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Author Topic: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year  (Read 19470 times)

RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2011, 04:59:48 pm »

Silly me, I forgot.  100 years ago yesterday, Scott and his 15 companions set off on the Southern Journey to reach the South Pole.

Amundsen was 200 miles ahead, and the gap would not get much narrower.
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2011, 09:23:59 pm »

http://www.npr.org/2011/11/04/142024624/in-scotts-race-to-the-pole-science-beat-speed

Another interview with Larsen.  More non sequiturs, anyone?

Quote
Fossils were very important. They were trying to document the connections between Antarctica and the other southern continents.
Wrong.  The first work on plate tectonics was done after the expedition.

After David Wilson talks about the (not) lost photos:
Quote
No, I did not have that particularly in my mind. I know it's happening. You can read it in the different books. I'm - I take nothing away from Amundsen. Giving credit to the science of Scott's expedition actually does take nothing away from Amundsen's achievement. Only the Norwegians reached the pole and returned safely, and they did so over an unknown route in less than 100 days with food to spare.
After all the billing NPR did for your book said the opposite.  Non sequitur, anyone?

Quote
But what Scott was also planning was a multifaceted, complex expedition. He had 32 men on the ice. He had teams going all over, where Amundsen had 30 and they were focused on one end. They did that one end better. But if you look at the overall expedition, actually, the British Terra Nova Expedition, Scott's expedition, was actually more modern and a marvel of planning, if not execution.
Actually, 16 were going to the pole, and Amundsen had only 5 going to the pole.  Modern attitudes didn't save Scott, and his planning was last moment and haphazard.  Compare Amundsen, who started his planning in 1909.

Then some rhetoric aimed at criticism:
Quote
Well, you can certainly say that might have. I mean, their death was - you could have a lot of but for excuses they might not have died. But for the weather being colder. They might not have died, but for the fact that they stopped and collected geological specimens, very important geological specimens, on the way back at the Beardmore Glacier, when they were already highly stressed. But, on the other hand, if you take those things away, it wouldn't be Scott. It wouldn't be a British expedition.
Then more lies:
Quote
Still, he thought he had a margin of safety, that he could do all this science, and with the margin of safety provided by the enormous amount of resources he brought down, that he could still make it back safely. And the surprising thing was that there was a combination of mistakes and chance, with the fuel leaking from the containers in the stores that they didn't expect so they ran out of fuel, and the extraordinary cold that - I know it's always cold in Antarctica - but it was even colder than it - than normal. And it was that combination of taking risks, trying to do science, making mistakes and misfortune. And it took them all combined, because they came so close to getting back, only 11 miles from their supply depot.
Margins of safety which were so great that Scott and his men started overrunning their rations after only 4 days of being stuck at the foot of the Beardmore Glacier.  Fuel leaking which Scott had seen first hand during the Discovery expedition and had done nothing about in the meantime.  Compare Amundsen, who had seen the same problem in the North-West Passage, and actually solved it.  Solomon's already been discredited, as far as I'm concerned.

After hyping up Ponting as the forerunner of Walt Disney and David Attenborough, he gets asked a hard question: Why weren't the bodies of Scott, Wilson, and Bowers brought back?  People who died on polar expeditions before had been brought back whenever possible:
Quote
Well, there were various reasons for that, but that's, I mean, look where they all ended? Shackleton and Amundsen also ended up in polar realms, and that's where their bodies lie. They had - first, it would have been awkward and difficult because then they'd have to - once they got them back, they'd have to bring them back on the ship. But here, they found them in the tent where they died. In a dramatic pose, actually, Wilson and Bowers are at the side in the attitude of sleep, and Scott is open with his arm flung out.

His sleeping bag half open, arms flung out across Wilson. They had with them the rocks, the geological specimens that they had collected. They had brought those all the way back to where they died. They had their diaries. They had their journals, which were written up, almost ready for publication. And it seemed fitting that at that place, they build a large cairn of ice.
Beating around the bush, and deliberately obscuring Amundsen's and Shackleton's ends.  Shackleton's body was brought back to Rio, IIRC, then it was returned to South Georgia Island.  As for Amundsen, he disappeared while being a real hero, so they couldn't even find him.  Way to mislead everyone, Larsen.  Also, you go by the storybook version of Scott's last camp.  Quit sugarcoating, and mention that there was evidence of scurvy.

