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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Inaccurate History Channel Armor Article Reply to topic
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Robert S. Haile





Joined: 16 Dec 2007

Posts: 126

PostPosted: Sun 09 Oct, 2011 4:14 pm    Post subject: Inaccurate History Channel Armor Article         Reply with quote

Hey there folks. I recently came across this piece of writing by one route or another over at the history channel's web site. I generally don't expect much in the way of truth, accuracy, or serious research where the HC is concerned, but I found this particular article to be extremely irritating, and I'm sure it will strike home with many of you as well. This type of bad science is what bolsters the myths many of us work very hard to dispel.

http://www.history.com/news/2011/07/20/in-shi...ave-shone/


I will let the article speak for itself, but I would like to post two particularly alarming excerpts...

“Being wrapped in a tight shell of armor may have made soldiers feel safe,” said Federico Formenti from the University of Auckland, one the study’s co-authors. “But you feel breathless as soon as you begin to move around in medieval armor, and this would likely limit a soldier’s resistance.”

"This means that medieval armor, constructed from interlocking steel plates that covered soldiers from head to toe, was more burdensome than a military pack of equal weight, the researchers determined."

These certainly don't reflect my experiences in harness, and I would very much question the level of understanding the 'researchers' involved in this study have concerning knightly combat. Suggesting that heavily armored combatants are equipped as such merely because it "makes the soldiers feel safe" betrays a very deep lack of understanding. Feel free to share your thoughts.
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Sun 09 Oct, 2011 5:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that the history channel is contradicting itself again here. they've had plenty of documentaries that stated that plate around was the most mobile of armor and did not hinder the wearer at all - or else why was it used so much?

what the heck are they doing over there? i swear the only good show i see on there any more was called "ancient discoveries" now that was a cool show - now they got crap like "ancient aliens" "ice road truckers" (how is that even history?!) i wanna see that show with zowie hawas (i can't spell his name) from the egypt show locked in a room with that fool with that crazy *&%ed hair and totaly OWN him.
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
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PostPosted: Sun 09 Oct, 2011 5:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So the first problem is that you actually looked at the History channel which helps keep it in business.

The second problem is that you actually looked at the History channel which helps keep it in business. Big Grin Cool

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Oct, 2011 5:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a lot of good discussion on the study referenced in that article:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=23677

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Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

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PostPosted: Sun 09 Oct, 2011 5:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that "ancient aliens" guy with the crazy *&%ed hair is extremely learned. He always has books behind him when he's talking. Eek!
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Josh MacNeil




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 23 Jul 2008

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PostPosted: Sun 09 Oct, 2011 7:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By no means do I wish to sound elitist or condescending, but I thought I'd weigh in here. The way I look at it is that this article may be spreading misinformation, but if somebody's first stop in a quest for knowledge is the History Channel website, then that's their mistake. When I was first getting into this hobby, I was one of those who took HC as a source of credible information. But then I took the initiative to become more well informed and distinguish fact from fiction. What I'm getting at is that if somebody truly wants to educate themselves about something, it's up to them to figure out the right places to get their information to do so. Though I will admit that it is disturbing to see such flawed logic and poor application of the scientific method coming from seemingly educated people.
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Robert S. Haile





Joined: 16 Dec 2007

Posts: 126

PostPosted: Sun 09 Oct, 2011 8:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ian S LaSpina wrote:
Here's a lot of good discussion on the study referenced in that article:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=23677


Much appreciated. Good discussion going on there.




Also, as I said in the original post, I don't mean to give the impression that I was looking to the History channel for anything resembling credible information. Like Josh just said, It's just a shame that this sort of thing is still being suggested by 'learned' men. I agree that the ones who are interested and care to find out about a more accurate picture will seek it out for themselves, but it would certainly be nice if the average joe had a less glaringly inaccurate understanding of the subject. Nothing to cry about, overall, but a little pouting might not hurt. Cool
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Josh MacNeil




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 23 Jul 2008

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Mon 10 Oct, 2011 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robert S. Haile wrote:
Ian S LaSpina wrote:
Here's a lot of good discussion on the study referenced in that article:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=23677


Much appreciated. Good discussion going on there.




