Archive for June, 2008
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A 22-gun British warship that sank during the American Revolution and has long been regarded as one of the “Holy Grail” shipwrecks in the Great Lakes has been discovered at the bottom of Lake Ontario, astonishingly well-preserved in the cold, deep water, explorers announced Friday.
Shipwreck enthusiasts Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville used side-scanning sonar and an unmanned submersible to locate the HMS Ontario, which was lost with barely a trace and as many as 130 people aboard during a gale in 1780.
The 80-foot sloop of war is the oldest shipwreck and the only fully intact British warship ever found in the Great Lakes, Scoville and Kennard said.
“To have a Revolutionary War vessel that’s practically intact is unbelievable. It’s an archaeological miracle,” said Canadian author Arthur Britton Smith, who chronicled the history of the HMS Ontario in a 1997 book, “The Legend of the Lake.”
The finders of the wreck said they regard it as a war grave and have no plans to raise it or remove any of its artifacts. They said the ship is still considered the property of the British Admiralty.
The sloop was discovered resting partially on its side, with two masts extending more than 70 feet above the lake bottom.
“Usually when ships go down in big storms, they get beat up quite a bit. They don’t sink nice and square. This went down in a huge storm, and it still managed to stay intact,” Scoville said. “There are even two windows that aren’t broken. Just going down, the pressure difference, can break the windows. It’s a beautiful ship.”
Smith, who was shown underwater video of the find, said: “If it wasn’t for the zebra mussels, she looks like she only sunk last week.”
The dark, cold fresh water acts as a perfect preservative, Smith said. At that depth, there is no light and no oxygen to hasten decomposition, and little marine life to feed on the wood.
The Ontario went down on Oct. 31, 1780, with a garrison of 60 British soldiers, a crew of about 40, mostly Canadians, and possibly about 30 American war prisoners.
The warship had been launched only five months earlier and was used to ferry troops and supplies along upstate New York’s frontier. Although it was the biggest British ship on the Great Lakes at the time, it never saw battle, Smith said.
After the ship disappeared, the British conducted a sweeping search but tried to keep the sinking secret from Gen. George Washington’s troops because of the blow to the British defenses.
Hatchway gratings, the binnacle, compasses and several hats and blankets drifted ashore the next day. A few days later the ship’s sails were found adrift in the lake. In 1781, six bodies from the Ontario were found near Wilson, N.Y. For the next two centuries, there were no other traces of the ship.
Explorers have been searching for the Ontario for decades, and there have been numerous false finds over the years, said Eric Bloomquist, interpretative programs manager at Old Fort Niagara.
Kennard, an electrical engineer who has been diving for nearly 40 years and has found more than 200 wrecks in the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, the Finger Lakes and in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, began searching for the Ontario 35 years ago but quit after several frustrating and fruitless years.
Six years ago, he teamed up with Scoville, a diver who developed the remote-controlled submersible with students from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Since then, the pair have found seven ships in the lake.
Over the years, Kennard obtained documents from British and Canadian archives on the Ontario, including the ship’s design plans. Even then, it took the pair three years of searching more than 200 square miles before they found the vessel earlier this month.
After locating the wreck with the sonar, the explorers used the submersible to confirm their find, documenting their discovery with more than 80 minutes of underwater video.
“Certainly it is one of the earliest discovered shipwrecks, if not the earliest,” said Carrie Sowden, archaeological director of the Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center of the Great Lakes Historical Society in Vermillion, Ohio. “And if it’s in the condition they say, it’s quite significant.”
A rare feature that helped identify the ship: the two crow’s nests on each mast. Another was the decoratively carved scroll bow stem. The explorers also found two cannons, two anchors and the ship’s bell.
So as not to be outdone by all the redneck, hillbilly, and Texan jokes, you know you’re from California if:
1. Your coworker has 8 body piercings and none are visible.
2. You make over $300,000 and still can’t afford a house.
3. You take a bus and are shocked at two people carrying on a conversation in English.
4. Your child’s 3rd-grade teacher has purple hair, a nose ring, and is named Flower.
5. You can’t remember . . is pot illegal?
6. You’ve been to a baby shower that has two mothers and a sperm donor.
7. You have a very strong opinion about where your coffee beans are grown, and you can taste the difference between Sumatran and Ethiopian.
8. You can’t remember . . . is pot illegal?
9. A really great parking space can totally move you to tears.
10. Gas costs $1.00 per gallon more than anywhere else in the U.S.
11. Unlike back home, the guy at 8:30 am at Starbucks wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses who looks like George Clooney really IS George Clooney.
12. Your car insurance costs as much as your house payment.
13. You can’t remember . . .is pot illegal?
14. It’s barely sprinkling rain and there’s a report on every news station: ‘STORM WATCH.’
15. You pass an elementary school playground and the children are all busy with their cells or pagers.
16. It’s barely sprinkling rain outside, so you leave for work an hour early to avoid all the weather-related accidents.
17. HEY!!!! Is pot illegal????
18. Both you AND your dog have therapists.
19. The Terminator is your governor.
20. If you drive illegally, they take your driver’s license. If you’re here illegally, they want to give you one.
Gazprom, Russia’s gas monopoly, on Tuesday predicted oil prices would reach $250 a barrel in 2009.
