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Andrew James
Andrew James

1 : Smoke Signal



The smoke signal is one of the oldest forms of long-distance communication. It is a form of visual communication used over a long distance. In general smoke signals are used to transmit news, signal danger, or to gather people to a common area.




1 : Smoke Signal



In ancient China, soldiers along the Great Wall sent smoke signals on its beacon towers to warn one another of enemy invasion.[1][2] The colour of the smoke communicated the size of the invading party.[1] By placing the beacon towers at regular intervals, and situating a soldier in each tower, messages could be transmitted over the entire 7,300 kilometres of the Wall.[1] Smoke signals also warned the inner castles of the invasion, allowing them to coordinate a defense and garrison supporting troops.[2]


In ancient Sri Lanka, soldiers stationed on the mountain peaks would alert each other of impending enemy attack (from English, Dutch or Portuguese people) by signaling from peak to peak. In this way, they were able to transmit a message to the King in just a few hours.[3]


Misuse of the smoke signal is known to have contributed to the fall of the Western Zhou Dynasty in the 8th century BCE. King You of Zhou had a habit of fooling his warlords with false warning beacons in order to amuse Bao Si, his concubine.[4]


North American indigenous peoples also communicated via smoke signal. Each tribe had its own signaling system and understanding. A signaler started a fire on an elevation typically using damp grass, which would cause a column of smoke to rise. The grass would be taken off as it dried and another bundle would be placed on the fire. Reputedly the location of the smoke along the incline conveyed a meaning. If it came from halfway up the hill, this would signify all was well, but from the top of the hill it would signify danger.[5]


Smoke signals remain in use today. The College of Cardinals uses smoke signals to indicate the selection of a new Pope during a papal conclave. Eligible cardinals conduct a secret ballot until someone receives a vote of two-thirds plus one. The ballots are burned after each vote. Black smoke indicates a failed ballot, while white smoke means a new Pope has been elected.


Yámanas of South America used fire to send messages by smoke signals, for instance if a whale drifted ashore.[9] The large amount of meat required notification of many people, so that it would not decay.[10] They might also have used smoke signals on other occasions, thus it is possible that Magellan saw such fires (which inspired him to name the landscape Tierra del Fuego) but he may have seen the smoke or lights of natural phenomena.[11][12]


Aboriginal Australians throughout Australia would send up smoke signals for various purposes.[13][14][15][16] Sometimes to notify others of their presence, particularly when entering lands which were not their own.[13] Sometimes used to describe visiting whites, smoke signals were the fastest way to send messages.[16] Smoke signals were sometimes to notify of incursions by hostile tribes, or to arrange meetings between hunting parties of the same tribe. This signal could be from a fixed lookout on a ridge or from a mobile band of tribesman.[15] "Putting up a smoke" would often result in nearby individuals or groups replying with their own signals.[14][15] To carry information, the colour of the smoke was varied, sometimes black, white or blue depending on whether the material being burnt was wet grass, dry grass, reeds or other, and the shape of the smoke could be a column, ball or smoke ring. This message could include the names of individual tribesmen.[15] Like other means of communication, signals could be misinterpreted. In one recorded instance, a smoke signal reply translated as "we are coming" was misinterpreted as joining a war party for protection of the tribe when it was actually hunting parties coming together after a successful hunt.[15]


American Indians used smoke signals to alert others of multiple situations, including, to warn of danger, to call the people to a common meeting area and to transmit news (Grandmother Selma / Clark 411). This ancient skill stems from the larger category of American Indian non-verbal communication. Different types of this, most notably sign language, were essential for American Indian communication. Since each tribe had their own unique language, these types of non-verbal signals enabled communication among diverse groups. This tool for transmitting messages was also extremely useful in mountainous or heavily forested regions (Clark 415).


There never has been a standard code for smoke signals. This is partially due to the idea that the signals were oftentimes meant to be secretive. Because the signals were visible to all, the enemy would be able to see the message in the sky but, because of the non-standardized system, could not make out the meaning behind the smoke. Thus, unique codes were secretly developed between individuals or groups of people for their private use (Tomkins 92).


