Terje Isungset plays a set of sculptured ice […]

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Ice Music: Not One, But Two! Annual Festivals

My interest in the science of ice is pretty much instantly displaced by a surge of creative alertness the minute I hear ice music. Ice drum, ice marimba, ice trumpet, ice harp: the sounds are indescribable, ranging from haunting to melodious to intensely beautiful but almost unfriendly. If you hear them out of context there’s […]

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Phenom: Pingos of The Far North

What is a pingo? An ice-cored hill that only exists where permafrost exists, because permafrost is what pushes the ice upwards like a giant pimple. There are about 5,000 of these in the world, and 25% of them – 1350, to be precise – exist in the Mackenzie Delta on the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula. I love […]

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Tuktoyaktuk Ice Road: In Liquid Form

One tricky thing about the North is that, when it’s summer or even fall, your body finds it hard to remember that everything within sight (including yourself) will soon return to living inside a thick layer of deep cold for more than half of the year. The Dempster Highway, Canada’s most northern road, ends at […]

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Dawson Ice Guessing Contest: It’s All Over

The wait is over. It’s been more of a melt-off than a break-up this spring 2010, but the Yukon River is running again. The ice broke its grip at 3:12 a.m. this morning, according to Joyce Cayley, speaking on CFYT Radio on behalf of IODE. The annual Ice Guessing Contest is over. But what’s the […]

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And Hawaii Reveals: Asteroid Ice

Looking beyond Dawson again – way beyond – two groups of scientists viewing the sky from Hawaii have discovered a thin layer of ice around asteroid 24 Themis. The separate research teams have measured proof of the ice, and of organic matter, using the NASA Infrared Telescope on Mauna Kea. 24 Themis, about 120 miles […]

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Spring Breakup: A Swimming Tale

For a while there it seemed the “spring fever vs ice” competition was over. The Yukon River broke weeks ago, and it’s hot enough in the daytime to get a slight sunburn, as I found out yesterday. But I had to drive between Dawson City and Whitehorse twice in the past two weeks, and as […]

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