The Adventurers’ Club detailed Calendar page


May  2006

May 11, 2006 -- Samantha Larson and David Larson MD speakers -- " 6 of the 7 peaks by age 17- on a record setting pace"

Samantha Larson is a seventeen year old senior at Long Beach Polytechnic High School. In December 2005 she journeyed to Antarctica with her father and climbed Mt. Vinson Massif, the highest mountain on the continent at 16, 067 feet. This was her sixth of the “seven summits” – the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. She began with Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2001 at age 12, and since has climbed South America’s Mt. Aconcagua, Europe’s Mt. Elbrus, North America’s Mt. McKinley, and Australia’s Mt. Kosciuszko. She plans to defer enrollment to college for a year so she can train and attempt Mt. Everest in the spring of 2007. Samantha is on a record setting pace and should become the youngest person to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents





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May 18, 2006 --Jonna Doolittle Hoppes --"Jimmy Doolittle" This is a Ladies Night

Presentation and all are welcome.

Jonna Doolittle Hoppes is an author and journalist. Her first book, Calculated Risk: The Extraordinary Life of Jimmy Doolittle¸ is a memoir of her famous grandfather, aviator Jimmy Doolittle, and his equally extraordinary wife, Joe.

Ms Hoppes represents the Doolittle family at air shows across the country and is a popular speaker at libraries and air museums. Her articles have appeared in Smithsonian's Air and Space magazine, as well as other publications.

She is Chair of the Literary Guild of Orange County and a member of Sisters in Crime, a mystery writers' organization. She also works as a civilian for the U.S. Air Force and lives in Southern California.











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May 25, 2006 -- Nick Paine -- "Culinary Archeology"


Nick Paine, a 30 year veteran of the entertainment industry, first visited the jungles of Peru with former adventurers club member Herman Jesson in 1996. Since then nick has continued his expeditions to the jungle each year, filming tribal foods .Although he usually makes his journeys completely alone, Paine's camera innovations allow him to feature himself living, working, and eating alongside his tribal hosts, as a participant, not an
observer. Paine's careful editing and dramatic descriptions - often delivered in the field, are filled with fascination and wonder, an unsurpassed look into an unknown world. A unique filmmaker, Nick has pioneered a new field of study Nick calls ' CULINARY ARCHAEOLOGY .' In ten years Nick has amassed over 500 hours of video, and more than 20,000 slides.
Nick will present his experiences during a decade filming. Featured are tribal dishes such as: stingray, monkey, rat, boa, parrot, caterpillars and more. Nick will speak about dramatic changes, unknown to the outside world, that effects the future of life in the Amazon, followed by an array of
stunning photos and short video clips.

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June  2006

June 1, 2006 --Jim Dorsey -- "Among whales"

Jim Dorsey, member # 1081, is a certified marine naturalist, trained by the American Cetacean Society. He works for the society, and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, as a naturalist, lecturer and guide on local whale watching boats. For eight seasons he has been in San Ignacio lagoon, Baja, where he works as a guide and naturalist for the Baja Adventure Company during the Gray Whale migration. In between, he can usually be found in a kayak somewhere along the rim of fire, interacting with whales.

His presentation tonight is an update of close encounters, fascinating personal stories, and action packed wildlife photography from a perspective few people will ever experience.


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June 8, 2006 -- “Hunting in Africa” Richard Venola. 

Richard was on assignment for his magazine in South Africa and he will report in his humorous and iconoclastic manner what happened. This should be a very interesting talk.

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June 15, 2006 -- “Winter Climb of Mt. Whitney” James Lee. 

James Lee works for the Space Corporation. He will be assigned to the Naval Academy for the next three years. We are fortunate that he could slip this night into his busy schedule.  James did what few did, he went up Whitney in the winter on the climbers route. A difficult and different challenge. A well documented video was created and he will tell how it went.

June 22, 2006 -- “Knightsbridge International- Humanitarian and Relief Projects where others fear to go” Sir Edward Artis. 

When the other NGOs leave for fear of their life, Knightsbridge appears. Sir Edward and his associates, who are members of a  self-styled Order of the Knights of Malta among other organizations,  and Knightsbridge International, spring to action. He goes when others fear. A fascinating and informative talk by one who goes there and does it.

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June 29, 2006 -- “Life Saving Changes in Airborne Search and Rescue Technology” Mark Swaney. 

Mark Swaney was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, except for a one-year stay in South Africa.  The trip to South Africa was Mark’s first exposure to airplanes other than the occasional C-118 flying over his home from the Youngstown Air Reserve Base.  When he returned from Africa at the age of 15, he joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) where he started his love of flying in general aviation aircraft.  At the age of 18 he was selected to attend the CAPs Cadet Flying Encampment, where he earned his Private Pilot License with a grand total of 37 hours. Mark attended the University of Cincinnati and earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering.  While at UC, he co-op’d at Gates Learjet Corporation in the Experimental Flight Test department.  He also earned his Commercial Pilot License and Instrument Rating, as well as being an officer in the college Flying Club.  His flight test experience at Learjet lead Mark to join the Navy in 1975.  He was selected for training as a Naval Flight Officer and became an F-14 Radar Intercept Officer in 1976.  He achieved his goal of attending the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in 1981, graduating with distinction.  After several operational tours in Navy fighter squadrons and as the Aide to a Battle Group Commander, Mark shifted his focus exclusively to Naval Weapons Systems Management by becoming an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer.  Mark’s 30 year Naval career included command of the Naval Air Pacific Repair Activity, Atsugi, Japan, and the Naval Test Wing Pacific at Point Mugu.  Mark's last Navy assignment was as Vice Commander of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Point Mugu and China Lake, from which he retired with 30 years of service on September 30th, 2005.  He and his wife, Allyson, are now living in Oxnard where he is remodeling the beach house they bought in 1987, finishing his F-1 Rocket aircraft kit at Camarillo Airport while working part-time as a free-lance flight instructor.

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July 2006

 July 6, 2006 -- Club Dark

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July 13, 2006  – “Cairo to Capetown – 9 months on my own” Marc Weitz

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After dreaming his whole life of doing an overland trip from London to Cape Town, Marc signed up with a company to finally live that dream. However, finding the overland company rather dull and unadventurous, Marc escaped in Cairo to try his hand at doing Africa on his own.

In 9 months Marc made his way from Cairo to Cape Town, using whatever means possible. With the exception of airplanes, Marc took ferries, sail boats, trains, cars, buses, and local transport with cute names such as boksi’s, dalla-dallas, and matatus. Some were easy, most were hard, all were uncomfortable. Hear how Marc maneuvered his way through bandits, con artists, mosquitoes, language barriers, and other interesting things that could only happen in Africa to reach his goal of Cape Town overland.”

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July 20, 2006 “Flight is within your grasp – home built hang gliders and airplanes” Keith Kent

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Keith will share his triumphs and learning experiences with home built hang gliders and airplanes, with a long and safe history.

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July 27, 2006 “Exotic Diving” Robert Williscroft 

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Robert has been to 1,000 feet in a warmed neoprene dive suit, dived under the arctic ice-pack, lived in an underwater habitat off the island of St. Croix, wrote the first civilian course for the use of drysuits, and developed the first practical scuba rig for polluted water diving. (Link to Robert's website.)

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August 2006

August 2, 2006 -- “Show and Tell” 

Where different members speak about an item or artifact of interest to the group. “GPS and Remote Sensing” Robert Yowell; “Mangled Mercedes Cabriolet” Bob Silver; “The Kilt” Don Waters; “The Wave” Bob Zeman – and others.

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August 10, 2006 LADIES’ NIGHTThe X-Prize Peter Diamandis

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August 17, 2006 — Wally Rappel — “The Great American Cross-Country Solar Power Race

While a physics sophomore at Caltech,  Wally became aware that electric vehicles might be the most promising solution for urban air pollution.  The following summer, he earned enough money to purchase a 1959 VW microbus and to start the conversion to electric.  A year later, he had an operational electric vehicle with a top speed of about 35 mph and a range of about thirty miles and was able to use this vehicle to commute between his home in Hollywood and the Caltech campus.  The following year, with the assistance of both Caltech and some friendly companies, hewas able to up-grade the vehicle to well over 50 mph with a range of more than 60 miles.  At this point, he realized that the next step would require improved batteries - which, in turn, would require some serious research and development.  Wally wondered if there were some way where hecould use my vehicle to help motivate such an effort.  The idea eventually emerged of an electric car race between Caltech and MIT. After much wrangling, the idea became reality and on the morning of August 26, 1968, the "Great Electric Car Race" sparked into action. His talk will fill in the frightening details.

Since 1968, Wally Ripple has worked in the area electric propulsion development.  Highlights include playing  key roles in the development of the GM EV-1, and in the development of NASA's Helios solar powered airplane.  Presently, at AeroVironment, he is involved in the development of a high-altitude hydrogen-powered electric airplane - the Global Observer.  And thanks to a small part in the film, "Who killed the Electric Car", he is now identified on the Internet as an "actor".


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August 24, 2006 — Thomas Morgenfeld — The Skunk Works Test Pilot”

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Thomas A. Morgenfeld, a 1965 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, was designated a Naval Aviator in 1967. He had two fleet tours flying the F-8 Crusader, one in Fighter Squadron SIXTY-TWO and one in Fighter Squadron ONE-NINETY-ONE. There he flew over 120 combat missions and amassed over 500 carrier landings. Between the two tours he attended the United States Naval Postgraduate School where he earned his MS degree in aeronautical engineering. In 1975 he attended the Empire Test Pilots’ School in England, winning the McKenna Trophy as top student in his class. In 1976 Mr. Morgenfeld was ordered to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron FOUR where he participated in several classified test programs in addition to serving as the F-18 Project Pilot. In 1979 Mr. Morgenfeld went on to USAF exchange duty with the 4477th Test and Evaluation Flight. While there he became the first Naval Aviator to qualify as an Air Force Aggressor pilot.

Mr. Morgenfeld joined Lockheed in December 1979 as an Experimental Test Pilot in the world famous Skunk Works. There he was assigned to the F-117 program where he has flown almost 1300 hours in testing that radical aircraft. In 1989 Mr. Morgenfeld went on to the Advanced Tactical Fighter program where he was primarily responsible for flying the second YF-22A prototype. After Lockheed won that competition, he was named Chief Test Pilot for the YF-22A follow-on test program. In 1991 he was named Chief Test Pilot for the Skunk Works and in 1999 was promoted to Director of Flight Operations as well. He was the Chief Test Pilot on the Joint Strike Fighter program where he performed the first flight on the X-35 and tested all three versions of the airplane. He also served as an Engineering Technical Fellow of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. until his retirement in 2004.  Currently Mr. Morgenfeld is a Test Pilot Instructor at the National Test Pilot School.

Mr. Morgenfeld, a retired Navy Captain, is a Fellow and past President of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.  He is a member of two Collier Trophy winning teams and has been inducted into the Aerospace Walk of Honor.  A native of Hamburg, New York, he is married to the former Norma K. Shoemaker, also of Hamburg. They have two sons, LCDR Steven A. Morgenfeld USN, a Naval Aviator serving in HSL-49, and Mr. Michael F. Morgenfeld, the Director of Cartography for Avalon Travel Publishing.


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August 31, 2006 — Todd Warshaw — No Halibut Fishing Career in My Future”

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Todd Warshaw    Superhighway    Hi!    Wind & Wave   Towing capsize    A Bad Day    Good Weather Day   The Prize    Another Bad Day  
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A San Diego-based photographer, covering projects around the world for a wide variety of clients. His background includes a degree in Journalism, and a passion for producing creative images to tell a story that might otherwise not be visible.

His experience includes live photographic coverage of international events in over 30 countries. In addition Todd is well-versed in underwater and adventure photography in a wide range of conditions.  Projects include being the official documentary photographer for the 2004 International Olympic Torch Relay for the Athens Olympics, and for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. Current clients include Greenpeace USA, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Getty Images Sport, Land Rover, Jaguar of North America, ESPN The Magazine, The Sporting News, Newsweek, Alem International Management, Loyola Marymount University. His work has been published in countless publications around the world, and has been used in numerous ad campaigns for a variety of clients.

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September 2006

September 7, 2006 — U.S.S. Bunker Hill – Aegis Class Missile Cruiser Captain Charles M. Gaouette

Captain Charles M. Gaouette
Commanding Officer USS BUNKER HILL (CG-52)

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Captain Charles M. Gaouette grew up in San Diego, California and graduated from the University of California, Davis, in 1981.  Captain Gaouette entered the Navy under the Submarine Strategic Weapons Officer program, earning his commission through Officer Candidate School in April 1982.  Following Submarine Basic School, Captain Gaouette reported to USS GUDGEON (SS-567), serving as Auxiliaries Officer and Communications Officer.  In 1985, Captain Gaouette reported to USS LAPON (SSN-661) as Combat Systems Officer.   During his tour, LAPON completed a seven-month Indian Ocean deployment, and two Arctic Ocean deployments.    

With the advent of the all-nuclear submarine wardroom, Captain Gaouette transferred to Surface Warfare.   He reported to USS ARTHUR W. RADFORD (DD 968), as Navigator in July 1987, then subsequently served as Damage Control Assistant for nearly two years.     In 1990, Captain Gaouette reported to USS FLETCHER (DD 992) as Combat Systems Officer.  In May of 1992, Captain Gaouette joined the pre-commissioning crew of USS PORT ROYAL (CG 73), the last Aegis cruiser, as Combat Systems Officer.  

 In 1996, Captain Gaouette reported as Executive Officer of USS PAUL HAMILTON (DDG 60).  During his tour, PAUL HAMILTON completed a six-month Middle East Force deployment.  In 1997, Captain Gaouette attended Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, graduating in 1998 with a concurrent Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Auburn University.  He then reported to United States Transportation Command, serving as a West Mobility Team Chief and subsequently as Executive Assistant to the Director of Operations and Logistics (J3/J4). 

In 2001, Captain Gaouette assumed command of USS OLDENDORF (DD 972).  During his tour, OLDENDORF’s crew earned the Battle Efficiency ‘E’ award two years in a row.  After OLDENDORF’s decommissioning in 2003, Captain Gaouette and his crew served as the third rotational crew of USS FLETCHER (DD 992), as part of the Navy’s Sea Swap initiative.  Their six-month deployment included four months in the North Arabian Gulf, during which the ship served as Maritime Interdiction Coordinator for ships of a multi-national coalition and performed nearly 300 boarding operations. 

In 2004, Captain Gaouette reported to the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, serving as the Branch Head of Future Ships, in the Surface Warfare directorate (N76).  His branch developed performance and budgetary requirements for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the next-generation destroyer (DD(X)), and the next-generation cruiser (CG(X)).   

Captain Gaouette was awarded the 2003 Pacific Fleet James Bond Stockdale Award for inspirational leadership.  His awards include the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal (five awards), the Joint Achievement Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal (two awards).

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September 14, 2006 — Around the World by Sail Bob Silver

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September 21, 2006 — Solo Row Across the Atlantic Roz Savage


Atlantic Rower

In November 2005 Roz Savage, a 38-year-old former management consultant, set out from the Canaries to row 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, alone and unsupported. She arrived to a rapturous welcome in Antigua on 13th March 2006, 103 days later.

Sir Steve Redgrave, British 5-times Olympic gold medal winner, said, ” This is an incredible adventure... Roz has spent an unbelievable 103 days in a 24 feet boat, on her own. I admire her stamina and determination. To complete an endurance event of this enormity must have tested her resources to their limit.”

The ocean gradually stripped down the boat to bare essentials, with the stove, music system and navigation instruments failing. All four of her oars broke before the halfway point – two while rowing and two when her boat capsized in 20 foot waves. Determined not to surrender her unsupported status by calling for replacements, she patched them up and battled on even when her unwieldy oars caused grinding shoulder pain. Her satellite phone failed on 17th February presenting Roz with her toughest psychological challenge yet – total isolation -for the remaining four weeks of the row.

She is currently touring the UK, US and Canada, inspiring audiences with her philosophy of ongoing personal growth through adventure.

During her epic voyage Roz acquired a loyal following around the globe as internet users logged on to her inspiring, insightful and entertaining dispatches. They will now be eagerly awaiting her next adventure – ‘I want to keep pushing my limits the Pacific awaits!’

Inspirational Speaker

With her background as a management consultant (Accenture) and investment banker (UBS) Roz is ideally qualified to take the life lessons learned on the Atlantic and relate them to the corporate world. Her philosophy of ongoing personal growth will inspire her audiences to aspire, achieve and advance towards their own personal goals.

She is an experienced after-dinner speaker, and also offers technical lectures for universities, sailing and rowing clubs.



I thought (as did those to whom I spoke) your talk was absolutely excellent, struck just the right note and should have inspired everybody there to triple A objectives. (Richard Powles, Partner, Farrer & Co., London)

The overwhelming feedback I have had from everyone who heard Roz speak was that she was inspirational, without being daunting. She was genuine and natural and her delivery was eloquent. Her account of her experiences was interesting and enlightening, not to mention seriously impressive. Her talk was perfectly pitched for the audience she was addressing, and struck the right balance between being motivational because of her experiences and yet still showing she was human like the rest of us. (Jo Hall, Commercial Director of Woolworths plc, Chairman of the Trustees of Woolworths Kids First Charity)

It was a triumph. (Judy Longworth, University College Oxford)

I am so impressed that you were able to be at the dinner, look so terrific and give such a compelling presentation so soon after you finished your remarkable adventure! (Arline Eltzroth, Weaverwheat, Washington DC)

I really enjoyed your talk and meeting you. You are very engaging, witty and touching speaker, and of course your exploits speak for themselves. (Robert Kibble, Director, Mission Ventures, California)

I want to pass on how many really complimentary comments I have received about your presentation -how fascinating, inspiring, natural, enthusiastic, and refreshing you were. (Yvonne Copeland, Langstone Cutters Rowing Club)


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September 28, 2006 — Wilderness Camping by Airplane & Other Adventures Ramona Cox

Skychick’s Wilderness Flying Adventures

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Ramona Cox, also known as Skychick, has been a pilot for more than 20 years.  She is best known for her 3 to 4 month SOLO flying adventures in her Cessna TU206 Turbo-Stationaire into some of the most remote and challenging backcountry airstrips throughout North America. 

Unlike most pilots who meticulously plan their flights, Ramona enjoys cavorting around the country with absolutely NO itinerary. She is free as a bird, with only her whims and wishes as her compass. Where Australians refer to their travels as a “Walkabout,” Ramona calls each trips “A Flyabout.”  Her most recent flying adventure lasted 3 months, covered 11 states, 7500 nautical miles and 70 hours of flying. 


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Barely 5 feet tall and a petite 97 pounds, Ramona employs leverage and perseverance as fundamental tools. She remarks, “Most pilots worry about violating the latest airspace regulations. My concerns focus on the suicidal moose who decides to cross the runway while I‘m landing, or the pesky little gophers who work like stealth saboteurs digging holes that can collapse my nosewheel, flip the plane and leave me stranded. She laughingly adds, “And there’s nothing stinkier than bear slobber all over your food pack”. 

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Aside from bush flying, Ramona is one of few civilian female pilots qualified to safely fly in a tight formation. After rigorous training and testing, she earned her formation “wingman” qualification within the warbird community and is one of a handful of women allowed to fly in the warbird formations at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, Wis., the largest civilian air show in the world.

As an underwater videographer and digital editor, she has traveled the world to film unusual sea life including schooling hammerheads in Costa Rica, whalesharks feeding in the Galapagos and Giant Mantas mating in Micronesia. Her latest DVD is titled “An Aviator’s Tour of China” which covers China’s major cities and aviation related sites with personal interviews from original members of the 528th Fighter Squadron who flew in China during WWII. 

