Heroes & Villains – The 14th One

Heroes & Villains – The 14th One

Photos by
Paul Fontaine

Published September 8, 2016

Our new hero is the Icelandic volcano. Iceland is riddled with volcanoes, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and types. Some of them bellow giant plumes of ash into the sky, some of them sputter and roar with photogenic magma, but all of them serve as a reminder of who’s really in charge here. It’s difficult to forget just how precarious human existence really is when you’re looking at melted rock from not-so-far beneath the Earth’s crust rushing forth, and when you consider that in some cases there are mere minutes between knowing an eruption will happen and it actually happening. Better still, volcanoes continue to defy human attempts to know exactly when they’ll erupt, leaving timeframes of anywhere between years and decades between blasts. Volcanoes humble us, reminding us that we are but mere insects clinging precariously to the face of the Earth, and it’s for that reason that volcanoes are our new hero.

Our new villain is Icelandic volcano reporting, especially when it comes to the international press. Any time there is anything remotely resembling seismic activity around one of our volcanoes, you can count on the non-Icelandic press to start churning out lurid headlines about how said volcanoes are set to pop any second now, and that when they do they will destroy us all. This kind of reporting is frustrating to the scientists who actually study and monitor volcanoes. Granted, a lot of science reporting is hyperbolic and oversimplified, but overstating the imminence of an eruption doesn’t do anyone any favours in the long run. It’s alarmist, creates a kind of “cry wolf” effect, and undermines the veracity of volcano reporting as a whole. It’s not too much to ask that reporters observe a degree of nuance when reporting on unpredictable geological phenomenon, but the clickbait just keeps rolling on, and it’s for that reason that Icelandic volcano reporting is our new villain.


Mag
Opinion
You Don’t Deserve Anything

You Don’t Deserve Anything

by

Life’s hard. Really hard. And here’s a fact. In nature there’s no such thing as deserving or not deserving something.

Mag
Opinion
“Papers, Please” Isn’t The Answer

“Papers, Please” Isn’t The Answer

by

Four reasons to repeal Article 14 of the new law on foreigners: Recently the Icelandic Parliament passed a package of

Mag
Opinion
Icelandic Facebook Groups: Skutlarar

Icelandic Facebook Groups: Skutlarar

by

Iceland has a peculiar obsession with Facebook groups. Think about it: with a population of 320,000 it’s not unreasonable for

Mag
Opinion
Yes, Iceland IS Trying to Kill You

Yes, Iceland IS Trying to Kill You

by

Light fracturing the froth of a wild grey wave, flotsam churning over with the power of the sea. It’s hypnotic.

Mag
Opinion
It’s Electric Car Time

It’s Electric Car Time

by

Ah, the poor electric car. It has been a long road for you, hasn’t it? Clunky batteries that take a

Mag
Opinion
The Freedom To Call Someone A Poop

The Freedom To Call Someone A Poop

by

A subject of heated discussion in Icelandic news lately has been freedom of expression. Here in Iceland, as in other

Show Me More!