about the universe forum commander Shop Now Commanders Circle
Product List FAQs home Links Contact Us

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


  Steve Cole ponders various thoughts that came to mind.
1. It is often said by people studying Noah's flood that "every culture on Earth has a flood myth" and because of this, one might assume, every culture on Earth descends from a single group of people who survived the biblical flood. A simpler explanation might be that floods happen all the time in localized areas and a storytelling looking for a new plot for his next story might well just make up a "really big flood." There may, however, be some truth to it. About 5600BC, the basin that is now the Black Sea flooded; that much is a geological fact. There is a theory that due to dry conditions, a substantial part of the European and Middle Eastern population lived around the shore of the (much smaller) Black Sea. (Not everyone agrees. The Black Sea might have been like the Great Salt Lake and not much use for drinking.) When the dam broke and the Mediterranean flowed it, it took a year or two for the basin to fill. There was no real need for panic, but everyone who wanted to keep living by the shore had to move their camp a mile away from the edge every evening (and probably woke up with wet feet the next morning). Eventually, the people got tired of this and relocated to more distant areas.
2. It seems strange to me that I waited most of my life to reach the 21st century but now we're far enough into it that bit expensive things (cars, computers) made DURING the 21st century are wearing out.
3. P.T. Barnum said: "You don't have to know everything. You don't have to know somebody who knows everything. You just need enough friends that ONE of them knows someone else who knows how to find out what you need to know." His classic example was that when he wanted to meet Queen Victoria, he asked his friends who they knew who could help. He knew the publisher of a New York newspaper who knew the US ambassador to England.
4. I just had Simone in my office, and as part of another conversation, I explained to her the ship's log. In the old sailboat says, if they wanted to know how fast they were going, they threw a log (literally) overboard. The log was tied to a rope, and a small hourglass (which ran only a few seconds) would run down. When the sand ran out, the sailors stopped the rope and pulled the log back in, counting the number of knots in the rope from the point where they stopped it to the log. This was the ship's speed in "knots" (which are still used today for ships, a knot or nautical mile being about 9% bigger than a mile). The result was recorded in "the log book" where the mate would write the time, compass direction, knots, and perhaps a note about the weather or what coastlines were in view. [Some navies had the knots closer together an used a smaller hourglass, or farther apart with a bigger hourglass, but they all got the same answer within the limits of the technology of 1492.]
5. Leanna and I were talking about our refrigerator the other day, and all the two previous refrigerators we have owned during our 38 years together. She remarked that she preferred to have the freezer on the bottom as she got to the non-frozen part more often and could do so without bending over. I commented that I wanted to get to the whole refrigerator without bending over, and that what the country really needed was a horizontal refrigerator that was twice as wide and half as tall as traditional models. This would then sit on top of a cabinet (with drawers full of canned food or whatever else).