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Armen Ryabov
Armen Ryabov

How To Avoid Huge Ships

Most ABAP programmers are terrified of JavaScript or indeed any other programming language than ABAP. They are also scared of being run over by a huge ship. Can an SAP Press book on JavaScript help address this fear? PART TWO!

How to Avoid Huge Ships


Alert and precise, perceptive and measured, Julie Bruck's poems calibrate situations both grave and brave, serious and hilarious, whilst avoiding the 'large ships' of heavy-handed conclusion. Here are genuine smarts, mature talent, and a wide-angle vision. - Sharon Thesen

As the father of two teenagers, I found this book invaluable. I'm sure other parents here can empathize when I say I shudder at the thought of the increasing influence and presence of huge ships in the lives my children. I certainly remember the strain I caused so long ago for my own parents when I began experimenting with huge ships. The long inter-continental voyages that kept my mom and dad up all night with worry. Don't even get me started on the international protocols when transporting perishable cargo. To think, I was even younger than my kids are now! huge ships are everywhere and it doesn't help that the tv and movies make huge ships seem glamorous and cool. This book helped me really approach the subject of huge ships with my kids in an honest, open and non judgmental way. Because of the insights this book provided, I can sleep a little better and cope with the reality that I can't always be there to protect my kids from huge ships, especially as they become adults. I'm confident that my teens, when confronted by a huge ship, are much better prepared to make wiser decisions than I did. At the very least my children certainly know that they can always come to me if they have any concerns, questions or just need my support when it comes to the topic of huge ships.

This book really is one of the best huge ship avoidance references I've come across, not just for the effective methods it teaches as to avoiding huge ships, but also for exploding some of the huge ship avoidance myths that many of us take for granted.

For example:- Do not charge the huge ship at full speed in an attempt to scare it off. This may work with coyotes, but it is less effective with huge ships.- Similarly, do not roll your boat over and play dead. Unless the huge ship is captained by a grizzly bear, this will not work.- Do not attempt to go under the huge ship. This is typically not successful.- Do not attempt to jump over the huge ship.

Captain Trimmer presents a rather novel technique for avoiding huge ships - move your boat out of the path of the huge ship. I know what you're thinking, this goes against conventional wisdom, but Trimmer presents significant empirical evidence to support his theory. Indeed, over the long run, moving out of the way will dramatically decrease the number of huge ship collisions you will have to endure in your daily life.

Hang out at the coast to watch birds and you can't help but notice all the huge ships. Giant ships. Enormous ships bringing whims and necessities to our shores. And we send chemicals and goods manufactured in the US out to the world from the Port of Houston and surrounding areas.

And it is not as if I go there to photograph ships; most of the time I notice the ships when the birds are not doing anything interesting. Sometimes one will be so bright or fast or strange you can't pass up the opportunity to capture the moment.

The New Caledonia Maru is Japanese owned bulk container ship. And it is huge. I took three separate shots and stitched them together in Photoshop. Google tells us she is 190m long; that is just over 623 feet for those of us metrically-challenged.

Container ships are ubiquitous around the world. They carry stacks of truck/rail car sized containers of goods commonly called TEUs or twenty-foot equivalent units. The ship's size is limited by having sufficiently large main engines, and ports/terminals adequate to handle them. Plus, maximum widths of main waterways such as the Panama Canal, Suez Canal and the Singapore Straights.

If you are looking at the EXIF data for the shots, don't pay much attention. I usually look up from the birds and do ships with whatever settings I have. If it looks too dark or light I will adjust. So many of these are three or four shot panoramas and the more important factor is getting overlapping shots that can be stitched together.

Maersk ships are always a bright blue with that seven-point star on the top. The blue can look almost turquoise in certain light. This is the Maersk Catherine heading for the Port of Houston on Jan 3; she is a oil/chemical tanker. And looks rather beat up along the sides.

It was off and on cloudy that day at Texas City Dike with a huge amount of ship traffic. I don't know if the weather had caused them to stack up in the Gulf but there were huge ships everywhere you looked.

Even fancy cruise ships pass by. This is the Emerald Princess leaving from Bayport Terminal at Seabrook and headed to the Western Caribbean. There are three different cruise lines operating out of the Port of Houston, and another from Galveston. We saw a cruise ship in the channel late one evening, all sparkly and white in the moonlight.

This is what I mean by close... These big ships can operate with an astonishingly small crew; just a dozen or more. For a real eye-opener, check out Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry that Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car and Food on Your Plate.

Another panorama shot of a really big ship in the Freeport Harbor Channel from last March. This one is a oil/chemical tanker, the Diamond Orchid. Notice the warning on the bridge "Dangerous Cargo". She flies a Singapore flag and used to be called the Golden Orchid. I have no idea why these ships change names, but I see it often when I do Google searches.

Not all the ships I see are huge. This old shrimper was docked at Freeport, near that old paint store I love to photograph. The sign caught my eye first; it must be related to all that piping that crosses the deck.

And not all the ships are out to sea. This boat-shaped bait shop has a great marshy puddle in front where I have seen Green Herons and Yellow Crowned Night Herons. One of these days I am going to go inside.

Julie Bruck's fourth full-length book of poetry, How to Avoid Huge Ships, borrows its title from an out-of-print mariner's guide. While the connection appears tenuous at first, by the end of the collection, it becomes clear: both books are obsessed with the idea of avoiding the inevitable. In the original, the inevitable involves boating and related disasters, while Bruck's poems explore the human, the inevitability of loss and grief, in a distinctly compelling way. These poems unfold in a lyrical, narrative style, examining everything from aging parents to a young boy possibly committing suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge. The often melancholy tone pairs well with themes of memory and mortality, producing a kind of echo throughout the collection. In "Last Baby Girls of the 1920s," Bruck deftly recreates the lives of her mother's dear friends. She spans decades with sharp insights and precise images, such as "another who always wrapped her neck / in bright scarves as if maimed, though / she wasn't." Throughout, the poems are surprising--the moments appear to be small moments, small stories, but Bruck's generous observations make them more expansive. They both define and evoke these specific moments in memory.

Arriving in Venice at the road terminal of Piazzale Roma, I am struck by the towering hulks of several ocean-going cruise ships, moored at a port quayside that seems dilapidated and without proper services. Taking the ferry round the back brings me to the embarcadero known as Zattere, where I see police launches bobbing on the water.

Something is happening. A demonstration. A protest against those big cruise ships that plough their polluting way through the middle of the city, dwarfing its waterside houses and churches. Venice is built to a very human scale; it lies low on its waterline. These monstrosities are an insult to its humane values. And they reconfigure the delicate ecology of the Venice lagoon, bringing noise, smoke and pollution. Today their presence is particularly insulting because the authorities have licensed the passage of twelve of them past the cathedral of San Marco and the Grand Canal.

This June they organised a big national and international mobilisation. Activists launched inflatable rubber dinghies in a successful blockade of the cruise ships, to prevent them passing (1). In September, 50 protestors dived into the waters of the Giudecca canal, and blocked the passage of the ships for a while.

And the government (in place in September) now says it will act on the big cruise ships in Venice. The city is a Unesco world heritage site, and they feel the need to protect this common heritage. According to transport minister Maurizio Lupi, the government is fully agreed on the need to apply the Passera-Clini decree, with a ban on cruise ships passing through the Giudecca canal and the San Marco basin. No big ships.

Environmental groups have for years been asking that huge ships be banned from coming too close to the Tuscan archipelago, made up of the islands of Giglio, Montecristo, Pianosa, Elba, Capraia and Gorgona.

Now, plans for two more port facilities, on islands just down the coast from the current Prince Rupert complex, have perhaps gone too far. These are natural gas facilities, next to and literally on top of the Flora Bank, a primary feeding area for juvenile salmon. Project proponents stress that their design will avoid damaging the area, but they seem to be discounting the potentially devastating acoustic impact of the bringing huge ships this close to a sensitive habitat.

The hope is to establish baseline information to track noise levels and to identify noise levels from specific ships. The results could lead to simple mitigation measures such as hull and propeller cleaning, shore-based financial incentives, and information for regulatory agencies and for naval architects to build quieter ships.


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