Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - 6-17-2022
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
How to identify an expert with deep knowledge of a subject from someone with a superficial understanding who uses all the contemporary phrases of an "expert" is one of the skills to identify propaganda. When the inputs (questions) and outputs (answers) are controlled anyone can look like an expert.
Now, anyone whose academic background includes computer science or artificial intelligence is probably very familiar with the The Chinese Room thought experiment. My entry into high tech was a different route, focused solely on specific projects with defined objectives not theory. As with many subjects the learning process has not fit typical academic progression.
The Chinese Room (3.57 minutes)
A little deeper into look into Artificial Intelligence and John Searle's Chinese Room. (28.37 min)
Interesting theme of proper documentation and emergency action by an authoritative source pops up in the saga of a shipwreck off the Oregon coast.
First, an Oregonian article mentions the lack of documentation by the Native Americans living on the coast as to the fate of the Spanish sailors. It left me wondering if the researcher and article author expected written documentation in English to be performed about 100 years before Americans or English were on the Western coast. Maybe a written diary by one of the sailors would have been sufficient.
The ship, a Spanish galleon, left Manila in 1693, hauling porcelain, pottery and valuable wax that gave the ship its nickname – Beeswax
According to The Astorian, James Delgado, a marine archaeologist, helped lead the retrieval efforts and will continue to study the shipwreck remains at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria.
Delgado told The Astorian that he does not think these remains, a few wooden beams, will answer any of the big questions that remain of the cause of the shipwreck or what happened to anyone on board, but says it is a step in the direction that may lead to further discoveries.
Smaller discoveries like pieces of the porcelain, pottery and beeswax the ship was carrying have washed up on the Oregon Coast for hundreds of years to be found by beachcombers. These small discoveries propped up the mythos of the shipwreck.
The Astorian said that oral traditions of native people to the area say that their ancestors had some contact with survivors but little is known or documented about what happened to the Spanish aboard the ship.
Second, defining the recovering of old timbers as an Emergency Operation seems a bit more chaotic than well planned archeological excavation.
After reading the National Geographic article, it appears Europe was outsourcing the building of European ships to Asia in the 1600's. Outsourcing is not a new economic model.
Legendary Spanish galleon shipwreck discovered on Oregon coast National Geographic June 16, 2022
Astoria, Oregon Timbers from the wreck of a 17th-century Spanish galleon have been discovered on Oregon’s northern coast, state officials confirmed today.
The extraordinarily rare hull remains were removed from sea caves near Manzanita earlier this week in a risky emergency recovery mission involving archaeologists, law enforcement personnel, and search-and-rescue teams from multiple state and local agencies.
“I’m impressed and relieved,” says Scott Williams, an archaeologist with the Washington State Department of Transportation and president of the Maritime Archaeology Society (MAS), an all-volunteer group that spearheaded a 15-year search for the shipwreck.
The dozen timbers are believed to be pieces of the Santo Cristo de Burgos, a Spanish galleon that was sailing from the Philippines to Mexico in 1693 when it veered off course and vanished, most likely wrecking on what’s now Oregon’s coast. Its cargo included costly Chinese silk, porcelain, and blocks of beeswax for making candles.
Santo Cristo de Burgos was a Manilla galleon, a type of sturdy wooden vessel that plied an annual trade route between Spanish colonies in the Philippines and Mexico from 1565-1815, a period that marked the first era of global trade. The workhorse European ships were built in Asian ports by Asian craftspeople using Asian materials.
The Chinese ceramics and Asian beeswax blocks with Spanish markings led them to conclude that the Beeswax Wreck had to be one of two Manilla galleons that went missing between roughly 1650 and 1750: the Santo Cristo de Burgos, which was lost in 1693, or the San Francisco Xavier, which disappeared in 1705.
MAS researchers were then fairly confident that the Beeswax Wreck and the Santo Cristo de Burgos were one and the same vessel.
Craig Andes is one of those beachcombers, a commercial fisherman who belonged to a “Goonies gang” of kids who grew up exploring the coast, inspired by tales of treasure. He began sharing his knowledge of the area’s artifacts with MAS after reading about their hunt for the Beeswax Wreck.
That information included the presence of bits of wood in sea caves that Andes first spotted in 2013. He kept a watchful eye on them and strongly believed they were ship timbers. He also grew concerned that the smaller pieces were at risk of being washed away. So in 2020 he contacted the MAS and urged them to test a sample of the wood.
“I was convinced it was driftwood,” MAS president Williams recalls. “To think that 300-year-old ship timbers could survive the Oregon coast was just crazy.”
