Maritime Monday for April 3rd, 2017: Magnetic Midnight

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April 2, 2017

From Fairy Tales, written and illustrated by Alfred Crowquill, 1857

Killing two birds with one stone, President Trump has revealed the need for his 54 billion dollar increase in the military budget – to convert the nation’s aircraft carriers, tanks, and naval vessels to run on coal.

Trump To Convert US Military To 100% Coal-Fired Fighting Force

April 1, 2017 – Work has already begun converting the US Navy’s stealth class destroyers to run on steam power generated by coal-fired burners.
“It’s going to be great. So great.”
The news is being welcomed in Trump-friendly Appalachia… keep reading

May 1925 – Royal Sovereign Steamship Company paddle steamer “Royal Sovereign” (north Kent route to Margate and Ramsgate) leaving Old Swan Pier with her articulated funnels laid flat in order to negotiate passage under the Old London Bridge. Sovereign” Built by Fairfields on the Clyde in 1893 for New Palace Steamers, a subsidiary of the Victoria Steamboat Association. Worked until 1929 when she was sold to Dutch shipbreakers.

see also: PS Crested Eagle embarking passengers at Old Swan Pier c. 1927

Amos Crauthers
Nice day fueling logging camp on Afognak Island AK. photo by Amos Crauthers via Tug Boating Group on Facebook
Ai Weiwei at a refugee camp in Greece. Credit: Getty Images

From 14,000 life-jackets to a global docu-film, renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei explores the migrant crisis in his latest work

In 2016, he set up a studio on the Greek island of Lesbos, where many migrants enter Europe. There he spoke with refugees and collected numerous discarded items such as lifejackets for use in his artwork.

Ai Weiwei makes haunting new artwork out of life jackets worn by refugees – Image: Clemens Bilan/Getty Images – more

“Lesbos Island mayor Spiros Galinos has provided 14,000 life jackets for the creation of an artwork in Berlin by globally renowned artist Ai Weiwei,” the town said in a statement.

Poorly made in sweatshops in Turkey and sold to migrants at a premium by smugglers, the life jackets usually offer no help in an emergency at sea. –Hong Kong Free Press

March 21, 2017 – At the exhibition’s center is a giant installation taking the form of a black, 230-feet long boat transporting 258 figures – see more

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei continues his work addressing the ongoing struggle of refugees with an epic new installation in the National Gallery in Prague

A View of ye Jason Privateer, Nicholas Pocock, c1760, Bristol City Museums via British Tars, 1740

A View of ye Jason Privateer, c.1760

The Jason was a Bristol slaver, and an old one by the time she began the slave trade. Built in 1716, she made at least five voyages to various ports along the West African coast, embarking approximately 1,500 Africans. Of these, a little under 200 died in the Middle Passage.

Pocock shows the Jason flying the white ensign, a flag that is supposed to represent a Royal Navy vessel. This is not necessarily an error. Merchant vessels are sometimes depicted flying naval ensigns, including slave ships. This could be, as often was the case in the eighteenth century, a ruse to scare off enemy vessels. It could also be a mistake on the part of an artist who is not familiar with the meaning of the various ensigns (red, white, and blue).  keep reading

see also: A View of the Blandford Frigate, c.1760

1865 painting Aurora Borealis by Frederic Edwin Church; via Smithsonian American Art Museum

New Charter Flight Takes Passengers to See the Southern Lights

The first “Flight to the Lights” took 130 skygazers to get up close with the Aurora Australis

Smithsonian: The flight left the town of Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island around 9 P.M. local time for an eight-hour venture to the edge of Antarctica (62 degrees of latitude) and back. Passengers aboard the Boeing 767 were guaranteed to see the cosmic light show.

