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World's Northernmost Town Gets Nightlights

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the goodbye-darkness-my-old-friend dept.

Idle 144

Velcroman1 writes "On October 26, 2,000 Norwegians watched the sun set. The next time they'll see it rise? Sometime in February. Extended nighttime is an annual occurrence for the residents of Longyearbyen, Norway — Earth's northernmost town. Located at 78 degrees north latitude in the Arctic circle, Longyearbyen experiences a phenomenon called Polar Night, in which the town remains in perpetual darkness for four months each winter. To lighten up the seemingly endless night, Philips has started an experiment called 'Wake Up the Town.' And anyone who's complained about the brief daylight hours in winter will want to know how it works."

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Slashvertisement (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34132900)

Re:Slashvertisement (3, Interesting)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133944)

Nice, but my wife would kill me if I used something that would wake her too when I have to get up.

We use alarms for deaf people with a vibrator element that's put under the mattress cover, so only 1 person wakes up and not everybody else in the room/house.
Best thing I ever had.

http://www.harriscomm.com/catalog/default.php?cPath=42_123 [harriscomm.com]

Re:Slashvertisement (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134238)

I'm pretty sure a vibrator is the best thing she's ever had too, mate.

Re: Ba-dum-tshhh (1, Informative)

tonique (1176513) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134262)

We use alarms for deaf people with a vibrator element [...]

Best thing I ever had.

That's what she said!

Re:Slashvertisement (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135150)

So your wife put a vibrator under your mattress and told you its an alarm clock eh? And you believe that? Whatever works... :)

Ever seen the pictures of the World at Night? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34132930)

Some people think it's pretty. Some people realize exactly how much of that is wasted energy, or even in its way, pollution.

It's hard seeing the stars. It's brutal seeing a bunch of turtles trying to head for the sea but ending up in a parking lot.

Re:Ever seen the pictures of the World at Night? (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133098)

depends on the parking lot, wouldn't it?

Re:Ever seen the pictures of the World at Night? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134076)

But if you had RTFA you would had known this was indoor light simulating sun light.

Use the blinds and keep your turtles and cars outside and everything will be fine.

Depressing. (1)

SnakeEater251 (872793) | more than 3 years ago | (#34132940)

Wouldn't wanna live there unless I had to. The darkness would mess with your eyesight, would put you in a low mood (to the point of depression) and your skin wouldn't produce enough vitamin E. I'll stick to smog-ridden, sunny, 80-degree late-fall LA.

Re:Depressing. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133022)

I would love to be there. 24hours of light in summer! In winter you can go temporarily in some other place; but in fact, MOST people, face the same even at much lower latitudes: if you stay at the office from - say - 9.00 to 18.00, you will barely see the sun anyway.

For this reason, to me 24 hours of daylight in summer far outweigh the darkness in winter.

Re:Depressing. (5, Funny)

BigDXLT (1218924) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133164)

Wouldn't wanna live there unless I had to. The darkness would mess with your eyesight, would put you in a low mood (to the point of depression) and your skin wouldn't produce enough vitamin E.

And that's different from your parents basement in LA how? /profiling

Re:Depressing. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133548)

Skin produces vitamin D when hit by sunlight, not vitamin E.

Biologist-puuuuunch!

Re:Depressing. (1)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134256)

He mounted special plant lights at the ceiling so he can sit with sunglasses in the basement.

Re:Depressing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133528)

That's vitamin D. You can always take supplements or take a week-long trip to somewhere closer to the equator to fill your reserves. The darkness sucks, of course. The goth might disagree.

Re:Depressing. (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133794)

Some darkness doesn't hurt, but a bit of light in the morning definitely does help you to wake up. Even for a goth. I live at only 54 degrees latitude, and I too notice the difference in winter.

This project only gets people a wake-up light next to their beds, as far as I can tell, so it's really only about helping their brains to wake up properly. The rest of the day is still spent mostly in darkness if they go outside. (Of course they have proper lightning indoors.)

Re:Depressing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133656)

They still get about as much sun as everyone else because during the summer, it stays up throughout the night.

Re:Depressing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133698)

I believe you wanted to say Vitamin D.

