This post might have been up sooner but it's fair to say that potential blogging time has been eaten up a fair bit by the old (er, or actually) new X Box 360 of late. Sorry everyone. You'll be pleased to know I've been having fun though. Yes. Note to everyone: Bioshock is awesome. I look forward to the film version making a complete hash of it in 2011.
Anyway, when it boils down to it, there aren't many places I actually go on the Internets. The list of sites I check on any regular basis is probably less than 20. However this isn't to say that I can't spend long hours on the Internet at a stretch. For the Internet has Wikipedia (perhaps you've heard of it).
I have occasion to use Wikipedia a bit at work for the purposes of quick fact checking. If I am reading some author's quiz book manuscript, for example, and one of his answers claims that the island of Sardinia was named after sardines and I immediately think "hold on...surely that's the other way round", bang into the ever-ready search box goes 'sardines' and sure enough, this is why authors have editors. The danger of this process though is that Wikipedia will then promptly proceed to eat up half the afternoon.
I think the problem is that the articles are written in such a way as to tantalise the reader with casual references to related things that not only does the average reader not know much about, but hasn't even heard of. If you are reading something in a book, say, and come across one of these surprising offhand segues, you might go "What? Really? What even is that? Gosh, I must look that up some time" and then probably forget about it. But in Wikipedia, that little blue hyperlink is already sitting right there, pretending to be all innocent, in a manner akin to the handily-labelled cake and flask Alice finds in Wonderland. "Hi there!" it says, craftily. "I'm something you don't have the foggiest clue about. But you can rectify this situation! And all you have to do is Click Me!"
I've followed quite a few of these links down the rabbit-hole recently, and have learned all kind of interesting things completely by random, really. One chain a while ago was particularly bizarre. I was reading a manuscript on climate change education. The introductory paragraph to a chapter was talking about the challenges of conducting scientific study in Antarctica, what with it being the "coldest, windiest, driest and highest continent on Earth".
"Highest?" I thought. "Really?" So off to Wikipedia it was.
It only took until the second paragraph to find out that my doubts were unnecessary - Antarctica is indeed the highest content by average elevation (who knew? Probably everyone reading this. Oh well, screw you all). So I thought I'd read on a bit out of interest. "Antarctic territorial claims" I saw. Australia is currently claiming the largest portion of the continent, it seems (typical, Australian bastards).
But I was curious. "Hmmm" I thought. "They claim the largest part of Antarctica? What does that even mean, though? What exactly is the deal with Antarctic territorial claims, anyway?" So on I went.
Antarctic territorial claims, it seems, are a bit weird. For a start, apparently nobody in the world outside of those countries that have made claims actually recognises any of them. But those 7 countries (us included) all recognise each other's claims in what must be some kind of, I dunno, "yay for us" exercise. Anyway, along came the Antarctic Treaty in 1961. Eventually 46 countries (presumably the ones in the world quite interested in Antarctica. You could understand Chad not turning up for example - Chad has other things to worry about) got together and 39 of them said right, well we're not really going to recognise the claims of you 7 existing claimants as such. But you, you go right ahead and recognise them amongst each other. Just don't...do anything about them. Have them, pointlessly, for strategic putting them on maps purposes. But what all 46 of us can agree on in Antarctica, among other things, is we're definitely not going to have any new claims. So we'll all put our names to this Treaty saying no new claims on Antarctica. Antarctica is for everyone. Agreed? Agreed! said everyone, except for couple of minor troublemakers - the USA and the USSR.
"Sure!" said the USA and the USSR. "We'll sign this treaty with its no new claims clause. Just one thing - we don't really like this no new claims part, so we're going to sign, but we're also pretty much going to reserve the right to claim whatever the hell parts of the Antarctica we like in the future."
I imagine that one or two of the other 44 countries went "Eh?" at this, but I'm pretty sure the answer of the USA and the USSR was "Look at your watch, it's 1961. This is the Cold War. We don't listen to the rest of you bitch countries, we do what we like. If we want part of Antarctica to live in after the global thermonuclear war we start, you'll bend over and you'll TAKE IT." And take it everyone did. And so the Antarctic Treaty was signed. And all the claimant countries rejoiced, for they were thus able to proudly mark their nearly completely pointless claims in atlases - sometimes even daring to colour an entire giant triangular section in their own delicate but exciting pastel shade (NZ's bit, which is of course largely ice, seems to get pink on most maps).
So this I learned (or learned more about). And then I ran my eye over the list of official and historical claimants. There's New Zealand with the Ross Dependency, there's Australia with Australian Antarctic Territory, there's Norway with "Dronning Maud Land" and "Peter I Oy" (those crazy Norwegians), there's Brazil who didn't get with a claim in before the treaty, but seem to have an attitude of "You know what? To hell with you guys and your treaty, we're making a claim anyway. And furthermore, this whole bit here should belong to South America. You other guys should jolly well move your bases!" Good one, Brazil. And then finally of course there's Nazi Germany.
