Without science, we wouldn’t know that prehistoric creatures, like this short-necked plesiosaur
at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum were real (image source)
Why I Like Science By Sarah Zielinski
on Smithsonian’s Surprising Science
Science is under siege these days. Some politicians proudly proclaim that evolution is just a theory and that climate change is a conspiracy among scientists. Health gurus advocate homeopathy or “natural” remedies rather than modern medicine. Parents ignore the advice of doctors and experts and refuse to vaccinate their children against deadly diseases. People who are quite happy to reap the benefits of science—new medical treatments, for example, or sci-fi-like technological devices—advocate for schools to teach religion in science class.
And so I think it’s time for the rest of us to speak up. Let’s explain what it is about science that satisfies us, how science improves our world and why it’s better than superstition. To that end, I’m starting a new series here on Surprising Science: Why I Like Science. In coming months, I’ll ask scientists, writers, musicians and others to weigh in on the topic. And I’m also asking you, the readers, why you like science.
Death of a Siren by Raoul Servais
This darkly surreal and poetic tale was created by the Belgian master of animation Raoul Servais in 1968. The website of the Raoul Servais Foundation contains lots of info about the author and his works. —via Animalarium
A lifeboat negotiates stormy conditions off Ile d’Ouessant in Brittany, France
Photograph: Phillip & Guillaume Plisson /Rex Features – The Guardian via mabelmoments
A single biscuit from Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctica expedition looks set to make a packet at auction. The Huntley and Palmers snack that stopped the explorer and his exhausted men starving to death in 1909 is expected to fetch £1,500. It has somehow survived intact for an amazing 102 years since returning from the intrepid group’s hut on the frozen wastes near the South Pole.
Specially made for the grueling trip and fortified with concentrated milk protein Plasmon, the biscuit helped keep up the mens’ diminishing strength as they returned from their trip, called the Nimrod mission. One, Frank Wild, later told how Shackleton made him eat the snack daily to stay alive as they headed home from their failed bid to reach the South Pole.
Published between 1866 and 1939, The Queenslander was the weekly summary of the Brisbane Courier (now The Courier Mail) newspaper . This weekly edition enabled the news to be distributed to the regional and outlying areas of the state.
A selection of beautifully illustrated covers from the 1920s-1930s are shown here. Some drawings depict the daily life of Queenslanders during this time while others highlight local and national events. —State Library of Queensland, Australia
‘Flying Merguin’ by Jon Carling : Slug Ship
World’s fastest Ferrari ends up in Atlantic Ocean in road race crash
THE world’s fastest Ferrari went for an unscheduled clean when it span out of control and ended up in the Atlantic. The 240mph Enzo suffered a “slight mishap” on gravel during a road race and careered into the ocean.
Ship in Aberdeen Harbour fuel leak to be inspected
BBC Scotland – An offshore supply vessel at the centre of a leak of about 1,000 litres of fuel oil into Aberdeen Harbour is to go into dry dock for possible repairs.
Oil spilled from the offshore supply vessel Skandi Foula during refuelling at the Torry dock on Friday. The affected area was cordoned off.
Shell UK said 500 litres of oil had been recovered.
UK ports handled 512 million tonnes in 2010, a 2% increase over 2009, but still 12% below the 2005 level, according to statistics from the Department for Transport (DfT). Felixstowe, in the south-east, maintained its position as the UK’s largest container port in 2010 with just over two million containers, up 12% on 2009.
Although throughput figures for Felixstowe are not published by the port’s owner, Hong Kong-based Hutchison Port Holdings, the DfT’s container number is thought to represent around 3.4 million teu.
In the next few weeks, Felixstowe will officially open its new berths 8 and 9, which are able to handle the very largest container vessels, including the recently ordered Maersk Line Triple Es of 18,000teu capacity.
The wartime prime minister’s dark moods, plus a series of lucky encounters, may have transformed the course of human history, writes John Gray.
Towards the end of his long life, when he was staying in a house lent to him by friends in the south of France, Winston Churchill sent for a young man who was helping him write one of the books with which he occupied his retirement.
