Miscellany

Vestas SailRocket: Foiled Again

14 Dec

A bad day for Paul Larsen and his intrepid speedsters. Their latest speed sailing session is over and they were plagued by the strange behavaior of every speed foil they plugged into their otherworldly craft. Here's a summary of the final day action (full report here):

We did 5 runs today. 3 slow, 1 grounding and 1 moderately fast run. I'm not happy. I can't believe we didn't even achieve a 50 knot average throughout this record attempt. I really can't believe it. Well it wasn't for lack of trying… or pushing.

I'll summarise the whole session in

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Cruisers Occupy Oakland

14 Dec

Yesterday, one thousand members of the Occupy Movement once again shut down the Port of Oakland. Nearby, truck driver Javier Johnson said, “What are these idiots protesting? This day is costing me $600 and I’ve got a family to feed.”

An Occupy spokesman said, “We are mainly targeting SSA Marine, which is partly -owned by Goldman Sachs.”

Protesters beat drums and yelled “We are the 99 percent!” and “Die Capitalist Pigs!”

But far in the back, a smaller, but more militant group yelled, “And stop running over sailboats!” The unruly rabble, dressed in oilskins and canvas hats, held signs that ...

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Christmas For Dolphin Wannabes

13 Dec

To swim with the fishes you really need to have webbed feet and be able to breathe underwater, like The Mariner. But if you are not so genetically endowed, you can at least have some fun porpoising through the watery realm with a dolphin jetpack. I do wonder what the sharks will make of it, though…

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GUNDALOW LAUNCH: Piscataqua Goes For A Swim

11 Dec

Gundalow launch ceremony

I'd never actually seen this before–the christening and launching of a new vessel. This was on Saturday, here in Portsmouth, NH, just down the street from where I live. After a bit of speechifying by my good friend and neighbor Molly Bolster, a bottle was busted and the good ship Piscataqua, the first new gundalow launched in 30 years, was pushed with some ceremony into the briny.

Gundalows, as I've mentioned before, are the old sailing barges that once were the lifeblood of local commerce here in the Piscataqua watershed. The last one launched, the Edward Adams, ...

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2011 HURRICANE SEASON: Gone in 270 Seconds

6 Dec

This is very cool, IMHO. An accelerated four and a half minute animation, courtesy of NOAA, that depicts the entire 2011 hurricane season as viewed by one of NASA's GOES satellites.

One thing that strikes me as I watch this is how beautiful and striking the Bahamas are when viewed from space. They also look great from airplanes. Every time I fly over on a clear day, I'm blown away. Note to self: I really must spend more time there before I depart this luscious planet of ours.

I'm also struck by how stable the atmosphere appears from this ...

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