What do Sen. Cardin, Norway and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have in common?
From the Department of Press Releases You Don't Get Every Day comes this dispatch, courtesy of Sen. Benjamin Cardin's (D-Md.) office: "Red Hot Chili Peppers Arrive in Sub-zero Arctic Seed Vault."
What's that you say? The seminal Los Angeles alterna-rock-funk band is playing ... in a seed vault? In the Arctic? Well, no. But it's almost that interesting.
Cardin is the chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, otherwise known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission. The agency is best known for its work on human rights issues but also works on economic development and other topics. And so Cardin is leading a seven-member congressional delegation to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault "deep in a mountain on a remote Norwegian archipelago near the North Pole," as the release describes it.
Their mission: To deliver the seeds of chili peppers -- the kind you eat, not the kind on your iPod -- and the seeds of many other plants to the vault, which is designed to serve as a backup system and preservation site in case some man-made or natural disaster destroys a large portion of the world's crops.
"The world is interdependent when it comes to crop diversity, the essential raw material needed for a healthy and robust food supply," Cardin said in the release. "As we manage the impact of climate change and other natural and man-made disasters around the world, the seed vault in Svalbard will be the safety deposit box that ensures we can keep that food supply intact."
The seed vault is roughly 4,000 miles from Washington, D.C., but Cardin did not mention what kind of music the members listened to on their flight.
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