Pondering 100 Years


This ponder is dedicated to my dear friend and co-worker Tony. A true gentleman, salt of the earth and kind soul whose thoughtful tribute to the 100th anniversary of SS Princess Sophia’s tragic demise touched my heart.

 

The SS Princess Sophia, before her tragic end. (Alaska State Library, Sadlier-Olsen Family Collection)

http://princesssophia.org/

On the 100th anniversary of armistice take a moment to ponder the 100th anniversary of Princess Sophia, a maritime disaster worth remembering. Below, Tony’s letter to his Princess line shipmates….

One hundred years ago today, in the early morning hours of October 24th 1918 the CPR’s Princess Sophia ran aground on Vanderbilt Reef in Lynn Canal,  about 60 miles south of Skagway, Alaska, bound for Juneau and points south   The ship had left Skagway with a full load of ‘end of season’ passengers at 10 pm, three hours late.   It was one of the last two sailings southbound before winter set in; Princess Alice was on her way north and would be just about the last chance to travel south.  About 400 people were waiting in Skagway, many of them seasonal workers and crews from the paddle wheelers on the interior lakes.   There was excitement building over rumours of an end to the Great War but a number of the passengers and crew members were already sick with the ‘flu, the influenza epidemic which would kill at least 20 million people worldwide, 30 to 50,000 Canadians.

The weather deteriorated soon after departure and at the time of the grounding the Sophia was travelling at 12 – 14 knots through a snowstorm with a 50 mph tailwind.  Navigation was conducted by sounding the ship’s whistle and calculating the distance from the steep cliff sides of the channel which was about 8 miles wide at that point.  The vessel veered off course,  too far to the west and struck the reef with so much force that it was driven almost its entire length high onto the reef but settled level.  There was a radio on board and Captain Locke managed to alert both Skagway and Juneau.

The ship seemed securely wedged and not too much damage was visible to the hull. There seemed to be no immediate danger.  A decision was made wait for moderation in the weather before allowing rescue attempts from the several small vessels which had arrived to help.  At low tide it was not possible to launch the lifeboats because of the surrounding rocks and even at high tide it was thought that they would be dashed against the rocks before they could clear away.  For forty hours the ship remained on the reef awaiting the forecast improvement in the weather.   An all out rescue effort was planned for high tide on the 26th but towards the evening of the 25th fresh high winds and pounding seas moved the stern of the vessel completely around and it began to slide into deeper water.   Princess Sophia sank late on October 25th, with the loss of all the passengers and crew, about 340 souls in all.  Many bodies were found trapped inside the vessel and others were still being found in the water up to eight miles away for weeks after.  Princess Alice carried many of the bodies back to Vancouver and arrived on November 11th,  Armistice Day.  The ship anchored off shore and did not enter the port until the next day.   The arrival almost went unnoticed amid the great celebrations surrounding Armistice Day and its announcement only appeared on an inside page of the newspaper.  Despite being the biggest maritime disaster in Alaska’s history the event was quickly almost forgotten.  Unlike the great Titanic disaster, there were no survivors of the Princess Sophia sinking to tell their stories.

The attached photo is of Princess Sophia arriving in Vancouver sometime between 1914 / 1918.  The resolution is high enough that if you zoom in you can clearly see some stewards on the foredeck …..   white shirts and bow ties!  Perhaps they were looking out for wives and girlfriends on the dock.  Many soldiers are visible and there seem to be officers waiting dockside as well as a band playing just above the foredeck.    Also attached a picture of some crew members,  stewards again I think, on board before the disaster.  I wonder what the tips were like in those days.    The route the ships took back then was the same as the Princess Patricia in the 1970s,   the same ports in a different order.    It is a sobering thought to think that all of us passed that same reef many, many times,  northbound and southbound and always in darkness.   Luckily we had the benefit of radar,  depth sounders  …..   and Angus Twatt often at the helm,  a fine seaman from the Orkney Islands!

This afternoon at Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver the B.C. Maritime Museum installed a plaque commemorating seven O’Brien family members lost on Princess Sophia.

https://www.vicnews.com/news/museum-marks-100th-anniversary-of-the-unknown-titanic-of-the-west-coast/

Advertisements

January 1, 45 B.C.


