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Weddell Sea: Shackleton’s legendary ‘Endurance’: One of polar exploration’s most famous vessels located in Antarctica | Culture

A scientific expedition working aboard a South African ice-breaker, the Agulhas II, has discovered the Endurance, arguably the most famous vessel in the history of polar exploration, whose name has gone down in the history alongside the Fram, the Terra Nova, the Discovery, and the Erebus and Terror – the doomed ships of Captain Sir John Franklin’s expedition, of which there were no survivors. The Endurance was located in the Weddell Sea, the gateway to the Antarctic, at a depth of 3,000 meters, not far from where the crew recorded its last coordinates before it was claimed by the depths on November 21, 1915, crushed by the pack ice in which it had been trapped for almost a year. The 28-strong crew of the Endurance was saved by their courage and determination, and the bold response to the disaster of the expedition’s leader, Sir Ernest Shackleton, with his men stranded in one of the most inhospitable environments on the planet. Their subsequent escape is considered one of the greatest feats of the age of Antarctic exploration and one that honored the name of their stricken vessel.

The captain of the Endurance, Frank Worsley, took careful measurements with his sextant and chronometer of the location where the ice engulfed the ship, while the photographer of the expedition Frank Hurley documented the ponderous advance of the ice floe on the structure of the Endurance, rescuing around 150 negatives that tell the tale of the ship’s final repose. The vessel and its contents are a designated monument under the international Antarctic Treaty and as such its discoverers can observe, but not disturb the wreck in any way. What was unknown previously was where the current had dragged the Endurance. As it turns out, 107 years after it sank the vessel was located around 4.6 miles from the coordinates recorded by Worsley. That may seem a small distance in terms of land, but in the frozen expanse of the Weddell Sea and under the difficult conditions posed by the Antarctic, finding the Endurance was no mean feat.

The Agulhas II was on a research mission to the Larsen ice shelf during which it also took the opportunity to search for the Endurance, combing a predetermined area with remote-controlled submersibles, which were able to send back photographs of the ship. The “noble, courageous and gutsy little boat,” as the crew described it in its final moments, stands proudly upright on the sea bed, with its name still resplendent on its stern. There is no sign of the blue ensign Shackleton hoisted before the ice finished its work, but in the immense deep of the Antarctic abyss we can almost hear the echo of the spirited send-off given to the Endurance by her crew, who watched her go down with three “hurrahs.”

The ‘Endurance’ trapped in pack ice.
The ‘Endurance’ trapped in pack ice.

The explorers later recounted that shortly before the Endurance was lost to sight, a curious visit occurred: a group of eight Emperor penguins solemnly approached the trapped vessel, gazed intensely upon it and, lifting their heads, let out a phantasmal cry.

All of this forms part of the legend of the Endurance, which was built in Norway as a cruise ship for Arctic sightseers and for hunting trips. Shackleton acquired the vessel for his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, the objective of which was to complete the first land crossing of the Antarctic continent via the South Pole, which had been reached in 1911 by Roald Amundsen. Shackleton described the challenge as the “one great main object of Antarctic journeyings,” and saw its success as a means of redeeming British polar exploration after the heroic failure of Robert Falcon Scott’s 1912 expedition.

The expedition departed under ill omens: the First World War had just broken out and Shackleton offered the Endurance to the Royal Navy to fight Germany instead of the Antarctic pack ice. The ship eventually reached the sea ice around the frozen continent in December 1914 and after navigating almost 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) of treacherous ocean it became completely trapped just 85 miles (137 kilometers) short of its destination, Vahsel Bay, in the Weddell Sea, on January 19, 1915. The Endurance would move no more under its own steam, pulled and pushed about instead by the ice floe. For nine months, Shackleton and his men viewed their predicament with cool optimism, but this evaporated when they realized that the ice was not going to break open. The expedition leader observed: “No ship made by man can resist such pressure.”

Sleigh dogs rest by the stricken ‘Endurance,’ 300 miles from the nearest land.
Sleigh dogs rest by the stricken ‘Endurance,’ 300 miles from the nearest land.Frank Hurley / The Royal Geographical Society / Cortesía de galería Atlas.

Shackleton gave the order to abandon ship and the crew embarked on a march across the unstable ice towards safety, which lay over 300 miles (500 kilometers) away. Before departing, the explorers, who had been camping on the ice a stone’s throw from the Endurance, removed everything that could prove useful and transportable from the ship, including the famous 22.5-foot lifeboat the James Caird, which would serve to save their lives and which they dragged across the ice. What may well still remain on the wreck of the Endurance is the remainder of the crew’s Encyclopaedia Britannica, of which they carried with them just two volumes to stave off boredom.

Before setting off, the expedition members watched the Endurance sink, at night. “It is hard to write what I feel,” Shackleton noted in his diary. “To a sailor, his ship is more than a floating home. Now, straining and groaning, her timbers cracking and her wounds gaping, she is slowly giving up her sentient life at the very outset of her career.” Another crew member noted that the sound of the ice breaking the ship’s hull “seem as though they are the cries of a living creature.”

The morning after the Endurance went down, Shackleton gave the order to lighten the loads the men would be forced to carry. Shackleton himself left a handful of gold coins, his watch, his silver brushes, his vanity case and a Bible that had been presented to the ship by Queen Alexandra, saving just a few pages of psalms and some verses from the Book of Job, the recital of which did not exactly lighten the march and which sounded like an epitaph to the Endurance: “Out of whose womb came the ice? And the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.”

An image of the ‘Endurance’ taken by a submersible from the ‘Agulhas II.’
An image of the ‘Endurance’ taken by a submersible from the ‘Agulhas II.’DPA vía Europa Press (Europa Press)

Even more depressing for the crew was the necessity of killing several of the ship’s animals: sleigh dogs and the unfortunate Mrs Chippy, a cat belonging to the ship’s carpenter Harry McNish. When the crew set off, they went through a genuine ordeal on the unforgiving ice. It was a journey that lent credence to an observation made by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, a survivor of the Terra Nova expedition and author of The Worst Journey in the World, who remarked that polar exploration was the most radical and solitary way to have a terrible time that he had ever conceived. The crew of the Endurance, however, would all live to tell their tale.

Slowly the march advanced until they reached Elephant Island. From there, Shackleton and five others sailed the tiny James Caird in an epic 800-mile (1,287-kilometer) journey to South Georgia, where they arranged a rescue party for their comrades. Through his spirited command, which prevented the crew from giving up hope, and by refusing to sacrifice his men for the achievement of the objective as Scott had done, Shackleton has gone down in history as a noble example of leadership.

The Endurance was discovered just a few weeks after another legendary vessel was located: Captain James Cook’s Endeavour, and the 2014 and 2016 finds of Franklin’s Erebus and Terror in Canadian waters, some 170 years after they set sail from England in 1845. Fridtjof Nansen and Amundsen’s Fram, meanwhile, is perfectly preserved and can be visited in its own museum in Oslo.

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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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