Summary: Thanks to global warming, the Arctic icecap is rapidly melting, opening up access to massive natural resources and creating shipping shortcuts that could save billions of dollars a year. But there are currently no clear rules governing this economically and strategically vital region. Unless Washington leads the way toward a multilateral diplomatic solution, the Arctic could descend into armed conflict.
Big 'ol Hat Tip to Marginal Revolution who says:
The world is about to get a lot more real estate and also some new water lanes...
...Here is the full article, which is interesting throughout; if you read only five magazine-like articles this year, this should be one of them. How about this bit?
Between 1958 and 1992, Russia dumped 18 nuclear reactors into the Arctic Ocean, several of them still fully loaded with nuclear fuel.
I might add that, historically, struggles over new territory tend to bring conflict. The creation of new Arctic "territory" is one of the most important issues in the world right now.
*And cats. Here's "Viking Kittens" set to Led Zepplin's "Immigrant Song"Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods
Will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying:
Valhalla, I am coming!
On we sweep with threshing oar,
Our only goal will be the western shore.