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Jim Gray Is Missing

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the red-sky-at-night dept.

Databases 283

K-Man writes "Jim Gray, Turing Award winner and developer of many fundamental database technologies, was reported missing at sea after a short solo sailing trip to the Farallon Islands off San Francisco. Gray is manager of Microsoft's eScience group. The Coast Guard is searching for his vessel over 4,000 square miles of ocean, and there have been no distress calls or signals of any kind. Gray is 63 and a sailor with 10 years' experience."

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Mirror of SFGate News (5, Informative)

mfh (56) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810496)

SFGate's Report - Mirrored [sfgate.com] :

(01-29) 15:23 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Coast Guard is looking for a San Francisco computer scientist who may be lost at sea after he failed to return from an outing to the Farallon Islands Sunday afternoon.

Jim Gray, 63, set out alone on his 40-foot sailboat, "Tenacious," Sunday morning and was expected back sometime that afternoon, officials said.

Gray is a prize-winning researcher and the manager of the Microsoft Science Group in downtown San Francisco.

His wife notified authorities at 8:35 p.m. Sunday after Gray failed to return and did not answer cell phone calls, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard searched all night with an aircraft, helicopter, coastal patrol boat and motor life boat, officials said, but found no sign of the missing vessel. They also found no signs of distress.

Officials said that Gray has more than 10 years of sailing experience and that his boat is "well-equipped with communication, safety and emergency gear."

The Farallon Islands are about 27 miles off the coast from the Golden Gate Bridge.

Re:Mirror of SFGate News (0, Offtopic)

Rearden82 (923468) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811018)

Between James Kim and this poor guy, I think it's a pretty clear sign that geeks and outdoor activities don't mix. As if that wasn't obvious enough already.

I'll never forget the time I tried to pitch a tent. Long story short, it was mostly supported by a rope attached to a tree and a bunch of rocks around the perimeter.

Re:Mirror of SFGate News (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811180)

Wow! Impressive UID dude!

The plot thickens! (4, Funny)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810506)

Jim Gray, Turing Award winner and developer of many fundamental database technologies ...

Isn't reiserfs organized sort of like a database?

I know what happened.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810508)

he accidently did a Cartesian Join, and flooded the boat

MOD PARENT FUNNY! (0, Offtopic)

Virak (897071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810578)

Why can't I ever have mod points when I see a *really* good comment?

Re:I know what happened.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811158)

What am I missing?

Do cartesian joins (or Descartes) have something to do with boats or ships or floods?

Re:I know what happened.... (1)

RatRagout (756522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811274)

I surely hope he didn't do a natural join with the ocean.

Penguins (2, Funny)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810516)

Let's hope he is saved by Penguins.

Re:Penguins (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811140)

This is one of the moments when I wish the Linux mascot was a dolphin.

You don't think (0, Troll)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810518)

Hans had anything to do with it, do you?

Re:You don't think (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810556)

All Hans on deck...

Re:You don't think (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810622)

Poor joke. I will kill you with my bare Hans for that one.

Re:You don't think (4, Funny)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810734)

I'd rather use a Hans held knife.

Re:You don't think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810788)

I am Hans. And I am Franz...And we're going to...sink your boat.

Hm... (5, Funny)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810566)

> SELECT loc FROM Locations loc, People p WHERE p.name="Jim Gray" AND p.loc=loc.id

The query returned 0 results.

Re:Hm... (4, Funny)

tedivm (942879) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811030)

He probably drowned himself when he realized that the majority of the world learned SQL from a tee shirt, and just like the shirt [http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts/coder/595d/], you forgot the semi-colon.

Re:Hm... (5, Funny)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811070)

Actually, my development environment does not require semicolons after lone SQL statements. Besides, when you embed SQL statements in code using JDBC/DBI/... you also don't need semicolons.

And I don't like semicolons because one time I accidentally typed "DELETE FROM Table; WHERE ..." on a production database. Luckily, one entry had a constraint which forced transaction to rollback.

Re:Hm... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811104)

Please use the JOIN keyword when making joins.

Why? (1)

Cryptnotic (154382) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811352)

No, really. Why? Does it matter at all for correctness? (answer, no). True, some databases will optimize one type of join differently than another type and if you know the intricacies of these you can optimize operations. Is there any other reason? Style?