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Ramona’s adventurous lifestyle has been featured on America Online, in Flying Magazine, General Aviation News, The Pacific Flyer and numerous other publications. She recently raised $3,500 in pledges while flying around the country in support of the “99’s Fly for a Breast Cancer Cure” program. Ramona supports her ravenous appetite for travel as team coordinator for the Girardi Wealth Management team who specializes in asset management, financial and estate planning.

Her multimedia slide show offers a sneak peek of the joys and trials experienced by backcountry pilots and includes everything from stunning aerial and wildlife photographs to live footage of being attacked by a “drunken” parrot. 

Skychick’s next adventure is 17-day flying safari over Africa in a customized Douglas DC-3. As the trip organizer, she promises her group will cover the best that Africa has to offer while enjoying the romance and plush style of yesteryear’s prop-liner travel. Only 12 seats remain available. Departs late February 2007.

For a sneak peek at Skychick’s adventurous world,
check out her website:
She can be contacted at:

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October 2006

October 8, 2006 — “Little Petroglyph Canyon” Shane Barry

A trip for Club members to this finest of all petroglyph finds in North America.

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October 12, 2006 — Firearms, Antique to Modern Gary James

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October 19, 2006 — “Global Surface Travel” Alan Hogenauer

The Adventurers Club has long featured speakers who have accomplished incredible feats, well beyond the capability of the “average traveler,” who relies on publicly-accessible travel and tourism services to experience places beyond home.

But - in reality - how far CAN an “average traveler” get from home, using reasonably-routine methods of surface travel?

Dr. Alan Hogenauer, Associate Professor and Director of the Program in Travel and Tourism at Loyola Marymount University here in Los Angeles, has visited 296 countries and territories worldwide and 478 “places” on Charles Veley’s “most traveled people” list, placing him at #5 as of this writing. But he has added another challenge: connecting everywhere to everywhere else on earth, using only surface travel and excluding special charters or “arrangements.” Thus far, even though he has completed more than 2,500 flights as well, he has reached 132 countries and territories on all seven continents from here at the Adventurers Club without using an airplane, including driving his own Land Rover around the world.

What are the global options for sea, rail, road, and internal waterway travel to take you “everywhere” without flying?

Join us on October 19th as Dr. Hogenauer presents many of the possibilities.

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November 9, 2006 -- “Going for the Record” Einor Enevoldsen

Einor Enevoldsen and Steve Fossett set a new worlds Record for dual gliders earlier in 2006. He will report on the results. Earlier this year, Einor Enevoldsen and Steve Fossett went to South America to take advantage of the greatest lift they could find to set the worlds altitude record. They succeeded. Einor is a retired test pilot. 

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November 16, 2006 -- “The Nordic Underground Railway” Geert Jensen 

Geert Jensen Smuggled Jews from Denmark to Sweden in WWII. Mr Jensen is the father of our member, Peter Jensen. He has been quiet about his WWII experiences and even Peter will be hearing new things. This is an historic opportunity to hear from one of the unsung heros of WWII.

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Geert Jensen – WWII  

 The Jensens today  
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November 30, 2006 -- “Remote Tribes of the Golden Triangle-Burma/Myanmar” Pierre Odier

Pierre Odier recently traveled to the Golden Triangle of Burma to seek out several remote tribes of the WA People. His adventure took him through a government screening that he only got through because of the skill of his guide, who turned out to be a true friend. He and his guide then acquainted themselves with the region, planned several trips into the interior, and then carried out their plans. How Pierre accomplished this, and what he found are reported in some detail in the May 2006 edition of The Adventurers' Club News, and in this presentation.

Pierre's website is:

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Pierre with Wa Villagers  

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December 7, 2006 -- “The Rainbow’s Edge Brian Shul

Brian Shul was born in Quantico, Virginia in 1948, son of a career Marine.  He graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in History and Anthropology in 1970.

As an Air Force fighter pilot, he flew 212 missions in Viet Nam before his aircraft was shot down.  Unable to eject he was forced to ride the plane into the jungle, sustaining severe burn injuries in the crash.  He spent one year in hospitals and endured 15 reconstructive surgeries.  Told he would never fly again, Brian miraculously returned to active flying duty, flying the A-7, serving as airshow demonstration pilot in the A-10, and teaching at the TOPGUN School in the F-5B.

He culminated his Air Force career by flying our nations premier spy plane, the SR-71.  This was a remarkable accomplishment considering that it required an astronaut physical to qualify for the plane that routinely flew above 95% of the earth’s atmosphere.  Only 93 Air Force pilots in history ever flew the SR-71, still the fastest plane ever built.  Brian flew the Blackbird for 4 years and was the pilot who provided key photos of Kiddahffi’s terrorist camps during the Libyan Crisis in 1986.

Brian retired from the Air Force in 1990, and pursued his writing and photography interests. He was the first Blackbird pilot to write a book about flying that plane, illustrated with his own photographs.  Entitled Sled Driver, this limited edition represents the definitive photo essay on the SR-71 and was hailed as Aviation Book of the Year by Smithsonian Magazine.  Only 980 books remain of the 3500 printed.

After 20 years as an Air Force fighter pilot, Brian Shul today is an accomplished author, speaker, and photographer. Brian’s remarkable comeback story is popular with audiences nationwide.  His humorous delivery and unique slides make his presentations uplifting as well as very entertaining.

Brian is a Spirit of Freedom award winner and his “9/11 Chico Rally Address” is still the most read anti-terrorist speech on the internet today.  He is President of Gallery One Publishing and is in high demand as a keynote speaker.  He is an accomplished nature photographer, but is best known world wide as ‘The Sled Driver’.

Brian’s website is:

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Brian Schul 

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January 4, 2007 -- “My Fifteen Minutes of Fame with Martha” – Paul Isley III 

Halloween is Martha Stewart’s favorite time of year, with all the Fall colors, etc. She goes all out on Halloween. In 2003 she wanted to use Tillandsias as her scary, creepy looking, decorative props and accents. She found me, and flew me back to Connecticut to be her resident “expert” to explain the plants to her viewers.

 Paul Isley III with Martha Stewart 

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January 4, 2007 -- “The March Air Museum” – Larry Schutte 

Larry is organizing a trip to the March Air Museum. He will show slides and talk about the museum, and solicit participants for the trip

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Three composite view of the March Air Museum 
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January 11, 2007 -- History and Demonstration of Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu Iaijutsu, the 450 year-old art of  Samurai Swordsmanship Charles Anderson (Thanks to Steve Bein #1057)

Elaine Anderson

*  Studied Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate under Ron Chapelle
*  Studying Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu Iaijutsu under Masayuki Shimabukuro, (8th Degree) Hanshi, with the current rank of Shodan-Ho

Charles Anderson

 Bushido career began in the 1960's
*  Studied ButsoKwan BKF Kenpo Karate under Jerry Smith
*  Studied Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate under Ron Chapelle
*  Studying Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu Iaijutsu under Masayuki Shimabukuro, (8th Degree) Hanshi, with the current rank of Shodan-Ho

Charles and Elaine are truly fortunate to be direct students under the tutelage of Master Shimabukuro, Hanshi - 8th Degree in Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu Iaijutsu (Samurai Swordsmanship) and President of Jikishin-Kai International. Charles’ longtime fascination and awe of the Japanese Sword has led him down the path of the ancient Samurai. Today, it is our honor and pleasure to share our personal adventure as Modern-Day “Samurai.”

Highlights of Samurai Swordsmanship Presentation  

A.  Brief History and Development of the Sword

B.  Brief History and Evolution of the Samurai

C.  Ancient Asian Religions and how they relate to Japanese swordsmanship

D.  Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu - Brief History

1.  Master Masayuki Shimabukuro's biography

2.  Reiho (Etiquette)

3.  Kihon (Fundamentals)

4.  Waza/Kata (Techniques) and Bunkai (Principles)

E.  Health Benefits in Modern-Day practice of Iaijutsu (Japanese swordsmanship)

F.  Demonstration 

1.  Execution of Waza/Kata  (Techniques)

a.  Batto-Ho (Combat)

b.  Shoden Seiza Waza

2.  Tameshigiri (Mat cutting with Live Sword)

G.  Sword Care/Cleaning/Storage

We will also provide a display of various traditional Japanese Samurai weapons:
-  Iaito (practice sword), Bokken (wooden practice sword), 
-  Tanto (knife), Wakisashi (short sword)
-  Shinken (Traditional, Live Samurai sword)

The Andersons will also have available a copy of Master Shima's publication, Flashing Steel, Mastering Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu Swordsmanship for display. Finally, they will bring a DVD of Master Shimabukuro demonstrating Waza/Kata (Sword Techniques). They will conclude with an Open Question/Answer Discussion.

Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu Iaido (Iaijutsu) is the Japanese martial art of swordsmanship which emphasizes drawing and cutting with the samurai sword (called a 'katana') in a single fluid motion. Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu is a 'koryu bujutsu' (which means 'traditional martial art') with a direct lineage back over 450 years to its founder, Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu, who developed this particular style of swordsmanship.

The current and 20th headmaster of our branch of Iaido is Miura Takeyuki Hidefusa, Hanshi, Jyudan (10th dan black belt) and founder of the Nippon Kobudo Jikishin-kai (Japanese Ancient Weapons True Spirit Association).

The Jikishin-kai USA & International continues the tradition of Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu iai-jutsu outside of Japan under the instruction of Masayuki Shimabukuro, Hanshi, hachidan (8th dan black belt). Shimabukuro Sensei is a direct student of Miura Sensei and has studied Iaido (Iaijutsu) for over 30 years.

The Jikishin-kai honbu dojo emphasizes traditional practice and application of the techniques in the Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu curriculum. This curriculum encompasses the practice of waza (solo techniques of which there are over 40), katachi (paired patterns using a wood sword or 'bokken'), and also tameshigiri (test cutting using a live/sharp sword on rolled mats). These three components serve to reinforce and improve the other to make the student of iai-jutsu aware of proper body mechanics, focus, and technique for the effective use of the sword. All three of these, plus the integral observance and practice of sincere etiquette make up the core curriculum of our dojo.

Iaido requires extreme precision of its techniques and demands tremendous concentration during practice-both of which ask a great deal of self-discipline and sincere personal commitment on the part of the student in order to master. As a reward for these efforts, it can offer the individual a lifetime of physical, mental, and spiritual growth, as well as an enlightened and peaceful state of mind.

The Jikishin-Kai was founded in 1990 by Masayuki Shimabukuro, Hanshi. He is the chief instructor of the Jikishin-Kai San Diego Dojo as well as the president of both Nippon Kobudo Jikishin-kai USA & International.

If you would like to learn more about Iaido and the benefits of its practice, please call or E-Mail us..

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The Jikishin-Kai 

Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu Laido 
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January 18, 2007 -- “Frank Guernsey’s solo sail across the Pacific” & “Bob’s one-day boat ride out of Monterey to view the birds Bob Zeman (Thanks to Bob Zeman #878)

A short video of Frank Guernsey in the boat as he completes a solo sail across the Pacific from California to Japan. He has one stop in Hilo. But it is a good adventure. A second short video of a one-day boat ride out of Monterey to view the birds, whales and dolphins of Monterey Bay. It shows about 40 species of birds, seven species of whales, and five species of dolphins, and describes a few attributes of each. I am not in the video but I have been on about four of these one-day boat rides with Debbie Shearwater and have seen many of these species.

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January 25, 2007 -- “Courting the Humboldt Squid Scott Cassell (Thanks to Bob Oberto)

Scott Cassell has been a mixed-gas commercial diver for nearly 22 years. His film credits include stock footage of white sharks, blue sharks, and Mako sharks, some of which have aired during Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. He is currently filming “Dangerous Waters,” a five-part series about the least-known and most-dangerous animals in the world.

He is a world expert on Giant Humboldt squid.  He has dove with the giant squid more than anyone and has been featured on Discovery Channel several times. In addition he is also a PADI certified SCUBA instructor and a past teacher at the College of Oceaneering.

In the ever-shrinking old-world Baja, old fishermen tell of a legendary Red Demon that has killed those that have fallen overboard.

 Imagine meeting a demon face to face in the dark sea. A demon with three hearts, blue blood, 10 arms, skin that can change from white to red in the blink of an eye, a demon with 50,000 or more teeth, and a beak capable of gouging out grapefruit sized chunks of flesh, bone and all, all wrapped up with problem-solving intelligence…

 Join undersea explorer, film maker Scott Cassell on a journey to the edge of the abyss to determine the truth about this legend. What Scott didn’t expect… is that these demons are real.

Come see what it is like to experience a man-sized squid in your face, and hear stories about both dangerous and strange encounters with these giants from one of the leading experts on Humboldt squid. Cassell will show you what it takes to study these special cephalopods in their underwater realm.

As one of the ocean’s unique and mysterious predators of the deep, Humboldt squid are incredible animals known for their curious minds and aggressive behavior. Dive into the world of these captivating creatures in the new documentary Search For The Red Demon with the filmmaker Scott Cassell.

Read Scott Cassell’s article Dancing with Demons

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Scott Cassell & Humboldt Squid 

Scott Cassell 

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February 1, 2007 -- “What Makes an Environment Habitable: Some Good Excuses for Exploring Polar Deserts Pamela Conrad (Thanks to Paul Isley #1088)

Pamela Gales Conrad is an astrobiologist working on life detection and habitability assessment at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. degree in geology from the George Washington University in 1998. Her doctoral research in mineral physics was conducted at the Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington.  A primary research interest is the relationship between the physical and chemical properties of minerals and rock, and the organisms living in association with them. She has worked for the past several years on the development of non-invasive optical methods for the in situ "triaging" of potential rock sample targets, in particular deep ultraviolet laser-induced native fluorescence, and Raman spectroscopy at various excitation wavelengths. Her primary planetary science interest is in the stability of organic molecules on Mars and other places in the solar system, and she is a co-investigator with the Sample Analysis on Mars team that will launch as part of the Mars Science Laboratory payload in 2009.

Her field exploits revolve around characterizing the edges of the habitable zones in deserts, particularly polar deserts. She has been involved with the last three AMASE expeditions to the arctic, as well as two Antarctic expeditions, and exploration of deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the Pacific Ocean.

There are good neighborhoods and bad on this planet, and what makes it good for some may make it bad for others. In the polar deserts, the environment is pretty sparsely populated, so it's easier to measure some of the factors that determine the habitability of an environment. This talk will show you a comparison of an arctic desert with an Antarctic desert in terms of habitability, and will conclude with a discussion of how we will explore the Martian desert.

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February 8, 2007 -- “Local Reefs and Blue Water off the Pacific Terry Maas (Thanks to Jerry Robinson #1123)

Terry Maas is a veteran freediver. He started diving when he was 14 years old and has been freediving steadily for the last 47 years. In his early years Terry won the individual U.S. National Spearfishing championships 4 times. His team won 10 championships. In 1982, his interests turned to blue water hunting. For the next 10 years he captured 3 world records for yellowfin and bluefin tuna ( ). His 398-lb Pacific bluefin tuna record still stands. In 1995, Terry published his first book, BlueWater Hunting and Freediving. This book is richly illustrated with pictures and stories from Mexico. Several years later he published his second book on the subject of freediving Freedive.  

Terry studied marine biology in his undergraduate work at the University of California. He holds 3 advanced degrees, Doctor of Dental Science from University of the Pacific, Resident in Oral Surgery from the University of Southern California and Masters of Business Administration from Pepperdine University.  

His 1992 video, Bluewater Hunters for PBS has been viewed by over 25 million people and has helped introduce the sport of bluewater spearfishing to the world.  His diving has been featured in such publications as Sports Illustrated, American Airlines magazine, The Miami Herald and the Los Angeles Times. He lectures nationally using his slides and video presentations to educate those interested in the adventure of bluewater hunting and marine resource conservation. Terry is the director of the International Blue Water Spearfishing Records Committee an organization that documents and maintains world records for blue water species taken freediving.  

Maas is an accomplished videographer. His rare footage of wild yellowfin tuna taken at Socorro Island is displayed in two sections of the Monterey Bay Aquarium open water exhibit. He has produced two commercial videos, The Joy of Freediving and Freediving Made Easy.  

Terry loves to document the underwater world on still film and in magazine articles. His recent article documenting the natural history of manta rays was the featured as the front-cover exhibit in Mexico Desconocido (July 2002). His articles and photographs have been featured in such US magazines as Sport Diver, Skin Diver, Scuba Times, Western Diver and California Diving News.  Internationally, his articles appear in Sterne (Germany), Focus (Italy), Dive New Zealand and Australian Freediving and Spearfishing News. In 2000, he was inducted as a fellow into the Explorers’ Club of New York.  

Terry is the principal under water videographer for the new TV series SPEARGUN HUNTER on the Outdoor Channel.

Terry’s most recent documentation project is a recreation of the marine environment off the Channel Islands of California. He was commissioned by the National Parks Service to create a mural demonstrating biodiversity at the islands. Using his painting of white seabass in a kelp forest, Terry incorporated many other photographs of reef and pelagic animals frequenting the islands.  

While Terry remains an avid hunter, he is very selective in his take and is deeply concerned with conservation of the ocean’s bounty. He shares his underwater images of sea creatures captured in commercial poaching nets and on hooks with many environmental organizations. He is an active supporter of Sea Watch an organization dedicated to the preservation of the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. In California , he is a member of the committee to form Marine Protected Areas off the coastline.

Terry is an expert witness for speargun and blackout related injuries.

Maas is currently working with a broad coalition of national and international freedivers to develop a safety vest for the management of freediver blackout. This device is analogous to a biker’s helmet, a skydiver’s back-up safety chute, and the car driver’s airbag.

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Dr. Terry Maas 

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Diver below school of fish  On the hunt  Satisfying catch 
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Two for the road 

Portrait  School days 
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February 15, 2007 -- Volcanoes from the deep ocean to outer space Rosaly Lopes (Thanks to Ralph White #942)

Dr. Rosaly Lopes is a Principal Scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. An expert on volcanism on Earth and the planets, Dr Lopes has studied volcanoes on Earth, Mars, Jupiter's moon Io and Saturn's moon Titan. She was included in the 2005 Guiness Book of World Records for discovering more active volcanoes (71) than anyone else. She has published three books, including The Volcano Adventure Guide, the first travel guidebook to volcanoes. In 2005, she received the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society, in recognition for her work communicating science to the public and in 2006 she was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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Dr. Rosaly Lopes 
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February 22, 2007 -- “The Shadow Divers John Chatterton

John Chatterton is one of the world’s most accomplished and well known wreck divers. He was one of the co-hosts for the History Channel’s Deep Sea Detectives where they have completed work on an amazing 57 episodes of the successful series. He is also a consultant to the film and television industries and has worked with CBS and Paramount Pictures. Prior to his career in television, John spent twenty years working as a commercial diver in and around New York City, and was actually working in the water underneath the World Financial Center, across the street from the Tower #1, on 9/11/01. where they have completed work on an amazing 57 episodes of the successful series. He is also a consultant to the film and television industries and has worked with CBS and Paramount Pictures. Prior to his career in television, John spent twenty years working as a commercial diver in and around New York City, and was actually working in the water underneath the World Financial Center, across the street from the Tower #1, on 9/11/01.

His passion has always been researching and diving the deep shipwrecks of the world. In 1991, the discovery and subsequent identification of the German submarine U-869, off the coast of New Jersey, has been the subject of several television documentaries including Hitler’s Lost Sub, a two hour special for the popular NOVA series on PBS. This same story is now the subject of a New York Times bestselling book by Rob Kurson, called Shadow Divers. It is currently published in 21 languages. The movie rights to the international bestseller have been purchased by 20th Century Fox.