Then Larsen launches his greatest non-sequitur:
Quote
Oh, they were tremendously interested in global warming because they had - by this time, during the 1800s, they discovered that Europe had once been covered by glaciers and that the shape of Europe was shaped by these glacial retreats. And they very much - it was very much part of the itinerary for the Discovery expedition and then the Nimrod and the Terra Nova was that this is one place where they could study the glaciers that are still of the size that were in Europe.

They noted the retreat, and they documented the retreat of the glaciers in Antarctica. They were talking about - they were trying to study how much it retreated, how it moved out of dry valleys. Scott had discovered the first dry valleys in the Antarctic during his Discovery expedition. They were documenting global warming, climate change over time.
Glacial science most likely didn't happen in the 1850's, quit lying.  The reason the McMurdo Dry Valleys are dry is because of low humidity, and mountains blocking the ice sheet.  Again, quit lying.  Global warming as we know it?  Absolutely not.

Larsen's made even more of a fool out of himself than before.
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2011, 01:34:38 pm »

http://www.thewesternstar.com/News/Local/2011-11-07/article-2797177/Antarctic-explorer-buried-in-Corner-Brook/1

A great article about how another guy on the Terra Nova expedition got stranded and kept his men alive.  This part of the article really says it all for me: "If Capt. Robert Falcon Scott had not perished in his attempt to be the first explorer to reach the South Pole in 1912, the name of Capt. Victor Campbell probably would not have been so overlooked by history."  Exactly, and the same can be said for Shackleton and Amundsen.  In 2012, we should be remembering people like him, though sadly I doubt the Scott media blitz will let anyone know about this man.
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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2011, 12:02:12 pm »


I can just imagine the caption:
"Hey Amundsen, where did you get the plane?"
"I got it at the airport.  There's a store there."
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2011, 05:47:15 pm »

The Telegraph's travel section on Norway and Amundsen: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/norway/8879509/Roald-Amundsens-Norway.html

To be frank, I'm not impressed.
Quote
A hundred years ago next month, on December 14 1911, man reached the South Pole. It was one of the last and most obsessed-over trophies in the "heroic era" of terrestrial exploration. To the vexation of post-Edwardian England, the pole's discoverer was not their countryman, Capt Robert Falcon Scott, but a Norwegian, Roald Amundsen.
He got this much right.  Amundsen still vexes England, as we can judge from the rest of this topic.
Quote
The story of Amundsen's expedition exemplifies either the ruthless endeavour of the consummate explorer or the duplicity of a pole-bagging bounder. It was arguably both. Amundsen's relentless professionalism and quick temper, as well as the fact that he duped everyone about his expedition's true intentions, do not make him an endearing figure, even in Norway. In one of the definitive matches between Gentlemen and Players, the Gentlemen appeared to have lost. Today, though, the story of those who came second is as well – if not better – known than the winner's tale.
Here we go again, slagging Amundsen.  I wouldn't call Amundsen ruthless, he did have feeling, but he also didn't let it interfere with what he had to do.  For the record, Amundsen decided to go for the South Pole before Scott announced his intentions, not after.  He did indeed dupe nearly everyone (he had to let a few of his men in on the secret), but at the time Britain practically thought it had a deed to the Ross Sea, and if the Norwegian government (who technically owned the Fram) had any clue Amundsen was heading for the South Pole, they would have stopped him rather than risk offending Britain.  Furthermore, if he isn't an endearing figure, why has Norway officially declared 2011 to be the Nansen-Amundsen Year?  Amundsen was a professional, and not everyone liked him, but he was a nice guy, in my opinion.  I never thought anyone could mix pragmatism and humor until I read The South Pole.  Scott wasn't much of a gentleman, making snide comments about Amundsen and Shackleton pretty much at will.  As for their story, Britain sure is trying hard to make sure Scott's story is told, while neglecting the stories of those like Campbell.
Quote
In Britain, his lectures were unassumingly entitled "How we reached the Pole"; in the US Amundsen was billed as "Discoverer of the South Pole and Winner in the International Race for the Southern Extremity of the Earth".
Yes, he had to drop any pretense of winning to get an audience in Britain.  We Yanks were happy to give him the credit he deserved.  We would remember him better than Britain would.
Quote
In the living room is a monochrome photograph of the English explorer Sir John Franklin, who in 1845 led an expedition to chart the Northwest Passage. He and his 126 companions disappeared without trace or explanation. It was a story that hijacked the imagination of the teenage Amundsen, and supplied the first set of bearings for the course his life would take.
A bit of a factual inaccuracy.  We have some idea of what happened to the Franklin expedition, from Inuit stories and some discovered notes.  We also know from consistent Inuit stories and archaeological evidence that at least some of the members resorted to cannibalism.  Moving on:
Quote
Trygve Gran was now in the invidious position of competing with his compatriots. According to his son, Trygve would never have accompanied Scott had he known Amundsen's true intention. "But he always talked about Scott favourably," Herman told me. "He was very loyal. He never accused Scott of anything."

