Normally, smashing a transportation record is something to celebrate. This time, however, it's not necessarily worth cheering. Sovcomflot's liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker Christophe de Margerie has become the first merchant ship to cross the Northern Sea Route without an icebreaker clearing its path. The vessel, which can plow through ice up to 6.9 feet thick all by itself, completed the icy part of a trip from Norway to South Korea in a record-setting 6.5 days by keeping up speeds (an average of 14 knots) that would have been impractical with the usual escort. That's despite ice as thick as 3.9 feet. So what's so bad? Unfortunately, it's as much an indication of the effect of global warming as it is technological progress.