Trust is important

I try to to check the headlines on the Internet every day. Originally this started to keep track of what was going on in Turkey. But, obviously there are things going on all over the world that may be important.

I was struck by a couple of sentences in the following link:
http://www.rferl.org/content/china-united-states-snowden-/25043806.html

>”When we encounter differences, or sensitive issues, we need to
>address them directly in consultation with one another and that is
>why we were very disappointed with how the authorities in Beijing
>and Hong Kong handled the Snowden case, which undermined our
>effort to build the trust needed to manage difficult issues,” Burns said.

I can only assume that Mr. Burns was referring to some other kind of trust than the one I believe is required. A lot of Americans believe that we have a Constitution and laws that are sometimes inconvenient, but generally protect us. From the little that I’ve read about this scandal, I and a lot of other Americans, now have even more proof than before, that the US government ignores these laws.

Personally, I previously had extremely little trust that the United States government operates in my best interest. I had extremely little trust that the United States government operates in the best interest of its population as a group. But, I now have less and that is not easy to do.

Based on the data that I have seen, we are talking about a whistleblower, not a spy. We are talking about a government that does not deserve trust. I fully understand that people that have access to secret information can be well-intentioned and go public with something, that in reality, in the big picture, is really bad for the country. They mean well, but they cause massive damage.

So far, I did not feel that that is what is happening here. But, I assume that I know almost nothing about what is really happening. I suspect that none of the public does.

This is probably a political issue for most of you. You probably have seen information that is different than the information I have seen and quite logically have different opinions. So, I apologize if I have upset you. But, I will close by saying that I seriously doubt that any of us really understands exactly what is going on here. Even though I certainly do not always agree with every law, I still think that our government should follow them.

Let’s please change the dumb laws, but if we don’t follow them, then isn’t that anarchy?

However, perhaps we can all join in hoping that whatever is best for the entire world, happens. Even though it is likely that none of us knows for sure, what that would be.

Dave

New technology

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/technology/personaltech/high-tech-eyeglasses-not-made-by-google.html?nl=technology&emc=edit_ct_20130711&_r=0

I was particularly impressed by the virtual head described in the last part of the article. For about 40 years I have wondered why hairstylists, don’t have a collection of wigs, that particularly women, can try a new style to see if they like it.

Janet often said I was born too soon. I often wanted things that were over the technology horizon. And complained about the things that I had they were not up to my expectations.

But I assured her that if I were born 50 years later, I would be complaining that the dematerializer takes too long.

Dave

An inspirational story

I think this is a really fantastic story, and I hope that you will also enjoy it as much as I did. I love inspirational stories.

http://www.jameco.com/Jameco/workshop/MyStory/elena-sherman.html?sp_rid=MjMzNjE2MDIzMzAS1&sp_mid=5329026

This is a wonderful & funny, autobiographical short piece, by one of the very first women in the computer industry. She programmed her first industrial computer at the age of nine.

I certainly agree that the playing field is still not level for women in the workforce, or even in society in America. But, I’m sure that you will see that you’ve come a long way baby. Keep chipping away at them. They say that the Cuna Indians in Panama, where the first time that Columbus saw a functioning democracy, and where women, actually had a bigger vote than men. Some say that it caused the beginning of the French Revolution, and the modern wave of democracy that is still sweeping the world. So, even though many say that the Greeks gave the world democracy, it may have been the Cuna Indians.

Again, I thoroughly enjoyed the story of her adventures. These things happened in my lifetime, and I find that pretty amazing. Working in drag. It being against the law for her to eat in a restaurant. Or to use the restroom on the second or third shift. And so on. She sounds like she has a fantastic sense of humor. Clearly she needed it. Ironically, she not only were drag, but she was also a drag racer. It is often strange how American English works.

Don’t you wish you knew her? What stories you could tell. I wish she would write a book.