The idea was the brainchild of astronomer Dr. Ian Griffin, currently the director of the Otago Museum in Dunedin, reports Lydia Anderson at Radio New Zealand. When tickets for the “Flight to the Lights” went on sale last September, they sold out in five days, despite a hefty price tag—$1,400 for an economy class seat and $2,800 for business class, and passengers from as far away as Spain signed on for the trip.  keep reading

The flight, at least according to some of the photos shared on Facebook, did not disappoint. Organizers are already planning another “Flight to the Lights” for next year.

Aurora australis (11 September 2005) as captured by NASA’s IMAGE satellite, digitally overlaid onto The Blue Marble. Click image to link through to a video animation

An aurora, sometimes referred to as a polar lights or northern lights, is a natural light display in the sky, predominantly seen in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions. (more on wikipedia)

While everyone is familiar with the phenomena ubiquitously referred to as the “Northern Lights,” (a term coined by Galileo in 1619,) the Antarctic Aurora Australis or “Southern Lights” are the considerably lesser-known red headed stepchild of the Aurora Borealis family.

Auroras resulting from the “great geomagnetic storm” on 28 August and 2 September 1859 are thought to be the most spectacular in recent recorded history. The aurora is thought to have been produced by one of the most intense coronal mass ejections in history. It is also notable for the fact that it is the first time where the phenomena of auroral activity and electricity were unambiguously linked.

The following conversation occurred between two operators of the American Telegraph Line between Boston and Portland, Maine, on the night of 2 September 1859 and reported in the Boston Traveler:

Boston operator (to Portland operator): “Please cut off your battery [power source] entirely for fifteen minutes.”
Portland operator: “Will do so. It is now disconnected.”
Boston: “Mine is disconnected, and we are working with the auroral current. How do you receive my writing?”
Portland: “Better than with our batteries on. – Current comes and goes gradually.”
Boston: “My current is very strong at times, and we can work better without the batteries, as the aurora seems to neutralize and augment our batteries alternately, making current too strong at times for our relay magnets. Suppose we work without batteries while we are affected by this trouble.”
Portland: “Very well. Shall I go ahead with business?”
Boston: “Yes. Go ahead.”

The conversation was carried on for around two hours using no battery power at all and working solely with the current induced by the aurora. More

1858 Map of Trinity Bay, Telegraph Station of the Atlantic Cable. Published by Charles Magnus & Co., New York (detail) – Atlantic Cable Broadsides and Lithographs; History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications. If you haven’t spent at least an hour surfing this website, well, get your ass over there right now. Lot’s of cool stuff. (click image)

I Can’t Find the Horizon

Surely, you can relate.

Museum of Found Photographs; marked “Lapwing, London” – vessel appears to be under tow.
Museum of Found Photographs: Cargo ships at anchor in unknown port; dated October, 1969
A murder mystery is going to be performed at the Flying Dutchman Pub in Queenborough

Sheppey: New look for Flying Dutchman in Queenborough

The preserved body of the Battle of Trafalgar hero was brought to Sheerness in a barrel of brandy. But according to legend both the barrel and the brandy then went missing.
Chris Reed, who will play Nelson’s mistress, the dishevelled Lady Hamilton in the murder mystery, said: “There is an old sea shanty called A Drop of Nelson’s Blood Wouldn’t Do You Any Harm. “That might not be strictly true.”

Mr Burgess, 57, said: “For years the pub had looked a little tired and with other carveries opening we needed to up our game.

“Queenborough is steeped in history with strong ties to Lord Nelson and the Dutch invasion so we have given the pub a nautical flavour and a bit of character to reflect its setting. “The front bar is now based on a 19th century man o’ war…” keep reading on Kent OnLine

The Guardian – An Australian giant cuttlefish: ‘It is no stretch to say they have personalities.’ Photograph: Peter Godfrey-Smith

Alien intelligence: the extraordinary minds of octopuses and other cephalopods

Cephalopods’ high-resolution camera eyes resemble our own, but we otherwise differ in every way. Octopuses in particular are peculiarly other. The majority of their 500m neurons are in their arms, which can not only touch but smell and taste – they quite literally have minds of their own.

