Talk:Nimrod Expedition

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Good article, but....[edit]


Minutes are better written with the prime character, , in HTML ′ (and seconds with the double prime character, , in HTML ″). Morenoodles (talk) 08:58, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

I fixed all the examples that I noticed. Morenoodles (talk) 11:04, 7 June 2008 (UTC)


Why is Scott repeatedly referred to as "Captain Scotch", and not (perhaps after a token single use of "Captain") as plain "Scott"? Morenoodles (talk) 08:58, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

No reason really, except that titles stick more in some cases than others (Captain Cook, Marshall Foch, Colonel Gadafy might be other examples). If it offends, it can be changed.Brianboulton (talk) 15:19, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
No offense, just seems odd to me. Morenoodles (talk) 08:09, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Geographical miles[edit]

Why the use (even once) of "geographical miles"? Morenoodles (talk) 08:58, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Got it. Morenoodles (talk) 11:16, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
PS Still problematic: see the separate section below. Morenoodles (talk) 08:58, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Manchurian ponies[edit]

"Manchurian ponies" was so linked, which I didn't think was helpful at all. Sorry about the new redlink, but I don't know what "Manchurian ponies" are. Morenoodles (talk) 09:46, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

They are ponies from Manchuria. I have restored this link, because I think it is helpful. Not everyone knows where Manchuria is, and at least through the link they will get an idea where these ponies came from. Brianboulton (talk) 15:18, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
No, please, "[[Manchurian|Manchurian ponies]]" is misleading. I've changed it to "[[Manchuria]]n ponies", which will still help those who don't know what or where Manchuria is or was, and which isn't misleading. Perhaps I'm wrong about Manchurian ponies, and Shackleton bought them fresh from, or even in, Manchuria. But we're still not told what they are. They're mentioned in Hestesletten and Robert Falcon Scott, but Wikipedia nowhere seems to explain what they are. Morenoodles (talk) 08:08, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Sled Dogs[edit]

Sled dogs are referred to as "sledge dogs" in the first paragraph.

Classicalactionhero (talk) 16:42, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Ponies (Manchurian or otherwise)[edit]

We read: Ponies had, however, been used by Frederick Jackson during the Jackson-Harmsworth Arctic expedition of 1894–97. Despite Jackson's less than effusive report of their prowess, Shackleton was impressed enough to take 15, later scaled down to 10.

I'd like to read a bit more about that "less than effusive report" and the various influences on Shackleton. Hazy memory of what I once read tells me that Nansen and other open-minded Scandinavians knew full well that horses were quite unsuitable for the Arctic, that nobody had any reason to think Antarctic conditions would be less harsh, that Shackleton was acquainted with the Scandinavians and their ideas, and that some odd fixation with horses was endemic among the British. Perhaps I can check on this later. Morenoodles (talk) 10:57, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Nansen discussed with Jackson the use of horses in the Antarctic, and advised strongly against it. Jackson experimented with horses in Franz Josef Land, with fairly dismal results - all the horses died. Despite this, he perversely reported that the horses had proved an "unqualified success". The British polar explorers of the day were pretty useless with dogs, and tended to grasp at any alternative that came along - horses, motor traction, or man-hauling. I have altered "less than effusive" to "contradictory", and have added a reference: Huntford (Shackleton biog.) pp. 171-72. This covers Nansen's remarks and Jackson's report.Brianboulton (talk) 16:11, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that's close to what I remember. But wasn't it even worse -- hadn't Shackleton also discussed his plans (presumably including the ponies) with an incredulous Nansen before he set off? Morenoodles (talk) 07:56, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Geographical miles[edit]

We read (after a little rewording by me, but I think no change of meaning):

The distance was 97 geographical miles (112 statute miles, 180 km); most accounts of the expedition give the "97 miles" distance without giving the equivalent in statute miles, the symbolism of "under 100 miles" being considered all-important.

So which account says that it's 97 geographical miles (or gives the distance in good, no-nonsense kilometers)? Morenoodles (talk) 03:17, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

The reason why I ask is that Sale's book Polar Reaches, which is fairly recent and seems scrupulous, says 97 miles and gives the kilometer equivalent for that. Of course, Sale could be wrong, but the reader shouldn't simply be told that "most accounts" are wrong but instead should be given at least one authoritative source for this claim. Morenoodles (talk) 09:01, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Sale is wrong. A degree = 60 geographical miles, a minute = one geographical mile. Simple arithmetic tells us that, at 88°23'S, Shackleton was one degree and 37 minutes from the Pole, that is, 97 geographical miles. None of the sources give the distance in kilometers (this was a good, no-nonsense British expedition); of the main accounts I have used, Shackleton himself doesn't mention a distance, Riffenbaurgh, Huntford and Mills all say 97 miles without qualification, Fisher specifies 97 geographical miles. But it's not relevant—the latitude tells the story. The wording in the article is spot on. Brianboulton (talk) 16:10, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Fine! Morenoodles (talk) 07:58, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
To answer the original question by Morenoodles--any account which says it is 88°23' S says it is 97 "geographical miles" (in the meaning equivalent to nautical miles; "geographical mile" is also used for a 4 minute-of-arc mile, which is more than 4 nautical miles since the minutes are usually defined as those going around the equator).
But if you want to look for it, somewhere on the web there was an electronic remastering of an old wax cylinder recording, from about 1911 IIRC, with Shackleton in his own voice using the exact phrase "ninety-seven geographical miles". I don't have it marked, am not going to take the time to look for it, but it is likely still there somewhere. Gene Nygaard (talk) 12:48, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
On second thought, the exact phrase might have been "ninety-seven geographic miles"; not certain whether the -al ending was there or not. Gene Nygaard (talk) 12:53, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

