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Teen Unlocks Most Challenging Foursquare Badge Ever at North Pole

April 12, 2010 at 3:54 PM | by | ()

Parker Liautaud, a California-born teen who of course attends England's elite Eton school, today became one of the youngest explorers to ever ski to the North Pole. His expedition, which is being sponsored in part by General Electric, is explicitly designed to leverage social media and raise awareness about environmental destruction. He's got the requisite Facebook page and—because this is the world we live in—he intends to check in on Foursquare once he gets to his destination. The accomplishment will net him a vaunted Last Degree badge, which Foursquare probably figured would go unclaimed at least a bit longer.

Liautaud's most recent Facebook post insists that "one person can make a difference, and that person is you" and exhorts the page's 1,000+ followers to "make a short YouTube video right now describing how you're reducing your carbon footprint." It's a genuinely worthy sentiment.

He accomplished his goal at 12:25pm (we're guessing EST) when did the Foursquare checkin and claimed the badge. This is how we like to imagine the event: the indefatigable young man battles his way through blinding blizzards and soul-chilling cold. With the wind howling across the tundra, he stumbles forward step by determined step, before halting abruptly and squinting in mild surprise at the blinking instrument in his hand. Peering distantly into the horizon he gathers himself up and, in one motion, triumphantly drives a stake through the ice. He reaches into his pocket, pulls out his iPhone, taps the Foursquare app and...it turns out AT&T's service sucks up there too. Figures.

We're always of two minds about precocious ecologically-minded little wunderkinds. On one hand, it's kind of impressive to find a 15-year-old who's both mature enough to execute a trek to the North Pole and sensible enough to hook his trip into a broader environmental movement. Well done. On the other hand, he's kind of ruining the curve for the rest of us, and we don't need that on a Monday. Especially not on a Monday.

[Image: Foursquare, TwitPic]

Related Stories:
· Teenager Heads to North Pole to Check In With Foursquare [Gigaom]
· Green Travel [Jaunted]
· Foursquare Travel [Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

Phone service?

How does he get phone service at the North Pole??

I assume he bounced it off a satellite

His dad is literally a billionaire, which is how a lot of the trek got financed. I assume that for an expedition like this they have communication gear that can get to rescuers, so presumably he plugged in the same way. Our science bases in South Pole and our space stations in orbit have Internet uplinks and downlinks, after all...

yeah, but you've got to go twice to become mayor.