Maritime Literature

MARITIME LITERATURE: Tales of the Sea of Cosmic Consequence

Photo Courtesy PD Photo.org


First, the fundamentals of Maritime Literature by a guest blogger with a great affinity for books:

Joseph Conrad:
Lord Jim: Conrad is unique, this is the most accessible of his works, the easiest to understand.
The Secret Sharer: Conrad is unique, and this is the most unique of literary structures.
Nostromo:  The best and hardest of Conrad
The Nigger of the Narcissus: (because it shocked me as a boy) Conrad at his most beautiful, jagged like a wild promontory.

Herman Melville:
Moby Dick, obviously, the conception of the novel, the breadth, the music, the information, it leaves me gasping.
White Jacket,a curious book by Melville, it went to all those in congress in 1860 whatever, it changed our navy.
Billy Budd, because Melville is the best writer we ever produced and this an indictment of mankind
Benito Cerrano, because this work fooled everyone

Rudyard Kipling: Captains Courageous, Kipling is unique, passionate, a lover of mankind (love, not something easily understood).

Ernest Hemingway: The Old Man and The Sea because not to read it means you have missed something unusual in time, a different style than was ever seen, unique

Richard Henry Dana:  Two Years Before the Mast, because Richard Henry Dana (is that really his name?) influences Melville(he said so).
Thor Heyerdahl: The Kon Tiki Expedition, because it is unique, Heyerdahl a brilliant man in the shape of Kazantzakis and Albert Schweitzer.
Nikos Kazantzakis: Zorba, the Greek, because in the small sailing trips they take you can feel the waves, the salt air, everything in a different ocean with different sailors.

Herman Wouk: The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, a substantial work which interested everyone in the 50's and 60's, Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda among them.

I find I can not take any of these off the list, I can not shorten the list, this is civilization to me, this is what literature courses should teach, each of these books should have two weeks of our time to discuss ( 3 hours a day seven days a week) in a class of 20 students we would each read our favorite passages, if you can not find a favorite passage you fail the course, if you can not find a character you like, love or hate and tell us all why, you fail the course (and finally you must go out on the ocean,... write three pages about your adventure, read it to us or... you fail the course.  -R.B.
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THE LIBRARY OF THE BEAGLE IS NOW ON LINE


File:HMS Beagle by Conrad Martens.jpg

 When Darwin put to sea on the HMS BEAGLE he didn't just bring blank notebooks, but relied heavily on a compact but fairly complete set of references on known biology, geology, and botany. Darwin's make shift personal quarters and laboratory  also served as the ship's library. Unfortunately the library was dispersed after the voyage and until recently the contents of Darwin's references were unknown. Today 178 years later John van Wyhe of the National University of Singapore has reconstructeda virtual version of Darwin’s library, by cataloging all of the printed sources Darwin made reference to in his travel notes. Dr van Wyhe has found the texts of these now rather obscure volumes that Darwin would become so familiar with and has scanned them into on line versions that scholars, journalists, historians, and others may access at no charge. The entire project has been generously supported by the National University of Singapore..You may read the full story of this daunting feat of research and publishing at Take a Virtual Voyage into Darwin's Library. You can literally read scanned versions of the library publications at CHARLES DARWIN's BEAGLE LIBRARY.

 We think this is an invaluable resource and service, a light that should never be hidden under a basket.. Since we don't have room yet for a VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY section in its own right we're going to post this as an illustrated post in several likely sections where someone looking for such information might think to look within our present system. As long as this valuable resource is up on the internet we will endeavor to track it and link you to it. We can't possibly replicate all of the fantastic research in the maritime context that is going on out there. But we view it as our job to try and learn everything that is going on and to make it easier to find .



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OUR SUGGESTIONS FOR AN ON LINE VIDEO MARITIME HISTORY COURSE

First we introduce you to a historian who makes a clear point that world history is maritime history.
Lincoln Paine
Photo by Nellie Large
Lincoln Paine is the author of five books and more than fifty articles, reviews, and lectures on maritime history. His books include the award-winning The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World (Knopf, 2013), Down East: A Maritime History of Maine . The photo above is a capture from his personal site.which we link you to below:

In his second lecture he links MARITIME HISTORY AND GLOBAL HUMAN ECOLOGY

All Maritime History Is Not Western:


Chinese sailors at Pearl Harbor, the place their government has publicly announced that they would drive us back to. (Official U.S. Navy Photo)



MORE TO COME

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      The true story believed to be the inspiration for MOBY DICK




                             




                               


                              




MOVIES: MANY OF THESE CLASSICS HAVE BEEN MADE INTO MOVIES AND WE'VE PROVIDED
                 PURCHASE LINKS BELOW. BUT THAT'S WHERE WE DRAW THE LINE, NO CLIFF NOTES! 

          This is the 1956 Gregory Peck Version

  This is the TV miniseries starring Patrick Stewart  



You can not only order these as DVDs and in  some cases even VHS tapes from Amazon but you can also watch the movies instantly on your computer through Amazon's "Instant Video program.http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=a9_sc_1?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ainstant+video+program&keywords=instant+video+program&ie=UTF8&qid=1343152878  



  Movie        Book   Book
   Movie

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PROTOCOLS: 

A Cyber Book Under Construction. 


 Welcome armchair editors. "PROTOCOLS is the working title of a cyber book in progress, an anthology of essays that compares the age of space exploration with that great period of earthly exploration by sea known as "The European Recognizance". This series of essays started in 1997 when the author responded to an article in the Naval Institute Proceedings concerning looking at space as an ocean. The author, Johnas Presbyter is a naval veteran and U.S. Merchant Marine Officer with a considerable background in positions that involved the inspection, operation, entry, pratique,clearance of ships. He found that increasingly when he did look at space as an ocean he was dismayed at our lack of protocols to prevent the kind of human and ecological disasters that followed in the wake of Columbus. He began to exchange ideas in essay form with fellow members of the U.S. Naval Institute and the Naval Intelligence Professionals Association. Some years later he sent a book proposal titled "PROTOCOLS" to the U.S. Naval Institute which ultimately rejected the idea of the anthology of essays as a book. In October of 2012 we began to publish some of the essays as blog posts in a series titled "SPACE AS AN OCEAN". That series is re-posted below in the order of appearance of the essays. In this space we will be doing some editing, adding some illustrations, related links and eventually a few more essays. You are invited to both read the work in progress and to add your thoughts for our consideration by way of the comment block that appears at the bottom of this page. So scroll down and enjoy PROTOCOLS and play armchair editor, you might change the direction of the final book.

JUST FOR FUN: Here is a hyper link to a live video feed from the international space station

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/iss_ustream.html

Here is a link to the original flight center video and radio transmissions of man's first landing on the Moon:


Editors note: This essay published in the first months of the blog led to the collection of essays on "Space as an Ocean". That anthology of essays is now in our Maritime Literature Section where you may read it free of charge as it is evolved and is being edited into the E-book PROTOCOLS

SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION...THE AIR FOIL AND THE ASCENT OF MAN




File:Airfoil.svg                          Sailboat Clip Art It is a bit unusual for a ship's master, but I once  taught  in a high school. I taught nautical arts and sciences so it wasn't that much of a stretch, and the high school system owned a 65 foot training vessel that I also served as Captain on. So even if my presence in the high school didn't seem that mysterious to me, the maritime world was a near complete mystery for my "merchant marine cadets" in the first weeks of class. The early weeks of class were a lot like the early weeks at the Harry Lundburg School of Seamanship, which is to say these weeks were a lot like a sort of civilian version of boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Training Center but done on the installment plan.  My goal was to instill paramilitary discipline while inspiring and motivating the all volunteer vocational / technical career path students to really want to become mariners.  So after the basic introduction I began with a question.


 I asked the class, called "the ship's company", "what single invention has had the most significant impact on man kind?"  I received some of the usual answers like the wheel, fire (hardly an "invention"), the printing press, while a few figured that the answer, given the nature of the course had to be maritime in character so I also was offered the steam ship, the steam engine, and the screw propeller. "No", I answered," none of those" then I went to the chalk board and drew two triangular shapes . "What's this" I asked? "A pair of triangles?"," A sail!', "A wing!'. No I'd say "think generic there is one name for both shapes, indeed you are simply looking at the same shape displayed vertically and horizontally, what is it?" Silence. "It's an airfoil", I'd say.  "Deployed vertically this shape is used as a sail and horizontally as a wing. "  


 More so than any other single invention this simple shape changed and shaped the world. In its' earliest manifestation, the square sail, it gave rowers in the ancient galleys a break when the wind was astern. But once the wing like lanteen sail was invented by the Arabs, rowers were no longer needed. Hard to carry food calories could now be used to support a smaller crew and not to provide direct propulsive power for the ship through a virtual army of rowers. The range of ships and their cargo capacity increased continually and dramatically. Long before the zenith of the age of sail Columbus was crossing the ocean sea on basically a mix of square and lanteen sails.  As navigational arts developed in the wake of the physical capacity to sail out of sight of land, long ocean voyages could be repeated at will and  trade began to expand into a global enterprise.


File:1893 Nina Pinta Santa Maria replicas.jpg
Replica of Columbus Fleet constructed in 1893 note that the yards are both horizontal ( for square sails) and slanted for lanteen sails. These vessels were still most efficient sailing with the wind but could tack and thus could return from the far corners of the globe even if the inbound winds were not as favorable as those that bore them out . As more of the world was discovered  the demand for more speed efficiency and carrying capacity evolved.

 As global commerce began to take shape and Europe began to plant colonies the demand for higher speed, more efficient sailing, and more cargo capacity began to drive the technological development of sail. The zenith of the age of sail would culminate in the development of the famous "clipper ships" with their global reach and complex rigs. 

An American "Clipper" as advanced compared to the ships of Columbus as a modern jumbo jet is compared to a Wright Flyer

Commercial sailing technology would reach its zenith in the late nineteenth century  about the same time that steam engines would mature driving railroads and river boats to a point where commercial ship operators were prepared to use them at sea. Man had taken the air foil in vertical deployment about as far as it would go for commercial transport , and the air foil or sail had taken man around the world and back again many times over. 

 As mariners, ship wrights, naval architects and sail makers studied the function of sail , or the air foil in vertical deployment, it was very early on realized that the sail functions by channeling wind  towards the "Luff" which is a fairly narrow area near the mast. High pressure forms on the windward side of the sail and low pressure on the leeward or opposite side. Air moves from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. But the sail prevents the high pressure from infilling the low pressure area and a force known as "drive" is created. The mast is set in the hull which is set afloat in the low resistance medium of water. The "drive" exerted near the mast propels the boat forward. Notice that even the square sails on the clipper ship above can be rotated around the mast almost 180 degrees producing  at least some drive on all points of sail. In between the square sails are numerous triangular sails which are more efficient sailing closer to the wind. The sail plan was based on a law of averages but consistently produced excellent speeds on all points of sale.


Now every sailor who ever had to furl sail knew that an air foil if it got into a horizontal plane could exert a force  known as "Lift".  A wing is simply an airfoil deployed in the horizontal mode. But lift and drive were very well understood by 1903. In 1903 the steamship was  dominant in maritime  commerce but there were still plenty of square riggers working when the Wright Brothers turned their airfoils into the horizontal position , attached power for a constant source of air flow for the creation of "lift". The Wright Brothers soon learned that control after lift off was the most difficult. At first they tried "wing warping" or changing the shape of the wing to control direction and altitude which was pretty much what sailors did with sails by use of the running rigging such as sheet lines.  Soon they opted to change only a portion of the wing's basic shape through the use of ailerons, stabilizers,  and the ship's rudder's cousin, the tail rudder. The world began to shrink at a much faster pace. Only 66 years after man's first heavier than air flight we landed on the moon. Truly sometimes a great notion is as simple as a mere shape and may come from someone as simple as an ancient sailor. 


I would tell my students after leading them through this exercise that mariners are part of an ancient and learned profession. Our profession's discoveries gave the world, the world; sewed it together and then gave it flight. Then I'd give them this little known fact. When the Wright Brothers made their first  flight at Kitty Hawk the hands that gave their flyer its initial push off were those of sailors of the nearby U.S. Life Saving Service Station, one of the ancestral organizations  of the U.S. Coast Guard. Once the ''Wright Flyers" became controllable in flight one of the first purchasers was the United States Navy. If you visit Dalghren Hall on the grounds of the Naval Academy you can see the Navy's original Wright Flyer: suspended from the ceiling. 

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SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 Humans had migrated over all of the continents of the earth and established civilizations great and small long before Columbus set sail. But migrations are quite different from voyages of discovery. Before Spain, Portugal, and Great Britain began to compete with each other over the exploration by sea of the  globe, other governments had, on occasion, attempted to sponsor such expeditions. It was the Europeans starting in the late 1400s who completed and repeated such voyages and planted colonies and forged alliances around the globe. For better or for worse that began the global village. So in this series of essays we ignore the question of the voyages of the Chinese admirals, the Viking voyages to America and look for the lessons, positive and negative that have come from the still on going "Colombian Exchange" , the movements of peoples, goods, plants, animals, and microbes about the planet from the places where they had evolved to where ever they could survive.

 Now just in case your are interested in exploring the Chinese claim for the discovery of America in 1421 here are some links:
 Part 1 of 2 the film "1421" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBMXoPtPtTw

 Part 2 of 2 1421 China Discovers Americahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocUIzwMPbx4

If you are inclined to read about it ,the movies are based on this book:

   We don't agree or disagree with the historical speculation based on some solid looking evidence that the Chinese reached America before Columbus. The point is that when the Eunuch Admiral returned to China the new rulers didn't follow up.  The earlier Viking colonies disappeared and contact broke off.  It was the Europeans who explored, recorded, left colonies, and repeated voyages, and for better or worse gave us the lessons we will contemplate in this series. 

Here is a video look at America just before the arrival of Columbus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brSPQ7sUE84

And for our readers:

  

 Let's resume our previous line of thought. Beginning with the first voyage of Columbus; people, objects, plants, animals, ideas, and microbes started  to cross the Atlantic with growing regularity. Other explorers like Vasco de Gama had rounded Africa and entered the Indian Ocean. They too were starting a two way exchange that would grow, and eventually other European merchant men would enter the Pacific. But for the sake of convenience and convention,  we'll refer to the whole ensuing traffic that evolved over time and continues to this day  as The  Colombian Exchange. 

For a look at some of the changes that began to appear after Columbus watch this free video series :
"500 Nations"
PART1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02xJURubepI

PART 2:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTdmoAdLxHI&feature=related

There are actually eight parts to the "500 Nation" series which takes the viewer from pre- Colombian times through initial contact and all the way to the 1890s at Wounded Knee. We are most interested in examining "first contact", what happened when the European seafarers met the Native Americans, and later others, such as the Polynesians. Take some time to view the videos or read up a bit on the world before the "European Recognizance". Let your mind wander and envision a world  so vast that great civilizations existed without any knowledge of each other. For Thousands of years the seas kept mankind apart and the relative isolation fostered the separate development of languages, laws, customs,  agriculture, whole civilizations. As long as the seas remained unconquered it seemed the "World" would always be vast, and rather disconnected. Then Prince Henry the Navigator put seamanship, navigation, and geography on a systematic, even scientific basis. The Spanish, the British, the Dutch all began to compete in exploration and in only about two hundred years the world became a much smaller place, the great barrier of the oceans became a highway and the world is still reeling from the effect.

 Yet even while we still stagger under the problems and opportunities created by the resulting "Colombian Exchange" that followed the" European Recognizance" we have already embarked upon a new ocean that connects a universe. It has been more than forty years since man first planted a flag and left foot prints on another planet . Even as we write this, robotic explorers are on Mars. We seek the return of more samples of outer planet soils to the Earth. We are already embarked on a second recognizance and we haven't absorbed the lessons from the first. We are already repeating some of the same initial mistakes. In the coming weeks a seafarer/scholar who has participated in the Colombian Exchange  as a trader, and combated some of its ill effects as a regulator, will provide to you a series of free standing essays looking at the similarities between space and the oceans, and between our present entry into space exploration and our past exploration of the planet by sea. "SPACE AS AN OCEAN" isn't a serialized book, its a discussion, like the Namazu School and "HOW FAR WILL THE DRAGON SWIM?" There is a comment block at the end of every blog posting, your thoughts are always appreciated.

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SPACE AS AN OCEAN

                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" The Foreword (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


  Unlike the last great age of exploration the present age was not preceded by eons of migration. Migrations of men are radically different from explorations. Migrations are random and uncoordinated events. Though random, migrations can generate profound changes. On Earth man migrated from the tropics to the rim of the Arctic and peopled every land mass on the planet except Antarctica before the final age of terrestrial exploration began. Migrations can both precede and follow great ages of exploration. Migrations are the result of cumulative individual decisions. Explorations are most often important undertakings of states. The present age of space exploration began as a competition between states and is already evolving into a mostly cooperative effort of multiple states. We are preparing to leave the planet. It will not be a migration, no random individual decisions to leave. It will be a cooperative international effort, organized in great detail and at great cost. Migration will probably follow at some distant point but we are going, of that there can be no doubt.

 Why are we so sure that we are going? Because the results of our first tentative explorations tell us that it will be worth the trip. Prior to 1969 men on the moon were a science fiction invention. Today more than 40 years after Neil Armstrong's historic  first step, we've had it, we've been there, we left behind junk cars to memorialize our passage! In the year since that historic landing we learned a few things about moon dust. Based on samples brought back from the moon we found a fairly large supply of nearly identical mineral formations in the northern United States. This allowed experimentation in quantity. We found that with sufficient technology we can extract many useful elements from moon dust and rock including water!  Long term basing on the moon is therefor possible. But why would we want to base anything in that forsaken landscape? Two other late twentieth century discoveries make it desirable.

 First, we now know for certain that other planets circle other suns.some as close as 38 light years from us and some we already know have atmospheres. The Hubble telescope ( the telescope orbiting our planet in space) and other unmanned probes that we have sent out have confirmed that water, especially in the form of ice is much more common in the universe than previously suspected. We discovered non oxygen dependent life forms on this planet at the bottom of the sea in sulfuric vents and possible DNA evidence in rock from Mars. In 1969 we did not know for certain that other suns had planetary systems and the universe was popularly thought to most probably be a dust bin. We  will go on to fully explore our own solar system and beyond because we now know for a fact that our chances of discovering new and inhabitable real estate are in fact excellent. We also now know that the earth's viability as an inhabitable place is not indefinite. Even if we escape man caused environmental collapse, nuclear disaster, or catastrophic asteroid collisions, the sun has an expiration date and with it goes Earth. As a self aware species we will seek to survive. This fact drives both the now beginning age of exploration and waves of migration that will follow.

 As a society the Western World already seems prepared to accept that our outward search may reveal new potential trading partners, competitors, prior claimants  or even enemies. If life is now not only possible but probable in the universe out there, so is intelligent life with all that is implied by that term. We must be prepared before going, to deal with encounters with unique and quite different biota and perhaps even intelligent beings. What possible experience could the human race have from which to draw lessons for such an eventuality? We suggest that we have in our collective history an age quite similar to the impending age with many parallel events from which we can draw lessons. Once, only a few hundred years ago, the shape of the world was unknown. Human and animal populations were separated by vast, seemingly  uncross-able oceans. Human societies were incredibly diverse and strange to each other. Creatures great and small from the far reaches of the planet seemed wondrously strange and alien. Into this unknown world would come the mariners of Western Europe. In their wake would come eventually the concept of the "Global Village", but first would come wars, pestilence, and extinctions , in unprecedented numbers. By studying the mistakes and successes of the great age of European maritime exploration we can decipher lessons of great utility in the age of space exploration. Now is the time do to do this for at the moment we are in a relatively long  pause before  the next human visit to a distant planet. But the pause will not hold. The time is short, the need vital, so let us begin.


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SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                                   

SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books



SOMETIMES MYTH HAS A PROFOUND EFFECT ON HISTORY

 Today, young adults have a very detailed vision of the coming age of faster than light space travel, exploration, trade and development via the televisions series related to the Star Trek franchise and movies going back as far as ET and Star Wars. While these visions are very fanciful, they are also incredibly detailed through the magic of cinematography. Undoubtedly these visions enliven the imaginations of countless future astronauts, physicists, astronomers, and taxpayers. There is no doubt that present and future generations have been and will  be reaching for this fanciful but detailed vision of the future and make something happen. (Note: Italian laboratories accelerated  micro waves to 30 times the speed of light, and an American lab accelerated light itself to 200 times its natural speed about a decade ago. So the "warp drive" of Star Trek  while not even close developmentally is none the less now theoretically possible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faster-than-light     http://gizmodo.com/5951184/faster+than+light-travel-may-be-possible   http://gizmodo.com/5942634/nasa-starts-development-of-real-life-star-trek-warp-drive

Looking at the science fiction media today, one theme that comes through a vast body of work is the naval like organization and society to be found on "star ships".  This is not a surprise since we have only one model of society aboard a small vessel, engaged for prolonged periods in voyages of discovery. That model is from ships of oceanic exploration and is of necessity naval in character. The model while somewhat evolved over the centuries,served us well in the period of oceanic exploration known as the "European Recognisance"and every indication is that it will continue to serve us well as it evolves in space exploration. 