Re:Depressing. (1)

Buggz (1187173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133778)

There's an obvious reason why there are only 2000 inhabitants there, which is why you get some advantages for living there like an incredibly low income tax, annual reduction of your student loans (financed by the state "loans bank" in the first place) and probably some more I don't know of (I live south of Oslo, sun's shining outside now and I'm happy for it).

Also, don't forget that while the winter is dark for four months, the summer has no nights. And THAT my friend puts everyone in a good mood as long as you've got good shades to cover your bedroom windows.

Re:Depressing. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134306)

I'd say the question is why bother encouraging people to live there with special perks, though. Is the farming like, incredible? Is there a super-dense kimberlite cone? Oil?

What is the state interest in having people there?

Re:Depressing. (1)

Buggz (1187173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134400)

Hehehehe, farming.. That far up north the ground is solely permafrost soil, as in totally useless for anything but perhaps storing food.

On a serious note, the main industries in Svalbard is mining (coal), tourism and research, and a long time ago (couple hundred years) whaling. The other thing is that the norwegian government made a point out of encouraging spreading out and keeping most of Norway populated, as opposed to having everyone migrating to the "larger" cities over time. Sweden didn't have the same policy and there you'll see wast stretches of uninhabited or deserted land (mainly in the north though).

Re:Depressing. (-1, Flamebait)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133928)

"Wouldn't wanna live there unless I had to"

What's depressing is that /. uses FOX'News' articles as discussion base.

Re:Depressing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134330)

Hmm, good point. Clearly all this sunlight therapy mumbo jumbo is the latest attempt by the hard-right to undermine the liberal agenda.

Re:Depressing. (1)

werdnapk (706357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134008)

That would be vitamin D that your skin produces, not vitamin E.

Re:Depressing. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134172)

Wouldn't wanna live there unless I had to. The darkness would mess with your eyesight, would put you in a low mood (to the point of depression) and your skin wouldn't produce enough vitamin E. I'll stick to smog-ridden, sunny, 80-degree late-fall LA.

You do realize that a polar night doesn't mean it's pitch black outside *all the time*, right? The sun still goes up and down; it just doesn't go above the horizon anymore. However, when it gets *close* to the horizon, you still get a higher-than-average amount of ambient light.

Also, in this day and age, we have access to artificial light sources, so "the darkness messing with your eyesight" would not be a problem. As for vitamin D (not E) deficiency, you can eat fish, or take vitamin supplements. Or both: in Iceland, most people use cod liver oil [www.lysi.is] . I'm sure Norway will have something similar.

Finally, seasonal depressions *can* be a problem, but they're less so when you're used to a lack of sunlight during the winter. If you're from LA, I'd not recommend moving up this far north without taking some precautions, like bringing a light therapy lamp; but with those precautions in place, a polar night is a magical thing to experience. You should try it some time.

Re:Depressing. (1)

Sixel (977339) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134978)

You do realize that a polar night doesn't mean it's pitch black outside *all the time*, right? The sun still goes up and down; it just doesn't go above the horizon anymore. However, when it gets *close* to the horizon, you still get a higher-than-average amount of ambient light.

Wrong. I actually lived there for 10 months, from August '03 to June '04. In December and January, it *is* pitch black outside. No difference between noon and midnight.

Slashvertising? (5, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34132944)

It may be me but that linked article very much reads like one big advertisement. Having the sponsor's name all over the place isn't helping of course. Anyhow great marketing, they even managed to get it on slashdot while it has nothing to do with tech whatsoever - and light therapy isn't something new either.

Re:Slashvertising? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133152)

Not to mention that these products have been on the market for quite some time now. Timer + variable light control = ?profit.

They do seem to work somewhat but nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Slashvertising? (2, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133176)

Some 20 years ago I first heard about winter depression and light therapy to solve it, as winter depression is caused by not enough light. People are always happier when the sun shines than when it's cloudy all day: light is considered the reason.

At the time the suggestion was to wear some headgear that would shine two fairly bright lights in your eyes from above (similar to the sun: it's direct light hits your eye, but doesn't blind you as you're not looking at it directly). Said to work quite well.

I've been in the north of Norway during July (permanent day!), and the locals also told me that it's very easy to get depressed in winter due to the lack of daylight, and how everyone is looking forward to the return of the sun.