Because it's the ANSI standard... (3, Insightful)

blorg (726186) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811568)

- It's the standard, vendor extensions for outer joins (+) are non-standard. Hence helps with code portablity.
- It's a lot easier to read.
- It keeps operations that are conceptually seperate (joins and filtering the data set) syntactically seperate.
- A few other advantages, including: full outer joins are possible which had to be fudged with UNIONs before, and cartesian products cannot be created accidentally but have to be explicitly specified.

I'm sorry (-1, Flamebait)

Kelz (611260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810570)

...did they find a red and white striped cap somewhere near the shore?

Re:I'm sorry (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810964)

That one went right over my head. Care to elaborate?

Re:I'm sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810984)

Look for yourself [google.com]

Sounds like... (3, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810594)

The Coast Guard is searching for his vessel over 4,000 square miles of ocean

Sounds like Gray's Anatomy is meeting up with Gray's Marine Biology.

Re:Sounds like... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810716)

I hope we get Gray's Violent Drowning out of all of this.

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811064)

I'm sure he'll end up safe and sound on some Island in the south pacific with some survivors of Oceanic flight 815... as long as he's not attacked by monsters. Or pigs. Or 'the others'. Or doesn't get sick. Or blown up in an electromagnetic experiment. Or... you know what? Fuck it. He's gone. He'll just be shot the moment somebody nobody likes is written off...

Good one Slashserfs (1, Insightful)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810616)

8 of the first 10 comments made by complete wankers

Re:Good one Slashserfs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810840)

Might be flamebait, but it is, non-the-less true. Damned bunch of heartless savages.

Re:Good one Slashserfs (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811130)

You must be new here. Welcome to Slashdot.

If he has his cellphone... (1)

deadlock911 (629647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810626)

couldn't they just fly out there with a transmitter and keep trying to call him?

Re:If he has his cellphone... (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810646)

uh, and what is your transmitter going to talk to? you can't just transmit a phone call to a mobile phone.

Re:If he has his cellphone... (1)

deadlock911 (629647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810688)

ok ok a transmitter WITH a handset on it.
You only need him to be closer than the horizon to establish a connection...I'm sure you could set it up to mimic his cellular providers cell towers

Re:If he has his cellphone... (3, Insightful)

cryptoluddite (658517) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810658)

No. Apparently this sort of device hasn't been invented yet, or surely they would have saved James Kim. Now why the rescue workers don't have this kind of thing is a good question. Even if it can't handle calls but can just give a direction to the phone's 'ping' it would be good enough to find people with.

Re:If he has his cellphone... (2, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811208)

cost benefit analysis probably showed that a human life isn't worth the cost of such a device.

Re:If he has his cellphone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811220)

His phone is probably not waterproof, thus will not operate if the boat went over.
But your idea is generaly correct - say he is too far away and out of range of the on-shore antennas. (altohugh a cellular cell is usualy about 20 miles of radius). So they can arrange a 'micro-cell' device, like they use for building ad-hoc cells in crowded areas, conventions, malls, etc. Put this micro-cell on a chopper, and weave the ocean, looking for a phone trying to sync with the micro-cell.

It's OK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810650)

Gray is manager of Microsoft's eScience group.

For a second there, it looked like we had another tragedy on our hands.

Re:It's OK (5, Insightful)

DrRevotron (994894) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810678)

For a second there, I thought Slashdot would drop this stupid anti-Microsoft bullshit and at least show some compassion.

Re:It's OK (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810708)

For a second there, I thought Slashdot would drop this stupid anti-Microsoft bullshit and at least show some compassion.

If you come to slashdot for compassion, then I DO feel sorry for you.

Re:It's OK (1)

REALLYTANGY (908335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811072)

At the very least how about some logic and reason instead of agenda pushing? We all know if "Jim Gray" was substitute in the title with either "Steve Jobs" or "Linus Torvalds" half of the "comedians" would be out there in scuba gear, while the other half would be certain the rapture was near.

Re:It's OK (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811160)

Logic and reason -- at least on the part of slashdotters -- aren't going to bring Gray back. Jokes are fun. Get over it.

In any event, I wish Linus were on the boat with Jim. Just for the lulz.

Re:It's OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811732)

No no.. it's only funny if linus gets hit by a bus!

Re:It's OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810866)

you must be new here...

Re:It's OK (1)

Incidence (923443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811252)

Humor during a disaster or crisis is not always a sign the joker is being flippent or mean spirited. One of the ways people deal with a situation thats unpleasent or distressing is to attempt a joke or humor because it helps creates some emotional distance from the situation. Not knowing the people making the jokes, I can't say thats the case here but it is possible.