 The vision of the future offered by the Gene Rodenberrys of our time is the stuff that myth is made of. It is a filling in of the unknown details from imagination fueled with the possible and probable. Society engaged in such myth making long before the advent of the modern electronic media. Sometimes such myth took on the wide spread perception of truth. At least once in the period just before the great age of oceanic exploration such a myth helped drive reality. The myth itself influenced real events in very unexpected ways. It is worth a few minutes to examine this power of myth. We will not engage in an exhaustive study. Let us simply review a single myth from the age
of oceanic exploration and the actions of a single naval intelligence agent.


PEDRO de COVILHAO, AND THE SEARCH FOR "PRESTER JOHN" 

 Pedro de Covilhao was born into a world partly unknown. The known world of his time and culture had been at war for centuries before his birth. That known world was divided into two religious based  alliances, one Christian, and the other Muslim. For centuries these two loosely organized powers fought over the Holy Land. The Christian understanding of the world beyond their own borders was limited by partial Muslim blockage of their communications with Eastern powers broadly thought of as "India", and a vast, trackless, and as yet uncrossed ocean to their west. Hundreds of years before the birth of  Pedro de Covilhao the Christian world came to believe in a Christian kingdom in the eastern rear of the Muslim world anxious to link up with the western Christian coalition and retake the Holy Land. Belief in this kingdom lasted for generations. The West referred to the sovereign of this unknown kingdom as "Prester John". The belief in, and hope, represented by the myth of "Prester John , along with the desire for the riches of the East helped fuel the the search for the routes to "India". "India" in the time of Pedro  de Covilhao meant virtually everything beyond the Muslim World.  Mohammedan forces conquered the Holy land in 637 AD. They allowed the lucrative Christian pilgrimage trade to continue and Christian missionaries to pass through to "India", until the occupying forces of Caliph Hakim leveled the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in 1010 AD. This act predicated the launch of the first of the Crusades and Jerusalem would fall to Christian forces in 1099 AD.

 Jerusalem would periodically change hands as Europe attempted to expel the forces of Islam from the Mediterranean world. In 1145 a strange rumor would spring up concerning a Christian king of great military power living beyond the eastern borders of the Mohammedan Empire. This priest-king would come to be known as "Prester John". The myth of the priest -king, possibly the result of an Islamic disinformation operation, would have a profound effect on the course of the Christian Islamic conflicts and subsequent history. Great efforts would be made in attempting to make contact with him. Attention would be diverted from efforts at converting the Islamic rear, based on a belief that there was already a Christian power there. In the end the desire to make contact with the mythical priest-king would provide no small part of the incentive for the voyages sponsored by Henry the Navigator, though the original "Prester John" would of course be long since dead and buried, the Europeans believed in dynasties and presumed the realm continued. In the end only one Westerner, the Portuguese naval intelligence agent Pedro di Corvilhao , would ever stand before any priest- king  behind Muslim  borders centuries after 1145 AD.

 How the myth of the priest-king came about is a marvel of the power and errors associated with oral tradition, possibly nudged in particular directions by written disinformation which may have even been of Islamic origin. History now demonstrates that in the Islamic rear were basically pagan powers, some of which practiced a high level of religious tolerance. Mixed in with these pagan populations were both Nestorian Christians and Islamic converts. In the beginning of the 12th century a presumed Nestorian Christian Chieftain known as Yeliutashi reached considerable power 
as the leader of a tribe called the Kara-Kitai. In 1141 Yeliutashi defeated an Islamic Seljuk army near Samarkand, Turkestan. These facts filtered and confused by distance, time, and perhaps Islamic "spin control" formed the factual basis for the evolution of the myth of  "Prester John."' Yeliutashi died in 1144 AD and his empire faded almost immediately after his demise. The Mohammedans had no reason to fear a second front from any real "Prester John". Yet  religious tolerance in their rear, coupled with some sincere invitations to Christian missionaries by Moguls and others opened the possibility of a large scale conversion and the creation of an actual enemy. The best course of Islamic action, given their informational superiority about conditions in their rear may well have been a disinformation campaign.  Send the Christians searching for a nonexistent "Prester John" and distract them from efforts at creating one.

 Largely ignored by the Islamic powers , a Christian king did exist in the rear, and Pedro de Corvilhao would one day find him. The first documentary evidence of a "Prester John" or an islamic disinformation forgery, arrived in 1145 AD. A Syrian Christian Bishop informed one Otto Fresing, a historian in the service of the Pope, of a Nestorian King who had defeated the Meades and the Persians. It was believed that the King intended to lend his army to the support of the Christians at Jerusalem. Supposedly this King encountered difficulties in crossing the Tigris and was forced home where he intended to regroup and again march on Jerusalem. The "News" electrified the leaders of Europe, but the ongoing crusade failed and no help came from the East. Then in 1165 letters were received by the Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa, the Emperor Manuel Comnenus of Constantinople, and the Pope. The sender of these letters described himself as "Johannes Presbyter...."/

 The letters mostly introduced "Prester John' and described his Christian kingdom. The Pope dispatched  an emissary with a responding letter in 1177 AD but the emissary was never heard from again.

 In 1221 the Bishop of Acre wrote to the Pope. In his letter he described a "King David" "by the people called  Prester John". Supposedly this "Prester John was about 15 days march from Antioch and intended to take Jerusalem. In fact there was a King David. He was a Georgian and defeated a large Islamic army, but he was not on the march and may have been dead by the time the West learned of him.

 The Mohammedans had borders and contacts with the Europeans and so undoubtedly had agents in the European camps and capitals. They had the means , the motive, and greatly benefited from the disinformation concerning "Prester John". Is it such a stretch of the imagination to consider that the Mohammedans themselves were the source of the "proofs" (letters and detailed reports about) "Prester John". If the myth of "Prester John" was created by Islamic informational warriors, their side benefited in the short run. But the myth of "Prester John" may have partly driven another force of history that  would ultimately shift the locus of power to the North Atlantic nations.

Enter, Henry the Navigator. By 1415 Christian and Islamic forces were still engaged in parts of the Mediterranean world. There were rumors and widespread belief in a "Prester John"(the 5th no less). The "modern age" with it's shift of the locus of power to the North Atlantic regions and away from the Mediterranean Basin began in 1415 when the Portuguese took Ceuta on the coast of North Africa opposite Gibraltar. With Ceurta secure the Portuguese began the great period of exploration that would ultimately lead to the colonization of the New World. This era, however, began not with a push out into the Atlantic but with a southward push into Africa. South of the Sahara, the 15th century kings of Portugal hoped to find some vitally important objectives; gold,silks, spices, and a communications link to "Prester John".

 In 1787 Covilhao's monarch John II of Portugal would make a full court press for "India". First he would dispatch Covilhao on a secret mission to reconnoiter "Indian" as well as Muslim ports, and later make contact with "Prester John". That same year he would dispatch Bartolomeu Diaz with three ships to circumnavigate Africa.

 Pedro de Covilhao spoke fluent Spanish and Arabic and had undertaken secret missions for his King previously to Morocco before he received his most important and final orders from the sovereign of Portugal. On May 7, 1487 he would embark on a naval intelligence gathering operation from which he would never return to his native Portugal. In the process he would see much of the world beyond the borders of Christendom, provide valuable naval intelligence to his sovereign, and live out the rest of his life in the court of a king the Christian world thought of as the legendary "Prester John".

Covilhao was forty when the King dispatched him and a companion, Alfonso de Paiva , another agent fluent in Arabic on a mission to "India" and Africa . Their tasking was to visit all important ports in Arabia, East Africa, and with making contact with the "priest King', "Prester John".

 On May 7, 1487 Covilhao received his credentials from his sovereign and a purse of 400 cruzados. (By 1457 the Cruzado was a gold coin, previously it had been silver. The probable value of Covilhao's purse was about $680,000 in today's dollars , possibly much more.) When Covilhao and Paviva reached Lisbon they exchanged their purse for a letter of credit from the Italian banker Marchioni. By horseback they traveled to Valencia and then to Barcelona. At Barcelona they embarked in a ship for Naples. from Naples they embarked in another ship for Rhodes. In Rhodes they stayed with two Portuguese Hospitallers. The Hospitallers advised them to continue their journey disguised as merchants. As part of his merchant cover Covilhao bought a shipment of honey and crossed over to Alexandria with it. Once in Alexandria both Covilhao and  Paiva became seriously ill. While they were ill the honey shipment disappeared and they were told that the Sultan's Chamberlain had confiscated the shipment because he believed they would not recover. Covilhao persuaded the Chamberlain to pay a reasonable price for the honey. With the money Covilhao purchased other trade goods and pressed on to Cairo. In Cairo Covilhao courted the company of other merchants and eventually made friends with a pair of Moroccans bound for :India" and sailed from Egypt in their company. The first port they reached was Tor on the Sanai Peninsula. From there they went to Aden where  Paiva was to embark for Abyssinia on his own to attempt contact with "Prester John". Meanwhile Covilhao still with the Moroccans, joined a pilgrim ship returning from Mecca and sailed with the south west monsoon across the Indian Ocean to Cannanore on the Malabar Coast of India. In Cannanore he was told that nearby Calicut was the richest port in all of India and that the shipping there was controlled by Islamic merchants. Covilhao proceeded to Calicut where he observed that ships arrived in August and September with European goods, and left in Winter on the north east monsoon with cinnamon, cloves, spices, silks, porcelain, pearls, and precious stones. From Calicut, Covilhao traveled north to Goa and then crossed over to Africa visiting many ports. While in Africa he became convinced that Africa could be circumnavigated and near the end of 1490 Covilhao returned to Cario where he was supposed to meet Pavia.

 Instead he was met by a messenger of the King. Pavia had died before completing his mission of contact with the "Priest King" and Covilhao was to complete Pavia's mission. Covilhao was to find "Prester John" in Sub-Saharan Africa in the Kingdom of Abyssinia . Covilhao wrote a dispatch to his sovereign describing his travels and observations and sent this back via one of the messengers. The other messenger was a rabbi, Abraham of Beja. Before contacting the priest king Covilhao was to take Rabbi Abraham to Ormuz. In his dispatch Covilhao described ports of India, Arabia, and Africa that he had visited. He described "Moon Island"(Madagascar) and most probably expressed his belief that Africa could be circumnavigated.


 Covilhao escorted Rabbi Abraham to Ormuz and then, contrary to his sovereign instructions, took ship for Jidda across the Red Sea. From Jidda he accompanied some pilgrims to Mecca where he wanted to see the sacred Kaaba, the black stone believed to have fallen from heaven long before the arrival of prophet. After Mecca he proceeded north to the monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai. Covilhao's delays in proceeding to Abyssinia seemed almost a premonition of his fate at the hands of the "priest -king".


 Finally in 1493 Covilhao arrived at the court of the Negus in Abyssinia. While treated well, Covilhao was detained against his will and prevented from sending any dispatches to Lisbon. The legendary "priest king"so long sought by the Christian alliance turned out to be the sovereign of a poor and virtually powerless kingdom. It was the Negus who needed and sought an alliance with the West, precisely because of the weakness of his position. The West was interested for two reasons, the "priest-king's" position in the rear of the Muslim world and his legendary strength. If his weakness became known, the West would quickly lose interest. Covilhao would be detained for life in a sort of guilded cage. A portuguese ambassador would finally visit him in 1520 and reported that Covilhao was still alive, married to an Ethiopian woman, held in high esteem with the court of the Negus. Covilhao died in Abyssinia, one of the earliest documented cases of a naval intelligence agent who never came in from the cold. Even if the West had learned of the weakness of "Prester John"in 1493 interest in the route to "India" around Africa was about to take second place in Western navigational interests.


 On March 4, 1493 Christopher Columbus arrived in Restello, Lisbon's outer harbor. The attention of Europe would turn westward across the Atlantic. The quest for "India"and Christian / Muslim conflicts took a back burner to the exploitation and development of the "New World". Covilhao's  astounding mission with its potential for changing the balance of power , would be relegated to a curiosity of history. Undertaken a few years earlier and Covilhao might have been one of the few naval spies who changed history. 


 And so we see the tremendous effect on reality that widely held myth , particularly myth with some remote basis in truth can have on history. The new physics and astrophysics tells us that the universe and physical laws are more complex than either the Newtonian clockwork universe, or relativism. possibilities appear infinite. In the mind of our youth the "warp drive" (space propulsion systems capable of breaking the light barrier) are just around the corner, a myth with some basis in truth. In the mind of our youth the universe has in relative abundance water, oxygen, heat, and planets do circle distant stars; all of this we now know to be true. Some of these children will become heads of state and government, and others officers. One day one or more of these children will send another out to learn just how close to myth is the reality. The children have no obsolete views of the universe as a clockwork or a dustbin to unlearn. Aided by cinematic vision, a compelling myth has formed and is widely held. Driven in part by the power of this myth, like the searchers for "Prester John" the Children will reach for the stars. The lessons from the era of 1415 through 1542 if well studied could help them avoid repeating the mistakes of the last era of great exploration. There are of course other reasons for this coming exploration. But the power of the myth fuels those unschooled in physics and astrophysics, or disinclined to read volumes of technical data. The myth of the resource filled and lively universe is clear and detailed as Hollywood special effects could possibly make it. More over, as was the case several times with the myth of Prester John, facts keep coming in supporting the myth. This myth isn't just something for the scientifically educated. It is firmly planted in the minds of future tax payers all over the world. This generational myth will propel action. Mankind is space bound.


Notes/sources: 

The Caliphate: Muhammad as prophet could not be succeeded. However, the continuity of Islam as a political-social community required succession to his civil and military functions. Upon the prophet's death his father in law was proclaimed "Khalifa Rasul Allah"(Successor of the Apostle of God). As Islam spread and eventually divided into different schools and sects the Caliphate expanded to incorporate regional Caliphs. Dynastic succession introduced stability into the Caliphate during the Umayyard period (661-750 AD). THE PERSIAN GULF STATES A GENERAL STUDY , John Hopkins University Pres. See Also ARABS, ISLAM and the ARAB CALIPHATE by E.A.Beiyaeu.

* For brief biographies and explanations of secular and religious titles see: NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  

* "SELJUK refers to the Rulers of Persia circa 1141

"NESTORIAN  DOCTRINE became the official teaching of the Persian Christian Church whose missionary activities over a number of centuries were the rival of Rome itself.-New Catholic Encyclopedia

*"Chief of the Kari Kitai or more properly the Kahan of the Kara-Khytay defeated the Seljuk King of Persia in 1141 see p. 92 THE QUEST FOR INDIA by Bjorn Lanstrom and the NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA

* For time lines, biographies, etc. see: THE EMPIRE OF THE ARABS by Lt.Gen.Sir John Glubb, HISTORY OF THE ARABS by Philip K. Hiti, and THE ATLAS OF THE ARAB WORLD by Rafie Boustand and Philippe Farques


LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books



SOMETIMES MYTH HAS A PROFOUND EFFECT ON HISTORY

 Today, young adults have a very detailed vision of the coming age of faster than light space travel, exploration, trade and development via the televisions series related to the Star Trek franchise, and movies going back as far as ET and Star Wars. While these visions are very fanciful, they are also incredibly detailed through the magic of cinematography. Undoubtedly these visions enliven the imaginations of countless future astronauts, physicists, astronomers, and taxpayers. There is no doubt that present and future generations have been and will  be reaching for this fanciful but detailed vision of the future and make something happen. (Note: Italian laboratories accelerated  micro waves to 30 times the speed of light, and an American lab accelerated light itself to 200 times its natural speed about a decade ago. So the "warp drive" of Star Trek  while not even close developmentally is none the less now theoretically possible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faster-than-light     http://gizmodo.com/5951184/faster+than+light-travel-may-be-possible   http://gizmodo.com/5942634/nasa-starts-development-of-real-life-star-trek-warp-drive

Looking at the science fiction media today, one theme that comes through a vast body of work is the naval like organization and society to be found on "star ships".  This is not a surprise since we have only one model of society aboard a small vessel, engaged for prolonged periods in voyages of discovery. That model is from ships of oceanic exploration and is of necessity naval in character. The model while somewhat evolved over the centuries,served us well in the period of oceanic exploration known as the "European Recognisance"and every indication is that it will continue to serve us well as it evolves in space exploration. 

 The vision of the future offered by the Gene Rodenberrys of our time is the stuff that myth is made of. It is a filling in of the unknown details from imagination fueled with the possible and probable. Society engaged in such myth making long before the advent of the modern electronic media. Sometimes such myth took on the wide spread perception of truth. At least once in the period just before the great age of oceanic exploration such a myth helped drive reality. The myth itself influenced real events in very unexpected ways. It is worth a few minutes to examine this power of myth. We will not engage in an exhaustive study. Let us simply review a single myth from the age of oceanic exploration and the actions of a single naval intelligence agent.


PEDRO de COVILHAO, AND THE SEARCH FOR "PRESTER JOHN" 

 Pedro de Covilhao was born into a world partly unknown. The known world of his time and culture had been at war for centuries before his birth. That known world was divided into two religious based  alliances, one Christian, and the other Muslim. For centuries these two loosely organized powers fought over the Holy Land. The Christian understanding of the world beyond their own borders was limited by partial Muslim blockage of their communications with Eastern powers broadly thought of as "India", and a vast, trackless, and as yet uncrossed ocean to their west. Hundreds of years before the birth of  Pedro de Covilhao the Christian world came to believe in a Christian kingdom in the eastern rear of the Muslim world anxious to link up with the western Christian coalition and retake the Holy Land. Belief in this kingdom lasted for generations. The West referred to the sovereign of this unknown kingdom as "Prester John". The belief in, and hope, represented by the myth of "Prester John , along with the desire for the riches of the East helped fuel the the search for the routes to "India". "India" in the time of Pedro  de Covilhao meant virtually everything beyond the Muslim World.  Mohammedan forces conquered the Holy land in 637 AD. They allowed the lucrative Christian pilgrimage trade to continue and Christian missionaries to pass through to "India", until the occupying forces of Caliph Hakim leveled the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in 1010 AD. This act predicated the launch of the first of the Crusades and Jerusalem would fall to Christian forces in 1099 AD.

 Jerusalem would periodically change hands as Europe attempted to expel the forces of Islam from the Mediterranean world. In 1145 a strange rumor would spring up concerning a Christian king of great military power living beyond the eastern borders of the Mohammedan Empire. This priest-king would come to be known as "Prester John". The myth of the priest -king, possibly the result of an Islamic disinformation operation, would have a profound effect on the course of the Christian Islamic conflicts and subsequent history. Great efforts would be made in attempting to make contact with him. Attention would be diverted from efforts at converting the Islamic rear, based on a belief that there was already a Christian power there. In the end the desire to make contact with the mythical priest-king would provide no small part of the incentive for the voyages sponsored by Henry the Navigator, though the original "Prester John" would of course be long since dead and buried, the Europeans believed in dynasties and presumed the realm continued. In the end only one Westerner, the Portuguese naval intelligence agent Pedro di Corvilhao , would ever stand before any priest- king  behind Muslim  borders centuries after 1145 AD.

 How the myth of the priest-king came about is a marvel of the power and errors associated with oral tradition, possibly nudged in particular directions by written disinformation which may have even been of Islamic origin. History now demonstrates that in the Islamic rear were basically pagan powers, some of which practiced a high level of religious tolerance. Mixed in with these pagan populations were both Nestorian Christians and Islamic converts. In the beginning of the 12th century a presumed Nestorian Christian Chieftain known as Yeliutashi reached considerable power as the leader of a tribe called the Kara-Kitai. In 1141 Yeliutashi defeated an Islamic Seljuk army near Samarkand, Turkestan. These facts filtered and confused by distance, time, and perhaps Islamic "spin control" formed the factual basis for the evolution of the myth of  "Prester John."' Yeliutashi died in 1144 AD and his empire faded almost immediately after his demise. The Mohammedans had no reason to fear a second front from any real "Prester John". Yet  religious tolerance in their rear, coupled with some sincere invitations to Christian missionaries by Moguls and others opened the possibility of a large scale conversion and the creation of an actual enemy. The best course of Islamic action, given their informational superiority about conditions in their rear may well have been a disinformation campaign.  Send the Christians searching for a nonexistent "Prester John" and distract them from efforts at creating one.