On a more serious note, it seems obvious to me that it is not obvious to far too many people that bigotry is a bad idea. If you meet one of them, please gently try to help them out of their mistake.

By bigotry, I mean any preconceived idea that because someone, or something, has one or a few certain characteristics, that you can categorically say that it has a whole raft of other characteristics.

My theory is that this idea is so slow to change, because humans love to look for patterns. We are successful as a species over hundreds of thousands of years, because we are good at recognizing patterns. In most parts of the world, we recognize that the Spring is a good time to plant crops. We recognize that when we see certain clouds in the sky, and smell certain smells in the air, that is about to rain. When we hear a certain kind of animal making a certain kind of noise, we recognize that we are about to be eaten. We recognize that when the Walk light turns red, that it is not a good idea to cross the street right now.

But, sometimes we have trouble turning off that calculator in our head. We are a slave to it. We jump to conclusions. By no means do I think that women are the same as men. How can I? Men are certainly not all the same. How in the hell would anyone expect that women would be the same as men? Or the same as each other? Just as why in the world would you think that all people with dark skin, or black hair, or blonde hair, or tall, or short, or speaking Greek, or whatever, would be the same?

It seems reasonable that one might consider that the probabilities change slightly or greatly. But, I think it is absolutely essential to keep an open mind. To look for other clues. I can almost guarantee that it is always more complicated than that.

Unfortunately, one of the patterns that I have noticed, is that talking to people who still firmly believe their preconceptions, seldom helps. So, I will stop for now, because it has been my experience, that either you agree with me on this or you do not. And I’m wasting both your time and mine to keep going on. But I very much hope that you agree, or if not at least that I have chipped away a tiny little scratch in the concrete that encases your opinions.

Because, even though I strongly support the idea of an open mind, I’m not very open-minded about that concept. My conviction that an open mind is important, for you and the fate of the world, is, perhaps unfortunately, is pretty much set in concrete. Kind of ironic, huh?

Well, inside my mind, also embedded in the same concrete, is the idea that keeping a sense of humor is important also. So, these are some of my limitations. Be warned.

Dave

Electricity

I imagine that almost all of you are much better connected with what’s going on in the world that I am. And most of you have different interests than I do. But I recently saw a headline about the electric airplane, “Solar Impulse”.

You can Google around and find out up-to-date information about it, but it recently flew from San Francisco to New York, and the next plan is to fly an improved plane around the world. Personally, I think this is very exciting technology. At our present ability to utilize all of the various technologies that are necessary to make an aircraft of this type, it is still clearly a stunt. No disrespect intended. But, how will it ever be practical, unless we do this sort of research?

I liken it to the Wright brothers early airplanes. I applaud the companies and people that are putting the money and time and brainpower into developing it.

And, I may have mentioned that some dear friends, received a brand-new, plug-in, Toyota Prius, as a birthday present. Yes, they have some very rich friends.

It happened shortly before I left the US, and they were having a ball learning its new tricks. From what I’ve seen of these new cars, there is a lot to learn before you can drive one. But, that seems to be the way of things nowadays. The cost of getting a new toys. You have to learn a whole new way of thinking.

Also on the electric front, I am very pleased to see several electric motor scooters here in Finike. The ones that I have noticed, look like a regular motorscooter, but they are pure electric. You plug them in to charge them. They are, as you would expect, almost silent. And, I’m always quick to give the owners, “At a boys”. (So far, all the ones that I’ve seen have been driven by men.)

Not to worry ladies. I am perhaps the most egalitarian person that you know. It is my understanding that in Turkey, women and men who are not close relatives, or otherwise authorized, do not fraternize. Or sit next to each other on a bus.

I may have this totally wrong, but, it is my understanding that it is not polite for me to make eye contact, smile, or otherwise acknowledge a Turkish woman’s presence, unless I know them in some authorized way. Otherwise, the implication is that they are loose women.

