As you might have noticed - our interactive map has been moved.
We wanted to show you that our focus has changed from the Expedition to the Foundation. If you're looking for the map, and want to listen to those daily broadcasts from Antarctica click here
We found this blog on the Economist's website really interesting. Here you can find out more about "house-mousing" and the sheer volume of clothing one man needs to wear down at the South Pole (polypropylene long underwear, fleece, heavy duty overals, another fleece, bootliners, boots, glove liners, wool mittens, facemask, goggles, hat, and the obligatory US Antarctic Programme down coat).
The journalist notes that "With winds that can exceed 300 kilometres per hour and average winter temperatures of -40 °C, Antarctica is the windiest, coldest, driest, and highest continent on Earth. At 14 million square kilometres, its landmass is bigger than the United States, though 98% of it is covered by a thick blanket of ice. This ice sheet comprises roughly 90% of the world's ice, locking up 70% of the planet's fresh water, and in some places is half a kilometre thick. Antarctica is also the emptiest continent. Just 4,000 people work there in the summer, and only 1,000 stay through the long, dark winter."
The journalist himself is stationed at the Scott Amundsen South Pole station with a selection of people looking at astrophysics, seismology and atmospheric sciences - it was at the South Pole for example that Charles Keeling in 1957 found 315 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a year later he started his continuous observations in Hawaii that helped to show the continuous rise in greenhouse gasses that we have helped to create.
I'm sure that Professor Drewry the Vice Chancellor at Hull University, a key supporter of the Shackleton Centenary Expedition and the Shackleton Foundation, and the brains behind the research that we will conduct, would agree with the following sentiment: "Coming to the farthest reaches of the Earth helps scientists explore the farthest reaches of the universe."
This is why as Richard Nixon reaffirmed in 1970, Antarctica remains "the only continent where science serves as the principal expression of national policy and interest".
Click here for the Economist blog.
This week is National Science and Engineering week in the UK. The Royal Navy's ice patrol vessel, HMS Endurance, and the University of Portsmouth have joined forces under the patronage of round-the-world yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur to provide a series of Internet-based worksheets for teachers and pupils: The Big Freeze.
With lessons on suitable clothing materials, health and nutrition, students should be able to come away with a much greater knowledge of the Antarctc. This can only be a good thing and we think that its a great idea.
Click here for the BBC story.
Click here to find out more about The Big Freeze.
Alan Johnston, the BBC reporter was kidnapped last year in Gaza by a group calling itself the Army of Islam. Here, Alan recalls the experience, noting that Sir Ernest Shackleton's legacy helped him deal with what was thrown at him. In a BBC article soon after his release, he remembers how
"After his ship was crushed by the Antarctic ice nearly a century ago, he took a tiny lifeboat and set out across the great wastes of the stormy Southern Ocean. He aimed for an almost unimaginably small island far beyond his horizon, and eventually he reached it.
And in my prison, I felt that I needed some kind of mental lifeboat, to help me cross the great ocean of time that lay before me, aiming for that almost unimaginable moment far beyond my horizon when I might somehow go free."
This is a brilliant piece looking at how Alan was able to construct the necessary mental apparatus for what he called the psychological battle of his life.
Here is a link to Alan's story
Henry Worsley, Will Gow and Henry Adams will be heading off for Antarctica in October of this year so continuous training and preparation are crucial to the success of the Expedition. Here Will writes of the team's time in Chamonix, France:
"The 2 Henrys and I had a great week in Chamonix a couple of weeks ago. It was our last instructed training session and we hired Simon Abrahams as our instructor from Chamonix Experience. He has a huge experience of both climbing and guiding in the Antarctic.
The objective was to become totally comfortable and competent at traveling over glaciers and crevasse rescue since we will be spending between 2-3 weeks ascending the Beardmore Glacier in Antarctica. It is about 100 miles long; 40 miles wide and goes from 11,500 feet to sea level.
During our week's training we camped up on the glacier near the Aiguilles de Midi at about 3500m.
The first couple of days were focused on crevasse rescue techniques, where we covered all eventualities, including going into a crevasse with skis on and with the pulk (sledge) following. We used various anchor methods for the rescues including skis, ice screws, ice axes and body anchors.
During the second part of the week we concentrated on glacier travel where we skied roped up with our pulks. We also spent considerable time practicing pulling the pulks up steep inclines which was extremely painful, however it was great for the fitness and gave us a taste of how challenging the Beardmore could be.
We were extremely fortunate with the weather since we had 6 days without a single cloud in the sky. Lots of sunshine and good cold temperatures, around -25c, which was perfect for our instruction.
Our next trip is to Greenland for the dress rehearsal, where we will be on our own for the first time. We are spending 3 weeks traveling around Milne Land, which is a large island in Scoresby Sound on the East Coast of Greenland. We head out there on April 15th."
"for a joint scientific and geographical piece of organisation give me Scott, for a winter journey give me Wilson, for a dash to the Pole and nothing else Amundsen, and if I am in a devil of a hole and want to get out of it safely give me Shackleton every time". Apsley Cherry-Garrard
Scouring the internet this afternoon we came across this wonderful powerpoint presentation at the Univeristy of Washington from Martin Martens called "Understanding Leadership", it looks at how and why Shackleton was such an inspirational figure, and such a brilliant leader.
Whilst the presentation focuses more on Shackleton's famous 1914 Endurance Expedition, the character traits that made Shackleton such a successful leader of men were there in the 1907-09 Nimrod Expedition as well.
Martens shows that true transformational leadership comes from providing a clear vision and having the ability to instill a commitment to achieve it.
Click the following link to find out more about Understanding Leadership.
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