 Largely ignored by the Islamic powers , a Christian king did exist in the rear, and Pedro de Corvilhao would one day find him. The first documentary evidence of a "Prester John" or an islamic disinformation forgery, arrived in 1145 AD. A Syrian Christian Bishop informed one Otto Fresing, a historian in the service of the Pope, of a Nestorian King who had defeated the Meades and the Persians. It was believed that the King intended to lend his army to the support of the Christians at Jerusalem. Supposedly this King encountered difficulties in crossing the Tigris and was forced home where he intended to regroup and again march on Jerusalem. The "News" electrified the leaders of Europe, but the ongoing crusade failed and no help came from the East. Then in 1165 letters were received by the Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa, the Emperor Manuel Comnenus of Constantinople, and the Pope. The sender of these letters described himself as "Johannes Presbyter...."/

 The letters mostly introduced "Prester John' and described his Christian kingdom. The Pope dispatched  an emissary with a responding letter in 1177 AD but the emissary was never heard from again.

 In 1221 the Bishop of Acre wrote to the Pope. In his letter he described a "King David" "by the people called  Prester John". Supposedly this "Prester John was about 15 days march from Antioch and intended to take Jerusalem. In fact there was a King David. He was a Georgian and defeated a large Islamic army, but he was not on the march and may have been dead by the time the West learned of him.

 The Mohammedans had borders and contacts with the Europeans and so undoubtedly had agents in the European camps and capitals. They had the means , the motive, and greatly benefited from the disinformation concerning "Prester John". Is it such a stretch of the imagination to consider that the Mohammedans themselves were the source of the "proofs" (letters and detailed reports about) "Prester John". If the myth of "Prester John" was created by Islamic informational warriors, their side benefited in the short run. But the myth of "Prester John" may have partly driven another force of history that  would ultimately shift the locus of power to the North Atlantic nations.

Enter, Henry the Navigator. By 1415 Christian and Islamic forces were still engaged in parts of the Mediterranean world. There were rumors and widespread belief in a "Prester John"(the 5th no less). The "modern age" with it's shift of the locus of power to the North Atlantic regions and away from the Mediterranean Basin began in 1415 when the Portuguese took Ceuta on the coast of North Africa opposite Gibraltar. With Ceurta secure the Portuguese began the great period of exploration that would ultimately lead to the colonization of the New World. This era, however, began not with a push out into the Atlantic but with a southward push into Africa. South of the Sahara, the 15th century kings of Portugal hoped to find some vitally important objectives; gold,silks, spices, and a communications link to "Prester John".

 In 1787 Covilhao's monarch John II of Portugal would make a full court press for "India". First he would dispatch Covilhao on a secret mission to reconnoiter "Indian" as well as Muslim ports, and later make contact with "Prester John". That same year he would dispatch Bartolomeu Diaz with three ships to circumnavigate Africa.

 Pedro de Covilhao spoke fluent Spanish and Arabic and had undertaken secret missions for his King previously to Morocco before he received his most important and final orders from the sovereign of Portugal. On May 7, 1487 he would embark on a naval intelligence gathering operation from which he would never return to his native Portugal. In the process he would see much of the world beyond the borders of Christendom, provide valuable naval intelligence to his sovereign, and live out the rest of his life in the court of a king the Christian world thought of as the legendary "Prester John".

Covilhao was forty when the King dispatched him and a companion, Alfonso de Paiva , another agent fluent in Arabic on a mission to "India" and Africa . Their tasking was to visit all important ports in Arabia, East Africa, and with making contact with the "priest King', "Prester John".

 On May 7, 1487 Covilhao received his credentials from his sovereign and a purse of 400 cruzados. (By 1457 the Cruzado was a gold coin, previously it had been silver. The probable value of Covilhao's purse was about $680,000 in today's dollars , possibly much more.) When Covilhao and Paviva reached Lisbon they exchanged their purse for a letter of credit from the Italian banker Marchioni. By horseback they traveled to Valencia and then to Barcelona. At Barcelona they embarked in a ship for Naples. from Naples they embarked in another ship for Rhodes. In Rhodes they stayed with two Portuguese Hospitallers. The Hospitallers advised them to continue their journey disguised as merchants. As part of his merchant cover Covilhao bought a shipment of honey and crossed over to Alexandria with it. Once in Alexandria both Covilhao and  Paiva became seriously ill. While they were ill the honey shipment disappeared and they were told that the Sultan's Chamberlain had confiscated the shipment because he believed they would not recover. Covilhao persuaded the Chamberlain to pay a reasonable price for the honey. With the money Covilhao purchased other trade goods and pressed on to Cairo. In Cairo Covilhao courted the company of other merchants and eventually made friends with a pair of Moroccans bound for :India" and sailed from Egypt in their company. The first port they reached was Tor on the Sanai Peninsula. From there they went to Aden where  Paiva was to embark for Abyssinia on his own to attempt contact with "Prester John". Meanwhile Covilhao still with the Moroccans, joined a pilgrim ship returning from Mecca and sailed with the south west monsoon across the Indian Ocean to Cannanore on the Malabar Coast of India. In Cannanore he was told that nearby Calicut was the richest port in all of India and that the shipping there was controlled by Islamic merchants. Covilhao proceeded to Calicut where he observed that ships arrived in August and September with European goods, and left in Winter on the north east monsoon with cinnamon, cloves, spices, silks, porcelain, pearls, and precious stones. From Calicut, Covilhao traveled north to Goa and then crossed over to Africa visiting many ports. While in Africa he became convinced that Africa could be circumnavigated and near the end of 1490 Covilhao returned to Cario where he was supposed to meet Pavia.

 Instead he was met by a messenger of the King. Pavia had died before completing his mission of contact with the "Priest King" and Covilhao was to complete Pavia's mission. Covilhao was to find "Prester John" in Sub-Saharan Africa in the Kingdom of Abyssinia . Covilhao wrote a dispatch to his sovereign describing his travels and observations and sent this back via one of the messengers. The other messenger was a rabbi, Abraham of Beja. Before contacting the priest king Covilhao was to take Rabbi Abraham to Ormuz. In his dispatch Covilhao described ports of India, Arabia, and Africa that he had visited. He described "Moon Island"(Madagascar) and most probably expressed his belief that Africa could be circumnavigated.


 Covilhao escorted Rabbi Abraham to Ormuz and then, contrary to his sovereign's instructions, took ship for Jidda across the Red Sea. From Jidda he accompanied some pilgrims to Mecca where he wanted to see the sacred Kaaba, the black stone believed to have fallen from heaven long before the arrival of the prophet. After Mecca he proceeded north to the monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai. Covilhao's delays in proceeding to Abyssinia seemed almost a premonition of his fate at the hands of the "priest -king".


 Finally in 1493 Covilhao arrived at the court of the Negus in Abyssinia. While treated well, Covilhao was detained against his will and prevented from sending any dispatches to Lisbon. The legendary "priest king"so long sought by the Christian alliance turned out to be the sovereign of a poor and virtually powerless kingdom. It was the Negus who needed and sought an alliance with the West, precisely because of the weakness of his position. The West was interested for two reasons, the "priest-king's" position in the rear of the Muslim world and his legendary strength. If his weakness became known, the West would quickly lose interest. Covilhao would be detained for life in a sort of guilded cage. A portuguese ambassador would finally visit him in 1520 and reported that Covilhao was still alive, married to an Ethiopian woman, held in high esteem with the court of the Negus. Covilhao died in Abyssinia, one of the earliest documented cases of a naval intelligence agent who never came in from the cold. Even if the West had learned of the weakness of "Prester John"in 1493 interest in the route to "India" around Africa was about to take second place in Western navigational interests.


 On March 4, 1493 Christopher Columbus arrived in Restello, Lisbon's outer harbor. The attention of Europe would turn westward across the Atlantic. The quest for "India"and Christian / Muslim conflicts took a back burner to the exploitation and development of the "New World". Covilhao's  astounding mission with its potential for changing the balance of power , would be relegated to a curiosity of history. Undertaken a few years earlier and Covilhao might have been one of the few naval spies who changed history. 


 And so we see the tremendous effect on reality that widely held myth , particularly myth with some remote basis in truth can have on history. The new physics and astrophysics tells us that the universe and physical laws are more complex than either the Newtonian clockwork universe, or relativism. possibilities appear infinite. In the mind of our youth the "warp drive" (space propulsion systems capable of breaking the light barrier) are just around the corner, a myth with some basis in truth. In the mind of our youth the universe has in relative abundance water, oxygen, heat, and planets do circle distant stars; all of this we now know to be true. Some of these children will become heads of state and government, and others officers. One day one or more of these children will send another out to learn just how close to myth is the reality. The children have no obsolete views of the universe as a clockwork or a dustbin to unlearn. Aided by cinematic vision, a compelling myth has formed and is widely held. Driven in part by the power of this myth, like the searchers for "Prester John" the Children will reach for the stars. The lessons from the era of 1415 through 1542 if well studied could help them avoid repeating the mistakes of the last era of great exploration. There are of course other reasons for this coming exploration. But the power of the myth fuels those unschooled in physics and astrophysics, or disinclined to read volumes of technical data. The myth of the resource filled and lively universe is clear and detailed as Hollywood special effects could possibly make it. More over, as was the case several times with the myth of Prester John, facts keep coming in supporting the myth. This myth isn't just something for the scientifically educated. It is firmly planted in the minds of future tax payers all over the world. This generational myth will propel action. Mankind is space bound.


Notes/sources: 

The Caliphate: Muhammad as prophet could not be succeeded. However, the continuity of Islam as a political-social community required succession to his civil and military functions. Upon the prophet's death his father in law was proclaimed "Khalifa Rasul Allah"(Successor of the Apostle of God). As Islam spread and eventually divided into different schools and sects the Caliphate expanded to incorporate regional Caliphs. Dynastic succession introduced stability into the Caliphate during the Umayyard period (661-750 AD). THE PERSIAN GULF STATES A GENERAL STUDY , John Hopkins University Pres. See Also ARABS, ISLAM and the ARAB CALIPHATE by E.A.Beiyaeu.

* For brief biographies and explanations of secular and religious titles see: NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  

* "SELJUK refers to the Rulers of Persia circa 1141

"NESTORIAN  DOCTRINE became the official teaching of the Persian Christian Church whose missionary activities over a number of centuries were the rival of Rome itself.-New Catholic Encyclopedia

*"Chief of the Kari Kitai or more properly the Kahan of the Kara-Khytay defeated the Seljuk King of Persia in 1141 see p. 92 THE QUEST FOR INDIA by Bjorn Lanstrom and the NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA

* For time lines, biographies, etc. see: THE EMPIRE OF THE ARABS by Lt.Gen.Sir John Glubb, HISTORY OF THE ARABS by Philip K. Hiti, and THE ATLAS OF THE ARAB WORLD by Rafie Boustand and Philippe Farques


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SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


THE LONG PAUSE ; BETWEEN THE LONG BOAT AND THE CARAVEL, BETWEEN THE SPACE SHUTTLE AND THE STAR SHIP

CARAVEL WITH SQUARE SAILS DEPLOYED

VIKING LONG BOAT

"Proceedings: Do you think we will live to see a Man to Mars mission?

Capt. Readdy: Without question. If we really wanted to throw money at the problem , I think we could have gone ten years ago. It's no longer a question of technology. At this point , I think we need to focus on advances in propulsion technology rather than spending tens of billions of dollars on a mission that will take the better part of a year to get there and  almost the same amount of time to come back. Just as the jet engine eclipsed the propeller in World War II and the rocket engine was the enabling technology for our initial exploration of space , there is going to be another advance in propulsion technology. The science fiction writers , I'm sure, already know what it is. Whatever it is, it will open exploration beyond the Moon."
                                                                             
Naval Institute PROCEEDINGS, Feb. 1997: February 1997; page 55 "Building the Future Now", an interview with Capt. William F. Readdy, USNR; Commander of Space Shuttle Mission STS-79
                                                                                                                         
                                                                             

THE CARAVEL BOAT ESPERANCA OF PORTUGAL, LANTEEN SAILS DEPLOYED


We are in a long pause in manned interplanetary exploration, though we have a robot probe on the surface of Mars as we write these lines. We have made in space the equivalent of short coastal voyages, near earth orbital missions routine. We have made some interplanetary voyages to our nearest celestial neighbor, the moon. These missions developed the technology for the launch, repair, and improvement of orbital telescopes like Hubble that allow us to peer to the far reaches of the visible universe. In so peering we have learned that it is a far more vast place than ever before imagined and that planets , with atmospheres and water, are probably much more abundant than once thought only a few years ago. We are standing on the beach and looking out across that vast sea of outer space, with ever increasing knowledge of the far shore coming to us through our space telescopes and unmanned probes. But our long boats can't make the crossing. We await the development of the Caravel.

 The long boat was known by many names and found in many cultures. The term as used here does not describe only the traditional and well known boat of Viking fame. The long boat refers to a variety of early vessels that were characterized by a single hull, propulsion by oar or paddle, and if sails were carried, these usually consisted of a single square sail. Such vessels made some incredible voyages. Indeed it is widely accepted that Vikings visited North America in their long boats hundreds of years before Columbus. The long boat underwent a long period of refinement under the hands of many nations. Once wealth began to move on the seas with any regularity distinct differences arose between long boats used for commerce and those used to protect or raid commerce, the first warships. An early version of the long boat purposely built for warfare was the Galley.
                                                                      
File:Trireme.jpg
A Trireme among largest and most complex of the Galleys, the long boat at it a high point of development


  One example of this type of vessel found in the early Mediterranean was the Trireme, which by the fifth century had become the capital ship of the Mediterranean powers. Some were as much as 100 feet long and carried as many as 160 oarsmen. These were real ships, capable of real voyages, and quite impressive in their day. But the long boat at the height of its development was inadequate for repeated trans Atlantic or Pacific crossings and returns.  The long boat , in all of it's variations , was a coast wise vessel. One would occasionally survive a remarkable open water voyage, but no sailor in his right mind had any inclination to repeat such voyages. With its square sail and shallow keel, and primitive steering sweep  which precedes the true rudder, it could only sail in the most favorable of winds. With it's dependence on oars , and thus human muscle power, the caloric needs of the crew put severe limits on it's range. It's limited cargo capacity restricted  its' commercial utility. Its' relatively low free board and open construction made it vulnerable to heavy seas. The advent of routine transoceanic voyages had to wait the development of a more suitable craft. That craft would be a long time in arriving on scene and would develop from several different sources, ultimately to be perfected by most a unlikely source. The vessel that would open the seas to systematic exploration and commercial usage would be the caravel. 

 The first development that would lead to the evolution of the Caravel would be the lanteen sail. The lanteen sail , is a triangular shaped device similar in appearance to the sail of the popular small recreational sailboat known as the "SUNFISH". The lanteen sail reached its' greatest utility once wedded to a subsurface hull feature such as the extended keel, dagger board, or lee board. the lanteen sail coupled with these submerged hull features allowed a vessel to "tack"before the wind.

CLASSIC MODERN LANTEEN RIG SAIL AS USED ON VERY SMALL RECREATIONAL SAIL BOATS 

To Tack is to sail at an angle across the wind., allowing a vessel to make actual progress in an upwind direction via zig zag pattern. The lanteen sail also allowed a vessel to sail off at a wide variety of angles from the wind without the necessity to tack. The first vessels to exhibit those features were the Arabian Dhows. But the Arabian Dhows were not destined to explore the great seas, some additional refinements were still needed. They would come from an unexpected quarter.
File:Dhow.jpg
A modern version of the ancient Dhow



The Portuguese were mostly farmers. It was their princes who led them to sea, a sea they often viewed as hostile. yet at sea these farmers turned sailors would perform most amazing feats. King Diniz was the first to realize that Portugal's future and fortune lay at sea.  In 1217 Diniz appointed a Genoese, Manoel Pessagno as admiral of his fleet. Diniz then launched an expedition to the Canary Islands and in order to encourage the shipwright's art, he knighted his foremost shipwrights. To assure his supply of timber King Diniz planted forests. Because there were so few Portuguese seafarers in the beginning Diniz never failed to hire Genoese mariners and shipwrights when needed. The Genoese had a long history of contact with the Arabs, had seen dhows, and adopted the lanteen  sail, sometimes mixing the lanteen with square sails for better performance when the wind was astern or "on a run" as modern sailors would describe it. Now they had a patron greatly interested in ship performance improvement. First the Genoese in the employ of the Portuguese and later the Portuguese themselves  would  improve on the basic designs that had evolved from the dhow. The hull form would be improved for lateral stability, freeboard would be raised , cargo capacities improved, but most importantly the sail plan was improved. Mizzen masts appeared, allowing the sail plan to be split, less sail could be carried in high winds and bent on in light airs. The oarsman, was no longer a crew position. Mariners were now sailors, milking the wind for propulsive power in all weathers. However, the full evolution caravel did not happen over night.

 The caravel did not evolve directly from the dhow nor from the more round bottomed merchant ships of the day. Rather the caravel, the prime engine of the early age of maritime exploration evolved from the Dhow by way of humble Portuguese fishing vessels. The lowly fishing vessel had to be able to carry a substantial load , be sea kindly, not too labor intensive, and be able to get back to port before the cargo spoiled.  And so it was from a people late to seafaring , and from their most humble vessel designs that the vessel that would link the continents would evolve. when the NINA, the PINTA, and the SANTA MARIA pushed out into the Atlantic they were piloted by a Genoese navigator in the service of Spain who had no real way to accurately compute his longitude, but every confidence that his caravels would carry him to wherever he was bound and back. The humble but technologically superior caravels of Spain and Portugal would blaze the paths to the New World. Eventually they would be displaced by the full rigged ships of England, but had the caravel not appeared on scene when it did, the New World would be a lot newer.

 The Space Shuttle in its hey day was seen as such an improvement over the Space Capsule that it was sometimes called the "caravel of the space age". But in fact the Space capsules in use prior, and still in use in the Russian and Chinese manned space programs , Space shuttle, and the Space Shuttle's successor are little more than early long boats. With these vessels we have gained valuable experience in space travel, but neither capsule nor shuttle can take us where we need to go, specially beyond our own solar system. We are waiting on the real caravel, perhaps two. In terms  of manned exploration and exploitation of our own solar system, our present means of propulsion is sufficient to carry us to Mars and beyond on long and difficult voyages that will rival those of the era of epic voyages that started in 1487. We simply can't get there in a long boat. When the caravel first appeared it wasn't faster that other sailing craft by any order of magnitude, it was its total package of sea keeping, carrying capacity, sail efficiency, and crew comfort that made it suitable for the long haul. We won't be sending crews on two and five year voyages in any ship we can launch from earth. The caravel for the age of exploration of the solar system will be built in space from components the size of the capsules and shuttles we have sent up so far.  The first sign that a real caravel is, and all of the subsequent design improvements are, about to arrive will be the construction of an orbital shipyard. And the next wave of solar system exploration will involve flotillas of these built in space craft, not single ships. The long boats won't disappear, they will be a cost effective fleet of ferries and personnel launches for transport to the ship yard and space stations for many decades to come. The real caravel will be built in space. 

 Then the process will begin again with totally different propulsion systems, "the warp drive", that NASA is working on even as we write. But the caravel for the exploration of space beyond our own solar system  will also be built in space. We could be in the long boats a very long time. We were before. This time we must foresee that the caravel is coming and be prepared to step on that distant shore. We must be prepared because our maritime experience with new distant shores tells us that lack of preparation can spell death and destruction for us and those we meet. We must prepare in advance  this time for first contact with everything from macrobiotic to intelligent life. We had better get this done before we get out of the long boats.

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SPACE AS AN OCEAN

                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books

CAPSULES AND SHUTTLES ARE LONG BOATS

 The Space Shuttle no longer operates and the planned replacement the X-34 program did not materialize in time to prevent the U.S from being  forced out of manned space flight. We now hitch rides to the international space station on Russian space craft little changed since the 1970s. China is working on going to the moon using space capsules and repeating the feats of the U.S Gemini and Apollo programs of decades ago but with better electronics. Such plans as the U.S. has for manned space flight that have received even a modicum of funding of late amount to very modest improvements in our last high tech long boat. More wings in space dedicated to transport to and from low earth orbit.

 As modest as the funding has been to replace the space shuttle there was no funding at all for the "Super Collider". With such a device scientist may explore the core of matter, energy, and time.Such research is is crucial to the propulsion break through to the space version of the caravel. In short, even while NASA has a small program going to discover "the warp drive"http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-scientists-begin-warp-drive-experiments-190400874.html  We aren't funding the underlying theoretical physics research. Such research is crucial to finding the propulsion break through to the space version of the caravel. In short there is no organized , funded development program generously endowed enough to be likely to find the break through that Capt. Readdy was talking about back in 1997. We are basically half heartily committed to an improved long boat. We also include however, in our long boat analogy unmanned space probes. These are "long boat missions too. Since 1997 NASA efforts have largely been directed towards such probes. NASA's unmanned probes are going to tell us a great deal about the universe out there in coming years. Moreover the space agencies of other nations some of which have never lofted a manned mission appear quite capable of unmanned probes and internationally the efforts seem to compliment rather than compete with each other.

