CHRISTCHURCH, NZ UANT
Representatives Discuss Plans for Expansion to the
As the University of Antarctica
expands dramatically in online use, and as building
on campus has reached a fever pitch unprecedented
since the 1960s, people all over the world are inquiring
about degree and non-degree seeking programs. "The
online courses offered here are second to none,"
Mocksha Beaupre, a student from France, said. Since
our popularity has grown, the idea of physical expansion
has become more pronounced as well.
Zykov, head of public relations at the
university, and son of Professor Ivan Zykov, recently
led a team to New Zealand to discuss plans to begin
a campus there. He was interviewed by Geoff Blainey,
a well known Australian researcher, about the benefits
of bringing the benefits of the cold continent north:
Blainey: Mr. Zykov, thank you
for this interview and for coming to New Zealand.
Zykov: Of course. I would not
miss a trip to the upworld, especially in the context
of dotting it with satellite campuses of the University
of Antarctica! What better reason, what better
Blainey: I can't think
of one. Describe your trip
here to New Zealand.
Take off from
Zykov: Yes, so we had a fine trip
here. I organized the first, how you say, leg? of
the trip taken by our team. It took us from
Peak campus to our McMurdo
outreach campus by snowmobile. Now, this journey feels
far after a few hours in the cold, but it is a journey we take all the time.
At McMurdo, we prepared to board a bi-plane from McMurdo
to New Zealand, but the weather was bad. Thus, we disembarked
and stayed the night. It is an understatement to
say we always enjoy McMurdo, which
we think of as our Antarctic metropolis. You see, University
Peak is in the middle of nowhere, all by itself,
within a heating grid powered by geothermic
energy. Very few people live outside the grid or
biosfera, which is covered with ice, and there really isn't that much else
we enjoyed the accomodations at McMurdo,
our closest campus to Australia and New
Zealand. There we rested up and watched
the World Cup final before gearing up for our flght
to this beautiful country of yours. We ascended
in the bi-plane and had a great view of Ross Ice
Shelf and Ross Sea, crossed the Antarctic
Circle, and made a bee-line to Christchurch, a trip
about as far as from New York to San Franscisco.
I would say Los Angeles, but is that still part
of America? Is Kosovo still part of Serbia?
Blainey: I don't know
the answer to that we'll have to consult some experts
in the regions involved, or Wikipedia. Did the change of weather
affect you in any serious way?
Zykov: Oh no. Though we live
in a very cold place, unlike the stereotype, full
time Antarcticans acclimate to the weather almost
everywhere they go, excepting perhaps some areas
in the deep tropics. One reason we are there, after all,
is that we enjoy adapting to new conditions. I like
the weather here a great deal. And the trees!
One misses the trees everywhere when one lives in
Antarctica. Its very nice to see our cousins the
to cross the Ross Ice Shelf
Blainey: Can you describe the
purpose of your visit in more detail?
Zykov: That is why I am here,
to discuss the visit. My aim was ostensibly to promote
to New Zealanders the benefits of having a new
UANT campus of their own. My team,
however, made up of notables, did not know
that I also had a surprise waiting for them when we got
Blainey: Yes and I want to talk
about that. No one expected what you had up your
sleeve, did they? Some of us were not sure at first
if it was a carefully stage-managed 'conspiracy'
or a hatched plan by you that just went swimmingly.
Zykov: Ha ha, I have heard that
a lot in the past 24 hours. But I can tell you with
certainty that no one expected it. When we landed,
you see, a New Zealander committee greeted
us, and was surprised at the crew manifest of our plane.
Firstly, we had W.D. AuGratin, Rector of the university
as you know,
which raised some eyebrows. And he was there at
the personal invitation of Prof. Torgerson, who
manages the Antarctica Sovereign Wealth
Fund. And of course my father was there as well, to round out
the Triumverate. Aside from myself, in point of
fact, I can safely
that each and every man there was a power player, so
I am pretty happy with the way things went. If there
were any conspirators, they were Torgerson and I.
Blainey: I just can't believe
you finagled this to happen the way it did,
but they were impressed weren't they? Tell us the
inside story of what happened next.
Zykov: So the New Zealander
welcome committee met us at the landing site of
the plane, and
there was a crowd. I had arranged for students from Christchurch to
pass around through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
the open secret that we were arriving with the big
hitters from Antarctica, and that if they could
encamp, Woodstock-style, in anticipation of our
arrival, they would play a key role in securing
a new UANT campus in NZ. How could I be sure? Because I had previously
arranged for Matthew Dellbridge (who is, unfortunately,
in a bit of trouble on our campus for inappropriate
comments made to someone- I don't know what they
where) to negotiate a deal for a building here in
NZ that would house our new campus. He found one,
and my initial reaction was "this is a perfect
site for a satellite campus."
Blainey: So the students cooperated?
Zykov: They loved it. My stealthiest
move was to bring the men up in a balloon, a feature
of the trip unbeknownst to them, followed
by a parade of other balloons filled with
NZ students, and present the new building from
the air with the students cheering all around. I
knew that bit of bribery would get them to see the
potential right then and there, and since I could
show them the paperwork for the already negotiated
deal, it was a perfect fit. It turned everything
into a 'yes or no' hinge answer, and at that point,
was going to have to be 'yes.'
Blainey: Describe the balloon
Zykov: I announced a balloon
ride in honor of our visit sponsored by the NZ-Antarctica
group "Connections", which is,
by the way, though funded in no small way by Torgerson's
group. We made our way to the take off site
on the ground outside Christchurch, and began our
ascent. They were thrilled at the surprise.
balloon before take-off
Blainey: What happened next?
Zykov: At first there were five
balloons in total. Four contained students from
New Zealand who wanted a campus, along with a few
UANT students who were visiting and
were given a free pass. Our balloon was fired first,
and took. We got inside, and our group ascended
over the city and meandered to the outskirts of
town. We also brought up some girls who supported
the idea of a new campus a great deal, and were
very happy to be with us for this historic occasion.
They brought champagne for AuGratin, my father, and
Torgerson to drink with them. That was also a bit
of well-placed bribery. If you look closely at the
picture you can see the
fire-flame as some NZ students lit up the temperature
of the gas in the balloon high enough to raise to the
heavens as we got in.
the firing of the balloon- chemistry in motion
Blainey: How was the ride?
Zykov: Beautiful, certainly.
The New Zealand air was gentle, we tossed and
we turned just enough, and made it to our destination
snugly. We were accompanied by the other four balloons,
another surprise- a large group of 20 new balloons filled
with students rose up from a different launchsite below. They surrounded our balloon as I revealed to
them a building below. People were blowing air-horns in anticipation
while the other balloons moved into a half-moon shape
around us, and we had a perfect view.
Blainey: A view of what,
was it was the building
previously secured for the new outreach campus?
Zykov: Yes. As I presented it
to my fellow travelers,
the students cheered and I posed the question, "Is
it not time we expanded? For here is our newest
campus, if only you say yes. What do you say gentlemen?
Is it not time? Are you not willing to invest in
our future together?" A deafening roar began,
and clapping from the balloons acted all around us
like thunder, as
in a stadium. It actually vibrated our balloon.
See, what they didn't know is that
I had turned on the citizen-band radio and each
balloon was hearing us live. Finally my father looked
at the Rector, and Torgerson at them, and me. AuGratin
nodded his head, and said, definitively, "It is time indeed."
University of Antarctica, anything is possible."
All of a sudden
the popping sounds of a number of corks went up,
and the students began toasting the new campus.
I announced Prof. Torgerson had
agreed, with the blessing of Rector AuGratin and
my father, to begin the conversion of the building
into a new campus next summer. Torgerson's secretary
said she already had the application for the NZ
zoning change on her iPhone, and we laughed about
that. Then I took out my phone to call my friends
in Russia about the trip, and, like ususal, people
began chiding me for having a flip phone.
Blainey: No, you
still have a flip phone?
Zykov: Yes, I like
it and don't want my life cluttered with online
charnel all the time. Sometimes living in real life-
the reality principle as opposed to virtual reality-
is preferable. I have a dumb phone and it makes
me happy. Besides, there is a cost saving mechanism
involved. If I "can't do" something because
I have a dumb phone, someone immediately steps in to use their
more advanced technotronic device to finish the
job. I'd read more Lewis Mumford before passing
that kind of judgement.
friends in Russia with the good news
Blainey: I never
thought of it that way but it could work. I upgraded
not too long ago, well, okay, it was awhile ago!
Zykov: No worries
Blainey: Now you
know you're in New Zealand!
Zykov: I love these
Aussies and Kiwis, and the landscape is bizarre,
which is why Lord of the Rings was filmed
in the same area our new campus is. That did not
escape me. I love those movies.
Blainey: I didn't
know you were such a fan of movies, especially since
your phone is so primitive.
Zykov: Hey now,
if I'm going to watch a movie its going to be on
a screen bigger than a phone.
Zykov: I won't
even watch Youtube videos on people's phones because
its well annoying, like cruel and unusual punishment.