Good morning 2018. January 1 has welcomed you since 45 BC. The year Julius Caesar frowned upon the Roman calendar, proclaiming we could do better. Tired of a woefully inaccurate lunar based calendar, one tolerated since the seventh century BC, Julius Caesar called bullshit on constant corrections to out of sync lunar fancy and nailed down a solar year.

With the help of Alexandrian astronomer Sosigenes, Caesar abandoned lunar year in favour of the solar year. Calculated at 365.25 days long, Caesar added 67 days to solar year 45 BC. Consequently the next year started on January 1 rather than in March. He also decreed an extra day would be added to February every 4 years to avoid pitfalls of runaway time.

Caesar and Sosigenes meant well but their 365.25 day solar year was actually 365.242199 in a calendar year. A miscalculation of 11 minutes a year that by the mid 1500s added 10 days to the year. In the 1570s Pope Gregory XIII enlisted astronomer Christopher Clavius to come up with a solution. In 1582 the Gregorian calendar replaced Caesar’s Julian calendar with leap year rules capable of managing untidy extra minutes. See – https://www.timeanddate.com/date/leapyear.html

Much as I doubt anyone cares why they drank too much last night, take solace in the rising sun and know its the reason January 1 marks a new year. Happy New Year to all.

Image result for new year 2018

Gavrinis And Core No. 7


Gavrinis and Core No. 7 have more in common than 4,000 BC archeological mysteries – after five years and over 1,300 posts, Core No. 7 and Gavrinis rank first and second in search terms generating Notes traffic.

Core No. 7 – In 1881 British archeologist Flinders Petrie picked up a smooth rock near the pyramids at Giza, a seemingly impossible plug of granite construction debris. Science doesn’t know how, but think they know where No. 7 came from. A plug of red granite drilled to form a door pivot – not chiseled, drilled with precision accuracy. Drills leave markings behind – a road map of rate and pressure. This is when 4000 year old granite cores get freaky – the markings on Core No. 7 are so perfectly spaced, engineers don’t believe a modern diamond tip mechanized drill could duplicate them.

http://www.vixra.org/pdf/1503.0182v1.pdf

Gavrinis – Worlds away from mysteries of Egypt, a tiny rock off the coast of Brittany in France harbours the wonder of Gavrinis.In 1835 French archeologists poked about a sunken burial chamber entrance on uninhabited Gavrinis, full excavation took place in the 1930s. Waiting inside, over 50 stone slabs, more than half adorned with intricate carvings resembling fingerprints. Mathematicians believe it a code of sorts. Computer analysis dropped a bombshell – patterns represent the number of days in a year, references to solstice and equinoxes, an exact longitude and latitude of the island, and the “mathematical constant Pi”.

ACHAMAN GUAÑOC: Cairn de Gavrinis

https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/gavrinis/

Ponder Human Experimentation Without Consent


Between July 9 and August 1, 1953 U.S. military airplanes flew over Winnipeg, Manitoba, dusting residents with zinc cadmium sulfide. Zinc cadmium sulfide is used as a fluorescent tracer, a way to monitor dispersion of radioactive and chemical weapon fallout. According to research by St. Louis sociology professor Lisa Martino-Taylor in her recently published book “Behind the Fog”, Canada willingly participated in what they believed a test of “chemical fog to protect Winnipeg in the event of a Russian attack”. America neglected to divulge zinc cadmium sulfide lurked in that fog.

In 1964 American military returned, crop dusting oblivious residents of Suffield and Medicine Hat, Alberta. Declassified documents detail U.S. military plans to “advance” experiments to include radioactive phosphorus-32 and nerve agent VX. By combining the two, America hoped to create a radioactive nerve agent. Internal memos discuss transporting 100 pounds of VX to Suffield. Additional memos inventory available hospital beds around Suffield. Fortunately America never got around to testing their project on Canadian citizens.

http://vancouversun.com/news/canada/u-s-secretly-tested-carcinogen-in-western-canada-during-the-cold-war-researcher-discovers/wcm/a0bee70d-5d24-4bd4-b9cf-435f7a1cae03