Between 1998 and 2005 NASA launched about 25 such missions including fly bys of Venus, Jupiter, Mars, Pluto, Asteroids 3352, and McAuliffe and the comet P/West -Kohoutek-Ikemura. An orbitor was launched for Europa and multiple orbiting and landing missions to Mars.The Cassini mission to Saturn arrived on July 1, 2004.

 During this same time frame there were numerous similar missions carried out by the Russian, Japanese, and European space agencies. Notice however all were missions to, or mostly within our own solar system. Even those missions which give us a glimpse beyond, such as the Hubble telescope are showing us the cosmos not as it is today but as it was thirty eight to millions of years ago when the light from the distant stars we see began the journey to us and our instruments.

Our rocket science can explore our near shore, our own solar system, but our view beyond is hazy and we have no ability yet to travel or send probes there with any reasonable expectation of serious payoff. For example one of our rocket launched probe Pioneer II will pass a distant star. Pioneer II will fly by the star Lamba Aquila in the year 4,000,000 AD. Let us hope that since it was only about 5,000 years from the appearance of rudimentary mathematics and science to the first moon landing that in another three million, eight hundred thousand years we will have found the ability to fly to Lambda Aquila ourselves on a routine basis, long before our rocket launched probe reaches the area.

 If that is to happen the theoretical physicist and the various professions based on the liberal and fine arts; teachers, writers, historians, lawyers and the various artists must cooperate to drive the dream of the great beyond. For a while maritime history informs us that we may benefit from a protracted time in the long boats. The evolution of the space caravel physics work envisioned but as yet unfunded. Historians must articulate where we are in this new age of exploration. Authors, teachers, artists, and cinematographers need to continue to show us an ever evolving vision of the future that includes space travel , exploration, and commerce. All of us must help form the societal consensus that theoretical physics is worth the big investment that will bring us the "warp drive". But history also tells us that there is much work  for lawyers, biologists, and medical scientists before we make first contact whether with another intelligent race or a microbe, this book is about not repeating those errors on some future "New World".

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SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books

WAITING ON THE CALCULUS AND THE CARAVEL

  It has been over forty years since man first walked on the moon. Within thirty years of the Wright Brothers flight commercial air service for passengers and freight was readily available and growing into a major industry. Why then the apparent slowing of progress in manned exploration of space and the development of a commercial space transport industry? If we more closely examine aviation history we find little reason for concern. More over, if  we think of space as an ocean there is ample precedent and logic to what appears to be an otherwise unnecessarily long pause in developments relative to manned interplanetary flight.

 First lets look at heavier than air aviation history. Here is a Chronology of some of the main events.

1. The first heavier than air flying machines to lift off the surface of the earth were kites invented by the Chinese between 400 and 300 B.C.. These and the flight of birds would be the subject of study  for thousands of years before the study of aerodynamics would be formalized. The study of heavier than air flight would be studied from the flight of the Chinese kites continuously but in an uncoordinated fashion throughout this time frame. Study would be hampered by a lack of the printing press, difficult communications, in short, the inability to build a recoverable and organized body of literature on the subject that succeeding generations could build on.

2. Leonardo da Vinci scientifically studied the flight of birds and sketched various flying machines. This was the start of a recognized body of literature on flight. This would occur about 1500 A.D. or about 1800 to 1900 years  after the lift off of the first kites.

3. Most heavier than air manned flight experiments after daVinci's were also man powered. In 1680 Italian mathematician Giavonni Borelli proved that human muscles were too weak to support powered flight. (At least with the technology and materials of the day. Recently there have been several human powered flights using specially geared bicycle mechanisms to drive a propeller on super light weight aircraft with very low stall speeds and giant wing span to fuselage ratios) .

4. British inventor sir George Cayley built and flew model gliders and organized the science of aerodynamics in 1804. His work was most useful to the Wright Brothers.

5. German, Otto Lilienthal devised a system to measure lift produced by experimental wings and made the first successful manned glider flights in 1891 through 1896. His work was also most useful to the wright Brothers.

5. In 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright , made the first heavier than air powered flight. This would be about 400 years after da Vinci's formal studies and 99 years after the formal organization of aerodynamics into a recognizable science. sixty six years later , Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

 The likely progress of any science or technological development in the age of the Internet is bound to be much faster than the 1800 year gap between kites and da Vinci's drawings. Still, we should not be surprised to wait 400 years or more for the kind of game changing, break through technological development that the wright flyer or space shuttle represent.


File:Wright flyer model.jpg
Model of a Wright Flyer at the Smithsonian  Air and Space Museum


Link to a YouTube video of a filmed early Wright Brothers flight.


On the subject of going to mars:
 "If we really wanted to throw money at the problem, I think we could have gone ten years ago. It's no longer a question of technology. At this point , I think we need to focus on advances in propulsion technology......
     Capt. William Readdy, USNR , Commander of Shuttle Mission STS-79
                                           p. 55 of the USNI PROCEEDINGS, February 1997.

Capt. Readdy and like minded thinkers look to a propulsion break through because of the vast distances that must be covered to carry manned space flight and exploration beyond the moon. At present space craft speeds, Mars, a close in planet, is at least nine months away. Much too far for a quick raise the flag and grab a soil sample mission. When we go, we going to stay a while and eventually start a long term base. The Wright Brothers powered flight with a technology that was not invented with flight in mind, the internal combustion engine. Without the internal combustion engine they would have simply been glider builders. Capt. Readdy has simply noted that to conquer the great distances that must be traversed to continue manned exploration, of even our own solar system, much less the galaxy beyond, a new propulsion system is needed. It is this vast distance that makes the manned exploration of space so like our exploration of the seas. We may be awaiting a development from an unrelated technology before we can move forward beyond our nearest solar system neighbors. When we compare the history of ocean exploration to space exploration not only do we get a closer parallel than a comparison with aviation history, we get a much longer time frame.

 Maritime history, like  aviation history, is in fact thousands of years old. But unlike aviation, developments in marine technology did not suffer as much from a lack of authoritative literature. New technologies put to sea, were seen in diverse places and quickly copied and improved upon when real improvements appeared. Here the only cultural drag was the natural conservatism of sailors.  The eventual vehicle of global, ocean spanning voyages of exploration was the humble but wind and sea efficient caravel, eventually used by Columbus. It took about five thousand years for the caravel, a break through technology to evolve out of the longboat. The longboat evolved through many forms from the dugout canoe to the galley and trireme. But at its' most seaworthy point of development it was grossly inadequate for an Atlantic or Pacific crossing. Such crossings had to await a new propulsion system vastly improved over oars and a square sail. The needed new system came in the form of lanteen sail and a new hull form more sea kindly than the traditional Arabian dhow. The first ship type to fill the requirements was the Portuguese caravel. While the Space shuttle was called the "caravel of space" in its heyday by some writers, I believe it is but another longboat. Compared to other man to space lift systems it was relatively cheap and efficient., but it can not go the distance like the sturdy little caravel.


 I suggest that we are in a long pause in interplanetary exploration We have made the equivalent of short coastal voyages, near earth orbital missions routine. We have even made some interplanetary voyages to our nearest celestial neighbor, the moon. The knowledge gained allowed us to launch and operate unmanned probes to peer into much more distant parts of the universe and even visit other planets of our solar system. In so peering we have discerned that it is far more vast a place than ever before imagined and that planets, with atmospheres and water are probably more abundant than once thought only a few years ago. We are standing on the beach and looking out across that vast sea of outer space, with ever increasing knowledge of the far shore coming to us. But our longboats can't make the crossing. We await the development of the caravel.


And the space "Caravel" awaits the development of a new calculus for its' would be ship wrights. Before newton could give us the clock work like physics that guided our voyages to the moon he first had to invent the calculus. Physics has progressed far beyond the Newtonian view of the universe, and even that of Einstein, the real possibility of faster than light travel is hinted at, but we lack the calculus to describe it. How much money do we put in pure mathematical research as opposed to applied physics? Yet without the calculus there would be little physics. Without the advanced calculus that we need there will be no "warp drive". Newton provided us with enough theoretical physics to get us to the moon and back. But Newton and  Einstein together can't take us where we need to go.  Newton's calculus runs out of steam around the fuzzy edges of Einstein's universe, the realm of "complexity" where we seem to be doing little more than collecting and describing elements of reality that have become observable but don't fit into the order described by Newton and Einstein.
SIR ISAAC NEWTON

Albert Einstein
The space "caravel" awaits the development of a new calculus. Before Newton could give us the clockwork like physics that guided our efforts to the moon and back he first had to create his calculus. Physics has progressed far beyond the Newtonian view of the universe to the far and fuzzy edges of the relative universe of Albert Einstein. At that far edge which some call "complexity" and others  "Chaos" the real possibility, indeed probability of faster than light travel is hinted at, but we lack the calculus to describe it. How much money do we put into pure mathematical research as opposed to applied physics? Yet without the calculus , there will be no applied physics at the far and fuzzy edges of relativity we need to be exploring now. Should we be surprised than at the long pause we seem to find ourselves in? The history of ocean exploration informs us that we should expect progress in "fits and starts".  The mere sixty six year span between Kitty Hawk and the Apollo flights was one of those "fits" , a period of furious and intense technological progress fueled by two hot and one "cold" global wars. It is instructive to note that Kitty Hawk came at the end of nearly a century of aeronautical study, experimentation, and publication. But now we encounter a vast distance to be crossed for which we have few tools or theories, a new start. New studies are required. We await the the calculus that will lead to the caravel. We don't know if we will have to wait fifteen, fifty, or even five hundred years. There was nearly a century between the organization of aerodynamics and powered flight. There was at least a century or two between the first appearance of the lanteen sail and the deployment of Portugal's caravels. So while we await the arrival of the calculus and then the caravel, what should be our next move? I suggest that we continue to improve the "longboat", our earth orbit operational and transport capability.


 Building a greatly improved space shuttle and perhaps some cheap "pick up truck" winged space vehicles and improved capsules  makes sense. Making access to near space cheaper and more routine
is important, if we are to build the ultimate "longboat" that may takes to Mars, or the "caravel" for travel beyond our solar system, we must build them in space. Since we can not in the foreseeable future make a quantum leap in speed, we must improve habitability for long voyages. This requires size, genuine seagoing ship type size, and that requires construction in space from components no larger than the old space shuttle, or sky lab. 

 Once we have big comfortable long boats assembled there is no reason not to push off for the far but visible shore, the Moon and Mars at the least. There is a lot that is of intense interest to visit within a one year journey from the earth at present rocket speeds.Our past history as seafarers tells us that intrepid and motivated crews can and will endure voyages of discovery lasting two years or more. So the next logical steps may be simply a better shuttle, a space station big enough to serve as space port and ship yard, and a humble little space tug to help pull all the component parts together.


No doubt we can go to Mars now if we will foot the bill. But we intend to go to stay, which is the only way to go that makes sense, we have a fleet to build. That means the next decade or more of manned space flight will continue to be in Earth manned earth orbit with the probable exception of a Chinese version of an updated Apollo program. If we are spending the time building the very best "longboats" we can, this is not to be lamented. Nothing else can happen until we find the calculus that  lets us build the caravel.  After the "caravel" voyages will still be long and dangerous. We need experience in shipboard organization, and voyage management, and space construction. Once the "caravel" is available it would be handy to have a good idea where to go, so unmanned exploratory missions should continue. If the decades ahead in space look like the decades just past since the start of the shuttle and international space station programs , there is nothing wrong with this picture if we view space as an ocean and look at our history of global exploration by sea. Even if we find the calculus in our life times we won't be able to immediately build the "caravel". Meanwhile we need to get on with space-faring in our solar system in order to have the infrastructure and personnel ready to operate the caravel when it comes.

 Before the European powers launched out to accidentally discover the New World, they had already created navigation charts for as much of Europe and Africa as they could and mapped as much of Asia as possible given that they were mostly cut off from Asia by hostile forces between Europe and Asia. Such efforts are mundane, not as exciting as a Moon landing. But, we are doing what we need to do with the space station, and shuttle replacement, if we enlarge the concept of the station and build the space tug with the clear intent of building some really good longboats for use in our solar system.
Charting the globe wasn't done in a day. The New World wasn't discovered by a big government bureaucracy  The New World was accidentally discovered by a Merchant Marine Officer leading a three boat flotilla  on a small scale government sponsored expedition with a specific profit motive. This perhaps underscores the concerns voiced by some astronauts over the perceived slow development of commercial space transport. It will probably take more than a government only effort to both get us into the best "longboats" and eventually into the "Caravel".

 The closest thing in human history to what we are now experiencing in space is known as the "European  Recognizance", the pivotal point of which was the first voyage of Columbus in 1492. The "European Recognizance" didn't begin or end with Columbus, the era encompassed more than 500 years. The likelihood is that the "Human Recognizance of the Universe will follow the pattern of the European Recognizance by sea. We shouldn't be amazed or disheartened by the occasional forty year lull in electrifying events. Indeed space is an ocean, I think, and events are proceeding about like last time.                   

ALTERNATE VERSION:


THE PATH TO THE CALCULUS OF COMPLEXITY MAY INVOLVE MANY FUZZY ALGORITHMS AND CONVOLUTED EQUATIONS BUT ALREADY A SYMMETRY IS STARTING TO EMERGE 

SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                             

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books

EDITORS'S NOTE: Back in 2012 and again in June of 201 4 we visited the idea that space exploration beyond our solar system is going to require some physics and math presently not in the books. We predicted a long pause between the present and near future manned spacecraft and any technology that might take us beyond our own solar system.  We compared the development of extra solar system manned craft with the ocean exploration transition from the long boat of oars and square sails useful for coastwise voyaging and the appearance of the first truly trans- ocean vessels, the caravels such as the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria.  The time between these two advances in marine transportation technology was in fact thousands of years. Commercial, political, and military needs drove the technological research. 

 The same may ultimately turn out to be true of the evolution of extrasolar system manned craft, but we are starting to perceive signs of faster evolution in the necessary areas of math and physics.  The physics and calculus of Newton were sufficient to get us into earth orbit and put men on the moon and robotic explorers on Mars, but the path to Alpha Centauri will require the as yet to be developed "Calculus of Complexity". Professionally we first encountered the Complexity theory and the need for complexity related calculation in the maritime problem of electronic based vessel traffic control around bends in rivers. The cure took the U.S. Naval War College about two years to figure out and it was a patch work fix. You see a river is a classic "Fractal" as described by the scientific maverick Benoit B. Mandelbrot. The fractal appears to be the first area of complexity theory that has evolved beyond "fuzzy algorithms" for specific real world practical applications into a literal "geometry of fractals". But to apply the linear binary technologies of computers, radar, and telemetry to objects moving in an infinite variety of arcs up , down, and across a fractal like a river still required a convoluted, complex, application of the old calculus that came to be called "The Fuzzy Algorithm".

                                                      


 We came to realize that mankind's search for the calculus of complexity, the math gateway to a new physics that will open the door to extrasolar, galactic, and even intergalactic travel and communication was going to require a lot of fuzzy algorithms along the way. Since first publishing on this subject we have been drawn into the confidence of a Louisiana Company called Helios Ruehls, which is hard at work on a new fuzzy algorithm in a different maritime application. It again involves an interface between a fractal form and some older linear Newtonian based technology. Another fuzzy algorithm will be needed but Helios Ruehls' efforts reveal a stunning future where these fuzzy algorithms give way to an eventual holistic and symmetrical calculus of the complex. 

 Mandelbrot sometimes referred to the Geometry of the Fractal  as "the measurement of roughness". Notice that only a few years ago what we now refer to as "Complexity theory" was called "Chaos  Theory".   The "roughness" and "chaos" is already falling away as practical needs drive searches for fuzzy algorithms as links between existing technologies and aspects of complexity theory that offer quantum leaps in performance, reliability, and speed. When the calculus of complexity emerges in its eventually to be revealed elegance and symmetry totally new vice the near future hybrid technologies will emerge that will seem like magic to 21st century minds. When we examine the history of flight including space flight in comparison with the history of marine transport we discern a speeding up of the technological and theoretical processes compared with the evolution of marine transportation. . Being allowed to peak into the secret lab work of Helios Ruehls has convinced us that the gateway to the all important Calculus of Complexity is closer than we ever thought. Perhaps the engineer who designs the first extrasolar manned craft that doesn't require the crew to commit to a life time aboard is already born. 

 Come with us now on a little voyage through marine and aviation history, space, and time to see why we believe the gateway to complexity is in sight and partly ajar.       

WAITING ON THE CALCULUS AND THE CARAVEL

 It has been over forty years since man first walked on the moon. Within thirty years of the Wright Brothers flight commercial air service for passengers and freight was readily available and growing into a major industry. Why then the apparent slowing of progress in manned exploration of space and the development of a commercial space transport industry? If we more closely examine aviation history we find little reason for concern. Moreover if  we think of space as an ocean there is ample precedent and logic to what appears to be an otherwise unnecessarily long pause in developments relative to manned interplanetary flight.

 First let's look at heavier than air aviation history. Here is a Chronology of some of the main events.


1. The first heavier than air flying machines to lift off the surface of the earth were kites invented by the Chinese between 400 and 300 B.C.. These and the flight of birds would be the subject of study  for thousands of years before the study of aerodynamics would be formalized. The study of heavier than air flight would be studied from the flight of the Chinese kites continuously but in an uncoordinated fashion throughout this time frame. Study would be hampered by a lack of the printing press, difficult communications, in short, the inability to build a recoverable and organized body of literature on the subject that succeeding generations could build on. 

 One of the things that strikes us in the work of Helios Ruehls is that a precursive body of literature existed before their first attempt at an application of their targeted technologies and they have archived it, organized it, and cause the body of literature and "prior art to grow. Their information of course is proprietary but once applications are perfected and licensed, disclosure begins. No one really knows what may be going on in a similar vein in other private research efforts. What is more or less public is what is in the public university labs.  The language coming out of those labs is already softer, reflecting more expectation of the emergence of a real calculus, order out of the former "Chaos", a larger symmetry encompassing a former collection of asymmetric phenomena.  

2. Leonardo da Vinci scientifically studied the flight of birds and sketched various flying machines. This was the start of a recognized body of literature on flight. This would occur about 1500 A.D. or about 1800 to 1900 years  after the lift off of the first kites.

3. Most heavier than air manned flight experiments after daVinci's were also man powered. In 1680 Italian mathematician Giavonni Borelli proved that human muscles were too weak to support powered flight. (At least with the technology and materials of the day. Recently there have been several human powered flights using specially geared bicycle mechanisms to drive a propeller on super light weight aircraft with very low stall speeds and giant wing span to fuselage ratios) .

4. British inventor Sir George Cayley built and flew model gliders and organized the science of aerodynamics in 1804. His work was most useful to the Wright Brothers.

5. German, Otto Lilienthal devised a system to measure lift produced by experimental wings and made the first successful manned glider flights in 1891 through 1896. His work was also most useful to the Wright Brothers.

5. In 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright , made the first heavier than air powered flight. This would be about 400 years after da Vinci's formal studies and 99 years after the formal organization of aerodynamics into a recognizable science. sixty six years later , Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Notice that it took over 1800 years from the first systematic and recorded observations about flight to the formal organization of the study of aerodynamics. It took only about 403 years from the formal organization of the study of aerodynamics to the first heavier than air powered flight. It took less than 70 years from the first powered flight to landing a man on the moon. Most of the progress between Kitty Hawk and the landing of the Eagle on the "Sea of Tranquility" took place before computers were of any real practical use. The computers in use today make the computational power of NASA's Apollo program computers look like cheap calculators.

 The likely progress of any science or technological development in the age of the Internet is bound to be much faster than the 1800 year gap between kites and da Vinci's drawings. Still, when we first published on this subject we stated that society should not be surprised to wait 400 years or more for the kind of game changing, breakthrough technological development that the wright flyer or space shuttle representToday we think differently after seeing what is going with just one company operating on the cusp of Complexity Theory applications. We see the view of Complexity Theory and the search for the new calculus already taking definite directions and the search ,while not centrally directed, becoming more organized. Fuzzy algorithms are being seen as paths to questions of complexity and links between older Newtonian based technologies and newer complexity based applications.  We now think that the Calculus of complexity will be well organized before the end of this century and that the twenty second century will be full of complexity theory based technology that will appear to be virtual magic to people growing up in the early decades of the 21st. Century. We may still be building space "long boats" but the inventor of  the first space caravel may have already been born. The midwives of the Calculus of Complexity are readying for the birth.


File:Wright flyer model.jpg
Model of a Wright Flyer at the Smithsonian  Air and Space Museum


Link to a YouTube video of a filmed early Wright Brothers flight.


On the subject of going to mars:
 "If we really wanted to throw money at the problem, I think we could have gone ten years ago. It's no longer a question of technology. At this point , I think we need to focus on advances in propulsion technology......
     Capt. William Readdy, USNR , Commander of Shuttle Mission STS-79
                                           p. 55 of the USNI PROCEEDINGS, February 1997.

Capt. Readdy and like minded thinkers look to a propulsion break through because of the vast distances that must be covered to carry manned spaceflight and exploration beyond the moon. At present spacecraft speeds, Mars, a close in planet, is at least nine months away. Much too far for a quick raise the flag and grab a soil sample mission. When we go, we going to stay a while and eventually start a long term base. The Wright Brothers powered flight with a technology that was not invented with flight in mind, the internal combustion engine. Without the internal combustion engine they would have simply been glider builders. Capt. Readdy has simply noted that to conquer the great distances that must be traversed to continue manned exploration, of even our own solar system, much less the galaxy beyond, a new propulsion system is needed. It is this vast distance that makes the manned exploration of space so like our exploration of the seas. We may be awaiting a development from an unrelated technology before we can move forward beyond our nearest solar system neighbors. When we compare the history of ocean exploration to space exploration not only do we get a closer parallel than a comparison with aviation history, we get a much longer time frame.

 However our latest observations convince us that the transition to interstellar flight will be in a time frame much shorter than the evolution  of marine transportation but slower than aviation's rapid ascent to the moon. Aviation and near space flight had full use of ancient and well proven bodies of mathematical and physical knowledge. We can't put men in installer space on the old physics and math. There are limits to the simultaneous development of Complexity theory /calculus and related technology. Our best estimate is that a mere 100 years will see incredible progress in the evolution of the calculus but rather limited applications in technology with those that do evolve being largely hybrid technologies using rather fuzzy algorithms to marry Newtonian and Complexity based technologies.  

 Maritime history, like  aviation history, is in fact thousands of years old. But unlike aviation, developments in marine technology did not suffer as much from a lack of authoritative literature. New technologies put to sea, were seen in diverse places and quickly copied and improved upon when real improvements appeared. Here the only cultural drag was the natural conservatism of sailors.  The eventual vehicle of global, ocean spanning voyages of exploration was the humble but wind and sea efficient caravel, eventually used by Columbus. It took about five thousand years for the caravel, a breakthrough technology to evolve out of the longboat. The longboat evolved through many forms from the dugout canoe to the galley and trireme. But at its' most seaworthy point of development it was grossly inadequate for an Atlantic or Pacific crossing. Such crossings had to await a new propulsion system vastly improved over oars and a square sail. The needed new system came in the form of lanteen sail and a new hull form more sea kindly than the traditional Arabian dhow. The first ship type to fill the requirements was the Portuguese caravel. While the Space shuttle was called the "caravel of space" in its heyday by some writers, we believe it is but another longboat. Compared to other man to space lift systems it was relatively cheap and efficient., but it can not go the distance like the sturdy little caravel.


 We suggest that we are in a long pause in interplanetary exploration We have made the equivalent of short coastal voyages, near earth orbital missions routine. We have even made some interplanetary voyages to our nearest celestial neighbor, the moon. The knowledge gained allowed us to launch and operate unmanned probes to peer into much more distant parts of the universe and even visit other planets of our solar system. In so peering we have discerned that it is far more vast a place than ever before imagined and that planets, with atmospheres and water are probably more abundant than once thought only a few years ago. We are standing on the beach and looking out across that vast sea of outer space, with ever increasing knowledge of the far shore coming to us. But our longboats can't make the crossing. We await the development of the caravel.


And the space "Caravel" awaits the development of a new calculus for its' would be ship wrights. Before Newton could give us the clockwork like physics that guided our voyages to the moon, he first had to invent the calculus. Physics has progressed far beyond the Newtonian view of the universe, and even that of Einstein, the real possibility of faster than light travel is hinted at, but we lack the calculus to describe it. How much money do we put in pure mathematical research as opposed to applied physics? Yet without the calculus there would be little physics. Without the advanced calculus that we need there will be no "warp drive". Newton provided us with enough theoretical physics to get us to the moon and back. But Newton and  Einstein together can't take us where we need to go.  Newton's calculus runs out of steam around the fuzzy edges of Einstein's universe, the realm of "complexity" where until very recently we seemed to be doing little more than collecting and describing elements of reality that have become observable but don't fit into the order described by Newton and Einstein.
SIR ISAAC NEWTON

Albert Einstein


 Benoit B. Mandelbrot (Photo: Yale)
                                 

. At that far edge which some call "complexity" and others  "Chaos" the real possibility, indeed probability, of faster than light travel is hinted at, but we lack the calculus to describe it.  Yet without the calculus , there will be no applied physics at the far and fuzzy edges of relativity we need to be exploring now. Should we be surprised then at the long pause we seem to find ourselves in? The history of ocean exploration informs us that we should expect progress in "fits and starts".  The mere sixty six year span between Kitty Hawk and the Apollo flights was one of those "fits" , a period of furious and intense technological progress fueled by two hot and one "cold" global wars. It is instructive to note that Kitty Hawk came at the end of nearly a century of aeronautical study, experimentation, and publication. But now we encounter a vast distance to be crossed for which we have few tools or theories, a new start. New studies are required. We await the the calculus that will lead to the caravel. We don't know for sure if we will have to wait fifteen, fifty, or even five hundred years. There was nearly a century between the organization of aerodynamics and powered flight. There was at least a century or two between the first appearance of the lanteen sail and the deployment of Portugal's caravels. So while we await the arrival of the calculus and then the caravel, what should be our next move? We suggest that we continue to improve the "longboat", our earth orbit operational and transport capability.


 Building a greatly improved space shuttle and perhaps some cheap "pick up truck" winged space vehicles and improved capsules  makes sense. Making access to near space cheaper and more routine is important, if we are to build the ultimate "longboat" that may take us to Mars, or the "caravel" for travel beyond our solar system, we must build them in space. Since we can not in the foreseeable future make a quantum leap in speed, we must improve habitability for long voyages. This requires size, genuine seagoing ship type size, and that requires construction in space from components no larger than the old space shuttle, or sky lab. 

 Once we have big comfortable long boats assembled there is no reason not to push off for the far but visible shore, the Moon and Mars at the least. There is a lot that is of intense interest to visit within a one year journey from the earth at present rocket speeds. Our past history as seafarers tells us that intrepid and motivated crews can and will endure voyages of discovery lasting two years or more. So the next logical steps may be simply a better shuttle, a space station big enough to serve as spaceport and ship yard, and a humble little space tug to help pull all the component parts together.


No doubt we can go to Mars now if we will foot the bill. But we intend to go to stay, which is the only way to go that makes sense, we have a fleet to build. That means the next decade or more of manned space flight will continue to be in manned earth orbit with the probable exception of a Chinese version of an updated Apollo program. If we are spending the time building the very best "longboats" we can, this is not to be lamented. Nothing else can happen until we find the calculus that let's us build the caravel.  After the "caravel" voyages will still be long and dangerous. We need experience in shipboard organization, and voyage management, and space construction. Once the "caravel" is available it would be handy to have a good idea where to go, so unmanned exploratory missions should continue. If the decades ahead in space look like the decades just past since the start of the shuttle and international space station programs , there is nothing wrong with this picture if we view space as an ocean and look at our history of global exploration by sea. Even if we find the calculus in our life times we won't be able to immediately build the "caravel". Meanwhile we need to get on with space-faring in our solar system in order to have the infrastructure and personnel ready to operate the caravel when it comes.

 Before the European powers launched out to accidentally discover the New World, they had already created navigation charts for as much of Europe and Africa as they could and mapped as much of Asia as possible given that they were mostly cut off from Asia by hostile Islamic forces between Europe and Asia. Such efforts are mundane, not as exciting as a Moon landing. But, we are doing what we need to do with the space station, and shuttle replacement, if we enlarge the concept of the station and build the space tug with the clear intent of building some really good longboats for use in our solar system.

  Charting the globe wasn't done in a day. The New World wasn't discovered by a big government bureaucracy  The New World was accidentally discovered by a Merchant Marine Officer leading a three boat flotilla  on a small scale government sponsored expedition with a specific profit motive. This perhaps underscores the concerns voiced by some astronauts over the perceived slow development of commercial space transport. It will probably take more than a government only effort to both get us into the best "longboats" and eventually into the "Caravel".

 The closest thing in human history to what we are now experiencing in space is known as the "European  Recognizance", the pivotal point of which was the first voyage of Columbus in 1492. The "European Recognizance" didn't begin or end with Columbus, the era encompassed more than 500 years. The likelihood is that the "Human Recognizance of the Universe will follow the pattern of the European Recognizance by sea. We shouldn't be amazed or disheartened by the occasional forty year lull in electrifying events. Indeed space is an ocean, we think, and events are proceeding about like last time.                   


                                  






                                





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SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


A COMING AGE OF SAIL?

 Solar  Sails May Propel Our Solar System Ships At Near light Speed Bringing The Outer Reaches Of The Solar System Into Reach Without Multi- Year long Round Trips.


A NASA ILLUSTRATION OF A "NANO SAIL"




 When the Earth's seas are viewed from high altitude flight or near earth orbit the surface appears quite smooth. When we descend to the level that Coast Guard helicopters usually operate at , the surface becomes much more textured even in "light airs". Embark on that surface in a small dingy and it is anything but calm. 

 In a like manner Space is not the perfect vacuum, placid and void from all angles of approach and at all scales. On the human scale the space between the stars is vast and empty. For many 'practical purposes" this is so. But evolving technology continually redefines what are "practical purposes". In fact on both certain macro and micro levels Space is filled with flotsam, jetsam, foam, froth, and currents. At the subatomic level it is especially a roiling ocean. The quanta, particles and virtual particles constantly coursing through the ocean of space present the would be spacefarer with problems and opportunities reminiscent of some of the challenges and opportunities reminiscent of the age of sail. We must build space craft resistant to damage from these various "cosmic rays', just as a sailing craft had to be storm resistant and stable over a wide range of sea conditions. Yet these very phenomena, like the wind of the Earth's oceans, present us with a resource for propulsion. While such things as "cosmic rays" must be factored into the design and definition of a "staunch ship" for space, similar phenomena in forms such as the "solar wind"offer us a ready potential propulsive resource.

 On the oceans of the World today we can observe sail, steam reciprocating engines, steam turbines , diesel, diesel-electric, and atomic engines propelling commercial and naval vessels. As we search for the propulsion system that will take us to the stars, we undoubtedly will experiment with a few technologies, that while not the the system to takes us to distant stars, still will be useful and long used for a variety of purposes. Among these may well be "particle sails".

 "Particle sails" (AKA "nano sails") refers to systems that capture or convert the energy of " cosmic ray-like phenomena" such as "solar winds" into propulsion for space craft. Freed from rocket propulsion and rocket fuel such craft will be able to carry greater pay loads and will probably be characterized by extremely long range, or long on scene endurance. Range and endurance, coupled with greater pay load capability will be especially important in unmanned probes. Economy is another attraction of such technology. Some such craft may be no larger than present "pond yachts". Such "particle or nano sail"pond yacht sized probes might be launched from an orbiting construction shop via an air lock with little more effort than the hobbyist who sets the tiller and sheet line on his pond yacht and sets it to sail on a pond in a city park. Many such probes could be fabricated in space from materials and components boosted up by rocket to an orbiting shop. However, it would not be economic to launch such delicate and small craft by individual rockets from the Earth's surface. Just as commercial sail survives in certain fisheries and inter-island trades, to say nothing of recreation and tourist trades there may well be multiple uses for the "particle sail" craft in manned configurations. The best place to build and experiment with such craft is from near Earth orbit.


 At the subatomic level space near home such as near Earth orbit is made pretty much of the same stuff as "deep space". Space throughout the observable universe is pretty much composed of the same elements, particles, and quanta.So if we build space craft large and small in near Earth orbit we have our model test tank, and full scale test basin immediately at hand. So as we search for propulsion system breakthroughs to take us to the far reaches of the solar system and beyond we find a need for work in space. Near space for this purpose is as good as far, but cheaper. Cheaper means more research funds on target, more research, faster progress. So here we find another reason for an expanded space station, an experimental station and production facility for future particle sail vessels and other small unmanned probes. To these reasons add a shipyard for the construction of big, probably rocket propelled at first solar system expedition ships., a training center, and geophysical and astrophysical observatories and you find ample reason to focus our manned space flight resources at this time on a space station, and ever cheaper and more reliable ways to get back and forth from it.

 Research and routine technological improvement is never as splashy as a moon landing or Man on Mars. But man back to the moon or to Mars would be a waste of resources right now. Our next planetary manned missions should be to establish permanent bases. Ocean history suggest that this takes a fleet not a single craft. Consider the first voyage of Columbus. He took three ships, lost one. He left behind a contingent with the intent of returning .  He did return but his contingent did not survive. It took multiple Atlantic crossings by multiple ships before a permanent settlement at Hispaniola was established. Surely there are many lessons from the "European Recognizance" applicable to the immediate future of the "Space Age". Not the least important of these lessons is the fact that Henry the Navigator of Portugal founded a navigational institute to foster the growth and development of navigational arts and sciences and the ever improving charting of Earth's waters and coasts prior to the greatest voyages of the European Recognizance. It was not an accident that Henry physically located his institute on the very edge of the sea rather than in the heart of his capital. It is time to move a major part of our research and developmental efforts to the edge of the "Ocean of Space".

 The boon to mankind in viewing space as an ocean is the ability to draw exciting historical parallels. These parallels aid in the ability of the public to understand where we are going.  To a public aware that we have been technologically capable of a Mars landing for decades, our virtually unexplained pause looks like politics as usual. As public interest lags, the will to fund the effort lags and progress slows even more. But a public that understands the coming decades of station and shuttle improvement as the historic parallel of the founding of Henry's "School of Navigation" may be able to maintain interest. Within such a context the present pause may be seen as an absolutely necessary prelude. The public excitement to continue and progress should be sustainable. Perhaps more importantly the pressure to do a parlor stunt of a manned mission in order to re-foster public support
should wain. A public taught to see our space efforts in terms of the historic age of the European Recognizance by sea would understand and support each necessary step. There is no one to beat to Mars. We are going there as an international community and we are going to stay. The first step is to establish our "institute", ou rport, and shipyard on the edge of the Ocean Space. From there and not the earth bound rocket launch platforms we will launch many future voyages.

SOME FINAL NOTES: 
 The  Reality of Particle Sail Technology

 The concept of solar sailing was first described by FrederikTsander. Articles on the concept first began to appear in America in the 1950s by authors unaware of the earlier work by Tsander. In the late 1970s the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) undertook serious studies in particle sail technology anticipating it's possible use in the 1986 Halley's comet rendezvous mission.  Ultimately the Halley's comet mission was dropped due to budget constraints. In 1979 the World Space Organization started a solar sail experiment.  This experiment resulted in the construction of a small sail and a successful ground test. The scientific consensus coming out of the JPL, World Space Foundation, University of Utah College of Engineering, the Battelle Memorial Institute , and elsewhere where significant research and experimentation in particle sails has taken place is that the particle sail, and particle sail propelled ships are practical, relatively low cost technology with significant potential in space transportation. Between 1976 and 1977 the JPL was successful in establishing a technology base for such devices, but particle sail technology development remains on the back burner at both NASA and JPL where the present budgetary focus is on continuing unmanned planetary and deep space missions , the continuing development of the International Space Station and the next generation Space Shuttle.

For those interested in reading more on particle or nano sails we suggest:

SPACE SAILING by Jerome L. Wright, Gordon and Breach scientific Publishers, Philadelphia and by the same author SOLAR SAILS

       and see also:    
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SPACE AS AN OCEAN

                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


WHEN COLUMBUS MET GUACANAGARI  The Perils Of First Contact, A Case Study


 The first landfall of Columbus in the New World is a subject of considerable academic debate. Wherever the landing actually took place, Columbus called the island "San Salvador". For many years historians generally believed this to be an island known as "Wattling Island"in the Bahamas which later was renamed "San Salvador". At least nine other islands have been seriously examined as possibilities. The most often discussed seems to be Samana Cay. There has been debate over the issue for years and strong cases have been made for other islands as the first landfall of Columbus. Some of the most scholarly debate in terms of forensic navigation have been carried in the pages of the Naval Institute PROCEEDINGS and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. However, the where of the first landfall of Columbus is not as important for an examination of the lessons of the first contact.


 The first lesson to be derived from the first voyage of Columbus is the definition of "first contact". Is "first contact" as a matter of gravest concern, the first contact between emissaries of an alien culture and the first inhabitants met? Or is "first contact" the first meeting between the emissaries and the first officials of the culture visited. The first contact between Columbus and native Americans made little impression on the culture of San Salvador, an apparent rural back water  but provided Columbus with some vital intelligence. His next contact with a real Chief of numerous villages Guacanagari would set the course for European /Native American relations for centuries. There is a high probability when exploring unknown areas that actual first contact will be unplanned. Let us examine the first days of Columbus in the New World and ask our selves what there is to learn from the Columbus experience if initial contact in our own explorations will be with non official persons. Let us also look for lessons for that first contact with officials;  what we might learn that would allow us to be better prepared in the event of an encounter with another civilization in outer space.

 Columbus became convinced that he was near land on October 11, 1492. Land birds were seen from his ships and a carved wooden object had been recovered from the sea. However by sundown nothing else had been seen. At 2200 (10 PM) Columbus and crewman Pedro Guttierrez and Rodrigo Sanchez saw a light to the Southwest. The Pinta set course for the light. At 0200 (2 AM) October 12, 1492 crewman Rudrigo de Triana sighted land. Columbus fell to his knees in gratitude to God. To quell a potential mutiny Columbus had agreed to sail westward for only three days more on October 10, 1492. As dawn broke Columbus and his men saw a small green Island. A small boat was  launched and the crew with Columbus embarked pulled for shore. While still offshore Columbus observed a group of people come out of the forest. First contact was about to happen. The people came down to the beach and stood looking at the approaching boat. Columbus dressed in his finest for the occasion buckled on his sword and armor when he saw the people on the beach. The sailors were also armed.

 When the boat landed Columbus and the sailors disembarked. The people from the forest stood a little distance off while Columbus unfurled the Spanish flag and proclaimed himself viceroy of the island he named "San Salvador". The people from the forest continued to stand a little ways off. Gripping , but not brandishing his sword, Columbus approached. The people proved friendly and curious. They accepted a few trinkets with apparent pleasure and ran off. The crew set out exploring the island. The next day the islanders returned in great numbers. Columbus noticed that some of the natives wore ornaments of gold. Communicating mostly through sign language Columbus discovered that the source of the gold was a large island nearby to the south east. Columbus set sail for the south east where he found another island and more friendly inhabitants, some with gold ornaments. Once again Columbus wast told the gold producing island was elsewhere.  Again Columbus set sail. Columbus island hopped for two weeks in the Bahamas meeting people on each island and eventually ended up off the coast of the island that we now call Cuba.

 On November 21, 1492 a strong wind separated the PINTA from the SANTA MARIA and the NINA. THE SANTA MARIA and the NINA headed east and arrived off the island of Hispaniola. Here Columbus met the first real native "official" since landing on "San Salvador", a local chief named Guacanagari. Columbus was impressed with Guacanagari who arrived with flourishes and the entourage Columbus thought worthy of a minor Oriental prince; but displayed a friendly , outgoing nature, apparently tempered with great humility. Guacanagari, a chief of the peaceful Tainos in turn was impressed with Columbus. Guacanagari feared the cannibalistic Caribs, Columbus looked like a potentially powerful ally. In turn Columbus would shortly be in need of Guacangari's assistance.

 On Christmas day 1492 the SANTA MARIA fetched aground on a reef. The ship did not sink but could not be re-floated. She was so badly damaged that it was clear that the SANTA MARIA would never return to Spain. Now Columbus really needed Guacanagari. Guacanagari provided men to help offload the  SANTA MARIA" and strip her of useful fittings. The NINA was too small to carry both crews back to Spain. Columbus would have to leave some of the men with Guacanagari.Columbus had grown to trust Guacanagari and Guacanagari had apparently developed a genuine interest in and apparent affection for the Europeans.

