Global Explorer II
by David McLeod
Lost World and Law Suit
March 21, 2018
"Sir, we've received two more letters from the IRS. One was delivered to the church in Los Angeles. The IRS has uncovered their account in Switzerland, and requires that they explain it. The second letter is to us, and asks for video recordings of certain ads paid for by our Super PAC."
-62, -32 "Lost World"
March 22, 2018
As soon as images from the sensor train confirmed the location of the Lost World, Captain Izzard ordered the ship to station keeping. Nicky took a team to submersible control.
The word had been passed, and nearly as many kids were lined up outside SVRC for a chance to sit in one of the chairs as there had been at the Ross Ice Shelf. At the Ross, they saw things that might have forecast the end of the world as they knew it; here, they saw where life might have begun—in deep-sea hydrothermal vents. It was an interesting dichotomy.
We completed the map of the Lost World that a British expedition had begun in 2014. Once we were sure of the boundaries, we planned our tectonic tests at the boundaries of the Scotia plate with both the Atlantic and Antarctic plates, and kept Hans busy—and happy—coordinating the tests with the seismic monitoring station at Neumeyer.
The kids knew that we were planning a series of tectonic tests, and were looking forward to participating in flight operations. However, the weather took a turn for the worse. Most of the tectonic charges were placed from the bridge. We were able to launch enough aircraft to cover those operations, but the weather limited who we could include.
Washington Standard, March 22, 2018: Humanists Sue IRS and UFC. A national humanist organization has filed suit in DC District Court naming both the Internal Revenue Service and the Universal Fundamentalist Church. The suit alleges that the UFC has illegally endorsed political candidates and should therefore be stripped of its tax-exempt status.
March 22, 2018
"We and the IRS have been sued," Elder #1 said. "It's in the newspaper. Some atheist group wants our tax-exempt status revoked because of involvement in politics," he reported.
"I thought the Supreme Court decided against that atheist group in—Wisconsin, wasn't it? Back in 2014?—said they didn't have standing to sue to overturn the tax-free housing allowances for Christian clergy. Buying that decision cost us a lot of money. It was supposed to keep anyone else from ever suing us," Elder #2 said.
"There have been similar suits in the past, and we've beaten them. Do they have anything new?" The Bishop's question was perhaps the most important.
"Apparently, the preacher at the Gallup UFC got a bit carried away, and didn't follow our instructions very well."
"Disavow him; strip his ordination," the bishop said. "Make sure the press and the IRS know that. Anything else?" It was an easy decision.
March 24, 2018
Leonid was spending more and more time with me. At first, I was worried, because I knew—I thought—that he needed to return to his tree for nourishment. He assured me, however, that while that was true, he could also take nourishment from me. I blushed a lot when he said that. He found that funny, I guess, because he laughed when he told me.
Then, he kissed me, and I forgot all about nourishment except what we were exchanging.
60 Degrees West Longitude
March 25, 2018 @ 1600 hours
Yea, and teach your children its values
that never in the coming centuries
their harts may fail them
or their hands grow weak."
—Sir Francis Drake
who circumnavigated the globe
in the Golden Hind
between 1577 and 1580.
The words are on the Drake Monument
in the Britannia Royal Naval College.
One of the Sea Cadets stood before the microphone, bosun's whistle in his hand. At Captain Izzard's signal, he blew the two notes that meant "word to be passed." The sound was carried into every space on the ship except the operating room and the hospital ward.
Captain Izzard nodded his thanks to the cadet, and then took the microphone.
"We have just crossed longitude 60 degrees west. We have completed a circumnavigation of the globe.
"Of course, since we did that by sailing around the continent of Antarctica, where the diameter of the earth is quite a bit smaller than at the equator, it's not nearly the same as the feats by Magellan or Drake. However, it does call for a celebration.
"Supper will be on the flight deck where the mess crew has already set up grills and, unless I'm mistaken, kegs of beer."
Nicky had held a meeting with the high school teachers, and explained that since we were under UN rules, and at sea, the definition of drinking age was a little vague. "As long as they're sensible, our crew will not deny beer to anyone. But they will be judicious. I trust that will be acceptable?"
Actually, Nicky's "acceptable" wasn't subject to discussion. And the teachers understood that. And they understood their role in ensuring what "judicious" meant.
@sciencetruthnolies: global explorer completes circumnavigation of antarctica next up new zealand
Our mission profile was on Francesca's web site, so no one was surprised that he knew that.
Off Cape Horn
March 26, 2018
First, however, we had to pass—for the ship's third time—Cape Horn. The first time had been some two years ago, when the Explorer had transited the strait while traveling from the Newport News shipyards to San Francisco. The second time had been just a couple of months ago.
The first clue that there might be a problem came when Captain Izzard ordered that the swimming pool be drained.
"There's an intense low pressure system, here," he pointed to the display. "See how tightly those isobars are? That indicates some heavy winds."
"Is the GX in any danger?" I asked.
"No. Thrusters and stabilizer fins will keep us stable, but I'm going to drain the swimming pool—just in case. That's a hell of a large mass for the computers to try to balance."
Georgetown, DC, USA
March 30, 2018 3:00 PM
"Why are we meeting at this ungodly hour?" Elder #2 asked. It was too late for lunch, and too early for supper. Further, this restaurant offered only a "light" menu.
"We will have a guest," the Bishop said. "A survivor of the KGB who was able to escape that country. The time was at his request."
