Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Who knew?

I was telling a coworker that one thing special about Australia is that they're the only country that is also a continent.  Then I started thinking, what about Anarctica?  Is there a government of Antarctica?  Are there Antarcticians (ie: permanent residents)?  Enter Wikipedia:

"Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.2 °C at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983.[30] For comparison, this is 11 °C colder than subliming dry ice. Antarctica is a frozen desert with littleprecipitation; the South Pole itself receives less than 10 centimeters per year, on average. Temperatures reach a minimum of between −80 °C and−90 °C in the interior in winter and reach a maximum of between 5 °C and 15 °C near the coast in summer...
Antarctica has only one permanent resident, Father Georgy, the priest of Trinity Church, Antarctica, but a number of governments maintain permanent research stations throughout the continent. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1,000 in winter to about 5,000 in the summer...

Antarctica has no government and belongs to no country. Various countries claim areas of it, but while some have mutually recognized each other's claims,[41] no other countries recognize such claims.[6]

"Since 1959, new claims on Antarctica have been suspended and the continent is considered politically neutral. Its status is regulated by the 1959Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements, collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System. For the purposes of the Treaty System, Antarctica is defined as all land and ice shelves south of 60° S. The treaty was signed by twelve countries, including the Soviet Union (and later Russia), the United Kingdom, ArgentinaChileAustralia and the United States. It set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, established freedom of scientific investigation, environmental protection, and banned military activity on that continent. "