The Coldest Permanently Inhabited Place on Earth

The remote village of Oymyakon in eastern Siberia is closer to the Arctic Circle than it is to the nearest city. A monument in the town square commemorates the day in 1924 when the temperature fell to a record 96º below zero. It's the coldest permanently inhabited place on earth. In Oymyakon, pipes freeze, so most restrooms are outhouses with no plumbing. The ground freezes and few crops grow, so the local diet is mostly meat and fish, sometimes eaten frozen. Engines freeze so quickly that many cars are kept running all the time. Your eyelashes and saliva will freeze into painful little needles on your face as you walk down the street, and even vodka will freeze if a bottle is left outside. During the shortest days of the year, every night is 21 hours long in Oymyakon. This past January, the temperatures in Oymyakon hit 88º below zero, close to its 1924 cold record. But just two weeks later, the region was hit by a comparative warm spell, with thermometers spiking to a balmy 17º. That's a 105-degree temperature swing in just two weeks. Extreme temperature shifts in the Arctic may become common on a warming planet, though the residents of Oymyakon might relish the chance to thaw out their eyelashes for a few days every winter.

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020

On This Day

1869 - Thousands of businessmen were financially ruined after a panic on Wall Street. The panic was caused by an attempt to corner the gold market by Jay Gould and James Fisk.

Fact of the Day

In Japan, if a working day falls between two public holidays, that working day becomes an additional holiday by law, also known as “Citizen’s Holiday.”

Nature Oddities

When jaguars eat the leaves of the yaje plant, the are affected in much the same way as domesticated cats are affected by catnip.

Food and Drink

Tater tots were invented in 1953 when Ore-Ida founders were trying to figure out what to do with leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes. The product was first offered commercially in stores in 1956.
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