“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Whitewater Kayaking


River Running
Riverrunning (practitioners use one word) is the essential - and some would say most artful - form of kayaking. 

Important to a riverrunner is the experience and expression of the river in its continuity rather than, say, a penchant for its punctuated "vertical" features (e.g. standing waves, play-holes and waterfalls). As for kayak design, a "pure" riverrunning boat can be said to have "driving ability" - a blend of qualities that enables the paddler to make the most of the differential forces in the river's currents. 
© Lucas Gilman/Red Bull Content Pool
For example, instead of spinning or pivoting the boat to change its direction, a riverrunner will drive the boat in such a way as to make use of the river's surface features (e.g. waves, holes and eddylines) thus conserving the boat's speed and momemetum (this in particular contrast to slalom racing, where, in the attempt to negotiate certain kinds of slalom gates, the boater will pivot the boat to change its direction, and by so doing, diminish the boat's speed and momemetum.) 
© Jed Weingarten/Red Bull Illume
A principal design characteristic of riverrunning kayaks (as well as for their closest cousin the slalom boat) is their comparatively longer length and narrower breadth (generally not less than 285 cm in length or more than 63 cm in breadth). The longer length at the waterline not only helps to carry speed but the longer arcs thus created between stem and stern allow the boater to more efficiently and gracefully carve into, through and out of eddies and other currents.

© Mauricio Ramos/Red Bull Content Pool
 Whitewater Slalom
 In whitewater slalom, athletes have to navigate their canoe or kayak through gates as they work their way through 300m of whitewater rapids in the fastest time possible. Hitting one of the hanging gates or missing one completely results in time penalties which are added to the paddler's time at the end of his or her run. A 2-second penalty is given for a touched gate, and if the gate is missed completely there is a 50-second penalty. There are approximately 18-24 hanging gates for each course. The gates are color-coded to indicate which direction the paddler must pass through. Green gates are negotiated heading downstream while red gates require the paddler to reverse direction and pass through them heading upstream.
Caroline Wausau

 Male athletes compete in three classes: Kayak (K1), Single Canoe (C1) and Double Canoe (C2). Women compete in kayak (K1W) and Single Canoe (C1 - World Championships and World Cups).

Whitewater Slalom made its debut during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany and did not reappear until the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain.

Silver medalist Jessica Fox of Australia, gold medalist Emile Fer of France and bronze medalist Maialen Chourraut of Spain

Although many whitewater slalom events are still held on natural river courses, there are an increasing number of artificial whitewater courses being constructed and used for international competition around the world. 

The United States National Whitewater Center (, located outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, is the nation's first fully artificial whitewater course. A training site for many athletes, the U.S. National Whitewater Center was the official site of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Team Trials for whitewater slalom. 

© Desre Pickers/Red Bull Content Pool

Creeking is perhaps best thought of as a subcategory of river running, involving very technical and difficult rapids, typically in the Grade/Class IV to VI range. While people will differ on the definition, creeking generally involves higher gradient (approaching or in excess of 100 ft per mi (19 m per km)), and is likely to include running ledges, slides, and waterfalls on relatively small and tight rivers, though some will allow for very large and big volume rivers in their definition

Jared Alexander on Hazard Creek in Idaho.

Kayaks used for creeking usually have higher volume (more gallons or litres of displacement) and more rounded bow and stern, as these features provide an extra margin of safety' against the likelihood of pinning (getting a kayak wedged in such a way that it cannot be removed without a mechanical advantage system, such as between rocks and/or underwater), and will resurface more quickly and controllably when coming off larger drops. Creek boats usually have increased "rocker," or rise, fore and aft of the cockpit for manoeuvrability. Extreme racing is a competitive form of this aspect of whitewater kayaking, in which kayakers race down steep sections and or generally dangerous sections of whitewater.


 Playboating, also known as Freestyle or Rodeo, is a more gymnastic and artistic kind of kayaking. 

