Tuesday, August 27, 2013

NIMBY: Opponents of LG headquarters on Palisades to continue fight in apellette court | NJ.com


Opponents of LG headquarters on Palisades to continue fight in appellate court | NJ.com:

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS — Scenic Hudson and the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs plan to continue fighting a plan to build a 143-foot building above the Palisades.
The groups said Tuesday they would file an appeal to a judge's decision to uphold variances allowing LG Electronics to build a new headquarters on Sylvan Avenue.
The appeal says the Englewood Cliffs Zoning Board of Adjustment didn't have the authority to allow LG to exceed the town's 35-foot height limit.
Scenic Hudson and the State Federation of Women's Clubs are part of the Protect the Palisades Coalition, a group of organizations and individuals opposed to LG's plans. The coalition believes the building, which would rise 80 feet above the tree line, would mar the view of the Palisades.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Mortal Sea - Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail

The Mortal Seal
The Mortal Sea
by W. Jeffrey Bolster
Harvard University Press (2012)

The Tragedy of the Commons has been the dominant metaphor to depict the decline of the fisheries since Garrett Hardin’s classic 1968 article in Science magazine.  Hardin observes, for example, that “[t]he rational man finds that his share of the cost of the wastes he discharges into the commons is less than the cost of purifying his wastes before releasing them. Since this is true for everyone, we are locked into a system of `fouling our own nest’, so long as we behave only as independent, rational, free-enterprise” actors.  Hardin's metaphor of ineluctable catastrophe invokes moral deficiency to reject the invisible hand as a solution to the problem of scarcity, and a reason to decline to celebrate with abandon the contractarian libertarian vision.  Others like Yale legal historian Robert Ellickson in Order Without Law have observed that `neighbors’ could settle disputes by practices that create order without law - thus establishing law.  But such social groupings were incapable of ruling the seas, or even the rivers that lead to it.

W. Jeffrey Bolster in The Mortal Sea - the Bancroft Prize-winning history of `Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail’ has a different fish tale.  Rather than self-consciously self-destructive pursuit of self interest relentlessly depleting the resource, the former sea captain turned historian Bolster scours the historical record and finds that law has from the first been deployed to protect the resource.  Rather than fishermen being swept along in the tide of individual interest, he finds that those who counted the catch were the most alert and first to sound the alarm as he discussed recently with Tom Ashbrook at NPR's On Point.

Overfishing (an anachronistic term) drove Europeans off their own shores to the western Atlantic grounds.  In the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1597 the veteran sea captain Charles Leigh reported “In little more than one hour we caught  with four hooks two hundred and fifty” cod.  The Merrimack River running from Massachusetts Bay into New Hampshire was first known as the Salmon River.  The “egg rocks” of the Gulf of Maine were so named because of the easy pickings of eggs from huge colonies of seabirds.

But as the enormous original stocks waned - first in the rivers where anadromous fish like salmon, shad, and sturgeon spawned - the response was not helpless drift to disaster.  Rather river towns abandoned quickly the view that "every man may catch what he will”.  By 1673 the town of Newbury, Mass, settled as a plantation only forty years earlier, limited sturgeon fishing to those “able and fit persons” whom the General Court licensed.  This pattern of fishermen’s warnings and efforts to limit the destructiveness of catches persisted - often resisted by those who benefited from the catch.  The inexhaustible sea, and its regenerative powers were often cited by the resisters.  Others found a fundamental right to take from the commons.  Such ideological formulations demonstrate the contrast between the relative farsightedness of those who saw the catch as endangered, and those who sought to satisfy the public demand for seafood, for whom scientific uncertainty and thin databases provided a defense to the proto-regulators in the towns and legislatures.

Birdseye's original multiplate freezing machine froze food fast — the secret to maintaining fresh flavor
Clarence Birdseye's `fresh freezing' machine
The greatest challenge to the fishery came in the nineteenth century when long lines gave way to “otter trawls”.  Introduced by French fishermen, the new “draggers” swept large swaths of ocean, catching more fish in a depleting sea.  Bolton’s retelling is an elegant depiction of competing economic interests fighting over scarce resources.  Though men like Boston Mayor John Fitzgerald (the source of the ` F’ in JFK) fought to take the long view they were defeated.  The late nineteenth century ideology of open markets, the right to the commons, the skepticism of men of science like Thomas Huxley (who headed a British commission), and the sheer pressure of commerce led legislatures to do far too little to restrain the increasingly destructive gasoline-driven `draggers' that coarsely raked the sea.
Consumer demand for fresh fish was fueled by inventor-industrialist Clarence Birdseye’s refrigeration innovations which gave us the oxymoron “fresh frozen” and Mrs. Paul's cod cakes, as Mark Kurlansky recently chronicled.  These collective failures have  brought us a sea that is no longer an inexhaustible resource, but rather a depleted one in which we have killed most of the fish.  Gloucester, Massachusetts, home of the legendary schooners, can no longer be called a fishing town.   And casual sport fishers like me find ourselves asking do I want to be the man who caught the last cod on the cape named for the once plentiful fish?  - GWC

