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Science

Darwin's Voyage Done Over, Live 147

Posted by timothy
from the it-was-live-the-first-time-too dept.
thrill12 writes "Almost 178 years ago, Charles Darwin set sail in the HMS Beagle, to do the now famous explorations that formed the basis for Darwin's On The Origin Of Species. Now, a group of British and Dutch scientists, journalists and artists set sail again to redo the voyage of the Beagle. This time, they are taking modern equipment with them and they have live connections through Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Flickr. As they re-explore, and (re)discover, we can join that 8-month-long trip, live over the internet."
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Darwin's Voyage Done Over, Live

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  • Almost... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:14AM (#29411295)

    "Almost 178 years ago, this piece of news was released to the world. Now, Slashdot reports."

  • Waste of time? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:25AM (#29411329) Homepage

    Whoever thinks this should be tagged waste of time is just silly. Hell, if I were single and had the opportunity this would be a really interesting experience. If the media attention helps to remind people even a little of the fragility of the ecological balance on the planet all the better, and surely not a waste of time.

    (Disclaimer: I don't believe that an "ecological balance" equals no changes, but we can't honestly claim not to be raping the planet in several aspects at the moment. IMHO anyway...)

    • by houghi (78078) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:29AM (#29411347)

      Hell, if I were single and had the opportunity this would be a really interesting experience.

      I am sure that a lot of married people would be interested as well to get away for 8 months.

    • by moon3 (1530265)
      the media attention helps to remind people

      I doubt mainstream media will pick this up, "evolution" is still very controversial stuff. They just virtually banned the current Darwin inspired film in the US.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        otoh. in Europe this is proving to be quite popular, in The Netherlands it's getting a prime time slot appaerently

      • by owlnation (858981)

        They just virtually banned the current Darwin inspired film in the US.

        That's just not true. That is what the producers are claiming, however. But that's just propaganda, and an attempt to raise publicity. The truth is that the movie had bad reviews at festivals, and thus distributors didn't pick it up for the US market. Perhaps, potential evolutionist backlash may have played some very small part in that, but controversial movies like "The Last Temptation of Christ" have thrived on the negative publicity.

      • by xaxa (988988)

        I doubt mainstream media will pick this up, "evolution" is still very controversial stuff. They just virtually banned the current Darwin inspired film in the US.

        Charles Darwin is on the back of the £10 note [bankofengland.co.uk], he's hardly controversial here.

        The Daily Mail [dailymail.co.uk] calls Darwin, "the great evolutionist", and that's considered a conservative newspaper (Wiki [wikipedia.org]: "The Mail takes an anti-EU, anti-abortion view, based upon "traditional values", and is pro-capitalism and pro-monarchy, as well as, in some cases, advocating stricter punishments for crime. It also often calls for lower levels of taxation. The paper is generally critical of the BBC, which it argues is biased to the l

        • by moon3 (1530265)
          Yep, but most people (like 70%) believe in afterlife and similar crap still (US and pretty much rest of the world).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        "evolution" is still very controversial stuff

        This is, quite unfortunately, true in America these days. I find it positively baffling that 60% of a modern society can find it appropriate to take the word of a goat herder who lived in a tent 4,000 years ago over the whole of modern science. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. Evolution is a fact. It is no longer in dispute that all life on Earth evolved over about 3 billion years and that all life has a common unicellular ancestor, and that life tends to become more complex

        • by moon3 (1530265)
          It is astonishing that this is still controversial and makes it very clear why things like the War in Iraq and Income Taxes are possible

          Yep, it is painful to realize that we are living in dark ages of sorts still :-(

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Adrianople_(378) [wikipedia.org]
    • "Hell, if I were single and had the opportunity this would be a really interesting experience."

      I'm sure the position of "peg boy" is wide open.

