Saturday 8 December 2012

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Photo: Photograph by National Library of Norway, Picture Collection THE RACE BEGINS Norwegians led by Roald Amundsen arrived in Antarctica's Bay of Whales on January 14, 1911. With dog teams, they prepared to race the British to the South Pole. Amundsen's ship, Fram, lent by the renowned Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen, was the elite polar vessel of her time.  SEE 10 PM ET: The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen (A Merloyd Lawrence Book) [Hardcover] Stephen R. Bown)

JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW

The economy of the viceroyalty of Peru largely revolved on the massive exports of silver.  The huge amounts of silver exported from the viceroyalty of Peru and Mexico had also a deep impact on Europe, where it was believed by some scholars to have caused the so-called price revolution.  Silver mining was carried out using the mitra system of unfree labor, a system inherited from pre-Hispanic times. Silver production peaked in 1610.  Below, an illustration of the slave labor at Potosi.  See Charles Mann's 1493.

Saturday 905P Eastern Time:   1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus [Paperback] Charles C. Mann  Amazon.com review: 1491 is not so much the story of a year, as of what that year stands for: the long-debated (and often-dismissed) question of what human civilization in the Americas was like before the Europeans crashed the party. The history books most Americans were (and still are) raised on describe the continents before Columbus as a vast, underused territory, sparsely populated by primitives whose cultures would inevitably bow before the advanced technologies of the Europeans. For decades, though, among the archaeologists, anthropologists, paleolinguists, and others whose discoveries Charles C. Mann brings together in 1491, different stories have been emerging. Among the revelations: the first Americans may not have come over the Bering land bridge around 12,000 B.C. but by boat along the Pacific coast 10 or even 20 thousand years earlier; the Americas were a far more urban, more populated, and more technologically advanced region than generally assumed; and the Indians, rather than living in static harmony with nature, radically engineered the landscape across the continents, to the point that even "timeless" natural features like the Amazon rainforest can be seen as products of human intervention.

Mann is well aware that much of the history he relates is necessarily speculative, the product of pot-shard interpretation and precise scientific measurements that often end up being radically revised in later decades. But the most compelling of his eye-opening revisionist stories are among the best-founded: the stories of early American-European contact. To many of those who were there, the earliest encounters felt more like a meeting of equals than one of natural domination. And those who came later and found an emptied landscape that seemed ripe for the taking, Mann argues convincingly, encountered not the natural and unchanging state of the native American, but the evidence of a sudden calamity: the ravages of what was likely the greatest epidemic in human history, the smallpox and other diseases introduced inadvertently by Europeans to a population without immunity, which swept through the Americas faster than the explorers who brought it, and left behind for their discovery a land that held only a shadow of the thriving cultures that it had sustained for centuries before. --Tom Nissley

The Spanish previously introduced tobacco to Europe.  After 1611, Jamestown turned to tobacco as a cash crop to great success, and the biological mixing of three continents, Americas, Africa and Europe, changed profoundly.  So did the Atlantic balance of power.

Saturday 920P Eastern Time:   Mann, continued.  

Saturday 935P Eastern Time:  1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus [Paperback] Charles C. Mann From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. In a riveting and fast-paced history, massing archeological, anthropological, scientific and literary evidence, Mann debunks much of what we thought we knew about pre-Columbian America. Reviewing the latest, not widely reported research in Indian demography, origins and ecology, Mann zestfully demonstrates that long before any European explorers set foot in the New World, Native American cultures were flourishing with a high degree of sophistication. The new researchers have turned received wisdom on its head. For example, it has long been believed the Inca fell to Pizarro because they had no metallurgy to produce steel for weapons. In fact, scholars say, the Inca had a highly refined metallurgy, but valued plasticity over strength. What defeated the Inca was not steel but smallpox and resulting internecine warfare. Mann also shows that the Maya constructed huge cities and governed them with a cohesive set of political ideals. Most notably, according to Mann, the Haudenoshaunee, in what is now the Northeast U.S., constructed a loose confederation of tribes governed by the principles of individual liberty and social equality. The author also weighs the evidence that Native populations were far larger than previously calculated. Mann, a contributor to the Atlantic Monthly and Science, masterfully assembles a diverse body of scholarship into a first-rate history of Native America and its inhabitants. 56 b&w photos, 15 maps.  Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. 

Saturday 950P Eastern Time:   Mann continued.