A lab analysis revealed that the timbers were hewn from Anacardiaceae, a species of tropical hardwood found in Asia. Radiocarbon dating indicated that the tree was felled around 1650. Both facts lined up squarely with the composition and age of the Santo Cristo.
Andes watched the activity from the beach, marveling at the complex choreography. Nearly a decade had passed since he spotted the timbers, and as the first, and largest, piece was towed ashore, he ran his hand fondly along the glistening surface, pointing to a large spike hole. "Looks like there's still metal in there," he observed.
The timbers are now at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, where they’ll be carefully documented and conserved. Each timber will be scanned in detail, and the scans will be shared with Manilla galleon experts around the world to better understand how the extraordinary ships were built.
A little more info at Maritime Archaelogical Society
Beeswax Wreck Project
Timeline of the Beeswax Wreck Site
Varying explanations of the shipwreck from 1814 forward.
1814: Fur trader Alexander Henry of Astoria writes in his journal, “They [the Clatsop Indians] bring us frequently lumps of beeswax, fresh out of the sand, which they collect on the coast so the S. [South], where the Spanish ship was cast away some years ago, and crew all murdered by the natives.”
1870: Writing in 1899, Samuel Clarke noted that when he first came to the Nehalem area in 1870 that “the bones of two wrecks were then to be seen at the mouth of the Nehalem river.”
Significant news related to Taiwan for the week.
In response to the Bloomberg reporter it appears China will be pushing back on the US definition of International Waters.
Bloomberg: We reported that Chinese military officials have repeatedly asserted that the Taiwan Strait is not international waters in recent months during meetings with US counterparts. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Taiwan Strait ranges in width from about 70 nautical miles at its narrowest and 220 nautical miles at its widest. According to UNCLOS and Chinese laws, the waters of the Taiwan Strait, extending from both shores toward the middle of the Strait, are divided into several zones including internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, and the Exclusive Economic Zone. China has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait. At the same time, it respects the lawful rights of other countries in relevant waters.
There is no legal basis of “international waters” in the international law of the sea. It is a false claim when certain countries call the Taiwan Strait “international waters” in order to find a pretext for manipulating issues related to Taiwan and threatening China’s sovereignty and security. China is firmly against this.
Taiwan’s advanced technology makes it indispensable Asia Time June 15, 2022
The world is becoming more dependent on the Taiwanese semiconductor industry, not less, even as the war of words between the US and China heats up and people talk about the lessons to be learned from Ukraine.
According to the latest quarterly World Fab Forecast released by SEMI on June 13, Taiwan is expected to lead global spending on semiconductor production equipment this year, with a 52% increase to US$34 billion.
At the leading edge, TSMC has a monopoly on 3-nanometer process technology and is overwhelmingly dominant at 5-nanometer. Production at the 3-nanometer node is scheduled to start this year with orders from Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Apple and MediaTek.
On June 10, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, delivering the keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue conference in Singapore, said: “I myself have a strong sense that Ukraine today may be the East Asia [of] tomorrow.”
What does that mean? That America and its allies might stand back and watch while Taiwan is blasted to rubble? Let’s hope not. The island and its semiconductor industry are too important for that to be allowed to happen.
Taiwan Touts "Ability To Attack Beijing" With Supersonic Cruise Missiles ZeroHedge June 16, 2022
You Si Kun, President of Taiwan’s Legislative Assembly, recently said in a media interview that Taiwan's military wouldn't shy away from using its Yun Feng supersonic cruise missiles if under direct invasion threat. "Yung Fend missiles can already hit Beijing, and Taiwan has the ability to attack Beijing," You said, as cited in Liberty Times Net, and further described in Fox News. Supersonic missiles are capable of traveling faster than Mach 1
The top official invoked the example of Russia's rapid, 'surprise' invasion of Ukraine - suggesting that military preparedness as well as basic geography would stall a Chinese PLA advance deep into the island.
EDITORIAL: Containing China the only option Taipei Times June 15, 2022
Over the weekend, a war of words broke out between Washington and Beijing at the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore, turning the annual powwow into less of a dialogue and more of an exchange of angry monologues.
During an address to delegates at the summit on Sunday, Chinese Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe (魏鳳和) did not mince his words: “Let me make this clear: If anyone dares to secede Taiwan from China, we will not hesitate to fight. We will fight at all costs and we will fight to the very end. This is the only choice for China.”
The day before, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had used his address to warn that China had unilaterally changed the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait.
China’s bellicose rhetoric at the Shangri-La Dialogue and its attempt to unilaterally redefine international maritime law is yet more proof that Beijing cannot be an equal competitor since it has tossed the rule book into the fire: The only viable option for Washington is containment.
What is on your mind today?