That is a little difficult for me, as I kind of like women. Not in the lecherous way. Not in the ‘hitting on them’ way, but I enjoy their company and think that in the American culture they got the short end of the stick for hundreds of years. And things are still far from equal. But, I think all will agree that they’ve come a tremendous distance in my lifetime. But, men and women, in most of the world, are still certainly not equal. Which is kind of misleading. The women were certainly not the main problem all that while. It was the men with their tiny little brains and the resulting attitudes.

Personally, I by no means think that men and women are just the same. That seems kind of obvious to me, although perhaps not for the same reasons you might separate the two groups.

It is always seemed odd to me how American society, in my lifetime, preconceived a separation between the sexes. As I say, in my opinion, men and women are absolutely NOT the same. To generalize that all men are ‘blah blah’, seems crazy to me. Each of us is an individual. We each have our strengths and weaknesses. To say that ALL examples of whatever kind of living thing have whatever kind of characteristic, seems fraught with danger and often is a kind of bigotry. At least that’s how I see it.

Whenever I hear someone making a broad generalization, I always ask ‘Why?’ That little three letter word can be pretty dangerous. It really get some people whipped into a frenzy. Many people really don’t like their beliefs questioned. So, I often just ask it inside my own head and don’t say anything. But, I feel that if someone can do a job well, then what do I care which gender they are.

We had the good fortune to be in Tahiti for their Bastille Day celebration, which went on for about a week or more. They had canoe races, that as I recall, race from Papeete around Morea and back to Papeete. If that’s correct, then this was about an 80km or 50 mile race. So, I may be mistaken. But it was a long race and the open ocean in canoes. They had a men’s race, with a zillion canoes. And, they had a women’s race, with a zillion canoes.

It seemed to me obvious why they separated the two. Because, I timed the racers, and if it all raced in one group, first of all the group would’ve been uncontrollably gigantic, and second, the fastest women would’ve arrived well up in the middle of the men’s pack or better. Since most of the men would’ve been slower than some of the women, that might’ve been a little hard for them to handle.

It also gets a little more complicated, because it appeared that one of the art forms, was to tip over your opponents. That tends to slow them down and give you an advantage. These are dugout canoes within an outrigger on one side, so it must be a little tricky to tip them over. But, I saw quite a few examples. It was important that they be good swimmers.

I believe, and certainly hope, that this was all in the nature of fun. More like teasing than viciousness.

I was also told that when South Pacific canoes raced in Hawaii, that both sides thought that the Hawaiians were very serious and prayed to their canoes and made a major, big deal out of it. But, the South Pacific canoeists, were out for a good time AND to win the race. They were forever teasing the Hawaiians about how they needed to lighten up and enjoy it.

But, I see that I have drifted a long way away from the subject of electricity.

Must be time to get back to work,

Dave

Jeanne, the sailing grandmother is becalmed.

Update

Jeanne, the sailing grandmother is becalmed near the mouth of the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

I am watching her on
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

http://marinetraffic.com/ais/
Look for the purple icon for the yacht Nereida. She has a weak transmitter. Her icon disappears at times. It is NOT necessarily her sinking. Just keep checking back and she will come back as she gets closer to a shore based monitoring station.

http://www.winlink.org/dotnet/maps/PositionReportsDetail.aspx?callsign=KC2IOV

Sailing is often a lesson in patience and delayed gratification. This is a tiny example.

http://www.sail-world.com/USA/Jeanne-Socrates—almost-almost-almost-a-great-record-breaker/111627

Dave

Added 20 July 2013
More info on: http://synereida.livejournal.com/
I read the post for Aug 04July 14th, 3:50. It has many links to news videos about her. (The calendar to the right will show you when she has posted.)

See also:
http://www.eham.net/articles/30488

There was a longer post earlier in the blog if you have no idea what I am talking about. It is at
http://alegria1976.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/grandmother-circling-the-globe-nonstop-alone/

Safety at Sea

Some dear friends just sent me an email with this question:

David did you know this boat or it people? On another note, happy 4th.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/05/rescuers-call-off-search-for-7-on-missing-american-boat/

I thought I would share my answer with the group.

