Monday, January 06, 2014

Eli Is Puzzled

The recent todo about the Spirit of Mawson expedition has Eli a bit puzzled.  If you want a discussion of whether what they were up to was scientifically justified, hie thee to the Weasel or ATTP if you want the Schadenfreude, well there is always Willard Tony, or any of the other usual suspects.

Eli has a different POV.  If you look at the denialist blogs, they are pretty much libertarian in flavor, or at worst hate on government types, which, at least to Eli would indicate that they like people who raise their own money to go splorin, and sciencin.  OK the Rabett can understand their being embarrassed that the folks on the Akademik Shokalskiy have to be rescued by government ice breakers, but the expedition did what expeditions did in the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and even early parts of the 20th century, especially for polar expeditions.  Yeah, yeah, there are civilians on board, but voyages of discovery often took along the rich guy who provided the benjamins.  Now why WTony would not let the nice Bunny pass a remark on this curious thing at Watts is another amusing question.

You can even Richard Tol this, as  Jonathan Karpoff does in Public vs. Private Initiative in Arctic Exploration

From 1818 to 1909 35 government and 57 privately funded expeditions sought to locate and navigate a Northwest Passage, discover the North Pole and make other significant discoveries in Arctic regions.  Most major Arctic discoveries were made by private expeditions.  Most tragedies were publicly funded. 
Which puts you in mind of an astronaut sitting on top of a Saturn V, ruminating on the fact that the beast was built by the lowest bidder.  So what's not to like with the Spirit of Mawson?


Russell Seitz said...

Eli, dies this mean I kin have a red button too ?

I's still five digits in the red from the last time we went 'splorin.


CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Intellectual consistency is not a strong point of the fanatic.

Rachel said...

I like Eli's POV. It does seem very strange that people of a more libertarian bent are not appreciative of the raising of private funds to help foot the bill. I'm sure if the ship hadn't been associated with climate science that things would be different.

Russell Seitz said...

The ruminant rumored to have made the remark was sitting in a Mercury capsule, as Douglas was the only bidder for the Saturn V third stage.

Walking around the launch pad of the beast the evening after, we noticed the charred grond was littered with bits and pieces of it- screws, nuts, bits of wiring and such , and one of the party made so bold as to ask our NASA handler whhy this was so?

He blandly assured us the electronic dandruff but illustrated the wisdom of triple redundency in designing systems with over a million parts.

EliRabett said...

Eli knows that NASA flies bricks, but cows?

Albatross said...

What Rachel said. This is another silly storm in a tea cup by the deniers.

IMHO, the organizers were way too impatient, the Mawson expedition could have quite easily (and safely) stayed in the pack for a couple more weeks doing science. It is not so much the ice they are fighting but what the winds are doing with that ice.

But the deniers get to rant about government and the evils of climate science and how the Antarctic ice (yes, it is only sea ice that is increasing, but they like to conflate land ice and sea ice for obvious reasons) is increasing...just more noise from the peanut gallery. Yawn.

Anonymous said...

If you are a climate crank continually being made to look like an idiot by science, you are going to grab any opportunity to give a climate scientist a good kicking. The frothing at the mouth from some of them was not a good look however.

Anonymous said...

Eli should take some of his own medicine, grow a pair and laugh at the comedy. Although the strong and multiple whines are amusing.


Rattus Norvegicus said...

w/o actually reading the Karpoff paper (I wasn't able to because for some reason my Uni does not have a sub to the site) I can think of a lot of factors which might lead to Karpoff's findings and which invalidate them. The main factor being the medical understanding of scurvy, and the second factor being the amount of seal meat eaten.

For example, most of the polar parties in Antarctic expeditions suffered from scurvy (especially true for the British who believed in man hauling) after they ran out of animals to slaughter and eat, while the parties which remained near shore had adequate supplies of vitamin C provided by seal meat. I would suggest that scurvy is a poor indicator to use.

EliRabett said...

And here Eli thought that he was laughing at the comedy? YMMV

Anonymous said...

The true Antarctic explorers may be turning in their graves ( and we'll just have to bury them again ).

It would be entirely consistent if more CO2 led to colder Antarctic winters ( because the winter Antarctic surface is colder than the Antarctic stratosphere, meaning increased CO2 opacity leads to more energy, not less, emerging to space ).

Maybe that's what our [sic] 'splorers' have revealed.


Rattus Norvegicus said...

It would be entirely consistent for Eunice to not know what it is talking about.4964935 13

Anonymous said...

British tabloid The Daily Fail and consequently all denier sites are citing Scott Polar Institute's Robert Headland who has said that the Mawson expedition was 'on the cheap' & "... instead of using an icebreaker, they used an ice-strengthened ship, which is totally unsuitable.”

That is really ironic coming from Mr Headland who, after having been the Scott Polar Institute's curator and archivist for 22 years, now works at Quark Expeditions which specializes in Antarctic cruises and whose icebreaker the Kapitan Khlebnikov got stuck in Antarctic ice in November 2009.

Albatross said...


Ironically, neither the Brits (BAS) nor the South Africans (SANAP) use ice breakers to resupply their bases in Antarctica. The Germans, Japanese, Aussies and Americans do use ice breakers of various strengths.

Mr. Headland may be correct that the expedition was done as cheaply as possible (you can't win, Troll and the deniers don't want people spending tonnes of money but then use Mr. Headland's statement to persecute them), but faulting them for using an ice strengthened vessel is a bit rich coming from a Brit.

Anonymous said...

Albatross's comment at 6/1/14 12:33 PM was spot on.

The wind has changed and both the Russian and the Chinese ships freed themselves with no trouble.

Now... given that the sea ice is suddenly breaking up and allowing trapped ships to steam away, I presume that WATTS, Tol, and all their Denialati friends will forgo their hysteria about the impending ice age and instead focus on the fact that Antarctic sea ice is disintegrating, which must surely be a sign of global warming - after all, it couldn't be an indication of weather, could it?!

Bernard J.