Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Cabin fever

Just came back from the cinema where I saw "Zero Kelvin" / "Kjærlighetens kjøtere" (1995).

The poet "Larsen" leaves his girlfriend in Norway to work at a hunting station on Greenland for a season. Arriving at the station he meets his two hunting partners; the silent, calm and meticulous scientist "Holm" and the rude, vulgar and cynical "Randbek", also the station's boss. Right from the beginning there is a tension building up between Larsen and Randbek, with Randbek mocking Larsen's, in Randbek's view, naive and romantic belief in love. During the winter this escalates to a level where the inhabitants of the little cabin sleeps with a hand on a loaded revolver, and where the table is split up with a string of flour marking the border of between the two opponents halves of it. Great film and Stellan Skarsgård makes a splendid performance as the rough Randbek.

In the Biosphere 2 project, where 8 "bionauts" were sealed into a big greenhouse as part of a self-sufficient ecosystem for two years, they had problems getting along as well, with the group splitting up in two halves. Allegedly the two groups didn't speak with each other for ten years after they came out in the normal world again.

The polar explorer Ernest Shackleton had an interesting approach when it came to preventing "cabin fever". When he had managed to get his crew back on solid ground on the inhabited Elephant Island after his ship Endurance was crushed by the ice during the failed Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, he picked the men with the weakest psyche to sail with him for help. The remaining, mentally stronger men had to stay in their little rock hut over the winter waiting for him to eventually return with a rescue expedition. He did, not a single life was lost despite the extremely harsh conditions they suffered through. There are several well-written books about this expedition. His own record of the events, "South", can be found on Project Gutenberg for free.

(Listening to while posting: Derek Sherinian - Czar of Steel)


LS said...

I guess you won't tell us how it ended in the Greenland story? Too bad! Also, I didn't know Skarsgard could 'snakke norsk'.

The Biosphere was really troubled with personal problems, like this (from Wikipedia):

"On 1 April a severe dispute within the management team led to the ousting of the on-site management by armed federal marshals serving a restraining order,[4] leaving management of the mission to Ed Bass' company Decisions Investment.

At 3 am on 5 April Abigail Alling and Mark Van Thillo, members of the first crew, deliberately vandalised the project, opening all the doors and violating the closure."

Also, it wasn't really very sustainable in other ways:
"Since opening a window was impossible, the structure also required huge air conditioners to control the temperature and avoid killing the plants within. For every unit of solar energy that entered the structure, the air conditioners would expend approximately three times to cool the habitat back down."

O.K. said...

"I guess you won't tell us how it ended in the Greenland story? Too bad! Also, I didn't know Skarsgard could 'snakke norsk'."

No, I won't. Rent it from netflix and see for yourself! Skarsgård can't 'snakke norsk' so he 'snakker svensk' instead.

The Biosphere incident you refer to happened outside the dome, some kind of breakdown in the management of the project I guess.