Sunday, August 14, 2005

Subbing to the North Pole

The North Pole addiction reached a high in 1931 when a crazy adventurer, Hubert Wilkins, tried to become the first person to use a submarine to get there. He never made it there as his sub kept breaking down, but he proved that subs could flow under the Arctic ice cap.

His sub may have looked like Russia's toy sub (or mini-sub) that was saved outside Kamchatka last week. From images, it looks like a toy submarine, something Wilkins may have used. Damn, they still have those? What happened to the celebrated U-boat design? Wasn't that supposed to be hot stuff?

Wilkins' crazy ideas were kept alive by Americans and Soviets during the Cold War. Among the many crazy races between them, one was about being the first to get to the North Pole using a sub. What purpose did it serve? Did they wanna battle for a part of the world where only slushies were available?

Like planes traveling quicker over the Pole (a recent flight by Boeing over the Pole from San Francisco to Bombay took 16 hours), subs could too, and the Russians and Americans wanted to prove that. That may be the reason for the subs race.

As the Cold War went on, the Soviets trashed submarines in junkyards of their states which are now independent. When Soviet Union broke up, the new republics sought ammo; they picked up whatever scrapped subs they could find. "We have 5 subs, no guns" basically. The landlocked country of Kyrgyzstan perhaps has a submarine that it can toy around with in its ponds and 5-mile lakes. Say hello to Kyrgyzstan's Navy.

But the Soviet subs did well during the Cold War. No true sea battle took place, so they never had a chance to show off their true value, but they kept pushing the Americans to advance their sub technology.

In addition to developing subs and drinking vodka, Russians also like to harass American media outlets.

ABC News did an Al-Jazeera by interviewing a Chechen rebel at the end of July, which upset Russia. Russia was so miffed that they are not allowing ABC News to access or speak to Russian officials either. And when they say it, they mean it. One friend who helped out with stories had to stop writing for me because she started her thesis -- the thesis wasn't her problem, it was the thesis advisor, who worked for a Kremlin official. If they found out she wrote for an international publication, she could kiss her thesis and Master's degree goodbye. And she isn't even Russian, which makes it even worse for her. That publication has already received the wrath of the Russian government for its biased look at CIS countries.

So scared are the reporters there. The one who have guts will be given the ABC News treatment. Google is turning out to be another Russia by not speaking to CNET.


Blogger venus said...

hello, nice blog, will visit again. hope your friend is moving forward with her masters degree.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Khakra said...

she did manage to go on with her master's. she never was a friend, though I'd need to update myself of her location. Last I heard, in Albania I think.

3:22 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home