It was quite a shock to log onto Tumblr the other day and actually see the last time I posted a blog. I can’t count the number of times I PLANNED to post…started a few words, then became distracted by real life matters, or someone else beat me to the punch and basically wrote what I thought I wanted to write about. But then, perhaps those were just excuses? So, no more excuses, time to get back on the horse (I was wracking my brain for a more nautical phrase, but none came to mind…if you have one, please let me know).
I am going to return to a regular pet peeve of mine, the preponderance of misinformation that seems to persist in the world. No, not imagined “false news” that some orange folks seem to scream about when their version of events or the world is questioned. No, I am talking about how the internet so often allows for misinformation to actually become accepted as fact, just because the initially erroneous tweet, post or whatever begins to build momentum and eventual acceptance due to the sheer rapidity of internet retweeting, reposting etc. By virtue of the sheer volume, people soon accept the thing as true because it is being repeated again and again. Confirmation of sources used to be a given before “stories” were circulated. Now many of us don’t seem to have the time to do some simple verification of fact before we repost in either indignation or support.
So that the reader does not make the mistake of thinking that I am merely reacting to more recent egregious errors of fact that are being pounced on almost daily since a certain day in January, I wrote a piece for Arctic Deeply some time ago on exactly this phenomenon . It didn’t get as many likes and reposting’s as some of the crazier Arctic/Antarctic/Polar stories often do. But it did get some take up and that made me feel somewhat vindicated. Shortly after I tried getting some play out of a hashtag…#ArcticMythBusters for stories that either debunked some of the craziness or at least tried to set the record straight. Alas, it never got near to “trending” status. I saw it used once or twice by someone else. At any rate, it seems to me now that the battle for truth is in fact never ending. I think I knew that deep down, at least since a high school media course I took in my youth that centred on Marshall Mcluhan’s mass media theories of the time.
That my friends of things Polar, of things maritime; is what brought me back to the world of blogging. I am going to take the time out of my busy days (really, I AM busy) and ensure that I DO post occasionally. Sometimes it will be to purposely take on misinformation on Arctic shipping (polar ships are not heedlessly polluting either of the polar regions nor is there a stampede into the Arctic of reckless shipping taking advantage of massive reductions in sea ice); or to educate on the necessity for safe global shipping (95% of everything moves by ship); or that mariners ARE a forgotten demographic (who reading this is aware of the tens of thousands of mariners at sea on any given day, thousands of miles and many months away from family); or simply to rattle on with a sea story (my beloved partner often tells me I can’t simply tell a short story….it HAS to become a SEA STORY, warning those on the receiving end that they had best settle down for a feature length telling).
In addition to the travel I do for Martech Polar, focused in polar and ice shipping, I am travelling about the globe quite a bit over the next year or so as President of The Nautical Institute. The scope of the face to face interaction is going to be tremendous. I am excited and looking forward to the much greater breadth of the knowledge I will draw in as I meet with mariners and others of the maritime industry outside my normal sphere. Who would have thought an Ice Navigator would have cause to visit Singapore, Jakarta, Varna, Gydnia, Cyprus, Cork, Fort Lauderdale? Those are among some of the places I will be meeting with marine industry movers and shakers. There also will be visits to places where Ice Navigators ARE expected, Halifax, St. John’s, Helsinki, London, Cape Town, and Anchorage.
Look at this then as my resolution of sorts. I intend to be more visible and more vocal. Yes, I am a child of 80’s TV, “the truth is out there”. I intend to make myself a conduit for the truth a little more regularly.