What? Nazi Germany laid claim to part of Antarctica? Here was a link that postively sat up and begged to be clicked. Click it I did.
New Swabia it was called. Apparently the Nazis knew that war would soon be upon them (or rather, that they would soon make it upon everyone else). Naturally there are a lot of things to take into account when you're planning a war. And it seems one of the things they took into account was...well, imagine if you will this scene in a German headquarters around 1937:
Nazi Strategic Planner #1: War is coming.
Nazi Strategic Planner #2: Yes, Hans. And if there's one thing we need to secure in the event of an upcoming war, it's a reliable supply of margarine.
Nazi Strategic Planner #1: I concur, Hans! But everyone knows margarine is made from whale oil. And I'm so sick of getting that stuff almost exclusively from the Norwegians.
Nazi Strategic Planner #2: Agreed, Hans! There is only sensible solution: an expedition to Antarctica.
Nazi Strategic Planner #1: Antarctica, Hans?
Nazi Strategic Planner #2: I hear it has whales. Do you know what else has whales? Norway. Think about it.
Nazi Strategic Planner #1: ...that really make no sense.
Nazi Strategic Planner #2: We're Nazis, Hans. Nothing about us makes sense.
Nazi Strategic Planner #1: Good point. And do you know what else? Let me ask you this: what are we hoping to take over?
Nazi Strategic Planner #2: The world?
Nazi Strategic Planner #1: That's correct, Hans. And do you know what the world has in it?
Nazi Strategic Planner #2: ...Antarctica!
Nazi Strategic Planner #1: Exactly!
Nazi Strategic Planner #1: Oh my God, quick! Get me the navy and some scientists!
I am not making this up (maybe Wikipedia is, but I'm not). Down to Antarctica the Nazi scientists duly went to hunt for tasty, margarine-providing whales, claiming a significant chunk of Antarctica for the Fatherland by the method of, among other things, flying over it and dropping poles with swastika flags attached to them onto it ("do you have a flag?", indeed). Sure, Nazis. That'll stand up in court.
Here I must pause the story for a second so the following concept can truly be allowed to sink into the mind of the reader in its full delicious glory: whale-oil based margarine.
So learned all this, I did. And here the trail might have ended. But for a section at the end of this article titled "New Swabia's role in alternative historical theories":
An esoteric Hitlerist legend recounts that Adolf Hitler did not commit suicide in 1945, but fled to Argentina, then to a base under the ice in New Swabia during the early 1950s, where he resumed his career as a painter. According to this account, Operation Highjump, the largest expedition mounted to the Antarctic, is claimed to have been sent to wipe out the Nazi presence. 
See also: Nazi UFOs
Wow, that's an "alternative" "historical" theory, all right. (Citation needed. Hahahahaaa.)
Of course, if you're getting the idea here by now, you'll realise that there was absolutely no way that I could possibly NOT on "Nazi UFOs".
Ah, the joys of this particular article. Let's jump in with the illustration somebody helpfully came up with to illustrate the whole concept:
For all the hilarity of the illustration though, some stuff was interesting:Sir Roy Feddon, Chief of the Technical Mission to Germany for the Ministry of Aircraft Production, stated in 1945:
I have seen enough of their designs and production plans to realise that if they (the Germans) had managed to prolong the war some months longer, we would have been confronted with a set of entirely new and deadly developments in air warfare.
Secret Weapons Of The Luftwaffe, indeed (who remembers that game? SWOTL!). Furthermore:
In 1956, Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, Chief of the US Air Force Project Bluebook, stated the following:
When WWII ended, the Germans had several radical types of aircraft and guided missiles under development. The majority were in the most preliminary stages, but they were the only known craft that could even approach the performance of objects reported to UFO observers.
Oooh. However, let's read on and whoops - what was that just flew out the window? Ah yes, it was credibility:
In 1978 Miguel Serrano, a Chilean diplomat and Nazi sympathizer, published The Golden Band, in which he claimed that Adolf Hitler was an avatar of Vishnu and was then communing with Hyperborean gods in an underground Antarctic base. Serrano predicted that Hitler would lead a fleet of UFOs from the base to establish the Fourth Reich.
Whoa! This is a problem. Who's got their eyes on Antarctica? Everyone signed the Antarctic treaty, and so no-one's got any weapons down there! It's just what Hitler wants!!! (Or what Vishnu wants, maybe?)
And so a simple mission to check on the height of Antarctica had opened my eyes to the dangers of the upcoming Nazi UFO invasion of the world. I resolved that when it was time to knock off work, I would rush home to fortify our house. Ain't no Nazi getting my baby without a fight. Or my Karen. Or my X Box.
Sadly though, I had to stay where I was for a while after work had finished and click on every single "See Also" article linked on the Nazi UFO page (totally worth your time, by the way). I think I may be addicted. And my house remains dangerously unprepared for the Nazi UFO invasion. But I read more hilarity. And I did find this.