Sunday, 17 June 2012

Competence vs. Ponies (2nd ed.)

Lately I have been rather obsessed to find out more about Scott's South Pole expedition. Especially in comparison/ contrast with Amundsen's successful expedition that incidentally didn't end up claiming the lives of his crew. Today I felt an overwhelming urge to make one of those demotivational posters for my own amusement, featuring Scott and his ponies.

I'm having even more fun with it than I expected. [Sidenote number one. Here's one of those tidbits that would find its place in the guerilla heretic learning manifesto - were I ever to write one (which I probably won't): I strongly believe that having fun is a very powerful (if not the most powerful) means of guerilla learning.]

What started out as a little innocent image search has turned into an exciting journey through strange and wondrous sites I have not met before.
First, a rather tame Scott-Amundsen race report that enlightens the background of their choices and the effect of those. I'm only interested in Scott's part though:

The plan itself should have worked. He wouldn't have beaten Amundsen, but he should have gotten down and back successfully. He had a lot of bad luck. The weather turned cold, which was the big thing, and half of the ponies that were crucial for bringing food down died early in a freak accident. The seals on the stores of fuel broke, and fuel leaked out, so they didn't have enough fuel, which contributed to them freezing to death.
But Scott also made some terrible, terrible mistakes. He planned on four people going to the pole, but then he changed his mind at the last minute. He had food and supplies for four people but ended up taking an extra person at the last minute. The guy didn't even have skis; he had to walk.

Then there is this fascinating post from Idle Words blog called Scott and Scurvy. I'm marking it down for reading later, along with the book it recommends.

And then the true fun started to kick in. In my search of ponies, I staggered upon the site called Caustic Soda. They're doing a podcast on not only Scott but a whole bunch of Doomed Expeditions! Demise, stupidity, cannibalism ... I couldn't believe my luck. [Sidenote number two. Experimenting on myself has comvinced me that gore and profanity also have prominent place in guerilla learning (and hence in heretic learning). Next time you're having difficulty memorizing some fact or a bit of grammar or whatever, find a way to associate it with private parts or bodily fluids. Seriously, try it.]

And then, to put the cherry on top, there was this site that proudly calls itself The Art of Manliness. Not only do they feature some great photos of the expedition (and ponies!), they also put Scott's ordeal to the context that got me interested in the first place. Namely, the planning and leadership matters it reflects. Now my day is complete.

I've just discovered that "guerrilla" actually spells with two R-s. Well, too bad, i'm not changing it. If anyone complains, i'll pull the non-native speaker card. Besides, no one will starve because if my misspellings. Take that, Scott!

ED2: except it does matter this time (see next post). But i'll still be gladly ignoring the misspellings that won't affect the substance and impact of a given post. 

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