Monday, December 2, 2019

Evanston: sunk ships; butterfly; noble words

In a NY TIMES article about the lives of Philippine crew men on commercial ships are three interesting statistics.  First that 90% of the world’s trade moves on ships.  Second, the 400,000 Philippine sailors comprise 25% of all the world’s 1.6 million commercial seamen.  Third, in the past ten years 1,036 ships have sunk.  

The last most surprises me.  I had no idea the number is so high.  That is slightly more than 100 ships each year or about one every three days.

I have written that our lives are as brief as a butterflies’ cough.  From MIDNIGHT IN CHERNOBYL comes another butterfly measurement.

Writing of the bomb detonated over Hiroshima:  The bomb itself was extremely inefficient:  just one kilogram of the uranium underwent fission, and only seven hundred milligrams of mass—the weight of a butterfly—was converted into energy.  But it was enough to obliterate an entire city in a fraction of a second.

I have now listened to Leonard Cohen’s posthumous album, THANKS FOR THE DANCE, several times with ever increasing appreciation of the songs and the manner of his death.  Despite suffering he continued to write extraordinary music to the end.

I particularly admire the final lines of The Goal:

No one to follow
And nothing to teach
Except that the goal
Falls short of the reach