"But...Does It Matter?" (Long)
Rodger Morris (rodger@FISHNET.NET)
Thu, 3 Aug 1995 02:53:48 GMT
>>. . . and at the north and south poles, there is no difference
>>(for all practical purposes), in the elevation of the sun at any time
>>during a given day.
>But, Rodger, does it matter?
>^Bert Austin - Unit Commissioner | I used to be a fox . . . ^
I suspect that this may be a humorously-intended rhetorical question,
but I shall address your query as though it were a sincere question.
If your question was indeed a serious one, then I apologize in advance
for my error in my perception of your intentions in posting it.
It matters to those who go to the very high latitudes. I admit that
relatively few Scouts have done so in the history of the BSA, but I
1) Paul Siple and 8 Eagle Scouts have gone to Antarctica while they
were still youth members of the BSA. It could have mattered to them.
2) Several dozen BSA Scouts participated in a trek in the Lapland
area of Finland a few years ago. Parts of Lapland are north of the
arctic circle. So are parts of Norway, where there are Scouts. The
city of Bodo, Norway, for example, is near the Arctic Circle. Bodo
has Scouts. So do the cities of Hell and Trondheim. It could matter
3) There are many Scouts in Iceland. Iceland lies mostly just south of
the arctic circle. It could matter to them.
4) Many U.S. Navy men from Fleet Antarctic Support Squadron Six (VXE-6)
and Naval Support Force Antarctic, almost all of whom live within 20
miles of where I live, deploy to Antarctica for almost 6 months each
year. Some of them are Scouters, and many of them are former Scouts. It
could matter to them.
5) Some Canadian Scouts live in and/or travel to high enough latitudes
that magnetic compasses are of limited use or of no use whatsoever. So
do some Russian Scouts. It could matter to them.
6) In much of the Canadian Shield area of Canada (around Hudson Bay),
magnetic compasses are erratic and unreliable owing to distortions in
the earth's magnetic field. The same may be true of parts of Russia,
but as a Navy C-130 navigator during the Cold War, I never had the
opportunity to fly there.
7) BSA Scouts have visited Siberia and gone on wilderness treks there
in recent years. Siberia lies at high enough latitudes that this could
easily become important in a survival situation. It could have mattered
8) It is worthwhile knowing the limitations, aka "boundary conditions",
of any technique that one might need to use in a potentially
life-threatening situation. It's a part of "situational awareness" and
of "good headwork".
9) This discussion group is not limited to those who live in within the
confines of the "lower 48" states, nor is it confined to members of the
BSA. Even within the USA, there are Scouts who live in the state of Alaska
for whom the limitations of the wilderness survival technique of
direction-finding by wristwatch could conceivably be "need to know"
information. It could matter to them.
In summary: Yes, the information I presented does matter to some people
who may be subscribers to SCOUTS-L and who may find themselves in a
wilderness survival situation that requires ground navigation without a
magnetic compass, even if it is currently a matter of total disinterest
to you personally.
Should we omit discussion here on SCOUTS-L of anything that does not
pertain to your local area? I think not. For example, I found the
recent discussion of chiggers here on SCOUTS-L interesting, even though
we don't have any chiggers here in southern California. Knowing about
chiggers and the prevention and treatment of chigger infestations may
save me some highly unpleasant days and nights if and when I travel to
chigger country in the unforseen future.
Perhaps you need to rediscover and rekindle your sense of wonder, and
become a "boy-man", in Baden-Powell's words. It _is_ a wonderful world
out there, and most of it is unlike your home city. ;-)
As a final thought and as a rhetorical question, what, sir, is the motto
of the Boy Scouts of America?
Yours in Scouting,
Rodger Morris <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 852, Camarillo, CA
Ventura County Council, Boy Scouts of America
National Woodbadge 416-18, Philmont, 1973
"I used to be a Beaver..."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City