Churchill needed the young man as a researcher. But he also valued him as a companion, particularly in the evenings when he would otherwise feel lonely.
One cold night they were sitting before the fire, where pine logs were hissing and spitting as they were burnt away. Churchill watched the blaze in silence. Then he growled: “I know why logs spit. I know what it is to be consumed.”
Bulldozers Tear Into Big Washington Dams
Dignitaries and at least one bona fide celebrity kicked off the historic event for watershed restoration on Washington’s Olympic peninsula Saturday morning. It was the start of a three-year, $351 million project to dismantle two dams near the mouth of the Elwha River, opening the waterway to salmon for the first time in a century. (See a map of the region.)
It’s also the largest dam removal in the history of a country with 80,000 of the man-made structures, many of them aging, silting up, and no longer useful (or at least necessary). Some, like the two Elwha dams, were built without fish ladders, meaning they serve as completely impenetrable barriers to fish migrations. On Saturday at the base of the dam, officials counted only 72 salmon, unable to swim any farther upstream…
New Jersey startup’s recently-patented technology has the potential to revolutionize the shipping industry.
Failure magazine – Improvements in efficiency tend to be hard-won in the liner shipping industry—the service of transporting goods by means of high capacity, oceangoing vessels like the Emma Maersk. To be sure, ocean carriers are always looking for ways to make operations more efficient, efforts that have included: using low-friction paint to reduce hull friction, utilizing “smart” shipping containers that feature RFID technology, and building ever-larger ships, including the 20 “Triple-E” behemoths recently ordered by Maersk.
But Staxxon, a startup based in Montclair, New Jersey, is taking what might be loosely described as an “inside the box” approach to addressing the inefficiencies involved in moving empty intermodal containers. The company’s patented technology—utilized in steel containers that fold from left to right like an accordion—is elegant in its simplicity…
Growing up between Long Island and Manhattan where my father lived, and having him take me down to the tugboats in the Chelsea neighborhood as a child, or on Circle Line cruises or fishing out of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, I remember how quickly my perspective on the city changed: from weekend visitations defined by crowded streets and stores to salt brine and wonder, be it of a powerful diesel marine engine and the men who kept its pistons turning or the strange sen-sation of catching my first fish, a conger eel, a true sea monster, at the age of eight. New York for me became what it had been for my father when he’d arrived at Ellis Island as a boy of 12, a place where freedom and Lady Liberty were intimately linked by the great harbor and rivers of one of the nation’s founding port towns.
A clear September morning many years later, the men and women who make their livings on those same waters were rudely awoken to the fact that our nation’s bordering oceans can no longer protect us from our enemies.
Just off Governors Island, Coast Guard Petty Officer Carlos Perez was at the helm of a 41-foot utility boat sent from Staten Island to check out the initial report of an airplane hitting the World Trade Center…
Long before there was a Panama Canal, at least two marine snails made a fantastic journey between oceans, crossing not on land or water but in the air.
By analyzing mitochondrial DNA from horn snail species on both sides of the North American continent, scientists concluded that this journey occurred twice in the last million years — 750,000 years ago, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and 72,000 years ago, in the other direction.
The snails were hitchhikers, probably attaching themselves to the leg or belly of a shorebird that flew across Mexico, said Eldredge Bermingham, a geneticist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.
New Orleans: Algiers youngster enjoys monitoring river traffic
Nate King, 6, is lucky that he lives close enough to the Mississippi River to feed his hobby: watching ships, boats and barges go by.
Nate lives in Algiers, a couple of blocks from the river, and throughout the summer — and on weekends and many days after school — he drags one or both of his parents, Liz and Matt King, up to the top of the levee to spot ships.
His parents are responsible for bringing the binoculars. Persistently but not necessarily patiently, Nate will wait for a ship or a work boat to pass. He carries a pencil and a little notebook in which he records the names of the vessels. If a ship or boat is too far away to see the name, he will shout, with increasing urgency, “Try and get the back of that guy, Mom. Get that guy, Mom! Get that guy!” His mother will then use the binoculars to spot the name and call it out, clarifying the spelling if necessary, so Nate can record it accurately.