John was a member of the first technical diving expedition to Ireland and the legendary RMS Lusitania, in 1994. A few years later, at a depth of 400 feet, he was the first diver to use rebreather diving technology on the wreck of HMHS Britannic, near the island of Kea in Greece. Shortly after that, he was the sole American on a British expedition, sponsored by the U.S. Holocaust Museum, looking for the historic shipwreck Struma in the Black Sea near Istanbul. These dives in Turkey were chronicled on the HBO documentary Struma. In addition, John has managed to make over 160 dives to the well known wreck of the Andrea Doria.

In August of 2005, John and his partners put together an expedition to the most famous shipwreck in the world, RMS Titanic. They dove the wreck to a depth of approximately 12, 500 feet in the MIR submersibles from the Russian Research Ship, Keldysh. Their exploration was featured on the History Channel special, Titanic’s Final Moments – Missing Pieces. This award winning project was a first for John and his long time dive partner Richie Kohler in that they worked both in front of, and behind the camera. They produced the program with their close friend, Emmy Award winner Kirk Wolfinger. More specials are in the works.

The trio has also embarked on another new venture. They are producing a DVD video magazine for divers, called Dive Portal. Issue 2, has just been released to rave reviews.

            When not diving shipwrecks around the world, John makes his home in Harpswell, Maine, with his lovely wife, Carla.

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John Chatterton 

Rebreather  U-869 
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March 1, 2007 -- “Iran Hostage Crisis Louis Renner 

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Louis Renner with his "Project Credible Sport" cup 

Terry & the Pirates cup from  "Project Credible Sport"
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Louis Renner Resumé:

I retired from the Naval Weapons Station in 1989 with 35.5 years civil service. I was employed as an Aerospace Engineer with my background being mechanical engineering. Listed below are some of the notable programs I was associated with.

I was project engineer for the review and redesign of the pneumatic system on the Tomahawk missile. Tomahawk was having problems with wing deployment after extended storage. 

Was project engineer for the ASROC thrust vector control system. This was for the vertical launched ASROC system which required directional correction through 360 degrees after launch.

Was a senior engineer for the Gun Launched Guided Projectile. This system was capable of being launched from 5 inch Navy guns. This was the first solid propellant rocket to be subjected to high “G’s” during launch.


Private Pilot, single engine land.

I belong to a private railroad club which builds engines and cars to run on a one/eighth scale model track. These are similar to the ones at Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

Presentation Outline:

1.      On April 25, 1980 the USA awoke to President Jimmy Carter explaining on  national television and radio that a commando raid to rescue 53 US hostages in Iran had gone disastrously wrong.

2.      Within days Pentagon and administration officials were preparing a new set of rescue options.

3.      I received a call from my previous boss July 17, 1980 telling me he was in charge of a special program and wanted my help. He could not give details over the phone

4.      My boss Ray Miller had also been called requesting my assistance on a special program. Orders were cut for me to proceed to Lockheed Georgia Company in Atlanta Georgia on July 20, 1980. I was briefed on what the program required and was anxious to start. China Lake had already been contacted by the Pentagon and orders cut.

5.      Outline of my background at Naval Weapons Center 

A.   Tomahawk missile wing deployment system engineer

B.   ASROC thrust vector control system engineer

C.   Gun launched 5”guided projectile engineer

6.      The mission was defined using a specially modified C-130, which would land in  Tehran, allowing Delta to mount its rescue operation, then take off again with   hostages, rescuers and crew inside.

7.      The two biggest problems for this scenario were:

A.     No technical precedent for such a mission.

B.     The hostages were no longer located in close proximity.

8.      Pentagon planners issued instructions to Lockheed-Georgia Company on June 27, 1980 to begin preliminary engineering on an ultra short take-off and landing (STOL) Hercules. Mission was to land and take off from a park or football stadium in Tehran.

9.      Fresh intelligence from Iran showed that the hostages had been moved back to Tehran’s Komiteh jail.

10.  Initial development involved the use of JATO bottles. These had been used to operate from strips in the Artic and Antarctic. A Hercules had made several landings and take-offs from the US Navy carrier Forrestal.

11.  On July 16, 1980 Lockheed reported back that JATO power and arrest gear would be insufficient. It was found that 58 JATO’s would be needed.

12.  The Navy was brought on board at this time to provide expertise in rocket power.

13.  Only existing production rocket motors were considered. With the final result being to use two quad pods of MK-56, Standard missile motors for take off thrust. Two Shrike missile motors would be added under each wing for yaw control. Eight ASROC motors were mounted in fairings around the cockpit for deceleration of the aircraft. Four pairs of Shrike motors fixed vertically beside the main landing gear would unload the wings during flaring to land.

14.  Work began immediately to modify the C-130 to be able to withstand rocket motor forces. This included added structural capability, horsels and dorsels extended ailerons and improved braking. Delivery was to be in a maximum of two months. This included a passenger restraint system for up to 150 passengers.

15.  With modifications complete we next moved to a remote airfield in Florida for testing. This was a secure test base within the boundaries of Eglin Air Force Base

16.  Ground and simulator training began on August 28. On 18 September, the partially modified test bed made its maiden flight. Two days later it made a first series of trials using the retro-rockets. Then there was a buildup of first only 2 Mk 56 motors and then asymmetric burns to test the yaw correction rockets.

17.  The testing also evaluated take-off performance. Three weeks later tests were complete and Lockheed delivered the first fully modified XFC-130H Super STOL.

18.   On October 17 the aircraft made its first flight during which flutter problems were encountered with the extended ailerons. A fix was implemented and flown within two days. We had also encountered un-bonding of the horizontal stabilizer which was corrected with a heat barrier coating.  

19.  The first firings involved only two Mk 56 motors. Then a series of asymmetrical burns to test the wing-mounted yaw-correction rockets. 

20.  On October 29 we prepared for a takeoff under full operational conditions. This resulted in a new record for tactical STOL operations. From brake release the XFC-130H’s nose gear lifted six feet in the air before 3 meters of ground roll. Within 50 meters it was airborne (one & one-half times it’s own length). After a further 70 meters it was passing the 30 ft. altitude mark at 115 kt. The aircraft was stable and in control throughout.

21.  Then came the first super-STOL landing. Everything went according to plan until moments before touchdown. For reasons not entirely clear the crew engaged all the retro rockets, and the aircraft stopped completely while still 20 feet in the air.

22.  On October 31 Tehran radio announced a plan to release the hostages. On 20 January, hours after the inauguration of President Regan, the hostages were released.

23.  Show video of the tests.

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March 8, 2007 -- “About Wild Bill Hollywood Maverick William Wellman, Jr. (Thanks to Gary Hareland)

William Wellman, Jr. Recent HeadshotWilliam Wellman, Jr., son of Hollywood's legendary director, "Wild Bill" Wellman, spent most of his childhood around filmdom's celebrities. His neighborhood was filled with them. Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Carole Lombard, Frank Capra, Lana Turner, John Payne, Jennifer Jones, Red Skelton, Peter Lawford, William "Hopalong Cassidy" Boyd to name just a few. If they weren't coming to his family home, he met them at theirs, or on the sets and locations of 23 of his father's films. His first girlfriend was Jane Fonda.

While still in his teens, he left Duke University for a career in the movies. He is credited with over 180 movies and television shows, 17 stage productions and some 200 commercial and industrial films. In 1981, he was awarded the Best Actor of The Year by the Christian Film Distributors for Heartland's BROTHER ENEMY. He was nominated again in 1982 for Mark IV Pictures' THE PRODIGAL PLANET.

Some of his feature roles include:

  • IMAGE OF THE BEAST (1982);
  • MACARTHUR (1977);
  • IT'S ALIVE (1973);
  • BLACK CAESAR (1972);
  • BORN LOSERS (1967);
  • WINTER-A-GO-GO (1965);
  • A SWINGIN' SUMMER (1964);
  • REBEL IN THE RING (1962);
  • THE ERRAND BOY (1962);
  • YOUNG SINNER (1960);
  • MACUMBA LOVE (1960);
  • DARBY'S RANGERS (1958);
  • SAYONARA (1957)

Head ShotHis television work includes recurring roles in the daytime dramas DAYS OF OUR LIVES and YOUNG LIVES, and guest roles in episodes of:

  • JAG
  • FBI

In TV Movies and mini-series shows such as:

About the Presentation:

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Wild Bill Wellman 

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"Wild Bill", as he was nicknamed, forged a directing career spanning 35 years and 76 films including that of the winner for the first Best Picture Oscar for WINGS, (1927). Wellman, a daring fighter pilot seriously wounded in World War I, was not easily cowed by the brutality of this Hollywood studio system. He fought his way, often with both fists, carving out film classics such as:
    • PUBLIC ENEMY, (1931)
    • A STAR IS BORN, (1937)
    • NOTHING SACRED, (1937)
    • BEAU GESTE, (1939)
    • THE OX-BOW INCIDENT, (1943)
    • THE STORY OF G.I. JOE, (1945)
    • YELLOW SKY, (1945)
    • BATTLEGROUND, (1949)
    • THE HIGH AND MIGHTY, (1954)

The superb documentary is highlighted by 28 interviews with icons of yesterday and today including:

  • Robert Redford
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Robert Mitchum
  • Gregory Peck
  • Sidney Poitier
  • Nancy Reagan
  • Martin Scorcese
  • Richard Widmark
  • Robert Wise

…. and many, many more.

Bill Wellman Sr.

Wellman and Wellman

William had a picture given to him by his Father from Dad's days as a fighter pilot in World War I. Bill Jr. took a photo of himself taken on location of a CBS series pilot film, WARBIRDS*, (1961). He then re-photographed the two shots into one picture. This photo was then framed and given to his father for his birthday.
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March 15, 2007 -- “Self-fly safari flying through South Africa, Botswana, and southern Zambia Andrea Donnellan

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Andrea Donnellan
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Andrea Donnellan and Bob Oberto spent 16 days on a self-fly safari flying through South Africa, Botswana, and southern Zambia.  The two were joined by two other couples, each in their own airplane.  The group was treated to stunning views of wildlife, sunsets, and scenery in such diverse settings as the Okavango Delta, Kalahari Pans, Victoria Falls, and Kruger National Park.  Oberto and Donnellan have converted their experiences into a multimedia presentation that includes photos, video, and music highlighting the wildlife, culture, and environment of the region.

Andrea Donnellan Bio:

Andrea Donnellan is the InSAR Science Lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is a research professor at the University of Southern California. Prior to that she was Deputy Manager of the Science Division at JPL. Donnellan is also the QuakeSim principal investigator, a project to integrate GPS and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) satellite technology with high performance computer models to study earthquakes, plate tectonics, and the corresponding movements of the earth's crust. She has been a geophysicist at JPL since 1993 and was involved in establishing the Southern California Integrated GPS Network, a state-of-the-art continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) network used for earthquake hazard assessment and mitigation.

Born in Michigan in 1964 Donnellan was raised in the greater Chicago area.  She received a bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University in 1986, with a geology major and mathematics minor.  She received her master’s and Ph.D. in geophysics from Caltech's Seismological Laboratory in 1988 and 1991 respectively. Donnellan later returned to school and received an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California in 2003. Upon completion of her Ph.D. she held a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Donnellan was a Visiting Associate at the Seismological Laboratory at Caltech from 1995 to 1996. In December 1996 Donnellan received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and in 2000, she received the Lew Allen Award for Excellence in Research – the highest honors possible for the US and JPL respectively in recognition of significant leadership and technological innovation performed during the early years of a researcher's professional career. In 2003 Donnellan received the Women in Aerospace Award for Outstanding Achievement, in 2004 the Woman At Work Medal of Excellence, and in 2006 she was the MUSES of the California Science Center Foundation Woman of the Year.

Donnellan has conducted field studies in California in the region of the Northridge earthquake, the Ventura basin, and on the San Andreas fault.  She has also carried out fieldwork on the West Antarctic Ice Streams, in the Dry Valleys, and in Marie Byrd Land of Antarctica, on the Altiplano of Bolivia, in Mongolia, and on Variegated Glacier in Alaska.  She has published over 35 articles in several leading journals and has edited or co-edited several special journal issues on earthquake simulations.

Donnellan is an instrument rated commercial land and sea pilot, SCUBA diver, and enjoys photography, running, ice skating, dancing ballet, and playing the piano.  Donnellan has been a finalist in the astronaut selection process three times. She is a resident of Altadena, California and enjoys spending time with her son Alexander.

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Giraffe  Lions 
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Bob Oberto 

Bob & Andrea 
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March 22, 2007 -- “Tracking Chimps in Mahale Alan Feldstein

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In 2005 Alan Feldstein (#1094) reached a milestone birthday.  In celebration of that event Alan decided to return to the place he loved – Eastern Africa .  During this trip he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and safaried with his wife.  They also decided to visit the Mahale Mountains on Lake Tanganyika to track chimpanzees.  This visit turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip.  Alan will give a presentation on his trip to Mahale, (which was the subject of a Los Angeles Times travel article) the experience he had as he closely observed the Chimps, learned about their society, their personalities and discovered that Chimps, being 96% genetically similar to humans, revealed an invaluable lesson.   Stripping away the trappings of modern life focuses you on what is important – community, social interaction and family.

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March 29, 2007 LADIES’ NIGHT — Dale R. Hindman – “John Booth – Magic Inc.”

The Magic Castle The Academy of Magical Arts

Dale Hindman is Past President, President Emeritus of The Academy of Magical Arts, Inc, that is the club that has the Magic Castle as the clubhouse. He will be performing his money act with his magic square, which John Booth has seen him do many times. He will talk about John's relationship with his magician grandfather, Ray Muse. Milt Larsen will talk about his longtime friendship, since the days of his father, and how John married Milt and his wife Arlene. John Goddard will introduce them all with the flair that has made John a stalwart of the Club for decades.

Guest of Honor John N. Booth

John paid his way through McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario) with an act of magic.  After graduating, he gave one-hour assembly programs in U.S. high schools, with one assistant, for 17 months.  Ambitious, he switched to nightclubs with a 10 minute act.  Soon he was playing top nightclubs in New York City, Chicago and Montreal.  Booked from New York City, agents put him in leading elegant hotels like the Bismarck (Chicago), Muehlbach (Kansas City), Chase (St. Louis) and Washington-Youree (Shreveport).  Although he had left these fields and became a Unitarian minister, to augment his meager salary, he entered the celebrity lecture platform world with an hour-and-ten-minute program presenting magic and mind reading.

His lecture/performing subjects took him into the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Cleveland Town Hall, West Point Military Academy, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and Illinois State Normal University, for example.

 In the world’s largest single campus university (Minnesota), he was introduced by the head of the International Lyceum Association:  “THERE ARE TWO PERSONS WHO ALWAYS FILL OUR HALL TO OVERFLOWING…..LILLY PON (Metropolitan Opera Star) and JOHN BOOTH.  (6000 people)”.

At the legendary center of Chautauqua, N.Y., Ralph McCallister, director, wrote:  “Mr. Booth’s program at Chautauqua last night (for about 7000 people) was one of the very best we have ever had.  The audience was delighted with both Mr. Booth and his superb skill as an entertainer.”

The China Mail in Hong Kong: “Booth’s exhibition drew repeated rounds of applause.”

The Magician Monthly in London (U.K.), Blyth: “John Booth presented his effects with an artistic finish which fully justified the claim of magic to be included among the great arts.”

A Noite  in Rio de Janeiro: “An astonishing magician who combines with his art an exceptional personal charm.”

The Daily Star, Montreal: “He manipulates all sorts of things with a speed that is uncanny.  (His fish from the air) is unbelievable until you see it.”

Variety, critical U.S. theatrical paper: “Suave Canadian who is among the niftiest sleight-of-handers.  Good for wide-eyed amazement and plenty of laughs as well.  Over big here and could easily do twice his allotment.”

Billboard magazine review: “Still the best spot in town, the Chez Ami (Buffalo, N.Y.) is presenting the best show we have seen here.  John Booth, an extremely personable and skilled magician, not only performs in a suave style but presents an unusual array of stunts.”

John Booth has written 12 books on magic, mentalism and performing.  Forging Ahead in Magic, wrote John Mulholland, ought to be our Bible.  Psychic Paradoxes, translated into Spanish, is a best seller.  All but two books are hardbound, published in London (U.K.), Canada, the U.S.A. and Spain.  Published in 435 consecutive months of The Linking Ring were “Memoirs of a Magician’s Ghost”, a history of magic and autobiography of John Booth.  Sketched in Who’s Who in America.


The Magic Castle

The Magic Castle is the world's most famous club for magicians and magic enthusiasts and home to The Academy of Magical Arts, Inc. The Magic Castle is the showplace for some of the greatest magicians from around the globe. The Magic Castle takes great pride in showcasing its magnificent building. Built in 1908, this storied mansion has watched Hollywood grow and change for almost 100 years while never losing its original charm.

The Magic Castle is the private clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts, Inc, a very special organization devoted to the advancement of the ancient art of magic. The purpose of The Academy is to encourage and promote public interest in the art of magic with particular emphasis on preserving its history as an art form, entertainment medium, and hobby. Beginning with a charter membership of 150, the Academy has grown into a world-renowned fraternal organization with a membership of nearly 5,000.
The Magic Castle began its life as a private home built in 1908 by banker and real estate magnate Rollin B. Lane. Mr. Lane owned much of what is now Hollywood, dreaming of turning his land into orange groves, farms and ranches. But a severe drought brought an end to his dreams and orange blossoms never filled the valley.

After the Lane family moved away in the 1940s, the mansion was divided into a multi-family home, then became a home for the elderly, and was finally transformed into a maze of small apartments. By 1960, the fate of the Mansion was uncertain. Then Milt Larsen met the owner, Thomas O. Glover. Milt was a writer on the NBC TV show "Truth or Consequences." His office was on the ninth floor of a Hollywood office building that overlooked the Lane mansion. Milt's late father, William W. Larsen, Sr., was a renowned magician and had long dreamed of building an elegant private club for magicians.

The Lane mansion would become that club. In September of 1961, Milt and a crew of eternally generous friends and volunteers began the extraordinary task of returning this run-down apartment building to its glorious past. After months of scraping and sanding, the rich Victorian elegance began to resurface.

The Magic Castle opened its doors at 5 p.m. on January 2, 1963. Today more than four decades later, the Castle has become the world-famous "home" to the Academy of Magical Arts, Inc.and their invited guests.

The Academy of Magical Arts

The Academy of Magical Arts, Inc., is a non-profit social order which is devoted to the advancement of magic.

AMA Mission Statement
The Academy of Magical Arts, Inc. has been and will continue to be the premier organization in the world dedicated to the art of MAGIC.

We are an organization which promotes the art of magic, encourages fellowship and maintains the highest ethical standards. We provide a friendly environment where members and their guests can enjoy the art and each other’s company.

Our goals and objectives are to advance the art and promote a positive image of magic and magicians worldwide.

There are several types of membership within the Academy:

MAGICIAN (REGULAR) MEMBERS are qualified magicians who are actively practicing magic either as a career or hobby, and have auditioned before Academy's membership reviewing committee. Also included in the Magician Membership are non-performers, such as producers, writers, magic historians, scholars and inventors who have demonstrated more than a superficial interest and knowledge of magic. Currently, there are close to 2500 Magician Members in the Academy living in over two dozen countries around the world.

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS are people who love the art of magic and our club. Many of these members are professionals from the entertainment, law, finance and medical fields; some are amateur magicians who do not perform enjoy the magical arts as a hobby; and others are friends of Magician Members who enjoy the unique atmosphere of the most mysterious private club in the world. Associate Member applications must be approved by the Board of Directors.

