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Author Topic: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year  (Read 19469 times)

RaikoRaufoss

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2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« on: July 18, 2011, 11:45:23 am »

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Fridtjof Nansen and the 100th anniversary of Roald Amundsen reaching the South Pole. Here are some great sites:

http://www.frammuseum.no/

http://www.nansenamundsen.no/en/

And here's a short promo:

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SpaceFlight

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2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2011, 11:57:08 am »

You really want to go to the South Pole/Antarctica, don´t ya?  :lol:
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RaikoRaufoss

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2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2011, 12:27:36 pm »

Quote from: SpaceFlight
You really want to go to the South Pole/Antarctica, don´t ya?  :lol:
Yeah, sure wish I could go.  If anyone else wants to go, give these guys a look: http://www.polarexplorers.com/expeditions/Southpole-flights.shtml
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RaikoRaufoss

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2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2011, 03:52:31 pm »

A Pullman railroad car named after Amundsen was a witness to history, and enabled several secret and pivotal journeys:
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2011, 04:23:54 pm »

First ever exhibition about Amundsen in Britain now showing at the Scott Polar Research Institute Museum: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/uk’s-first-amundsen-exhibition-celebrates-extraordinary-explorer/
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2011, 01:18:48 pm »

One of Amundsen's few mentions of British reaction to his triumph was that "the British are bad losers."  Sadly, this piece of commentary just seems to prove him right:
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/sarah-sands/sarah-sands-captain-scott-ndash-romantic-wrong-but-a-winner-in-the-end-2364263.html

It's a pile of muddle-headed garbage.  Let's see the reasons why:

Quote
"... but our hearts are not with the successful Norwegian. Instead a British voice echoes: "Great God! This is an awful place... Now for the run home... I wonder if we can do it.""
 
She conveniently omitted the "and a desperate struggle to get the news through first", with its potentially sordid implications.  Just like the heavily edited version of Scott's diary that was first published.

Quote
"The sentimental attachment to heroic failure over success drives the Amundsenites mad. The biographer Roland Huntford has made a career out of bringing the British to their senses. He now publishes The Expedition Diaries, which proves in the rival explorers' own words the virtues of a professional Norwegian over a British amateur. Huntford concludes that Scott was "an incompetent loser who battled nature rather than tried to understand it"."

"Heroic" failure is still failure, and in Scott's case, it may not have been heroic, since the science he did was almost lost with him for all time.  Didn't know Amundsen supporters are now called "Amundsenites".

After grudgingly admitting Scott's screwups, she then gets to Amundsen:
Quote
"Amundsen was single-minded and empirical. Dress it up as you wish, but there was only one winner. As Amundsen sneered crushingly: "Victory awaits him who has everything in order – luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time. This is called bad luck.""


Amundsen wrote those words in "The South Pole" before Scott's death was known.  And they're not sneering; they're matter of fact and plain.  A good example of Amundsen himself, who vindicated his words by his actions.

Quote
"The irony for Amundsen is that it is Scott who has the legacy. For a start, Amundsen was too committed to take more than a couple of photographs, so we lack images of him. Then, the plants and rocks that Scott's men wasted time collecting, proved to be enduringly interesting. The use of technology was refined because of Scott's trials. Most of all, Scott wrote so movingly about the tribulations, that his diary entries have the power of Shakespeare. Amundsen's successful and uneventful journey lacks the power of language. Poetry tends to lie in the struggle rather than the achievement."
 

What legacy?  Scott gets the legacy of getting himself and his entire party killed, Amundsen gets them all back alive.  And we don't lack images of him.  Olav Bjaaland took a camera with him, and because of damage to Amundsen's camera, his photos comprise most of the photos of the expedition.  There are plenty of photos of Amundsen at Framheim and at the Pole.  Like I mentioned before, those plants and rocks were almost lost for all time because Scott had to get his party killed.  As for use of technology being refined, Helmer Hanssen, who went with Amundsen to the Pole, had this much to say: "What shall one say of Scott and his companions who were their own sledge dogs?... I don't think anyone will ever copy him."  Scott's death was a good endorsement for dog teams if ever there was one.

As for language, Scott moves a person, but only on a superficial level, and even he is no match for Shakespeare.  Amundsen's bland understatement is very easy to misinterpret as unreadable, but if one reads past the understatement, he can make you cry and laugh.  I did both when I read his writings.  Amundsen's journey lacks no power thanks to his language, and the poetry of his achievement is how well he set out to do what he intended to do.

