I’ve been meaning to write about this for a long time now. And today, after reading this article on Jim Gray, I thought of finally writing about him on my blog. If you don’t know who Jim Gray is, and want a little background on him, check this link. He was one of the brightest scientists of our time and a very nice human being, from what I’ve read, and seen from video interviews with him. Check out this interview Robert Scoble did with him back in 2005.

On January 2007, Jim Gray went missing during a solo sailing trip to the Fallon Islands near San Francisco. When you read enough about what happened, you’ll discover that he just suddenly, somehow, vanished from the face of the earth without a trace. There are a lot of things about this that just don’t seem to add up. At least in my opinion. And here’s why:

  1. Jim Gray is a very intelligent guy. Him getting into any kind of trouble and not being able to do something about it is not very likely. Him getting into trouble in the first place, especially as a result of his own mistakes, is not very likely.
  2. Jim Gray used to make solo boat trips all the time, and so I would assume he has experience with it. This was not his first time ever, alone on his boat. And again, he’s the kind of guy that should be able to take care of himself.
  3. The weather on the day he went out sailing was very very good!
  4. Gray’s boat was equipped with an automatically deployable EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon), which should have deployed and begun transmitting the instant his vessel sank.
  5. So, Jim Gray is smart, he certainly had experience sailing alone where he went, the weather was good, the boat had a EPIRB – what the fuck happened? How could he vanish from the face of the planet without a trace?
  6. Even if something happened, one of the most massive search and rescue efforts took place after that in order to find any trace of him, just check this out:

The Coast Guard searched for four days using a C-130 plane, helicopters, and patrol boats but found no sign of the vessel.
However, Gray’s boat was equipped with an automatically deployable EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon), which should have deployed and begun transmitting the instant his vessel sank. The area around the Farallon Islands where Gray was sailing is also well north of the East-West ship channel used by freighters entering and leaving San Francisco Bay. The weather was clear that day and no ships reported striking his boat, nor were any distress radio transmissions reported.
On February 1, 2007, the DigitalGlobe satellite did a scan of the area, generating thousands of images. The images were posted to Amazon Mechanical Turk in order to distribute the work of searching through them, in hopes of spotting his boat.
On February 16, 2007, the Friends of Jim Gray Group suspended their search, but continue to follow any important leads. The family ended its search May 31, 2007. The massive high-tech effort did not reveal any new clues.

So, what do we have here? One of the smartest guys on earth goes out sailing in a familiar location, being an experienced solo sailor, during clear weather, and vanishes without a trace. His boat has a EPIRB, which should have started transmitting a distress signal as soon as it sank, but that also didn’t happen. Perhaps it didn’t sink? Thousands of highly detailed satellite images (560,000 images from 3 satellites, covering nearly 3,500 square miles of ocean) revealed absolutely nothing! A 4 day search by plane, helicopters and boats by the coast guard as well as many others (friends, family etc.) revealed nothing. A massive undertaking by Friends of Jim Gray, revealed absolutely nothing.

How the fuck is this possible? It is astonishing to me that apparently nobody has asked this question before. How the fuck is this possible? I mean, what are the odds here?

If you ask me, there are two options here. Either Jim Gray went hiding all by himself, tired of the world and just wanting to be left alone, or, he was abducted. Nothing else makes sense. Apparently someone, somewhere, was in need of a seriously smart database expert to help solve their problems.

If you think I’m kidding, think again.