The Most Famous Russian Polar Icebreaker »
The icebreaker symbolizes a whole epoch in the history of Russia. The place is very popular both among the guests of Saint-Petersburg and its native citizens. In the beginning of the 20th century Russia was a leading country that developed the Polar Ocean with the help of linear ice-breakers. Russian ships ‘Ermak’ and ‘Svyatogor’ were the strongest ice-breakers in the world. Ship ‘Svyatogor’ that was renamed into ‘Krasin’ later is the second Polar ice-breaker in Russia with the most perfect construction.
Mikhail Mikhailovich Cheremnykh
Crimea — The All-Union Health Resort, May 12, 1944
from a great new blog called Tass Posters
“A place for rest in a whale’s mouth”, Y. Muravin, 1960
above: Flensing is the removing of the outer integument (blubber) of whales. English whalemen called it “flenching”, while American whalemen called it “cutting-in”.
New England ships began to explore and hunt in the southern oceans after being driven out of the North Atlantic by British competition and import duties. Ultimately, American entrepreneurs created a mid-19th-century version of a global economic enterprise. This was the golden age of American whaling.
An early winter in the north Pacific in September 1871 forced the captains of an American whaling fleet in the Arctic to abandon their ships. With 32 vessels trapped in the ice and provisions insufficient to weather the nine-month winter, the captains ordered the abandonment of the ships and the three million dollars’ worth of property carried on board but in the process saved the lives of over 1,200 men.
From the Civil War, when Confederate raiders targeted American whalers, through the early 20th century, the American whaling industry was overwhelmed by new, crippling economic competition, especially from kerosene, which was a superior fuel for lighting. New Bedford, once the fourth busiest port in the United States, gave up whaling. (+)
Whaling is very popular type of hunting in Chukotka. Today we’ll meet locals of the village Lavrentiya, located on the shore of the Bering Sea.
The Chukchi Peninsula, Chukotka Peninsula or Chukotski Peninsula, at about 66° N 172° W, is the northeastern extremity of Asia. Its eastern end is at Cape Dezhnev near the village of Uelen. It is bordered by the Chukchi Sea to the north, the Bering Sea to the south, and the Bering Strait to the east. The peninsula is part of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of Russia. The estimated population of the region in 1990 was 155,000.
The peninsula was traditionally the home of the native Chukchi people, some Eskimo peoples (Siberian Yupiks and Sireniki Eskimos), Koryaks, Chuvans, Evens/Lamuts, Yukagirs, and some Russian settlers.
The peninsula lies along the Northern Sea Route (the Northeast passage). Industries on the peninsula are mining (tin, lead, zinc, gold, and coal), hunting and trapping, reindeer raising, and fishing. (wikipedia)
tear sheets from illustrator Harold Von Schmidt on Today’s Inspiration
Sevenstones Light Vessel circa 1950
The law banning gays from serving openly ended Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. Now that it’s history, gay sailors are coming forward in ways ranging from showy to subtle. Others are simply blunt.
One of them is Master-at-Arms Seaman Casie Jude, who’s posted in Italy. In a Facebook update on Tuesday she wrote, “Dear Navy: I’m gay. Duh.” One of her commenters replied, “I knew it!!!”
Another sailor coming forward is Lt. Gary Ross. The 33-year-old surface warfare officer was married very early this morning at a small ceremony in Duxbury, Vt. to his partner of 11 years, Dan Swezy. It was the first same-sex marriage after the repeal by a servicemember.
‘There was nothing to find out’
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — As the highest-ranking member of the U.S. military to come out as gay, retired Rear Adm. Alan S. Steinman had much to celebrate when the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” became official.
To guard against discovery, Steinman said he remained celibate, refusing to even socialize with other gay men, during the 25 years he served in the military. “There was no possibility they would find out,” he said of military investigators, “because there was nothing to find out.”
