” Part-time Daredevil “


This phrase cropped up in a report recently about robotic sailboats that count fish in the Bering Strait. I hope I have not typed any errors into that line, as it is not sort of thing that I write often…

Robotic sailboats counting fish is a very good idea – particularly if they can also be used to count really big fish. Really, really big fish, so that really big fish fishermen can know exactly where to find them when they need to. I have long suspected that this was exactly the sort of thing that the French Navy gave an ex-minesweeper to Jacques Cousteau for when he went all over the world. I’ll bet the French Navy wanted to find some big fish too…

The sailboats would be cheap things to make, notwithstanding the expensive computer controls and high-tech materials. They would be ever so much cheaper than, say, the GLOMAR EXPLORER fishing boat. And they would not need to have crews aboard them huddling over the stove and the coffee pot as they tacked back and forth in the Bering Strait’s icy winds…counting “fish”…*

This is apparently being done be a part-time daredevil at a computer screen somewhere in a hangar at Alameda Naval Air Station in California. I am wondering what the part- time daredevil does during the part of the day when he is not daring the devil. Possibly drinking coffee and eating doughnuts.

I’m also wondering why we are being told all this flap. It’s not as if these little picket sailboats are going to attract all that much attention here on land, and presumably the Russians, Chinese, and North Koreans know all about them anyway. Or maybe not – maybe it is a way of alerting the less-competent espionage divisions of their navies. Maybe it is a bait to get one of them to cruise out there with a tugboat and ” bump ” into the little red thing accidentally in the middle of the night and then haul it aboard. And then to detonate it, from a hangar at Alameda NAS.

Just a thought.

Press the button, Max…


  • And no crews aboard to be taken hostage.



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