Date:         Wed, 19 Jan 2000 01:47:20 -0600
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
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Comments:     Originally-From: Patrick Douglas Crispen

From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
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    Worst Case Scenarios / Views of the Solar System / Whales!
Howdy, y'all, and greetings from the charming city of Tuscaloosa,
Alabama!  It is with deep regret that I must inform you that Bob
Rankin is unable to write today's TOURBUS post.  Unfortunately, Bob is
currently lying on a beach somewhere in Hawaii (where the current
temperature is a frigid 81 F/27 C).  I know that you join me in
praying for Bob's safe return to New York just as soon as possible
(where tomorrow's HIGH temperature, not including wind chill, will be
a balmy 23 F/-5 C).  :P
There is one good thing about Bob's absence, though: you're going to
get TWO Southern Words this week.  I know you can hardly contain your
TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors.  I thank
the folks at "Affordable Computer Supply Marketplace," ","
and "The Big Eye" for making today's post possible.  As always,
please visit our wonderful sponsors and thank them for keeping the bus
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On with the show ...
Worst Case Scenarios
Let's say that you are, oh, an Internet columnist from New York laying
around on the sunny beaches of Hawaii.  You feel warm, so you jump
into the Pacific ocean for a little swim.  All of a sudden, a giant
shark swims up next to you and tries to eat you whole.  What do you
Well, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, the answer is obvious.
You tell the shark to wait, pull out your waterproof laptop computer,
fire up your Web browser, and go to .
Created by David Borgenicht and Joshua Piven, the Worst Case Scenarios
site gives you step-by-step instructions on how to survive ten worst
case scenarios ranging from 'how to ram a car' and 'how to take a
punch' to 'how to land a plane' and 'how to perform a tracheotomy.'
The site was designed to promote Borgenicht and Piven's new book "The
Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook," a collection of forty
different survival scenarios [US $14.95 list, US$11.96 at].
Even if you aren't interested in the book, though, don't pass up the
chance to read the ten free survival scenarios on the Web site.  As a
child who grew up watching reruns of Gilligan's Island, I found the
site's 'how to escape from quicksand' tip especially rewarding.  :)
Views of the Solar System
Of course, Bob can't lounge around the Hawaiian shore and be eaten by
sharks all day.  He'll have to find something to do when the sun goes
down.  My suggestion?  Mauna Kea!
A lot of mainlanders don't know this, but Hawaii is one of the best
places in the world to visit if you are interested in astronomy.
After all, where better to put an observatory than at the top of a
4146 meter (13,603 feet), dormant volcano (Mauna Kea)?
One of the beneficiaries of Hawaii's many great observatories is the
Hawaiian Astronomical Society, and the folks at the Society have
created an absolutely SPECTACULAR astronomical Web site called "Views
of the Solar System" at .
Best of all, the site is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese,
French, and German (they are still working on "Southern").
The site isn't that much to look at -- it's design is right out of
mid-1995 -- but what impressed me the most about this site was the
depth of its information.  In fact, the first thing I said when I saw
the site's Jupiter page was "whoa!"  The site tells you EVERYTHING you
could ever want to know about most of the astronomical objects in our
solar system, and it even gives you information about the history of
astronomy and space travel.  The site also offers stunning pictures
and movies from around the Solar System.  In fact, if you want to skip
the data and go straight to the images and animations, point your Web
browser to .
There are a bunch of astronomy sites out there, but the Views of the
Solar System site is the best multi-lingual astronomy site I have ever
seen.  If you are in any way interested in the heavens above, and
especially if you know a child who wants to learn more about the
planets, add this site to your bookmarks.
Our final stop of the day comes from fellow TOURBUS rider and friend
of mine, Julie Albert.  Julie is the Program Coordinator for the
Northern Right Whale Monitoring Program in Florida, and her program is
in desperate need of volunteers in coastal Georgia and South Carolina
(and financial support from anyone else who is interested).
I normally shy away from writing about regional topics like this, but:
      1. I hope that a few of our loyal bus riders know someone along
         the coast of Georgia or South Carolina who might be interested
         in helping Julie's program;
      2. We have a BUNCH of educators on the bus, and the Northern
         Right Whale Monitoring Program is a wonderful topic for
         classroom discussion; and
      3. I owe Julie a REALLY big favor.
You see, I recently gave Julie a crystal box as a wedding present.
