#SOTD 47: A gripping search-and-rescue story

1. Make me Understand / 2. Make me Engaged / 3. Make me Care / 5. General

#SOTD 47: A gripping search-and-rescue story

A man accidentally falls overboard from a yacht about 40 miles off the coast of Southern California. He’s got nothing but his summer shorts on him. He tries swimming ashore, but can’t because of the tides and the distance.

The other occupants on the boat realise his absence only on reaching shore. They immediately alert the Coast Guard, but realise it is a futile search operation. They wouldn’t know where to look, because any person in the open ocean would get pulled away by the currents and the wind.

The man’s survival chances are almost nil.


Luckily for him, Arthur Allen, the US Coast Guard’s only oceanographer had created a computer modeling program that predicts how different objects drift in different seas, depending on the time, tide, wind and other conditions.

And because of the accuracy of his model, the Coast Guard’s boat finds the man … and he is rescued.

This fascinating story is narrated in a new podcast episode from the latest season of ‘Against the Rules‘ – a podcast by Michael Lewis, one of the finest storytellers in the world.

– Why do we struggle to find the real experts in a crisis?In this season the theme is ‘experts’. Michael profiles experts (and expertise) from various fields and tries to answer puzzling questions around the topic:

– Why do we often undermine their authority?

– And why do these experts struggle to tell their story?

It is a fascinating case study in crafting a narrative, wrapping it around a human interest story, and digging deep to really find the extraordinary moments in the story.

#SOTD 47

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