HONORARY LIFE MEMBERSHIPS and VIP MEMBERSHIPS are presented by the Board of Directors to world famous magicians, celebrities and individual members of the Academy who have contributed to the advancement of the art of magic.

JUNIOR MEMBERSHIPS are granted to talented young magicians between the ages of 13 and 21 who meet once a month and are allowed limited access to the Academy’s facilities and The Magic Castle, to learn in workshops and lectures from some of the finest names in magic, and to practice, study, and showcase their talents before one another and the Academy at largem during the annual Future Stars of Magic shows. The Junior Magicians Group has a very limited membership, and acceptance into the group is by audition only.

Members of The Academy of Magical Arts, Inc. are proud to be a part of an internationally recognized organization which develops new ways of stimulating interest in and promoting the art of magic, the most effective being its clubhouse, the most unique private club in the world: The Magic Castle.

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April 5, 2007  — Gordon Cucullu – “Separated at Birth: How North Korea Became the Evil Twin

Gordon Cucullu Gordon Cucullu in Uniform

Gordon Cucullu - author, commentator and speaker - 
military affairs, current events, cultural dynamics, politics & International Business Issues.

Gordon Cucullu appears regularly on local and national radio programs, television shows and is a sought after speaker and commentator. Having spent a lifetime associated with Asia, Gordon now makes his expertise available to you through his new book and his exciting personal appearances. Author of Separated at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin, Gordon is an acknowledged authority on East Asia, especially the volatile Korean peninsula.

Gordon Cucullu has been an Army Green Beret lieutenant colonel, a writer, a popular speaker, a business executive and a farmer. He lived for more than thirteen years in East Asia, including eight years in Korea. He worked on Korea and East Asian affairs at both the Pentagon and Department of State. His first major non-fiction work, Separated at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin, is based in large part on his extensive experience in working with Korea and East Asia from a governmental insider and private sector standpoint.

Gordon took on the challenge of writing Separated at Birth after receiving strong support from his agent, Joanne Wang, who correctly identified the need for a book of this kind. Separated at Birth is designed for a general audience that is interested in current affairs, contemporary issues and the war on terror. The book focuses on North Korea in terms of South Korea. In it Gordon explains how Korea came to be divided and how the two halves have grown in markedly different ways because of competing ideologies of freedom versus communism. It concludes by discussing a dramatic series of coordinated policy options to deal with the current crisis.

Gordon grew up as the son of an Air Force officer, a WW II and Korean War veteran. He lived as a child in Japan during the Korean War. After the war his father left service and returned to New Orleans where Gordon finished schooling, graduating with a History degree from University of New Orleans. In 1967 Gordon turned back a three year graduate fellowship from University of North Carolina to volunteer for military service. He enlisted and after graduation from Infantry Officer Candidate School, Airborne and Special Forces training went first to Okinawa and Korea and then to Vietnam.

In Vietnam Gordon was a member of the highly classified Studies and Observation Group that conducted top secret reconnaissance missions into Laos, Cambodia and denied areas of Vietnam. Gordon says, “I was not a hero but was honored to serve in the company of heroes, most of them unrecognized because of the secret nature of the missions.” Later Gordon went to Korea where he was the first American to attend a mid-level Korean officer’s school and was charter member of a new Korean-US Combined Forces Command. From Korea he was assigned to the Pentagon where he was planned and managed military assistance to Central American countries in a volatile period. His last active duty assignment was as an exchange officer to the State Department where he was a political-military advisor to the assistant secretary of state for East Asia Pacific Affairs, a position then held by Paul Wolfowitz.

Gordon returned to Korea as a General Electric Aerospace vice president where he had a successful four year stint. He was then hired by the Korea Society in New York City to rescue that faltering organization. In 1994 Gordon relocated to a farm in Walton, NY and started a llama and alpaca operation called East Brook Farms.

Gordon is a prolific fiction writer also and has produced a manuscript for an historical novel called Phoenix Rising that is the first of a series of five books based on events in East Asia. It begins in 1930 and ends in 1952 at the height of the Korean War. The first three chapters of Phoenix Rising are posted on Gordon’s website.

In addition to his books, Gordon for the past seven years has also produced a weekly opinion column entitled The Right Approach. It is published in the Walton Reporter, an Upstate newspaper and is available on his site also. He is a frequent op-ed writer for major newspapers and for the burgeoning new Internet newsletter sites such as and Fox

Since the Attack on America on September 11, 2001 Gordon has been a frequently requested analyst on major radio and television stations. He has more than forty appearances on the Fox News Channel, especially on the popular morning show Fox & Friends. Gordon was hired by WABC TV Channel 7 in New York City to be its on-camera analyst during the War in Iraq, appearing on several score occasions. He has been a regular on WABC and Westwood One radio talk shows hosted by Monica Crowley, Steve Malzberg, John Bachelor-Steve Alexander and others. Gordon is a welcome guest on Linda Chavez’s popular talk show on Liberty Broadcasting radio. He has also done a regular radio program with host Laurie Morrow on WDEV in Vermont and with host Mike Rose on the FAN in Atlanta.

Gordon is a high-demand speaker by many groups and organizations including academic, military, veterans, civic and foreign affairs oriented organizations. He has entertained and informed audiences across the country appearing most recently in New York, Memphis, Burlington, Houston and Boston. He is currently expanding a speaking tours honoring Korean War veterans. The tour theme is “Remembering the Forgotten War.” The tour was kicked off in Vermont, and preparations are underway for more appearances around the country. Watch the web site for details. If you are interested in booking Gordon as a speaker for your event please contact him through his web site.

Ten percent of all profits that Gordon makes from his writing and speaking are donated to charity, especially to Korean War veterans’ projects.

Author: Separated at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin

BA, University of New Orleans, LA
Graduate studies in History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
MS, Systems Management, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
US Army Command & General Staff College
Korean Army College
General Electric Advanced Marketing Managers Seminar

Distinguished History Student, UNO
Honor Graduate, US Army Infantry School, OCS and Officers Advanced Courses
Distinguished Graduate, US Army School for Special Warfare (Green Berets)
Honor Graduate, Reconnaissance Team Leaders Course, MACVSOG, Vietnam
Distinguished US Graduate, Korean Army College

Military Awards

Bronze Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2), Joint Services Commendation Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, US Presidential Unit Commendation, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Vietnamese Parachute Badge, Korean Parachute Badge, Special Forces Tab

Contact Gordon:

Web site: or
Mail: 2410 Dunk Hill Road, Walton, NY 13856
Telephone: 607.865.7238 or mobile 607.435.1728
Literary Agent: Joanne Wang Agency

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April 12, 2007  — Joe Valencic – “Dubai and The Palm Islands….Modern Wonders in an Ancient World”

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"The World"

Professor Joe "Palm Island"
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For over 6 years since its inception, Adventure Club Member Professor Joe Valencic has been involved with the development of one of the world’s largest construction projects, the building of the various Palm Islands and World Project located in Dubai, UAE.

Joe and his underwater research team have conducted all the original baseline marine studies and developed marine monitoring programs to look at the succession of marine life on the world’s largest artificial reef. Palm Island 1 alone adds more new oceanfront that the coastline from Los Angeles to San Diego. With the many additional Palms Islands and The World artificial island development an incredible amount of new coastline and marine habitat is now available. But not all the news is good and the talk will provide a true behind the scenes look at the impact of these incredible offshore developments. He will also discuss the sinking of two large Airbus planes and several jet fighters as part of the themed underwater dive area.

Joe has participated in two Discovery Channel programs and two National Geographic programs on the Palm Islands. Several months he worked with National Geographic for another one-hour special in their Mega Structure Series on The World development, man-made islands shaped to form the continents and starting at $25 million each. More information can be found on his web site at:

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April 19, 2007 -- Steve Bein – “Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, and other sights of 2006 

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Steve Bein
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In November 2006, Steve Bein traveled to Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras. Roatan is where they allege that Morgan the Pirate hid some of his gold. People are still searching for it. The trip encompasses what was available for excitement in Roatan, except for bar hopping and the 2000 foot submarine dive. The operator of the submarine was on vacation or that would have been included so a return trip is in order.

The trip included scuba diving on reefs, walls, wrecks and even a shark dive where the participants swam with the sharks and the guide was bitten. A new underwater camera system was used to capture the images of the exciting, fun trip.

Jungle canopy trips are popular in the tropics, but this canopy trip, besides the included not only the usual zip line run ( 100 meters) but crossing single cables and also a horizontal ladder. The jungle canopy ended with a climbing wall. Not the run of the mill canopy trip.

On Roatan, there is an amphibious light aircraft powered by two roatax engines. Half of the flight, Steve flew the plane besides getting some interesting images of Roatan and some of its near islands and islets.

The week after returning from Roatan, there was an oil rig dive and continuation to the kelp beds of Catalina. Oil rigs present structure in the ocean where there would be none and they are usually isolated. This presents the opportunity for an immense concentration of sealife. Not a lot of different species, but the most concentrated that I have ever seen in over  40 years of diving.

Time allowing, some other trips of 2006 will be reviewed including storm chasing, a flight from California to Alaska in a single engine plane, dodging storms, and a few others.


April 19, 2007 — Bill Morse – “Walking through Minefields”

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Bill Morse
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Bill Morse lives in Palm Springs.  He served in the US Army, taught school for a while, and ran his own business from 1980 to 1998 when he sold it to a NYSE company.

In 2002 he helped a friend buy a metal detector for an ex-Khmer Rouge soldier in Cambodia who was clearing landmines by hand.  Later that year he traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia to find this ex-child soldier and learn more about his work.  After meeting him, and giving him all the money he had and all he could talk out of his travel partners, he returned to the US and started the Landmine Relief Fund, headquartered in Palm Springs.

He’s traveled back to Cambodia on several occasions to work with Aki Ra who had by then adopted a dozen maimed and orphaned children and was raising them along side his own two kids (with the help of his very tolerant wife).

In November of 2006 Bill traveled with Aki Ra into the jungles of northern Cambodia to watch as Aki Ra searched for hidden minefields, unexploded ordinance and a lot of other scary things you don’t want to find on vacation.

April 19, 2007 — Dave Ziskin – “R/V Aylantis”

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R/V Atlantis Dave inspecting Alvin
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Dave served in Viet Nam as a radio officer on Sea Shepherd while it was fired upon off the coast of Norway, radio officer on many Military Sealift Command and civilian ships. He currently is serving as radio/electronics officer on Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution research vessels. His latest assignment was on the R/.V Atlantis which went to the East Pacific Rise to conduct research on a subsurface volcano which erupted about January 26, 2006. He will bring a sample of basalt and obsidian from the eruption.

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Robert Lowell Thermonuclear burst
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Bob Lowell represents the scientific generation just after the development of the atom bomb under the well known Manhattan Project. By the mid ‘60’s atmospheric testing ceased, and in 1967 Bob, as a summer student, was asked to help create a pulsed power accelerator, using Van de Graaff technology, to generate the short burst of nuclear Xrays for laboratory investigation.  This “Flash Xray” or FX-25, as it was called is still in use today as a workhorse for testing electronic components against the “Prompt Effects” of Nuclear Weapons.

Bob has spent the last four decades as a “Cold Warrior” performing research and hardening military satellites, missiles, aircraft (B2) and ground systems against the effects of intense nuclear weapons environments, which include gamma’s, Xrays, beta’s, and neutrons.  Bob, with group of a dozen colleagues, performed the last Underground Test (UGT) in Mercury, Nevada, called Hunter’s Trophy in the summer of 1993. The key experiment was to expose an 8 degree Kelvin homing interceptor to nuclear levels 10 times greater than ever done, and demonstrate an “
Operate Through” capability, i.e. complete mission success.
Bob will give a “layman’s” overview of the output of a nuclear weapon, the kinds of effects it can have on systems, and discuss, in particular, the potential effects on humans from the military experiments conducted in Nevada in the 1950’s.  He will conclude his talk with some excerpts from the “Trinity and Beyond”, which archived the original films of the early atmospheric nuclear tests.


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May 3, 2007  — LADIES' NIGHT — “Pierre Odier – Kalimantan Borneo-The Search for the Last Headhunter”

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"Lady Ears" 

 Pierre with "Lady Ears"  
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In 1957 Pierre traveled on his own to Egypt which marked the beginning of his quest to quench his global curiosity.  Ever since that adventure, he has traveled to the most remote parts of the world in search of exciting new discoveries.  His many adventures heightened his interest in existing indigenous cultures.  Today, after 37 years of teaching high school, Pierre's main life focus is the researching, documenting, and collection of information about these indigenous tribes.

Pierre's searching for the traditional headhunters of Kalimantan Borneo is based on his recent contact with the headhunters of Burma/Maynmar Golden Triangle natives.


Borneo has always carried the reputation of being the center of all headhunting customs by remote tribes. Today Borneo is no longer independent but is ruled by three different countries. Sarawak, the northwestern part and Sabah the northeastern part of this island, is governed by Malaysia. Brunei is a Sultanate run by the Sultan Hassanil Bolkiah. Kalimantan is the southern part of this island, and is governed by Indonesia.


Kalimantan, of all the sections of Borneo, is the least connected, least traveled, and the poorest part of Borneo. Kalimantan is the most exploited and underdeveloped region. Pierre will be talking about his four weeks exploration up the Mahakam River in search of the Punans and Dayak tribes.

Pierre's website is:

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 May 10, 2007 — Ted Crovello – “Xinjiang:  China’s Northwest Treasure

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Xinjiang child 

 Xinjiang camels Xinjiang man  
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Ted and the Great Wall  Warior 

  Ted with grapes 
in Kashgar 
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.Ted recently retired as Cal State University, L. A. Dean of Graduate Studies & Research, Campus China Coordinator, and Professor of Biology (Environmental Sciences).  He spends time each year at Chinese campuses and also works to increase interactions with U.S. universities. In this richly illustrated presentation, you are invited to meet some of the people and explore some aspects of this beautifully diverse and geopolitically strategic area that comprises one-sixth of China’s entire land area.

About Ted Crovello:

o       Ted was born and raised in a foreign country: Brooklyn, New York!

 o       While a senior in high school, a distant cousin invited him to spend a weekend in the New Jersey Pine Barrens to help plant tree seedlings for forestry research; this was a turning point in his life.  He went on the State University of New York’s College of Forestry in Syracuse for his bachelor’s degree.

o       At U.C. Berkeley, his Ph.D. research involved one of the first uses of computers to help to classify plant species.

 o       Moving to the faculty at The University of Notre Dame, he developed effective uses of  computers in education and to solve research problems in biogeography and plant classification.  He also developed computer data bases using museum collections

o       Ted’s field research has included studies in Kenya to control mosquito populations without chemicals in coastal villages;    and in Central Asia to study endangered species and environments.   

o       He has taught or given research presentations in various countries, including Argentina, China, Finland, Russia and Venezuela

 o       Ted has written or co-edited five books, translated a book from Russian to English and published over 80 articles in biological research and education

 o       He spent a year at Stanford University studying artificial intelligence (1985-86); [he figured that he needed all the help he could get, and that artificial intelligence was better than none!.]

 o       In 1987 he came to California State University, Los Angeles as Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and Professor of Biological Sciences;

 o       Retiring from the university a few years early, he is currently a higher education consultant and lecturer, both in China and the United States.

 o       Ted’s first trip to China was to Xinjiang in 2001, as Cal State L.A.’s “Campus Coordinator for China Activities.” He has been to China seven times since 2001.

o       Currently he works with two local non-profit organizations:

o       Outward Bound Adventures (Vice Chair of  the Board); and

o       The China Subcommittee of the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee (committee member)

o       Ted, his wife, 3 cats, wild birds and numerous ground squirrels live in Altadena on the edge of the chaparral.

o       He enjoys hiking, tai ji quan and helping to make good things happen!

o       Current activities and interests include:

o       Lecturing, teaching and working with faculty, administrators and students at Chinese universities

o       Connecting universities in China and in the United States

o       Environmental change and sustainability at the local, regional and global levels

o       Comparative study of the environments and ecology of California and of northwest China in the context of global change.

o       Studying linkages and interactions between the environment and various sectors of society

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May 17, 2007  — Jim Dorsey – “Another day at the office – with Gray Whales”

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Jim Dorsey 

 Baby Gray Whale 
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When Jim Dorsey, member # 1081, is not exploring remote parts of the world, he works as a certified marine naturalist trained by the American Cetacean Society, through the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro. In Mexico he works for Baja Ecotours.

He has kayaked, canoed or sailed the rim of fire from southern Alaska to the tip of Baja, the Sea of Cortez, Channel Islands, and Hawaii, in search of whales. He has spent ten seasons on the water in San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja, educating people about Gray Whales and interacting with them on the water.

Jim’s office is a 20 foot boat, and he is usually surrounded by 45 foot whales. His articles about, and photos of, whales have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, California Wild, Sea Kayaker, Outdoor Japan, and Travelers'Tales, and he is a regular contributor to Wavelength and Ocean magazines. He has also written for the Seattle Times, Orlando Sentinel, and LA Weekly.

Jim's presentation is a collection of his personal close encounters and observations of the only known wild animal on earth who actively seeks out human contact.

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May 24, 2007  — Michael Gwaltney – “The International Police Museum of Southern California”

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Michael Gwaltney 

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The International Police Museum of Southern California was founded and incorporated by Captain Michael J. Gwaltney in 1998. 

Captain Michael J. Gwaltney

Capt. Michael Gwaltney is a member of the International Police Association (IPA) and throughout his many travels began collecting police hats in 1987 while on a trip to Germany.  His idea was to collect a few hats so he might display them in his office at the Police Department.  As his hat collection began to rapidly grow, the Chief of Police permitted him to place a display case in the Police Department.

Over the years, Capt. Gwaltney has become well known throughout the world as “The Hatman” and has developed contacts with many International Police Museum curators.  In April 1999, Capt. Gwaltney traveled to Austria with the specific purpose of purchasing a private Police Museum which was being sold.  Again, with his own money, he purchased an East German “Full Dress” Police Motorcycle, a collection of 250 police batons, 150 complete uniforms, 600 additional police hats, and boxes of display items.

A portion of Capt. Gwaltney’s hat collection includes a large collection of German Police Tschakos (Shakos) including an 1888 “spiked” Police helmet, Post-WWI Tschakos, Third Reich Tschakos, Post-WWII Tschakos, and the rare East German Tschakos.  One of the highlights of the Museum’s collection is the only surviving example of a Jewish Warsaw Ghetto Police hat from 1944.  Many private police badge and patch collectors have been contacted and are anxious to place their collections on rotating displays in the Museum.

 Start of the Museum

While primarily specializing in police hats, Capt. Gwaltney also began collecting any and all items pertaining to foreign police forces.  Annual vacations were scheduled to countries that he didn’t have hats from.  As a member of the International Police Association, he received many hats from foreign cops who visited him or who were invited for Ride-a-Longs with HPPD.  During his trips abroad, he visited every Police Museum that he could locate.  There are only a small number of Police Museums in the United States, fewer yet which display international police memorabilia.

 By 1998, Capt. Gwaltney had amassed 1000 plus police hats, of which 300 were displayed at the Police Department along with many framed displays of foreign patches, badges, and insignia.  Many school classes scheduled tours of the Police Department specifically to view the Museum and the Museum is highlighted during the annual Police Department “Open House”.  The concept of an “Official Non-Profit” Museum was developed as a retirement goal by Capt. Gwaltney and was a logical venue in which to donate his personal collection of police memorabilia.  He formed a Museum Board of Directors from members of the IPA who were also police and military memorabilia collectors.  Personal funds were used to acquire tax exempt and non-profit status and in April of 1998, The International Police Museum of Southern California became an official “501 (c)(3) Non-Profit” Museum. 

