Author Topic: Descent Magazine  (Read 17125 times)

Offline Cap'n Chris

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« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2005, 05:17:29 pm »
HOPING YOU HAVE GOOD HOLS! CHEERS!

Offline bubba

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« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2005, 05:57:49 pm »
Thanks Chris - see ya'all later.... :)
=:blubba:=

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Lincolnshire poacher

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« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2005, 06:28:04 pm »
I personally think Descent is ok.  Keeps me informed of what is going on etc and as i dont have webaccess at work, it allows me to have something do when work gets boring.

Offline graham

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« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2005, 08:09:24 pm »
I like Descent & reckon Chris does a pretty good job overall (thanks Chris  :hi: )

Having said that, with regard to the rest of the thread; take two opposing examples: If the BEC folds next year, there will still be complete sets of Belfry Bulletins and BEC Caving Reports in libraries up and down the country. If CUCC folds next year then the web site which seems to be their only way of recording stuff these days will vanish completely shortly afterwards unless some private individual takes it on. That will mean it vanishes a decade or so later when he can no longer be bothered, his computer crashes, he dies.

There are some out there who seem to think that maintaining 'net resources is both easy and free. They are wrong on both counts.
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Offline Andy Sparrow

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« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2005, 10:44:04 am »
Quote
I wasn't aware that Chris Howes was lording it up in a castle somewhere getting rich off the efforts of his contributors either


Chris is a good chap and is entitled to make a living from the magazine, but I think he would sell more copies if he commissioned specific articles and that relying entirely on contributions may be a false economy.  For example, there is very rarely anything in Descent about caving techniques.  A regular series on ropework would certainly attract more readership.  I get a bit bored with 'what we did on our social weekend' type of report and don't really find yet another photograph of cavers gathered in a bar very inspiring.  There are an awful lot of cavers who don't read Descent for these very reasons.
Andy Sparrow



Offline kay

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« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2005, 10:57:18 am »
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Look after disc backups and I can't see why they will last as long as any other media


But that isn't very long nowadays!

When I started work  :oldgit:  our scientific data was held on paper tape. Since then we have moved through magnetic tape, floppies and cds. Unless someone has an active interest in any particuar archive, it's easy for it to slip through the net when one medium becomes obsolete and is replaced by another.

For anyone concerned about the Doomsday Project - I understand that it has now been rescued and transferred to a more readable medium and format. But professional archivists are always very pleased to tell you that there are no problems at all reading the original Doomsday Book (that is if you can cope with the funny writing and the funny language - not too different from computer storage in that respect, then  :wink: )

cucc Paul

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« Reply #31 on: June 26, 2005, 03:25:23 pm »
I know this slightly off note but its related to sharing knoledge... Discovery Science (tv channel on sky) just showed a good program on caves and cave life. featuring on larger fauna than were used to in the uk such as cave fish and cave crayfish (fresh water lobster thing) that live for 40-60 years... and the micro biology that exists in caves to support them, a kind of rock eatting bacteria. it also looked at cave diving and caves in california. I know its a bit late as i only stumbled onto it by accident, however it is on a sky channel so it will be showing again in the future as a repeat. if you have access to such channel and you notice it on its really worth watching lots of interesting things on there...

cucc Paul

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« Reply #32 on: June 26, 2005, 03:26:49 pm »
sorry it was part of the understanding series specific episode i saw was called : caves... short and to the point name i guess

Offline Cumbrian Neil

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« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2005, 06:10:26 pm »
Quote from: "graham"
I like Descent & reckon Chris does a pretty good job overall (thanks Chris  :hi: )


I agree with you Graham.  Chris Howes does a fantastic job presenting the information he is provided by correspondents from all areas of the UK.  I think Descent is only limited, and always has been, by the amount of information he has been given.

If I have any comments for improvement, it would be to have the magazine accessable through .pdf files that can be "bought" by the reader.  Unfortunately, that might be abused by folks who don't wish to subscribe.

CN.
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Offline graham

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« Reply #34 on: June 27, 2005, 07:10:43 pm »
Quote from: "Cumbrian Neil"
Quote from: "graham"
I like Descent & reckon Chris does a pretty good job overall (thanks Chris  :hi: )


I agree with you Graham.  Chris Howes does a fantastic job presenting the information he is provided by correspondents from all areas of the UK.  I think Descent is only limited, and always has been, by the amount of information he has been given.