As experimentation without consent goes – Canada got off easy. It would be rude to complain over a foreign government misting a few hundred thousand Canadians with dubious chemical compounds.It wasn’t as if they spared their citizens, millions of Americans went about their lives blissfully unaware of Operation LAC ( Large Area Coverage ) spritzing them with odorless, colorless particles of zinc cadmium sulfide.To this day America stands by a 1997 National Research Council report declaring-

“After an exhaustive, independent review requested by Congress we have found no evidence that exposure to zinc cadmium sulfide at these levels could cause people to become sick,” said committee chair Rogene Henderson, senior scientist, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Albuquerque, N.M. “Even when we assume the worst about how this chemical might behave in the lungs, we conclude that people would be at a higher risk simply from living in a typical urban, industrialized area for several days or, in some cases, for months.”

C-119(021001-O-9999G-016)

http://military.wikia.com/wiki/Operation_LAC

Violation of medical ethics, international law and military policy has bigger fish to fry than zinc cadmium sulfide.America blisters with contemptible examples of human experimentation without consent. The link below is a mind blowing testament to flagrant disregard for human rights established in the Nuremberg Code of 1947 –

August 20, 1947: Judgment at Nuremberg

Nazi Doctors & Nuremberg Code_Annas & GrodinAugust 20, 1947: Judgment at Nuremberg: 16 out of 23 doctors were found guilty of crimes against humanity. The Nuremberg verdict also set forth the parameters of “Permissible Medical Experiments” known as the Nuremberg Code.

The Nuremberg Code laid the foundation for biomedical ethics mandating that medical experiments conducted on human beings must conform to well-defined humane, ethical standards; foremost is immutable standard:

The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential;
The information sought is “unprocurable by other methods or means of study;
The anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment;
The experiment is designed “to avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering or injury;”
Risks to subjects be minimized to protect against “even remote possibilities of injury, disability or death.

The Nuremberg Code makes clear that ethical standards protecting individual human rights supersede arguments invoking the “greater good of society.”

http://ahrp.org/category/eugenics/scientific-racism/unethical-us-experiments-wwii-through-cold-war/

America fancied itself above the Nuremberg Code. Government didn’t stop at inmates, institutionalized psychiatric patients and developmentally challenged children, any citizen was fair game.

We’ve all heard of Syphilis experimentation, but how many know of Dr. Saul Krugman spoon feeding hepatitis infected feces to mentally disabled children.http://ahrp.org/1955-1970-saul-krugman-md-conducted-despicable-medical-experiments-at-willowbrook/ , refrigeration experimentation on inmates http://ahrp.org/1940s-a-series-of-hypothermia-experiments-at-harvard-and-the-university-of-cincinnati-subjected-mental-patients-prolonged-to-freezing-temperatures/, injecting prisoners with beef blood http://ahrp.org/1942-edward-cohn-md-a-harvard-biochemist-injected-prisoners-with-beef-blood/ , dousing unsuspecting indigenous citizens of Point Hope, Alaska with radioactive material http://ahrp.org/1958-1962-project-chariot/, or horrors at Holmesburg prison http://ahrp.org/1951-1974-dr-albert-kligman-conducted-many-hundreds-of-painful-non-therapeutic-experiments-on-prisoners-at-holmesburg-prison/

Human experimentation without consent is an ugly truth, a callous end justifies the means disregard for basic human rights. Much as we’d like to believe government safeguards citizens, common sense dictates a measure of caution. History proves ethics are subjective.

Ponder A Patent Riddle


Read the description below, try to guess what this excerpt from an actual patent describes. No Googling allowed, play fair!

A series of approximately ten sounds, alternating between the chest and falsetto registers of the voice, as follows –

  1. a semi-long sound in the chest register,
  2. a short sound up an interval of one octave plus a fifth from the preceding sound,
  3. a short sound down a Major 3rd from the preceding sound,
  4. a short sound up a Major 3rd from the preceding sound,
  5. a long sound down one octave plus a Major 3rd from the preceding sound,
  6. a short sound up one octave from the preceding sound,
  7. a short sound up a Major 3rd from the preceding sound,
  8. a short sound down a Major 3rd from the preceding sound,
  9. a short sound up a Major 3rd from the preceding sound,
  10. a long sound down an octave plus a fifth from the preceding sound.
%d bloggers like this: