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Robert Rambusch
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Robert Rambusch

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“Am going to cross the Pacific on a wooden raft to support a theory that the South Sea islands were peopled from Peru. Will you come? Reply at once.”
 
Today I Found Out

The Kon-Tiki

Thor Heyerdahl was born in Larvik, Norway on October 6, 1914. His father worked as a brewer while Heyerdahl’s mother held a leadership position at a local museum. Heyerdahl spent his childhood trekking through the forest at the edge of town and then climbing mountains with his pet husky. Despite those adventures, he only learned to swim in his twenties- nearly drowning twice when he was young led to an understandable fear of water until then.

After studying geology and zoology at the University of Oslo, Heyerdahl embarked on a yearlong stay (1937-1938) on an island in the South Pacific called Fatu Hiva. The trip served the dual purpose of giving Heyerdahl the opportunity to study the local flora and fauna while also serving as a honeymoon with his new wife, Liv Coucheron Torp Heyerdahl.

A portion of Heyerdahl’s time of Fatu Hiva was spent with local villagers and a conversation with a village elder forever changed his life. The elder told Heyerdahl legends about his ancestors, claiming they came from a land far to the east of the island and their leader was a man named Tiki.

The name Tiki stuck with Heyerdahl. It was similar to the legendary fair skinned Peruvian sun king/god, Con-Tici (aka Viracocha), who ruled over a pre-Incan fair skinned people living near Lake Titicaca in South America. He also saw parallels in the legends from the village elder and the stories told about the fair skinned people being massacred, with the survivors fleeing to the sea.

This and other such tenuous evidence led Heyerdahl to hypothesize that Con-Tiki might very well be who the elder referred to as Tiki and that the rafts and this legendary people of Peru could possibly have survived the trip across the Pacific Ocean. So, in his view, the islands may not have been populated by people from Asia as previously thought, but instead by those from South America.

Heyerdahl met countless objections to his theory from academics and others, and he had difficulty getting his thesis, “Polynesia and America: A Study in Prehistoric Relations,” published. The consensus was that a primitive raft could not withstand the violent storms that frequently occurred in the South Pacific. Plus, there was the question of whether or not humans of this period with the technology at hand could have survived the journey when exposed to the elements for the length of time it would take to get from South America to Polynesia. Thus, the long-held theory stood- that 5,500 years ago or so, people from Asia traveled to Polynesia and gradually settled the islands.

To get around these objections, Heyerdahl decided to put his life on the line to prove it could be done. After scrounging up from various sources a little over $22,000 for the journey, he then went searching for a few people to accompany him, placing an ad stating: “Am going to cross the Pacific on a wooden raft to support a theory that the South Sea islands were peopled from Peru. Will you come? Reply at once.”

He assembled a team of five men, four fellow Norwegians and a Swede, to sail with him from Peru to Polynesia. Then he flew to Peru where he and his crew painstakingly recreated a raft according to the materials and technology found in pre-Colombian Peru. The resulting raft was fashioned of nine balsawood logs tied together with hemp ropes and a bamboo cabin open at one side for shelter. They christened it “Kon-Tiki.”

Heyerdahl was thirty-two years old when the Kon-Tiki left port on April 28, 1947. He was joined by his five crewmembers, a green parrot, multiple portable radios, a hand crank generator and batteries, 275 gallons of water stored in cans as well as sealed bamboo rods, and various food supplies such as numerous coconuts and sweet potatoes, as well as field rations supplied by the United States military and other implements needed to document the journey.

The men spent the next three months battling the dangerous weather and ocean swells, taunting sharks that swam close to their craft, and supplementing their provisions with various fish, which were reportedly, along with the sharks, the explorers’ near constant companions around the boat during the entire journey. They sent regular radio reports back to the mainland on their progress and Heyerdahl filmed sections of their voyage on his camera.

On August 7, 1947, the Kon-Tiki had traveled some 4,300 miles when it finally hit a reef and forced the crew to land on an uninhabited island off of Raroia, in French Polynesia. They spotted shore about a week and 260 miles earlier at Angatau atoll, but were unable to land safely.  Nevertheless, one hundred and one days after setting out from Peru, Heyerdahl proved that the nautical technology available to pre-Columbian Peruvians could have successfully brought them to Polynesia.

Heyerdahl returned to Norway to global fanfare. His footage from the expedition netted him an Oscar in 1951 for Best Documentary Film, and his book titled The Kon-Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Seas has been translated into 65 languages and has sold an estimated 20 million copies- the whole thing becoming something of a cultural phenomenon with “Tiki bars,” “Tiki shorts,” "Tiki Torches," etc. popping up, as well as the famous “Tiki Room” in Disneyland.