Re:It's OK (1)

X.25 (255792) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811692)

For a second there, I thought Slashdot would drop this stupid anti-Microsoft bullshit and at least show some compassion.

Oh... yeah, I'm full of compassion for a guy who knew what he was getting into.

Meanwhile, I don't care about insane number of children dying every day because of war, hunger, torture, trafficking - and who have no choice in their lives.

Welcome to Slashdot.

Was using MS Sailor 2007 XP (5, Insightful)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810660)

Cue up the jokes about how he shouldn't have automated his sailboat using Windows. Now facing the Blue Wave of Death.

Seriously though, there's a good chance he's OK. The weather out here has been great today, and he hasn't been gone that long. One of the following probably happened:
  • Something broke and he's drifting around out there, probably to be spotted fairly soon as there's plenty of ship traffic and the Coasties are looking;
  • Got blown off course and had to put in somewhere remote on the coast (unlikely as the winds aren't bad);
  • Navigation broke down, he missed the Farallons (although you can usually see them from shore on a good day), went too far out, and is down coming back;
  • Hit a whale / whale hit him -- not good, could sink the boat; hopefully he had a liferaft and was able to get into it;
  • Hit by a ship (it's busy out there); definitely not good; but unlikely as weather has been very good
  • Accidently fell overboard -- very bad, especially with our cold water here. That's why you don't make ocean passages alone, no matter how experienced you are.

Re:Was using MS Sailor 2007 XP (3, Funny)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810814)

Cue up the jokes about how he shouldn't have automated his sailboat using Windows. Now facing the Blue Wave of Death.
And now, the Blue Wave of Death is rendered in glass-like clarity!*
.
.
.
.
.
*Tsunami Premium or Ultimate and supported tidal card required

Re:Was using MS Sailor 2007 XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810834)

As a former sailor, I hope he's OK. It's always sad to see a fellow sailor and techie die like that (we just lost James Kim from zdnet not long ago).

A victim of a different kind of Piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810838)

One little secret that most sailors don't openly talk about is how 'everyone' carries firearms with them, even around countries like Australia which don't have a gun culture.

Greate-White-Shark infested "Red Triangle" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810842)

Cue up the jokes...
Ummmm, personally I think a lot of the so-called "jokes" posted up to know are pretty stupid, immature, and not funny. The Farallon Islands are in the middle of the "Red Triangle" (red because of blood), where Great White Sharks gather en masse to feed off of the elephant seal population.

If Gray got knocked into the water, there's a very real possibility that a great white shark attacked him. While sharks do not consume human meat, they usually mistake the form of humans for seals, which is why they attack.

Re:Was using MS Sailor 2007 XP (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811000)

  • Accidently fell overboard -- very bad, especially with our cold water here. That's why you don't make ocean passages alone, no matter how experienced you are.

And on a related topic:

  • Incapacitating medical problem -- 63 is probably about the median age for a heart attack.

Lets hope he is found shacked up with something soft and sultry - RAH

It's sad really. (0, Flamebait)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810674)

The guy seems like a true genius, I hope he makes it.

What's even sadder is that Ballmer & Gates weren't with him....But w

Re:It's sad really. (5, Funny)

Jello B. (950817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810750)

What's even sadder is that Ballmer & Gates weren't with him....But w
Wait, why isn't that thought finished? Did somebody mention Candlejack? Now there are two people mi

technologist needs to use technology? (3, Funny)

somewhere in AU (628338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810706)

Easy simple and cheap to hookup live GPS for realtime tracking and updating to a mapserver.. I do it in my car even when in civilisation.. let alone if I was going out to sea or up in the sky over wilderness!

If he's with Microsoft then has enough $ to buy satellite comms if *really* out of cheap-to-use standard mobile range..

I wish them all the best but if they had his track and time could concentrate in that area straight away instead of 4000 sq km of guessing and save precious time..

Why don't technologists with (or even without!) money USE the readily available technology for such basic primary safety?

Re:technologist needs to use technology? (4, Informative)

Strider- (39683) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810764)

If he was going offshore, he either had or should have had an EPIRB [wikipedia.org] (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. In effect, when deployed they transmit a beacon signal at 406MHz that contains a unique identifier, and can also include GPS coordinates.