No. I do not recognize the boat or the people. But, I am very sorry to hear it. Strangely I do know another sailboats named Nina.

Seems odd that Fox does not read their own articles. Not that my proofreading is so brilliant. That’s for sure . But, I thought these guys were supposed to be professionals. They say:

“The 70-foot sailboat Nina left New Zealand bound for Australia on May 29. Authorities believe the 85-year-old classic wooden boat likely sank that day in a powerful storm.”

So, they are saying that she sank May 29th. “likely sank that day… “ Of course, then any boater wonders why in the world would you leave port with a life-threatening storm anywhere nearby. Or even remotely possible.

But then they say:
“The New Zealand center released the last-known message from the boat Thursday after seeking it from satellite phone company Iridium and the U.S. State Department.

“The June 4 message with a misspelling read: “Thanks storm sails shredded last night, now bare poles. Goining 4kt 310deg will update course info @ 6PM”.

So, she was still afloat on June 4th but they did not send the expected update message 6 hrs later. Nice that they gave their course and speed, but without knowing their position at that time, it is essentially useless. And whatever happened, for some reason, they did not use an EPIRB. So, there was no search for almost a month.

There have certainly been a few cases where people bobbed around in a raft for many weeks or months. But, not very many. Usually they die in the first few hours, or at most, in days once they are in the water. A search a month later is 99.9% a waste of time it seems to me. But, what else can you do?

EPIRBs have gotten relatively cheap and very good. I would’ve thought that a famous 70 foot yacht would’ve had at least two. And at least one of them automatic, that goes off automatically and is released automatically when the boat sinks. They also had a satellite phone, that if they could keep it dry long enough to get off a message, would’ve alerted people right away.

There is a lady here at the marina, that about eight years ago was sailing in that same area with a friend and her boat sank suddenly. She was able to get out a distress call and another yacht that she knew was able to get to their raft within about eight hours and save them both with very little drama. That second yacht did blow out several sails, trying to get to them as fast as humanly possible. A very reasonable thought. You don’t know if two seconds are going to make the difference until it’s too late. So, they certainly was SOME drama.

I’m sorry that I don’t really remember the details of the sinking. It was very stormy and something went wrong and caused their boat to sink pretty quickly. At that point she had sailed that boat at least halfway around the world.

She bought another boat and sailed it here shortly before the pirates got bad. She has use this marina as a base for the last six years or so. She is now 83, I think, and is off sailing for the summer and will be back in the Fall.

When we were getting ready to cross the Atlantic we bought an EPIRB that does not have a built-in GPS, but it can connect to the GPS with the special optical plug. So, if we have two or three minutes warning, we can send our exact position at that time. Also, in any kind of scary situation, I would’ve had it hooked up to the GPS while we waited to see how things turned out. I think that’s quite an improvement over the standard EPIRB. I am told that they take several hours to get an approximate position. This is because you have to wait for several satellite passes. Of course, if your EPIRB goes belly up during that time you’re pretty much screwed. Not as screwed as not having an EPIRB at all, like these folks though.

Actually, I can keep our handheld GPS connected to this EPIRB while it is working, and detached from the boat. I.E. if we were in the raft, or even swimming. But it is definitely not as safe and reliable as the kind with the built-in GPS.

If I decide to cross another ocean, I will definitely be buying an additional EPIRB with completely built-in GPS. That way, it gives the rescuers your exact position within a few minutes of being turned on and continues to give your correct position as long as it possibly can.

And also I will then have two EPIRB’s on board. Poop happens. And so it seems nice to have more than one. Amazing coming from a cheapskate, right?