 There can be little doubt that the civilized behavior,apparent command of resources, obvious authority, and the gift of a mask made partially of gold by Guacanagari helped convince Columbus that he was on the outskirts of the Orient. It would be to Guacanagari that Columbus would entrust nearly a third of his crew, and to Guacanagari that Columbus would return on his second voyage. The crew must have also been impressed with the Tianos people, Guacanagari, and the climate and terrain of the Bahamas because many crewmen volunteered, even begged to remain. Thirty nine were chosen from an abundance of volunteers. Diego de Arana , the Master at Arms was left in command. With the help of the Tianos the crew built a fort from the remains of the ship and stored it with provisions and weapons. Since the ship wreck had occurred on Christmas Columbus called the fort "la Navidad". After a farewell banquet with Guacanagari Columbus departed for Spain during the first week of the new year 1493.

 Shortly after the start of the return voyage the Nina sighted the Pinta. They would separate again in a storm before reaching Spain. The story of Columbus's return voyage from his first visit to the New World, the rivalry between Columbus and the Captain of the PINTA , the intrigue at court after the return of the NINA and  PINTA could fill a book. But these details detract from the examination of the events surrounding Columbus and Guacanagari. Consequently we will leave the details of the return voyage and organization of the second voyage back to Guacanagari's island to others and cut to the return of Columbus to "La Navidad".

 The sovereigns of Spain authorized a second voyage and issued formal instructions. These formal instructions included a call for the conversion of the natives to Christianity but stipulated that the natives be treated "well and honorably". Communications would be facilitated on this second voyage by the presence of former captive "Indians" who had been baptized, learned Spanish, and could act as interpreters. This second expedition would consist of seventeen vessels and 1,200 to 1500 men. On September 25, 1493 Columbus left the port of Cadiz to great fanfare for a return in force to La Navidad. Before reaching La Navidad Columbus landed on an island he called Guadeloupe. This turned out to be the home island of the free ranging and raiding cannibal Caribs so feared by Guacanagari. No violence ensued because most of the warriors were gone on a raiding party off island. The remaining Caribs, mostly women, old men and a few captives explained this mostly by hand gestures. The Europeans took twelve young women and two boys who had been captives of the Caribs with them as they departed the island.

 After leaving Guadeloupe the fleet sailed along the south coast of Puerto Rico to the north shore of Hispaniola. Columbus looked forward to seeing La Navidad and the progress he hoped had been made there in the interval since his departure. He looked forward to seeing Guacanagari who he was certain would impress his fellow adventurers. But when they anchored off the island, there was no answer to their salute. Indeed there was little sign of life. Shore parties found bodies near the remains of the fort which had been burned. Shore parties found bodies near the remains of the fort which had been burned,the first were badly decomposed and could not be identified. Two however were bearded and surely European,  What would come to be known as America , had lost its first European colony. Guacanagari sent regrets to Columbus by envoy blaming the massacre on the Caribs. Guacanagari claimed that he had tried to defend the Spaniards and was wounded as a result. Columbus and several men went to visit Guacangari but noticed that he bore no scars. Little by little Columbus learned the truth.  The men he left behind had behaved badly, lusting after gold and taking "Indian" women. The Tianos defended and avenged themselves. The first European settlement in the New World came to a bitter end as a bloody massacre. The trust between the Tianos and the Europeans was broken. Though immediate relations between the new landing party and Guacanagari's Tianos were cordial on the surface, storm clouds were gathering.

Some Sources:


                       


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SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books

2/9/2013 YODA WHERE ARE YOU? AN AFTER THOUGHT
Space as an Ocean:

AT FIRST GLANCE REPORTS OF A NEW "ALIEN EARTH STUDY" SUGGESTS OUR ESTIMATE OF THE CHANCES OF INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE WAS A GROSS UNDER ESTIMATE.  WE DISAGREE. 


SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


YODA WHERE ARE YOU

    What is the real likelihood that we'll meet intelligent life out there?



Editor's Note: We first published this essay as part of a serial E-book about a year ago. The entire book may be read in the "MARITIME LITERATURE SECTION" just scroll down past the book reviews. Recently the Huff Post Science Section published an article titled " 'ALIEN  EARTH' STUDY SUGGESTS MILKY WAY GALAXY HOLDS 45 BILLION EARTH LIKE PLANETS".  When we published the essay below our definition of "Earth Like" was quite different from the author of the above referenced article, Mike Wall who apparently first posted it on Space.com . 

  The planets the study refers to as "Earth Like" are simply somewhat near earth sized, with orbits around their sun that are roughly similar to Earth's. The study doesn't reveal anything about these planets rotation about their own axis or changing pole orientation which cause the day night and seasonal aspects of our own climate, nor do these studies indicate that any of these planets even have atmospheres. Most of these "new planets" are "estimated" planets meaning that they haven't actually been sighted but are estimated to exist based on a sampling of similar stars studied that had such planets. These "new earth like" planets are products of statistical analysis and subject to all of the errors inherent in statistical projection using small samples. 


 These "new" planets are not revolving around yellow suns like our own but around "Red Dwarf" stars with surface temperatures roughly in the 2,000 degree Fahrenheit range cooler than our sun. Obviously, there will be some differences in types of radiation coming off a red dwarf as well as the radiant heat difference. There is no mention of the presence of moons or large outer "guard planets" as exist in our solar system to reduce the frequency of impacts with meteors and comets, there can't be, these "new planets" are not observed but products of statistical analysis. Finally as we observed in our original analysis we exist on an outer radial arm of our spiral shaped galaxy, a uniquely comparatively tranquil place in the galaxy in terms of meteors, comets, asteroids, and other naturally occurring space objects that can and do impact planets. By contrast the inner parts of the galaxy are a much more violent place. 


 Even if evolution had more time there as the report suggests, it is the time between massively destructive events that count. One of these objects whacked the dinosaurs which gave mammals a shot at reaching the apex of the biomass, but we had enough time between celestial body bombardments to evolve. For that to happen in the center of the galaxy the "earth like planet", and by that we mean a lot more than just roughly size and orbit distance from its star; would have be positioned in a unique solar system with an extraordinary collection of "outer guard planets". When we published our estimate of the chances of another space traveling civilization in our galaxy we based it on a much closer definition of "Earth Like". We don't think this latest study and statistical projection change our estimate of the chances of industrial and space-faring civilizations at all.  Though subject to all of the potential error inherent in small sample statistical analysis, the study does suggest that the probability of at least microscopic life is higher than previous estimates and possibly not confined to planets circling yellow suns at the thought to be, appropriate distance.  


 A link to this report on the latest estimate of "Earth Like" planets in our galaxy is posted below, just remember "Earth Like" has different meanings in different contexts. In this latest study it refers only to relative mass, composition, and distance from the star orbited. Below the link is a reprint of our original posting, and below the reprint of our original posting are extracts from this latest study with comments from the author of our posting.  


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/06/alien-earth-milky-way-galaxy-earth-like-planets_n_2631063.html



YODA WHERE ARE YOU

    What is the real likelihood that we'll meet intelligent life out there?


  When European man first set out on the great voyages of exploration he expected to reach civilizations. He found both civilized and primitive tribal societies in abundance. Indeed the whole Earth while separated by what seemed like uncross-able seas, was in fact thickly peopled with diverse societies. Yet sea faring European man also found that much of the Earth was only thinly populated, in some cases so thinly as to be considered uninhabited. What are we likely to find in space?

 Lets look at some probabilities in light of what some serious students of probability have said, based on the latest available information.  For the purpose of simplicity, and keeping the discussion focused on the more immediate future, (the next couple of hundred years vice the next two thousand ) let's limit the discussion to our own galaxy. We shouldn't get beyond this area in the more or less immediate future. If there is going to be a first contact in the next two hundred years it will probably be with folks from our own galaxy.

 In our galaxy which we call the "Milky Way". astrophysicist now estimate that we have about 135 billion stars.  Presently most theories of stellar formation suggest that planetary systems around stars are common, perhaps the norm. We have certainly been discovering a lot of these planets of late now that we have a better idea of how to detect them from Earth or orbital observatories. Some of these planets have been found in constellations that sailors have navigated by for centuries. So lets follow the line of reasoning of Carl Sagan and some of the numbers provided by Isaac Asimov and Stephen H. Doyle and call the number of planetary systems something just a little shy of 135 billion. Lets assume that each of these planetary systems contains 6 to 12 planets. That gives us "billions and billions" (Carl Sagan) in fact , about a trillion "worlds" in the Milky Way. Now of these somewhat less than a trillion "worlds" some are circling stars much larger, smaller, colder, or hotter than ours. Some are circling twin stars and receiving radiations of sorts that we can only begin to imagine. Some have rotations that are too slow to regulate temperature decently for life, some are too near their stars, some too far. In short the vast majority aren't very Earth like. But near a trillion "worlds" is a lot of "worlds".So the law of probability makes it highly likely that some are indeed Earth like.

 Stephen H. Dole and Issac Asmimov applied probability reasoning to the question in PLANETS FOR MAN (Random House 1964).  and arrived at an estimate of as many as 640 million Earth like planets , at least in terms of having approximate mass, temperatures, orbit/rotation, chemistry and a sun like star to rotate about at approximate earth like orbital distance. This boils down to only one star out of every 210 has anything even similar to an Earth like planet. Only one planet out of every 4,000 is estimated to be Earth like. Now assuming 640 million Earth like, life generating planets in our galaxy, what does probability theory say about intelligent space faring life being out there? Asimov looked beyond Sagan's cataloging of "billions and billions" of "worlds" to try to estimate the actual probability of some space faring civilizations in our galaxy. Some of his reasoning can be found in
THE PLANET THAT WASN'T.(Double day and Company 1976).  Let's follow some of Sagan's, Asimov's and Dole's math here.

 As Asimov observed , on Earth life took about three billion years to evolve to its present state . Civilization has existed for about 10,000 years. So the ratio of uncivilized years to civilized is 300,000 to 1. So if we consider Earth to be about average, and consider that life started in different times in different places it should be safe to estimate that civilization exists on 1 out of every 300,000 of these Earth like Worlds at best. According to Carl Sagan' like line of reasoning that would give us an estimated 2, 150 civilizations in our galaxy ranging in technological development from pre-Roman like to far beyond modern day America. (Notice I wrote according to the Sagan line, Asimov injects some new considerations later on.)  Now looking at industrial civilization we see Earth has had one for about 200 plus years out of 2,000 years of well documented civilized life. So of our galaxy's estimated 2,150 civilizations, a likely ratio of non or pre-industrial societies to industrial societies would be 50 to 1. That leaves us with an estimated 43 probable industrial worlds out there. Not all of them will be space faring yet. So lets estimate the space farers at 21 societies, figuring ourselves to be the median.


 OK, so is it probable that 21 societies in our galaxy are capable of some type of space travel? It's possible, but hardly probable based on our current knowledge. Asimov's biggest dampener on Sagan's estimate is the fact most of these planets on which we based all of the above calculations on are located in the circular portion of our spiral shaped galaxy while we are located on an outer spiral arm. The circular portion is very violent in terms of meteors, asteroids, comets and similar things hitting the planets there. The closer to the middle of the galaxy the more violent the neighborhood. Evolution needs extensive time between cosmic bombardments to evolve intelligent life. So if we ignored this basic fact in calculating a probable 21 space-faring societies in our galaxy, our estimate is wildly optimistic. Considering the facts as we think we know them today, the fact that we are here is astounding.  But then the galaxy is a really big place and we truly don't know all of the facts



The Milky way our home galaxy as it would appear if viewed from  overhead

 side view as prepared by NASA /COBE
   
Author's notes on recent new study:

FROM: Alien Earth Study Suggests Milky Way Holds 4.5 Billion Earth Like Planets   by Mike Wall published in Space . Com  2/6/2012 and the Huff Post Science Section 2/7/2016   


"  Astronomers have calculated that 6 percent of the galaxy's 75 billion or so red dwarfs — stars smaller and dimmer than the Earth's own sun — probably host habitable, roughly Earth-size planets. That works out to at least 4.5 billion such "alien Earths," the closest of which might be found a mere dozen light-years away, researchers said."   

AAB Note: This is a study of Red Dwarfs which are significantly different from our own sun, to start with their surface is thousands of degrees cooler. "Earth sized" is a long way from being "Earth like". We think it takes a leap of logic to assume similar sized planets circling very different types of stars in an optimum orbital zone are "alien earths".

"In the new study, Dressing and her colleagues re-analyzed the red dwarfs in Kepler's field of view and found that nearly all are smaller and cooler than previously thought.
This new information bears strongly on the search for Earth-like alien planets, since roughly 75 percent of the galaxy's 100 billion or so stars are red dwarfs."

AAB Note: Red Dwarfs are about 2,000  to 5,000 degrees F cooler on their surface than our yellow sun, this would indicate that planets orbiting such a star in the zone that Venus, Earth, and Mars circle our sun would on average be cooler, the inhabitable zone might be closer in than we presently think. We don't know what types of solar radiation planets orbiting Red Dwarfs receive compared to the out put of our own yellow sun.
The researchers determined that 95 Kepler exoplanet candidates orbit red dwarfs. Using this information and their newly calculated stellar (and planetary) profiles, the team calculated that about 60 percent of red dwarfs likely host worlds smaller than Neptune.
Dressing and her colleagues then determined that Kepler has spotted three roughly Earth-size exoplanet candidates in the habitable zones of their parent red dwarfs.
One of these worlds is Kepler Object of Interest (KOI) 1422.02. This candidate's newly calculated size is 90 percent that of Earth, and it circles its star every 20 days. If the planet (and these characteristics) are confirmed, KOI 1422.02 may be the first "alien Earth" ever discovered."
AAB Note: We have no doubt that (KOI) 1422.02 is roughly earth sized, or orbits its star every 20 days in the speculative "best zone", but confirming those two facts don't prove an earth twin. How long is its day night cycle, does it have an atmosphere, what is the composition of the atmosphere, what is the average surface temperature? Is it in an outer spiral of the galaxy or nearer the base of a spiral or the outer rim of the circular section?, Are there outer "guard planets", how violent in terms of cosmic collision objects is its neighborhood. Remember Earth shares the "life zone" with Venus and Mars but is nothing like those planets. Finding a pair or a few characteristics of a planet held in common with Earth is grounds to focus attention on studying that planet. It is a far cry from the discovery of an "alien earth. 

                                 
ARE WE ALONE? As best as we can tell in terms of other space faring civilizations at the moment that is both possible and probable in terms of our home galaxy, not very probable when we consider all the other galaxies. Is non earth life out there? More probable than not at the microbe level its probably pretty wide spread; mammal like creatures we would only expect on earth like planets in the outer spiral arms and they would indeed be rare. As for non- space faring civilizations of intelligent beings any number between 43 and o would not surprise us.  However if indeed there was even one space faring civilization that was significantly ahead of us many less than perfect worlds in the so called Goldilocks zones may have been colonized. In which case all we would remind our future readers that we were only doing an exercise in statistical analysis. Strictly as an exercise in statistical analysis we think our reasoning is very solid.  Statistical analysis is a science, but as that famous merchant marine officer , Pilot Samuel Clemens (AKA "Mark Twain" said "...there are lies, damn lies, and statistics." 

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 SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                          


LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

American Admiralty Books Safety & Privacy Policies   EU VISITORS WARNING POSSIBLE COOKIES AHEAD


YODA, Star of stage , screen, toy manufacturing, action figures, and outer space, photo from Star Wars.com
 Yoda, the Star Wars character that we refer to as our euphemism for extraterrestrial intelligent life might more accurately be referred to as "Yodas", plural. It is highly unlikely that intelligent life on some unknown planet in this galaxy or one "far far away" evolved into a single intelligent individual. But even if on some as yet undiscovered planet intelligent life evolved into an intelligent species, the odds are that the entire species is already dead, or will be before we can discover them. While generating life in the universe may be more uncommon than often thought, sustaining it long enough to evolve into intelligent space faring civilizations is probably exceedingly rare. Indeed in our own case we are far from being able to evacuate a large portion of humanity from the planet should the planet cease to be able to support life as apparently Mars and perhaps Venus did. Without any intervention by an intelligent species based on their industrial processes, the evidence is wide spread that planets with warm wet climates, routinely change to hot and dry or cold and dry, and quickly lose oxygen rich atmospheres. In short the universe is probably pretty friendly towards microbiological life, but not so much for intelligent species or even fair sized mammal like creatures.

  The jury is still out on us humans. We've made it past a couple of important mile stones but still are not capable of space migration. To evolve and survive intelligent species need billions of years of life sustaining climate. There is mounting evidence that such conditions are rarely even long lasting in geologic terms much less permanent. 

 The visible universe may well be filled with "habitable planets" in terms of what we usually think necessary to support mammalian life. However, increasingly, we've seen evidence that such conditions are temporary, and rarely last long enough for intelligent life forms to evolve, much less to evolve to the point of space faring civilizations. Early life forms such as microbes, perhaps fish and amphibians are very fragile, so the current line of reasoning is that they evolve fast in order to survive. We have seen examples of earthly sea plankton found surviving on an exterior surface of  of the International Space Station, and found meteor fragments  thought to be from Mars, with evidence of microbial fossils. Some astronomers think they have detected clouds of what may be virus in deep space. So one might already concur that the universe is widely "seeded" for life, but for life to last long enough for civilizations of intelligent life to evolve requires  extraordinary circumstances. A planet where life can evolve all the way to intelligent beings must be extraordinarily stable in terms of its atmosphere. Most aren't.

 While there are billions and billions of planets just in our own galaxy alone, the center of a galaxy is a very violent place. Planets in the spiral heart of our Milky Way Galaxy frequently collide with space objects including other planets. Our planet exists in a relatively quiet outer arm of the galaxy. We enjoy the protection from collision with space objects by way of large gas giants orbiting at the outer entrance to our sun's gravitational influence area, and a small planet like moon circling our planet. Merely being positioned in the "Goldilocks Zone" is not enough. No matter how much microbiological "seed" the center of the galaxy spews out, it must find protected soil. One look at the moon, the surface of Mars, or Venus or our own planet's surface tells us that even in our relatively quiet radial arm over time there are a lot of things crashing into planets. We have encountered some game changers over geological time, but no life extinguishers. The fact is that planets able to sustain the evolution of life to the level of intelligent civilizations need very special locations, and more than a small amount of luck. 

 The folks who are professionals in the search for alien intelligent life sometimes refer to this situation as the "SETI-Fermi paradox." It sort of boils down to the question of "If the universe is so full of life and potentially life sustaining planets....where is everybody?". The mathematical odds  appear to indicate that they are probably dead. The odds of two intelligent civilizations evolving on two different planets and then meeting are astronomical. Where is Yoda? We hope not , but the odds are that if he ever existed he is probably dead.  
 THE LATE GREAT YODA?

 Warning to Louisiana Residents. You are personally liable for the remittance of sales taxes to state and local tax authorities for internet purchases.                                                






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SPACE AS AN OCEAN

                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.


COULD WE ACTUALLY BE THE TAINOS TO A MORE BENIGN COLUMBUS STANDING OFF SHORE?

 In our last installment we examined the probability of our meeting extra terrestrial intelligent life. Frankly we didn't give it much of a shot over at least the next 200 years. We even found it more probable than not that the number of space faring civilizations in our galaxy could be counted on one hand, maybe on a single digit. But if there is even one other space faring civilization out there the odds are 50-50 that they are more advanced than us and have mastered inter stellar travel. So what are we to make of the UFO phenomenon? Is someone offshore watching our island?   Do they have the experience to stand off and seek just the right circumstances to make contact?   Could all these sighting be a way of making us aware and used to, and thus less likely to be threatened by their presence?  Are we the TAINOS to  a civilization that has already launched multiple Columbus expeditions to us but has the good sense to stand off shore until the time is right for all of us?  We truly don't know and neither does anyone else. But if you would like to read about the UFO phenomenon without the dogmatism that clouds the writings of the believers and debunkers alike we suggest :

ANGELS AND ALIENS UFOS AND THE MYSTIC IMAGINATION by Keith Thompson

Here are two quotes from his work that at least keep our mind open to the possibility that we may be someone else's Tainos.

Page 192 "What interests me is that with each new wave of sightings, the social impact becomes greater. Conventional science more and more perplexed, befuddled, at a loss to explain. Pro-ET ufologists become more dogmatic in their propositions. More people become fascinated with space and new frontiers of consciousness. More books and articles appear changing our culture in the direction of a new image of man. Meanwhile, the phenomenon offers occasional rational elements to entice credible researchers, while offering an equal number of ludicrous elements so as to effectively deny itself, annihilate evidence of itself. Ufologists, by and large , remain blissfully unaware of their role in the feedback loop.