Blainey: Fair enough.
Now what was the atmosphere like when you pulled
away from the campus and headed to the coast of
Zykov: It was electric,
like when Hulk Hogan hulks up and is ready to end
an opponent despite their greater wrestling ability. At some
point ability doesn't matter anymore and charisma takes
over. Like the Gladiator, he reaches something in
his fans that is not measurable by any scientific
scale, something intangible. That intangible power
characterizes well the balloon ride to the coast.
We threw out our lines to other balloons, and they
to others still, and we all held on to each other
in a- the literalness of this does not escape
me- floatilla. Some students started throwing frisbees
back and forth, not all of which made it to their
targets, so some NZ kids have new frisbees in their
yards today! I got back on the radio to all the
balloons and announced our plan to celebrate that
Blainey: How did
you come to that decision and how did they like
Zykov: As we moved
on past the spectacular moment of acceptance and
submission to the general will and the existence
of the new facility, we decided- off the cuff I
may add- to caravan back to Antarctica by balloon.
Now a series of new moments presented themselves,
all of which I announced as the Rector aquiesced-
and not begrudgingly either- because he was enjoying
himself. But before we left for Antarctica we
got him to change around a few things re: his schedule
and allow for a one night extension of our stay
in New Zealand. So we found a great spot called
Rainbow Bridge, right on the edge of the country, and
our army of balloons set down for a night of celebration.
I announced the spot, and there was raucus cheering
and I knew it would be a good night.
Bridge landing site
Blainey: That must've
been a good time.
Zykov: It was wonderful.
UANT students met us on the coastal plain
near the site, and we all found a lot to be happy about.
I met a great girl named Rhonda, and we talked all
night. I get distracted like that sometimes. I invited her to Antarctica but she was not
ready for that. She had roots in Christchurch and
while we had a surprisingly good time together, ultimately
she needed to stay with those roots. She said she
had a boyfriend and she liked him because he was involved
with all the things she was involved in, but when
she looked into my eyes, it was the look that said,
"I have second thoughts, the kind of thoughts
that involve destiny and eternity, but I consciously
and ongoingly smite them, and so I will, because
I must. That's me." I smiled and turned away. I had seen that look before.
In the morning we were
all beat, but were reinvigorated
by the idea that we would be making a great balloon
ride together across the Antarctic Circle to University
Peak. We fired up the balloon, Rhonda stayed behind.
for morning liftoff The
future is an unknown story
it too cold for that?
Zykov: Short answer:
yes. But we did it anyway. That's what you do when
the situation calls for it. The cold allowed us
to get closer together. Needless to say, I did not
travel with my father and AuGratin on the way back.
Blainey: No doubt.
So how was the crossing to Antarctica?
Zykov: It got a
bit dicey at times but we made it. From my balloon
I snapped a great photo of the leaders of the pack
moving over the Ross Ice Shelf toward Mt. Erebus.
Blainey: I saw
that picture, one of the students emailed it to
me. Great shot.
Zykov: Yeah I actually
made that the background on my laptop. Beautiful
moment. One girl unfortunately got air sick and
threw up on another one, so we had to throw her
coat off the balloon. Its still on the ice shelf
somewhere. I gave her my coat and she wrapped it
back around me. Good trip.
Blainey: Was it
really air sickness?
Zykov: Ha ha, Mr.
Blainey I am surprised at you. In the event, we
dropped some students off at McMurdo and only a
few of us continued on to University Peak.
I didn't want the trip to end, but economic considerations
were at hand. It was highest time to get Torgerson
to sign the papers before he changed his mind about
but not before another
girl, with a really fancy Nikon camera, snapped a great shot of
McMurdo from the balloon. She promised to send it
to me. If she does I will forward it to Delphina
and ask her to add it to the online version of the
Blainey: I'd like
to see it.
A great shot:
from the balloon
Blainey: You must
have done some high altitude flying over the mountains
on the way to University Peak.
Zykov: We did,
and on purpose too. I wanted to take the smooth
route that the snowmobiles take, but as a gesture
to those who were tired of the ocean and wanted a magnificent view of the Antarctic
Mountains, we circled around instead of zipping
through. Problem was, we went under the ozone hole
and the UV forced us to wear head coverings.
Blainey: But you're
used to that right?
Zykov: Yes, when
we travel, but the
campus is protected by ozone- actually all of them
are- but not the area over the mountains. So it
presents some difficulties if you remain there a
long time, and the winds are a little slow.
peaks of Victoria Land: Welcome home
Blainey: What happened?
Zykov: A few things.