These signals are picked up by either the INMARSAT geostationary satellites, or also passing weather satellites. Without a GPS position, the weather satellites can locate the beacon to within about 50 miles. With an integrated GPS receiver, the position will be reported to about 2 miles or so. (The message format doesn't have the space to transmit full resolution).

Re:technologist needs to use technology? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810864)

Nothing said he didn't have one - they're for life-threatening emergency only. If he is safe but just off-course, he may not have activated it.

Re:technologist needs to use technology? (4, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811082)

If he was going offshore, he either had or should have had an EPIRB [wikipedia.org] (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.

Most of these are designed to float out of their holder in case of a sinking and are water activated. The lack of a signal for this size vessel is a good sign it's still afloat. Whether he is alive or onboard is to be seen. He could have had a medical emergency or fallen overboard which would not activate the beacon.

Oh, bullshit. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810992)

You sir, are a weenie. I sail out of SF Bay, and do a lot of technology work. People usually call me in to solve the tough problems they need immediate solutions for. From the bootstrap code, through the kernel, to solving IT infrastructure problems for Fortunate 1000 companies.

When you go out singlehanded, part of the thrill is it being just you and nature. I don't need some weenie tracking me, 24x7. Yes, I may die. But that's part of the risk. My fate is in my own hands, and I don't want to depend on some momma's boy back on shore who will shit bricks at the thought of getting wet.

Let me clue you in. If something bad happens, you don't want to depend on the Coast Guard. By the time they get out there, the odds are you'll already be dead. Survival time is about 15 minutes in that water. The Coast Guard is more interested in tearing up boats arbitrarily doing bogus drug searches than they are interested in jeopardizing their fat asses looking for lost sailors.

In short, if you're depending on the Coast Guard for a rescue, you shouldn't be out there. Period.

What probably happened to him is either a freighter hit him, or a sneaker wave got him as he was coming back in. Or he fell off the boat.

There's some chance that his boat was disabled, but I'd think even the Coast Guard would've spotted it by now.

But those are the risks you take. One knows that, and accepts it. That's part of the fun.

I know this is a strange, scary thought to most of the momma's boys here, whining about how this crap would be good insurance. God, what pathetic whimps.

I salute you, Jim Gray. And I hope you're still alive. But if not, I'll raise a toast to you. Sailing out to the Farallons is fun and exciting. You were a real man.

Re:Oh, bullshit. (1)

somewhere in AU (628338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811590)

Thanks so much for your unnecessary name calling posted as an anonymous coward followed by a list of your code skills, which, for some peculiar reason, you seem fit to include as relevant..

And you are so totallly convinced this guy has same death-or-glory wish as you I take it?

Yes get run over by a supertanker.. that's a MAN according to you..

Maybe he's had something terrible happen, has a chance, and would, right now, be thinking of being REALLY grateful right now of being rescued. You of course.. being such a MAN wouldn't..

You also seem to labour under the mistaken impression I don't know the value of man against elements.. sheesh.. I could list some stuff here but you don't seem the type to take notice since you jump to so many conclusions all on your own there..

Needless to say I wouldn't be in a hurry to go out anywhere with you..

All the best to you sir.

You don't suppose... (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811246)

When a "technologist" is off-duty, he want to get as far *away* from technology as possible?

Re:technologist needs to use technology? (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811312)

Sometimes the technologist wants the extreme rush of dispensing with all but the most rudementary technology and sailing the high seas....OMG he's turned to PIRACY!!!

Query (0, Redundant)

zimmundfroid (1042000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810722)

Why do they call the coast guard? Isn't enough with a simple SQL query?

Uh-oh. (5, Funny)

Jello B. (950817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810724)

I hope this turns out to be better than Mario is Missing.

Win-win situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810746)

I truly hope he is saved in time.

On the other hand, if he doesn't make it, he might become the first person to win a Turing AND a Darwin award.

Re:Win-win situation (0, Flamebait)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810800)

Well, you know what they say about artificial intelligence and natural stupidity...

Re:Win-win situation (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810928)

Neither tastes good with squid fingers ?

Negative comments (5, Funny)

Sabathius (566108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810810)

I heard he made an anti-microsoft comment and a chair hit the side of his boat.

This is a mistake (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810820)

lol he's dead

More Info (4, Informative)

K-Man (4117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810830)

This story [slashdot.org] covers some of his recent database work.

