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
This beautiful photo of Cape Royds comes from a Natural History Museum blog we happened to stumble upon a couple of days ago, and we are massive fans.
The blog itself chronicles the exploits of a team who have travelled to Antarctica to conserve the artefacts from the explorer's hut left behind by Sir Ernest Shackleton after his attempt to reach the South Pole in 1908.
You get a real feel for the enthusiasm they have for their work. On December 20th John posted: 'We have strived, using information from old photos and accounts, to recreate the interior to a certain period. The interior feels as if Shackleton's men have just left, there is food and clothing and personal belongings are left next to the beds.'
Henry Worsley, Henry Adams and Will Gow should be in the area in around 10 months from now so it will be interesting to see what they think of it all.
Thanks to our very own South Pole Gazette We came across this interesting (if a little geeky) article about what Henry Malmgren, the IT manager at the Amundsen-Scott Research Station at the South Pole has to put up with. It seems that because of the dry atmosphere, static electricity can be a problem especially when trying to manage the flow of data from the South Pole.
This particularly interested us as we will be looking to take advantage of as much technology as possible, as some of Henry Adams' articles have suggested (see Electronica for example). This means that in our own way, whilst we'll be in a tent rather than in a polar research station, we will have to take all sorts of precautions so that we can stay in touch with the outside world.
You can read about Henry Malmgen's experience at the South Pole by clciking on the following link: The Big Chill: Ch-Ch-Chatting with the IT Manager at the South Pole.
In it's Christmas edition, The Economist had some interesting points with regards to innovation:
'First, that genuinely new ideas are, well, accidentally stumbled upon rather than sought out; second, that new ideas are by definition hard to explain to others, because words can express only what is already known; and third, that good ideas seem obvious in retrospect.'
Given our remit as a charitable Foundation for funding ideas that are bold, innovative, and useful, this struck a chord with us. The wide remit that we have given ourselves illustrates the fact that what The Economist is saying is valid in any field of endeavour. This is where we want to help, by funding those good ideas that seem obvious in retrospect.
We came across an interesting article on the BBC news website today examining the reputations of both Scott and Shackleton. The article itself argues that in the past twenty or so years, Shackleton's star has risen whereas Scott's has fallen.
What's interesting here is the interpretation by author Stephanie Barczewski that part of the reason why Scott was so popular was because of the influence of the First World War. Put simply, because so many people had sacrificed their lives for the greater good they were able to gain strength from Scott's story.
Shackleton, in comparison is now seen as both stoic and heroic, which is more in line with what people want to see from the managers and leaders of today.
It's an interesting theory, and well worth reading (a link is at the bottom of this article), for us here at the Shackleton Foundation Sir Ernest Shackleton had a knack of making good decisions in bad times. His leadership qualities were central to the success of his expeditions.
In the article A Night Beside Shackleton's Grave, Henry Worsley notes that Gibbon said of Aleric '...he had the invincible temperament of mind which rises superior to every misfortune and derives the resources from adversity'. For us, these are the qualities that shine through. This is why we are doing what we're doing.
Click the following link What makes a modern hero? to see the BBC news article. At the time of writing, Shackleton is preferred on the online poll that the BBC have running. It is worth reading the reader's comments as well though, Darren Langley from Dudley makes the very good point that Sir Rannulph Fiennes' book on Scott, and Susan Solomon's account show that Scott's terrible luck on the return journey from the Pole in encountering such horrific weather is something that is often forgotten.
Watching BBC2's Top Gear last night, it was good to see our friend Matty McNair work with Richard Hammond. They were competing against Jeremy Clarkson and James May to reach the North Pole. Matty and Richard used dogs, James and Jeremy used a Toyota Hilux.
We won't be able to use either on the Shackleton Centenary Expedition. Dogs haven't been allowed in Antarctica since 1993, they are banned under the Antarctic Treaty. According to USAToday action was taken because of evidence that the canine disease distemper was spreading to Antarctica's seals. Cars aren't allowed either.
Matty McNair runs a polar training course on Baffin Island in Canada, and several team members have learnt a lot from her extensive polar experience (see for example Henry Adams' article Dressed for the Occasion Part 1).
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Sir Ernest Shackleton is widely known as one of the most inspirational leaders of the twentieth century. The Shackleton Foundation is a new charitable trust.
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