Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Logbook or Journal. Side Effect or Drug Trip...

According to the BBC:

Scientists hope weather data from 18th Century ships' logbooks will throw new light on how the climate has changed in the past 200 years.
A new UK project is digitising nearly 300 Royal Navy captains' logs from voyages dating back to the 1760s.
They include the voyages of Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle, Captain Cook's log from HMS Discovery and Captain Bligh's journal from The Bounty.
The logbooks will be available on the National Archives website next year.
Well, that's just dandy.
I've been just plain wasting my time making a reasonable go at scratching away at dusty and musty old bookstore, library, and museum collections for firsthand and eyewitness sources while also brushing off climate change deniers. I should have been putting the two avocations together; I could have had easy access to 300 captains' logs.
Which could have made this "H.M.S. Impossible" a pretty interesting online presence, come to think of it. Of course, I have way more pictures of film stars, so the deck was stacked, to misalign metaphors.
Of course, you can always get the narratives of the journeys of Darwin, Cook, and Bligh at your neighborhood bookstore, usually on the paperback overstock rack.
And I didn't miss the significance of the clever headline:
Logbooks may yield climate bounty
Everybody loves that knee slapper.
What was the Royal Society forcing the Royal Navy to do during the Eighteenth Century? For the most part it was sending its most persnickety commanders out to the Pacific, where they would be of no further trouble. To the King and Joseph Bank's dismay, characters like Bligh and Cook were just too damned fastidious. Charting and naming every chunk of damp volcanic outcropping that appeared appellatable. Measuring and recording depths and temperatures of currents alow and wafts of breeze aloft. Collecting every damned leaf, frond, foliole, petiole and peduncle. Give a clever fellow a chronometer, and he'll no doubt go places.
On the other hand, Bligh's crew (most notably master's mate F. Christian) were collecting other stuff. Like Tarita Teriipia... Tarita and some guy in my jacket. Oh, wait......rattan blinds...Hedy Lamarr co-held U.S. Patent 2,292,387 -- the ancestor of our wireless communication. What have YOU done lately?... and Esther Williams...Professor? Which one do I talk into?

(This presentation features photographs of Tarita Teriipia, Hedy Lamarr and Esther Williams.)

1 comment:

karie said...

I daresay, you looked more handsome in the jacket!