The man's business suit was rumpled after a flight from Helsinki. He had immediately asked for vodka, tossed back the first glass before the waiter had left the table, and ordered a second. "And enlarge it!"
"A double, if you please," the Bishop told the waiter. "And make sure he always has one."
"We have safe-houses throughout Europe. Many of our best people escaped. We have weapons. We have identity papers and passports. And, we have an organization," the Russian said.
"And money?" Elder #1 countered.
"Not so much, but some. It would not take much to rebuild our networks both outside and inside Russia."
"And what of the Russian Church?" the Bishop asked.
"You surely have seen the results of the boy-Tsar's meeting with the patriarch and leadership," the man reported.
"The announcements by the patriarch made it clear that the changes were inspired by the boy, not required by him," the Bishop said.
"As you Americans say, bull-shit," the Russian said. "He threatened the patriarch. He threatened to destroy the church."
This is good news, the Bishop thought. The new Tsar weakens the Russian Church; we move in to fill the vacuum. The question becomes, do we now need this rump KGB which seems to have been nearly neutralized.
"There is something unnatural about his ability to find our people," the man said. He had just downed his seventh double vodka, and the other men were no longer paying attention to what he said.
"There is still opportunity for cooperation," the Bishop said at the end of the meeting. "We will have to discuss the details." And a new division of the spoils, he thought.
St. Petersburg, Russia
April 1, 2018
I was happy to let Leonid tell me and show me what to do. I was only 14, and he was 15, but he had brothers who were a lot older, and I guess they had told and showed him.
We were somehow feeling what each other was feeling. At first, I thought it was just Leonid and me; then I thought it was more than that; then I realized it was just Leonid and me.
April 1, 2018
We assumed that our email messages on the November circuit were absolutely secure. On the other hand, we were wary of overconfidence, and Francesca kept search engines on both the real internet and the dark side searching for anything that would suggest that we'd been hacked.
The email messages that were handled by Francesca's servers were pretty secure but we couldn't completely isolate the servers or we'd never hear from the kids we were trying to reach.
I was only a little surprised to see a spam ad on one of the public accounts. The subject was, however, puzzling. The message was from something that called itself a "social responsibility networking site" inviting mothers, concerned for their children's lives, health, and futures, to join a campaign against hydrogen power.
The message was oddly familiar: "They claim that it's safe, but there's no scientific consensus. Join thousands of mothers . . . "
It was the same sort of thing that we had seen in the corporate pushback against second-hand smoke, the ozone hole, and—more recently, global warming. It was the déjà vu of "Merchants of Doubt" all over again. But with a twist.
"Nicky? Come take a look at this," I asked.
It appeared that what we thought of as the "enemies of hydrogen," mostly Big Energy, had begun a publicity campaign modeled on the "Moms for Genetically Modified Foods" that Bisanto had created, and the "Moms for Junk Food" that the fast food industry had created. Bring a few gullible soccer moms together, fête them with tours of food factories, feed them lunch and white wine, wow them with pseudo-scientists in white lab coats, and get them to post crap on social networking sites. And watch the idiots fall for it.
If Hitler and Goebbels had had the internet, we'd be speaking German, today, I thought. There are no gatekeepers on the internet. Anyone can post anything. And there are people out there who will believe "anything." Is this good?
"Have you seen this?" I asked when we got Francesca on the horn.
"It's the same thing the genetically-modified food people and the junk food is good food people have been doing for years," she said. "It's the buzz that their moms for Frankenfood and moms for junk food have created on the internet.
"That's the damn problem," Francesca continued. "There are no gatekeepers on the internet, and any asshole with a lie can—"
"Did you just say a-hole?" Nicky asked.
"Damn it, Alex! Straighten him out!" Francesca said. "And yes, unless you can come up with a better description, asshole will have to do."
"The real question," I said, "is what do we do about this propaganda blitz?" I looked hard at Nicky, suggesting without saying that he and Francesca needed to settle their differences.
We agreed that Francesca should take the lead. She would strike back through the "children of Anconia." These were the kids who had been attending the Anconia summer camp for years. It wasn't that their parents' jobs depend on Anconia. It was that these kids had been taught to think, and to think critically, and to understand the issues and the science. I guessed that they made up less than .0001% of the kids their age in the entire world.
"&sciencetruthnolies: whom the gods wish to destroy they first make insane moms against hydrogen insane
Francesca posted the truth, but no one seemed to listen. She asked the kids of Anconia, and others, to counter the arguments on the web sites, but their posts were deleted as soon as they were sent. Logic and reason failed. The truth was being overwhelmed by orchestrated internet propaganda. There was only one thing left to us.
"Francesca? Can you take down their sites without letting anyone know it's you?"
CHAPTER END NOTES: A good video, with some incredible pictures of the Lost World is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOHVnnyq66M
The US Courts have ruled that citizens of the USA do not have standing to sue to stop the IRS from allowing tax-free housing allowances for Christian clergy. The government's argument was that these citizens had not been harmed by the rule. Apparently, having to pay taxes on what other people don't have to pay taxes on does not constitute harm. This has not yet reached the Supreme Court. See http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/11/13/federal-appeals-court-strikes-down-ruling-that-said-clergy-cant-have-tax-free/
For a dramatic yet humor-filled 16-minutes about Antarctica, polar exploration, and the discovery of the ozone hole, Google "ted talks robert swan."