Besides smoke signals, American Indians took advantage of a myriad of other communication signal tools, such as, pony, blanket, mirror, and figures or pictures. At the bottom of this page is a chart indicating each signals purpose and way in which it was performed (Clark 411-416).


This mission is unique in that it is the only storyline mission in which no indicators appear on the HUD compass to mark the location of the mission objectives. Instead, each objective is marked by a rising column of smoke. At the base of each smoke signal is a burning pile of tires and debris, and activating a lever close to each pile lowers a lid to extinguish them. The smoke signals are arranged around the periphery of Old Haven and are most easily accessed by traversing the area in a clockwise circuit; north-east (Apartment District), south-east (Canal District), south-west (Junkyard) and north-west (Rooftops).


Also on the clockwise path are objectives for the mission Bandit Treasure: Three Corpses, Three Keys, the first being a trio of bandit corpses to the north where the mission is obtained. This mission can be done in conjunction with shutting down the smoke signals with the various keys found spaced between smoke signal locations.


This information is directed primarily to recreational boaters, but the requirements discussed also apply to operators of vessels engaged in the carrying of six or fewer passengers. The Visual Distress Signal requirements for most commercial vessels are in Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The requirement to carry visual distress signals became effective on January 1, 1981. This regulation requires all boats when used on coastal waters, which includes the Great Lakes, the territorial seas and those waters directly connected to the Great Lakes and the territorial seas, up to a point where the waters are less than two miles wide, and boats owned in the United States when operating on the high seas to be equipped with visual distress signals.


Must be Coast Guard approved, in serviceable condition and stowed to be readily accessible. If they are marked with a date showing the serviceable life, this date must not have passed. Launchers produced before Jan. 1, 1981, intended for use with approved signals are not required to be Coast Guard Approved.


The purpose of the regulation is to assure that boaters have a way of attracting attention and securing assistance should the need arise. Properly used visual distress signals will also help reduce the time it takes to locate a boat in difficulty when a search is underway. This will reduce the possibility of a minor emergency becoming a tragedy.


No single signaling device is ideal under all conditions and for all purposes. Consideration should therefore be given to carrying several types. For example, an aerial flare can be seen over a long distance on a clear night, but for closer work, a hand-held flare may be more useful.


The distress flag must be at least 3 x 3 feet with a black square and ball on an orange background. It is accepted as a day signal only and is especially effective in bright sunlight. The flag is most distinctive when waved on something such as a paddle or a boat hook or flown from a mast.


The electric distress light is accepted for night use only and must automatically flash the international SOS distress signal, which is three short flashes, three long flashes, and three short flashes. Flashed four to six times each minute, this is an unmistakable distress signal, well known to most boaters. The device can be checked any time for serviceability if shielded from view.


NOTE: An ordinary flashlight is not acceptable since it must be manually flashed and does not normally produce enough candle power. The Regulation States: "No person in-a boat shall display a visual distress signal on water to which this subpart applies under any circumstances except a situation where assistance is needed because of immediate or potential danger to the persons aboard."


Visual distress signals are part of your boat's safety equipment. Check them before you leave harbor. Their intended purpose is to summon help should the need arise. Visual distress signals can only be effective when someone is in a position to see them. Therefore, when employing pyrotechnic devices, do so only when you see or hear a boat or airplane or you are reasonably sure that someone on shore is in position to see your signal and take action. Good judgment is an essential part of successful use of visual distress signals.


All distress signaling devices have both advantages and disadvantages. The most popular, because of cost, are probably the smaller pyrotechnic devices. Pyrotechnics make excellent distress signals, universally recognized as such, but they have the drawback that they can be used only once. Additionally, there is a potential for both injury and property damage if not properly handled.


The hand-held and the floating orange smoke signaling devices are excellent (if not the best) day signals, especially on clear days. Both signals are most effective with light to moderate winds because higher winds tend to keep the smoke close to the water and disperse it which makes it hard to see. 041b061a72


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