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Monday, October 6, 2014

Special Google doodle for Thor Heyerdahl - Ethrographer and Kon Tiki

For most of us the day starts with Computer and Internet… and today, we were confronted with a very interesting doodle … a nice gif image which led us to details of a Norwegian, who died in 2002 aged 87 -  celebrated his 100th birthday today (6th of October).  He sailed 8,000km across the Pacific Ocean in a hand-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands ~ and what interested more was the description of that doodle – ‘to commemorate the birthday of the late Norwegian ethongrapher and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl’

Ethnographer …… honestly, I have not heard of this word earlier – nor about the place connected to his voyage … the Tuamotu islands,  a chain of islands and atolls in French Polynesia.  The island were originally called by the Tahitians of Tahiti as the Paumotus, which means the "Subservient Islands", until a delegation from the island convinced the French authorities to change it to Tuamotus, which means the "Distant Islands".   It is composed of 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over an expanse of more than 2000 kilometres (1245 miles) in the South Pacific Ocean,  yet its total land area is only 4167 square kilometres (1609 square miles).

 Thor Heyerdahl (1914 -2 002)  was a Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer with a background in biology, zoology, botany, and geography. He became notable for his Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947, in which he sailed 8,000 km (5,000 mi) across the Pacific Ocean in a hand-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands. The expedition was designed to demonstrate that ancient people could have made long sea voyages, creating contacts between separate cultures. Heyerdahl subsequently made other voyages designed to demonstrate the possibility of contact between widely separated ancient peoples. He was appointed a government scholar in 1984. In May 2011, the Thor Heyerdahl Archives were added to UNESCO's "Memory of the World" Register.  The Heyerdahl Archives span the years 1937 to 2002 and include his photographic collection, diaries, private letters, expedition plans, articles, newspaper clippings, original book, and article manuscripts.
Kon tiki the raft..
Google,  has created one of its iconic illustrations to pay tribute to the man who recreated a Peruvian raft, made of balsa wood and other native materials, and sailed it thousands of miles across the Pacific to prove it was possible for a primitive craft to make the journey. The raft proved to be highly maneuverable, and fish congregated between the nine balsa logs in such numbers that ancient sailors could have possibly relied on fish for hydration in the absence of other sources of fresh water. Inspired by the Kon Tiki, other rafts have repeated the voyage.

A documentary film of the expedition won an Academy Award in 1951 and a dramatised version made in 2012 was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

Ethnography  is the systematic study of people and cultures. It is designed to explore cultural phenomena where the researcher observes society from the point of view of the subject of the study. An ethnography is a means to represent graphically and in writing the culture of a group. Ethnography records all observed behavior and describes all symbol-meaning relations, using concepts that avoid casual explanations.

Tamil heroes have been Kings, Police Officers, Underworld dons, Auto drivers ….and more ….. the 1992 Mani Rathnam directed Roja with Arvind Swamy in the lead was different.  It started with story happening in Sundarapandipuram, a small village  in Southern Tamil Nadu, moving to Kashmiri terrorism.  The hero was a ‘Cryptologist’ …which raised eye-brows when first heard – who ?   Cryptography  is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties (called adversaries). Modern cryptography intersects the disciplines of mathematics, computer science, and electrical engineering. Applications of cryptography include ATM cards, computer passwords, and electronic commerce.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

6th Oct 2o14

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