  • BORING. (Score:5, Funny)

    by cffrost (885375) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:29AM (#29411345) Homepage
    Let's see a live re-creation of RMS Titanic's maiden voyage. Now that would be good television.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sadness203 (1539377)
      But, you see, iceberg are not fitted to survive the rapidly evolving climate change... They didn't adapt to the new reality. Soon, they will be gone like thousand of other species before it, they will be on the wall with the Dodo bird. And we'll hear no more of their rabid and vicious attacks on unwary sea captain! Bastard iceberg.
  • by SlashBugs (1339813) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:44AM (#29411401)
    This does sound like a cool project and I'll keep an eye on it, but I worry about the consequences of lauding Darwin and his work too much. Creationists, IDers and other crackpots often attack evolution by attacking errors or omissions that Darwin made, ignoring almost two centuries of refinements and advancements since his work. They also love to strawman scientists and other people who accept the evidence for evolution by referring to them as "Darwinists", implying that it's a simple case of "faith in God" vs. "faith in Darwin", rather than a matter of evidence.

    Darwin certainly deserves to be remembered and respected for the amazing groundwork and insights he gave us. But I think there's a danger of looking too fixated on one personality and his centuries-old pronouncements at the expense of modern and more solid results. It sucks that we have to consider stuff like this, but like it or not there is an ideological battle going on. Because IDers and creationists are basing their arguments on emotion and strawmen, we have to consider what attacks we're exposing ourselves to, even (or especially) if they're unfair and totally illogical.

    It does look like the ship will be packed with modern research equipment; hopefully the media they put out will heavily emphasise the modern data supporting evolution and acknowledging where Darwin's work has been improved upon, emphasising the success of the scientific method over the hero-worship.
    • by dangitman (862676) on Monday September 14, 2009 @05:16AM (#29411543)
      Creationists and IDers will get their panties in a bunch no matter what you do. Best just to ignore them, because changing what you do for their sake is just a way of being manipulated by them.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        Dn't ignore them. If you do they end up on your school board and getting sceince facts removed fromt he class room and replaces witha belief system.

        Best crush their skull^H^H^H^H^H beliefs, with rocks^H^H^H^H^H Logic.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      yes, be redoing Darwin's voyage is also an tribute to one of the key features of the scientific method: repeatability.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Jedi Alec (258881)

      This does sound like a cool project and I'll keep an eye on it, but I worry about the consequences of lauding Darwin and his work too much. Creationists, IDers and other crackpots often attack evolution by attacking errors or omissions that Darwin made, ignoring almost two centuries of refinements and advancements since his work. They also love to strawman scientists and other people who accept the evidence for evolution by referring to them as "Darwinists", implying that it's a simple case of "faith in God

      • Here in the UK, we have our very own Creationist Zoo [bbc.co.uk] that markets itslf to local schools as fulfilling curriculum requirements but pushes a strong and consistent creationist adgenda [noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk].

        Meanwhile, a recent survey [guardian.co.uk] says that half of Britons either don't believe in evolution or say they're too confused to have an opinion.
    • ... you... you scientist!

    • by khallow (566160)

      Creationists, IDers and other crackpots often attack evolution by attacking errors or omissions that Darwin made, ignoring almost two centuries of refinements and advancements since his work.

      The ones that do that often fail in the process. I really don't see a material effect on evolution science, if someone really did deify Darwin. It might even provide an amusing distraction for Creationists and similar folks.

  • cute but no cigar (Score:2, Interesting)

    by youn (1516637)

    wake me up when they do an intergalactic voyage with an FTL drive to see the evolution of life across the universe... darn, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to sleep a long time :)

  • by Supurcell (834022) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:44AM (#29411409)
    And so the first of many blessed pilgrims set out to become one niche closer to He Who Was Fittest, Darwin. By standing in His very foot prints, they too wouldst experience what was experienced through his highly evolved sensory organs. In their specialized grasping limbs, they wouldst wield the implements by which scrolls of eldritch knowledge would be wrought. As men they did die, but proven to be fit themselves, they too shall survive yet; not through their mortal vessels, but through story and song they outlive the ages.
    • You don't know how deep/true the last sentence is, considering that one can see ideas/mindsets/realities as lifeforms, growing, reproducing, feeding, and perhaps... having thoughts themselves?

  • Apart of rising some attention about the Evolution Theory in the (funny) battle against the Intelligent Design, I don't see any usefulness.
    Have those scientists, journalists (?) and artists (??) gained any new knowledge from this trip?
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Kon-Tiki for this generation? Its just nice to read about and reflect?
      A young person might get into science?
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Maybe it's just something fun they want to do?

