Databingeday, Fibucetera 18, 40 A.B.

"What do you want?"

"You won't get it."
"By hook or by crook, we will."

- From the background dialogue which opened every episode 
of the 1960s TV series, "The Prisoner"


     Hi, my name is Dan Birtcher and I'm an info junkie.  I'd been info clean for almost a week now - ever since I finished last Sunday's newspaper, in fact - but I sure fell off the wagon tonight.
     As with most falls, it began innocently enough.  I was just doing a little light reading in the book "Dead Man's Bluff: The Untold Story Of American Submarine Espionage" when I happened across a chapter set in the Sea of Okhotsk.  I couldn't recall the last time I'd heard about the Sea of Okhotsk.  And try as I might, I couldn't recall many facts about it.
     I started feeling my curiosity stirring deep inside.  Soon, my thirst for knowledge simply had to be sated.
     Three hours later, my wife found me beneath a pile of scribbled notes, babbling incoherently about shrimp and fog while trying to slap the rising tidal currents off my arms....

     It's a terrible thing, being an info junkie.  Each and every day is a struggle to stay blissfully ignorant.  And each night like tonight is followed by long hours of slow detoxification.
     Past experience has proved to me that the best way to clear my mind of data clogs is to induce writing. 
     Hence the following entry.
     Unless you happen to be a trained medical pathologist driven to determine the chemical composition of an info addict's knowledge spew, I recommend that you bail out now....

     The Sea of Okhotsk is about the 10th largest body of water on earth, being just a bathtub's worth of water smaller than the Gulf of Mexico.  Its 613,800 square miles of surface area makes it almost exactly 15 times as big as my home state of Ohio.  And yet I haven't heard it mentioned in conversation or on the news 15 times as often.  
     Go figure.

      It turns out that "Ohio" and "Okhotsk, Sea of" are only 20 pages apart in my Encyclopedia Britannica.  Although I've had that encyclopedia for over 20 years now (or exactly one year per page separating my state and this sea), I never realized it until tonight.

     It came as something of a relief to grab an atlas and discover that Ohio and the deepest part of the Sea of Okhotsk are in reality separated by some 6500 miles.  This means that my wife would have to get me into her car and then drive 65 mph for at least 100 hours before she could accidentally drown us both there.
     I find this very comforting and shall make a point of remembering it whenever I'm feeling down in the future.

     That deepest part of the Sea of Okhotsk, by the way, may be found at 146 degrees 10 minutes E longitude and 46 degrees 50 minutes N latitude.  
     Just in case you want to calculate the distance and time between you and your own drowning there.

     How deep is the deepest part?
     About 12,001 feet.
     Or just over two miles....

It's wet!


     Turns out that it's harder to get to that deepest part of the Sea of Okhotsk than you might think, however, because much of it is covered by ice from November to late May.

It's cold!


     Among the life forms that don't mind that ice:  Algae, seaweed, crawfish, mussels, crabs, urchins, shrimp, smelt, salmon, herring, pollack, flounder, cod, capelin, seals, sea lions, and whales.
     Among the life forms that do mind:  Steve Forbes' exiled campaign manager.

     In 1965, some 1,500,000 tons of fish were hauled up out of the Sea of Okhotsk by people unable to just sit quietly in their rooms.

     The waters in the Sea of Okhotsk flow mainly in a counterclockwise direction, by the way.
     This is noteworthy for at least two reasons.
     First, this is the same way my coffee spins in the morning when I stir it.  My iced tea and my Tang, too - no matter the time of day.  In fact, I stir all my drinks in a counterclockwise direction if I stir them at all.  Coincidence?  You be the judge.
     Second, it is a profound mystery to me that the waters in the Sea of Okhotsk know to flow in a counterclockwise direction when it is exceedingly doubtful that it has ever seen or been consciously aware of a single timepiece....

     And guess what?  There's a part of Sakhalin Island touched by the Sea of Okhotsk where the difference in surface level between low and high tides is 42 feet.
     And unlike humans, the Sea of Okhotsk never takes the elevator.
     In fact, it doesn't even use stairs to complete this remarkable, daily achievement.
     Makes you wonder why universities only bestow those honorary degrees on people, doesn't it?

     There's more I could say about the Sea of Okhotsk, of course, but I'm feeling much lighter-headed now that I've written as much as I have.  With any luck at all, the forgetfulness of sleep will purge my mind of whatever intoxicating information remains.
     Time to stop kicking myself for my weakness for info and start thinking about how much more effective a speaker this latest near-educational experience will make me when I again go school to school this spring warning of the dangers of too much reading and research.
     Well, after making just a handful of quick points here.
     First, a reminder for all of us to keep that Poison Control Center phone number handy.  Trained professionals are standing by, 24 hours a day to help you and your loved ones rid the body of gossip, trivia, and all but the highest doses of accidentally ingested unstrained facts.  Use them!
     Second, even the briefest glimpse of a personal diary can kill a young child whose immune system has not yet developed enough to handle undiluted hypocrisy, so please - always remember to keep yours locked up and out of reach.
     And third and finally, unless you really want to overdose yourself on information related to the Sea of Okhotsk, you will not click on the following links!

     U.S. Naval Research Laboratory: The Sea Of Okhotsk (with pretty charts!)

     Tides In The Sea Of Okhotsk

     Ice Cover In The Sea Of Okhotsk

     Magadan: Chief Russian Port On The Sea Of Okhotsk

     Magadan: Also The Name For A Russian Province On The Sea Of Okhotsk

     Addiction is a terrible thing but together we can beat it!
     Well, as soon as I check out a few more of the fascinating sites revealed by HotBot.
     If I'm not back in 5 minutes, start the beating without me....

Back To The Safe Harbor
Of Yesterday

Home To Stare At Old Entries
Until They Seem To Swim In Front Of Your Eyes
Like Ice Chunks In A Certain Body Of Water

Forward To A Much More Subtle Attempt
To Induce Seasickness With Mere Words

(©Now by Dan Birtcher using only a sextant and the North Star)