Aye, it be that day yet again! “R” ye ready, matey? It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Shiver me timbers, t’was just a league ago t’was the day but a year ago! T’were Captains Baur and Summers what created the day back in 1995 when Captain Summer set his sails on September 19th, his Wench’s birthday. So blow the man down t’is the day to annoy ye mess mates and fish fodders with ye best rendition of being a pirate!
How to celebrate – Talk like a pirate today. Go sailing. Be the Captain of your own ship.
If you think about it, man has been trying to capture the wind since… well… since the beginning of time. We use it for electricity, sailing ships, gliders, kites, and sometimes, just to enjoy those ocean breezes that both warm us and keep us cool. Over the years we have learned to use the wind, but we have never actually learned to control it. I doubt we ever will. It has a life of its own to some degree. We can channel it, move it, and increase it but it still has it’s own spirit. And I think that is good! In the end, it reminds us that we are not the end all and that somethings still control us even when we think we control them.
How to celebrate – Do some sport that involves the use of wind. Go sailing. Create your own power plant with a wind turbine.
Where is your compass when you need it!?! I don’t know about you but whenever I go on a boat I make sure I take one with me. But that’s not what today is all about, it’s about being marooned without a compass. If that happens, you need to look for obvious things that let you know what direction is what.
There are simple ways to know where you are. The sun rises in the east, sets in the west so you can use that. You can also set your way by finding the North Star in the night sky and set your way by that. You can look at the moss growing on the trees, seeing which way your shadow falls and using something that casts a shadow as a sort of sundial.
However this brings up a totally different point. You are marooned. Do you really need to know what direction east of west is anyway? I mean, where are you even going if you have a compass? You may know which side of the island is the east coast or the west coast but does that really matter?
And then, maybe you don’t want to get rescued! There can be good reason for staying where you are forever! So in short, if you are marooned without a compass I think this may be the least of your troubles. After all, what good can a compass do you if you don’t know where you are in the first place!?!
How to celebrate – make sure you carry a compass with you. Give a compass as a gift. Just don’t get on a boat today.
Since the beginning of time, man has tried to harness the wind to bend it to his will and make it work for him. He made it turn large blades attached to giant wheels made of stone to grind wheat and oats and corn to make meal for bread and a base for many foods.
Man figured out how to make the wind propel ships through water to move them faster than man could row, and with much less effort. The more sails the ship could hold the more wind it could capture and the faster the ship could go. Of course, when there was no wind, or very little wind, these ships floated calmly in the water. When storms would hit, ships could be blown off course by thousands of miles.
But man always looked at the wind as a way to fly. He built model gliders to watch how they would respond to different winds in the hopes he could learn to control the flight. A few of the models worked for short distances, but it wasn’t until powered flight became available that the controls to make a glider work came along. While you could catch the wind, get the lift, and fly, you could not control where you were going, or whether you might suddenly plunge to the ground in mid-flight.
During World War 2, gliders were used by nearly every army. The ability to fly more troops and equipment on course rather than haphazardly by parachute. Parachutes could easily be caught by the same wind the gliders used but the trooper could not control where he landed, the gliders could. Often the flights ended in tragedy but when they worked, they massed forces behind enemy lines in a way no other means could provide.
Today we have learned how to harness those winds for sport. Building mini-gliders that can be operated by a single flier.
And the windmills that ground grain back in the day now produce electric power all over the world. The wind indeed offers a great potential for all mankind and it’s just there for the taking.
How to celebrate – Come up with as many things as you can about how the wind affects our lives. Try paragliding for yourself. Find out what percentage of the power supplied to your town is powered by windmills.