Written by Matt McClurg
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Topics: Scientists, business

Thursday, 19 May 2005

image for Rampaging Iceberg Turning Out To Be A Big Disappointment
BEEP! BEEP! Comin' Through!

Scientists have been waiting for a wandering, ginormous iceberg named B-15A to stop taunting them and just get down to business.

In January of this year, scientists were ecstatic when they began predicting an "imminent" collision between B-15A and ice cube of a continent, Antarctica. But instead, the iceberg got hung up. Researchers were dismayed, to say the least. After waiting over a month for the 71-mile long ice float to free itself, several scientists decided to take matters into their own hands. And they didn't have to wait long for the first of what they hoped would be countless moments of mindless destruction.

"Well, when the darn thing got stuck, me and Jim - Jimmy Harp, the Snow Cat driver, he's right over there - well, we went out there and started kicking at it, ya know? Trying to loosen 'er up a bit," said Mertz Glacier resident Charles Lazzara. "Heck, alls it took was a couple good shoves and she were back at 'er in no time."

By March, B-15A, nicknamed the "Rancor", was chugging along again at full steam; scientists across the globe were psyched. When April came around, the slow moving behemoth created headlines when it smacked with the Drygalski ice tongue, breaking off two chunks so large that it forced scientists to redraw Antarctic maps.

"That's what we were waiting for," Pierre Dubois, a scientist with the French Antarctic station, Dumont D'Urville, uncharacteristically hooted.

B-15A is situated to launch another strike against the Antarctic continent as newly released photos from the European Space Agency show the iceberg leering viciously at the Aviator Glacier. Though some scientists feel that this prediction is merely a convenient platform for the ESA to flaunt their Envisat Satellite with its Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) and to tout its ability to produce images in Wide Swath Mode (WSM).

"They act like it's the greatest thing since sliced bread," said disgruntled researcher Chilly McGee. "We get it: it takes great pictures. Now let's all move on with your lives."

After B-15A broke off from its original counterpart, the Jamaica-sized B-15, in March of 2000, it drifted into the McMurdo Sound and threatened wildlife by blocking currents and causing sea ice to build up. Unfortunately, the iceberg freed itself before any real disaster could take place, though it did happen to decimate a local penguin colony.

"It's just one disappointment after another with this thing," said DuBois. "All I'm saying is that it better do something soon."

Similarly, another piece of B-15, B-15G, was on an assured collision course with the remote Australian Casey Station, but, as the monstrous 31-mile cliff was bearing down upon the 16-building encampment, it ran a ground.

Station leader Dr. Jeremy Smith said "I nearly crapped myself at first, watching that beast come straight at us. But now, it just sits there, doing nothing, no matter how much we taunt it."

The wildly unpopular continent of Antarctica has struggled to change its image and to begin attracting tourists, which it sees less than 13,000 visitors a year. In its current state, the area is primarily known for its penguins, ice, katabatic (gravity-driven) winds, cyclones, blizzards and fanatical researchers hailing from Argentina, Papua New Guinea, Russia and Wisconsin specializing in ostracized fields like climate, weather, flightless bird mating calls and snow production. But scientists are hoping that B-15A, along with the newly accepted theory of "Global Warming" will soon change all that.

"We see B-15A, and actually all the B-15s, as kind of a preliminary wrecking ball," said NOAA spokesperson Carmeyia Lepore. "If that mother can break up some of the arctic shelf, I think we'll be in good position to get funding for a massive overhaul of the continent. There'll be a McDonald's at McMurdo in no time."

Already, there are reports that Disney is talking about making its popular concept of "Disney on Ice" into an entire theme park, with Antarctica the leading candidate for location. Right now it's being determined if this action by the company would violate military provisions of the Antarctica Treaty of 1959, which prohibits the establishment of military bases or fortresses.

"Space Mountain is our main concern," said a Disney spokesman. "But we're hoping continued work with the U.N. will ultimately have favorable results."

Adding, "It's at least a better idea than Euro-Disney...man, what were we thinking?"

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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