Also, as I said in the original post, I don't mean to give the impression that I was looking to the History channel for anything resembling credible information. Like Josh just said, It's just a shame that this sort of thing is still being suggested by 'learned' men. I agree that the ones who are interested and care to find out about a more accurate picture will seek it out for themselves, but it would certainly be nice if the average joe had a less glaringly inaccurate understanding of the subject. Nothing to cry about, overall, but a little pouting might not hurt. Cool


Robert - My apologies if my words seemed aimed at you (or anyone else) in a condescending manner. Didn't mean for the tone to be interpreted as such. I was referring to, like you said, the average joe. The unfortunate thing is that the History Channel has the potential and resources to put some really informative programs on the air. I understand that it's TV and it's meant to entertain, not educate. But it IS possible to present factual content and still have it be entertaining.

When it comes to the subject of arms and armour, it can be hard to generalize the information without over simplifying it, and therefor perpetuate the myths that already surround it. They've managed to do this before. I remember an episode of Modern Marvels that was all about knives, swords, and axes. They interviewed members of ARMA, Jeffrey Forgeng of Higgins Armory, and Paul Champagne. While the program did generalize (which is a necessary evil in order to condense it into a one hour program) it was still fairly informative for everyday folks who had little to no knowledge of the subject in the first place. That proves that HC has the ability to find credible sources of information. And episodes like that may not have all the info, but it's something that could spark an interest and inspire someone to pursue more information on the subject.

It's really HC's main channel on basic cable that is the worst of them. They have other channels on extended cable and satellite that have better programming. I think that the biggest issue is that the History Channel is an entertainment company and not a scholarly institution. They probably have people employed whose job is to find sources for the content of their programming. Then other people whose job is to take that information and chop it up into a TV show. So even when they have good sources, the information can be lost/warped in the production process. If they revamped their process of finding information and worked on presenting it in an entertaining way while still keeping it factual, then they could produce some amazing programming. They're never going to satisfy the hardcore history buffs without changing their entire demographic. But they could still work to reach a wide audience with more informative content. The aforementioned Modern Marvels episode vs the study that is the premise of this little rant of mine, demonstrates good vs poor sourcing.

As to the study performed in the History Channel article, that is a discussion all its own. I fear I may have taken an unfair jab at the scientists responsible for this study in my initial post, and for that I apologize. I feel that deserves some clarification for the sake of their argument and my own. Science ties into history and vice versa. Much of history is open to interpretation, so there is bound to be disagreements and discussion, hence why we're all here in the first place. Happy To get good results from scientific experimentation, having controls and variables are an absolute must. When you conduct experiments dealing with history, you need conjecture and critical thinking on top of all that. This test they performed in the article lacked in all those things. And to top it all off, the results were taken as fact with no questions asked. In my opinion that is the biggest mistake that was made with the experiment: nobody was able to question the results, so the interpretation was flawed.

At least HC did a good thing by publishing it because I feel it's a worthy discussion. I'm sure the the egos of those who conducted the study would be bruised by seeing this, but the fact is that ALL scientists make mistakes. A science degree is not a history degree, and since there are so many misconceptions (even in mainstream study) within the subject of arms and armour specifically, it's not terribly surprising that these factors can work to tarnish an experiment dealing with this subject; even among learned individuals. Do I think that the study was flawed? Absolutely. But that's the nature of science. Robert mentioned in his initial post that the work done demonstrated a "lack of understanding". I think he hit the nail on the head with that. I have faith that the scientists who performed this study would be more than willing to rework their hypotheses on this subject if they had more information regarding historical context. I would sure be interested in seeing a well thought out experiment on the physiological effects of wearing armour. But unfortunately, this one came up short. Again, I apologize profusely for the tone of my initial post and for this rather long winded reproach. Happy
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Mon 10 Oct, 2011 3:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

naw i was totally jabbing at the channel yes the basic cable channel i used to like it because it had or exposed you to relevant information early on but now has fallen off . and my comment was a little bit hot but i was intending for it to be a little more of a wise crack to be laughed at (i should have realized the ramifications, honestly did you see the egypt show, zowie would tear that freaky haired guy apart). but they should take their shows and move them to a relevant network (i though they were owned by A&E surely swap people belong there)