That it was possible to observe some kind of subjective experience, a sense of self, in cephalopods fascinated Godfrey-Smith. How that might differ to humans’ is the subject of his book Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, published this month by HarperCollins.

In one (anesdote), when he recounts an octopus taking his collaborator by hand on a 10-minute tour to its den, “as if he were being led across the sea floor by a very small eight-legged child”.  keep reading

One Of The World’s Most Mysterious Octopuses Has Been Caught On Video Having a Snack

A newly released video from one of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s remotely operated vehicles shows the seven-arm octopus, Haliphron atlanticus, snacking on a jellyfish. Go See

Excavated from Lake Nemi during the 1930s on the orders of Mussolini; interested persons file by the barges, still immersed in mud

The Massive Pleasure Barges of Emperor Caligula

The Nemi Ships were two ships, one ship larger than the other, built by the Roman emperor Caligula in the 1st century AD at Lake Nemi, a small circular volcanic lake in Italy, 30 km (19 mi) south of Rome. The larger ship was essentially an elaborate floating palace, which contained quantities of marble, mosaic floors, heating, plumbing and amenities such as baths. Recovered (under orders from Mussolini) and were relocated to a museum which was destroyed by artillery fire in 1944.

Italians viewing Emperor Caligula’s Nemi ships, 1932

In 1927, engineer Guido Ucelli drained the lake to recover the ships
caligula x section
Cross section of the stern of the ship where the hand-operated bilge pumps (which were used to empty the bottom of the hull from the water that inevitably infiltrated inside) were probably located. The pump has been rebuilt according to the few clues found on the lake bottom. – Carlo Cestra

Both vessels were constructed using the Vitruvian method, a shell first building technique used by the Romans. They were steered using 11.3 meters (37 ft) long quarter oars, with the seconda nave equipped with four, two off each quarter and two from the shoulders while the prima nave was equipped with two.  more

Seutonius describes two ships built by Caligula; “…ten banks of oars…the poops of which blazed with jewels…they were filled with ample baths, galleries, and saloons, and supplied with a great variety of vines and fruit trees.” A year after their launch, the Nemi ships were stripped of precious objects, ballasted and then intentionally sunk following the assassination of Caligula. (heritagedaily)

Benito Mussolini attending the inauguration of Museum of Nemi (Il Museo delle Navi Romane) (The Museum of Navigation)
Joshua Kane and Mark Pinkham (background) offload lobster at the Cranberry Isles Fisherman’s Co-Op dock on Little Cranberry Island, Maine. Josh is a former addict who encourages other fishermen to seek recovery treatment. Portland Press Herald photo by Gregory Rec

Dateline Maine: Trapped by heroin: Lobster industry struggles with its deadly secret

Gorgeous Vintage Advertisements for Heroin, Cannabis and Cocaine on Pinterest
(Yeah, really)

Until last year, when he finally kicked a 20-year heroin habit, Tristen Nelson had always been too high to even notice the best things about being a lobsterman in Down East Maine, like the beauty of a Bucks Harbor sunrise or the freedom of fishing two dozen miles offshore.

He loves those things about his job now, but for two decades the 35-year-old Machias man only lobstered to make the quick cash he needed to buy heroin. He would spend all his money, up to $60,000 for six months of work, on drugs. And he would end every fishing season broke.

His captains didn’t care if he showed up high, as long as he came ready to work. He hauled traps like a madman. For years, industry leaders and regulators ignored the drug use. They didn’t want to risk tainting the iconic image of the Maine lobsterman, that rough-and-tumble ocean cowboy who braves the elements to hunt lobster, the backbone of the state’s $1.6 billion-a-year industry.

keep reading

This article is one of a ten-part series on the heroin epidemic in Maine
produced by The Portland Press Herald

also: Many in Stonington, Maine’s lobstering capital, keep quiet about drug problem

“Peter’s very little island” From Fairy Tales, written and illustrated by Alfred Crowquill, 1857

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