Quote
"Compare "so we arrived and were able to plant our flag at the geographical South Pole. God be thanked" with "had we lived I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman".

What is lovable is not the failure, but courage in the face of hopeless odds. Captain Oates "did not – would not – give up hope til the very end"."
Yes, compare Amundsen's unadorned relief and thanksgiving with Scott's writing for effect to pander to the public and to cover up his tracks.  Very telling.  As for Oates, Wilson ascribed no heroic motive to Oates' walking out of the tent.  Also, poor Oates was unable to pull the sledge for some time before he walked out of the tent.

After an aside about qualities supposedly lacking in the British:
Quote
"Amundsen planted his flag, but there was no human resonance. He lacked the moral charisma of an Edmund Hillary. Without romance and honour, success can seem mechanistic. The best way to test this is to face death. This is why the end of Scott and his men means more: 15 December 1911 is not the end of the story."
Now another attack on Amundsen.  Read Amundsen's writings about the dogs, or what he did when he unfurled Norway's flag at the Pole on 14 December 1911, and then try saying that he didn't have moral charisma.  Amundsen may seem like nothing more than Scott's dour, machine-like nemesis, but he was so much more than that.  His life too had human resonance.  Then there's this aside about "without romance and honor".  What romance is there in your entire party dying when it could have been prevented with better planning and decisions?  And as for honor, looks like she's still sore about Amundsen winning.  "The best way to test this is to face death."  The line of reasoning used to motivate Tommies going over the top a few years later.  Of course, they never achieved much of a success, but that's not the fault of the rank and file Tommies.  Blame the bad officers and the medical examiners who let hordes of unfit men in during the rush of volunteers.

She did get one thing right: 14th December 1911 isn't the end of the story.  What I fear now is that history will repeat itself, and like a dead latter-day Mark Antony, Scott will get his revenge from the grave.
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2011, 04:20:14 pm »

Fram Museum opens all new exhibits on Fridtjof Nansen and a polar simulator, on the 150th anniversary of Nansen's birth on October 10th: http://www.frammuseum.no/News/FRAMMUSEET-IKKE-TIL-A-KJENNE-IGJEN.aspx
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2011, 12:40:17 am »

Rare archival footage of Amundsen's South Pole expedition: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/09/amundsen/antarctica-video
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2011, 01:45:42 pm »

http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20111017/NEWS07/710179930/-1
Quote
"Mr Hadow said: “It really worked” explaining that Captain’s Scott’s son, Sir Peter Scott, went on to set up the world’s largest charity, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)."

Not.  This.  Again.  Just read the WWF's history for yourself:
http://wwf.panda.org/who_we_are/history/sixties/
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2011, 12:07:00 pm »

100 years ago today, Amundsen, Olav Bjaaland, Sverre Hassel, Helmer Hanssen, and Oscar Wisting set off for the South Pole: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-10-19-the-day-we-should-have-set-off.html
« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 01:09:25 pm by RaikoRaufoss »
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cameni

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2011, 12:19:34 pm »

The link doesn't work (404).
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2011, 01:09:44 pm »

The link's been fixed.
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2011, 02:13:06 pm »

When I read Huntford's Race to the Pole recently, I couldn't figure out why he was so critical of Cherry-Garrard's The Worst Journey in the World.  Then just today, I found this: http://aphriza.wordpress.com/2007/10/10/worst-wednesdays-amundsen/

Here we go:
Quote from: Robert Falcon Scott
For an hour or so we were furiously angry, and were possessed with the insane sense that we must go straight to the Bay of Whales and have it out with Amundsen and his men in some undefined fashion or other there and then.
After that line from Scott:

Quote from: Campbell
The Norwegians are in dangerous winter quarters, for the ice is breaking out rapidly from the Bay of Whales which they believe to be in Borchgrevink’s Bight, and they are camped directly in front of a distinct line of weakness. On the other hand if they get through the winter safely (and they are aware of their danger), they have unlimited dogs, the energy of a nation as northern as ourselves, and experience with snow-travelling that could be beaten by no collection of men in the world.
The "nation as northern as ourselves" line may or may not be colonial racism as the blogger claims, but it's certainly too pretentious.  And their ignorance is shown by their reaction to Amundsen's choice of the Bay of Whales.  He had studied Ross' and Shackleton's visits to the Bay of Whales, and noticed that the bay had hardly changed from then to now.  Amundsen correctly deduced that the Bay of Whales was a relatively stable section of ice which was formed by land.  Thus he took a calculated risk.