The prediction came as the developed world’s energy watchdog warned that record high oil prices were needed to choke off demand in order to balance the oil market
The statement is the International Energy Agency’s most candid admission that oil supply is struggling to catch up with relentless Asian demand for oil and last week’s jump. The price of oil rose $16.24 in less than 36 hours to a record $139.12 a barrel by Friday.
Speaking at a strategy presentation in Deauville, Alexey Miller, Gazprom chief executive, said: “Today we witness a very great change for hydrocarbons, the level is very high and we think it [the price of oil] will reach $250 a barrel.”
A company spokesman specified that Gazprom believed that level would be hit in 2009.
The prediction is substantially higher than those being made by analysts, who see oil prices in 2009 ranging between $100 and $200 a barrel.
I have a slightly different view as to who, what, where how and why: high oil prices were needed to choke off demand in order to balance the oil market.
The “choke off” should be applied to oil cartels, oil manipulators, oil companies and all that are laughing their asses off…Spending OUR monies, while enjoying their paid girlfriends at the beach resorts, while gulping down their margaritas.
Associated Press reporters insist that American jobs are “disappearing into thin air.” What’s really disappearing is the AP’s credibility in analyzing economic data.
Last week’s economic news started off on a pretty good note.
Many key reports — Monday’s Manufacturing Index from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM); Tuesday’s Orders Report from the government; and Wednesday’s Non-Manufacturing Index from ISM, to name just three — beat expectations. But Friday’s Employment Situation Report left us right where we had started.
The Associated Press’s economic reporting last week was another matter.
The wire service’s coverage contained clear errors of fact and obvious misunderstandings of the underlying data — enough of them to make it reasonable to wonder if the business reporters working at the self-described “Essential Global News Network” are up to their assigned tasks.
Jane Drury voted last year in an election in Stonington, Conn. The only problem is, she died eight years ago.
Her daughter, Jane Gumpel, thought someone must have goofed.
“I was surprised because this is not possible,” she said.
But it did happen. The town clerk’s record clearly shows Drury’s vote, marked by a horizontal line poll workers put next to her name. And it turns out Drury isn’t the only voter who apparently cast a ballot from the grave.
The issue of dead voters showing up on ballot records continues to be a problem for election administrators across the country.
Journalism professor Marcel Dufresne of the University of Connecticut led a class investigation into dead voters and said his group of 11 students discovered 8,558 deceased people who were still registered on Connecticut’s voter rolls. They said more than 300 of them appeared somehow to have cast ballots after they died.
“We have one person who appeared to have voted 17 times since he died,” Dufresne told FOX News.
Dufresne said there is no evidence of any election fraud, but the number of dead voters “shows the system is vulnerable, and it shows that people who are clever and have a little cooperation in the town level, you could use this and get people to vote for people who died.”
Yet Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz is adamant that “actually no dead people voted.”
“I want to be very clear about that,” she said, explaining that while votes were cast and counted in the names of the dead, “there was no voter fraud at all in the state of Connecticut.”
“Did we have clerical errors where the wrong voter was crossed off? Yes,” she said.
But ballots cast in the names of the dead were counted in her state and in others. In the 2004 governor’s race in Washington state, officials confirmed 19 votes were cast by people who were dead. Republican Dino Rossi lost that election by only 133 votes.
“It was the closest governor’s race in U.S. history. After the fact we found a number of dead people voted. I don’t know how they voted — you have to talk to Shirley MacLaine about that,” Rossi said.
While in Connecticut, officials say poll workers confused the names of dead people with real voters, some of the dead votes were absentee ballots apparently filled out illegally by relatives.
Removing the names of the deceased from voter rolls could solve the problem of post-mortem voting, but local election officials like registrar Andrea Eppling say that’s not as easy as it might appear.
“The reason why is that if you go into a nursing home in the next town and you die there — we’re not going to find out.” Eppling said that such information isn’t shared by towns and among the states — something Connecticut’s top election official Secretary Bysiewicz says is changing.
“It’s critical that we have clean and accurate voting lists especially as we go into this very high turnout in November,” Bysiewicz said.
Connecticut removed 5,000 of the deceased from its voter rolls in the last two months.
And since the last presidential election, more than 2 million dead people have been identified, and dropped, from the nation’s voting rolls.
Presumably, Jane Drury won’t be voting again, even as her daughter remains stumped that a ballot was cast in her mother’s name in the first place.
“I couldn’t imagine because I didn’t think she voted — it was an impossible situation to me,” she said.
Officials say when it comes to dead voters, most of the problems are simply mistakes, not political corruption. But they admit that as long as the deceased remain registered to vote, the potential for fraud is alive and well.
Yeah Right…Uh Huh