i once had a teacher (english lit) that said 'history becomes irrelevant when litature becomes popular.' same can be said for the media and what it publishes. and this artical feels to be distributing (as josh said) a fact that wasn't held up for debate, which is irritating when you try to look for the facts of history to teach new comers to the discipline and the best way to reach people is through the tv or intent these days (until you get constant text messages of your favorite shows). so now once again, the novice person (if they read this article about armor and no other about history ) will think that the knight in armor was as vulnerable as a turtle. well castles might as well be dudgeons and people in the middle ages were stronger then you will ever be because they lugged around 40lb swords all the time. Mad











and o yes the pyramids were built with help from aliens Laughing Out Loud
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Mon 10 Oct, 2011 3:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If enough people sent comments in about some of these issues maybe they would make some changes. Some of the programs they have had on lately have so little relevance to history that I have largely abandoned it.

That said the program on state boundaries is rather interesting.... when it is on.

RPM
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Jack W. Englund




Location: WA State
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PostPosted: Mon 10 Oct, 2011 5:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To me, HC = the same credibility as "Wikipedia"
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 11 Oct, 2011 5:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"I run an entertainment channel first and foremost, which happens to be based on history."
Richard Melman, the History Channel UK

As long as they are making money, TV producers don't care less about subject content.
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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 6:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jack W. Englund wrote:
To me, HC = the same credibility as "Wikipedia"


Why would you wish to insult Wikipedia like that? It has at least "some" accurate info...
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T. Arndt




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 7:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Artis Aboltins wrote:
Jack W. Englund wrote:
To me, HC = the same credibility as "Wikipedia"

Why would you wish to insult Wikipedia like that? It has at least "some" accurate info...

Not to mention the newer stuff is cited, and everything is correctable.

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Jeffrey Hedgecock
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 7:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
"I run an entertainment channel first and foremost, which happens to be based on history."
Richard Melman, the History Channel UK. It would probably be mostly identical.

As long as they are making money, TV producers don't care less about subject content.

I wonder what similar quote the US rep would say?

TV is about selling advertising, which means they go for ratings and show popularity. That in turn usually means appealing to the lowest common denominator, hence shows like "Pawn Stars" become the "#1 show on cable" to use HC's own ad slogan.

It's sad, very sad. I discontinued my cable subscription about 2 years ago, when it was clear that despite the myriad available channels there was still very little worth watching. Now I view things on the web and via streaming Netflix. Saves so much time and keeps me from having to watch so many damned ads.

Cheers,

Jeffrey Hedgecock
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Zac Evans




Location: London
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 9:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Mq770JKOh4
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 6:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In a nutshell...there you go!

Big Grin

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Robert S. Haile





Joined: 16 Dec 2007

Posts: 126

PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 7:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeffrey Hedgecock wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
"I run an entertainment channel first and foremost, which happens to be based on history."
Richard Melman, the History Channel UK. It would probably be mostly identical.

As long as they are making money, TV producers don't care less about subject content.

I wonder what similar quote the US rep would say?

TV is about selling advertising, which means they go for ratings and show popularity. That in turn usually means appealing to the lowest common denominator, hence shows like "Pawn Stars" become the "#1 show on cable" to use HC's own ad slogan.

It's sad, very sad. I discontinued my cable subscription about 2 years ago, when it was clear that despite the myriad available channels there was still very little worth watching. Now I view things on the web and via streaming Netflix. Saves so much time and keeps me from having to watch so many damned ads.


Seaking of pawn stars, I caught an episode at a pal's house once where the bald gentleman turned down some fella's fantasy armor he'd made from automotive scrap metal. I seem to recall the store owner commenting on how knight's armor eventually became so heavy that when knocked down they couldn't stand up. Not to mention he was treating Lord Cadillac's armor as if it was an authentic reproduction. Anyone else catch that?
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 9:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Caught it and it struck me that it was all done quite tongue-in-cheek. I really wondered, as I was watching, if the guy selling the "armor" was specially scripted in just to add a little interest into the episode. He was acting a bit odd (even given the circumstances) and wearing his creation around the whole time that he was trying to sell it. Verbal exchange of both parties in the conversation seemed contrived. The whole interaction seemed to be somehow artificial to me.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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