Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Landlubbers

Happy eleven-squared posts to me!

My MP3 player ran out of batteries when I was on the elliptical crosstrainer yesterday and I watched the news instead. I hate working out without music, otherwise my thoughts race and I think about things that I need to do and will forget about once I'm done working out. I don't care for watching the news on TV, for reasons I've mentioned before, as well as the repetitiveness.

I wish I could find some evidence that this actually happened, but the next TV over had CNN Headline News on and the airhead reading the teleprompter said something about the recent capture of a ship hijacked to conduct pirate attacks to the effect of, "Gee, there's a real live pirate problem?"

The USS Winston Churchill's boarding officer LTJG Luke Grant believes in pirates. I'd love to spend some of my days swashbuckling, hopefully I get a chance this summer.

So, yes, Virginia, pirates are real. TI know it's difficult to conceive, being and American and living amongst law-abiding people (for the most part). Before I left Minnesota, I would likely have had the same reaction as Little Miss Chatterbox: the world just isn't as civilized as we thing it is when we gaze at it in the Idiot Box.

Piracy continues to be a problem, because (oddly enough) most nations of the world handle them with appeasement, or figure if they ignore them they will go away. I don't see any correlation at all between that particular tactic and our current situation with terrorist organizations and belligerent rogue staes ruled by ruthless thugs, do you? Below, I've drawn in the big piracy hot spots on a blank world map (Click to Enlarge):

Good quote from New Zealand Herald last year (emphasis mine):
LONDON - Piracy at sea fell by a quarter in 2004, although violence rose in the trade-critical Malacca Straits, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

The bureau said the number of reported attacks on merchant shipping dropped to 325, compared with 445 in 2003.


Looking for some tips on how do deal with your local gang of swarthy bilge rats? A History of How to Deal With Pirates is for you. Actually it's not very helpful, but says that piracy in the days of yore was generally taken care of by the big dog on the high seas at the time (England, Spain, whoever) due to economics. See what happens when the one global power stops taking care of the sea lines of communication?

See also: Crazy Politico's Rantings: Pirates of the Indian Ocean

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