Mutiny ruins everyone's day. Image via mariner.org
A new book is looking into the final days of Henry Hudson, the famed explorer believed to have been set adrift by his crew during a search for the Northwest Passage.
It has been 400 years since English explorer Henry Hudson mapped the northeast coast of North America, leaving a wake of rivers and towns named in his honor, yet what happened to the famed explorer remains a mystery.
Hudson was never heard from again after a mutiny by his crew during a later voyage through northern Canada. That he died in the area in 1611 is a certainty, and he may have even been killed in cold blood, according to new research.
The anger among Hudson’s crew over his decision to continue exploring after the harsh winter could have easily fueled a murderous mutiny, suggests Peter Mancall, a professor of history at the University of Southern California.
“The full story of Hudson’s saga reveals one of the darker chapters of the European age of discovery,” said Mancall, who explores the 1610 voyage in his new book “Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson” (Basic Books; 2009).
New Scientist Video: Researcher Alun Hubbard discusses the break up of the ice
The biggest glacier in the Arctic is on the verge of losing a chunk of ice the size of Manhattan. A group of scientists and climate change activists who are closely monitoring the Petermann glacier’s ice tongue believe the rapid flow of ice is in part due to warm ocean currents moving up along the coast of Greenland, fuelled by global warming.
In an attempt to highlight rapidly melting summer sea-ice in the Arctic, an expedition will attempt to sail through the Northeast Passage of the Russian Arctic in a single summer, a trip that took over two years to complete when first attempted in 1839.
The expedition, led by the Swedish/Norwegian polar explorer Ola Skinnarmo will receive assistance from WWF in documenting the incredible pace of change in the region.
“The Arctic is melting fast. The summer sea ice extent has decreased by 40 percent since the 70s and may be completely gone within a generation,” says Neil Hamilton, director for the WWF International’s Arctic Programme.
This past Friday, the US House of Representatives voted 219-212 in favor of a bill that will cut back on the industrial pollutants behind global warming.
The House-passed bill requires that large U.S. companies, including utilities, oil refiners, manufacturers and others, reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases associated with global warming by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050, from 2005 levels.
They would do so by phasing in the use of cleaner alternative energy than high-polluting oil and coal.
“The scientists are telling us there’s an overwhelming consensus … global warming is real and it’s moving very rapidly,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, the chief sponsor of the legislation.
In urging passage, Waxman also said the legislation would create jobs and help move the United States from its reliance on foreign oil.
You won’t see walrus dancing to pop songs on an Arctic Kingdom expedition. But I guarantee that seeing these massive, gregarious creatures in their natural habitat makes for a sight more impressive than even the finest in semi-aquatic choreography. (See Thomas’ post below for some recent highlights).
Polar bear encounters on the North Slope oil fields have risen to record levels the last two years, a sign that increasing numbers of the white giants may be prowling on land because the sea ice they prefer is shrinking, scientists said.
Oil field sightings along the southern Beaufort Sea coast jumped to 321 in 2007 and 313 in 2008, said Craig Perham, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist in Anchorage.
That’s more than double the 15-year average of 138.
It’s also a sharp rise from 232, the previous high in 2005.
After voting last November to expand their home-rule agreement with Denmark to include control of police and courts and to make Greenlandic the official language, Greenlanders celebrated their new self-rule status this past Sunday.
Greenland’s Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist said in a speech: “This morning we awoke with new hope in our heart.
“From today we are starting a new era in the history of our country, a new era full of hope and possibilities.”
He added that “other countries have obtained self-determination often through making a lot of sacrifices,” but Greenland has secured it “through dialogue, mutual comprehension and reciprocal respect” with Denmark.
The new status took effect as Greenland celebrated its national day, six months after 75 percent of voters approved a referendum demanding more power for the local government and control of the island’s vast natural resources — gas, gold, diamonds and oil.