Every day for 100 years, Scripps researchers or their colleagues at Birch Aquarium have pulled a bucket of water from the swells below Scripps Pier in La Jolla, and checked the temperature and salinity. The Shore Stations Program, based at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and spanning the California coast, is the longest continuous series of ocean temperature measurements in the Pacific Rim, according to the institution.
The program employs a simple, low-tech method for collecting samples, but the result – a century’s worth of water data – has been invaluable to research on topics from climate change to algal blooms. Last week the researchers who run the program discussed whether it will persist into its next century. Though they agreed unanimously to continue the program, they acknowledged they’ll face a significant challenge in paying for it. keep reading
Even though the Execution Dock in London is long gone, the gallows are still maintained to this very day on the Thames foreshore by the Prospect of Whitby Public House (which lays claim to being the site of the oldest riverside tavern, dating from around 1520.
The Execution Dock was used for 400 years, (up until 1830) to execute all seagoing criminals, including pirates, mutineers, and smugglers. It was nothing more than scaffolding used for hangings and was located beside the shoreline of the River Thames at Wapping. keep reading
“I find it fascinating to discover the cycle of desire and loathing New Yorkers past and present have towards the waterfront,” Albert said. “Scratching the surface of waterfront history puts us face-to-face with our changing attitudes towards ecology, contagion, insanity, crime, death, refuse, transport, race, trade, immigration.”
Crochet Coral Reef: TOXIC SEASat the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is an exhibition drenched in color, with yarn in orange, blue, teal, purple, and green popping from mounds of crocheted material. Look closer, though, and an infestation is revealed, with discarded bags, tinsel, zip ties, magnetic tape, and other plastic trash embedded in the vibrant fiber sculptures. The installation marks 10 years of the Crochet Coral Reef project, an art initiative launched by twin sisters Christine and Margaret Werthe.
The Wertheims began crocheting the artificial coral structures, with titles like Cthulhu and Ea referencing ocean monsters and water gods, in 2005. They were initially highlighting loss in the Great Barrier Reef of their home country, Australia, when things just started getting bigger and bigger. And bigger… more
The Guardian – Lampedusa has quietly become the tragic epicentre of the migrant experience: part holding tank, part cemetery. keep reading
Fire at Sea (Italian: Fuocoammare) is a 2016 Italian documentary film directed by Gianfranco Rosi. It won the Golden Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival, and has been selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.
The film was shot on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa during the European migrant crisis, and sets the migrants’ dangerous Mediterranean crossing against a background of the ordinary life of the islanders. The main characters are a twelve-year-old boy from a local fishing family and a doctor who treats the migrants upon their arrival. (from)
Local residents near Charleston, South Carolina stumbled upon a strange piece of history blown ashore by Hurricane Matthew—civil war cannonballs. According to CNN, these cannonballs (pictured above) were distinguished from normal rocks or rusty pieces of metal by the visible fuse holes on the cannonballs themselves. keep reading
BOSTON – A major plan to deepen the waters of the port in Boston could reduce prices on store shelves all over New England, officials say. The move would allow larger cargo ships into the port, which would be bring better prices.
From the vantage point of a 19th century lighthouse, a small, slow ship would appear every few months on the horizon. A woman, her husband and their children might look out at the glistening sea in anticipation from their tower: the shipment was finally here. They’d haul supplies from the boat; cleaning rags, paint, milk, and possibly the most awaited item: a thick wooden carrying case with brass hinges, filled with books.
Portable lighthouse libraries, distributed across the United States in the 19th century, were a common but important part of life for families living under the constant work and near-isolation of the lighthouse watch. keep reading
Nearly 75 years after he died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the remains of Navy Fireman 3rd Class Edwin Hopkins are coming home to New Hampshire. Hopkins was one of 429 men who died when the ship they were on, the USS Oklahoma, was hit by torpedoes Dec. 7, 1941, and sunk.
Thirty-two men were rescued, but 14 Marines and 415 sailors were killed. Many of them, including Hopkins, were buried as “unknowns” in a Hawaii cemetery. keep reading
Right: This undated photo provided by the family of Navy Fireman 3rd Class Edwin Hopkins of Keene, New Hampshire, shows Hopkins in his uniform.
The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria is now a visual arts center (gallery) located in an old Department of Defense munitions facility. The U.S. Naval Torpedo Station was built during World War I on old lumber dock known as “The Strand”. It wasn’t actually completed until after the war ended (as coincidence would have it, the doors opened just one day after the Armistice). During World War II the Torpedo Station scaled up its staff and production capacity to feed FDR’s “arsenal of democracy.” 5,000 employees worked around the clock in shifts building warheads, propellers, engines and other torpedo necessaries. more
Smithsonian – For more than a century, the Diesel engine has been the backbone of heavy industry. The internal combustion engine that ignites fuel by heating it up through compression powers everything from tractors to trucks. But for decades, historians have been puzzled by the mysterious disappearance of its inventor, who vanished 103 years ago today while taking a steamship across the English Channel… keep reading
Tug images from a fun blog Miss Monkey stumbled upon this week; Tug Boats Big and Small A historical (and contemporary) romp through the world of tugboats
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