In all the controversy that swirls around the two expeditions, one of the most moving and perceptive epitaphs for Scott came from Trygve Gran. He was in the search party that found the frozen bodies of the British explorers. He wrote: "I almost envied Captain Scott as he lay on the field of honour. He had achieved something great for his country, for his family and indeed morally for the whole of mankind."
Of course, these comments are made after Scott's death is known to the public and the cover-up began.  Everyone (except for Meares) got involved, including Gran.  Everyone just ignored their own diaries and wrote fairy tales.  Gran may have wanted to help England by writing this: as Huntford recounts, he made a promise to Oates to be on Britain's side should she be forced into another war.  He kept it by flying with the RFC in Sopwith Camels.  I think he wanted to continue keeping that promise in spirit.  Still, this cannot discard Gran's statement in his diary after finding the rock samples on the sledge: "I think they might have saved themselves the weight".
Quote
In the end, honour is all.
Rather poignant, when held against Scott's and Bowers' falsification of their weather logs, eh?
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2011, 10:01:11 pm »

http://news.coinupdate.com/commemorative-coin-marks-centenary-of-terra-nova-expedition-1050/
Quote
Famous explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s name is synonymous with the Polar Regions, as he was the first pioneer to reach Antarctica in early 1902. It is only fitting that the British Antarctic Territory should issue this numismatic tribute and memorial to Scott’s historic expedition, especially since the UK has a 100 year record of direct observations of Antarctica. They have paved the way for globally significant discoveries about the ozone depletion, climate change and ocean currents, to name but a few.
Noteworthy errors/falsifications include: Scott was not the first to set foot on Antarctica.  The first people to do so were a crew from the whaler Antarctic on January 24th, 1895.  Ozone was only confirmed to theoretically exist in 1867, I seriously doubt anyone at this time knew it was even in the atmosphere.  Climate change as we know it didn't exist as an issue.  If anyone wants to see what others set foot on Antarctica before Scott, check out the comment I left there.
Update:  The person who maintains the article has not only corrected the error about Scott being the first, but has made some wonderful suggestions.  It's good to see that's there are a few good apples left in Great Britain.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 11:15:09 am by RaikoRaufoss »
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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2011, 02:10:17 pm »

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/10/peter-scott-wildfowl-wetlands-trust?newsfeed=true
Quote
Scott had achieved much before he died of a heart attack in 1989, just before his 80th birthday. The son of the Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott, who died when he was just two, and Kathleen, a sculptor, he was a successful artist at a young age, got a Distinguished Service Order medal for bravery in the Royal navy in the second world war, wrote books, presented early radio and TV programmes, got a bronze medal for sailing in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, helped set up the World Wildlife Fund, and campaigned successfully for the Ramsar treaty to protect wetlands,
I'm not able to confirm the circumstances of Sir Peter Scott's DSO: Wikipedia lists it as a DSC.  Unbelievably, the story about winning a bronze medal in the 1936 Olympics is confirmed by the medal lists at the official Olympics website.  But once AGAIN: He.  Did.  Not.  Found.  The.  World.  Wildlife.  Fund.