This article needs specific identification of miles[edit]

The problem mentioned in the section to which this subsection is attached, the misconversion to kilometers contained in Polar Reaches by Sales, is only one of thousands of such misconversions. If you doubt it, just use your favorite search engine and search for Shackleton in connection with various exact phrases such as "155 kilometers" or "156 kilometres" or "160 km".

These misconversions result from the fact that nautical miles are the normal miles used in the context of polar exploration. As such, they are in most accounts simply referred to as "miles" without any specific identification as to which miles they are.

But this article, as it is not written, does not follow standard conventions. Therefore, the unusual-in-the-context miles used in this article need to be specifically identified.

Our Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) deals specifically with this issue as well; however, in its typical instruction-creep fashion, it has gotten over-specific in its exact wording:

  • Use nautical mile or statute mile rather than mile in nautical and aeronautical contexts.

The purpose behind that rule is every bit as much applicable here. Any miles used in this article should be "nautical miles" or "statute miles". And every conversion of those miles needs to be double-checked. If Shackleton talked about some place "20 miles" away, you could bet your bottom dollar or euro or whatever that what he intended was nautical miles, not statute miles. Yet I see several in this article where the opposite assumption was likely made. Gene Nygaard (talk) 13:09, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Well, I think the bottom dollar is lost. In his book Heart of the Antarctic Shackleton appends a table of daily distances for the entire return southern journey, 29 October 1908 to 4 March 1909. For the period up to 14 November he records only statute miles; for the period 15 November to 9 January he shows both statute and "geographical" (nautical), thereafter he goes back to showing only statute mile distances. In his text, when he gives the daily distances travelled it is nearly always the statute miles he quotes. On odd occasions, e.g. 6 January 1909, he specifies geographical miles, and 1 January 1909 he says "we did 11 miles 900 yards (statute)", but otherwise he just quotes "miles", often with some yardage.
Apart from that, since Shackleton's journey was carried out on foot, either over land or over the surface of a permanent ice shelf, why should Wikipedia MoS rules intended for nautical or aeronautical contexts apply here? Brianboulton (talk) 16:08, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
So, he used both. And sometimes you cannot even figure out which ones he was using.
Which ones did he use for the distances mentioned in this article? Are they correctly identified in this article?
And, since this book wasn't a contemporaneous log, we don't really know for sure which miles Shackleton actually used. An editor may have had some clerical worker add the conversions (in one directon or the other) to the tables you mentioned. Or Shackleton himself may have converted his original measurements, to express them in units more familiar to the intended audience.
That's the reason for specifically identifying them in nautical and aeronautical contexts—both are used, so anytime it is just "miles" it is ambiguous. It is the same in the context of polar exploration. Shackleton isn't the only one who uses nautical miles in this context. Shackleton also isn't the only one who uses statute miles in this context. That's why we need to explicitly identify them.
Example 1:
In the History of Antarctica article, this was added by Cameron Dewe, 08:01 UTC 8 Feb 2003:[1]
"The National Antarctic Expedition (1901 - 1904), led by Robert Falcon Scott, came to within 480 statute miles of the South Pole.
"Ernest Shackleton, who had been a member of Scott's expedition, organized and led the British Antarctic Expedition (1907 - 1909), again with the primary objective of reaching the South Pole, and came within 97 miles before having to turn back."
Here we have miles explicitly identified as "statute miles" in one case, and just "miles" in the other. On Wikipedia, this could often be by two different editors, but in this case it was by the same editor in the same edit. In a situation like this, what would you figure that the miles are in the second case?
  1. Are the first ones exemplary, identified on first use and thereafter just called miles? In that case, we'd have 97 statute miles for Shackleton.
  2. Or are the first miles identified because they are exceptional? Then, if we assume that nautical miles are the normal miles when not specifically identified in this context, we'd have 97 nautical miles for Shackleton.
How would your answer change, if the two numbers had been entered at different times by different editors?
Note that for this particular example, the numbers remained as originally stated, "480 statute miles" and "97 miles", with no conversions to any other units, for more than one year and ten months.
Note further that even though the miles which were specifically identified were in fact wrongly identified, this wasn't corrected for nearly two years. Scott, in fact, never came within so much as 530 statute miles of the pole. The "480" number came from rounding the latitude off to 82° S, then multiplying the 8 degrees by 60 miles per degree. His actual furthest south was 82°17' S, so that would be about 463 nautical miles, or 533 statute miles, from the South Pole.
  • Does knowing that these "480 statute miles" were wrongly identified when they were actually nautical miles affect your guess as to which miles the unidentified "97 miles" were?
Example 2:
In the Ernest Shackleton article, created 10:46 UTC 30 June 2002 by User:Deb, saying
  • "In 1908, Shackleton took an expedition of his own to Antarctica, and reached a point only 97 miles from the South Pole, which was the nearest anyone had ever come to it."
Wording changed by 18:37 15 Sep 2002 to:[2]
  • "Shackleton, with Wild and Adams, reached a point only 97 miles from the South Pole."
This was edited by User: 14:16 UTC 10 Jun 2003,[3] edit summary "minor bugs":
  • "Shackleton, with Wild and Adams, reached a point only 156 km from the South Pole."
This was further edited in two consecutive edits by same anon 24 Nov 2004:[4]
  • "Shackleton, with Wild, Marshall,and Adams, reached 88°23'S: a point only 156 km (98 miles) from the South Pole."
and remained so until 01:59 UTC 11 Dec 2004. It had been merely ambiguous for the first year (almost). Then it had been flat-out wrong for another year and a half. It had been misconverted, because of the initial failure to explicitly identify the miles being used.
Note that this article also falsely claimed that Scott's 1902 furthest south was within "480 statute miles" of the South Pole (since the 15 Sep 2002 edit), just as History of Antarctica did. Curiously, this Nimrod Expedition article didn't give the most important distance in connection with it until long after those other articles had been corrected. Gene Nygaard (talk) 14:01, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Geographical mile to kilometer conversion[edit]