Lt. Col. Chris Rowzee, an active member of the Air National Guard in Toledo, Ohio, spoke about how her partner was afraid to mow the lawn of the property where the couple lived, and how they both avoided shopping together. During one military deployment, Rowzee went into septic shock, requiring an emergency operation. Since Rowzee’s partner wasn’t listed as a spouse or family member, she only learned of the operation by scanning a list of U.S. casualties.
Lynn Briere, a chief warrant officer in the Coast Guard, said she used code words on email and during phone calls, not wanting to leave clues that she was in a same-sex relationship. “I even went on dates with guys, just to keep my cover,” she said.
A concrete caisson has exploded on a beach in the south-eastern province of Zeeland. The blast on Ritthem beach was heard in large parts of the province.
Police have sealed off the area which is covered with debris. A police spokesperson says pieces of concrete are spread up to a distance of 100 metres from the crater. The crater is three metres in diameter. The caisson, which is a huge hollow concrete structure used in underwater construction, has been completely destroyed.
Police believe a World War II mine may have come into contact with the caisson.
A blast in a caisson on a beach in the southern Dutch province of Zeeland on Friday evening was caused deliberately using high explosives, police report.
No credible reports yet of UARS spacecraft pieces, agency says.
After 20 years in orbit, NASA‘s UARS satellite has fallen to Earth, most likely into a watery grave at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. But its exact resting spot may remain a mystery forever, NASA said.
The U.S. military’s Joint Space Operations Center estimated that the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, toppled from the sky at 12:16 a.m. ET Saturday. (See “NASA Satellite Falling Faster Due to Solar Activity.”)
If that’s correct, the 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms) of debris that were predicted to survive reentry would have splashed down in the northern Pacific, far west of California. But “we may never know” exactly where the spacecraft met its fate, NASA’s Nick Johnson said on Saturday.
Scientists Want Publisher to Refreeze Greenland
The news release promoting the latest edition of Britain’s influential Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World hailed it as “the Greatest Book on Earth.”
Not the way climate scientists see it.
“Fiasco” was the word chosen by one scientist in an e-mail to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., alerting his colleagues to erroneous claims made by the publishers of the atlas (whose name derives from The Times of London) about the speed at which Greenland’s glaciers are melting.
A new atlas depicts Greenland as having lost around 15 percent of its ice since 1999, with significant portions of coast ice-free.
Diana Nyad ends Cuba-US swim bid after jellyfish stings
US endurance athlete Diana Nyad has abandoned her attempt to swim 103 miles (166km) from Cuba to Florida, after being stung by a dangerous jellyfish.
She ended the bid after doctors warned that another sting from a Portuguese Man-Of-War could be life-threatening. The 62-year-old had swum about 49 miles (79km) in shark-infested waters after setting out from Havana on Friday.
Everything Old is New Again:
New Species of Dolphin Discovered Off the Coast of Australia
A new species of dolphin was discovered by Australian zoologists off the coast of Melbourne, after they realized the 150 or so porpoises that were previously thought to be bottlenose dolphins actually differed significantly in skull shape and DNA. That, kids, is why you should always double-check your homework.
Boston Globe: The Big Picture – Vessels sail during a great parade of the Culture Tall Ships Regatta on the Bay of Gdansk near the eastern Polish Baltic Sea city of Gdynia Sept. 5. The Culture 2011 Tall Ships Regatta featured two races from Klaipeda to Turku to Gdynia as part of the Tall Ships festival season, during which participating cities showcased their cultural activities, according to organizers. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters) #
Maritime Monday is compiled every week by Monkey Fist
Monkey Fist is a smack-talking, potty mouthed, Yankee hating, Red Sox fan in Portland, Maine. In addition to compiling Maritime Monday, she blogs about nautical art, history, and marine science on Adventures of the Blackgang and The Scuttlefish
Submit story ideas, news links, photographs, or items of interest to her at MM@gcaptain.com. She can also out-belch any man.