But, as you might imagine would happen when a husband decides to take an extremely dangerous several month jaunt across the big blue without his wife, his personal life suffered irrecoverable damage, and he and Liv got divorced in 1948.  One of their sons later claimed of this that his mother had felt betrayed because, when they got married, it was supposedly with the understanding that she would be a partner in Heyerdahl’s research and exploration, but ultimately that promise was never fulfilled. He also stated, “My father couldn’t cope with her being such a strong, independent woman. His idea of the perfect female was a Japanese geisha, and my mother was no geisha.”

Of course, proving that something could be done and proving that it was done are two different things and Heyerdahl’s theory was still not well accepted. Potential evidence cited against his idea included differences in the language and cultural traits between the people on the islands and those in South America.

Heyerdahl died in 2002, not living to see that he, in fact, had the last word… sort of. In 2011, Professor Erik Thorsby of the University of Oslo performed genetic tests on inhabitants of Easter Island. While it is true that the previous idea that the islanders had originally come from Asia did bear out, on the whole, Dr. Thorsby also discovered that at some point DNA that could only have come from Native Americans was also introduced into the population, whether via the islanders making the jaunt across the ocean and back, or from peoples from South America making a one way trip. Further research into the matter showed that the South American component of the DNA in the Rapanui people tested seems to have been introduced around the mid-13th century to the late 15th century.  For reference, the particular island in question wasn’t colonized by Polynesians until the early 13th century. So, in the end, genetic evidence seems to suggest that Heyerdahl and the popular opinion were both right, and both wrong.

Bonus Fact:

Thor Heyerdahl also hypothesized that Egyptians may have traveled to the Americas, based upon the building of pyramids in both areas, and had a traditional boat that would have been available to the Egyptians built. After naming the boat after the sun god Ra, Heyerdahl set off with a crew from Morocco for the Americas on May 25, 1969. The ship sank 600 miles short of its goal, but he completed the journey a year later with the Ra II.
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Robert Rambusch

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pop·in·jay

ˈpäpənˌjā/
noun
1. dated
a vain or conceited person, especially one who dresses or behaves extravagantly.
2. archaic
a parrot.
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Owns an oil portrait of himself. Painted at an age younger than 40. While not being a member of the Royal Family.

Your argument is invalid. ;-)

http://www.sbnation.com/2012/9/9/3304936/brendan-rodgers-has-a-painting-of-brendan-rodgers-in-his-house
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Robert Rambusch

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Open your Golden Gate

<As one wag has said, if the pilgrims had landed in California instead of Plymouth Rock, the rest of the country would never have been settled.>
If you drive the long stretch of Interstate 5 known as the Westside Freeway, from the foot of the Grapevine through Buttonwillow and on to Los Banos, you'll be cruising along the edge of the ri...
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Old Bag

<Martin Ashworth is a Leather Craftsman who uses the skills and techniques of many different leather crafts. 

Every challenge is different, from making saddles, restoring and repairing antique leather goods, to even fixing the leather straps on a German tourist's wooden leg.

This short film from Artisan Media shows the final part of the restoration process of a treasured barrister's briefcase.>
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Cuisine Campagne

<Like all the best defiantly provincial American foodstuffs, the history of pork roll is heavy on lore, and since it's closely associated with one of the 13 original colonies, that lore stretches back centuries. The city of Trenton, New Jersey's capital and the spiritual epicenter of modern pork roll-dom, is frequently earmarked as the first place a pork roll prototype appeared, stowed in Continental soldiers' satchels while they dusted up Hessians at the Battle of Trenton in 1776. Zip ahead to the latter half of the 19th century, when Taylor Provisions and Case Pork Roll Company, both Trenton-based food companies, began developing competing techniques en route to becoming the Yankees and Red Sox of pork roll manufacturing.>

http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/10/pork-roll-taylor-ham-breakfast-meat-new-jersey.html

Photo Credit: Drew Lazor
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Yum. Pig is bacon, in one stage or another.
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Brought to you by The People Who Know Better About Everything

<The People Who Know Better About Everything have been developing a massive mass-transit system for the Denver area for, I don’t know, maybe 30 years, and with a massive construction program with light rail that is supposed to make everything wonderful. So, I investigated using the system.

Well, it’s about a half hour drive from my home to my meeting.

By “efficient, cheap, comfortable, and environmentally friendly” mass transit, the trip is nearly 3 hours: first I’d walk about 2 miles to catch a feeder bus into Boulder, then I’d catch the express bus to Denver, then I’d catch the 16th Street Mall bus to about 4 blocks from my destination and walk the rest of the way.