If I have any comments for improvement, it would be to have the magazine accessable through .pdf files that can be "bought" by the reader.  Unfortunately, that might be abused by folks who don't wish to subscribe.

CN.



I completely agree with your first point, so if anyone (Andy?) is dissatisfied with the content then the answer is in their own hands.

On your second pointg, why not ask him? There are good systems around for selling pdf files online.
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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« Reply #35 on: June 27, 2005, 08:21:36 pm »
It could do with more nude women in it, IMHO.

andymorgan

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« Reply #36 on: June 27, 2005, 10:05:22 pm »
Can't reach the top shelf in the newsagents then Chris? You have the internet though.....

I think descent is decent (!) and is an interesting read. However it only takes about 10 minutes to read. I personally would like to see more about UK caves, rather than far off places I am unlikely to visit. I would like to see descriptions of classic trips etc, especially with the demise of some of the guide books.

MSD

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« Reply #37 on: June 27, 2005, 10:45:17 pm »
If it is really the case that many guidebooks are not going to be reprinted, the caving community is going to have to think differently. Why not start compiling a series of on-line guidebooks, which are free to download? If everybody in the on-line caving comminuity wrote a few cave descriptions, it could soon grow and become useful.

The key things would be to establish a format and a site to host it.

Offline Stuart Anderson

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« Reply #38 on: June 27, 2005, 11:23:09 pm »
Quote from: "MSD"
If it is really the case that many guidebooks are not going to be reprinted, the caving community is going to have to think differently. Why not start compiling a series of on-line guidebooks, which are free to download? If everybody in the on-line caving comminuity wrote a few cave descriptions, it could soon grow and become useful.

The key things would be to establish a format and a site to host it.


Hitch n Hike - Shaun etc are doing just that.
I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

andymorgan

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« Reply #39 on: June 27, 2005, 11:23:49 pm »
Absolutely, that would be a great idea. Perhaps something along the lines of Wikopedia where users can update and modify entries would be useful. Going back to the debate earlier in this thread, this is where the internet has a big advantage. For caving guides it is desirable for them to be bang up to date: a web guide could even give hazards particular of that day, such as weather and bad air problems for example. By contrast guide books rapidly go out of date when the diggers are hard at it!
  Obviously finding the people to write, pay, host it etc. will be the difficult part....

Offline paul

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« Reply #40 on: June 28, 2005, 07:56:04 am »
Quote from: "andymorgan"
Absolutely, that would be a great idea. Perhaps something along the lines of Wikopedia where users can update and modify entries would be useful. Going back to the debate earlier in this thread, this is where the internet has a big advantage. For caving guides it is desirable for them to be bang up to date: a web guide could even give hazards particular of that day, such as weather and bad air problems for example. By contrast guide books rapidly go out of date when the diggers are hard at it!


The only problem with this is that people would concentrate on the larger, well-known systems, I think. With the definitive guides (Caves of The Peak District, Northern Caves 1,2,3 etc.) all caves are recorded even if they are tiny or no longer exist.

For example, there are at least 93 entrances of one sort or another in Stoney Middleton, some of more interest than others. I bet only a handful would be described in any guide of a contributary nature.

Quote from: "andymorgan"
Obviously finding the people to write, pay, host it etc. will be the difficult part....


Very true. Then there's the other argument about losing the data when the people hosting the site lose interest, etc.

In my opinion it would be nice to have both the definitive guides plus a wiki website for updates, This would assist in keeping the information up to date and also help when republishing time comes around again.
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Offline Anon

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« Reply #41 on: June 28, 2005, 08:52:47 pm »
Quote
Obviously finding the people to write, pay, host it etc. will be the difficult part....

Cost is always the biggest factor and the one that puts most people of, time comes a close second!

..

Quote
The only problem with this is that people would concentrate on the larger, well-known systems, I think. With the definitive guides (Caves of The Peak District, Northern Caves 1,2,3 etc.) all caves are recorded even if they are tiny or no longer exist.

Precisely. The need for a record of ALL caves exists, admittedly not everyone will visit them but it still needs doing otherwise they will be lost.. If we were ramblers/mtbers/4x4ers/etc we would be up in arms at the thought of the defenitive map being dumped and restricted in copies (as are Peak Caves/Northern Caves) - perhaps a definitve 'map' (record) of caves needs sorting out..?

Offline kay

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« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2005, 09:38:19 pm »
www.cavedatabase.co.uk

has a suitable structure, but no-one seems interested in populating it!