Several news stories say that he called his daughter Sunday morning to say he was going out of cellphone range, but he didn't indicate any problems. The weather was clear, so it's puzzling that there were no sightings.

Terrible news! (1)

KDLooHoo (1057446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810858)

I heard about this earlier this afternoon. I talked to Jim Gray just two weeks ago, when he came up to visit Berkeley.

I really hope they find him. After over 24 hours missing, though, the outlook isn't looking good :-/

I do hope he's ok though (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810872)

There's a joke to be had including,

1) Microsoft / Linux
2) This guy
3) The front of his ship tearing through a big blue wall

I just can't quite put it together.

google did it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810886)

don't be evil.. .. 'oh but im trying'
-Sj53

Sickening (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810900)

Seeing all these Slashdot posts joking about a man who may very well be dead makes me sick.
Please have some respect for the man. I can understand joking about Hans Reiser because there is a motive behind what he did.
But this man hasn't done anything (at least to the best of my knowledge) to warrant any sort of morbid humor.

The man has 10 years of sailing experience apparently, so I can only hope for the best for him.

Re:Sickening (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810938)

He works for Microsoft. 'nuff said.

Re:Sickening (4, Insightful)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811038)

In the last story, which was about debate over whether a small person was a separate species, a guy repeatedly threw around the term "bible thumper", presumably to refer to Christians. It was condescending enough to be a troll and definitely off-topic but he got modded insightful. The guys making fun of a guy who may have just died and presumably did nothing wrong, are getting modded funny. Somebody's going to be disgusted with what I'm saying right now and I have no idea how it will get modded or not modded. We'll all have a reason to feel sickened by Slashdot. I don't know if it's worth fighting.

Re:Sickening (2)

daddyrief (910385) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811168)

I agree. Every comment besides this one is a joke...

It's too bad, it seems like he was (is?) working on some ambitious projects too. Not to mention attaining the Turing award and the first Berkeley CS Ph.D.

I guess nobody deserves respect, not even a distinguished contributor to a field. (That is, if they work for msft.)

This is Slashdot, and this is the world (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811176)

He's working for MS. This by itself does not really endear him to a sizeable portion of the people here. Besides, few people know him, and those who do (read the comments, a few people here actually met him) do show compassion.

Do you show compassion for people you don't know? Or at least heard about? I have a hunch the reaction would be slightly different if, say, Hawking was gone missing or even dead.

People dying is no longer something that bothers us. That's not even a Slashdot phenomenon. We see and hear it all the times, in the news. People die. Deal. That's what we get told, and thus death (as long as it's not someone we care about) has become something to shrug off. When you get told that people dying in a war as innocent bystanders are brushed aside as collateral damage, you tend to get quite cold inside.

So I wouldn't really wonder how that comments come into existance. It's simply the normal flow of operation.

Re:Sickening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811188)

Compassion..Stop being a complete karma-whoring moron.
Bullshit posts like this really annoys the hell out of me.

Compassion is making the world a better place by caring.
If i died, i'd much rather have people making fun of me than being depressing about it.

Joking is a putting things in perspective.
If someone had dared making a couple of jokes post 9/11, maybe the US had gotten a better perspective and made better decisions.

Joking is not being disrespectful.
If you thing joking about something is a sign of disrespect, then your understanding/definition of the word respect is somewhere near that of the average gangsta rapper.

Of course, none of this applies to bad jokes. Unless they're so bad they're funny, that is.

Not sickening, only human (4, Interesting)

Riktov (632) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811460)

Is there anything anyone here can actually do to help rescue Jim Gray? I'd say almost certainly not.

So what are we to do? Those who have a connection with the man (knew him, worked with him, admire his work, etc.) will have serious and informative comments to make. But for the rest who've never heard of him, there's just nothing to discuss -- the story's not about technology in any way, it's just about a human being who happens to be related to technology. And death is easiest thing in the world to come up with jokes about -- "I bet he died because [a common failure in whatever area of technology he is related to]...ha,ha". Yes, the Microsoft/bluescreen jokes are pretty lame, but the SQL/database ones get a chuckle out of me.

What's the harm?

Re:Sickening (5, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811650)

"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."
        - George Bernard Shaw

Pirates! (2, Funny)

austinpoet (789122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810904)

I had a funny feeling that my bittorrent of Windows Vista was a little fishy...

More pirate jokes! (1)

agent (7471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810956)

On his way to "The Pirate Bay" because of DRM.

