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North Pole Expedition

Intelligent people can sometimes be unbelievably foolish. Consider the 19th-century explorers of the Franklin Expedition who tried to reach the North Pole, Annie Dilllard, in her book Teaching a Stone to Talk, describes the provisions they took for that hazardous journey:

“Each sailing vessel carried an auxiliary steam engine and a 12-day supply of coal for the entire projected 2- or 3-year voyage. Instead of additional coal…each ship made room for a 1,200-volume library, a hand-organ playing 50 tunes, china place settings for officers and men, cut-glass wine goblets, and sterling silver flatware. The expedition carried no special clothing for the Arctic, only the uniforms of Her Majesty’s Navy.”

Imagine heading into frigid wastelands with supplies like that! What utter folly!

Our Daily Bread, February 6, 1998