supposed to be covered by eternal ice and that there is more eternal ice in Mexico than there is in an equal area of Arctic
and sub-Arctic Canada. We know that bees and butterflies go about among the midsummer flowers on the north coasts of the most northerly lands in the world.
But we might have in our minds all this and more of the new knowledge about the Arctic and still the dream of the middle ages about a short route to the Far Fast might be as remote as ever. The climate is not eternally cold, for the summers are warm; the lands are not eternally ice-covered, for few of them are mountainous; the sea is not covered with one vast expanse of ice, for the ice is not strong enough to stand the strain, and we have even in mid-winter millions of floes of varying sizes drifting about and jostling each other, with large patches of open water between them. All these things are true and still it remains equally true that for ordinary ships the Arctic is not a navigable ocean on the direct route from Europe to the Pacific.
But there lies above the partly ice-filled water the wide unhampered ocean of the air, free to be navigated in any direction by ships of the air.
The most optimistic students consider that flying conditions over the Arctic throughout the year are on the average better than over the North Atlantic. The most pessimistic consider them probably worse, but conquerable. Those who hold a middle ground think that the Arctic is perhaps more favourable than the
North Atlantic in summer but that it would be less favourable in winter. Some of the highest authorities have said that i t will probably turn out an actual trial that January flying across the Arctic will proably turn out to be not only less difficult easier than North Atlantic flying in January but actually easier than Arctic flying in July. One reason why The authorities differ partly because in that some think only of our flying technique as it is today. But there is likely to be as
much progress in aviation during the next five years as there has been during the past five, and many of the difficulties of today will he conquered before 1930.
During more than 11 years of actual residence in the Arctic,
I had its the problems of the North were constantly before me, and I was therefore in a position to be one of the first to realize that the dream of the Elizabethan navigators centuries that intervened between Columbus and Franklin is was about to come. I got The idea came to me vaguely about 10 years ago. and put it in It was put into print tentatively in 1921 and more fully in a book called "The Northward Course of Empire" in 1922. I had been urging it upon the Canadian Government in writing since 1918.
The difficulty in getting the ordinary educated person to take a
thoroughly fully rational view of the Polar regions is due partly to the recrudescence of ancient beliefs. about the Polar regions. This is the fault of our school and college education s. The Popes of Rome were in the habit of mentioning in bulls issued during the middle ages that Greenland exported butter and cheese, but the children of our schools today are in most places given no other the impression of that Greenland than of a land is all covered with ice and snow. I have questioned a number of school children in Canada and England and have found them uniformly of that impression, although they are usually unable to say exactly where they got the idea. In the United States, there is a song in popular use in the kindergartens and primar yies schools which has with the refrain "For in Greenland there is nothing green to grow"! you know"!
Another reason for the misconceptions about the Arctic is that few care to read anything about distant countries except stories of adventure. If you spend five years in Spain, you may find when you come back that your friend the magazine editor does not care to print anything you have to say about climate or agriculture but that he will be glad to publish an
d account of how you watched a bull-fight and what
you though of it. Similarly, an explorer may go through many placid years in the remotest Arctic to find that the editor does not care to print anything except the story of a narrow escape from being eaten by a
polar bear. It is as if you were to tell Englishmen the story of a year in Chicago wholly in terms of the stockyards motor accidents and deaths from sunstroke s.
Probably the most insidious and effective opponent of a rational view of the earth is Mercator with his grotesque chart. The earth is flat in the idiom of our speech, it is flat when you look out through your window, and it is flat when you glance at a wall where hangs a map of the earth with Greenland looking bigger than South America and with the
North coast of Alaska, Canada and Siberia stretching horizontally from east to west. It is simple and natural to consider earth as flat. The sailor knows how simple it is in theory to cross the ocean on the presumption of flatness, but he knows also that nobody but a fool would do it. Hence that picturesque expression "plane sailing", which describes a thing so easy that any fool can do it.