Looking for software pirates, so they decided to start at sea.

Tarrrrrrrrrr!

jim gray (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17810978)

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...

Possibly run down by a larger ship (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811052)

He went out in a 40-foot C&C 121 yacht [c-cyachts.com] . That's a very nice boat, with a epoxy resin laminate hull, carbon fiber reinforcement and masts, Kevlar sails, and a 38HP engine. There hasn't been any weather lately bad enough to give a boat like that any serious trouble. If it ran aground it would probably survive the experience.

But between San Francisco and the Farralon Islands is a major shipping lane. One with fog. Container ships and oil tankers come through there. Sizable fishing boats have been run down and sunk without anyone on a large ship even noticing. There's a USGS Vessel Traffic Service [uscg.mil] station and established traffic lanes for large ships, but small boats aren't required to check in with traffic control.

Re:Possibly run down by a larger ship (1)

Plammox (717738) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811216)

If you're in a 40-foot sail boat in foggy conditions, you would almost certainly use your radar if you possess the tiniest amount of seamanship. If you're a Microsoft manager and can afford a 40-foot yacht in the tech-fetischist USA, you're almost certain to own some sort of small radar for recreational vehicles.

But then again, the guy started sailing at age 53, so what do you expect? Did you ever encounter another motorist, who acquired his/her driver's license at 50+ years? Yup, that would be the same as for poor Jim Gray here.

He stopped to visit someone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811074)

I heard he stopped off at Alcatraz for a while to visit Hans Reiser.

do you even know who he is? (0, Redundant)

d1rty_d0gg_ (875482) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811196)

It makes me sick to see ignorant readers trying to be smug with their "+3 funny" remarks. Jim Gray is one of the great minds in computer science, a Turing award recipient and has published some of the seminal works in transactions and serializability theory. Cut out the Microsoft bashing and show some respect.

Re:do you even know who he is? (1)

joe3barrera (667873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811456)

He's also a really good, warm person. Yes, he can be abrasive but he has a very big heart. I really hope he's OK.

Re:do you even know who he is? (1)

joe3barrera (667873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811492)

P.S. He must have way more than "10 years" sailing experience. He was an old hand when he took me sailing in 1998. And he told me of living on a house boat many decades ago... I think he's been on the water for a long time.

EPIRB (2, Insightful)

MrSpiff (515611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811248)

a solo sailor with 10 years of experience should probably have known to bring an EPIRB [wikipedia.org] that is either activated manually or when getting in contact with water, even though they're still quite expensive, there's no faster way of getting help out there.

Re:EPIRB (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811728)

Its funny how many times you think oh yeah he's dead for sure and they get found in the end. Its worth searching. Tony Bullimore [wikipedia.org] survived.

For all you apathetic bastards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811300)

Who cares what the guy does for a living or what company he works for. Some of you are extremely obnoxious and quite frankly ought to be punched in the mouth. A man is missing, his family is certainly frantic and you are making lame jokes about Microsoft.

Piss off.

I had the pleasure... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811342)

of meeting Jim a number of years ago. He struck me as a very thoughtful, very conscientious, and very nice man. My thoughts are with him and his family.

The rest of you modding and getting modded funny can die in a fire.

Possible clue (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811526)

I am not sure this is the place to post such information, but, I saw many of his papers just posted to the CS preprint archive, just a three or four days ago. This may indicate some sort of preparation... Just a thought.

Re:Possible clue (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811688)

This may indicate some sort of preparation... Just a thought.

Only a dope would commit suicide knowing that people would risk their lives trying to find him. This guy doesn't sound like a dope.

Ladies And Gentlemen, Welcome To The Main Event... (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17811548)

Let's get ready for the conspiracy theories!

Whoa there. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811610)

Making jokes about a situation such as this might not be considered acceptable by everyone, but let's look at the facts here. A small percentage of Slashdotters know this guy. A small percentage of people react with shock/grief upon hearing of the possible death of someone they do not know, and possibly have never heard of. It is scarcely reasonable to expect everyone to treat the situation with as much gravity as you guys are doing. If any of us here had the opportunity to actually rescue this man, I'm sure none of us would hesitate. However, on a computer many miles away from the problem, do you really expect us to light a candle and pray? Also, some of the jokes were fucking hilarious.

Boat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17811624)

The boat is a cheapy. He could do a better job in buying a high-end boat.
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