      I don't consider it fun, but I'm not going to project that on them and come to some conclusion that it is a waste of time.

  • Live Video?!?!? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by t0qer (230538) on Monday September 14, 2009 @05:06AM (#29411499) Homepage Journal
    Anyone know how they're doing live video at sea?
    • If its on youtube it won't be live. Perhaps they use a sat phone to do a daily upload.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by illustir (92508)

      If you have the money it is actually not that difficult to do live video links using smallish satellite receivers. A laptop and an antenna the size of a briefcase is all you need to go live on television from anywhere in communication satellite range.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The main partners in this project are the Dutch and Belgian broadcasting corporations. I saw the first episode and they seemed to be using the same satellite setup they use for live reports.

    • Anyone know how they're doing live video at sea?

      The first few weeks of video would be quite educational, if they actually used a ship like the Beagle. Puking over the side every few minutes as the ship rolls at the least ripple on the sea, puking in horror on discovering what a state-of-the-art "marine head" was in the 1830s, puking at the sight of the maggoty gourmet cuisine served to officers and VIPs, puking at the smells of one's fellow voyagers (want a shower? dream on!). Almost like a twisted reality TV with green faces. Then there's the little iss

    • They've enlisted help from the Pirate Bay.
    • by p_trekkie (597206)
      Marine satellite broadband. [mobilsat.com] It ain't cheap (cheapest plan is $400/month), but seeing how much they're spending on the rest of this boondoggle, it should be affordable for them....
      • by p_trekkie (597206)
        Oops, I wasn't looking carefully... the minimum cost for true bluewater broadband is $1500/month.....
  • Why do these things always need to use live connections through twitter and facebook etc...? Why don't they just make their own website which shows the info in a more personal way to them? All the rest are just dumb hypes.
    • by Dak RIT (556128)

      Bandwidth?

      • by IBBoard (1128019)

        Bandwidth?

        Comparatively cheap these days. Scripts for micro-blogging, standard blogging, etc? Freely available. Not just being another hype-follower? Priceless.

        I suspect their are arguments like "because people use it" and "because people know it" and "because people don't need to make separate registrations". All it means is that you get buried in junk instead, or force people who wouldn't otherwise bother with an account on one of these "trendy" services to get an account just to comment (while avoiding t

        • by mdwh2 (535323)

          Comparatively cheap these days. Scripts for micro-blogging, standard blogging, etc? Freely available. Not just being another hype-follower? Priceless.

          So why are you here on "trendy" Slashdot like the rest of us? Surely you're better off building your own site to post your opinions to, instead of following the hype, right?

          I suspect their are arguments like "because people use it" and "because people know it" and "because people don't need to make separate registrations". All it means is that you get buried i

    • by draco664 (960985)
      Potential audience size?
    • Re:Twitter etc... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Arrawa (681474) on Monday September 14, 2009 @06:16AM (#29411801)
      Actually they did. and quite exentsive with that. But as its a Dutch/Belgium cooperation, the site is mostly in Dutch. http://beagle.vpro.nl/ [beagle.vpro.nl] But there is a section in English (and in Spanish and in Portuges) http://beagle.vpro.nl/#/page/item/12/english/ [beagle.vpro.nl]
    • by MistrX (1566617)
      My guess would be that more people visit Facebook, Twitter and Youtube then some obscure educational/informative/scientific website where only specific magazines and Slashdot news items refer to the URL.
      • by Arrawa (681474)
        It is not obscure! You have to get in mind that the VPRO is one of the large Dutch public broadcasters with lots of airtime on tv and radio. The co-host, VRT is the Belgium public broadcaster. They have a beagle site at http://multiblog.vrt.be/canvasprogrammas/beagle-kaart/ [multiblog.vrt.be] Many public broadcasters here in the Netherlands, endorse the idea of 'Don't care where and how you watch or listen to us, if you are listening to us'. In that adagium, Youtube, facebook, twitter fit very well.
        • by Arrawa (681474)
          Erhmm... that should be: 'Don't care where and how you want to watch or listen to us, as long as you are watching and listening to us'.
          • by MistrX (1566617)
            Yeah, but on an international platform I think they did right by using Twitter, Youtube etc. then just a website. You either have to watch the VPRO and go to the website to learn what the website is where the expedition is hosted on or read it on forums like Slashdot.