Update:When I checked a while ago, the WWF's website's history section made no mention of Sir Peter Scott.  Now it does, and lists the Morges Manifesto with his signature.  Looks like the WWF is riding Scott's wave, like others.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 02:42:56 pm by RaikoRaufoss »
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2011, 04:32:03 pm »

http://etenews.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Herald-Scott-06.07.11.jpg

http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20111017/NEWS07/710179930/-1

www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/10/peter-scott-wildfowl-wetlands-trust?newsfeed=true

When the first article came out (in June 2011), I checked the WWF's history page on this site to confirm it.  Sir Peter Scott was not mentioned. 

I do not know when the WWF's history page was updated to confirm these statements, but what I do know is that for the past 5 months, I have assumed that statements about Sir Peter Scott and his involvement in the WWF were bold-faced lies.  I do not find it impossible that the WWF might only have made confirmation this late: for example, an assertion was made in the first link that Captain Scott's work on the Terra Nova expedition contributed to measuring pesticide levels in penguins.  There was no qualification, and the average reader after reading this article would believe that Captain Scott was measuring pesticide levels in penguins.  The wording led me to make the smart-aleck remark that the last time I checked, there were no crops in Antarctica.

It was not until November 2nd that the statement was qualified, and it was done by the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15384729  As it turns out, penguin skins collected during the Terra Nova expedition were used as control samples during DDT testing of penguins in the 1960s, which is something completely different.

And even when the articles have an element of truth, they play loose with the wording: the first 2 clearly indicate Sir Peter Scott was THE founder, instead of one of the FOUNDERS.  He did become the first chairman, but that's not the same as the founder (singular).  As far as I'm concerned, WWF should contact the media and inform them that playing loose with the wording like they have is a disservice to the others who put their faith and effort into founding the WWF.

Does anyone here remember reading the link to the WWF's history page when I first posted it, and not recall seeing Sir Peter Scott anywhere in it?  I know one thing for certain: the link to the Morges Manifesto with Sir Peter Scott's signature wasn't there before.

Update:I made a mistake: it's the first 2 articles that play loose with the wording.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 09:48:47 pm by RaikoRaufoss »
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RaikoRaufoss

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2011, 04:05:13 pm »

http://www.varsity.co.uk/lifestyle/4047
Hoo boy.
Quote
Fate, sacrifice and death in an unbearable cold. The discovery of the sixth continent.
Not quite, Antarctica was discovered long before.  Sir James Clark Ross, anyone? 
Quote
Two leaders and two countries in a fierce competition. “For God’s sake look after our people”.
Melodramatic, anyone?
Quote
Having been both celebrated as a hero and deemed an incompetent leader, it is now time to take a fresh look at Scott and his expedition. Scott’s last diary entry ends with the sentence: “For God’s sake look after our people” – what else can we gain from looking at the happenings other than the upwelling of strong emotions?
How about a talent for melodrama?
Quote
Take their diet as an example. “We now think that each man consumed between 3000 to 4000 calories too little every day, as moving at an altitude of 3000m consumes more energy than being at sea level,” Ms Lane explains. Scott simply could not have known this in advance, as no one else had been on that territory before.
Pfft.  Shackleton made it to the Polar Plateau in 1908-9, Scott was in fact following his route.  The SPRI must be embarrassed.  Somehow, altitude didn't stop Amundsen, did it?
Quote
What if Scott had calculated food rations more generously?

However, unlike Amundsen’s team which had their sledges pulled by dogs, Scott and his men mostly moved the sledges themselves. Scott wanted to save the dogs for scientific explorations after their return from the Pole.
Scott kept changing the orders, and they were contradictory.  Dogs not to be risked, yet have to go farther than planned?
Quote
What if Scott had abandoned his scientific interest in favour of the security of more dogs?

“If anything, the fact that Amundsen was first had an impact on their morale,” Ms Lane thinks. “Maybe they would otherwise have moved just a bit faster on their way back, and reached safety before complete exhaustion.”  Surely, Scott had broader objectives than being the first on the South Pole. He wanted to contribute to science, and did not move particularly fast towards the South. Instead, he stopped to map and take probes.
Utterly wrong.  Shackleton had already pioneered the route, in fact Wilson had a detailed map of Shackleton's route made from a pennant for reference.
Quote
What if Amundsen had not been first?