Light makes a huge difference... to some people (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133834)

I live in Finland. Not as north as this town (obviously) but in a place with a few hours of light a day for a large part of the winter. And yes, it indeed causes a lot of depression. Or, I don't know whether one can say "Causes" but certainly amplifies. Let's say you're feeling down and then you won't see sunlight for a week (+don't feel like going outside because the temperature is at [-25C/-13F])... Yeah, it's a lot worse.

But different people react to it in different ways. A few days ago, some foreign exchange students asked my sister about how dark it gets in the mid-winter and how can they cope with the depression. She answered that if they aren't feeling down yet, they probably won't. I don't know if it is about genes, nutrition or what but some people just feel down because of the darkeness, others won't.

That brings me to the next subject... Actually, the mid-winter isn't the worst time. There is snow, a lot of it. It is cold and dark, sure... But the white snow is beautiful and any light that you have (stars, moon, northern lights, street lights...) is reflected from it in really nice way. The worst time for most people is actually late autumn: It is getting cold and and dark but you know that everything is only going to get colder and darker and there isn't any snow yet... When the mid-winter actually comes, people tend to be a lot happier. And they'll continue to get progressively more joyful all the way to the late summer.

Despite the downsides, I would never want to move to a country with different climate. There is something so very beautiful in this cycle of darkness and light... Captcha: Patriot

Re:Light makes a huge difference... to some people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34135056)

Random thought, but children growing up there must consider a 24 hour day elsewhere to be pretty weird.

Re:Slashvertising? (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135156)

I still remember an episode of Northern Exposure [wikipedia.org] where one of the characters was walking around with that silly headgear on. Not that that made any sense, mind you, since the town where that show was set seemed to exist in a fictional world where they were both below the tree line and above the arctic circle.

Re:Slashvertising? (1)

dominious (1077089) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133210)

Indeed, I was expecting to see some kind of innovative idea, but the latest product of Philips is a lamp with an alarm clock?

Re:Slashvertising? (2, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133796)

It's not their latest product. It's existed for years, but apparently nobody had come up with the idea of marketing this in Spitsbergen.

Re:Slashvertising? (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133896)

At least as innovative as lasers lighting up the sky with shapes of mythical beings. But a flashy alarm clock? Slow news day...

Re:Slashvertising? (1)

sempir (1916194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134060)

For people living on the equator and getting a shit load of daylight, is there any chance they will come up with a form of darking to help the people to get a bit more sleep?

Unreal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34132946)

I can't believe this is really on slashdot.

My girlfriend got me an alarm clock for my birthday last month, called Hello Moshi. It's a talking (and listening) alarm clock, really cool. But anyways, my girls birthday is coming up and so I thought I'd get her one of these, a sort of gift-in-kind.

I gave her a bunch of hints, but she couldnt come up with anything near this. She has a basement apartment, so I thought this would be perfect.

Unfortunately, she checks out slashdot every once in awhile. I even mentioned that "this object is being used in an experiment in the north pole". This was literally 3 or 4 hours ago.

FML.

Re:Unreal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34132986)

I'm confused. You're trying to help your girlfriend guess what her present will be before you give it to her? I don't think gift giving was properly explained to you...

This is an advertisement! (5, Insightful)

mattdm (1931) | more than 3 years ago | (#34132950)

It's a gimmick. There's no gigantic artificial whole-town sun or anything. Certainly nothing "ultimate".

Philips makes an alarm clock that includes a gradually-increasing bright light. They're couching this in the terms of an "experiment", but there's no actual science being performed. They just picked a north-of-the-arctic-circle town and gave away some of the product as a publicity stunt, and then sent out a text release, which is being published as news.

I live in Boston, which is north enough for me. I have a different Philips lightbox product, and I think it does provide a useful regulation of my mood in late winter afternoons. But I don't think the science behind it is particularly well developed, even if it seems promising. I thought for a second as I started to read the aticle (after I realized it wasn't the giant artificial sun thing) that it was a real scientific experiment with control groups and so on. Even then, it'd be hard to really control, because you can't exactly do a double-blind study. But, it's actually even lamer than that.

Re:This is an advertisement! (1)

mattdm (1931) | more than 3 years ago | (#34132956)

s/text release/press release/

Re:This is an advertisement! (2, Insightful)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133120)

Double-blind studies are a type of study, but you don't need a double-blind study to have control groups.

Re:This is an advertisement! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133274)

They aren't doing science unless it's a proper double blind study. Both the scientist and the experimental subject should have absolutely no knowledge of whether a bright light is shining on the subject or whether the subject was given a non-functional placebo light.

Re:This is an advertisement! (3, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133722)

I understand your joke, but it can still be done.

You tell your subjects you're testing one thing, but you're testing another (with or without the knowledge of the tester).

With these lights one could set up two groups; saying you want to test who has more problems getting out of bed in the morning, those with a traditional alarm or those with the light-based alarm clock (which is what I know these devices for). And then over the course of a month or two you interview the subjects every week and in that interview ask about getting up, but actually rate them on depression/happiness. This way you at least eliminate (most of) the placebo effect, and may get some interesting side results too, like whether they actually work to get you out of bed easier, albeit those results are likely less reliable.

Re:This is an advertisement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134386)

I've undergone a few double blind tests in my life. it's really quiet fun actually. sign up with a fake name, act as a completely different person each day giving no regard to whatever is actually being tested, a few days before the end of the test, move out of town and put in a rather vague obituary in the local paper. keeps them guessing.

Cheaper alternative (2, Funny)

cryptoluddite (658517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133452)

Go to the local mass-market store like Lowes or even Target and look for a CFL bulb with the most lumens per watt. Also look for bulbs that have a curiously long life rating since these will not have any circuitry to use more power at startup to warm the bulb up. It doesn't matter if it says "instant on" or not (all slow-starting CFLs say "instant on")... in fact if the packaging is really loud about being "instant on!!!" then that's a good one to buy since it's guaranteed to take forever to get fully bright.

Now you have a bulb that will take 5+ minutes to reach full brightness even pointed upward. Then get a cheap clip-on lamp and a wall outlet timer. Set the timer to turn the light on say 15 minutes before your alarm. If the 5+ minutes it takes to get fully bright is still too fast for you, point it downward so the bulb heats up more slowly (but this will lower the life of the bulb significantly if you leave it on). You're done. Total cost ~$20.

So next time you play "CFL roulette" and get a really bad one you'll have a use for it. And since the really bad CFLs last for freaking ever (just to spite you) you'll soon have a huge stockpile of replacement bulbs for the time when all CFLs are actually instant on (yeah right...).

Re:Cheaper alternative (1)

mattdm (1931) | more than 3 years ago | (#34135088)

Go to the local mass-market store like Lowes or even Target and look for a CFL bulb with the most lumens per watt.

Well, maybe. All fluorescent bulbs give off light at specific points in the spectrum, not broad almost-black-body radiation like sunlight through the atmosphere. And the cheaper ones are, as a rule of thumb, worse. It might wake you up, but it's unclear if it has the same effect on mood. It might -- more study needed!

Re:This is an advertisement! (1)

Biotech9 (704202) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134140)

I live in Sweden and can say that the Philips wake up alarm clock thing works. When it gets dark here in Winter you generally have a few hours of pitch black in the morning to get to work in, and by the time you're home in the evening it's totally dark again. Where my gf comes from there are periods of total darkness for weeks.

Philips advertise that the light boosts various hormonal levels due to the light hitting your sleeping eyelids. I have no idea about that but it does work as an effective way to gently wake me and my partner. Light ramps up 30 minutes before your alarm goes off, and then the alarm ramps up in volume over a few seconds. Usually we're both awake before the noise starts (we set the light intensity to it's eye searing max, it's possible to set it lower and avoid being woken by just the light).

It works to wake us up, and although it may be placebo, we wake up without that horrible feeling that waking up in the middle of a Scandinavian Winter usual gives. Which is the feeling that even though it's 7am your body thinks someone just woke you up at 2am by accident and that you actually got very little sleep. With the light clock it's a more normal waking feeling.

It's one of those things that you don't know are so useful until you get one, like a fridge. Probably not so useful to people living further south though.

Re:This is an advertisement! (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134514)

It's a gimmick. There's no gigantic artificial whole-town sun or anything. Certainly nothing "ultimate"

Actually, I find it ironic, that Phillips, a Leading Light bulb Manufacture, can't do an artificial sun, but Tropicana, An Orange Juice manufacture, can [youtube.com] .