The navigators are among the few people who have to apply day by day their knowledge that the earth is round. Most of the rest of us, including politicians, are under no such compulsion. We speak of the "top" of the earth, and we have on our wall Mercator's chart with Canada and Siberia at the top. We see the
Arctic islands lying between continents on one side and the ceiling on the other, and we get the idea that they lie between Canada and Siberia on one side and infinity or nothingness on the other. This misleading presentation has actually led to the half-formulation of a doctrine of international law to the effect that one land belongs to another because of lying to the north. That would be logical if the earht were flat and had a father edge. It looks logical on Mercator's chart, but the logic
wholly disappears when you
look at envision the map of the northern hemisphere which we print with this article. Such maps are rare. This summer I visited every well-known shop in London and was unable to buy a map of the northern hemisphere, except on a small and practically diagrammatic scale as a sort of footnote to a map of the eastern and western hemispheres. You will fare almost as badly on a search in NewYork. The only American map available much larger than this a grapefruit has recently been published by the U.S. weather Bureau. The map collection of the American Geographical Society is considered the finest in the United States, and it has no goodsized modern map of the Northern Hemisphere. Such are the Mercators results and of of the simple-looking the doctrine of that the Arctic is an insurmountable as a barrier. have muddled even our cartographers!
On the map of the
Northern Hemisphere you will see that the north- ern arctic frontier of the great land masses does not run in a straight horizontal line as on a Mercator, but forms instead a horseshoe. This horseshoe is much smaller than you would have thought, for the Arctic Ocean is tiny when compared with any of the other oceans. If it were dreadful and uncrossable by air-craft it could be avoided. If you can not cross the Desert of Gob ei you can always go around it.
Maps of the northern and southern halves of the earth show that the great land masses of the world are in the northern hemisphere. It is important from the political and economic point of view (since we do not inhabit the ocean) that the Arctic on such a map or on a globe looks like a hub from which the continents radiate like the spokes of a wheel. This gives it the immediate importance which is bound to increase as the settlements creep northward along the great Siberian and Canadian rivers. Major-General Sir Sefton Brancker, Director of Civil Aviation for Great Britain, said in a speech at Sheffield last summer that carrying mails from England to Japan by way of the Arctic was a probability of the next ten years. Rear-Admiral William A. Moffet, the head of the air section of the United States Navy,
has said in an annouc eding a project that the American dirigible Shenandoah will should cross the Arctic probably from Alaska to Europe the summer of 1924 and has said that "It must be realized that Polar routes by air connecting England, Japan, Alaska and Siberia are possibilities
in the near future and that they will be of incalculable value in cutting down time and distance between these points”. Since these men are in high authority in two of the most progressive countries of the world, what they have said is more significant than my having said the same thing in a book called "The Northward Course of Empire", published about a year
before earlier (August 1922). I was merely the prophet of the change, but they are bringing about the change itself. End M No single event ever caused such a profound revolution in human thought as did tThe voyage of Magellan’s ships around the world, for it transformed the earth from a stationary pancake, housed under a firmament, into one of a family of little spherical planets tagging along behind a somewhat larger sun on a possibly eternal journey through a perhaps infinite universe. When the new views of the Arctic get so firm a hold that they lead to arctic colonization transarctic flying action, as the Copernican doctrine of a round world led to the voyage of Magellan, then there is bound to follow a profound change of thought and outlook, not so profound as that of the Middle Ages, but nevertheless decisive enough to mark an epoch. in human thought.
Or perhaps the coming change of thought is more exactly analogous to that connected with the development of ocean-going ships. From the earliest prehistoric times large bodies of water were considered to separate the lands; but with the development of sea-born commerce came the idea that the oceans connect the lands. Gradually this view got a firmer hold until it became a commonplace that a city 100 miles in the interior was commercially and practically farther away than another 100 miles across the sea. Were it not for the strictly modern developments of railways, Pittsburgh would be farther from New York than London is. Similarly, air commerce will emphasize not only that the world is round from north to south but also that the Arctic connects Alaska and Europe quite as much as it separates them.
End Copying On our winter sledge Journeys in the Arctic we are sometimes storm-