Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.


He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
 

Anchor drop total failure

An evening pause: In many ways I think this represents our civilization today. I hope I am wrong.

Hat tip Jim Mallamace.

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13 comments

  • Col Beausabre

    That’s the reason inboard end of the anchor chair or cable is called “the bitter end”

    “bitter end (plural bitter ends)

    (nautical) That part of an anchor cable which is abaft the bitts and thus remains inboard when a ship is riding at anchor.
    pay out a rope to the bitter end (pay out all of the rope)

    (nautical) The final six fathoms of anchor chain before the point of attachment in the chain locker of modern US naval vessels.”

  • wayne

    Col Beausabre
    -excellent factoid!

    Fleetwood Mac
    The Chain
    https://youtu.be/kBYHwH1Vb-c
    4:53
    (i can still hear you sayin’ you would never beak the chain…)

  • Robert Pratt

    Amazing how long many remained near the equipment when catastrophic failure was obvious.

  • Robert Pratt: While it would certainly fit Robert’s thesis, it is the sailors’ duty to stay at their post until the situation is completely hopeless. And maybe even past that. While this situation didn’t endanger the ship, you can’t just throw up your hands at the first sign of trouble.

    Apologies, but I’ve run into a lot of people who bail at the first adversity.

  • AgileElephant

    CNN has announced that it was a mostly successful anchor drop.

  • Mark

    thanks for posting this, Robert. As a young US Navy midshipman back in 1976, i spent my summer training onboard the salvage ship USS Conserver (ARS-39) in Pearl Harbor. The USNS Kawishiwi, a Fleet oiler, had been testing the windlass brake on one of its anchors and apparently the brake failed and the anchor and chain were lost several miles outside Pearl in 600 feet of water. USS Conserver was tasked to salvage the anchor and chain, weighing somewhere around 300,000 lbs. Our ship had a new “remote, unmanned work system” that we used to find the anchor, locate the bitter end and pass successively larger and larger cables thru it in order to bring the entire chain and anchor up to the deck of our ship. It was a memorable undertaking and i often wondered what a windlass brake failure looked like. Tonite’s video tells that tale, thank you! Another Navy term might be of interest to the group and that is a “shot” of anchor chain is 90 feet long and the last shot in the “chain locker” is painted red. So if you see the red shot paying out of control, its time to clear well away from the emerging danger of a runaway chain.

  • Chris

    Col – you had me with the “bitter end” definition and then I saw “abaft the bitts”

    Mark – good stuff on the “shot” and the red painting of the last 90’ till … the bitter end.

    Great factiods!

    It’s a shame I just missed International Talk Like a Pirate Day – September 19th!

  • LocalFluff

    The captain must’ve underestimated the sea depth, which is pretty clumsy these days.

    I very much like Drachinifel’s (strange name he’s chosen) Youtube channel about naval warfare until the end of world war two, mostly about beautiful beautiful ships like this, made to ram the enemy:
    https://i.imgur.com/5E1Nu1g.jpg

    This episode about the Russian Baltic fleet’s cruise around the world in 1905 to fight the Japanese is the most entertaining:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Mdi_Fh9_Ag

    To be compared with Teddy Roosevelt demonstrating the Great White Fleet with an around the world cruise a few years later
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbV3qRIh-ro

  • wayne

    Mark–
    Great Tale!

    Chris–
    arrh mate-y, i used to own the talklikeapirate.com domain, but I never did anything with it and let it lapse.

    Ref:
    “abaft the bitts”–

    Pogo
    October 5, 1969
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-zOTRtln-6L4/U9SfMTNmf7I/AAAAAAAAdKs/ULe94Ql6DD4/w1200-h630-p-k-no-nu/Pogo_1969-10-05_100+copy.jpg

  • ARR

    Col – I’m reaching way back, but I think anchor chain is measured in shots. 1 shot = 15 fathoms = 90 feet. I knew that plebe knowledge from USNA would come in handy one day!

  • ARR

    Now I see Mark already posted that fact. Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty of other factoids from that time ready to be blurted out.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Correct on the shots of anchor chain. Each shot is color coded. As it pays out, the colors go by, so the seaman can see, and then report to the Master, how many shots are in the water. The number of shots needed ( called the scope) is predetermined by the Master based on the depth of the water, what the bottom consists of ( muddy, sandy, rocky, etc) and weather expected (bad weather means more.

  • sippin_bourbon

    I should have noted the color coding is painted on the few links that connect the shots.
    They usually use red-white-blue in that sequence to count it out.
    The 2nd to last shot uses yellow.
    The last shot, as mentioned above, is all red.

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