While the other varieties of kayaking generally involve going from Point A to Point B, playboaters often stay in one spot in the river (usually in a hole, pourover or on a wave) where they work with and against the dynamic forces of the river to perform a variety of maneuvers. 
Playboater performing an aerial loop at the Reno whitewater festival.
These can include surfing, spinning, and various vertical moves (cartwheels, loops, blunts, pistol and donkey flips, and many others), spinning the boat on all possible axes of rotation. More recently, aerial moves have become accessible, where paddlers perform tricks having gained air from using the speed and bounce of the wave. 
Women's Kayaking Freestyle Qualifier at the Vail Whitewater Park.
Kayaks used for playboating generally have relatively low volume in the bow and stern, allowing the paddler to submerge the ends of the kayak with relative ease. Competitions for playboating or freestyle are sometimes called whitewater rodeo in the US, but more frequently just referred to as freestyle events in UK and Europe. Some famous Playboaters are Eric Jackson, Stephen Wright, Peter Czonka, and James Bebbington.
Ocean Kayak

Kayak Fly Fishing
Google Images


  1. From Small Wars Journal

    A Genealogy of Egyptian Islamic Radicalism
    by Shawn Green

    From Egypt in recent years have emerged a number of individuals and groups with radical political and social views derived from Islam. These people include Sayyid Qutb, Muhammad Abd al-Salam Faraj, a leader in the Islamic Jihad, and Ayman al-Zawahiri of al-Qaeda infamy.

    However, it is the intention of this essay to argue that these radical individuals and groups are not the product of perennial characteristics of Islam. Instead, it will be put forward that today’s radical Islamic groups and figures are the result of colonialism and post-colonial political, societal and economic policies and the spread of Western ideals.

    Before Egypt gained independence it was dominated by the British. This humiliation plus social change and economic dishevelment brought about the establishment of the Muslim Brotherhood by Hasan al-Banna. This organisation and its leader then became influential during ensuing turbulent times. Following WW2 the Muslim Brotherhood suffered at the hands of the Egyptian Government as it embarked on social reform. However, these reforms only brought about greater issues. From this period emerged Sayyid Qutb and his radical views. Qutb was gaoled and eventually executed by the Sadat regime for his beliefs and actions. What resulted from Qutb’s ideas and subsequent execution was further radicalisation of fringe groups and individuals. One of these individuals was Muhammad Abd al-Salam Faraj, who espoused the struggle against the ‘near enemy.’ Both Qutb and Faraj inspired the likes of Ayman al-Zawahiri, who wields much influence over today’s global Salafi jihadist movement.

    First discussed in this paper will be colonial Egypt and the political, social and economic issues that lead to the formation of the Muslim Brotherhood.
    This will be followed by the period up until the al-Nasser Government. Examined third is the life and ideas of Sayyid Qutb. Discussed fourth are the Islamic militants that were influenced by the above events, organisations and individuals.

    The period of European exploration and colonisation in large parts of the Islamic world has greatly contributed to the rise of Islamic activism and militancy. This is because what was packaged up with European colonisation was the newly minted political and social organisational concept called the nation-state, and at the core of the nation-state is secularism. For some Muslims, secular activity means a deviation from the norm




  2. After partial victory, plaintiffs seek to show no-fly list violates their due process rights

    PORTLAND, Ore. – Thirteen people say their placement on the no-fly list deprives them of their due process rights, while lawyers defending the U.S. government say explaining such placement would involve classified information and endanger national security.

    In August, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown's rejected the government's assertion that people on the no-fly list can travel by other means, and that being on the list does not deprive them of their liberty. She asked the government for more information about its redress procedure to help her determine whether it satisfied due process requirements for the plaintiffs.

    Lawyers representing the government said in federal court in Portland, Ore., on Monday that a person's right to a hearing concerning his no-fly list status is limited, given the national-security issues, and cautioned Brown not to "take over the policymaking" by writing new rules if she decides that the system is unfair.

    The people seeking notice for their placement on the list were represented by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union, who argued that the process is inherently unfair to its clients by refusing to tell them what evidence put them on the list and shutting them out of the appeals process.