Page 193-" 'What we see emerging in the UFO phenomenon is not gradual contact but rather gradual control of our beliefs. expectations, fears, hopes and dreams....We know from behavioral psychology that the best schedule of reinforcement is one that combines periodicity with unpredictability' says Vallee, citing the ongoing pattern of intense UFO activity followed by quite periods when it seems to have gone away entirely. 'Learning is then slow but continuous', he adds. It leads  to the highest level of adaptation  And it is irreversible. It is interesting to observe that the pattern of UFO waves has the same structure as a schedule of reinforcement"

 That's some heavy thoughts a Guacanagari?
You can read Thompson and draw your own conclusions, or abstain from making conclusions, just click on the book icon below to get an inexpensive copy winging your way. Next to Thompson's book is the link to Jaques Vallee's book which Thompson quotes.
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SPACE AS AN OCEAN:


 IS TRAVEL AND COMMUNICATION ACROSS TIME POSSIBLE

American Admiralty Books Safety & Privacy Policies 


 Greetings Bipeds! I read with interest the recent post on FUZZY ALGORITHMS AND THE SEARCH FOR WARP SPEED." Benefiting from 3,000 years of close observation of scientific progress as I do I wanted to elaborate a bit on the subject that underlies that blog post, namely complexity theory, and to comment on a subject that is related to both interplanetary travel and the evolution of the calculus and geometries of complexity, formerly "chaos". That subject is time travel and across time communications. If time space is not malleable then the much desired "warp drive" can't happen. The emerging understanding of "Complexity Theory" and the slow development of complexity calculus and geometries presents strong evidence supported by existing physics and math that the "fabric" of space time is indeed at least somewhat "plastic" and "malleable".

EDITOR's NOTE: Fasten your seatbelts, the Great Catfish is about to take you on a fast trip to edge of the unknown.   Honestly, we don't know where he gets this stuff.   

 When we compare interplanetary space exploration with the early European voyages of global exploration we note the common element of long duration of voyages, often years. In space, unless we can finally travel faster than light ("Warp Speed"), simple voyages within our own local spiral arm of our own galaxy could take centuries. So questions of space travel involve questions of time and that in turn always brings up the question of time travel and communications. As we live our lives strapped to our watches and schedules, with work and play events both scheduled at specific times, and our nations divided into synchronized time zones we experience time as "marching on". Late for work or school, that's usually personally costly. Trains, planes and ships rarely wait on anyone. "Time and tide wait on no man". But before it became a priority to run the railroads on time, time seemed much more localized and malleable to our ancestors as recently as the 18th century. Time is indeed more malleable than we commonly think. Let's take a detailed look at what is presently understood about the malleability of time.

 Is time travel and communication possible? As it turns out if you ask modern physicists that question it has to be broken down into component parts because the answer is not the same for each part. In a nut shell the component questions are: (1) Is communication across time possible? The short answer to that one is yes and in fact it happens quite a lot. (2) Is time travel into the past possible? While there is some theory that supports the possibility as a very rare occurrence, these are just theories and almost impossible to prove. Until the calculus of complexity is fully evolved the most probable answer is a simple no. (3) Is time travel into the future possible? This one gets a qualified "probably" from modern physics. 

 Is communication across time possible? The epiphany of the Iroquois: When the Iroquois first met the Jesuits writing and clocks were the most impressive "magic" that the Jesuits seemed to possess. The Iroquois being possessed of an advanced orally transmitted culture soon observed that the Jesuits could communicate in conversational detail across great distances and time by sending letters and other correspondence. The Iroquois immediately realized that writing , real writing of a live spoken language allowed people who possessed it the ability to send messages to the future and receive messages from the past. The Jesuits wanted the Iroquois to learn to read and write so that they could study the bible and the catechism. The Iroquois wanted to read and write for their own purposes so they valued this particular "gift" of the Jesuits. The Iroquois had learned to measure the passage of time in moon phases and other celestial observations. Their measurements were highly useful in terms of seasons down to about roughly a month. They could of course count days and had computed the approximate length of a year. They were known after contact with the Jesuits to sit for hours watching a clock. The Iroquois were quite aware that the clock measured with precision, more exacting than they had ever known, the passage of time. European and Asian cultures may have advanced far beyond American cultures in the development of writing and measurement of time but it was the Iroquois who excelled at the appreciation that these developments are demonstrations of the malleability of time.

    Have you ever seen a star in the night sky, written a letter , or read a book?  Then you have communicated across time. The light we see from the stars was emitted years, often centuries, even eons before we perceive it. While the star we see today might not even continue to exist the information it transmits is still valuable and available. We use these stars for celestial navigation, and now we study them in our search for planets. We can tell much through spectral analysis about their composition at the time the light was emitted. When we see the stars we are looking at the past. When they emitted the light and its inherent data the stars were projecting into the future. Every time you read an article, paper or book you receive a message from the past. Every time you write a letter, term paper, book, article for publication, post card, recipe, etc. you send a message into the future.

 In American and Italian labs light and micro waves have already been accelerated beyond light speed. Micro waves have been accelerated to 30 times the speed of light and light itself has been accelerated to 200 times the speed of light. Our work with the Helios Ruehls projects has put us in close contact with optical physicists who inform us that light is a packet and so called light speed is now understood to be simply an average of the speed of the packet, with some parts of the packet moving faster that others. Modern physics news flash; there have always been things in the universe, of note presently; elements within the light packet itself that move faster than "light speed" which in fact is an average. Now just because we can move subatomic particles faster than light doesn't mean we can move machines and people, we again have to await the evolution of the calculus and geometries of complexity to know if we can ever practically do that. But we are probably very close to the ability to carry communications including the telemetry for robotic probes at speeds that will virtually eliminate the present time lags between Earth and Mars. Indeed, this future capability will allow us to operate within our spiral arm of the galaxy with telemetry time lags now observable in our control of our robotic probes on Mars and the outer planets of our solar system.  Time is indeed very malleable in terms of communication and becoming more so. Determining the ultimate extent awaits the evolution of the Calculus and Geometries of Complexity.

 So if communications with the past are possible, is time travel into the past possible?  Possible perhaps, but not probable. The major roadblock based on present physical knowledge is the second law of thermodynamics, specifically the the rule for entropy. The so called "disorder" in the universe which increasingly is being seen not as "disorder" but "complexity" is not describable in terms of Newtonian physics, the Theory of Relativity, or what is known so far of Quantum Mechanics; is presently termed "entropy". As the universe matures "entropy" is ever increasing. This is so observable on so many levels that it is presently expressed as a law of physics. However increasingly we are perceiving the spread of "entropy" as the growth of "complexity" over time. We have little in the way of non Euclidean geometries and complexity calculus to describe, predict, and articulate laws for this complexity. But the rule as presently perceived is that entropy increases. The problem with traveling backwards in time is that it would require entropy to decrease which violates the second law of thermodynamics, a "dogma" of present math/physics. However even today using only our humble already available calculus we can perceive, but not prove possible exceptions. There is the possibility made famous through the Star Trek series of the "worm hole". Worm Hole Theory arises out of the Theory of  General Relativity. General Relativity describes gravity not as a force but a manifestation of the curvature of space time. Under this theory matter bends space time around it sort of like a fabric. Theoretically, a very massive star which dies could warp space time around it creating a sort of matter ,light sucking whirl pool that we call a "black hole".  In theory, the black hole could be a connector between two regions of space time. The fact that we can mathematically predict such a possibility in no way means that its exists. For the foreseeable  future we know no way of testing the theory. Based on the best scientific reasoning to date we have to rate travel back in time as a very low probability that would require some very rare, and undiscovered, and with one exception as yet unimagined exceptions to the second law of thermodynamics.  This is probably a good thing in that it is mostly with travel into the past that the nightmares of science fiction relative to time travel are focused. What if you traveled into the past and accidentally killed your own grand father? Travel into the past is no doubt much more potentially problematic and dangerous for us, if we could do it, than travel into the future.

 Is time travel into the future possible? This one gets a qualified "probably" from modern physics. Traveling into the future is possible in theory. When a subatomic particle goes really fast ( especially faster that the average of the light packet aka "light speed") time slows down for it. Consequently for a subatomic particle traveling near light speed ( and we now know that can be exceeded) what was one second for something traveling at even the best rocket speeds today could be minutes for the particle. This has been well observed in the case of a subatomic particle called the "Muon". In the lab the Muon has been observed lasting beyond its normal "life expectancy" (time to decay)  consistently when accelerated to near light speed. In a very real way a high speed Muon lives longer and travels into the future. Time travel into the future doesn't require violation of any of the present laws of thermodynamics. Presently we'd have to rate it within the realm of possibility, Any practical utility seems a long a way off. There is also the question of the wisdom of traveling into the future. Based on the second law of thermodynamics it looks like a one way trip into the unknown.

 The bottom line my biped friends, is that time is clearly malleable which is good news for distant space travel in the future. There is growing evidence that the "fabric of space" is malleable also. But the "warp drive" you seek awaits the evolution of the calculus and geometries of complexity. So those of you who dream of being real space pioneers ...get thee into theoretical mathematics. The first toe in the door of complexity is Fractal Geometry as created by Benoit B. Mandelbrot. Don't just study his math, study his life.  Fractal Geometry, the first crack in the door of complexity is the product of a maverick who did not fit the mould of the academic professional mathematician of his day. To push mankind forward into the distant universe you have to think outside the box of mathematics and physics as they presently exist. But when you get outside that box Mandelbrot indicates that you find your self in simply a far larger box that we call "complexity" and not long ago called "chaos". As big and complex as it is there are discernable rules becoming visible already. We only know at the moment a few of them. We must get into the "outer box'. However be forewarned, when we reach the sides of the bigger box that is "complexity" we might find it rests in an even bigger box that we may as well name now..."WONDER".      

American Admiralty Books Safety & Privacy Policies 


                


                                         



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SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books.


DID COLUMBUS CLEAR CUSTOMS?


 Most historians seem a bit perplexed at Columbus's persistent belief that he had reached the Orient. Many credit him with more than a typical share of stubbornness bordering on obsession. In the popular mind Columbus arrives in the Bahamas meets "Savages", encounters no riches associated with the Orient, and inexplicably persists in his belief that he has reached the Orient. But this was simply not the case.

 First as we learned in our description of the landing of Columbus as described in preceding pages he didn't find the "Indians" of his "San Salvador" to be "savages" at all, but "peasants". He fully expected to find peasants in Oriental society as he knew them in his own and the Oriental version was described in the account of the travels of Marco Polo with which he was familiar. Moreover these very first peasants displayed small items of gold. When Columbus met Guancanagari he found a society of perhaps some thirty thousand souls with significant organization. His description of his first sight of Guacanagari indicates the trappings and entourage that a European who had never visited the Orient might associate with a minor Royal of a rural part of an Oriental kingdom. With Guacanagari Columbus received more gold and some previously unknown spices, exactly what he anticipated finding in the Orient. But the ship wreck of the SANTA MARIAS forced an early return. Columbus was quite well aware that he had but sampled a very few of some offshore islands, that he had good reason to believe were off the Asian mainland. Historians agree that Columbus believed the circumference of the earth to be  less than we now know it is, plus he probably believed the land mass of Asia was much larger than what it is, and he had no real way of measuring longitude . When these facts are considered along with an unjaundiced view of exactly what Columbus saw on his first voyage it seems quite reasonable that he believed he had reached the Orient on his first voyage.

 His second and third voyages involved mostly establishing a base of operations on Hispaniola and a gold mining operation. His opportunities to explore freely were minimal. He eventually did visit the north coast of South America. He did come to understand that South America was a previously unknown continent far to the south of the Asian land mass. In more northerly latitudes he still expected to find what we now call China and Japan. On his fourth voyage he would actually reach the Caribbean coast of Central America and encounter coastal Mayans, What he would see could only further convince a European of his day that he had reached the Orient.

 The Mayan coast lands were long and Columbus must have suspected that he was coasting along a mainland. He could not know how narrow parts of that mainland were or the great Pacific Ocean, an ocean that his world dimensions had no room for, was beyond the distantly glimpsed mountains to the west. But what was of far more significance was that Columbus now encountered a coast with coast wise trading vessels the size of galleys that he was familiar with in his own Mediterranean world. He encountered a coast with ports, some of which had breakwaters, officials, and signal beacons. The vessels were huge canoes with shelters amidships of tightly woven palm leaves. The canoes had large crews and significant weather protected cargo capacities. They were in the charge of well dressed merchants who often had their families along. These trading, coastal large canoes were engaged in regular and organized trade. The ports had official buildings of impressive size made of stone and displayed a strange but advanced architecture. Columbus had come face to face with what could be described as the Mayan Merchant Marine.
 Columbus first encountered the Mayan coast wise traders in 1502 near what is now referred to as the Bay Islands of Honduras. In hi slog he noted:


   "There arrived a canoe full of Indians , as long as a galley and eight feet wide. It was loaded with merchandise from the west, almost certainly from the land of Yucatan"

 Columbus described a thatched palm shelter midships in the craft sheltering women and children as well as merchandise from both rain and sea. The women and children seemed to be family of the presiding merchants. The crew consisted of nearly twenty five men. Trade goods consisted of high quality cotton cloth of intricate design and many colors, flint bladed tools and weapons, swords carved of very hard wood and a variety of food items. This first encounter was not untypical of a variety of craft that Columbus would observe on his fourth voyage, in fact this particular canoe was a bit on the modest size. Some historical accounts describe Mayan vessels capable of carrying forty to fifty people plus large amounts of trade goods. Most Mayan traders followed the coast line using natural features, shrines and towers as short range aids to navigation. However some Mayan navigators ventured offshore. The Mayans had reached and colonized such offshore islands as Cozumel, the Belize Cays and Bay Islands by 600 to 900 AD.

 As the Mayan culture evolved some seaside villages developed into real ports of call and trading centers. One such example was the town of Cerros on Chetumal Bay in what is now northern Belize. This town was located at the confluence of the mouths of the New and Hondo rivers. The port connected the coastal and offshore island trade with the inland regions of the Mayan empire reachable by the two rivers. The Mayan maritime trade made use of many natural harbors but also made artificial improvements where needed. On the northern coast of Yucatan on the island of Cerritos the ruins of docks, piers, and a 1,000 foot seawall can be found. The maritime trade infrastructure of the Maya spread across the whole coastline of Mexico to what is now called Panama and extended inland at every navigable river. Between 900 and 1520 AD this Meso American maritime trade flourished and became sort of international in scope involving not only the seafaring Mayans but also seafaring Aztecs and other peoples. By the time of first contact much of this trade had come to be controlled by wealthy nobles tied to each other through marriage and formal alliances and dominating the economies of these widely spaced coastal communities. This system collapsed shortly after the Spanish conquest and has been largely forgotten. But this was the system that Columbus saw on his fourth voyage. On that voyage he saw people of apparently Asiatic racial stock and of a high order of civilization engaged in an extensive and organized maritime trade from real port cities. Why would he think he was anywhere else but Asia?

Any review of primary sources of the early period of European contact with American natives reveals a "New World" populated by both tribal peoples  and what can only be described as "nation states". Columbus sailed into a World of inter tribal and "international" relationships and conflicts. He was first seen by the first officials he encountered as a powerful potential ally against a truly savage tribe harassing a more civilized tribe enjoying no advantage in weapons, tactics, or technology. Columbus and subsequent Spaniards enjoyed a narrow but critical advantage in weapons and transport technology. They were also possessed of a moral code that rendered parts of the preexisting order of the "New World" offensive. Instead of learning and fitting into the existing order the Spaniards would cite certain practices of the preexisting order as justification for conquest, made possible by their narrow technological advantages.  They also unwittingly aided and abetted in conquest by microorganisms. The collision between the old and new worlds at the subhuman level will be the subject of other discussions. The purpose of this discussion is to examine how one view of world order was totally eclipsed by another when two radically different cultures collided after years of separation by a vast previously uncrossable ocean.

 Columbus and those who followed in his wake entered a world of alliances, conflicts, trade, communications, and some long established rules of order. The Europeans would exhibit no consideration of any of the established rules of order, would exploit conflicts and alliances to their advantage, and manipulate trade to their advantage at every opportunity. In the process the Europeans would struggle with each other and eventually evolve a highly organized body of international law.

 As we push out into space, particularly space beyond our own solar system we may be entering a realm where a preexisting legal order may be operative, or operative in certain regions only, or non existent. we may bring important legal ideas to the forum, or our ideas may be viewed as valueless as the Europeans viewed the preexisting order of the Indian nations. For all we know our undisturbed evolution to date may be the result of an existing interplanetary legal order. Before we launch into space beyond our solar system we need to consider the possibilities of interplanetary law. We will probably have to guess at it , but our own experience in the evolution of international law, particularly maritime international law should give us some valuable insights. Unlike the Europeans during the age of exploration we had better not assume we enter the region with any superior codes or the ability or any moral right to impose such. A review of our own maritime international law  could provide us with some insights into any preexisting interplanetary order.



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SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


THE MARITIME WORLD MAY HAVE SOMETHING TO TEACH US ABOUT INTERSTELLAR LAW, ASSUMING THERE IS SUCH A THING.

 When Columbus started on his voyage the Atlantic was an unknown sea. Sea trade had been conducted on a regular basis around the Mediterranean and along the Atlantic coast of Europe for thousands of years .  Protocols for the entry and clearance of merchant vessels were well developed in Europe. There was a growing uniformity in national laws concerning the rights and duties of ship owners, crews, and cargo owners. There was a growing distinction between navies and the Merchant Marine. Diplomatic officers were being standardized and the rules for their exchange and posting codified. While nations often resorted to war, they also often resorted to arbitration , often through the offices of the Papacy.  When Columbus left on his first voyage of discovery the law of nations was already well developed in Europe.  When he landed in the New World there was also an existing order in many places that often included resort to war, but generally provided for orderly inter-tribal and even international trade and discourse as we saw in our review of the Mayan coastal trade system.  Despite the general familiarity with the concept of international law that was common to European Merchant Marine Officers of the day there seemed to be no  awareness of the "Indian " order whether we examine Columbus on the Mayan coast, or Vasco de Gama in East Africa, or much later James Cook in the far Pacific. If there was no awareness there was no apparent intent to try and fit in or gently influence any existing system in new directions. With a narrow but critical technological advantage, the Europeans from the very start, began to impose their own system upon the Americas and elsewhere in the world beyond the Muslim borders that they once thought of as "India". As we push out into space beyond our solar system we may encounter and run afoul of a pre-existing order. We are unlikely to enjoy the technological advantage over any group that imposed an interstellar order. However there is also  the possibility that we may encounter a culture with as great a gap in technological development in our favor as that between Columbus and the Tianos or Maya. Will we act like the Spaniards in the New World? What if such a group was already under the protection of some interstellar power? Could we in fact be under such protection now.

 Lets consider the evidence for alien contact on our own planet. UFOs have been the subject of investigation for decades. There is ample anecdotal evidence and even some physical evidence in the form of photos of craft of unexplained origin in our skies. There is the abduction phenomenon and thoroughly investigated instances of contact with nonhuman intelligent beings resulting in findings that "something happened" but the investigators never seem to be able to say exactly what. If we are being visited it seems clear that no one is attempting to make official first contact, in fact the evidence tends to indicate that while we may be being studied, official contact is being avoided. If some of the stories of contact are true some of our visitors display an attitude towards us that is not unlike that displayed by Columbus toward the first "peasants" he encountered in the New World.

 If some of the popular stories are true, aliens have taken people into temporary custody and subjected them to invasive medical procedures. Yet the alleged victims of these encounters always seem to be returned. So far as we know no one has been hauled off to an interstellar equivalent of the Madrid slave market, which by the way was the ultimate fate of the first friend of Columbus in the New World, Guacanagari.  We have found no permanent bases of alien activity on our planet or anywhere in our solar system. Could we be under the protection of some interstellar rule of law that protects technologically inferior cultures? If so can we rely on anyone tutoring us on the specifics  of the code before we push off into interstellar space? This would seem unlikely. But a close examination of our own maritime international law may give us a general outline of what we might safely assume to be interstellar good manners and a guide to staying out of trouble until any pre-existing interstellar order is revealed.

The battle over the open versus the closed seas likely parallels any existing order in space. One of the first precepts of maritime international law is that the sea beyond territorial waters is a common highway open to all on "innocent passage".  Where territorial waters enclose or infringe on international straits and passages linking the seas, an international servitude exists, giving ships of all nations a right of innocent passage. Adjacent coastal states also have various exclusive rights by way of the Outer Continental Shelf Convention and the most recent "Law of the Sea Convention"to regulate certain fisheries and exploit bottom resources, especially mineral resources out to about 200 miles from shore varying a bit with circumstances. But beyond 12 miles from shore all ships have the right of innocent passage. Beyond the various Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) the sea surface, the water column, and the bottom and subsurface bottom are legally in the international "commons". This concept of "freedom of the seas" was not adopted automatically and is still fought by some nations today. Wars were fought over the issue and may be fought again. However the logic of freedom of the seas seems settled and irrefutable. The commerce between nations is carried on the seas. Without freedom of the seas the global economy is impossible to maintain. The vast seas which once separated cultures now unite them. It is likely that the same logic was long ago applied in space if older space faring cultures exists, especially if there are numbers of them. The likely first rule of space is that it is regarded as a common highway open to all.