EPIRB’s have gotten really amazing. We met some people that hit a reef in a remote part of the South Pacific and it took some time, perhaps an hour or so for the boat to become uninhabitable. They turned on the EPIRB as soon as they hit the reef. They had a email on their satellite phone, from their son within about 10 minutes saying that the Coast Guard had called him and said that their EPIRB had been activated and were they okay?

I think that’s the way they do it now days. When the Coast Guard gets the signal, they call the contact number, and say does this sound like a reasonable signal. That way they don’t launch a full-scale search when the boat is in the marina and something just malfunctioned. But, even with an old-fashioned non-GPS 406 EPIRB, the authorities know within a very few minutes that something is wrong. By the way, the earlier type of EPIRB, I was told they don’t even pay attention to anymore. 90% of the broadcasts were false alarms, I was told. But, hopefully they pay attention to the 406 EPIRB’s.

It seems immensely important to know right away, if you plan to start a search. We have known cruisers, and we were this way in the beginning, that feel that no one should risk their lives in order to try to rescue us. We were out here on our own recognizance, and if we get into trouble it is our problem.

That is a great subject for long philosophical discussions. There are excellent arguments in both directions. Certainly the system is very often abused. People without two brain cells to rub together get into some sort of catastrophe and expect other people to risk their lives to come and save their stupid asses. Have they heard of the Darwin awards?

I think I remember reading about some guy that had been rescued in Yosemite National Park like eight times or something. And I don’t mean he was rescued like he got stuck in the porta potty. He would be hanging on some cliff somewhere and expected people to come get him out of there.

As I recall the story, they eventually banned him from the park or something. He was clearly an idiot. And, we have known of the marine equivalent. Friends from Southern California told us many years ago, that they had heard mayday calls on the VHF. “Mayday Mayday Mayday I am off of Los Angeles and there is not enough wind. I’m going to be late for work unless you come bring me in.”

I don’t know. I guess I have too much imagination. I would be concerned that the Coast Guard boat would come over and test that big machine gun they have on the bow.

When we were coming down the coast of Central America in the mid-1980s, there was a really old guy single handing. I think he was the age I am now. I’ll be so kind as to not put the boat name on the blog. Anyway, several people were really impressed that he was still out single handing at his age. But, many, many people told us stories about how he repeatedly would call for help on the radio and expect people to come rescue him.

Since we were going roughly the same direction and at the same time as he was, we heard from lots of people that had personal knowledge of his numerous rescues. They would be things like he would arrive off of some harbor after dark and call on the radio that he was old and he couldn’t figure out how to get into the harbor. He really needed some help could somebody come out and bring him in. Or that he had run out of fuel. Or his engine it stopped working. I seem to recall that all of the stories involved the knowledge that he was old, with the implication that whoever was listing should take pity on him. I don’t know if the stories are true. Rumors do happen. But I heard it from so many people who had so many different stories, happening in different places all along the coast, that I assume that they were absolutely correct.

I also heard stories about a world-famous cruising couple, who are very proud to have a sailboat with no engine. They always felt that that meant that they were a lot smarter than most people. Yet, many people have told me that they frequently would be becalmed off of the harbor, and ask people to tow them in.

Now in those days, as part of their philosophy, I think they did not have a radio. So, if the stories are true, they would’ve had to wave somebody down. Maybe send smoke signals? So I’m a little skeptical that this may be just a vicious rumor that someone who was jealous of them, or had an ax to grind, invented. And it would be perpetuated because many people were kind of upset at what they perceived as the couple’s ‘know it all’ attitude.

You can’t please everybody all the time. We used to read their books and articles, back in the day. We thought that they had a lot of good ideas, but were quite full of themselves. They know a lot of important stuff, but perhaps not all. So who is perfect? That certainly did not keep us from adopting any of the ideas that they had that sounded good to us. Plagiarism is the most sincere form of flattery. They had a lot of good ideas.