For Scott, polar expeditions were jobs that would benefit his career in the navy. For Amundsen, the only thing that counted was being first on the Pole – any Pole.

Initially, his expedition was headed for the North Pole. While he was preparing it, however, two American explorers, Frederick Cook and Robert Peary, announced to have been the first men on the North Pole in 1909. Amundsen quickly decided to go south instead. It was only once he was on the sea, that he made his changed plans public to his backers – and to Scott. As Heather Lane puts it: “It was only when Amundsen landed on the continent that it became a race.”
The last sentence is garbage.  Amundsen expected the British press to jump on his announcement.  Their response was inexplicably delayed, so Scott's first indication was a short telegram Amundsen sent him.  More news about his expedition finally got through just before Scott sailed from New Zealand.  In any case, Amundsen's exact destination was unknown.  Scott knew it would be a race before he left New Zealand.
Quote
What if Amundsen had not changed his plans?

Scott’s return from the South Pole was exacerbated by bad luck. He faced the worst weather in a hundred years. Enduring temperatures of up to –50°C, they had 850 miles to cover until they would reach their winter camp. Getting weaker and weaker, they realised that the fuel they had left at their depots at 100-mile intervals had largely evaporated. “This meant no hot meals, no heating for the tents, and no melted water,” Ms Lane explains.
I'll spell it out for you: Solomon's.  Falsified.  "Research".  Has.  Been.  Blown.  Out.  Of.  The.  Water. 
"Solomon’s argument was that because the streak-1988 was observed then the streak-1912 was also observed by Captain Scott’s party.  Now, it is self evident that Solomon as well as
those readers who were persuaded on this matter by her book and article fell into the trap of the retrospective Gambler’s
fallacy.  There is no logically sound argument that just because streak-1988 occurred, streak-1912 also occurred." (Source: Sienicki, 2010, p.11)

The fuel evaporating was Scott's fault.  The caps used were faulty and allowed leakage.  He knew this first hand and did nothing, lying about the matter in his "Message to the Public".  Here's an interesting point: http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/26013/#comment-227664
Apparently, Scott's fuel tins were soldered with actual tin.  The cold caused the tin to undergo an auto-catalytic conversion commonly known as "tin pest".  End result: the seams fell apart.
Quote
About a day’s walk from the next depot, the remaining three men were halted by a fierce blizzard. It is now known to have been the worst in a hundred years. Unable to continue the journey, they wrote farewell letters. Scott’s diary ends on 29 March 1912 with the words: “For God’s sake look after our people.”
The blizzard never happened: http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.5355
Quote
“All the quotes were taken out of context,” Ms Lane defends Scott. “Reading the entire diaries from his men it becomes clear that they liked him, and thought he was competent.”
I seriously doubt that.  What about the interviews Oates' mother had with Meares?
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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2011, 11:48:07 am »

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #25 on: November 21, 2011, 10:42:27 am »

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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2011, 04:49:36 pm »

http://explorersweb.com/polar/news.php?id=20512

According to this, Amundsen's still the king.  Hail to the king, baby. 8)
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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2011, 05:23:12 pm »

http://spiritofamundsen.com/

A wonderful project.  They'll be giving a concert to penguins on December 16th, and you can be part of the concert.  You can record yourself singing a 5 second tone, send it in, and it'll be part of the concert.  I've already done it myself.
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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2011, 05:08:22 pm »

http://www.norway.org/News_and_events/Culture/Travel/Celebrating-Roald-Amundsen-/

Now this is special.  The Nordmanns-forbundet in San Francisco are having a celebration of Amundsen on December 4.  If there are any members of Nordmanns-forbundet here that can make it, give it a look.
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Re: 2011 Is The Nansen-Amundsen Year
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2011, 05:30:35 pm »

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/books/review/the-antarctic.html
The New York Times review of The Lost Photographs Of Captain Scott: Unseen Photographs From the Legendary Antarctic Expedition.  An brief, but excellent review, which is not afraid to point out Scott's amateurism, and confirms what I've said before; that not all of the photographs in the book were "lost" until now.
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Far from the fame
Far away from the fame
But we still remember your name
Karel Janoušek
We mourn the day that you died
So be our guide
CZECHOSLOVAKIA'S PRIDE!!!!!!
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