Offline Anon

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« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2005, 10:02:36 pm »
Quote
www.cavedatabase.co.uk
has a suitable structure, but no-one seems interested in populating it!

It does indeed but, where do we get the information for populating it...??? Grid Refs are one thing but a bit more information is always useful and more preferable..
From my experience the authors of Northern Caves are not keen to see their work populated in a general manner such as this, unless they suddenly have a change of heart..
So where does the information come from, bearing in mind the average caver doesn't visit all caves only the classic/sporty trips..?

Offline kay

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« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2005, 10:59:50 pm »
The Northern Caves authors presumably hold the copyright so, even if there were a mutt willing to transcribe, it isn't possible. So there aren't a lot of options except, in effect, repeat the work.

No, the average caver doesn't visit all the caves. But cavers come in lots of shapes and sizes. Some  like the sporting aspect, the physical challenge, others like exploring and seeing what's down there. I don't do vertical, so, being based in Yorkshire, that means I inevitably do non-classic caves - and I'm not the only one.

I don't think it's feasible to replicate Northern Caves. But over time one could build up a worthwhile database.

The ideal solution is, of course, Northern Caves on the web, together with updatesfor all caves giving extensions, current accessibility etc.

andymorgan

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« Reply #45 on: June 29, 2005, 12:19:31 am »
In my opinion I think the smaller caves are the most likely to be updated: i.e. it is quicker to write up a description about smaller caves than larger ones. Also locals are more likely to be personally interested in these smaller sites.
 However is not having the smaller caves a problem? In the Mendips 'The Complete Caves of Mendip' was last published in 1977, which contained every small cave. This was superseded by 'Mendip Underground', which did not detail every small cave but spent more pages detailing the larger caves, which in my opinion makes it a much stronger guide.
  I would rather have more detail about larger caves than a 20 metre long hole that I would only put my head in when i am walking a dog past it!

Offline paul

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« Reply #46 on: June 29, 2005, 07:50:19 am »
Quote from: "andymorgan"
I would rather have more detail about larger caves than a 20 metre long hole that I would only put my head in when i am walking a dog past it!


And how many caves that were 20 metres long or shorter at one time are now major systems thanks to digging or investigation? What about minor swallets which take water and having been traced lead cavers to investigate connecting systems?

If all you want is a "tick list"  type of book with the major caves in each area then that's fine. There is a definite use for that type of bool especially for cavers new to an area.

But I think it is vital to have a definitive guide as well. We need a record of all caves not just the popular or major ones. As I said, ther are at least 93 entrances in Stoney Middleton alone in the Peak. It would be a sad loss to lose all memory and knowledge of these mines and caves together with their associated history of discovery and exploration, even if they weren't visited very often.

My club is currently digging in Owl Hole in Dowal Dale in the Peak and has quite a bit of success (see the latest issue of Descent, which brings us back on topic!). The last issue of Caves of The Peak District listed this cave as "Lost" as it was filled with rubbish.

Luckily there are plans to issue an updated version of Cave of The Peak District and long may it continue.
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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« Reply #47 on: June 29, 2005, 09:04:27 am »
Quote
It would be a sad loss to lose all memory and knowledge of these mines and caves together with their associated history of discovery and exploration, even if they weren't visited very often.


Big agreement from me; have already been in touch with National Trust about "losing" caves under their land management to encroaching impenetrable thickets of bramble, hawthorn etc.. All around the country we see woodland/scrub growing, unchecked, at a steady rate and within twenty years there's going to be masses of the countryside which is effectively off limits without some serious machinery or machetes. Some of these lesser caves are certainly going to be potential dig sites of the future - unless we lose digging altogether with possible stringent legislation affecting the use of bang stopping progress.

Mole

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« Reply #48 on: June 29, 2005, 12:59:02 pm »
Quote from: "cap 'n chris"
Quote

 unless we lose digging altogether with possible stringent legislation affecting the use of bang stopping progress.


Has anyone tried any of the commercial alternatives to bang ?

Offline Cap'n Chris

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« Reply #49 on: June 29, 2005, 03:20:59 pm »
Mole, I presume you mean things like snappers as alternatives to bang? If so, then yes these do get used, but:

a) They're a very expensive way of doing a big job slowly.
b) They don't work on bedrock, only boulders (and then there's a limit on what they can break apart).
c) You need lots of drill batteries and that can be heavy work dragging around underground on a frequent basis.
d) There probably isn't a real workable and cheap alternative to "proper" bang.

 

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