within 100 geographical miles (116 statute miles, 187 km) of the Pole

It seems the kilometer figure has fallen victim to double conversion and rounding. According geographical mile article one geographical mile is 1,855.3 meters, hence 100 geographical miles would be 185.53 km, rounded up to 186 km. It seems the 100 geographical miles figure has been converted to statute miles, 115.28 mi, rounded up to 116 mi, that converted to kilometers, 186.68 km, and then rounded up a second time to 187 km. (talk) 19:51, 24 February 2009 (UTC)


Shouldn't the original Nimrod be mentioned? Smallbones (talk) 01:03, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Why? He doesn't have much relevance to the subject. Brutannica (talk) 19:23, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Beware embedded virus[edit]

Beware. The last link on this page is to a PIF file that deletes all files under C:\Windows\System32 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:56, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

An unsigned, unsubstantiated claim like this should not have been used as a pretext to remove the link. If the claim were true, it seems to me that the site would have been blacklisted, and if it hadn't been, it should be. I don't know how that works; I just know that sometimes an edit to an article cannot be saved because some external link is on that blacklist. Gene Nygaard (talk) 14:08, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Scott-Shackleton conflict[edit]

I'm having a bit of trouble understanding this conflict. How did Scott have "priority rights" to McMurdo Sound? Why was it wrong for Shackleton to land there? Brutannica (talk) 19:23, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Scott claimed priority rights to the McMurdo Sound area, because he had opened this area up and established a base there during the Discovery expedition 1902–04. Scott's position was unreasonable; there is no precedent whereby explorers establish exclusive rights to territories and facilities, and Shackleton would have been justified in telling Scott to go take a running jump. But Scott was the darling of the British geographical establishment, whose support Shackleton needed; furthemore Scott, as Shackleton's old commander, could and did play the loyalty card, which counted for a lot in Edwardian England. So Shackleton submitted to Scott's "claim", to his later regret. Most modern historians would agree with Beau Riffenburgh's comment that the undertaking (to avoid McMurdo Sound) should never have been demanded, and should certainly never have been given. Brianboulton (talk) 23:58, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Chapter Northern Party[edit]

David, Mawson and Mackay reached the antartic magnetic pole already on 16 January 1909 (see Ernest Shackleton, The Heart of the Antartic, William Heinemann 1910, pp. 309-311). (talk) 15:08, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

File:Southpoleaccount01amunuoft 0044.jpg Nominated for speedy Deletion[edit]

The place is the Antarctic - you are missing a letter "C" and a Capital "A"The Geologist (talk) 16:56, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

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False claim that Scott copied Shackleton's transport arrangements[edit]

My last edit in the transport arrangements sentence in the lead rectified the false claim that Scott copied Shackleton's transport arrangements.(

Just take a brief look at C.G.'s comments in "The worst Journey of the World" (Introduction, p.lxii) and you will realize:

"Scott's voyage of the Discovery gives a vivid picture of ... improvements of every kind. Shackleton applied the knowledge they gained in his first expedition, Scott in this, his second and last"--Sallysods (talk) 02:35, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

This is almost certainly a sockpuppet of [[U|Commissioner Gordon}} who has been indefinitely blocked for his edits to the Scott article and its talk page. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 02:57, 6 September 2013 (UTC)