Wednesday, January 6, 2010

James Cook and a famous mutiny - BTHP

Two episodes came out in quick succession at the Binge Thinking History Podcast. BTHP is busy with its third series. After exploring the British roots of the American Constitution and the battle of Britain it is now going through the history of the British Navy. As goes with amateur history podcasts, the delivery schedule is unpredictable, yet every now and then, even after long hiatus the podcast always comes back with new and excellent episodes.

These last two episodes are especially noteworthy. The first of the two (America, Rodney and reputations) tells of the strategic situation by the 18th century. Host Tony Cocks informs of us how the English apply new tactics and new technology and manage to gain the upper hand over the French, in spite some of the evident advantages the French had. I was especially fascinated by the new technology: copper coating of the ships. It preserved the wooden hulls better in the water and by chance, it made the ships also quicker.

The next episode (Cook, Terra Australis Incognita, Bligh and mutiny) takes on another important subject of the same era: the exploration of the globe. Needless to say captain James Cook features centrally in this chapter. We learn what allowed Cook to succeed in discovering so much on the High Seas. After Cook, light is shed on captain Bligh who commandeered the Bounty, the ship of the (in)famous mutiny. Both episodes are very informative and well narrated.

More BTHP:
The Royal Navy and the Seven Year War,
Britannia Rules the Waves,
Royal Navy,
Win, lose or draw,
Blitz on London.

On writer's block and interaction

Are you following this blog? You are not alone. I guess there are about 500 daily of you - if I can freely calculate the daily returning web visitors (~50) with the RSS subscribers (~250), the Twitter followers (~160), the friends on Facebook (~700) and Networked Blogs (~130). I guess I give you enough value daily, weekly or monthly to cause you to keep following me. But I think that value could be much better. I try to figure out what content you are looking for, but it is all guesswork. I know you are there, but other than that I know hardly anything.

Occasionally a reader turns to me with a question or a recommendation. And almost always I turn that into a post - assuming that if one readers speaks, there must be more that kept silent about it. If I cannot give a reply, I bet that among the 500 followers somebody else could. So if we were to make this blog more interactive, it could be much more valuable for all of us. Hence I have decided to actively try to achieve that.

Over the past weeks I reported I had a writer's block for the blog. I was looking for a new challenge, and more interaction is the challenge I got myself excited about. I will be posting more questions in order to get you to respond, I will post more instructional posts about issues I know or suspect you struggle with (I' ll be listing a set of useful tools for podcast listeners soon) and I will let you know of other ways you can determine the content of this blog (a.o. there will be a new 'report a podcast' method soon). I hope you are going to be as excited about it as I am.

Attempts at more interactions so far:
Help a fellow podcast listener,
Who knows Russian Podcasts,
Help for podcast listeners.

Who knows more podcasts about (the history of) India?
Looking for recommended poetry podcasts,
Who listens to Swedish podcasts?
Who listens to Spanish podcasts?
More technical tips for podcast listeners and readers of this blog.