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This image taken by passenger Andrew Peacock on December 29, 2013 shows a thin fresh coat of snow on the trapped ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy as it waits to be rescued. - 

Off Antarctica, three icebreakers have so far failed to make it through to a Russian ship trapped in the ice since Christmas Eve. It's a research ship with 74 scientists, some tourists, and crew.  Everyone's fine, but now they're waiting for a break in the weather so a helicopter can get through.

Ben Maddison an historian on the ship, and is retracing the voyage of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson who ran into big trouble in the Antarctic a hundred years ago. That's the one where the expedition members had to eat their sleddogs and learned the fatal consequences of injesting concentrations of vitamin A in dog's liver. Our interest is the economic incentives for that famous famous but tragic expedition.

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Follow David Brancaccio at @DavidBrancaccio