Friday, November 29, 2019

Evanston: Chernobyl; paperless; rain

I first learned of Chernobyl when I saw the name in the headlines of a newspaper as I was walking through a subway station in Sydney, Australia.  Like almost everyone else at the time I had no understanding of the magnitude of the disaster.

For the past several days I have been immersed in Chernobyl.  

Carol watched the HBO series on business flights to San Francisco and back, and among the NY TIMES ten best books of the year is MIDNIGHT AT CHERNOBYL by Adam Higginbotham.  I bought the HBO series from iTunes and a Kindle edition of the book from Amazon and have watched and read, completing both yesterday.

Both series and book are excellent and compliment one another.  Both re-enforce my long held distrust of authority figures.  Both reveal the heroic—and I use the word sparingly—self-sacrifices of some and the deceitful self-serving egos of others.  Both reveal that the disaster could have been much, much worse and almost was.

Most television is like most political leaders beneath contempt.  If you live or die by appealing to the greatest possible audience your content must be stupid.  Rarely television achieves greatness.  The final words of the final episode of the HBO series about truth and lies are great.

I highly recommend both the HBO series, CHERNOBYL, and Higginbotham’s book, MIDNIGHT AT CHERNOBYL. 

I thank Carlos for a link to an article about NOAA’s plan to stop producing paper charts.

I am sure there will be ‘traditionalists’ who will complain.  As you know I will not be among them.  I don’t even recall when I last used or owned a paper chart.  You can download all NOAA charts for American waters for free directly into iNavX.  I prefer Navionics charts which cost $20 for all American waters, less than the price of a single paper chart.

Electronic charts are subject to a zoom complication.  Many hazards do not appear at all zoom levels.  This is known.  Any competent navigator will study his intended route in close detail before setting course.  Paper charts are the equivalent of cotton sails.  RIP.

I read that San Diego had its wettest Thanksgiving ever yesterday.  More than an inch of rain in the city.  Two or three inches to the north and inland and several inches of snow on Mt. Palomar.   Julian had over an inch of snow.  A few perhaps foolish drivers had to be rescued from vehicles trapped by floods.

San Diego gets a few winter storms, but in my memory they mostly occurred after January 1.  A storm last week.  A storm this week.  And the seven day forecast shows another due next week.  The sky is indeed falling.