Museum Expansion

The Museum plan is to expand it’s display area to include World War II military memorabilia and items from the Holocaust.  Many items of WWII militaria from Germany, Japan & Italy have already been donated to the Museum and we hope that WWII Veterans and their heirs could make additional donations of WWII items to display.

 The Museum’s primary need, at this point, is funding to purchase additional mannequins and display cases. The Museum is currently seeking funds from Foundations, Businesses, and from personal donations    The Museum has tax exempt status from the State of California and is recognized as a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Public Museum by the Internal Revenue Service.  Any funds donated to the Museum are tax deductible and donors will receive a receipt for an IRS tax deduction. Donations are asked to be made payable to “The Intl. Police Museum of So. Cal.” and forwarded to:

 The International Police Museum
% Capt. M. Gwaltney. H.P.P.D.
6542 Miles Avenue
Huntington Park, CA 90255

 Visiting the Museum

If anyone is interested in visiting the Museum or who have any questions regarding financially assisting the Museum, please contact our Curator, Capt. Michael Gwaltney (Ret.) at 323-826-6627.  Capt. Gwaltney may also be reached at his e-mail address of .

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May 31, 2007  — Robert Byrd Breyer – “Admiral Richard E. Byrd – My Grandfather”

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Admiral Richard E. Byrd 

 Admiral Richard E. Byrd 

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Robert Byrd Breyer 

 Robert Byrd Breyer 
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Robert Byrd Breyer is the son of Katharine Byrd Breyer, second oldest daughter of Admiral Richard E. Byrd.

  • Born in Los Angeles in 1948
  • As the second oldest of 13 Byrd grandkids Bob was old enough to get to know his grandfather before the Admiral died in 1957. 
  • Eagle Scout
  • B.S. in Business and MBA degrees from USC
  • Hiked, camped and climbed from Switzerland to New Zealand and many places in between
  • In 1973 he landed a job with Holmes & Narver Inc., a contractor in Orange County, that had a contract with the National Science Foundation to build a science station at the geographic South Pole in Antarctica. Bob traveled to Antarctica three times and is the only Byrd grandchild to follow in his grandfather's footsteps and actually work down on the Ice.
  • Bob's beautiful blond daughter, Betsy, recently granduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and his son, Bobby Jr. is a corporal in the United States Marine Corps.

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June 7, 2007  — John Calvert – “Nearly a century of Magic!”

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John Calvert 

 John Calvert with Ben Robinson 

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John Calvert flying

 John Calvert's famous
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Images provided by Ben Robinson

John Calvert is an American treasure, and – according to many of his fans – the best stage magician ever. There is no one else alive who can tell his story. A walking legend. Excepting the former USSR, Calvert has been to every country on Earth with his show. Sporting movie star looks and credentials, a great big magic show (often traveling on his own plane or huge yacht) with a “bevy of beauties” and breath-taking illusions, Calvert’s show is presented with good clean humor for all ages! He’s entertained more than 60 million people for nearly 90 years! He was once overheard saying: “I haven’t pulled into a port anywhere on this planet in the last 50 years where I didn’t know somebody at the dock.”

Born on August 5, 1911, in New Trenton, Indiana, Calvert has been practicing his magic for nearly one hundred years, and he’s still going strong! It is a rare privilege to have him at the Los Angeles Adventurers’ Club.

John’s childhood passion for magic and illusion grew into a career, and he made more than 20,000 appearances on stage. During World War II his magic show ran for five months in Hollywood. Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Danny Kaye and Edgar Bergen with Charlie McCarthy were among the big celebrities who helped out in his act. In his mid 90s, he still tours with his act, assisted by his wife.

John played “The Falcon” in three pictures, following George Sanders and Tom Conway (Sanders’ brother) into the series.

John broke into films making $600 a day as a hand-double for Clark Gable in Honky Tonk (1941). Scenes required Gable’s hands to do some clever, tricky maneuvering, which Gable couldn’t pull off.

In his early years, one of John’s girlfriends was gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.

In October 2005, John and his wife Tammy were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard after they rode out hurricane Wilma on their 67 foot boat in Florida.

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June 21, 2007  — Danny Biederman – The Incredible World of Spy-Fi”

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Danny Biederman 

Spy-Fi – The Book 
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Danny Biederman is an internationally recognized expert in pop spy fiction. He is the author of the book The Incredible World of Spy-Fi (Chronicle Books) and writer/director of the TV special Hollywood SpyTek (Discovery).

As one of the world’s top James Bond experts, Mr. Biederman has served as a special consultant to MGM Studios for the Bond property, including as expert witness in the high-profile MGM vs Sony Thunderball legal case.  He is producer/director of the 007 documentary A Spy For All Seasons, and author of The Best of Bond, James Bond (EMI Publications) and The 007 Collection (Warner Bros. Books).

Mr. Biederman has directed dozens of award-winning featurettes and written hundreds of articles for such publications as Playboy, Los Angeles Magazine, American Cinematographer, The L.A. Times and others. He was an editor for the best-selling People’s Almanac and Book of Lists series, and penned scripts for network TV series including Paramount ’s The Renegades and the NBC spy adventure Gavilan. 

Danny Biederman has lectured on the subject of James Bond and cinema/TV spies at the C.I.A., The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, The International Spy Museum, and the Department of Defenses’ top-secret N.R.O.

Mr. Biederman also owns the world’s largest private collection of memorabilia from 50 years of espionage movies and TV shows. Famous screen props and wardrobe from his 4,000-piece Spy-Fi Archives have been touring the United States since 2000, with exhibits held at The Pentagon, The Strategic Air Command, the National Atomic Museum , and the Central Intelligence Agency.

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June 28, 2007  — David Keane – Interviewing the Bad Guys Around the World”

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David Keane 

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David Keane in Afghanistan 

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As the founder of Wild Eyes, David Keane assumes the role of writer and director. He brings to the company over ten years of award-winning documentary filmmaking; combined with eight years of experience in feature film, network television & commercial production. 

Keane began his professional career as a journalist for the Denver Post before joining Castle Rock Entertainment in feature film development. His move into documentaries was a baptism of fire. A last minute crew addition for a three-hour special on the world's maximum-security prisons, Keane credits Russian prison food for the attrition in personnel that thrust him into the role of field producer. This twist of fate enabled him to contribute to a documentary that would win numerous international awards, and set him on the career path of a documentary filmmaker. 

It has been an adventurous ride, one that has taken him around the world via every manner of plane, train, helicopter, tank, motorcycle and boat. He's raided drug cartels by chopper over Brazil, ridden camels with Bedouins in Israel, explored emerald mines with shepherds in the Hind Kush, and faced terrorists with the bomb squad in Northern Ireland. He's been interrogated by the KGB, dined with communist rebels, ridden in the Clinton motorcade - even danced the Tango in Argentina.

His productions have led to some tight situations: He's been strong-armed by rebels in Papua New Guinea, bombed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and trapped in a gun battle in South Africa - not to mention the time he was held at gun-point by his own driver in the Philippines. The hardships of border crossings, sickness, seized cameras and guns tensed in anger have paid off in several documentary breakthroughs: Keane was one of the first Westerners to film a criminal proceeding in China-from investigation, to arrest, to interrogation and incarceration. He's captured the suicide train rides of Rio's "surfistas." Recently he's interviewed warlords in Somalia and traveled through the rebel-infested jungles of Colombia to interview Carlos Castano, the elusive leader of the right wing paramilitary death squads.

The sum of these experiences is a complete documentary filmmaker - one that can lead his team into any situation and come home with the footage in the can. One that can work within the inconsistencies and irrationalities of multiple cultures, adjust, adapt, persevere, have fun - and actually be invited back. As well as doing much of his own camera work, Keane consistently works with the most accomplished artists in the business. As a writer he has accumulated numerous credits for A&E, Discovery, TLC and others. His screenwriting has been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a finalist for the Nichols Prize.

Keane graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Political Science. He lives in Hermosa Beach, California.


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July 26, 2007  — Charles Carmona – “Gem mines around the world”

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Charles Camona in Madagascar mine 

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Professional gemologist Charles Carmona has taken his career in a different direction from most of those in his industry.  He is a business adviser and an appraiser as well as a dealer, who made 8 trips out of the country in 2006 for various assignments that he is working on.  As a consultant to the World Bank, he has traveled to Madagascar 3 times to help in establishing the infrastructure for a wholesale gemstone industry in this African island nation.  Madagascar ranks amongst the poorest countries in the world, but it is rich in natural resources, and their efficient exploitation is one of their greatest hopes to rise from poverty.  This evening's program will follow his recent footsteps, showing the potential benefits of this work. 

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August 2, 2007  — John Haslett – “Adventure by Raft”

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John Haslett 

The Raft "Mante"  The Raft "Mante" 
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Join explorer and author John Haslett for an evening filled with images and adventure tales highlighting two expeditions he led in the late 1990s. In his new book, Voyage of the Mante - The Education of a Modern-Day Expeditioner (St. Martin's Press), Haslett recounts how he built a series of giant rafts, similar in design to Thor Heyerdahl's famed Kon-Tiki, and then sailed them on the open sea. He and his crews journeyed through a surreal odyssey of "madness, mutiny, obsession, and survival." An excerpt of Voyage of the Mante is featured in the January issue of National Geographic Adventure. 

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August 9, 2007  — Bill Reid – “Chasing Storms”

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Bill Reid on the trail of storms 

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Bill has tracked storms across more than a dozen states since 1991.  He is a member of the Texas Severe Storms Association Board of Directors.  He acquired a Masters degree in Geography, with emphasis on Climatology, from California State University.  He has worked for 11 years as a climatologist for Continental Weather and Earth Sciences, Inc.  Member of the legendary "Spencer 4."

Top Intercepts

Last Chance, CO, July 21, 1993, large tornado.
Jetmore/Hanston, KS, May 16, 1995.
Farmers Valley, TX, June 9, 1995.
Benkelman, NE, May 22, 1996.
Friona, TX, May 25, 1996.
Rolla, KS, May 31, 1996.
Burrton, KS, May 25, 1997.
MacDonald, KS, May 22, 1998.
Spencer, SD, May 30, 1998, large, deadly tornado tracked through town (F4).
Clovis, NM, June 7, 1998.
Lake McClellan, TX, May 20, 1999.
Corson County, SD, June 8, 1999.
Waterloo/Dunkerton, IA, May 11, 2000, several tornadoes, one large.
Brady, NE, May 17, 2000, large tornado.
Benson/Pennock, MN, June 11, 2001.
Seward, NE, June 13, 2001, large tornado (F4).
Happy, Texas tornado, large tornado, 2 killed.
Cullison, KS, May 7, 2002, very large tornado tracked through open country.
Yates Center, KS, May 8, 2003, large tornado.
Oklahoma City, OK, May 9, 2003, tornado through western portions of metro area.
Monroe City, MO, May 10, 2003, three tornadoes.
O'Neill, NE area, June 9, 2003, three tornadoes.
Centerville, SD, June 24, 2003, 14 tornadoes.
Hurricane Isabel, Sept. 2003.
May 12, 2004 Attica, Kansas (4).
May 24, 2004 Thayer Co., Nebraska and Republic Co., Kansas (4).
May 26, 2004 Noble Co., Oklahoma (1).
May 29, 2004 Harper - Sumner Co., Kansas (5).
June 11, 2004 Webb, Iowa storm and Ft. Dodge, Iowa area tornadoes (7).
Hurricane Jeanne, September 2004.

Articles by William T. Reid

South Dakota Tornado Outbreak and Intercept
Happy, Texas Tornado Intercept, May 5, 2002
The Seward, Nebraska, Tornado of June 13, 2001
Spencer Tornado Chase, May 30, 1998
The Last Chance Chase, Last Chance, Colorado, July 21, 1993

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August 16, 2007  — Glen Heggstad – “Motorcycle solo around the world”

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Glen Heggstad in Egypt 

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American adventurer Glen Heggstad has recently returned from a multiyear, solo motorcycle ride over some of the toughest terrain on earth. This former international martial competitor has created a dazzling multimedia show chronicling his experiences through fifty-seven developing nations beginning from a harrowing ordeal his first month on the road in South America when taken prisoner by Colombian Marxist rebels.

 Two years later, riding a borrowed motorcycle from Southern California BMW dealers, he continued his incredible odyssey across Russia from Vladivostok, Siberia and into Mongolia. A two thousand kilometer off-road loop over the Gobi Desert was followed by a sprint across Eastern Europe directly into the Middle East via Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. After a weeklong interview with Israeli military commanders, Glen was even granted a special permit to enter Gaza via Erez Checkpoint, on foot and alone.

 Denied visas for Iran and Saudi Arabia, air-freighting from Amman was the only way to reach Karachi and a zigzag to Islamabad for an uneasy confrontation at the Afghan border. India was as dazzling as ever and led to a ride through Nepal up to the Tibetan border. Rolling from Bangkok, the path snaked down across Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and into Indonesia.

 Fed and sheltered by friendly Dayak tribes of Kalimantan, Glen set a world’s record as the first man to completely loop Borneo on two wheels. The journey continued from Medan, Sumatra, north into Banda Ache shortly after the devastating Tsunami. Island-hopping through Java into Bali and onto Cape Town, made for a grand finale of traversing Africa up to Ethiopia.

 More information is available at  Glen’s book about the South American leg, Two Wheels Through Terror, is in fourth printing and soon to be seen as a National Geographic Channel docu-drama. This will be his twentieth and final show for 2007. Don’t miss it.

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August 23, 2007  — Bob Gannon – “Flying solo around the world”

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Bob with Lady Luck 2 and Cheetah in Africa 

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Bob with Lady Luck 2 in Antarctica

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Bob Gannon has been flying around the world in Lady Luck Two – leg by leg by leg.  They were from the last leg of my world flying adventure.  He departed westbound from California in the fall of 2000.  Leg 18 was from a grass strip outside of Kruger National Park (where he had parked Lucky Lady Too) to Swaziland, Lesotho, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and over to Victory Falls in Zimbabwe then back down to the grass strip in South Africa.  Bob landed at 55 places in those countries.  This completed his southern Africa legs (3 in total).  Then he did West Africa and jumped over the Atlantic South America and Antarctica. Bob has been working his way north since then.  

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August 30, 2007  — Paul Isley – “USS Bunkerhill”

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USS Bunkerhill 

Paul T. Isley III

Bunkerhill CIC

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Lost Canyon  Sawtooth 
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Recently, a group of Club members went on a most fascinating tour of the Aegis Class missile cruiser, the USS Bunkerhill.  They were escorted the entire time by the C.O., Capt. Chuck Gaouette, who spared no courtesy during the hours he spent with them.  They enjoyed the experience so much that thay will share it with the Club through an educational Powerpoint program.  Bunkerhill is one of the most powerful ships in the Navy arsenal and, as a surface ship, when it stands off an adversary's coast, it sends a physical message in no uncertain terms.  Paul will lead this presentation and discussion.

Also, Capt. Gaouette presented the Club with a memorial plaque that will be presented at this meeting.

In addition, in July  Bob Oberto and Paul hiked 40 miles in 4 days up and down over three 11,000' passes out of Mineral King.  The big surprise was that Mineral King was like Yosemite but without the people.  Paul will show a few spectacular photographs.

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September 6, 2007  — Robert G. Williscroft – “The E-bomb terrorist threat”

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Robert G. Williscroft 

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E-bomb over a city 

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E-bomb  E-bomb 
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For anyone losing sleep at night worried about the upcoming “American Hiroshima” promised by Al Qaeda, author Robert Williscroft has good news and bad news.  First the good news: the chances of a terrorist detonating a successful suitcase nuke in one of America’s cities—or anywhere else for that matter—are so minute that they can, and should be, readily dismissed. “The detonation process of a nuclear bomb requires extraordinary accuracy,” explains the author of The Chicken Little Agenda, a powerful exploration of the mistruths and junk science informing much of today’s policy debates.  “Any failure to meet [a nuclear weapon’s] precise design parameter will leave you with—literally—a pop and a fizzle.”

Now for the bad news:  any terrorist with an extra $400 and a modicum of technological savvy can wipe out all of our communications, computers, banking and just about anything else that relies on electricity, essentially crippling our economy and throwing us back, in a second, two hundred and fifty years, to a pre-industrial state.

The culprit: a simple E-bomb, known in geek-speak as a Flux Compression Generator.  For years, officials have warned about the consequences of a “nuclear pulse” from a modest nuke set off high in the atmosphere and its potential for instantaneously frying almost everything we rely on for transportation, communication, finance and defense. What no one tells you is that you don’t need an A-bomb to create a nuclear pulse with its attendant consequences.  A simple Flux Compression Generator will do just fine.

“A typical FCG (Flux Compression Generator) consists of an explosives-packed tube about 12 inches in diameter, loosely wrapped with a copper coil that is connected to a capacitor bank,” explains Williscroft in his blog, “The Dead Hand Journal.”  Such a device produces “a ramping electromagnetic pulse with peak currents of tens of millions of amps, hundreds of time stronger than a bolt of lightning.”

 Put one in a small plane and you can stop a city.  Put one in a high-flying passenger jet and you can bring several states, or even the whole country, to a crashing halt.  “A properly constructed E-bomb can effectively fry everything electric and electronic within several miles of the point of detonation,” explains Williscroft, a retired nuclear submarine officer who served twenty-three years with the U.S. Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  And the pulse is just the beginning.  During the next fifteen minutes or so, “collapsing electrical systems and communications grids will distribute the pulse, and create their own smaller pulses, analogous to an earthquake aftershock. The entire affected electrical and communications system will tear itself apart – self destruct.”

 That’s a lot of bang for $400 worth of material.  Williscroft suggests that U.S. intelligence agencies look for unexplained power outages in remote locations as clues that Al Qaeda operatives are working out the bugs from their home-made E-bombs.

 Well, at least you don’t have to worry about getting nuked tonight by a suitcase bomb in a harbor.  For more information about Robert Williscroft visit his blog at 

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September 13, 2007  — Frank Drake – “The search for extraterrestrial intelligence”

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Dr. Frank Drake 

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The Allen Telescope Array  The Allen Telescope Array
at sunset

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N = N* fp ne fl fi fc fL

The “Drake Equation”

N  the number of communicating civilizations in the galaxy.

N* represents the number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy

fp is the fraction of stars that have planets around them

fl is the fraction of planets in ne where life evolves

fi is the fraction of fl where intelligent life evolves

fc is the fraction of fi that communicate

fL is fraction of the planet's life during which the communicating civilizations live

Early life and education

As a youth in Chicago, Drake loved electronics and chemistry. He reports that he considered the possibility of life existing on other planets as an 8-year-old, but never discussed the idea with his family or teachers due to the prevalent religious ideology.

He enrolled at Cornell University on an ROTC electronics scholarship. Once there he began studying astronomy. His ideas about the possibility of extraterrestrial life were reinforced by a lecture from astrophysist Otto Struve in 1951. After college, he served briefly as an electronics officer on the USS Albany. He then went on to graduate school at Harvard in radio astronomy.


Although explicitly linked with modern views on the likelihood and detectability of extraterrestrial civilizations, Drake started his career undertaking radio astronomical research at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Green Bank, West Virginia, and later the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He conducted key measurements which revealed the presence of a Jovian ionosphere and magnetosphere.

In 1960 Drake conducted the first radio search for extraterrestrial intelligence, known as Project Ozma. Sifting through the noise while looking at a handful of stars, no evidence for ET signals emerged--but the idea took root. It is important to note that there is no convincing evidence of ET's, a view that Drake espouses--although he commonly regards 'contact' as inevitable in the coming years, in the form of a radio or light signal.