Professor Bolster discusses his book:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


From Roger Vaughn, Oxford, MD:I’ve tried hard to get behind the 2013 America’s Cup. I really have. I’ve been covering this event longer than I want to admit. I’ve written three books about it, including one about about Dennis Conner’s precedent-setting multihull defense in 1988, so I understand the nature of the multihull beast. I wrote the book (as yet unpublished) about Oracle’s dramatic, nail-biting victory in 100- foot multihulls in 2010, the match that led to using multis for 2013.Along the way I wrote scripts for the videos produced about the AC 45 World Series.Those events convinced me there really could be arresting match race competition in high-tech, winged multihulls. And I wrote the introduction to the striking new book about the 2013 Cup, Sailing on the Edge. I wrote in a positive way about it, relating how John Cox Stephens had a catamaran in 1820, and how his businessman’s smile would be broad as a Cheshire cat’s if he could watch the AC72s flying by.But it’s time to rethink. There have been 3 matches in the Louis Vuitton final and we have yet to see a race. Three matches, three breakdowns, and one frightening bow plunge by New Zealand that was a miracle of survival. Why that boat wasn’t totalled is a mystery. Three matches without one display of tactics by either boat. Three matches with no light sail handling. How can there be light sails when the apparent wind angle on the leeward legs is 25 degrees? Gone is the compelling ballet of billowing spinnakers, the sets, the jibes, the takedowns that are the lyrical melody of sailboat racing. All we’ve got is big, hugely expensive, overpowered, dangerous machines ripping at 40 knots and more, with crews wearing body armor suits and crash helmets with oxygen bottles and commando knives strapped to their bodies just in case….
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On A Rocky Maine Island, Puffins Are Making A Tenuous Comeback : NPR

Eastern Egg Rock, Muscongus Bay, Gulf of Maine
photo by Diane Schmidt
On A Maine Island, Puffins Make A Tenuous Comeback
On A Rocky Maine Island, Puffins Are Making A Tenuous Comeback : NPR:

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Winches for the weaker sex! from Lewmar

Lewmar - the manufacturer of winches for sailboats - has moved beyond its now comical advertising approach.

Marian McPartland, Jazz Pianist and NPR Radio Staple, Dies at 95 - NYTimes.com

My favorite was when she and her guest would do an impromptu, unrehearsed duet. - Marian McPartland, Jazz Pianist and NPR Radio Staple, Dies at 95 - NYTimes.com: "By PETER KEEPNEWS

Marian McPartland, the genteel Englishwoman who became a fixture of the American jazz scene as a pianist and, later in life, as the host of the internationally syndicated radio show “Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz,” died on Tuesday at her home in Port Washington, N.Y. She was 95."

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Seaworthy? Oracle's Ellison - We certainly never intended for people to be hurt CBS//Charlie Rose

America's Cup boats sailingI am not a curmudgeon about hydro-foiling ultra-expensive sailboats.  But I am a lawyer and person concerned about seaworthiness - an issue on which the organizers have failed, as I recently discussed here.  As you can see in this video Both Prada and Team NZ suffered major damage on the first race of the challenger series.  And Team NZ lost two crew overboard - and continued the race, leaving their two grinders to be picked up by the crash boats.  Below is Oracle team president Larry Ellison speaking with Charlie Rose - defending their effort.
Ellison says that an extreme sport should be risky with "the illusion of danger".  He acknowledges that they might go back to the "much safer" 45 footers.  But Andrew Simpson died on a not-yet-foiling 72 footer that capsized due to a structural failure.  There is legal liability there for the consequence of the structural failure.  But was the Artemis team's boat also unseaworthy due to unsportsmanlike behaviour by the race sponsors?
Seaworthiness in this context is synonymous with sportsmanship.  Racing has its origins in the seaman's paired priorities: to get to the fishing ground or port safely and quickly. The safety of the crew is vital to seaworthiness because the seaman's help is needed.  Ellison stated that principle clearly.  So there is no corruption at the heart of the effort.  But what about their decision?
When they adopted the AC 72 design rule the designers did not realize that the parameters permitted a lifting hydrofoil.  When the New Zealanders (of course) surprised them all with its foiling boat, all raced to redesign their boats to meet the competition.  But the effort crashed up against the race deadline. Experimental and unseaworthy boats were brought to the starting line of the championship.  Prototypes, not production models, one might say.  Seaworthiness is a strict liability concept.  Not fault but fitness for the voyage is being measured.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Seaworthiness: America's Cup first race debacle

