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Showing posts from November, 2009

The Internets. . . and River Rafting

The internet has been a boon and, of course, a bane. Like all inventions, the internet cannot dodge the Law of Unintended Consequences.

The convenience of using the internet is unparalleled --- for banking, ticket reservations, research (Do Encyclopedia Britannica salesmen exist anymore?) and delivering entertainment content. Simultaneously, it has never been simpler to be bombarded by unwanted solicitation, it has never been easier for crooks to steal your identification and smut has become ubiquitous online. Who needs a pornography stash anymore?

Well, former President Bush's "internets" have certainly been a boon to the acquisition of river rafting permits. No longer do you have to submit paperwork by mail and jump through hoops that sometimes were not obvious. No longer do you have to deal with voice mail hell, or even, humans. No longer do you have to coordinate a snail mail response by a group of your friends or family which is only slightly easier than herding…

Project RAFT

Before the collapse of the Soviet Union and the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, a group of American boaters ventured into the wilds of Siberia and discovered Soviet citizens, using home-made rafts, launching themselves down torrents of whitewater that would give the boldest river rafters pause. Late in the '80s, a reconstituted group of the same American rafting enthusiasts returned to the Soviet Union to compete in the whitewater competitions that Soviet clubs organized.

Out of these encounters emerged the idea for a non-profit dubbed Project RAFT which stood for Russians and Americans for Teamwork. The idea was to bring teams of Soviets together with teams of Americans for a semi-annual whitewater river rafting competition and environmental festival. It was fleshed out to include teams from any nation in the world capable of fielding a river rafting team of 6 to 7 individuals.

The first official Project RAFT gathering happened early in the spring of 1990 and was hosted by the Nant…