In 1961, along with J. Peter Pearman, an officer on the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences, he organized the first SETI conference held at the (NRAO) in Green Bank, West Virginia. At this small gathering of a dozen scientists he proposed his famous Drake equation. The Drake equation, briefly, defines a set of concatenated probabilities to help set constraints on the number of intelligent civilizations ('N'), and to illustrate our true lack of information (based upon insuffient data) in the pursuit of this exploration. The outcome of such a 'sensitivity' analysis reveals that 'N' lies between 1 and 1,000,000. The philosophical implication of this range is profound: are we, as an intelligent species, a cosmic anecdote, or does the universe teem with intelligent life? It is the salience of these extremes that drives the quest to search for extraterrestrial intelligence SETI.

In the 1960s, Drake spearheaded the conversion of the Arecibo Observatory to a radio astronomical facility, later updated in 1974 and 1996. As a researcher, Drake was involved in the early work on pulsars. In this period, Drake was a professor at Cornell University and Director of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (NAIC)--the formal name for the Arecibo facility. In 1974 he wrote the Arecibo message.

Drake designed the Pioneer plaque with Carl Sagan in 1972, the first physical message sent into space. The plaque was designed to be understandable by an extraterrestrial should they encounter it. He later supervised the creation of the Voyager Golden Record. He was elected to the AAAS in 1974.

Recent activities and academics

Drake is a member of the National Academy of Sciences where he chaired the Board of Physics and Astronomy of the National Research Council (1989-92). He also served as President of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. He was a Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University (1964-84) and served as the Director of the Arecibo Observatory. He is currently involved in Project Phoenix (SETI)

He is Emeritus Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he also served as Dean of Natural Sciences (1984-88).


Drake Planetarium [1] at Norwood High School in Norwood, Ohio is named for Dr. Drake and linked to NASA.


External links

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September 20, 2007  — Steve Bein – “Bonaire Diving”

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Steve Bein Before 


Steve Bein After

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On the Reef  Smooth Trunkfish  Trumpetfish  Trumpetfish 
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Recently, Steve Bein went to Bonaire, an island in the Netherlands Antiller just off the Venezuelan Coast. Bonaire is a prime dive destination, and is noted for having a significant number of designated shore locations for shore diving. Most resorts on Bonaire supply unlimited air tanks for the shore diving. Bonaire offers both water attractions and land. The Washington Slaggbai National Park is home of native plants, interesting shorelines, and a lake with many birds including flamingos. Things to do in Bonaire include scuba diving, wind surfing, water skiing, interesting beaches, and duty free shopping.

The 1991 hurricane caused many changes in the shallower waters, and many of the shallows are, what Steve calls bone yards, areas littered with broken and dead coral. Some of the undersea life forms show environmental damage including gorgonian fans and brain coral. Steve's talk will visit some of the diversity of the underwater environment including a shore dive to a wreck, night diving, some of the land features, etc.

Bonaire is not as easily reached as some other Caribbean destinations. It took a flight to Puerto Rico, followed by a connecting flight to Bonaire. Not too bad, but since there are more passengers than seats on an ongoing process, many people were days late in arriving.

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September 27, 2007  — Anatoly Sagalevitch – “The REAL North Pole”

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         Prof. Anatoly Sagavetich 

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RV Akademik Keldysh

Russian Federation Flag on Seabed at North Pole 


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It can only happen once in all of history:
on Thursday, August 2, 2007, at 8 o’clock GMT, Club member Anatoly Sagalevitch, piloting the Russian deep submersible MIR-1, was the first human to reach the ocean bottom at the geographic North Pole, where he planted a titanium flag of the Russian Federation. With him inside MIR-1, he carried an official Adventurers’ Club of Los Angeles Expedition Flag, which he will return to the Club with appropriate endorsements in due course.

It all started back in 2005 – at least officially. Anatoly has long been the brains and the muscle behind the PP Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, the guys who own and operate the world’s deepest diving submersibles, MIR-1 and MIR-2. This ownership includes, of course the submersibles’ mothership, RV Akademik Keldysh, a fleet of support craft and equipment, and a host of people to maintain and operate them.

The Shirshov Institute has been Anatoly’s baby since before the collapse of the Soviet Union, and since that time, he has built it into one of the world’s premier oceanographic research institutes.

RV Keldysh is one of the largest oceanographic support vessels in the World. She is equipped with a range of laboratories, and is the only vessel in the world capable of supporting the operation of two deep-diving submersibles simultaneously. Keldysh can accommodate a total of 130 personnel, and up to 35 of these berths are allocated to visiting scientists, filmmakers or other charter groups.

The world of research oceanography is not always capable of utilizing the total available oceanographic support systems. When these systems lie idle, they lose money, and in the world of research, that is nothing but bad.

During the late 1990s, Australian Adventurer Mike McDowell developed "High Adventure – High-Dollar Travel Expeditions," taking well-heeled clients up Everest, and renting Russian icebreakers in the off season to take adventurers to the North Pole – for a price. Club member Ralph White met McDowell, and introduced him to Anatoly and his research fleet. They reasoned that well-heeled paying customers could underwrite operations during slack periods. This would allow Anatoly to keep his ships, submersibles, support equipment, and personnel in peak condition, and even underwrite some of the oceanographic research. White suggested Titanic, and the rest, he says, "is history."

Together with McDowell and Club member Don Walsh, pilot of the Trieste on its historic dive to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, Anatoly created Deep Ocean Expeditions (DOE) in 2005. They set out to take paying passengers to the Titanic, to the Bismark, to the undersea volcanos near the Azores, and to the ocean bottom at the North Pole.

On June 28, 2006, DOE formally announced the launch of the Deep Frontier Expedition project, an ambitious and exciting multi-year, multi-ocean expedition aboard the RV Keldysh, and utilizing the twin Mir submersibles.

Project Manager Rob McCallum said: "The combination of a large oceanographic vessel with the unique abilities the twin extreme depth submersibles and a world class side-scan sonar system, will provide us with an amazing exploration capability. The Deep Frontier Expedition will involve private adventurers, scientists, filmmakers and those interested in conducting operations at extreme depth. It’s a unique opportunity for anyone wishing to accomplish something in the deep ocean."

The Deep Frontier Expedition was designed to be a multi-year voyage that will see RV Keldysh visit five oceans. Her anticipated voyage plan would see her undertake a range of exciting projects in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Southern Oceans. According to DOE Project scientist Peter Batson: "The expedition will see Keldysh accomplish many dives in areas previously unseen by humans, so I guess it’s inevitable that we will see things that have never been seen before. It’s a chance to gather data about the deep sea that can be used to help us better understand and manage the oceans that surround us."

RV Keldysh was expected to visit hydrothermal vents, seamounts, historical shipwrecks, sites of special geological and biological interest and to conduct some of the first submersible dives in the Arctic and Antarctic waters. Her twin Mir submersibles, each capable of reaching depths of 20,000 feet, were expected to conduct hundreds of dives during the course of the voyage, many of them aided by a powerful sonar system made available by John Cameron that will be deployed to search large areas of the ocean.

On April 16, 2006, the well-laid plans of DOE came against the political will of the Russian Parliament, since the only way they could reach the North Pole with the ships and support equipment that they needed was with the immediate support of the icebreaker RV Akademik Fedorov and the nuclear powered icebreaker NS Rossiya. And guess who controlled these vessels?

The 2006 plans were put on hold while Anatoly worked out an acceptable compromise with none other than his old colleague, Dr. Artur Chilingarov, Hero of the Soviet Union, and Deputy Chairman of the Third State Duma – the Russian Parliament, a position similar to the U.S. Speaker of the House.

Under the terms of this compromise, Dr. Chilingarov (who is a well-known and respected polar scientist) would be the titular head of the expedition, and would be a passenger on MIR-1 along with fellow Duma member Vladimir Gruzdev. Furthermore, the focus of the expedition was changed so that it became a quest to place the Russian flag on the ocean bottom at the North Pole, and to stake out a territorial claim to this "land." Presumably, the reason for this effort was to fortify Russia’s claim to a substantial portion of the Arctic ocean, because of vast reserves of oil and gas that probably lie there.

By early 2007, the new or Real North Pole Expedition was set to happen. Scandinavian business tycoon Frederik Paulson and New Zealand marine biologist Peter Batson joined DOE president McDowell, and cofounder Anatoly. The expedition was billed as Russia’s contribution to the 2007/2008 International Polar Year.

The expedition officially departed Murmansk on July 24, 2007. RV Keldysh developed engine problems off Franz Joseph Land in the Berents Sea, but the crew fixed the problem in time for Anatoly and team to test-dive both MIRs successfully in the frigid ice-filled arctic water off Franz Joseph Land. Along the way to the Pole, the Russian scientists mapped part of the Lomonosov ridge, a 1,240-mile underwater mountain range that crosses the polar region. The ridge was discovered by the Soviets in 1948 and named after a famed 18th-century Russian scientist, Mikhail Lomonosov.

In December 2001, Moscow claimed that the ridge was an extension of the Eurasian continent, and therefore part of Russia’s continental shelf under international law. The U.N. rejected Moscow’s application, citing lack of evidence, but Russia is set to resubmit it in 2009. Dr. Chilingarov’s hope was that these measurements would help.

Denmark hopes to prove that the Lomonosov Ridge is an extension of the Danish territory of Greenland, not Russia. Canada, meanwhile, plans to spend $7 billion to build and operate up to eight Arctic patrol ships in a bid to help protect its sovereignty.

The U.S. Congress is considering an $8.7 billion budget reauthorization bill for the U.S. Coast Guard that includes $72.96 million to operate and maintain the nation’s three existing polar icebreakers. The bill also authorizes the Coast Guard to construct two new vessels.

Ten crew members flew ahead by helicopter to the Pole on Thursday, to scout out the best way for Fedorov and Rossiya to clear out a section of ice for the dives. Once RV Keldysh arrived, it was not long before the MIRs were ready for launch.

At 5:30 GMT, MIR-1 commenced her trip to the bottom, piloted by Anatoly, and carrying Dr. Chilingarov and Gruzdev. MIR-2 followed shortly thereafter, piloted by Genya Cherniaev with McDowell and Paulsen as passengers.

Two and a half hours later, at 8:00 GMT, Anatoly planted the flag on the seabed, and thirty minutes later MIR-2 arrived at the bottom. Both submersibles spent about forty minutes on the bottom, taking samples and generally exploring, before returning to the surface some nine and a half hours after they departed.

"It was difficult," said Dr. Chilingarov.

"We are happy and relived to be safely back aboard," said McDowell when MIR-2 returned more than an hour after MIR-1.

Russia was jubilant – it’s been a long dry spell for the Russian spirit of exploration. President Putin personally greeted the explorers upon their return.

"It’s like putting a flag on the moon," said Sergei Balyasnikov, a spokesman for Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Institute. "For the first time in history, humans have reached the ocean floor under the North Pole."

With a swagger not unlike a typical American, Muscovite Yevgeny Gaziyev told a reporter, "Russia is a great power which needs resources, territories."

U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey, said the Russian government was entitled to submit its claim "as members of the Law of the Sea convention." But he dismissed the significance of planting a flag in the North Pole seabed.

Peter Mackay, Canada’s foreign affairs minister, dismissed the event as "just a show."

"Look," he said, "this isn’t the 15th century. You can’t go around the world and just plant flags and say ‘We’re claiming this territory."’

Canada’s own claims to the Arctic, he said, were "well-established."

In the coming weeks, Russian expedition researchers plan to set up an Arctic research camp near the pole, called a "drift station" because it will drift with the shifting ice pack in the polar sea, to carry out long-range climate studies. RV Akademik Fedorov is expected to remain in the region until mid-September.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Leslie Phillips said, "We wish the Russian scientists a safe expedition."

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October 11, 2007  — John Naber – “Reflections of an Olympic Champion”

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John Naber is more than an Olympic Champion medal winner and network television and radio sports broadcaster.  After earning five Olympic medals in 1976, he was honored as the Nation’s outstanding amateur athlete, was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, and served as Director and Olympic Flag bearer at the Games in Los Angeles .  He has carried the Olympic Flame as part of four different Olympic Torch Relays.

  He was twice elected as the President of the U.S. Olympians, and was chosen in a USA Today nationwide poll as the male captain of the “Xerox 100 Golden Olympians”, an all-star collection of the country’s greatest Olympic champions.

  Professionally, he is an “observer of excellence”.  As a celebrity, he’s met with business and political leaders, and as a television announcer, he’s covered over thirty different Olympic sports, filing reports from nine Olympic Games, including the Olympic Games in Athens , Greece . 

  Along the way, John has discovered the method champions in all walks of life use to reach their goals, and he shares this process with audiences from around the globe.  His books, Eureka : How Innovation Changes the Olympics and Everything Else” and “Awaken the Olympian Within” have earned rave reviews from the Olympic and professional community as well as various best-selling authors and motivators.  

Five Olympic medals: four gold; one silver, swimming, Montreal (1976)
Six World Records (1976 – 1983)
Ten NCAA Individual Titles (1974 – 1977)
Sullivan Award: USA ’s top amateur athlete (1977)
U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame inductee (1984)
Olympic Torchbearer, (1984, 1996, 2002, 2004)

Broadcaster, Network Television and Radio:
ABC, NBC, CBS, ESPN, HBO, TBS, FOX and others
Television and radio broadcasts for eight Olympic Games
Host, play-by-play and expert announcer for over 30 different sports
Host of three television series and one game show  

Motivational Speaker:
The 8-Step Gold Medal Process© and “Awaken the Olympian Within” Workshop
Over 1,000 audiences, including many of the Fortune 100 companies
Keynote Speaker, Master of Ceremonies, Workshop Facilitator, Panel Moderator

“The Power of Character”, (contributing author), 1998
“Awaken the Olympian Within… Stories from America ’s Greatest Olympic Motivators”, 2000
Eureka ! How Innovation Changes the Olympics and Everything Else”, 2004

Performance Coach:
Going For Gold Sales Improvement Program©
Award Winning Presentation Skills Program
Awaken The Olympian Within© Team Building Workshop  

BA Psychology, (University of Southern California, 1977)
Honorary Doctor of Laws degree ( Pepperdine University , 2003)
Chairman, Character Counts! Sports (1996 - Present)
Immediate Past-President, U.S. Olympians Association (2004 – Present)

For More Information:
Naber & Associates, Inc.
(626) 795-7675

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October 18, 2007  — Don Waters, Paul Isley, Steve Bein, Zeke Chaidez – “Dancing with the Humboldt Squid”

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Bob Oberto Don Waters Paul Isley

Steve Bein

Zeke Chaidez
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Click here for a description of this adventure. Since the guys haven't yet accomplished these dives, we can only speculate on what will happen. They will describe their adventure in detail when they arrive at the Club directly from the airport/railroad station following their return on October 18.

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October 21, 2007  — Night of High Adventure


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October 25, 2007  — Shane Berry and Gary Mortimer – “Malaysia Borneo-Sarawak and Sabah

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Shane Berry, member #1093, and Gary Mortimer, member #1086, recently spent a month discovering the wonders of Malaysia Borneo-Sarawak and Sabah which was listed in National Geographic TRAVELER Oct. 2007 issue as one of the world's best 50 trips. This is an area of the world where very few Americans visit, which is a shame, as it offers adventurers sights and sounds found nowhere else. 

Shane and Gary traveled 10 hours on local boats and canoes going up river to Gurung Mulu National Park where they explored the largest caves in the world and lush rain forests on the Headhunter Trail while trekking to Camp 5. A square mile in the Borneo jungles holds more types of fauna and flora than all of North and South America combined. They spent time living in the long houses of the Iban (headhunters) who still retain much of their traditional ways. 

The visit to Sabah (The Land Below The Wind) included staying at the homes of the Dusun people and climbing Mt. Kinabalu which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest mountain between the Himalayas and Australia. No trip to Malaysia Borneo would be complete without touching base with the steamy jungles of the mighty Kinabatangan River with its proboscis monkeys, horn bill birds and enormous insects. It is not everyday that one gets to live with a Muslim family and look for wild Orang Utans from their porch. The former capital of Sandakan offered multi-ethnic cultures with people from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Europeans and the local tribal people. The Sandakan Death March during World War II was equivalent to Philippine Bataan Death March.

Malaysia Borneo offers some of the greatest turtle viewing and diving in the world. Watching the giant green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs and the little ones dashing for the sea is a very special experience at Turtle Island. The island of Sipadan in Sabah has been considered one of the top five diving spots in the world.

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November 1, 2007  — Bob Silver – “The 2nd Half of His Sailing Trip Around the World”

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Bob Silver

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Bob Silver, member  #728, sailed around the world back in the 1960s. He captured the entire event on film (yes film), and he will be showing us the second half of that adventure. 

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November 8, 2007  — Jim McDonnell – “Assistant Chief, LAPD”

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Jim McDonnell

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First Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell has been a member of the Los Angeles Police Department since 1981. He is currently the second in command of the Los Angeles Police Department and serves as the Chief of Staff. As the Chief of Staff, Chief McDonnell handles a myriad of fiscal and political issues involving the Police Department as directed by the Chief of Police.

The following commands report directly to the Chief of Staff: Employee Relations Group, Public Information Office, Use of Force Review Division, Community Relations Section, Administrative Section, and Governmental Liaison Section. Chief McDonnell chairs the Use of Force Committee and is the Department's Gay and Lesbian Coordinator. Chief McDonnell also routinely monitors the progress and trends of the Department through the internationally acclaimed CompStat system – a computer driven management accountability tool that is an integral part of the Department's decentralized management philosophy and process.

Prior to this assignment, Chief McDonnell was the Director of the Office of Human Resources where he was responsible for all personnel and risk management related issues which affect the Police Department and the City of Los Angeles. Chief McDonnell was also the former Chief of Operations, where he was responsible for uniformed patrol, investigations, special operations, and other administrative functions of the Department. Six bureaus reported to the Chief of Operations, which encompassed approximately 80 percent of the Department.

Prior to his promotion to Assistant Chief, he was the commander assigned as the Special Assistant to the Chief of Police. In this role, he evaluated command effectiveness and efficiency Departmentwide. This included strategic planning, coordination and functional supervision of the Senior Lead Officers, and the Department's overall Community Policing strategies. He was also the Commander in charge of the initial planning phase for the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference hosted by the City and County of Los Angeles in November 2004.

Chief McDonnell's prior commands also include Management Services Division, where he was responsible for the citywide management of police deployment, community policing, strategic planning, grants, and other special projects directed by the Chief of Police. He was also the Commanding Officer of Continuing Education Division where he was responsible for the in-service training needs of the approximate 12,000 Department employees. When Chief McDonnell was first promoted to captain he was the commanding officer of Southwest Operations Support Division, where he supervised detectives, gang units, vice, and the crime analysis detail for a diverse south Los Angeles community of approximately 170,000 residents.

Chief McDonnell serves on the Advisory Board for the UCLA School of Public Health, Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center's Workplace Violence Prevention Projects. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation, the Los Angeles Police Historical Society and the William H. Parker Foundation. Chief McDonnell is also an active member of several professional organizations, such as the Police Officer Executive Research Forum, the California Peace Officer's Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Peace Officer's Association of Los Angeles County.

Chief McDonnell holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. He regularly provides instruction at a number of Department schools and has trained criminal justice professionals on a variety of topics, such as leadership, ethics, community policing, handling line of duty deaths, and the recruitment and retention of valuable employees. Chief McDonnell is recognized as an expert on community policing issues and has lectured on this topic across the United States.

Chief McDonnell was the recipient of the Los Angeles Police Department's Medal of Valor, the Department's highest award for bravery; as well as the "2000 Leadership Award" by the Law Enforcement Association of Asian Pacifics, the Saint Anselm College Alumni Association's "Justice Award" for distinguished service in the field of Law/Criminal Justice, and the City of Los Angeles' William Mulholland Leadership Award. 

