Monday, August 03, 2009

Submarine Collisions, Time Bubbles and Females - Part 1

We know why submarines collide with things from time to time: The requirement to maintain their stealth (not use actiive sonar, for instance) eliminates opportunities to obtain DFOWN (direct feedback on what is nearby).

The underwater seamount domain is not the only environment in which submarines must operate somewhat blinded. There are at least two more. One blindspot did not become evident until twenty years later, thousands of miles from an ocean, in the aerospace environment in which I then worked. A co-worker (partially blinded Viet Nam veteran) about my age happened to mention a particular event from 1969, of which I had absolutely no familiarity. Not remembering any such thing, I looked it up online and, sure enough, he was correct.

Why had I been totally unaware of a quite memorable (John Lennon had married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar) event? Checking dates, it was easy to determine the marriage had occurred while I had been submerged (not too far from Gibraltar) twenty years earlier. My co-worker's comment was the very first time my personal time bubble had ever been revealed. News like that was not worthy of War news passed around my sub at the time.

Next time, M.E. explores another environment in which submariner feedback is limited and somewhat blinded - female sailors.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



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