    No-fly list appeals go to a federal appellate court, which makes a decision based only on government input. That system, the ACLU argues, violates people's rights.

    "No one denies that the government has an important national security interest," said ACLU attorney Hina Shamsi. "The question is whether that interest is so all-encompassing that a citizen can be denied ... the fundamental right of due process?"


  3. I didn't know if you were going to make it; but you got there right at the very end. :) :)

    Good Job. :)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. She's not casting from a kayak, but from a dock, or boat.

      © Jed Weingarten/Red Bull Illume

      video - Hazard Creek

      Hazard Creek is outside of McCall, Idaho

      Third picture down is Palouse Falls, Washington I think. The salmon/steelhead run obviously stops there.

      Not a bad post for a dead beat dad, obsessive serial liar, sick fuck and felon, though.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. She knows no more about fly fishing than Vlad Pootie.

    If the topic hadn't turned to Hazard Creek, and fly fishing at the end, I would have gone to bed.


    1. The skeeters will lay eggs in the sweat pools in her and Vlad's belly buttons before the day is out.......

  5. OK, here -

    I'll provide the kayak and one way transportation if rat will go over the Falls.

  6. I'll throw in an eighty pound weight belt too, free.

    1. 80 pounder weightin the bow stabilizes the fall over the Falls. Added advantage: the prow gets stuck fast into the bottom of the river.

      Kinda like a penetrating bomb or something. Very exciting.

  7. Pakistan: Three Hindus injured in acid attack for celebrating Holi

    Robert Spencer Mar 18, 2014 at 3:41am Non-Muslims in Muslim countries, Pakistan 0 Comments
    holi-feast-3“Muslims in Karachi believe that the attacker was a Hindu,” but this is extraordinarily unlikely. Holi is a Hindu feast during which people throw colored dyes upon one another. It’s a joyful, festive occasion, and while this may have been the work of some embittered Hindu, “the acid-throwing incident follows the burning of a Hindu temple and a community office in the southern Larkana district on Sunday, by angry mobs protesting the alleged burning of a Quran by a Hindu.” Those mobs were, of course, Muslim, and their rage is still burning white-hot. Also, given the occasions on which fanatical Islamic supremacists in Pakistan have thrown acid on women they deem disobedient, they seem to be the most likely suspects.

    “Hindu in Pakistan suffer acid attack for celebrating Holi,” from Most Intolerant Religion, March 17 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

    Three Hindus were injured in an acid attack during a religious festival in Pakistan’s southern port city Karachi on Monday, according to police.

    “People were throwing colors on each other at a ceremony to celebrate [Hindu religious festival] Holi in Model Colony area, when one of the participants threw acid-mixed color on the crowd and sped away,” said Pir Mohammad Shah, a city police chief.

    We can hardly doubt the motivation behind this attack on Minority Hindus in Pakistan. As per the Standing Committee on Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas, it is strictly prohibited for Muslims to take part, celebrate the festivals of Kuffar (Hindus). It reads:

    It is not permissible for the Muslim to join the kuffaar in their festivals and to express joy and happiness on these occasions, or to take the day off work, whether the occasion is religious or secular, because this is a kind of imitating the enemies of Allaah, which is forbidden, and a kind of co-operating with them in falsehood. It was proven that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” [Fatwa no. 2540]

    Muslims in Karachi believe that the attacker was a Hindu, ironically the acid-throwing incident follows the burning of a Hindu temple and a community office in the southern Larkana district on Sunday, by angry mobs protesting the alleged burning of a Quran by a Hindu.

    Pakistan is a Muslim-majority country where Hindus are the second largest minority after the Christians. They make up 2 percent of the 180 million population.

    Nice pic of Holi Festival. Never heard of it before until my niece wrote today saying she and some others are celebrating Holi Festival this weekend in Germany.

    Why are the moslems always so damn grim and never like to have fun?

    1. this damn getting up to piss drives one nuts

  8. I was making a metaphor of rat's life and destiny with this going over the falls with a weight.