Saturday 1005P (705P Pacific):  The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen (A Merloyd Lawrence Book) [Hardcover] Stephen R. Bown (Author) Boston Globe, 9/30/12   The “author Stephen Bown hopes to repair Amundsen’s reputation and re-introduce his achievements to readers at a time when exploration on a grand geographic scale seems like ancient history. He succeeds; his Amundsen is complicated and compelling, capable of leading men through deadly danger and telling self-deprecating stories to rapturous lecture audiences later . . .  The New York Times published hundreds of articles chronicling his voyages, and Bown gracefully weaves together these and other journalistic records, along with journals kept by Amundsen and his men, to paint a surprisingly intimate portrait of a complex, at times difficult, yet eminently admirable man.”

Portrait of Roald Amundsen on the Fram after the South Pole Trip

Saturday 1020P (720P Pacific):  Bown continued

Saturday 1035P (735P Pacific):  The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen (A Merloyd Lawrence Book) [Hardcover] Stephen R. Bown (Author)

Saturday 1050P (750P Pacific):  Bown continued. Stephen R. Bown is the author of Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner and A Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail, selected as one of the Globe and Mail’s Top 100 books of 2004, and A Most Damnable Invention: Dynamite, Nitrates and the Making of the Modern World, selected for the Scientific American Book Club, the History Book Club and the Quality Paperback Book Club. He lives with his wife and two young children near Banff in the Canadian Rockies.  www.stephenrbown.net

Saturday 1105P (805P Pacific):  Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From  [Hardcover] Richard Davenport-Hines (Author)  BOOKLIST: "As the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic nears, expect a rush of books and articles. As before, it is likely that many of them will inflate the historical importance of the disaster, imparting meaning where none exists. Hines, a biographer and journalist, pays the usual homage to these efforts by stressing the class divisions aboard ship and the illusions of technological supremacy shattered by the power of nature. He offers interesting explanations of the formation of icebergs, ship design, and the nature of transatlantic travel. His account rises above most others in his concentration upon those who died and those who survived what was, after all, a vast collection of individual human tragedies. He describes individuals from each of three designated classes of travel. Although we learn little new about the superrich in first class, Hines avoids taking cheap shots at them. The vignettes covering those in second and third class are especially moving, as Hines stresses the hopes of many to begin a new life in America. This is a well-done and creative retelling of a still-riveting story." --Jay Freemanmber aboard Yi

Below: Crew members and passengers aboard Titanic just prior to sailing, April 1912.

Saturday 1120P (820P Pacific):  Richard Davenport-Hines  continued.

Saturday 1135P (835P Pacific):  Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From [Hardcover] Richard Davenport-Hines

Saturday 1150P (850P Pacific):   Richard Davenport-Hines  continued.

Saturday/Sun 1205A (905 Pacific):  1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus [Paperback] Charles C. Mann Amazon.com review: 1491 is not so much the story of a year, as of what that year stands for: the long-debated (and often-dismissed) question of what human civilization in the Americas was like before the Europeans crashed the party. The history books most Americans were (and still are) raised on describe the continents before Columbus as a vast, underused territory, sparsely populated by primitives whose cultures would inevitably bow before the advanced technologies of the Europeans. For decades, though, among the archaeologists, anthropologists, paleolinguists, and others whose discoveries Charles C. Mann brings together in 1491, different stories have been emerging. Among the revelations: the first Americans may not have come over the Bering land bridge around 12,000 B.C. but by boat along the Pacific coast 10 or even 20 thousand years earlier; the Americas were a far more urban, more populated, and more technologically advanced region than generally assumed; and the Indians, rather than living in static harmony with nature, radically engineered the landscape across the continents, to the point that even "timeless" natural features like the Amazon rainforest can be seen as products of human intervention.

Saturday/Sun 1220A (920 Pacific):   Mann ,continued.

Saturday/Sun 1235A (935P Pacific): Mann, continued.  Charles C. Mann is a correspondent for Science and The Atlantic Monthly, and has co-written four previous books including Noah’s Choice: The Future of Endangered Species and The Second Creation. A three-time National Magazine Award finalist, he has won awards from the American Bar Association, the Margaret Sanger Foundation, the American Institute of Physics, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, among others. His writing was twice selected for both The Best American Science Writing and The Best American Science and Nature Writing. He lives with his wife and their children in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Saturday/Sun 1250A  (950P Pacific): Mann continued.

..  ..  ..

Title: Amundsen’s base, Bay of Whales

Description: plastic negative

Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Debenham Collection)

Summary text: Amundsen and his men stand in front of a hut. Boxes and equipment are stacked against the hut.

Date: 1911

Keywords: huts

Location: Antarctica, Ross Dependency

Photographer: Debenham, Frank

Music (using New York City broadcast times)  

9:00 hour:    Battlestar Galactica Original.

10:00 hour:     Battlestar Galactica Season One.

11:00 hour:     Battlestar Galactica Seaon Two.

midnight hour:   Battlestar Galactica Original.