Julie packed the box in her luggage, headed off to the airport with
her husband ... and was immediately detained by security.  It turns
out that lead boxes (and especially leaded crystal boxes) show up as
big, black masses on airport x-ray machines.  Airport security guards
frown on this.  Oops.  :)
Things turned out okay in the end, though.  Julie's bags were
searched, she went off on her trip, and now she is back to talk to us
about Northern Right Whales:
      The Marine Resources Council (MRC) of East Florida is a non-
      profit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the
      Indian River Lagoon area.  MRC has more than 600 active
      volunteers, over 500 of which are members of the Northern Right
      Whale Monitoring Program.  This program was started in 1994 to
      protect the Northern Right Whale, the most endangered of the
      great whales.
      The warm waters off the coasts of Georgia and Florida are the
      only known calving ground for this whale.  For a population of
      less than 300 whales, every individual is crucial to the comeback
      of this species.  The Northern right whale is not making nearly
      as good of a comeback as its Southern counterpart, which numbers
      anywhere from 5000 to 7,000 individuals. Worse still, 30 to 40
      percent of Northern right whale deaths can be attributed to ship
      Right whales are difficult to see in the water.  When they
      surface to breathe, they need only lift their head slightly.
      These whales do not have a dorsal fin, which makes them difficult
      to identify.  They fast the entire winter season, so they are not
      very active, either.  Since the whales are difficult to identify
      from ships, MRC started the Northern Right Whale Monitoring
      Program to be the eyes for the mariners.
      MRC volunteers report Northern right whale sightings to a toll-
      free hotline (1-888-97-WHALE).  The hotline is monitored by the
      Program Coordinator, Julie ["black box"] Albert, who reports the
      sightings to the United States Navy in Jacksonville.  The Navy's
      FACSFAC facility informs the ships in the area of the whales'
      coordinates so they are able to steer clear of them and prevent a
      whale/ship collision.  The winter of 1999-2000 is the fifth
      season of MRC's program.  There has not been a single report of a
      right whale/ship collision since the program started.
      Whale season in Georgia/Florida is officially December 1st
      through March 31st.  The whales that migrate to Georgia/Florida
      are usually pregnant females, juvenile females "learning the
      ropes" for giving birth, and mothers with young calves.  It is
      also believed some adult females make the trip to act as
      We are looking for new members in northern Georgia and South
      Carolina to report whale sightings.  This will let us know when
      the whales start approaching the calving ground so that we may
      protect them the best way we can.  There are several commercial
      ports on their migration route, so our work is critical.
The Northern Right Whale Monitoring Program extends from St. Mary's,
Georgia (on the Florida border) all the way to Boca Raton.  The
program would like to extend its network into Georgia and even South
Carolina.  If you are a coastal resident in East Florida, Georgia, or
South Carolina, and are interested in helping to protect the Northern
Right Whale, please contact Julie Albert at (or
call 321-504-4500).
You can find out more about the Northern Right Whale Monitoring
Program on the Web at .
To learn more about the Northern Right Whale, check out the Gray's
Reef National Marine Sanctuary site at 
and the US Navy's FACSFAC (Fleet Area Control Surveillance) site at  .
And if you are interested in becoming a member of the Marine Resources
Council -- the membership fee is only US$20 ($15 for students) -- or
if you would like to make a tax-deductible donation (of money or
equipment), please contact the Council at:
      Marine Resources Council
      270 Paint Street
      Rockledge, FL  32955
      (321) 504-4500
Trust me ... they need all the financial help they can get (running a
whale-watching network isn't cheap).
Oh, and if do decide to contact the Council, tell Julie I am sorry for
having her bags searched.  :)
    Worst Case Scenarios / Views of the Solar System / Whales!
LINE (verb).  Making untrue statements with the intent to deceive.
Usage: "You knew Bear Bryant?  Boy, you line!"
[Special thanks to me for today's wurd]
You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at 
The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
=====================[ Tourbus Rider Information ]===================

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