Not the northernmost... (4, Informative)

aapold (753705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133002)

There are settlements in Svalbard farther north....

Pyramiden was a longtime soviet mining town in Svalbard that once was home to over a thousand people, it was abandoned in 1998 but is being redeveloped. It is 50km north of Longyearbyen. However since it currently is home to about 8 people we'll bypass that for Ny-Alesund, which is some to about 35 people year-round (over 120 in summer), and also farther north than Longyearbyen. It is listed as the "world's northernmost functional public settlement", whatever that means.

Re:Not the northernmost... (4, Funny)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133068)

"world's northernmost functional public settlement"

Well, not sure in other parts of the world, but here, in Australia, it means they have at least one pub :)

Re:Not the northernmost... (1)

aiht (1017790) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133194)

Unfortunately, here in Australia, we're not very good at doing 'northenmost' ;)

Re:Not the northernmost... (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133242)

Nah, but as a resident of Bendigo, I can say we have the pub problem fully under control :)

Re:Not the northernmost... (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134452)

That definition would work for Longyearbyen too

Re:Not the northernmost... (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134600)

around here it also requires a traffic light. As i've seen bars with nothing within miles of them.

Re:Not the northernmost... (2, Insightful)

CrashandDie (1114135) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133668)

I had to read TFS a few times, because I kept reading: "On October 26 2000, Norwegians watched the sun set." I'm a big sleeper, but even so, 10 years of darkness seemed really hardcore to me.

Re:Not the northernmost... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133884)

It means "not including scientific research stations."

Re:Not the northernmost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133952)

There are settlements further north than any in Svalbard, such as Alert [wikipedia.org] , but I guess it depends on what you consider a "town". Alert isn't a "public settlement", but it is permanently inhabited. It's mostly a military base.

The Northernmost town on earth is : (1)

Year1968 (1735808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133006)

Hammerfest in Norway.

Re:The Northernmost town on earth is : (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133586)

Longyearbyen [wikipedia.org] begs to differ.

Re:The Northernmost town on earth is : (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133712)

Hammerfest has a population of over 5,000, making it a city by Norwegian standards (and the worlds northernmost as such). This depends on your definition of city/town (both of which are translated into the word 'by' in Norwegian).

Re:The Northernmost town on earth is : (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133808)

Standards can differ quite a lot, apparently. Netherland has villages of 50,000.

Re:The Northernmost town on earth is : (1)

Kharny (239931) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134004)

Netherlands also has cities of 30.000, since a lot of that is based on "town"rights given in the middle-ages

130 Days of Night (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133042)

And here I thought this article would be about Barrow's plans to fend off the vampire hordes this year.

4 months of no sunlight (1)

XMode (252740) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133064)

Sounds like winter here for me.. Get up at 5am, its dark. Get to work by 6:30am, its still dark. Live all day in my office with no windows (The one that let light in, unfortunately I still have the other kind). Leave work around 5:30pm to see the sun dipping behind the horizon (or if I have to work another 10-15 mins, miss it completely). Repeat for 5 days a week. On weekends I get to sleep in and when I wake up wonder where all this light is coming from and why its hurting my eyes..

It actually sounds nice there, not having to walk around half blind on weekends..

Re:4 months of no sunlight (0, Troll)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133288)

Ahhhhh

Sounds like you have an office with windows looking out into the cubicle farm. If you have blinds on the window and want to "lighten" things up a bit you could always close the blinds all the way and then stick your penis in between the slits. See how long it takes for somebody to notice.

If you still want that crappy job get a flesh colored dildo and stick it in somebody else's blinds.

No it is not (2, Interesting)

aapold (753705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133082)

All of Svalbard (where Longyearbyen is located) is farthern north than Hammerfest.

It depends on your definition of what a "town" is. Hammerfest has about 9000 people. Honningsvåg is nearby and farthern north in Norway and has about 2500. Longyearbyen has about 2000 people, and is much farther north than any spot in Norway proper. But as I mentioned in an earlier post, there are small settlements in Svalbard farther north, including Ny-Ålesund which is about 50km north of it, and home to about 35 people year-round (over 120 in summer).

If you make some arbitrary designation on the smallest thing that can be called a town, then you could find one that makes it Hammerfest, I suppose.