 The Second likely rule of space is similar to the modern maritime concept of the Exclusive economic Zone and some ancient Polynesian concepts concerning uninhabited islands. Many , if not most of the islands of Polynesia are simply too small, too low lying, or lack sources of fresh water and were labeled by the European explorers as "uninhabited". But in fact these out lying islands with no permanent human inhabitants were in fact owned, tended,and  were important food sources for Polynesian societies living sometimes several days sail away on larger fresh water endowed islands. The people of the larger permanently inhabited islands would visit the out lying islands to harvest coconuts, fish including tending saltwater ponds created as a form of aquaculture, and plant, tend, and harvest other crops. The truth was that the larger islands could not support their human populations without these additional crop lands and fishing grounds. One of the reasons we will push out into our solar system is that our ever expanding population on this planet needs the additional resources. So a probable second rule of any interstellar legal regime is that in any planetary system with intelligent life on any one planet, the inhabitants of that planet have the exclusive legal right to develop economically the out lying uninhabited planets. Apparently, if we give credence to astronaut reported UFO sightings, the right of innocent passage for all space faring civilizations remains. 

 A third probably sure bet is that in approaching anything like the port towns that Columbus saw on the Mayan coast, there will be a regular routine and procedures for formal entry with due notice to the authorities. If we ever find anything looking remotely like a space port we'd better hang well back and attempt to establish contact before attempting to enter or even draw close..  


To be continued
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SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


WHEN WORLDS GREAT AND SMALL COLLIDE

 Extinctions of species as well as societies, and the spread of disease as well as of useful plants and animals occurred when the Old and New Worlds met. Parallels could occur in space exploration. We need to examine existing protocols and past protocols from the moon missions and how well they worked. Such an examination suggests that much work is needed in this area before our first encounter with extraterrestrial life. South America exported the potato to Ireland which some think was a mixed blessing at best. Europe received corn from the Americas but to this day utilizes it mostly as animal feed. Unlike Americans of European descent today's Europeans have yet to raise or purchase the "sweet" varieties of corn that Americans consume without first passing it through a bovine digestive system for conversion to beef.  Europeans reintroduced the horse to the Americas and while mounted on them drove a number of native civilizations to extinction. Microbes were exchanged some beneficial like those needed in the processing of yogurt and wine, others like small pox, the natives would have been pleased to have avoided. This entire two way traffic in living stuff we call "the "Colombian Exchange" and it is still ongoing. As we discuss the pros and cons of such exchanges and the needed protocols to control and mitigate the undesirable changes we will simply refer to any such exchange whether between the Americas and Europe, or Asia or Earth and outer space or other planets as a "Colombian Exchange". We aren't the first to coin that term, perhaps we are the first to use it as a generic term for similar events past and future. If you wish to read deeper into the subject than our brief treatment allows we suggest:



                                 




                

 Whenever two populations of organisms that have been in isolation meet there is an exchange of micro organisms right down to the *viral level where scientists aren't too sure they are actually looking at an "organism".(See SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN  Are Viruses Alive? http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife/yellowstone/viruslive.html ).   Small pox did more to conquer the Central American civilizations than Toledo steel swords and smooth bore musketry. When visible worlds collide small worlds collide as well, the tiny worlds of virus, bacteria, protozoa and whatever else that we haven't discovered as yet that might be out there.  The whatever else is particularly unsettling when we consider some of the unusual ideas of Sir Fred Doyle, Chandra Wickramasingle and others who propose that on extremely rare occasions genetic material not of this earth reaches here. While this is not a mainstream scientific idea, there is some serious science in their arguments and most of the main stream scientific community falls a little short calling the idea impossible. So lets consider just for a minute that Doyle might be right. Lets consider that in the light of the loss of Gus Grissom's first space capsule in the Atlantic Ocean. To this day we don't know why upon return to earth the hatch of the capsule blew open and almost drowned Grissom, allowed the capsule to fill with sea water, and sink to the bottom of the ocean, the cradle of life on this planet. Like Doyle's critics we don't think there was a serious chance that the exterior surface of the capsule would have picked up a virus like "organism" and that it would have survived the fiery entry of the capsule, but suppose the such a capsule had samples of Mars soil on board? Why was all of the post landing inquiry focused of what exactly happened to cause the door to malfunction vice how do we assure that in a landing gone wrong stuff that could be harboring extraterrestrial life does not come into contact with environment?

 During the Apollo era astronauts returning from the Moon were kept in isolation as a precaution against their carrying virus like pathogens from the surface of the moon. The length of time of their isolation was based loosely on known incubation periods for known pathogens on earth. It doesn't look like anyone asked if non earth evolved pathogens might have a longer incubation period. Moon soil samples likewise didn't seem subjected to any really out of the box sanitation measures. Despite recent discoveries here on earth of life forms at the bottom of the sea in sulphur vents, and hot springs that don't seem to be subject to the environmental conditions once thought essential to any type of life , we haven't seen a broad spectrum isolation protocol come out of NASA with our recent robotic probes of Mars. When we do return a soil sample what will be our sanitary protocol?

 We don't have to meet ET to be exposed to really deadly pathogens. In fact it is far more likely that the first life we encounter out there will be microscopic. If some Buzz Lightyear of the future gets eaten on an alien world by an extraterrestrial version of a T-Rex we're out one astronaut. If an astronaut brings back an alien virus for which we have no resistance or cure, it could be the end of all life on earth. But then again microbes aren't the only hazard. Ever seen parts of Mississippi over run by Kudzu? The Kudzu vines looks vaguely like a creeping ivy. Its not native to the U.S. Deep south, but it sure likes it. This at first seemingly harmless  item of exchange in the Colombian Exchange didn't hitch hike here on some banana boat. We brought it here for the hoped for beneficial effect of erosion control in areas of very sandy soil and heavy rain. Road cuts in parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia were eroding faster that nature could heal them and it was thought the fast growing Kudzu could put a stop to it. Well the Kudzu liked the Deep South just fine and not only covered the road cut scar but continued right up into the pine forests clear to the top of the trees and then spread a canopy from tree to tree until, almost before anyone noticed it,  a hundred acre forest could be smothered , cut off from light and killed. But the emerald green  Kudzu looked happy draped across trees dead or alive. If we find a plant out there are we going to bring it back? You can bet on it. Do we have sufficient protocols in place to insure it stays in isolation and never gets out into Earth's natural environment? We're not so sure on that.

                                                                         

 Ask your self this. Is that image pictured above supposedly an artist's approximation of an alien "face" as described by many "witnesses" so often it has almost become our standard image of a space alien actually a face or could it be a bio barrier mask. Are those big eyes with no pupils or dark protective lenses? How could any creature breath through nostrils that tiny or get enough to feed an energetic biped over five feet tall through that tiny slit of a mouth? Might it be that what has been seen, assuming that anything has actually been seen, is the air intake and exhaust of a bio hazard safety mask? Have you ever noticed in the descriptions of these beings there is never any mention of real clothing, nor of any sex organs or secondary sexual characteristics? Could it be that we are seeing something like a thin wet suit and mask designed to keep micron sized pathogens out of the suit and to keep the personal kooties of who ever is in there locked in? Wouldn't that be a nice courtesy. The Aztecs and Mayans would certainly have appreciated such thoughtfulness from the Spaniards. Maybe if we are being visited, our visitors are far more courteous and safety minded than the history of our last wave of first contact experiences.

 Another troubling parallel between our maritime experiences and our space experiences is the possibility that government protocols applicable to government run missions may not be nearly enough. We are already developing a space launch and flight industry. There are private satellite launch services operating already and private "space planes under development.  There is just about no doubt that by the time we are pushing manned flight beyond our solar system there will be a lot of non government commercial traffic in our solar system. When Columbus headed out for the unknown western Atlantic the Western World had about 5,000 years of maritime trade development behind it. There were international norms in the process of ship "entry" the process of a ship formally and peacefully entering a port to engage in trade, there was considerable international uniformity in the process of "Pratique", meaning the conditions that a ship was expected to adhere to once it was formally entered and granted official permission to hold communications with the shore.  Finally the process of "clearance" was very uniform through out the European Atlantic and Mediterranean world, that process where in a ship presents proofs that it adhered to the conditions of its pratique while in port and is cleared by the port authorities for its next destination. Despite the experience that European merchant captains had with such a system, they ignored the evidence that the Mayans had such a system and just barged right on in.

 Now more than 500 years later our own maritime practices of entry, pratique, and clearance are still adjusting especially in the way of ship sanitation. The lamprey and the zebra mussel have caused major changes in our rules about the ballast water discharge. Our sanitation measures failed us completely in the realm of rat guards, the Norwegian rat is now a universal pest. Despite our best efforts fire ants got off the boat at Mobile and are over running the American South. Centuries after the start of the Colombian Exchange and we are still struggling with the creation of regulations, regulatory agencies to try and slow the processes of exotic intrusion and native flora and fauna stress, and frequently our own economic distress. Maritime history is ripe with examples of those who deliberately side stepped the established safe guards and profited by increasing the stresses of the Colombian Exchange. We are heading out into space with an already evolving private transport industry without any development for the entry, pratique, or clearance of cargo carrying traffic.

 We have a remarkable lack of protocols for where we are going. Our maritime technologies and institutions had thousands of years of development before the European Recognisance and we still ended up eliminating entire civilizations, major human populations, hundreds of plant and animal species, and spread disease all over the globe. Yet the average world citizen today would vote for the continued globalization rather than to go back to the era when great civilizations went for centuries with little knowledge of each other. Going into space involves big risks and big rewards but our maritime experience points to the necessity to proceed with caution and to develop serious, detailed, protocols. If ET has been watching us as so many Ufologists suspect, his people have been watching us for a good thousand years or more. Yet there is no official contact. If they are real could it be they have learned through bitter experience to be very careful on first contact with any sort of life? We need to avoid doing anything rash.


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SPACE AS AN OCEAN


                                     

LESSONS FROM THE AGE OF EUROPEAN MARINE EXPLORATION FOR THE SPACE AGE.

 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


CONCLUSION

 We've now come to the end of the line of our excerpts from the book PROTOCOLS. This final excerpt which we present as a conclusion for the essays presented in this series is actually from the original book proposal and recounts what the entire series of essays is meant to convey.

 There are important lessons to be learned from the age of sail exploration that will be beneficial in the age of space exploration and now is the time to examine these lessons.

 Before the dawn of history mankind had migrated to the far corners of the earth , peopled all of the continents except Antarctica and peopled many of the oceanic islands. The migrations were the result of many individual and small group decisions and occurred over thousands of years. Tribes, nations, civilizations evolved in relative isolation separated by vast distances, especially vast oceans. By the time of the European Recognizance entire civilizations existed in relative to complete ignorance of each other. Then these civilizations collided when European explorers such as Columbus and Magellan appeared on scene. In about a century the world went from an age of tentative exploration to an age of colonial conquest and rule. During the age of exploration and the subsequent colonial conquest, entire civilizations, languages, religions, plant, and animal species were wiped out. Both conqueror and conquered became exposed to and died of previously unknown diseases.

 Today we have pushed off into space. Space travel at present, is too complex and expensive to anticipate any migratory process. However now at the very beginning of what will probably prove to be a very long era of exploration we have already received some most important information from such efforts as the Hubble telescope. Plain and simply here is  that news. Other planets circle other stars, some of these planets have atmospheres, and water is more common in the universe than previously thought. The second news item is that the new theoretical physics informs us that light speed may not be the absolute speed limit in the universe and that faster than light travel actually may be possible. So we are faced with the reality that it is more probable than not that other inhabitable real estate exists in the universe and that we will probably eventually develop the means to find it. But what or who might we find there? Now is the time to think about the protocols of space exploration so that our first encounter with other life be it a microbe, a plant, or an intelligent, self aware being will not turn out like the last time in our when worlds, long separated by a seemingly uncross-able ocean collided.

----------------------------------
 ADDITIONAL MATERIAL:

OCEAN SHIPPING HAS HAD NON VESSEL OWNING COMMON CARRIERS (NVOCC) FOR DECADES PERHAPS A CENTURY OR LONGER. 

THERE IS NOW A CRITICAL MASS OF PRIVATE SPACE LAUNCH SERVICES, GOVERNMENT SERVICES SEEKING COMMERCIAL PAY LOADS, AND AVAILABLE PAY LOADS TO SUPPORT AT LEAST ONE NVOCC FOR SPACE CARGO. 

                                                                
 The Capital needed to get started are basic living expenses, a phone, an excellent quality computer or two, some sales ability, research ability, and a willingness to study. What a NVOCC does in the world of ocean transportation is to present a "portal" to the world that operates for all practical purposes from the customer's view point as a "virtual" shipping line with departures to all points every day and at most any hour. In fact the NVOCC as the name implies owns no vessels but sells unsold cargo space on as many vessels operating under as many flags, and for as many lines as they can get into their system. The NVOCC tracks and sells available cargo space on both "liners" ( ships operating on regular schedules between set ports) and "Tramps" (ships whose port calls are determined by the available cargoes. The "inventory" of available cargo space and departure / arrival ports, dates and times would change daily. From the cargo owning shipper's experience  dealing with a NVOCC is little different from dealing with a liner service directly except that there is an infinitely wider choice of shipping ports departure / arrival times, and choices relative to freight rates. The shipper need not shop around but simply call the NVOCC, tell the agent what he has to ship, where he wants to ship it to, and when it has to be there. The NVOCC sales agent will tell the shipper what is available and the costs. Once the shipper has decided on the carrier represented by the NVOCC he simply proceeds to book the cargo through the NVOCC just as if he was dealing with the carrier directly.

 In the space launch business today it is doubtful that the launch services, especially the government launch services would allow that level of agency to a Non (Space)Vehicle Owning Common Carrier for space launch services. This is good and bad news for the would be space launch NVOCC entrepreneur. To the advantage of the entrepreneur there is no need to sign up a bunch of space launch services to an agency contract. The new NVOCC can simply open shop with the publicly available launch schedules of all of the available space launch services, and the publicly available cost estimates per payload weight unit, and the publicly available information for contact points for contracting a launch or a less than full capacity payload aboard a less than "full flight". The Space Shuttle when it was operating carried school experiments and similar private pay loads on a space available basis. For the newly minted space launch NVOCC the revenue source at this stage in history shifts from the transportation provider to the customer. The service rendered is providing the payload owner with information that would ordinarily require weeks of frustrating research.  Of course many of the most common pay load providers have existing regular relationships with a launch service. But every day more and more small academic and business entities are evolving things that will need a lift into space both complete satellite launches and small experiments needing transport to the International Space Station or similar destination. These numbers will continue to increase.  A space launch NVOCC is basically a web site business that has a potential to grow with the commercialization of space into a real agency model when the commercial launch services become sufficiently competitive. The first space tourism flights are already in the building and flight testing stages. The possibility of becoming the primary web site for space tourist information is there, as well as the probability of eventually becoming a direct ticket agent. Web sites can be supported not only by fee for service activities but also by advertising, and commissioned sales. You might notice that in our series on this subject a frequent advertisement run in conjunction is Amazon's TV service featuring a Star Trek theme. 

 The day is coming, perhaps less than a generation away when commercial space transportation services will be so competitive that the ocean traditional NVOCC business model as agent for the transportation providers will be viable. There is already a niche for the pay load payee / advertising supported model.  Who ever creates the best known and successful pay load payee / advertising supported model that lasts until the traditional transporter agent model or some hybrid organization becomes viable will be viewed as the "old reliable" firm. This will be an advantage in any space service business. Here is another visible similarity between ocean transport and space transport people. While both have certain "pioneering" and daring aspects of character, both populations have a particular "conservative bias. This is especially visible in engineering. Both mariners and astronauts prefer their mechanical engineering to be well tested, filled with redundant, fail safe, and back up systems. They like well tested abandonment and survival systems and damage control systems and they like to have these provided by "tried and true" vendors and contractors.

 In maritime law there is little mention of "marine business" or "commerce", often in the case law and older statutes maritime voyages and even businesses are written of as "maritime adventures".  The stock owners in the corporations that engage in these "maritime adventures" are often referred to in admiralty law as "backers of the maritime adventure". There is no doubt that space voyaging and ocean voyaging are risky businesses, people with an adventurous spirit are attracted to the games, but these are far from reckless people. When it comes down to purchasing goods and services for the voyage they exhibit a very conservative streak. They like to deal with other "pioneers' with an established record of success. That's why its already time for the first of the space launch NVOCCs to emerge. The best one still standing in twenty years will be the preferred "old line" firm for the next level of development coming in the space launch business. 

 If we were young people today looking at and interested in space business we'd be looking at space based services provision since for the up coming generation astronaut positions will still be scarce as hen teeth. Where would be the best place to seek a post secondary education for such a career? We recommend one of the Merchant Marine Academies that offer a business major. The more you know about ocean transport business the more directly applicable parallels you will have available in your mental make up for what is coming in the commercial exploitation of space. When you graduate commercial space jobs may be relatively rare, but America and most nations are full of steam ship agencies, freight forwarders, NVOCCs, maritime insurance companies, etc. This gives the new maritime academy graduate a viable parallel job market while awaiting more growth in the commercial space sector, and a fall back market if early opportunities in the commercial space sector bounce the graduate back into the job market. 






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THE BLUE HORIZON

Publisher's Book Description:

 "IBeyond the Blue Horizon, bestselling science historian Brian Fagan tackles his richest topic yet: the enduring mystery of the oceans, the planet's most forbidding terrain.This is not a tale of Columbus or Hudson, but of much earlier mariners. From the moment when ancient Polynesians first dared to sail beyond the horizon, Fagan vividly explains how our mastery of the oceans has changed history, even before history was written. Beyond the Blue Horizon delves into the very beginnings of humanity's long and intimate relationship with the sea. It willl enthrall readers who enjoyed Longitude, Simon Winchester's Atlantic, or in its scope and its insightful linking of technology and culture, Guns, Germs, and Steel. What drove humans to risk their lives on open water? How did early sailors unlock the secrets of winds, tides, and the stars they steered by? What were the earliest ocean crossings like? With compelling detail, Brian Fagan reveals how seafaring evolved so that the vast realms of the sea gods were transformed from barriers into highways that hummed with commerce. Indeed, for most of human history, oceans have been the most vital connectors of far-flung societies. From bamboo rafts in the Java Sea to the caravels of the Age of Discovery, from Easter Island to Crete, Brian Fagan crafts a captivating narrative of humanity's urge to seek out distant shores, of the daring men and women who did so, and of the mark they have left on civilization." Suggested by Long Boat Company members. 

AAB EDITOR'S NOTE: In our various posts and E book on going efforts under the various titles that started with "SPACE AS AN OCEAN we have often noted the differences between "explorations" as government sponsored in whole or in part expeditions and "migrations", individual and group decisions to strike out and find new territory. We noted that all of the continents and most of the inhabitable islands of the ocean were populated by 1492 when Europe was engaged in the great age of ocean exploration. Certainly there were ocean crossings and deep ocean voyaging long before Columbus, Magellan, et al. Given the fact that it took government sponsored programs to solve the navigation problems of the era of European exploration one has to wonder how ancient peoples made the incredible voyages that it took to populate the Earth. This book explores that question with a mix of new archaeological, historical information and highly informed speculation. For us, as we explore the subject of space as an ocean, the book provides a lot of detail on the parallel ocean migrations and our suspicion that a space migration will follow our present age of exploration, perhaps much sooner than we originally thought. The mariners of unrecorded history relied on primitive wooden boats and simple technologies, and intuitive navigation systems. The coming  space migration shows every sign now, as we move very rapidly into the commercial space transport efforts, that the enterprising are rapidly adapting the cheaper and less expensive technologies to commercial use. The enterprising are already supplementing governmental efforts in space and thinking up adventurous space enterprises that don't coincide or depend on government effort.  Tools used in the 1400s through the 1700s such as the chronometer often spent a period of time as government secrets before finding their way into commercial use. Despite being equipped at the trailing edge of navigational technology merchant mariners often forged out ahead of naval forces establishing colonies and trading posts. The more we understand about sea migration vice government sponsored or partnered exploration, the more we find parallels with evolving space faring that could be of predictive utility. We've read this book and join the Long Boat Company in recommending it , for a very broad audience, including the non maritime audience interested in space travel and transport.



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