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November 15, 2007  — William Donnellan – “Early Expedition to the Kalahari and Interfacing with the Bushman”

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Dr. William Donnellan

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William Donnellan is a surgeon and historian of science. After serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force and the US Navy from 1943 to 1946. He obtained his BA degree at the University of Texas and his MD at McGill University in Montreal. After residencies in general and children's surgery he served on the staff of the Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago for many years. In 1981 he earned his Ph.D. in the history of science at Northwestern University. He was a Traveling Fellow in surgery and pathology at the Allgemeines Krankenhaus in Vienna and the University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, during 1959 and 1960. He has worked in many other countries, including South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Holland, and is the author of numerous scientific publications and textbooks. During the course of his life, Dr. Donnellan has been an accomplished violinist, a professional photographer, a certified flight instructor, and a novelist. He and his wife Laura live and work in Rangeley, Maine.

In 1950, Mr. Laurence Marshall, a founder and President of the Raytheon Corporation, left his association with that company to devote himself and his family to the study of the little-known "wild" Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa. They spent more than two years during three previous expeditions to the Nyae Nyae border between northern South-West Africa and Bechuanaland from 1951 to 1954. 

Though these Bushmen were in large part following their old Paleolithic ways, they had considerable contact for both Bantu and European farmers. As an anthropologist, Mrs. Marshall wanted particularly to investigate Bushman groups who lived entirely in "The Old Way," with continuity in their living methods from the Paleolithic period of 35,000 years ago, or perhaps much earlier. 

Dr. Donnellan left Boston with the group in April of 1955, and spent five months in the central Kalahari where they found a small group of previously unknown Bushmen. This is the story of their life and the life of previously seen Bushmen of the first expeditions. Their findings are recorded in the books of Lorna Marshall and her daughter Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. Her son, John Marshall, continued their work throughout his lifetime, aiding his Bushmen friends in attempts to progress into the 20th Century. John produced 27 anthropological films in the course of that career. 

Dr. Donnellan had the opportunity to join these remarkable people. He then traveled north to Gabon, on the edge of the Congo Basin near the equator, where he visited Albert Schweitzer's jungle hospital. He will contrast the two cultures

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January 17, 2008  — Ken Freund – “Mexico's Copper Canyon”

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Ken in the Copper Canyon

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Bridge to Batopilas

River Crossing

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Ken Freund, club member 1046, will present a program on his most recent trip to Mexico's Copper Canyon.

This remote, historic and beautiful area in north-central Mexico is considered to be the Grand Canyon of Mexico. It is still inhabited by the Tarahumara Indians, an indigenous tribe that is found in remote areas throughout the region. Ken has been to Copper Canyon twice previously, riding off-road motorcycles. On this trip Ken traveled by air, rail, boat and 4x4 and he will share his journey with members through a series of interesting photos and anecdotes. 

As some of you may recall, Ken was on the Camel Trophy 4x4 adventure expedition three times, and was also the editor of 4x4 Power magazine. He has been to 48 countries on seven continents.

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January 24, 2008  — LADIES’ NIGHT – Ralph White – “National Geographic expedition to the Celebes Sea”

Ralph White

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Greg Stone

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Ralph White is an award-winning cinematographer, video cameraman and editor, with over 30 years of production experience and hundreds of motion picture and television credits to his name. He is a Knight, Order of Saint Lazarus and Knight, Order of Constantine for his filming and conservation accomplishments. For more than 25 years, Ralph has served as a contract cameraman for the National Geographic Society, where he and photographer Emory Kristof pioneered the development of advanced remote cameras, 3D Video, HDTV, and deep ocean imaging and lighting systems. White has made 35 submersible dives to the wreck of the Titanic, photographing the wreck for the IMAX film "Titanica" and for the Academy Award-winning film "Titanic." He has qualified as a copilot on the French Nautile and Russian Mir submersibles, and has been consultant and submersible cameraman for many other feature films and television programs about the deep ocean.

Ralph served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Force Reconnaissance Team Leader, and is a highly decorated Reserve Forces Captain, who commanded the elite and award-winning Los Angeles County Sheriffs Departments Photographic Unit. He is a highly qualified helicopter and astrovision aerial specialist, and a former member of the United States Parachute Team. His cinematography has won the Grenoble Film Festival Gold Medal, Golden Eagle, Cindy, and Golden Halo awards.

Lying just north of the equator, the Celebes Sea is the center of the most biologically diverse area of the world’s ocean. Our expedition will begin in the port of Manila (top center) and take us south through the Sulu Sea to our study site, southeast of the Sulu Archipelago, where the bottom falls off abruptly to the sea floor thousands of meters below. In comparison to the size of the Celebes Sea (the 500 km scale bar on the map would easily lie inside the basin), our study area is relatively small, but we hope that our discoveries will stimulate more extensive exploration and research in these fascinating ecosystems. Image courtesy of Kerry Lagueux, New England Aquarium.

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July 17, 2008  — Anna Cummins and Jeanne Gallagher – Plastic trash in the Pacific

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Anna Cummins

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Junk at Sea

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The average Emerald City reader has likely heard of the infamous "Pacific Garbage Patch," that mythical swath of debris in the Pacific, the size of Texas. Or was it two Texases or wait, twice the size of the moon? 

Having recently returned from a month-long research trip through this massive marine landfill, I'll clear up a few misconceptions: 

The garbage does indeed exist. HOWEVER it is not a "patch" of garbage, nor a trash island. It's more like a huge bowl of dilute plastic soup, from California to Japan. 

We can't clean it up, net it away, or sieve it out. It's an area twice the size of the United States, and the debris is too spread out. Imagine a handful of plastic cornflakes sprinkled over a football field. Now imagine 9 million football fields in the Pacific Ocean. 

12 years ago, Captain Charles Moore accidentally "discovered" the plastic debris debacle in the North Pacific while sailing an infrequently traveled route from Hawaii to Los Angeles. Stunned by the endless river of plastic junk he found -– toothbrushes, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments –- Moore decided to return with research tools and scientific sampling methods, to better understand what he saw. 

In 1999, Moore et al. published the groundbreaking study, 4,200 miles across the Pacific, collecting surface samples the entire way. 

What we found this year: the problem has gotten much, much worse. Though our samples are still being processed, Captain Moore guesstimates a fivefold increase in 10 years, bumping plastic to plankton ratios up to 30:1. 

And still, we tear through plastic bags and bottles like they're going out of style...

Actually, we'd love to see disposable plastics go out of style. So to bring public attention to the junk in our ocean, we're sailing from Long Beach to Hawaii -- on Junk (photo below).

For the last few months, Dr. Marcus Eriksen, Joel Paschal and myself have been creating Junk -– a raft made of 15,000 plastic bottles, an old Cessna 310 airplane, and other assorted junk, to sail from Long Beach to Hawaii. 

Marcus and Joel will set sail on June 1 from the Long Beach Aquarium, carrying hundreds of individual messages about plastic debris, to be delivered to D.C. legislators next winter. I'll be charting their daily progress from land, keeping up the blog, and praying for gentle, steady winds. 

Come on board! To support our mission, write your message in a bottle here. And to see history in the making -- the first ever plastic bottle boat cross the Pacific -- come on down for the June 1 launch party, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Long Beach Aquarium. 

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July 24, 2008  — Paul Weissman –  Is Earth in danger from asteroids?

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Paul Weissman

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Paul Weissman

A.B., Physics, Cornell University (1969) 
M.S., Astronomy, Univ. Massachusetts (1971) 
M.S., Planetary and Space Physics, UCLA (1973) 
Ph.D., Planetary and Space Physics, UCLA (1978)


Professional Experience
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1974-Present) 
Astronomy Science Lead, Table Mountain Observatory (2003-present) 
Project Scientist, Deep Space 4/Champollion (1996-1999) 
Interdisciplinary Scientist, International Rosetta Mission (1996-present) 
Senior Research Scientist (1995-present) 
Co Investigator, Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer, Galileo Project (1988-2003) 
Deputy Project Scientist, Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby Project (1987-1992) 
Guest Investigator, Infrared Astronomical Satellite Project, (1987-1989) 
Science Coordinator, Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer, Galileo Project (1977-1993) 
Mission Scientist, Mariner Mark II Project (1981-1982) 
Research Scientist, Earth and Space Sciences Division (1977-1995) 
Mission Analyst, Advanced Project Group (1974-1977)
Visiting Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ (1985) 
Program Scientist, NASA Headquarters, Solar System Exploration Division (1979)


Selected Awards
NASA Group Achievement Award, Stardust Mission 
6 NASA Group Achievement Awards for various phases of Galileo mission 
Letter of Excellence in Reviewing, Icarus (1997) 
Main belt asteroid 3197 named Weissman (1986)


Selected Publications
The Great Voyager Adventure, A. Harris and P. Weissman (Julian Messner: New York) 79 pp. (1990) 
The Encyclopedia of the Solar System, P. R. Weissman, L. A. McFadden, and T. V. Johnson, editors (Academic Press: New York) 992 pp. (1999) 
The Encyclopedia of the Solar System, 2nd Edition, L. A. McFadden, P. R. Weissman, and T. V. Johnson, editors (Academic Press: New York) 985 pp. (2007) 
Recent Publications 
Stern, S. A., and Weissman, P. R. Rapid collisional evolution of comets during the formation of the Oort cloud. Nature 409, 589-591, 2001. 
García-Sánchez, J., Preston, R. A., Jones, D. L., Weissman, P. R., Lestrade, J.-F., Latham, D. W., Stefanik, R. P., and Paredes, J. M. Stellar encounters with the solar system. Astronomy & Astrophysics 379, 634-659, 2001. 
Weissman, P. R., Bottke, W. F., and Levison, H. F. Evolution of comets into asteroids. In Asteroids III, eds. W. Bottke, A. Cellino, P. Paolicchi, and R. Binzel (Univ. Arizona Press: Tucson), pp. 669-686, 2002. 
Kaasalainen, M., Kwiatkowski, T., Abe, M., Pironen, J., Nakamura, T., Ohba, Y., Dermawan, B., Farnham, T., Colas, F., Lowry, S., Weissman, P., Whiteley, R. J., Tholen, D. J., Larson, S. M., Yoshikawa, M., Toth, I., and Velichko, F. P. CCD photometry and model of MUSES-C target (25143) 1998 SF36. Astron. & Astrophys. 405, L29-L32, 2003. 
Lowry, S. C., and Weissman, P. R. CCD observations of distant comets from Palomar and Steward observatories. Icarus 164, 492, 2003. 
Dones, L., Weissman, P. R., Levison, H. F., Duncan, M. J. Oort cloud formation and dynamics. In Star Formation in the Interstellar Medium: In Honor of David Hollenbach, Chris McKee and Frank Shu, eds. D. Johnstone, F.C. Adams, D.N.C. Lin, D.A. Neufeld, and E.C. Ostriker, ASP Conference Proceedings 323, pp. 371-384, 2004. 
Weissman, P. R., Asphaug, E. and Lowery, S. C. Structure and density of cometary nuclei. In Comets II, eds. M. Festou, H. U. Keller, and H. Weaver (Univ. Arizona Press: Tucson), pp. 337-357, 2004. 
Dones, L., Weissman, P. R., Levison, H. F., and Duncan, M. J. Oort cloud formation and dynamics. In Comets II, eds. M. Festou, H. U. Keller, and H. A. Weaver (Univ. Arizona Press, Tucson), pp. 153-174, 2004. 
Lederer, S. M., Domingue, D. L., Vilas, F., Abe, M., Farnham, T. L., Jarvis, K. S., Lowry, S. C., Ohba, Y., Weissman, P. R., French, L. M., Fukai, H., Hasegawa, S., Ishiguro, M., Larson, S. M., and Takagi, Y. Physical characteristics of Hayabusa target Asteroid 25143 Itokawa. Icarus 173, 153-165, 2005. 
Fernández, Y. R., Lowry, S. C., Weissman, P. R., Mueller, B. E. A., Belton, M. J. S., and Meech, K. J. New near-aphelion light curves of comet 2P/Encke. Icarus 175, 194-214, 2005. 
Lowry, S. C., Weissman, P. R., Hicks, M. D., Whiteley, R. J., and Larson, S. Physical properties of asteroid (25143) Itokawa: Target of the Hayabusa mission. Icarus 176, 408-417, 2005. 
Meech, K. J., ... Weissman, P. R., and 207 co-authors. Deep Impact: Observations from a worldwide Earth-based campaign. Science 310, 265-269, 2005. 
Bauer, J. M., Weissman, P. R., Choi, Y.-J., Troy, M., Lisse, C. M., Dekany, R., and Buratti, B. J. Palomar AO observations during the Deep Impact encounter. Icarus 187, 296 305, 2007. 
Weissman, P. R., Lowry, S. C., and Choi, Y.-J. Photometric observations of Rosetta target asteroid 2867 Steins. Astronomy & Astrophysics 466, 737-743, 2007. 
Lowry, S. C., and Weissman, P. R. Rotation and color properties of the nucleus of comet 2P/Encke. Icarus 188, 212-223, 2007. 
Weissman, P. R. The cometary impactor flux at the Earth, In IAU Symposium 236: Near-Earth Objects, Our Celestial Neighbors: Opportunities and Risk, eds. A. Milani, G. B. Valsecchi, D. Vokrouhlicky (Cambridge Univ. Press: Cambridge) 
Dones, L., Levison, H. F., Duncan, M. J., and Weissman, P. R. Simulations of the formation of the Oort cloud I. The reference model. Icarus, in press. 
Lowry, S. C., Fitzsimmons, A., Lamy, P., and Weissman, P. Kuiper belt objects in the planetary region. In Kuiper Belt, eds: A. Barucci, H. Boenhardt, D. Cruikshank, and A. Morbidelli (Univ. Arizona Press: Tucson) in press. 
Weissman, P. R., and Lowry, S. C. Structure and density of cometary nuclei. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, in press. 
Weissman, P. R., Hicks, M. D., Abell, P. A., Choi, Y.-J., and Lowry, S. C. Rosetta target asteroid 2867 Steins: An unusual E-type asteroid. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, in press. 

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July 31, 2008  — Roy Roush – The Treasures of the Mysterious and Secret Order of the Knights of the Golden Circle

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Dr. Roy W. Roush

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This secret and subversive organization was formed by die-hard Confederates and Southern sympathizes during the Civil War to help the South win. During the War, they were very active in spying and sabotage activities. When the War was over, they refused to accept the terms of the surrender. For them, it was just a temporary cease fire until they could restart it at a later time. But they needed financing and equipment to do that, so they started accumulating gold and silver bars, gold coins, jewelry, military equipment and other valuables, and burying them throughout the country in secret places. This treasure has been estimated by some to be in the billions of dollars. 

The story of this powerful organization (with many thousands of members) is the greatest untold story in our history today, (In fact, they almost drastically changed our history). But now, their story is coming to light, and many treasure hunters are now searching for these treasures...and some of it has been found. Over the last 30 years, I have discovered three of their sites, found the clues and markers and successfully found where the treasure had been...but unfortunately, was too late. The story of this group is truly amazing, and I have authored three books on the subject. My program will be a slide presentation.  

I've been involved in treasure hunting most of my life, and I have searched for many treasures and relics throughout Calif, Nev, Ariz, New Mexico, Colo. Tex. Fla. Okla. Australia, 3 or 4 times in Mexico, Mona Island (off Puerto Rico) and once in Israel. Also I have dived for treasure off of Calif. Wash State, Miss. Florida. Turks and Caicos Island, Vera Cruz, Mexico,etc. Although, I have never found the big one, I have hundreds of coins, some jewelry and some interesting and valuable items to show for my efforts. (Also many adventures) But regardless of whether I found anything or not, I have always enjoyed the trip and ready to go again. 

Since I have a BA Degree in Journalism, I have served as a staff writer for many treasure publications - including TREASURE, TREASURE SEARCH, TREASURE DIVER, TREASURE HUNTER and a few others. Also, I had been very completive in metal detecting contests and have won my share of them (once National Champion in 1973). in addition, I have one of the largest libraries and files on treasure hunting and gold prospecting.

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August 7, 2008  — Jim Wagner – Reality based combat

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Jim Wagner

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If you had a desire to learn how to sky dive or SCUBA dive for the first time, would you want to learn from someone who has never jumped from an airplane before or someone who only got their underwater experience from a swimming pool? Of course not, and yet most civilian self-defense instructors have never been in an actual life-and-death conflict, and are merely passing down information given to them from their instructors. Even if they have been in the proverbial “bar fight” in their past the question must be asked, “Have they been shot at, attacked with a knife, or looked into the eyes of a criminal or terrorist?”

The reason Reality-Based Personal Protection is the “original reality-based martial art” is and not just because Jim Wagner coined the phrase back in 1999, but because of his background that few self-instructors can match: former soldier, corrections officer, street cop, SWAT team officer, diplomatic bodyguard, counterterrorist Special Agent for the United States government after 9/11, police and military firearms instructor, tactics instructor, and defensive tactics instructor.

Although an operator in the military and law enforcement communities for two decades Jim Wagner’s popularity with the civilian martial arts community began with his monthly column HIGH RISK back in 1999 in the world’s oldest and most popular martial arts publication Black Belt magazine, which is read by over 100,000 readers worldwide. In 2006 he was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame as Self-Defense Instructor of the Year by the readers. This is the “Academy Awards” of the martial arts world. On the other side of the ocean Jim Wagner writes for Budo International, Europe’s largest martial arts magazine appearing regularly in several languages each time: French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and English. Budo International also inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2006 for Outstanding Achievement for creating the Reality-Based martial arts.

Drawing even more people into the Reality-Based Personal Protection system is Jim Wagner’s top selling knife series that bears his own name and system - Jim Wagner Reality Based Blade. These knives are manufactured by world-famous knife manufacturer Boker based in the medieval sword and knife city of Solingen, Germany. Jim’s knives can be found on today’s elite warriors in today’s hot spots from Afghanistan to Iraq, and from cops to security personnel. 

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August 14, 2008  —  Bill Kohnen – SEAmagine Hydrocopter Technology – Manned Submersibles for the 21st Century

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"Ocean Pearl" SEAmagine "Triumph"

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Mr. William Kohnen, President of SEAmagine Hydrospace Corporation, leads an extremely knowledgeable team to bring the most technologically advanced and safest possible watercraft to SEAmagine customers. His extensive resume includes:

  • Chair of the Marine Technology Society Manned Underwater Vehicle Committee.

  • Active member of the ASME Pressure Vessel for Human Occupancy Committee.

  • Participation in the review of national standards for the fabrication and testing of human occupied pressure vessels.

  • Invited by the National Science Foundation as an industry representative on the HOV Oversight Committee.

  • Has worked closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for more than ten years.

  • Member of the ABS Special Committee on Underwater Systems and Vehicles.

  • Chief Instructor for SEAmagine's U.S. Coast Guard Verified Pilot Training Program. 

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August 21, 2008  —  Loren Janes – Hollywood stunt life: From top to bottom

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Loren Janes Spiderman

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Loren Janes is one of the key figures in the development of modern cinematic stunt design, improved safety procedures and co-founder of the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures & Televsion. He ranks alongside Dar Robinson, Hal Needham and Yakima Canutt for his contributions to movie stunt work.

James has lent his athletic skills to many amazing stunt sequences in over 130 feature films, and has doubled for some of Hollywood's biggest stars including Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Jack Nicholson and even Debbie Reynolds in a career spanning nearly half a century. He has contributed his talents to such spectacular films as The Ten Commandments (1956), Spartacus (1960), The Magnificent Seven (1960), Planet of the Apes (1968), The Towering Inferno (1974) and Beverly Hills Cop (1984). Ruggedly handsome, Janes has also had minor acting roles in over a dozen Hollywood feature films.