Re:No it is not (1)

dogsbreath (730413) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133134)

or you could look at Alert, Nunavet, Canada: 82:28 N Lat

Of course this again depends on your definition of "town", as Alert is a military radio listening post. However, it is a "permanent" settlement. :->

4 months of darkness: pbfffttttt! You get yer 6/6 in Alert.

UV? (1)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133212)

Does the light produce much in the ultra violet spectrum? I had always thought that seasonal affective disorder was partly due to the reduced amount of ultra violet light being received from the sun on your skin. UV helps your body produce or use vitamin D, right? I do still think that waking with light is an important step in the day. Also, I've been using f.lux the past few months, which reduces the color temperature of my computer screen at night (makes it less blue and more red), which has had a significant effect on me getting tired earlier at night. So even what kinds of colors your eyes sense can affect your cycle and therefore your health. In general, attempting to artificially create a sun in northern's daily lives through the winter months is probably a good thing.

Ob (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133234)

Can they see Russia from there?

Re:Ob (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133352)

Yes, but they're so far north they actually have to look south to see it.

Seriously. They seem to be at a higher lat than almost all of Russia. Pretty impressive.

Article is BS. Alert Nunavut Canada is. (2, Informative)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133282)

Alert, Nunavut Canada is the worlds northernmost town. By a long way. Alert is 82 degrees North.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alert,_Nunavut [wikipedia.org]

The town in the article is far South of Alert.

Re:Article is BS. Alert Nunavut Canada is. (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133438)

I was going to mention this as well, but you've beaten me to it. I actually personally know someone who used to be stationed there a number of years ago. It's close enough to the North pole he said that they had occasionally actually referred to the place as "Santa's Workshop" when talking with people via radio.

Re:Article is BS. Alert Nunavut Canada is. (2, Insightful)

fadir (522518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133678)

I wouldn't call a settlement with just 5 permanents a town. Heck, I wouldn't even call it a village. It's more of a scientific outpost.

Longyearbyen on the other hand is a real town, a small one, but a town.

Re:Article is BS. Alert Nunavut Canada is. (1)

EricWright (16803) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134410)

As the Wikipedia article mentions, Longyearbyen is the northernmost town of 1000+ permanent residents. Any smaller and I wouldn't call it a town ... more of a settlement, a village or an outpost.

Technically speaking... (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133300)

Wouldn't it be called Daylights?

Re:Technically speaking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134394)

No, since it's night until the sun rises.

Where's the giant space mirror? (1)

BlackSabbath (118110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133336)

They could alternatively just whack a giant mirror up in space, to reflect real daylight onto the town.

Kind of like what they did in Viganella: http://fractalenlightenment.com/124/uncategorized/the-sun-is-going-to-shine-in-viganella [fractalenlightenment.com]
but on a slightly grander scale.

This is Slashdot after all...

Re:Where's the giant space mirror? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133598)

I think compensating with full spectrum lighting would probably be a little cheaper. Would be kinda novel to see them use it in their street lamps, as well, though.

It works both ways (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133462)

The vast amounts of light pollution in cities means that those of us who live in them are more susceptible to cancer [cnet.com] and other diseases.

And to think, all those astronomers were doing more than just whining.

Longyearbyen, Svalbard is pretty interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133536)

or some strange reason I'v been interested in this place lately. Longyearbyen is the main city there, and Svalbard is the place where the Polar Bear battles took place in the Golden Compass. They have a major world seed repository there. Their newspaper is here, but in Norwegian. Pretty interesting:
http://www.svalbardposten.no/ You can do an automatic translation of it in google.

Re:Longyearbyen, Svalbard is pretty interesting... (1)

Terje Mathisen (128806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134636)

One measure of town-ness is the amount of normal "town" infrastructure you can find there.

In Longyearbyen you have schools, from kindergarten all the way to university, a church, several sporting goods stores (best selection I have ever seen in cold weather gear!), parking lots (both cars and snowmobiles), a police station, a hospital etc.

The most important thing missing is probably a regular maternity clinic: Any pregnant woman have to fly to the mainland well before their baby is due.

Terje

northernmost post-office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133568)

as much as I'd like Longyearbyen to be the northernmost town in the whole place,
I have it on reasonable authority that in terms of northness it can only boast the northernmost post-office. .. well and possibly the highest polar bear v. tourist ratio.