Then came this racist slur disguised as a compliment;
Quote from: Apsley Cherry-Garrard
The truth was that Amundsen was an explorer of the markedly intellectual type, rather Jewish than Scandinavian, who had proved his sagacity by discovering solid footing for the winter by pure judgment.
He.  Did.  Not.  Just.  Say.  That. >:(

Another attack:
Quote from: Apsley Cherry-Garrard
The very ease of the exploit makes it impossible to infer from it that Amundsen’s expedition was more highly endowed in personal qualities than ours.

He then originates the excuse that Scott's apologists have used ever since:
Quote from: Apsley Cherry-Garrard
We were primarily a great scientific expedition, with the Pole as our bait for public support, though it was not more important than any other acre of the plateau.

Then a long string of fancifulness:
Quote from: Apsley Cherry-Garrard
The practical man of the world has plenty of criticism of the way things were done….
Why wouldn't he have any?

Quote from: Apsley Cherry-Garrard
He is scandalized because 30 lbs. of geological specimens were deliberately added to the weight of the sledge that was dragging the life out of the men who had to haul it; but he does not realize that it is the friction surfaces of the snow on the runners which mattered and not the dead weight, which in this case was almost negligible.
In their starving state, 35 odd pounds makes a noticeable difference.  As for friction, if Scott had been willing to learn from sources other than Britain, he could have learned a trick Amundsen learned from the Inuit.  The trick is to warm up snow in your mouth, then spit it into your gloves and apply the water to the runners.  The result is a thin layer of ice on the runners that will reduce friction noticeably.  As for dead weight, Teddy Evans noted at the time that Scott was hauling 150 some pounds of unused clothes and empty bags as well.  Of course, he covered this up after Scott's death came out and the coverup began.

Quote from: Apsley Cherry-Garrard
Nor does he know that these same specimens dated a continent and may elucidate the whole history of plant life….
Which were almost lost because Scott had to get himself and his entire party killed.  If Atkinson's party hadn't found them...

Quote from: Apsley Cherry-Garrard
he has no patience with us, and declares that Amundsen was perfectly right in refusing to allow science to use up the forces of his men, or to interfere for a moment with his single business of getting to the Pole and back again.
Why should we have patience?  By the way, while Amundsen's team was winning the race, Fram was conducting the first oceanographic survey of the ocean between South America and Africa.

Cherry-Garrard's The Worst Journey in the World started up the industry of Scott apologia, which is continued today by biased attackers (Fiennes), liars who falsified their research and used gambler's fallacies (Solomon), pathetic explainers with bad sources (Jones), revisionist sophists (Crane), hysterics (Barczewski), and incoherent, obvious liars (Larsen).
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 02:51:19 pm by RaikoRaufoss »
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2011, 12:24:44 pm »

http://www.redbull.com/cs/Satellite/en_INT/Article/A-World-Apart-The-Polar-Adventurers-Inspired-By-021243113449075

I did guess that this would happen: Scott is becoming a trendy topic.  I know that Red Bull has to understand trends (they created one, after all), but the article doesn't have anything linking these men's inspiration to Scott.  They could have at least showed how Scott inspired them.
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2011, 04:39:09 pm »

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15384729

Scott's media blitz continues.  Four things Scott found, and one that found him:

1. Looks like the Herald told the BBC about all the smart alecks who said that the last time they checked, there were no crops in Antarctica.  Now it's penguin skins as control specimens.

2. The Glossopteris fossil.  Again.  Of course, they still don't mention that because Scott got himself and his entire party killed, the fossil was almost lost for all time.

3.  Nothing to complain about.

4.  Again, Solomon's falsified "research" has been blown out of the water. See: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1011.1272v3

And we all know what found him, don't we?  At this rate, history's already repeating itself, and Amundsen is getting overshadowed by Scott.  Again.

One final note: the idea that the "lost photos" that Scott took were lost until now is false.  Watch Ponting's "90 Degrees South", you'll see at least 2 of them.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 04:50:09 pm by RaikoRaufoss »
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