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When I was an undergraduate at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, I didn't have much choice when it came to electives. I was required, for example, to take four semester-long courses on nautical science, where I learned about fixes, dead reckoning, and celestial navigation. Of course, I used that knowledge when I was on boats, but since I decided to leave ocean-going navigation after two years, I have no use for that now.

I wish I could have taken a class that the news office at Duke University has told me about.They just posted an interview with a graduate student in the music department there who is teaching a class on music from the '80s. He's a classical composer by training, but he's an unapologetic fan of everything from rap to classical to heavy metal music.

By the way, if anyone needs to learn about running lights in seagoing vessels and the Rules of the Road, let me know. (That's my boat above, the Coast Guard Cutter Conifer, which was decommisioned back in 2000. It was, as you can see, very glamorous.)

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