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Leaving the place better than we found it
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Hidden heroes among us
Resetting our parallel processor
A village with heart
A lesson from the road
The bullet dodged
A soul sparkles
Isolation in style
Painless ways to lose your virginity : 11/12/15
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Failure
We may be failing to fail
07/25/16

All my life, I've liked turtles. Little did I know that the world's first submarine used in combat was called "Turtle". It did look like a turtle, and it was invented and built in Connecticut by David Bushnell.

Bushnell invented the Turtle to carry his underwater explosives, which he also invented. His was also the world's first time bomb running off a watch. He invented a raft of submarine subsystems, like ballasts and screw propellers.

We hear of subs as early as World War I, but Bushnell was way before that. Before the Spanish-American War, before the Civil War, before the War of 1812. He built his Turtle in 1775 to attack British ships during the Revolutionary War.

When folks invent even one new thing, it often comes with an explosion or drowning that curtails further inventing. Bushnell was unusual in that all his inventions worked right out of the gate, except one. To attach his bomb, Bushnell planned to use a hand auger to drill into the bottom of the British ships. Unknown to him, the British had started covering their hulls with copper sheets to reduce marine fouling. His augur couldn't penetrate the copper, and the Turtle slinked back to port in failure.

Bushnell and everyone on his team saw only that their British adversary continued to float defiantly in New York harbor. They all agreed that the Turtle was a flop.

Chaulking up the Turtle as a total loss, Bushnell became a doctor and never again spoke of his crazy, impractical idea.

My take-away was a question. What are the chances that we also discovered something, started something, or accomplished something in our own lives that didn't succeed, and so we branded it a failure and moved on, all without realizing that some time later, it would become the foundation for something outstanding?

We sometimes look to our kids that way, that maybe their false starts would lead to distinction and success. And then we could take our measure of the credit.

What if one of our failures, something we've long since purged from our memories out of embarassment, still lingers in the annals of the internet, growing moldy, but still ready to be dusted off by the guy with an augur that can pierce copper?

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Busting out from the bark

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Kiss me and you'll turn int a prince

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Horseshoe crabs trapped in a tide pool

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The city on a horseshoe crab

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Kids catching blue crabs

For more pictures of Connecticut and Rhode Island, click here.


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