When compasses and GPS fail the Catlin Arctic Survey expedition, they go with a low tech "gadget" to help them navigate the freezing wastes and find their bearing: A lacy pair of panties.
The panties serve as a wind sock of sorts, as the team attaches them to a ski pole and uses wind as a guide to the North Pole, where they will measure just how thin the ice shelf is these days. They can't use a compass because of their proximity to the magnetic North Pole. GPS is apparently useless because the frigid temps freeze the equipment. The team also navigates using the sun, but when it's cloudy they pull out the lacy panties.
"Due to our proximity to the Magnetic North Pole, our compasses are currently going haywire, said navigator Ann Daniels. "The earth's strong magnetic field on this part of the ocean means that the compass needle simply spins uselessly in its housing. As such, we're currently relying on more traditional methods for day-to-day navigation, using the sun (for those few precious hours each day when it graces us with its presence), and using wind direction, as indicated by the panties..."
And no, as far as I can tell Ms. Daniels does not actually wear the panties when they're stored away and not in use.
The team's completed only 100km of the 1,125km journey. Those panties are going to get a workout. [Telegraph - Thanks, Matt]