Archive for February, 2008

norwegian noah’s ark

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened today on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the remote arctic Svalbard archipelago, about 1120 kms from the North Pole.

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Tagged as “Doomsday Seed Vault” and “Modern Day Noah’s Ark,” the seed vault is designed to store duplicates of seeds from seed collections from around the world. Most of these seed collections are in developing countries. If seeds are lost, e.g. as a result of natural disasters, war, or simply lack of resources, the seed collections may be reestablished using seeds from Svalbard. Built to hold up to 4.5 million different types of seeds from around the world, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault will act as the ultimate safety net for the world seed collections.

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The question “why at such a remote and cold place?” may have come up, and CNN reported that seeds need to be frozen at extreme environment, -20 degrees Celsius, so as not to deteriorate for thousands of years to come. The seed bank is constructed 393 feet inside a sandstone mountain in Svalbard. Spitsbergen was considered ideal due to its lack of tectonic activity and its permafrost, which will aid preservation. The location 130 meters above sea level will ensure that the site remains dry even if the icecaps melt.

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While Norway owns the vault and paid USD 9.1-million for its construction, other countries can deposit seeds for free and reserve the right to withdraw them upon need. The seeds are packed in 4-ply packets – as many as 500 in each sample – heat sealed to exclude moisture, and placed on blue and orange metal shelves inside the vaults.

Photos courtesy of Mari Tefre / Svalbard Global Seed Vault; illustration courtesy of Global Crop Diversity Trust. With additional reports from CBS.

extended sex and the city trailer released! spoiler alert!

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A wind wafted and whistled that an extended trailer to the Sex and the City the Movie was released today, only to have this trailer yanked down in almost every site citing it, except for the one link triggered by the picture above. Hurry! This may be the last video clip standing.

So from this trailer, we get to know several things: Big’s full name, his wedding to the eternal single gal Carrie Bradshaw, that Carrie prefers a really big closet over a big diamond – apropos Big may have proposed with a Jimmy Choo and a closet ready for occupancy, Charlotte finally getting pregnant – and already with an adopted girl, that Steve may have been too good of a man to be true, that Samantha doesn’t believe in marriage but in botox that works every time, that life doesn’t always turn out to be one’s fantasy, and that’s why one needs friendships that are real to get through it all.

Uh-oh.

something new, something good

I picked up my new passport today, only two business days after I submitted my application at the Philippine embassy here in Oslo. I went there last Thursday afternoon where I found only one Norwegian guy applying for a visa as company. It was a breeze. I handed in my application and old passport, paid the 350-kroner renewal fee, got told that I could pick up the passport Monday afternoon and walked out after only five minutes.

Since the machines for the biometric data input are not yet in place here in Oslo, I got the old type, the one with the stickered photo on the front page. I also didn’t snag the new brown-colored passport; still it’s the green one. I’m quite satisfied though with my photo in it. Earlier Thursday I went to one of those automated photo booths and did my best passport-photo-look. Haha! So happy I won’t cringe every time I flip my passport open in airport check-in for the next five years!

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Now on to my next steps. Apply for a tourist visa for UK where Neil and I would celebrate his birthday in May. And renew my residence permit for Norway for another year.

I also started with my job-seeking course today, which will run for 27 weeks (that’s practically half a year!!!) including three months of internship. Now this could be the start of something good. Don’t you agree? :)

this guy’s in love with you, pare

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Josiah Leming, 18, makes it to the Top 50 in American Idol Season 7.

That boy is just so beautiful.

UPDATE!

Josiah didn’t make it to the Top 24, darn! But these guys did, including my early favorites: Ramiele Malubay (go, homegirl!), David Archuleta, Asia’h Epperson, Danny Noriega, Brooke White, and Carly Smithson.

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This has got to be the nicest photo shoot and styling for the American Idol finalists since seasons past.

Now I miss Josiah. :(

oslo sky line

Was cleaning up my mobile phone pictures and found this.

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Just an interpretation of the Oslo skyline since, well, there is lack of it. There are neither dramatic spires nor landmark structures piercing through the capital’s horizon.

And it seems like city planners are allergic to site of highrises and skyscrapers. As far as I could remember, there have been much debate hounding the Bjørvika Barcode Project – a waterfront development which when pushes through is the city’s largest urban renewal in nearly 400 years, and would add to a greater skyline of downtown Oslo. So far, the only visible structures in the Oslo skyline are the Radisson SAS Plaza Hotel (pictured) and the neighboring Posthuset. I’m no longer updated about this project so we’ll see if and when the horizon of Oslo gets to be recoded.

Update: The city council/planners will only allow buildings of up to 17 floors in the Barcode project (13.02.08).

marc jacobs bb bag

Dit di dit dit… For some (ground)breaking news.

Marc Jacobs has named the exquisite green ostrich bag for Marc Jacobs Fall/Winter ’08-’09 Collection- BB Bag – after the fabuleux Bryanboy. Suh-weet!

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Oh wow. Both to the ostrich leather. And the boy of the hour.

Photo credits: Bryanboy

maria haukaas storeng to eurovision 2008

Norway has decided in tonight’s Melodi Grand Prix Finals – and we very well did so – to send Maria Haukaas Storeng along with her powerful soul vocals to the first semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade.

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Song composer Mira Craig (left) and MGP winner Maria Storeng

Storeng gave a solid and sultry performance of “Hold On Be Strong” written by Mira Craig, one of Norway’s most successful artists to date. I’m not too sure how this will fare in the Serbian capital, when last year’s contest was hounded with strong region-centric voting (East Europe vs. well, the rest; “sister countries” voting for each other despite). But I’m sure that Storeng’s performance will be one of the classy ones, not something that relies on tacky theatrics or regional votes to sail through. And compared to the other entries so far, Norway has delivered one decent entry.

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Storeng got almost twice as much points of runner-up Torstein Sødal in the combined jury and audience televoting, with two jury votes giving her the highest number of points and 4 out of 5 Norwegian regions giving her a total of almost 165,000 points to win. Let’s just hope she’d be well received in the rest of Europe too in May!

Here’s the video of her performance from the Norwegian second semi-finals two weeks ago.

All photos courtesy of NRK.


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