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For the first time in 40 years, the Polar Star sails north

caption: The US Coast Guard vessel Polar Star.
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The US Coast Guard vessel Polar Star.

When you can’t socially distance in the Antarctic research facility, what’s a Coast Guard icebreaker to do? Why the Count von Count’s census dreams might be dashed. And what happens when we look into the face of a wild animal, and it looks back.

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Coast Guard vessel the Polar Star has its plans scrambled by COVID

This week, a Coast Guard icebreaker called the Polar Star is heading out to sea. Normally they would head to Antarctica, stopping to see penguins in southern New Zealand along the way. But the pandemic has upended that plan, so rather than midnight sun they’ll be heading to the dark northern ice of the Arctic. Captain Bill Woityra explained to Bill Radke how that eternal night might be the opportunity of a lifetime.

The dangers threatening the 2020 Census count

Once in a decade, America comes together to count every person in every home on every block in every neighborhood, coast to coast. In theory. The census has always been an imperfect thing, and everything from financial lifelines to political power depends on it. But politics and a pandemic have made this year extra fraught, says Sara Curran, director of the University of Washington’s Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology.

Richard Louv, Our Wild Calling

Almost everyone has a story of a moment when an encounter with an animal – wild or domestic – stopped them in their tracks. There is a connection between us and the rest of the animal kingdom that can be spiritual in nature, says nature writer Richard Louv. Last year, he spoke with Bill about his book Our Wild Calling: How Connecting with Animals Can Transform Our Lives – and Save Theirs.

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