We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Sipp makes the case that life is accumulated error. Lots of truth in that. Even small errors in facts, in choices, in judgement, build on eachother and you eventually you can have a mess that you drag along with you. It's difficult in life to start on a clean slate.
In Maritime Academies, they always teach the famous case of the cargo ship leaving NY harbor headed for Brazil in the 1960s. After a day at sea, the ship beached itself on Fire Island on Long Island, NY. The autopilot, as today, was controlled by a gyro. When a gyro malfunctions and drifts, everything checks out and agrees with the malfunctioning gyro. When the ship hit the beach, the crew had no idea where they were. Degree by degree, over three watches, the ship had made a 180. I'll assume they hit the beach at night.
Well, everything checks out as consistent - unless somebody bothers to check the heading against an old-fashioned magnetic compass. There is a reason all ships still carry a sextant and a copy of Bowditch too.
What's really frightening about that ship story is that no one even noticed the sun was rising (or setting) in the wrong direction. If you're supposed to be heading east and the sun is rising astern, well, something's damn well wrong. Even Captain Ahab knew that.
Ships also still carry paper charts, despite having GPS onboard. Rule 5: Always have a Plan B.
Had a similar experience. I was just being relieved by the captain as the sun rose. Suddenly, the gyro alarm went off. A deckhand had accidently snagged the power switch on the gyro. Only off for a second. Everything looked okay but soon the captain noticed the sun was rising behind us even as we were on an easterly course. The gyro had tumbled and snuck about the card. The deckhand got a few hours of steering by magnetic compass as the gyro spun back up. Then azimuths to correct to true. Fortunately, we were in the blue water with no dangers.
But the lesson is use the magic boxes but verify with the reality out the windows.
I would bet the Italian liner that hit the rocks and capsized failed in a similar manner. The Captian ordered an unscheduled course change and the navigator did not check the resulting position. Ships do not turn without drifting sideways thru the turn. That drift would have put the ship closer in shore and on the rocks. Somebody forgot to confirm the actual course and distance to shore. They trusted the new compass course and did not verify position. Blick
Great lesson. Just a few weeks ago I was with my family for a graduation hundreds of miles away from home. Someone looked at their handheld device and declare that north was "that way". "Nope,"I said "Your gadget may think that but I am sure the sun is still rising in the east this morning." A quick reboot fixed the gadget and we all found the restaurant on time.