University of Antarctica

UANT Expanding to New Zealand?

Delphina Bosch

CHRISTCHURCH, NZ – UANT Representatives Discuss Plans for Expansion to the Upworld.

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 free 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.

I.I. 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 time?

Blainey: I can't think of one. Describe your trip here to New Zealand.

Take off from McMurdo

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 the University 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 there. So 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 trees.

Leaving Antarctica 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 here.

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 say 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.

Landing in New Zealand

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, that answer was going to have to be 'yes.'

Blainey: Describe the balloon ride.

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.

Zykov with 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.

Zykov presents 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, until- 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."

"At the University of Antarctica, anything is possible." -I.I. Zykov

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.

Zykov calls 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 mate.

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.

Blainey: Right on.

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 NZ?

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 evening together.

Blainey: How did you come to that decision and how did they like that news?

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.

The Rainbow 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.

Firing up for morning liftoff                         The future is an unknown story     

Blainey: Wasn't 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.

On approach to Antarctica

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 the funding.

Blainey: Business is business.

Zykov: Yes 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 story.

Blainey: I'd like to see it.

A great shot: McMurdo Campus 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.

The craggy 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.

Blainey: Surely. If you died you'd never be able to eat Taco Bell again.

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 often.

Blainey: Good ethics. I like that, and I will listen. But why so? What is special about this song?

Zykov: Its 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 follow 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].

Blainey: Wow! 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?

Zykov: Oh 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 landed.

Landing outside 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, let's see.

The newest 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 coming upworld


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.


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