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Spitting in the Ocean to Desalinate it Won’t Make it a Spring Carel Nicolaas Storm van 's Gravesande, Vuurtoren van Katwijk, courtesy of the Rijksmuseum

Spitting in the Ocean to Desalinate it Won’t Make it a Spring

Translated by Katia Grubisic.

Since the lighthouses had been put in around the island of Ys, accidents had decreased dramatically. There was no denying that the lights were a good thing. But the nine lighthouses, though their lanterns blazed away, barely made a dent in the number of wrecks. The deadliest rock, Locqnoir, and the reef that led out to it, still wreaked havoc.

“To truly bring about the end of shipwrecks, we would have to light that outpost of evil, to go out to that remote rock and build there, on a reef that half the time is under water, storm-swept even when the sun is shining on the island,” the critics mocked. Those who were against putting lights thought that what they were calling for was absurd. “Let’s do it,” the First Men’s League said, “let’s build a tenth lighthouse.” It was to be the highest, the strongest, the ...

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