Re:northernmost post-office (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133824)

the highest polar bear v. tourist ratio.

That's got to count for something too, right?

Wake up lights aren't bright enough (2, Interesting)

amorsen (7485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133584)

I have a wake up light, and I have supplemented it with one of those bright anti-depression lights on a timer. So when the wake up light hits maximum brightness, the 40W fluorescent comes on -- and THAT works.

Re:Wake up lights aren't bright enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134714)

My small bedroom has six lights with two 36W daylight fluorescent tubes each on the ceiling.

At 432 Watt of bright (BRIGHT!) light it does wonders for my waking up regime. Now I only take 15 minutes to wake up...

Strange Place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133662)

I've been there for one week in late April 2010. In such period there are 24 hours of light a day and it's really hard to get used for a person who normally lives at latitude of 45 circa.
It's really confusing coming out of a bar at midnight and wearing sun glasses. I can't imagine how hard it could be when there is no light at all.

A person from norther Finland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133728)

Next Philips will start to sell sand to Bedouins. Did anyone thought that everyone living at really north are so used to darkness that they actually like it. I would not be surprised that the 'wake up' annoyance would be shot regularly back to dark by some local who really cannot stand idiot abroad who knows better how he should live.

6 months of night (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34133734)

You know that during the other 6 months of the year the permanent settlements in Antarctica are in complete darkness. Especially the one at the south pole.

I'll bet its colder there too. But don't worry, Karl Rove won't rest until the polar regions are temperate, Canada is tropical, and the rest of the world is uninhabitable desert.

hm. usb lights? (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133782)

how hard would it be to connect a light to a usb port, and have a driver for it that could be used to also wake you up in the morning? With the new ultramega efficient lights, low power output shouldn't be a real problem...

No big deal (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133966)

There are various types of indoor lights to mimic "normal" daylight available here in Finland. Philips is one of the more widely used/known. Personally, I do not have a huge problem with the short winter daylight hours but since I live in the south (Helsinki) we don't get it that badly, at winter solstice it's roughly about 5 hours of daylight. By the time you reach the arctic circle a few hundred miles north of here, there is little daylight left in the middle of winter though.

The benefits of these lights are fairly well known and understood in the Nordic countries, although I have never used one.

To twist a famous Sam Kinnison quote (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34133968)

Like this light problem....

Don't send them any more light, you want to help these people, send them u-hauls, luggage, boxes. If you people would live where the LIGHT IS!

Why don't you people move to where the LIGHT IS!

not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134024)

How is this news? Devices like this have been around for years. I used one to help with my seasonal anxiety a few years ago. Awesome how the product and brand name are all over the place too. Reads just like an ad.

Good thing Oct 26 was a Tuesday. (1)

LeDopore (898286) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134034)

Worst case scenario: the sun sets on a Friday for the last time that year. Imagine trying to keep Shabbat for four months, at 78N.

Perpetual? (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134068)

FTFS: "the town remains in perpetual darkness for four months each winter"

Four months? That's much shorter than the old definition of "perpetual"

Finally (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134178)

FOX NEWS, now on CNN.

Four months of darkness? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134298)

Bah. Here in the states we are about to start two years of darkness.

The only thing missing.... (1)

FriendlyPrimate (461389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134512)

The only thing missing from that article was more sprinkled mentioning of FoxNews.com. FoxNews.com should really start mentioning FoxNews.com more in FoxNews.com articles.

120 Days of Night? (1)

gnesterenko (1457631) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134724)

This makes no sense. Why would the Vampires go for the town that only has 30 days of night when there is this gem?

Actually, this is probably their vacation spot and the whole 'wake up light' thing is just a cover-up attempt to distract people from the fact that a Vampire clan has made this their haven.

You read it here first!

"The views expressed here are mine and do not reflect the official opinion of my employer or the organization through which the Internet was accessed."

Rotting shark meat is better in the dark (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134734)

Do they really want to see what they've been eating?

If you visit, get a gun (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34134852)

Fun fact: It's not permitted to walk around outside of the town of Longyearbyen (that is anywhere on Svalbard) unless you are carrying a high-powered rifle. Polar bears are a serious threat in those parts. Stephen Colbert be warned!

Ny Ålesund og Pyramiden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34134948)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Topographic_map_of_Svalbard.svg

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