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Published: January 18th 2016
Jan. 17, 2016 Fourth day at sea
Or is it the fifth? Time is beginning to warp out here with nothing definite to mark its passage. After three or four 25 hour days (due to our westward course) we get sleepy at odd times and take long naps, waking up in our windowless cabin with no idea of the time.
There is a schedule every day: lectures, exercise groups, classes (painting, cooking, etc.), special sales of incredibly expensive jewelry, and then of course there is the library, and next to it, the casino. I can’t tell you how many bars there are; at least six or seven, but none of the liquor is free.
We heard a story before we left about a guy who went on a ten day Caribbean cruise and lost $60,000 at the ship’s casino. Back ashore, he sued the ship for the return of his losses, on the grounds that they kept him so drunk with free booze that he did not have his normal judgement about him. It went to a jury trial. Unlikely as it may seem, he won, and they returned all his losses. I avoid this by never going in the casino. It is big, with several croupiers and a bank of all-night slot machines, but there are never many people inside. Still, it must be profitable, or they would not give it the space it has.
There is entertainment every night, often not too bad. The best was a pair of “mind readers”, a former magician and his wife, who performed a very perfect show. They could tell people’s names, read the serial numbers off money from your pocket, etc. I was truly mystified, but I remain true to my faith that the world (life, intelligence, and chemistry) operates by the electromagnetic field exclusively. My friend Larry met them at lunch and chatted them up. They are not telling their secrets, as you might imagine. In fact, right there at the lunch table they had Larry produce a $20 bill from his pocket. The serial number was duly read off, though neither of them was ostensibly able to see it. They say they offered $10,000 at a magician’s convention to anyone who could explain their illusion. It went uncollected. They are truly cutting edge magicians.
I think we have found El Niño. We are over a thousand miles from the nearest land; 4ºS ,123ºW, and the surface temperature of the sea is 86º F. It feels very humid on deck, and in the mornings and evenings there is a lot of mist, enough to obscure the horizon. In thermodynamics, there is a simple model of the vapor pressure of liquids which predicts that v.p. rises exponentially with the absolute temperature. Not linearly; exponentially. That means the v.p. increases more with every degree than it did with the last. Evaporation from the huge expanse of the Pacific, and also the Gulf of Mexico, with higher surface temperatures than ever before in human history, is the root cause of the torrential precipitation events that we are seeing all over the globe. There is nothing to argue about; it’s just physics.
It’s amazing that we have any internet service at all out here is this vast expanse of nothing, so I’m not complaining. We can read the NYTimes online for free, but everything else is slow and expensive ($0.55 per minute) and we use it as little possible. Sometimes, we are out of the satellite “footprint”and everything goes off until we come into the next one. I connect and publish my blog, look briefly at responses, and turn it off as quickly as possible. My sincere thanks to everybody who has responded. Today, if I manage to connect, I will try to copy your responses to my own computer and tomorrow I will send you individual e-mails en masse
if I can figure out how.
We continue on, at a steady 18 knots, toward Nuku Hiva, the nearest dot of land, still well over a thousand miles away, in French Polynesia.
Tot: 1.223s; Tpl: 0.041s; cc: 6; qc: 44; dbt: 0.0257s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.3mb