Oh, and have you heard about the Denver weather recently? We’ve had pouring rain nearly every afternoon for weeks.>

Oh Thank You pencil-necked overlords of planning!
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Exactly!
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Have him in circles
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Robert Rambusch

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Where the buffalo roam ...

<“Even a moron, mechanically speaking, can fix it up in a matter of minutes,” the voice-over presenter eloquently notes. “Four retractable legs provide a firm base for the caravan and prevent it from rolling inadvertently out to sea in the middle of the night.” Ah, good to know!>

Rolling-out-to-sea prevention is a good thing.
You probably know by now that caravans are one of my favourite things and with summer holidays and road trip wanderlust in the air, I'd like to present my l
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Wonderful!
Even a moron can use it!
Reminds me of a British ad for Seagull outboards stating so simple that even a Kenyan can operate it.
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Peak Fitness

<This handmade black leather bicycle wine rack is perfect for taking wine with you on the go. It easily attaches to most any bike frame with antique brass fasteners, while the hidden clamps hold the bottle securely. Best of all, the olive oil-treated vegetable-tanned leather will only look better as it ages.>

https://www.etsy.com/listing/88282099/bicycle-wine-rack-black-leather-bike?ref=related-3
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This would look good on +Connie Leung 's fixie (if she doesn't already have one).
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Harald Horntvedt, FTW

<The first explorers to actually make it ashore were Norwegians from the survey vessel Norvegia in 1927. Led by a worthy successor to Kapitan Krech, the equally alliterative Harald Horntvedt, they were also the first to venture onto Bouvet’s central plateau, which rises to about 2,500 feet (780m) above sea level and consists of a pair of glaciers covering the remains of a still-active volcano. Horntvedt took possession of the island in the name of King Haakon VII, renamed it Bouvetøya (which just means “Bouvet Island” in Norwegian), roughly mapped it, and left a small cache of provisions on shore for the benefit of any shipwrecked mariners. >
There is no more forbidding place on earth. Bouvet Island lies in the furthest reaches of the storm-wracked Southern Ocean, far south even of the Roaring Forties. It is a speck of ice in the middle...
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R, are, R

Burgee of the Pirate Yacht Club, Bridlington, used as a sledge flag by William Colbeck RNR on the Borchgrevink Antarctic Expedition 1898-1900, United Kingdom.

http://www.messynessychic.com/2015/06/19/hundreds-of-awesome-vintage-sea-flags-hidden-away-in-a-museum/
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The WWII Grandfather Test

<When assessing these banal market-as-mortal-combat statements, I like to use the WWII Grandfather Test, which involves me asking myself what my grandfather would say about it. He was a bomber pilot during WWII and got shot down over Germany, crash-landing a flaming heap of metal on the coastline after probably killing a lot of people with incendiary bombs. Ask your granddad: what do you think about Tradebot’s battle with the ‘the market’?>
 
>> I do not presume to know how you should feel about this. People are routinely worried about harmless things, and routinely completely unworried about incredibly harmful things. What we can say, though, is that to many ordinary people going about day-to-day work involving actual labour of some sort, the concept of a robot trader making 100 trades in the time it takes them to sip a cup of tea makes them feel uneasy. The practice may just seem unnatural, or complex, or out of control, or just weird.

[...]

Now, it’s not like these firms all use the same strategies. Some use statistical analysis and arbitrage of various sorts, while others operate exclusively in “market microstructure” strategies, which seem to involve knowing the intimate electronic guts of the exchange systems and how they can be, um, taken advantage of. One might engage in flash trading, which some argue is a form of legalised front-running. You might bludgeon markets with orders through ”order stuffing″ (what HFT whistle-blower David Laurer calls a financial DDOS attack).

You may layer orders across a market like fairy dust, perhaps trying to incite outbreaks of ”momentum ignition“, which appears to be a form of subtle market manipulation. Some have aggressive trading strategies aimed at proactively following trends and taking opportunities, while others might be more passive, like electronic Aikido-bots using minimal exertion of energy. <<
PART 1 (3500 Words). A 900 million microsecond primer on high-frequency trading. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, a high-frequency trading (HFT) algorithm, connected to a stock exchange via “low latency” trading infrastructure, could make, perhaps, 1000 trades.
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Yippie i ohhh oh oh - Yippie i aye ye ye
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+Robert Rambusch hey, brother.
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Perhaps the most interesting person you've ever encountered. Well, at least on a good day.
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Cos Cob, CT - Portsmouth, RI - Plainfield, VT