Fighter pilot, Royal Navy 1945, Hydrographer Iraq 1947-52 India 1952-53, Canadian Hydrographic Arctic explorer 1953-1960, Writer-producer Canadian National Film Board 1961-72, Freelance journalist, audio-visual producer 1972-2009, National Press Club of Canada 1961 - 2006

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Captain James Ross

Intriguing aspects regarding alleged

Global Warming.

The Arctic explorer, Captain James Ross, circa 1840, (no, no, that's not Ross. pictured. That's me, circa 1955, somewhere in the Arctic, I forget where) anyway he, Ross, also led an Antarctic expedition. He sailed from Oz and after making good progress came up to a high and precipitous wall of ice, later known to southern navigators as the Great Ice Barrier which stretched for hundreds of miles. He sailed along it noting its geographical position and that it was so high he couldn’t see over it even from his topmost rigging.

But a few decades later other explorers sailing along the ice edge found it to be much further south. They even cast doubt on Ross’ recorded latitudes. Later it was considered that Ross was much too good a surveyor and navigator to make such a fundamental error. Determining latitude, as opposed to longitude, is a fairly simple matter.

So it was thought, way back then, that the barrier was constantly breaking up and reforming over periods of even a few decades, and so sometimes retreating southward or advancing northward.

Why would that be? There weren’t too many automobiles around in 1840, nor a third or a quarter of our modern world population. Ok, there were plenty of coal fires in burgeoning cities, though, and the industrial revolution was revving up.

But there were plenty of happy and contented pipe smokers around then, because rotten cigarettes had not yet been invented. So pipe-smoking was enjoyed by vast numbers of mostly long-lived healthy people. Men like explorers and adventurers and doctors, politicians, mariners, soldiers, king - emperors, fishmongers, chiefs of police, governor-generals, admirals, writers and scientists. All highly respected for their innate superior intelligence, calm sagacity and unstressed phlegmatic outlook on life.

But in fairly recent years, and as is it so today, pipe smokers were considered, by the ignorant, to be obnoxious. Worse even than those ubiquitous people addicted to cigarettes, or gaspers. Ok, so pipe smokers may have looked very contented puffing away and savouring fine ales in quiet pubs, but they were absolute pests.

Everybody said so.

So it must be so.

Just like global warming.

And other fictitious idiotic modern themes.

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