Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cool People Profile: Gaspard Walter

Name: Gaspard Walter
Age: 29
Nationality: France
Profession: Novelist, Photographer
Employer: Studio Chine
Quote: "Il n’y a aucune drogue qui ne m’ait pas lassé, aucune substance que mon corps n’ait pas fini par accepter. L’alcool ne me fait plus tourner la tête, la coke se contente de me niquer les muqueuses. Les taz, la mescaline, le speed ont perdu presque tous leurs effets. Je les avale en quantité industrielle, pour jouir de quelques secondes d’un plaisir qui ne ressemble en rien à celui ressenti lors de mes premières prises. C’est l’accoutumance, le début de l’ennui. La violence, elle, ne change pas." Google Translate

Social Networking

Gaspard Walter is selected as this week's Cool Person Profile because he has never stopped living a life against convention. Like Christopher McCandless (as portrayed in the novel and film Into the Wild) and so many artists before him, he refuses to accept societal rules at face value. Never finishing high school, Gaspard dropped out to make films, which he did for several years. He then sailed for a few years on various boats before finishing his first novel, Snuff, at the age of 28. While working on the novel he became a PADI SCUBA diving instructor, which led him to Thailand, the Maldives, and Cancun Mexico for work. Now he is a professional photographer working for the Paris publisher Studio Chine. He longs to continue seeing the world through his own lens and filter, to write, to photograph, to video, and to lastly die a good death.

For never accepting mediocrity or conventional work regardless of how easy it may have been, and for being the kind of person who seems carefree but really is just braver than most and takes those heartfelt dreams to a tangible reality, Gaspard Walter is certainly a cool person!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cool People Profile: Dr. John Piña Craven

Name: Dr. John Piña Craven
Age: 86
Nationality: USA
Profession: Consultant, deposed King
Employer: Common Heritage Corporation
Quote: "The oceans are the biggest solar collector on Earth, and there's enough energy in them to supply a thousand times the world's needs. If you want to depend on nature, the oceans are the only energy source big enough to tap."

Social Networking
1. Old-fashioned meetings face-to-face and via email

2. Ocean Energy Prospectus

Dr. John P. Craven describes himself as a marine mammal and an ancient mariner. His interest in living as a marine mammal came when he was designated (in his words, "through a bureaucratic mistake") the Project Manager of SeaLab II and III, a project he took over from George Bond, Walter Mazzone, and Robert Barth, and aimed at designing an environment where humans could live and work submerged for months at ocean depths between 100 - 1000 feet.

He also considers himself to be living life in reverse since he was 50 years old because he says that by counting backwards if he reaches his 100th birthday, he'll be in diapers again. On his 79th birthday, his children gave him the choice of picking between two gifts, one celebrating 79 years old and the other celebrating 21 years old. He proudly declared he'd celebrate his 21st birthday. Upon opening the box he had a 6-pack of cheap beer. Curious about what he was given for his 79th birthday, but having to stand by his decision, he saw a bottle of 30 year old scotch, proving that there are often consequences to living by one's convictions.

Dr. Craven has worn many hats, so many in fact that he considers himself as a king deposed every seven years. He holds a BA from Cornell University, an MA from Caltech, a PhD from the University of Iowa, and a JD from The National Law Center of The George Washington University.

1. Dr. Craven served as an enlisted sailor in World War 2 on the Battleship USS New Mexico. In his words, the men in his family either became priests or sailors, so he chose to become a sailor, which spawned his lifelong love affair with the mistress of the sea.

2. Dr. Craven has had more than 40 years of experience innovating, developing, designing, constructing, and operationally deploying major oceanic systems. Some of the key projects he was involved with in this respect includes the development of modern nuclear submarines and swath ships. He was the Project Manager for the US Navy's Polaris Program, eventually becoming Chief Scientist. He was involved in "the hunt for the Red September" (a successful US search for a downed Soviet submarine that became dramatized in the story and film "The Hunt for the Red October"). Through pioneering Bayesian search techniques, he was also instrumental in the US Navy's search for a missing hydrogen bomb lost off Palomares, Spain in 1966 when a B-52 bomber crashed and he helped find the submarine Scorpion, lost off the Azores. The cover story for the program was the idea of "mining for manganese nodules" on the seabed, which Dr. Craven designed as a plausible cover while the US Navy searched for the Scorpion.

3. He was Marine Affiars Coordinator for the state of Hawaii and Dean of Marine Programs at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he founded the Marine Option Program, the first undergraduate marine-focused specialty at the University outside of the Oceanography program. He taught for a number of years the 2-semester course "Sea and Society" and helped encourage the formation of a Maritime Archaeology and History graduate certificate program (now defunct).

4. He was Director of the International Law of the Sea Institute and was the chief architect of the Exclusive Economic Zone delimitations now commonplace among all countries with coastlines.

5. He founded the Common Heritage Corporation to develop a technique of taking deep ocean water and piping it to the surface (called Ocean Thermal Exchange Conversion, or OTEC, technology) for agriculture (by piping underground in arid or hot climates, condensation forms on the cold water pipes, and allows agriculture where previously it was impossible through conventional techniques), sustainable electricity generation (through running a turbine driven on hot air and cold water exchange), and creating cheap air conditioning (by running cold water through a radiator before piping back to the ocean) and in the process creating fresh water from air condensation.

For never giving up and continuing to work for the betterment of human kind well into the years many are content to retire, and for always dancing to the tune of his own drummer (often with a lifestyle straight out of a Tom Clancy or Frederick Forsyth novel) while continuously inspiring others to do the same, Dr. John Craven is certainly a cool person!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Geopolitics: New Indian Nation

I based the above map on a National Atlas of the United States with Bureau of Indian Affairs and other Federal Agency lands color-coded.

I modified the map to outline (bright red with black border) my proposed plan to join independent American Indian reservations to make a continuous corridor from Mexico to Canada. Reservations were joined over 95% of the time via lands already under US Government Federal control rather than private lands. Cities were avoided in private lands.

Basically, I believe that any people that fall under their own nation should have access to contiguous borders (island nations would still share cultural boundaries rather than artificial ones). I mentioned this in a past post on Palestine, but I will reiterate my stance through a separate example: American Indians.

Indian reservations are considered separate nations, yet money generated through mineral rights on their lands are used by the government with only about one-sixth (or less) going to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and of that amount, much is spent on bureacracy aimed at perpetuating the functions of that agency.

In 1871 the United States passed a law that essentially stated all past American Indian treaties to be null and void, which paved the way for a major land grab in the East and forcing Indian tribes west. Further treaty breakages are detailed by the American Indian Movement (AIM).

American Indian lands could be almost completely joined through using Federal lands, thereby causing limited disruption of land use and avoiding conflict between the general public, but giving a greater future to American Indians after centuries of neglect and abuse, as well as allowing a continuous corridor (albeit often narrow) from Mexico to Canada.

For what it's worth...