We almost landed or "scraped" a high peak,
which was a little unsettling, and remembering what
happened to Robert Falcon Scott, we certainly did
not want to get stranded there. Then I would wish
I had a smart phone!
Blainey: I knew
you'd come around.
Zykov: When the
choice is "die or have a smart phone,"
I choose the smart phone, but that's just pragmatism
at that point.
If you died you'd never be able to eat Taco Bell
Zykov: There are
no Taco Bells in Antarctica anyway, and while this
is a guess, I suppose there are none in Heaven either.
Blainey: In Heaven
you can have whatever you want. That's what they
promised to the terroris--
Zykov: Don't be
coy, Blainey. Its not even the same heaven. Their's
is a kind of Hell, actually. In heaven, you can have whatever you want within universal
parameters of reason. Its like heaven is governed
by an overpowering force that is good, as in, you can
be who you want, as long as its still "you."
You can't be Genghis Khan, who is in Hell anyway,
and Hell to me means nonexistence. I don't know
about the fire and brimstone and cannibalism Hell
of the Renaissance painters, but I think that existence
and life eternal is heaven and the greatest gift,
and the opposite- oblivion- is Hell. Also, to say "you can
have whatever you want" is also a simplification
because, again, it is bounded by reason, as in, "whatever
you want as a person who deserves
this and that because their essence is good." Fight
for the essence my friend. There is an account-keeper
watching over us, and we answer
for ourselves in the final analysis.
Blainey: I didn't
know you were a theologian.
Zykov: I'm not.
But there is order
out there, and I live accordingly. Listen
to John Denver's The Eagle and the Hawk more
Blainey: Good ethics.
I like that, and I will listen. But why so? What
is special about this song?
a metaphor for Western culture in general. Listen,
"I am the eagle I live in high country [on
the top of the earth] in rocky cathedrals [with
our heightened power, that power which is latent
in the special combination of ours of Greco-Roman
ability with the morality of Christianity] that reach to the sky [space].
I am the hawk and there's blood on my feathers [I
am not innocent], but time
is still turning and soon they'll be dry [I am ever
new], and all those who see me [for who we
are] and all who believe in me [in our dream of
continuous progress], share in the freedom I feel when
I fly [we, and only we, took humanity to the
moon, like a dream, and into the sea of outer
space, yet all share in the accomplishment].
Come dance with the West wind [our restless spirit]
and touch on the mountaintops [which we want you to
know you can skim with your bare feet if you only
our leadership], sail on the canyons [planets] up
to the stars [obvious], reach for the heavens [literally],
and hope for the future [absolutely invest in that],
and all that we can be is not what we are [the dividends
of our actions echo in eternity].
So songs have a deeper meaning hiding under the
surface and we might excavate that if we can only
bring ourselves to see that deeper meaning?
yeah. Oh yeah. Meaning is there, you just have to
use your God-given brain to uncover the secrets.
Blainey: So then you landed on campus, and
was that it?
Zykov: Not quite,
because the UV going through the ozone hole bleached
clear our balloon, so it made for a funny epilogue
to our great journey.
Blainey: That must
have been a surprise!
Zykov: You know,
I saw it become transluscent before my eyes, and
I had blu-blockers on, which block 100% of UV rays,
thank goodness. They did, however, make the balloon
look orange. I didn't know it was clear until we
University Peak - With a bleached balloon
Blainey: Your arrival
really had an impact in New Zealand. I want to show
you a pic of the newest carnival ride in Christchurch,
maybe it will seem familiar?
Zykov: Ha ha, alright,
ride commemorates the Antarctica group's visit
Blainey: Its based
on your landing there! Well you made an impact and
they will remember you.
Zykov: New legends
are born every day. New stories made. I really
loved New Zealand. I hope to see her again soon.
Hey, I talked earlier about
the reality principle, but mysticism is not really
that mystical if its seen, as a reflection
of reality. Where reality and
mystic observation collide, I find our power as
a people. As Proverbs says, "Without vision,
the people perish." Well, don't do that. No.
Don't do that, ever. Ever.
Blainey: Thank you for talking to me today,
and I'd like to thank Delphina for her work as well.
Do you have anything else to add?
Zykov: All the best to you and
yours. The deed
is done. But Antarctica is coming upworld. Its an
unstoppable force because I never stop. I'm like
our whole race in miniature, througout all times,
and all times to come.
Antarctica is indeed
Delphina Bosch is a journalism senior. If you feel threatened in or around campus,
contact the ESCORT
Service. UANT NewsCentre 1 is an official
service created by voters in 2003.
Bill Capote, NewsCenter 1 Director,