Thursday, January 9, 2014

Can shop class save small-town America? -

Can shop class save small-town America?Can shop class save small-town America? -

"If you need a midwinter pick-me-up, and a break from the usual round of bad-news ideological bickering over American public education, both arrive at once in Patrick Creadon’s provocative, inspiring and mostly optimistic documentary “If You Build It.” (Which, fittingly enough, was largely funded by Kickstarter.) There have been plenty of other movies about attempts by idealistic outsiders to reform or reinvent aspects of public schooling, and Creadon’s movie follows a familiar pattern to that extent. In 2010, Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller, a pair of former corporate design professionals who quit their jobs and started an educational program called Studio H, arrived in rural Bertie County, N.C., with big plans that confounded some locals and excited others. This movie is in part the story of their struggles, setbacks, successes and failures."

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Chasing Shackleton - Episodes 1 and 2 | PBS

In 1999 I went to the Shackleton Antarctic Expedition exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History.  I was stunned by the beautiful photographs of Frank Hurley, the amazing story of survival after the Endurance was crushed in the ice, capped by Shackleton's rescue mission from Elephant Island 800 miles across the southern ocean to South Georgia Island in the 21 foot James Caird lifeboat (which was there at the museum).
For months I was obsessed, reading the many accounts of the journey.  Though nothing can match South - Ernest Shackleton's own account - the most vivid and dramatic is journalist Alfred Lansing's Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage.

But my obsession pales in light of mountaineer Tim Jarvis, who organized an expedition to repeat the legendary voyage of the Caird, in a replica - The Alexandra Shackleton.  They undertook to repeat it in original equipment - oil skins clothing, contemporary rations (4,500 unpalatable calories/day of "hoosh"), sextant, compass.  Though regulations required an escort vessel, VHF and AIS those electronics systems proved to be shaky.

Jarvis and crew did have cameras, which made  possible much of the video in the excellent PBS film, the second episode of which will air January 15, 2014.  Meanwhile the link below will bring you to Episode 1.   Enjoy.  - GWC
Chasing Shackleton | PBS: Episode 1
Episode 2
"The series follows a crew of five intrepid explorers led by renowned adventurer, scientist and author Tim Jarvis as they re-create Shackleton’s epic sea-and-land voyage in a replica of the original explorers’ boat, using only the tools and supplies his team used.
Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which launched in 1914, met with disaster when his ship The Endurance was crushed by arctic ice and sank. His heroic leadership in the face of almost certain death saved the lives of 27 men stranded in the Antarctic for more than 500 days, and has inspired explorers and leaders across every continent over many generations."

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