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Date of Issue: February 23, 2008

Sandscript

Watch your behinds on the beach these days

Here’s some news that seems obvious, but perhaps is not:

High and dry on the beach is best.

A University of Florida study has revealed that those beachgoers who spend their time on dry sand rather than on the wet beach end up avoiding health issues.

We’re talking about sitting on the wet sand versus sitting on the dry.

Wet muck. Dry stuff. Nearly-bare butts. Go figure.

“Our objective was to understand whether beach sand could pose a health risk to beachgoers,” according to Tonya D. Bonilla, a doctoral student in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s department of infectious diseases and pathology who studied three South Florida beaches over a 2-year period to see whether human health risks appear to increase based on the level of sand exposure.

This is all from a UF report, by the way.

“What we found was that there was no increased health risk due to exposure to sand on the upper beach,” Bonilla said. “However, the longer the period of time people spent in the water and in the wet sand, the higher the probability that they would experience some gastrointestinal illness.”

Hey! Get a chair, OK?

 

Big boats as a sailboat

There’s a new trick out there for some cargo ships: sails.

SkySails of Germany is proposing that if freighters use their sails reduce fuel consumption could be reduced by as much as 50 percent on a voyage. The same fuel saving holds true on cruise lines.

The spinnaker-like devices work to pull the ship with the wind.

So does it work?

Capt. Terry Simmons has been on the water for more that 30 years, sailing into almost every port on the planet. He’s read the literature and suggested a few thoughts.

Yep, a SkySail might work. Sometimes.

But you’ve gotta work into the equation the cost of installation, the cost of operation and the cost of crew to operate it all.

“You’re looking at a few million dollars just to change a decal on a ship,” Simmons said. To add a sail to a ship, with all the fittings and the special crew needed to operate it, versus the proposed fuel savings … go figure.

 

Go slow

So as a Little Roat, my dad and I used to putter around in our little boat in Anna Maria Sound.

We’d go and snatch some scallops, look at the fish, maybe catch some and putter around some more. Sometimes we’d even snatch some oysters from the mangroves and suck them down. Yum.

And then we found a neat trick.

I’d stand at the bow of the boat and hold up a towel. Wind from the north, house to the south, not rocket science, and we were off. Dad would steer using the boat motor.

And we got home.

Next trip, we tried using an old bed sheet. Faster.

So maybe the ship sail works after all.

 

Sandscript factoid

As my fingers cramp as I write this I’m reading the latest from Japan. It seems that there is a new best-selling set of novels that are penned via cell phones. Novels are short, writing is not long, but readership is large for our Asian friends, all accessible only through a cell phone.

Ernest Hemingway once said that his book “Old Man and the Sea” was the finest thing he’d ever written. Short, concise sentences, go-to-the-point points of the story. It won him a Pulitzer.

Cell phone novels?

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