In 2001, well known western actor L.Q. Jones presented Loren Janes with the Golden Boot Award for his lifetime contribution to the western film genre.


Co-founded the Stuntmen's Association with Dick Geary in 1961.

Was Debbie Reynolds stunt double in "How Thew West Was Won"

In August 2001, Janes received the Golden Boot Award, for his Lifetime Achievement in film & TV Westerns, one of the few stuntmen to be so honored.

Served in the U.S. Marines.

Twice qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials Pentathlon.

Only stuntman to perform in both The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Dirty Dozen (1967).


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Guy J. Consolmagno – Adventures of a Vatican Scientist

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Guy J. Consolmagno

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Consolmagno, born September 19, 1952, in Detroit, Michigan, USA, obtained his bachelor of science in 1974 and master of science in 1975 in Earth and Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona in 1978. From 1978-80 he was a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer at the Harvard College Observatory, and from 1980-1983 continued as postdoc and lecturer at MIT. 

In 1983 he left MIT to join the US Peace Corps, where he served for two years in Kenya teaching physics and astronomy. Upon his return to the US in 1985 he became an assistant professor of physics at Lafayette College, in Easton, Pennsylvania, where he taught until his entry into the Jesuit order in 1989. He took vows as a Jesuit brother in 1991, and studied philosophy and theology at Loyola University, Chicago, and physics at the University of Chicago, before his assignment to the Vatican Observatory in 1993. 

In spring 2000 he held the MacLean Chair for Visiting Jesuit Scholars at St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, and in 2006-2007 held the Loyola Chair at Fordham University, New York. He has also been a visiting scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center and a visiting professor at Loyola College, Baltimore, and Loyola University, Chicago. 

Consolmagno has served on the governing boards of the Meteoritical Society; the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) Division III, Planetary Systems Science (secretary, 2000 - present) and Commission 16, Moons and Planets (president, 2003-2006); and the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences (chair, 2006-2007). 

He has coauthored five astronomy books: Turn Left at Orion (with Dan M. Davis; Cambridge University Press, 1989); Worlds Apart (with Martha W. Schaefer; Prentice Hall, 1993); The Way to the Dwelling of Light (U of Notre Dame Press, 1998); Brother Astronomer (McGraw Hill, 2000); and God's Mechanics (Jossey-Bass, 2007). (Our Publications Page will help you to obtain these.) 

Dr. Consolmagno is curator of the Vatican meteorite collection in Castel Gandolfo, one of the largest in the world. His research explores the connections between meteorites and asteroids, and the origin and evolution of small bodies in the solar system. In 1996, he spent six weeks collecting meteorites with an NSF-sponsored team on the blue ice of Antarctica, and in 2000 he was honored by the IAU for his contributions to the study of meteorites and asteroids with the naming of asteroid 4597 Consolmagno. 

Research: Dr. Consolmagno studies the nature and evolution of small bodies in the solar system. His work in the 1970s on the moons of the outer solar system predicted many of the features later discovered by the Voyager and Galileo spacecraft, including the first published suggestion of Europan sub-crustal oceans with the possibility of life. Models for the geochemical evolution of lunar basalts and basaltic meteorites eventually led to the identification, on geochemical grounds, of asteroid Vesta as the parent body of the eucrite, diogenite, and howardite meteorites.�His doctoral thesis in 1978 on the role of electromagnetic forces in chemical fractionations of the early solar system pioneered the field of gravito-electrodynamics, the behavior of dust subjected to both gravitational and electromagnetic forces, and he was the first person to apply this concept to describe the dynamics of Jupiter's dust ring. 

Geophysical research in the late 1980s to mid-1990s included mapping tectonic features on the surfaces of outer planet icy satellites to correlate the orientation of these features with possible internal stresses, and applying electromagnetic theory to the problem of detecting an ocean brine under the ice crust of Europa. He was also part of the world-wide campaigns to observe the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 into Jupiter in 1994 and mutual events during the 1995 Saturn ring plane crossing. 

Present research is centered on understanding the origin of moons, meteorites, asteroids, dwarf planets, and Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs). One continuing project is measuring the density, porosity, and magnetic properties of meteorites, with applications to understanding the lithification of meteorites and the structure of their asteroidal parent bodies. Details of his technique can be found at this PSR page. He is also involved in telescope observations measuring the spectra of small bodies in the outer solar system. 

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August 28, 2008  — Pierre Odier – Exploring Remote Tribes of NE India, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Nagaland

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Pierre Odier

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Konyak Chief Pierre in Langpong Village

Apatani Woman

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Pierre Odier was born in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 1959 he moved to the United Sates. He joined the United States Army in the same year and became a communications specialist. He served his last military years in the Northwest and was discharged in Tacoma, Washington. 

In Tacoma he owned and operated a restaurant-nightclub, an art gallery and worked as an interpreter and translator for the Weyerhaeuser Company. He received his B.A. and teaching credentials from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, M.F.A. California State of Los Angeles.

Upon completion of his teaching credentials he moved to Glendale, California, to accept a teaching position at the Herbert Hoover High School in the Glendale Unified School District. His duties included Fine Arts Chairperson and the teaching of Photography, Fine Arts, Humanity and yearbook classes.

Odier served on the public relations committee for the local teacher organization and as a five-year member on the teacher contract negotiating team, with one year as chairperson.

Odier was the president of the National Photography Instructors Association (N.P.I.A.), editor of a national photography publication, member of the National College Board Fine Arts Committee and travels extensively as a lecturer and conference speaker. He is the two time past president of the Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles, current president of the Adventurers' Foundation and a member of the Explores Club Of New York. Actively pursuing travel to remote places of the world in order to document indigenous peoples. He resides in Eagle Rock, California and is owner of a publishing company L'Image Odier.

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September 4, 2008  — Dave Barr Riding the Edge Two Journeys Against All Odds

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Dave Barr

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In the desert At a crossroads

Sky diving

"Riding the Edge" "Riding the Ice"

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Traveling around the world is a huge accomplishment, but only the beginning of Dave Barr’s incredible story. His solo motorcycle journey took three and a half years to complete and spanned six continents and 83,000 miles. What makes it truly remarkable is that Dave made the trip on a 1972 Harley-Davidson® motorcycle with two prosthetic legs, the result of an 1981 land mine explosion. He pushed his way through the Sahara, Namibia, and Gobi deserts, slipped through the Andes during avalanche season and braved the unique challenges of riding across China, Russia, Australia, and Africa. Dave later went on to establish a Guinness Book World Record for crossing northern Europe, Russia and Siberia on a motorcycle in the dead of winter. Dave uses his experiences to tell story after touching story. His life lessons are enriching and empowering as he relates how he brought his vision to life by setting goals, staying focused, and overcoming obstacles. 

Dave’s most recent adventure earned him a second Guinness World Record. This time he went to Australia on his “Southern Cross” journey. In just 45 days, he completed the first motorcycle journey ever between the four extreme geographical corners of the Australian continent. A documentary is currently in the works about this amazing trip.

Many of you will recall that Dave was here several months ago when Gregory Frazier came and spoke to us about his 5 motorcycle trips around the world.  In 1969, at age 17, Dave began his military career with the U.S. Marine Corps, receiving 57 air medals while serving on a helicopter gunship in Vietnam. He left the Marines in 1972, but felt the need to seek adventure and another cause. He chose to support peace and stability, first in Israel, later in Zimbabwe/Rhodesia and finally in South Africa. Following a fateful landmine explosion in 1981, Dave sustained life threatening injuries that ultimately resulted in the amputation of both of his legs. After a lengthy rehabilitative period, he returned to active duty completing his military enlistment. Upon returning to the United States, he was reunited with his family and his 10-year-old Harley-Davidson® motorcycle. Inspired after his first ride since the explosion, Dave decided to travel around the world on his Harley. It was his hope that he would encourage others to overcome their obstacles and make their own dreams a reality. The Dave Barr Foundation was established to support charitable organizations, both in the U.S. and overseas, that are dedicated to improving the lives of the disabled.


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September 11, 2008  — Julian Nott – Ballooning JPL Style

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Julian Nott Launch

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First Montgolfier Ballon 1783 Pilatre de Rozier  flight 1783

Piccard to 51,770 ft in 1931

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Great Nassau Balloon landing in 1835 Ed Yost - first modern balloon flight Titan prototype

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Dr. Julian Nott has broken 81 world ballooning records. His patented balloon designs use the most advanced technology and he has created the first entirely new type of balloon in over two centuries. Enduring uninterrupted flights of several days without touching down, he has skirted thunderstorms and flown over the Sahara Desert.

Nott is centrally involved in both manned ballooning as well as scientific applications. Balloons have been in use for over 220 years. “At several points in my career” says Nott, “I thought the novelty of balloons was about to end”. But not a bit of it and now I am designing balloons that will travel by rocket to the edge of the solar system where they will launch and explore Saturn’s extraordinary moon, Titan. It is indeed a new Golden Age of Exploration, the exploration of the solar system by extraordinary machines and these include balloons. And more balloons are flown today than at any time in history, be it for science or with crews. Tiny weather balloons make forecasting possible, central to so much human activity. At the opposite end of the spectrum, vastly larger balloons are routinely flown today, and for much longer periods, than at any time in history. At 120,000 feet, so little of the atmosphere is left that it is possible to make many observations just as effectively as from satellites. Experiments on cosmic rays, antimatter searches etc., are currently fl own under giant balloons. In addition to his own projects, Nott’s illustrated lecture covers these achievements, the fascinating history of ballooning and the current wide application of balloons in science and technology. Nott presents the history of ballooning as a microcosm of the history of science and technology, and suggests that there are lessons of intellectual courage to be learned, central to all major human advances, and particularly to anyone exploring that greatest of uncharted unknowns, the future.

About the speaker

The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum has described Nott as “the leading figure in applying modern science to manned balloon design over the last 20 years” and he is the recipient of numbers of leading awards. As well as designing and piloting numerous novel balloons, he is extensively involved in scientific and commercial applications of balloons and airships. Nott is helping NASA develop the “Pumpkin Balloon” for very long duration, a concept Nott pioneered. Perhaps the most interesting of his current work is assisting the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop balloons to explore Saturn’s scientifically fascinating moon, Titan. He is the only person ever to be elected to Membership of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots for experimental piloting of balloons.

The pressurized balloon cabin that Nott designed and piloted to a hot air balloon world altitude record is about to go on permanent display in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

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September 18, 2008  — Alan Feldstein – Kayaking across Vietnam

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Alan in Vietnam

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Alan Feldstein will talk to us about his trip across Viet Nam, much of it by Kayak. In the spring of this year, avid sea kayaker and member Alan Feldstein (#1094) along with several other kayak instructors from UCLA traveled to Northern Vietnam to kayak in Halong Bay. While a popular destination for tourists for 1 day kayak trips these intrpeid kayakers ventured much further out and saw sites and encountered folks on the water who had never seen westerners before. What really made the trip special was the discovery of a country that Alan knew very little about and his contact with the people who in the north were less touched by western influence. Alan will describe his kayaking experience as well as his time in Hanoi, drinking moonshine, a very special visit to the Hanoi Hilton and his home stay with the hill people well north of Hanoi near the Chinese border.

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September 25, 2008  — Major Tom Griffin – Calculated Risk: The Extraordinary Life of Jimmy Doolittle

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B-25s on the deck of the Hornet prior to the raid (Left to right) Doolittle Raiders Robert Hite, Tom Griffin, Dave Thatcher and Dick Cole B-25 in flight
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Doolittle Raiders  B-25 taking off from Hornet 

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Central to my message is the theme that there are heroes among us: People who will tell you that they were just doing their job, but, in reality, through their service, gave us the freedom we enjoy today. Their stories are just as extraordinary as my grandfather's and the men who followed him on a one way journey from the pitching deck of the USS Hornet. 

The heroes among us fought in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm, and are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq today. And the heroes among us kept the home fires burning and American functioning, as they waited for our soldiers to come home from harm's way. 

Thomas C. “Tom” Griffin was the navigator on B-25 number nine, the Whirling Dervish, during the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in 1942. He was born on 10 July 1916 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and in 1939 he graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

80 airmen, all volunteers, who flew 16 warplanes from an aircraft carrier in the Pacific to Japan where they dropped their loads of bombs on military targets in the cities of Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, and Nagoya. This was just four months after the assault on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
On April 17 all 16 of the B-25s were lined up on the "Hornet’s" deck with bombs and ammunition loaded. Early the next morning two fishing boats were spotted near the carrier and sunk by fighter planes. Fearful the Japanese air force now knew of their approach, it was decided to send the bombers even though they were still about 640 miles from their targets , 200-300 miles farther than the original plan.
Crews hurried to their ships. They all knew their supply of fuel probably wouldn’t get them as far as the refueling stations in China. 

Eleven crews were forced to bail out (two men died as they did so), and four bombers crash-landed. One of the ships landed in Russia, and the crew was held there for a year. Eight fliers were captured by the Japanese. Of those, three were executed, and five sentenced to life in prison. One of that group died of starvation, and the others suffered through 40 months of mistreatment that didn’t stop until their release at war’s end. Most survivors were sent back into combat; ten were killed in action later.

Tom Griffin: "After the raid, the five of us reported to a B-26 group starting at Harding Field, Louisiana, in July ‘42. By July ‘43 two of the five had been killed and the other three were in Nazi prison camps including myself ... (Griffin was shot down on July 4, ‘43 on a mission over Sicily and spent 22 months in a camp) ... It certainly changed all our lives."

Following his two weeks of leave, Griffin immediately reported to Harding Field, Louisiana, for navigator retraining in the B-26 as part of the 319th Bomb Group. The 319th was formed from cadre supplied by the Seventeenth Bombardment Group. Particularly, Griffin remained in the same squadron when he transitioned jobs, the 34th Bomb Squadron. After approximately three months of flying the “Big Tail Birds,”2 Griffin and others flew their aircraft over to Northern Africa to perform skip bombing missions and participate in OPERATION TORCH. Skip Bombing Once in the North African area, Griffin and his crew began training in the Sahara desert in preparation for their skip bombing missions. 

The city of Tucson (1959) gave the Raiders 80 silver goblets. Since then, they are taken to the reunion sites and used for toasts to "those who have gone."

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October 19, 2008  — NIGHT OF HIGH ADVENTURE


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October 23, 2008  — Bob Silver – Kiwiland: scenes NLA

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   Bob Silver

Bob's travels

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A private movie shot half a century ago starting in Rarotonga and proceeding - after a typhoon - down thru North and South Island, New Zealand by former Club president Bob Silver, #728.

After the big blow, I put the dinghy overboard and filmed the 52' cutter Awahnee, home port Inverness, California, while she dried out. We spent the rest of the day resewing our mains'l. Skipped the Tonga and Kermadec Islands because we'd already learned how late we were in the typhoon season and headed to Auckland, New Zealand where we tied up at the ferry wharf at the foot of Queens Street, the main drag. Soon we were surfing forty miles west by the white sands near Piha (funny, on the east coast of the Corumandel peninsula the sands are black). Not crowded but we did run into two well-known Southern California surf figures: Phil Edwards being filmed for a new movie epic by John Severson. Later, I had the honor of being introduced to the local hero of mountain climbing, Sir Edmund Hillary who prefers being called Ed. 

Traveling south I spent a few days in virgin forests where giant trees were being cut by two intrepid lumberjacks; if I'd had a tape recorder I would have wanted to catch the sound of the thunderous thud as they fell but no because in actuality the only noise was that of their outstretched limbs being caught by their neighbors and the trunk being slowed to the forest floor.

In South Island, they fly fully aerobatic bi-wing mid-30s Tiger Moths for aerial top dressing and my U.S. pilot license permitted me an opportunity to film a loop from the open cockpit.

In Christchurch, headquarters of USN support Operation Deepfreeze, RAdm Tyree invited me on a flight to Antarctica (as I was still a Marine Corps Reserve staff sergeant) aboard a ski-equipped C130 with Marine enlisted navigators. A long frustrating story but next I found myself still further south on the same Island asleep in my red new tent in the center of the little quiet city of Queenstown where I had hiked into after midnight during a heavy downpour; very friendly townsfolk who let me snore 'till midmorning when they woke me with a cup of tea. Nearby they had some 1852 iron monitors cast in Sacramento and after California panned out, shipped to them for their Kiwi gold rush; two days were spent collecting a small stream's water into a reservoir, knocking down long-dry alluvial banks and collecting the finds from the riffles of not quite as old the sluice boxes. 

Then a chance to join deer cullers, seems that the non-native deer eat new growth and cause devastating erosion and thus there is a 75 cent bounty to shoot them. Days followed enjoying venison, tea, rice, mushrooms and blackberries. The team temporarily slept in small earthen hovels and ignored their mutual flatuation. 

A short hike up the west coast where the map was blank and marked "uncharted" and finally by thumb and ferry to the capitol and port of Wellington to embark across the Tasman 1,234 mile bridge to Australia. 

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October 30, 2008  — Peter Jensen – From sea to shining sea, a 4,000 mile odyssey across America by bicycle

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   Peter Starts his journey

Santa Monica Pier
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The Pacific Santa Monica

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A private movie shot half a century ago starting in Rarotonga and proceeding - after a typhoon - down thru North and South Island, New Zealand by former Club president Bob Silver, #728.

After the big blow, I put the dinghy overboard and filmed the 52' cutter Awahnee, home port Inverness, California, while she dried out. We spent the rest of the day resewing our mains'l. Skipped the Tonga and Kermadec Islands because we'd already learned how late we were in the typhoon season and headed to Auckland, New Zealand where we tied up at the ferry wharf at the foot of Queens Street, the main drag. Soon we were surfing forty miles west by the white sands near Piha (funny, on the east coast of the Corumandel peninsula the sands are black). Not crowded but we did run into two well-known Southern California surf figures: Phil Edwards being filmed for a new movie epic by John Severson. Later, I had the honor of being introduced to the local hero of mountain climbing, Sir Edmund Hillary who prefers being called Ed. 

Traveling south I spent a few days in virgin forests where giant trees were being cut by two intrepid lumberjacks; if I'd had a tape recorder I would have wanted to catch the sound of the thunderous thud as they fell but no because in actuality the only noise was that of their outstretched limbs being caught by their neighbors and the trunk being slowed to the forest floor.

In South Island, they fly fully aerobatic bi-wing mid-30s Tiger Moths for aerial top dressing and my U.S. pilot license permitted me an opportunity to film a loop from the open cockpit.

In Christchurch, headquarters of USN support Operation Deepfreeze, RAdm Tyree invited me on a flight to Antarctica (as I was still a Marine Corps Reserve staff sergeant) aboard a ski-equipped C130 with Marine enlisted navigators. A long frustrating story but next I found myself still further south on the same Island asleep in my red new tent in the center of the little quiet city of Queenstown where I had hiked into after midnight during a heavy downpour; very friendly townsfolk who let me snore 'till midmorning when they woke me with a cup of tea. Nearby they had some 1852 iron monitors cast in Sacramento and after California panned out, shipped to them for their Kiwi gold rush; two days were spent collecting a small stream's water into a reservoir, knocking down long-dry alluvial banks and collecting the finds from the riffles of not quite as old the sluice boxes. 

Then a chance to join deer cullers, seems that t he non-native deer eat new growth and cause devastating erosion and thus there is a 75 cent bounty to shoot them. Days followed enjoying venison, tea, rice, mushrooms and blackberries. The team temporarily slept in small earthen hovels and ignored their mutual flatuation. 

A short hike up the west coast where the map was blank and marked "uncharted" and finally by thumb and ferry to the capitol and port of Wellington to embark across the Tasman 1,234 mile bridge to Australia. 

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