The Ships That Helped Silence the Early USSR’s Intellectuals
Russia exiled hundreds of academics and journalists on “Philosophers’ Ships” to make way for the Soviet Union
The idea to exile the ideological opponents of the new Soviet state had come from Vladimir Lenin himself. In May of 1922, Lenin sent a letter to the head of the GPU, the state security organization in charge of, among other things, dealing with dissidents and enemies of the Soviet state.
On September 28, 1922, loaded with its cargo of exiled thinkers and their families, the ship Oberbürgermeister Haken disembarked for Germany. And in November of that year, a second German vessel, the Preussen, carried yet more deported thinkers to Germany as well.
All told, some 220 prominent intellectuals were forcibly removed from Russia before the official establishment of the Soviet Union.
Though we have no direct evidence of Lane’s association with transcendentalist thought, he was certainly exposed to it through multiple lectures in Gloucester by Emerson and Thoreau. It is hard not to associate The Western Shore with Norman’s Woe with the oft-quoted line from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Nature… I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me…”
Lane’s lifelong fascination with the detail and anecdote of ships and harbors has been distilled into this pure expression of light and place, truly a masterpiece of the “poetry of emptiness,” a term often applied by scholars to Lane’s late work.
Fitz Henry Lane was born on December 19, 1804, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. From the time of his birth, Lane would be exposed to the sea and maritime life—a factor that obviously had a great impact his later choice of subject matter. Many circumstances of his young life ensured Lane’s constant interaction with various aspects of this maritime life, including the fact that Lane’s family lived “upon the periphery of Gloucester Harbor’s working waterfront,” and that his father, Jonathan Dennison Lane, was a sailmaker, and quite possibly owned and ran a sail loft.
Conserving America’s Longest Painting, a 19th-Century Whaling Panorama
From the late 18th to 19th centuries, entrepreneurs traveled the United States and Great Britain with colossal moving panoramas in tow. The large-scale paintings would be rolled between two huge spools for an audience, revealing a narrative through a succession of images.
Among these mostly lost wonders is America’s longest painting. The 1848 “Purrington-Russell Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage Round the World,” owned by the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts, stretches 1,275 feet in length and stands eight and a half feet tall. While the panorama had numerous exhibitions around the country in its heyday, including an appearance at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, it hasn’t been displayed in over 50 years. A restoration project, supported by a 2016 award from the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, aims to return it to view.
Tennis court-sized Tricolour captured from a French battleship at Battle of the Nile goes on display for the first time in a century
A huge 217-year-old flag captured from a French battleship by Admiral Lord Nelson is set to go on display for the first time in more than 100 years. The ensign of Généreux, which is roughly the size of a tennis court, was taken by Nelson and his men in 1800 and is believed to be one of the earliest Tricolours in existence. Volunteers are carrying out painstaking conservation works before it is unveiled to the public at Norwich Castle Museum with later plans to put it on permanent public display.
Généreux was a French Téméraire-class 74-gun ship of the line. After capture she completed her career as part of the Royal Navy as HMS Généreux. more on wikipedia
From Minesweeper to Superyacht, the Story of Mojo
Mojo’s colourful history dates back to 1958 when she was launched as HMS Packington at the Harland & Wolf shipyard in Belfast, to serve as a minesweeper in the Royal Navy. The following year she was acquired by the South African Navy for the same purpose and rechristened SAS Walvisbaai. After serving 40 years in the South African Navy she was sold to the Walt Disney film company to be used as the R/V Belafonte in Wes Anderson’s film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Here are the teams competing to map the ocean for $7 million in prizes
Popular Science – Ninety-five percent of the ocean hasn’t been mapped in any kind of detail. The maps of the world’s seafloor that you see online are mostly approximations based on scattered bits of data collected by expeditions over the years.
On Thursday, head of the Ocean Discovery XPrize Jyotika Virmani announced the 21 semifinalist teams who will advance to the next round of the competition, and who will hopefully help make the seafloor less of a mystery.
Artist and writer John Kelly looks at how the ship’s log has long contributed to literature and the visual arts
Many of the log entries of the 18th and 19th centuries were illustrated, depicting details of the structure of the ships as well as the topography of the coast. One aspect of the early voyages of discovery was the search for sheltered harbours, port locations and for suitable places for settlement. The ‘Pilot Books’ offered panoramic views of extensive coastal features.
As a literary source the log provided and still provides a backdrop for the poet and the novelist. Much of the material for The Ancient Mariner would come from first-hand experience of the encounters with ice and even with the ways of the albatross. Coleridge owes much to the travels and log entries of the astronomer William Wales, who travelled to the south with Cook in the 1770s.
In the era right after Columbus, most people who traveled from Europe to the Americas had very specific agendas. They wanted money, or power, or land. And those are the names we know—Cortes, Pizarro, Cordoba; the ones who killed and stole and enslaved in order to bring their home countries a slice of that New World pie.
Francisco Hernandez’s name may not ring any bells—but his contributions were just as important, and a lot less bloody. Hernandez was the first European scientist to visit the Americas.
With the help of the Aztecs, Hernandez traveled through Mexico in the 1570s, describing and illustrating thousands of species previously unknown to Europe. Some credit him with introducing the continent to everything from corn to cocoa. He is, indisputably, one of the fathers of natural history. keep reading
Provided support for the Anzac troops during the Gallipoli Campaign by providing naval gunfire. She covered the landing at Anzac Cove in April as well as several subsequent operations. Returning home in late 1916, she became the flagship of the 9th Cruiser Squadron on convoy escort duties off the African coast in mid-1917. Bacchante remained there for the rest of the war and was reduced to reserve in 1919 before being sold for scrap in 1920. more on wikipedia
Cannibalism—the Ultimate Taboo—Is Surprisingly, a Lot More Common Than You Might Think
The suspicion of cannibalism was used by the West to justify conquest, particularly in the New World
National Geographic Book Review – “In non-human cannibalism, the biggest surprise for me was how widespread it is across nature, for all sorts of reasons other than stress or lack of food. That blew me away. With human cannibalism, what shocked me was how extensive medicinal cannibalism was in Europe for hundreds of years. Human body parts were used right up to the beginning of the 19th century.”
Death metal music attracts sharks, documentary crew finds out
A documentary film crew hit upon a novel technique to attract great white sharks – blasting death metal through an underwater speaker. The Discovery Channel crew, filming for the Shark Week show Bride of Jaws, were on the hunt for a large great white, wonderfully nicknamed ‘Joan of Shark’… keep reading
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