We have mutual friends that new them, and one time when Janet was in San Diego, this mystery couple, who I’m sure our boating friends know who I mean. Invited our mutual friend and Janet over for a glass of wine on their new and famous boat that they had recently launched. I remember that they only served white wine in honor of their new cushions. They did not want red wine stains on the cushions in the first month.

Certainly not an unreasonable thought. We mostly drink red and one night someone spilled most of a glass onto the cushion. Janet took the cover off the cushion and washed it, and it was no big deal. Of course, the guess just about had a heart attack. As any of us would.

Years ago she did have a favorite shirt that had been a special gift and had very special meaning. It was one-of-a-kind and it got a red wine stain on it that she could just not get out. She was heartbroken.

But, I had to fly to Houston on business and my mom’s favorite dry cleaners, sold me a little bottle of an enzyme that just took it right out. Which is probably not easy, since Janet had already tried about 87 different methods to remove it. Common wisdom is that doing the wrong thing makes it much harder to get stains out later. I was away at the time she cleaned the cushion, so I don’t know if she use the enzyme on it or just washed it. Over the years we have collected a little library of stain removal tips on the computer. And when I have Internet and need to know something like that, I go straight to Google. But, it’s nice to have your own reference library on board. Even if it is on the computer.

There definitely are magic bullets out there. If you know the right way to remove the stain, or to solve most any kind of problem, it can be easy. Yet, using any of the hundred other ways to solve it might be disastrous. Not a big newsflash there.

What would the soundbite be? ‘Life is easy if you know what you’re doing?’

Not as catchy as the opposite old quote, ‘Life is hard. But it’s harder when you’re dumb.’

Well, speaking of things being harder when you’re dumb. I’m trying to get my new battery charger to work correctly. So, I better get back to productive things.

The weather here has been excellent. Warmer than I would choose but not dreadfully so. I even had to get a blanket shortly before dawn.

No rain at all for a long time. Most of the marina live aboard folks are out sailing, but there are still a lot of nice folks here. So, it it is by no means lonely. Today, Saturday, is farmers market day, so in a couple of hours when they get their booths set up, I will go do that for the week.

By the way, the grandmother is getting definitely into the home stretch. I follow her position on:

http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

I hope the fat lady is getting ready to sing. I hope that Nereida has a wonderful finish to her trip. And many more great trips to come.

I’m doing great and I hope you guys are too,

Dave

PS: Just in case anyone is thinking that this post is proof that sailing is suicidally dangerous, how many of you have already been in serious car accidents or even lost friends and loved ones as a result of them? I certainly have. Yet, you still get into cars all the time and don’t think anything about it, right?

My attitude is, that this boating safety question is almost identical to the people that are afraid of flying, yet think nothing of driving. And I am NOT referring to any of my several friends who fit that category. In my own situation, I find that things that frighten me are especially frustrating when my logical mind knows that I should not be worried about that. But that’s the problem. There’s nothing logical about the fear. Yet I have it.

But, I think that it does not take much research ability to show that driving is a zillion times more dangerous than flying. Especially in recent years. I know that Boeing figured out a clever way to set the tail of their airplanes on fire, but no one has been injured by it. I suppose that might’ve had to replace some seat cushions on a few airplanes, but I haven’t noticed it in the headlines for quite a while. So I assume that the problem was solved.

Not to give Boeing a bad time. I even worked for them for about a year when I was in college. I was a riveter and an Aero mechanic. I guess I should’ve figured out the ID numbers of the aircraft that I worked on, so that I could see if I ever flew on one of them. But, I worked on subassemblies, and so I don’t know which airplane they were used on.

Dave

PPS
And this morning (7-July-2013) I see:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-san-francisco-plane-crash-20130706,0,284092.story

I am VERY sorry to hear that. 2 dead, 181 go to hospitals. Several in intensive care. I send them all positive energy, prayers, etc.

Flying is still a very safe way of travel. Early reports say that the pilot was way too low. Hopefully the correct reasons will come out eventually and air travel will get even safer.

Dave