            Thats what I ment with obscure and I was referring to the website. ;)

            Also I fully endorse this expedition. Many people see it as a waste of time but a lot of new discoveries and/or insights are found when recreating an old scenario or wal
  • British, Dutch AND Belgian participants please! It's not because Kim Clijsters speaks Dutch, she is Dutch. Also, The Netherlands celebrates 'their' foundation of New York. But apparently, New York was also founded by Belgians (Walloons) and French. Hoboken for example is also a community near Antwerp. It's so convenient to leave the others out...
  • Horrible (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Cisco Kid (31490) on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:21AM (#29412061)

    Looks like a great project, however the website has got to be one of the most horrid and difficult to use things Ive seen in a web browser. Ever. Add that apparently they have been drinking from the MS Silverlight koolaid machine, and despite my interest in the project, I can say it will not be a site I will waste my time visiting anymore.

  • As too often happens, the wrong person is deified. Alfred Russel Wallace, at the least, co-authored the Theory Of Evolution. Like Nicola Tesla, he faded, or was trampled, into obscurity by a publicity seeking opponent. Google it and see, although many articles attempt to downplay Wallace's contribution because he dared to venture into "unscientific" areas of research. In any case, evolution as they both proposed is long since obsolete.
  • I plan to reproduce the famous "Franklin lightning, kite, key in the thunderstorm" experiment. If you don't hear from me again, you'll know how it went.

  • BBC Documentary (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:05AM (#29412399)

    Anyone who is interested in this topic should watch the BBC documentary "Galápagos: The Islands That Changed the World". It is fascinating and beautifully shot. You can buy it on DVD or BD, or rent it from Netflix.

    • I recommend "The Moral Animal" by Robert Wright. The book is mostly about modern evolutionary theory related through Darwin's works and life. I really liked that Galapagos documentary too, I felt like after watching it I never really need to go there myself, which is a good thing for the islands' wildlife.
  • Eight month trip huh? Must be real entertaining read.

    "At sea, the horizon is empty in every direction"

    "Still at sea, nothing to do, playing WoW"

    So, who would read this log of travel long enough to get to them making landfall?

  • Upon reading the summary I realized that we need a new word for people obsessed with the latest inane online social networking/banter sharing/privacy destroying fad services. I looked for one but could not find a suitable word with which to tag the story. Neophile is close but not specific enough, and carries too many negative connotations for the user. Blogtard sort of says it all but I think we can do better. Can anyone offer any suggestions?
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Social networking is not a fad, and isquite importnt.

      For example:
      DUring the Iran protest, Twitter change there upgrade times to lesson any impact on the copmmunication between protestors.

      Right there shows how damn important social networking is.

      Here is a suggestion:

      Communicator.

      I can't believe the tards on this site the poo-poo new ways to communicate. It's like saying writing is a waste of time becasue most people only write crap that isn't useful to anyone else.

      It's a Luddite position to take.

      And no, you

      • I'm not trivializing social networking on a whole, I know it has real, non-trivial uses - what I'm talking about here is the neophilic obsession with twittering, facebooking, geotagging and photo-sharing every damn thing like a puppy with a new toy, just for the sake of doing it.
      • I know its off topic but I had to reply to your signature. Snarky [wikipedia.org] has already been done.
  • Since this is a do-over there is an albeit small chance they'll come back like:
    "Huh... I guess Darwin was a scam artist. That sucks, he really had us going there with that whole 'evolution' thing. You think someone would have tried to verfiy."


    Ok... very very small chance but still.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      No, the discovery of DNA pretty much solidified Darwin's Hypothesis pretty firmly.

      OF course new evidence may be forth coming to change that, but it will need pretty strong evidences. In fact so many scientific discoveries confirm evolution that even if Darwin 'made it up' it would be irrelevant because it's true. I mean, he would get called out as a sham artists, but that doesn't mean all the other evidence goes away, it just means he got lucky with his 'sham'.

      Since it's been confirmed on the islands by oth

  • by zoeblade (600058) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @04:14AM (#29423725) Homepage

    If anyone's interested, Charles Darwin's book The Voyage of the Beagle [gutenberg.org] is available from Gutenberg, free in both senses of the word.

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