Rich man, poor man. During my lifetime, I have been one or the other and rich is better. However, poor does have its advantages as long as you have enough to keep body and soul together. When one is poor, there are fewer choices to be made and deciding is easier. I no longer can afford to travel, but with a book and Google Earth, I can travel anywhere I want to go. I can visit places that I have been and places I wanted to go, but didn’t. I don’t have to remember how many homes I have, only two, and both are mortgaged. I employ no servants; I have no one to fire, and I need not worry about their immigration status. I own only two cars, one domestic and one Japanese. I miss having more choices, but I am enjoying my retirement, reading a lot, learning much I hope and devoting time to developing my web sites. I hope that you are enjoying them too. I am going to start another one devoted to travel in a week or two with the intention of eventually merging it with one that needs further work, www.parksandattractions.com
If Israel attacks Iran, we must evacuate our naval ships from the Persian Gulf before the Strait of Hormuz is blocked by damaged or sunken oil tankers. As you can see from the above closeup from Google Earth, the shipping lanes take a sharp corner that I believe must be navigated at a reduced speed for large ships. The shipping lanes are already very narrow due to the numerous islands and partially submerged rocks. We want to avoid a repeat of the Costa Concordia incident.
Once the Strait is closed, it will require weeks or months to clear the wreckage, especially under hostile conditions. During that time our ships will be targets for Iranian missiles and small boats. I believe that our naval aviation will easily defeat the Iranian air force, but their missiles and torpedoes will put our navy to a severe test. I don’t know how effective their defenses are; let us use 95% as an example. That means for every hundred Iranian missiles launched at US ships, 95 will be destroyed without damage to our ships and 5 will not, and will cause damage. Even if our effectiveness is 99%, one in one hundred missiles will reach its target.
Then imagine in a numbers game that Iranians launch hundreds of missiles at one time to overwhelm the US defenders. Can our ships survive that sort of attack? I don’t want to find out. The sinking or severe damage to an US nuclear aircraft carrier could cause more casualties than occurred on 9-11.
Whenever I see an unfamiliar origin, I like to investigate it on Google Earth. My wife recently purchased two 6-ounce packages of blueberries that were boxed in Chillan, Chile. Chillan is an attractive community south of Santiago, the Chilean capital. It is a good idea to purchase locally grown produce since it saves precious resources used in the transportation of food over long distances. We know this and try to practice it, but sometimes we fail to practice what we know is good for us and for the planet.
“Only in men’s imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as life. An imaginative and exact rendering of authentic memories may serve worthily that spirit of piety towards all things human which sanctions the conceptions of a writer of tales, and the emotions of the man reviewing his own experience.”
The most useful human learning tool is the question. Children naturally use it constantly at a certain age to query adults. Later in life students and adults learn by asking questions. The internet is the most recent invention that allows us to ask questions and get answers. For some of us, it has replaced books and libraries. One application on the internet that I find to be especially useful is Google Earth. Whenever I encounter a geographical term in my reading or elsewhere, I like to visit it on Google Earth. I have activated the “Photos” layer so that most inhabited places have dozens, if not hundreds, of pictures uploaded by private citizens. There are fewer pictures in places where the population is very poor or forbidden by their government to use the internet.
Some examples of my recent use. I am currently reading Ashenden by Somerset Maugham which takes place partially in Switzerland, which I have never visited in person. After viewing Lake Geneva and its environs on Google Earth, I feel more connected to the story.
Joseph Conrad began his maritime career in Marseille, France which is the principal setting for The Arrow of Gold. The Rover takes place mostly on a peninsula east of Marseille between Toulon and Hyeres. Several of Conrad’s stories take place among and between the many islands of Indonesia and the Philippines. All the information is more vivid and more easily retained if I am able to associate it with the information I can find using Google Earth