Emirates/Team NZ reaching in the second LV Cup race
There really is no denying it: the first race of the Challenger finals for the right to try to take the Americas Cup was a debacle.  Sportsmanship demands  seaworthiness. For sailors, as for all seamen seaworthiness is the objective of racing, of seamanship, and of design.  The first race of the Challenger finals saw both New Zealand and the Italians suffer major damage.  Prada broke down moments after the start and withdrew.  Emirates/TNZ nose-dived, throwing two crewmen into the San Francisco Bay.  Rescue teams fetched them out, and the damaged boat finished, uncontested, and shorthanded.  A debacle.

Capsizes and equipment failure are an acceptable part of the sport, as every dinghy sailor will tell you.  What makes the AC different is that the equipment has failed so early.  Seaworthiness was defined by the great admiralty judge Learned hand as "ability for the service undertaken".  The T.J. Hooper, 60 F. 2d 737 (2d Cir. 1932)  By that measure these AC 72's should not be raced because they are "not fit for (their) intended purpose", as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals defines the term.
For independent thinking by a sailing master and photographer follow Stephen Lirakis.

Captain JP's log: Crossing to Greenland: ice and fog

Captain JP - crossing the Greenland Sound from Iceland.  Ice forced a change in course. 
Captain JP's log: Crossing to Greenland: ice and fog:

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Penobscot Bay and River Pilot disembarks Irving New England, then boards Penn 92 inbound

As we headed south from Allen Island, following the Monhegan boat route we spied an Irving supertanker, with a Penobscot Bay and River Pilots launch following alongside. We slowed and followed in the wake of the giant ship and the 40 foot pilot launch. We saw the pilot climb down the gangway and then the rope ladder of the giant tanker which was running in ballast, having delivered its cargo to he Port of Searsport. Then it turned south to deliver the PenBay and River pilot to the waiting Penn 92 pushed by Coho, inbound for the Searsport liquid cargo terminal. - GWC  (click pix to enlarge and for slideshow)

Cave dwelling

Each of us needs a room of one's own.
This is mine. 
(click pix to enlarge and for slideshow)
Wilbur Morse was the father of the Friendship sloop

Back River - Half Tide

Deer rest

Stones Point Plan of Partition

Public Records - Register of Deeds, Knox County, Maine

Saturday, August 17, 2013

‘The Mortal Sea’ | On Point with Tom Ashbrook

‘The Mortal Sea’ | On Point with Tom Ashbrook: "“The Mortal Sea.” A ship’s captain turned scholar tracks our impact on the oceans through time.

Rachel Carson, author of “Silent Spring,” was no mean observer of the natural world.  But on one huge front, she was wrong.  Mankind, she wrote in 1951, could never subdue and plunder the wide ocean as it had the lands of Earth.
Well, look around, says my guest today.  And look way back.  Even in the long age of sail, of little wooden boats and tall-masted ships, humans were leaving a deep imprint on the vast seas.  Hauling in catches so great they ate away at the sea’s capacity to renew and replenish.  It’s all utterly relevant now.
This hour, On Point:  the age of sail and the “mortal sea.”
-Tom Ashbrook


W. Jeffrey Bolster, author of “The Mortal Sea: Fishing The Atlantic In The Age Of Sail,” associate professor of history at the University of New Hampshire in Durham and a licensed shipmaster."
The Fog Warning, Winslow Homer, 1885

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Disembarking the Oleander = Sandy Hook Pilots

Sacha is a launch operator for Sandy Hook Pilots.  the yacht America was a Snady Hook Pilot Schooner.  Delivering a pilot and picking up are the most dramatic and dangerous.

Captain Jack - towing and salvage in Brooklyn waters

Captain Jack, as he is universally known at Gateway Marina in Sheepshead Bay, is a professional boat salvager and, along with his brother, Capt. Bernie Schachner, is a co-owner of White Cap Marine Towing and Salvage Inc. Summer is their busy season.
Capt'n Jack and h8s cue 
He waits for warm weather to lure New Yorkers seeking relief on yachts, motorboats, sailboats, kayaks and Jet Skis. Then he waits for them to get themselves in trouble.


Waiting for Indecision to fuel up at the Friendship Lobstermen's Co-Op
click on image to expand

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Moby Dog

James J. Muldoon paddles on the Back River, East Friendship, Maine
click to enlarge