What adorable animal is this? It's a type of clam called a shipworm. One of the most destructive forces in the ocean and scourge of explorers. They eat boats, and apparently taste ok. These infamous clams are invading new areas, buoyed by climate change and the 2011 tsunami in Japan (PDF).
Maybe you first saw one of them in a video game or a heavy metal album cover: the 69 demons Louis Le Breton illustrated for Collin de Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal (previously). But who was the man who rendered these images, and brought the dukes and presidents of Hell to life in such specific detail? Would he want to be remembered for his drawings of composite monsters and naked men riding dragons, or did he perhaps leave another legacy entirely? [more inside]
United States Naval Aviation 1910–2010 by Mark L. Evans and Roy A. Grossnick is the Naval History and Heritage Command’s fourth update to the original history which was initiated in 1960. That first issue celebrated the first 50 years of United States naval aviation and this two-volume set commemorates the centenary. [more inside]
Bomb vessels were heavily-fortified sailing ships designed to carry explosive shells. The Hecla Class of bomb vessels lived particularly interesting lives. [more inside]
In 1984, The Voyage of the Mimi set sail on PBS, exploring the ocean off the coast of Massachusetts to study humpback whales. The educational series was made up of thirteen episodes intended to teach middle schoolers about science and math. The first fifteen minutes of each episode were a fictional adventure starring a young Ben Affleck. The second 15 minutes were an "expedition documentary" that would explore the scientific concepts behind the show's plot points. A sequel with the same format, The Second Voyage of the Mimi aired in 1988, and featured the crew of the Mimi exploring Mayan ruins in Mexico. [more inside]
It is the central, most eyecatching feature of the modern Oval Office. But for over a year, abandoned by a captain said to be harsh and venereal, it drifted slowly, its huge frame creaking, locked in ice, in the land of endless night. [more inside]
The U.S. Naval Observatory Library features high-res scans of images from antique books dealing with astronomy and navigation. Wallpapers, ahoy!
Adrift 500 Feet Down, a Minute Was an Eternity. A chain of error brings the U.S. Navy close to its own Kursk tragedy.
I have recently begun Patrick O’Brian’s series of Aubrey-Maturin novels, set in the rich and vibrant world of the 18th century Royal Navy; I have also enjoyed the movie. These superb historic novel have rekindled my interest in the great age of sail, especially the exploits of Lord Nelson. The Royal Navy at this time ruled the world, although the tactics used were brutal and seaman were often taken to sea against their will. The Battle of Trafalgar is certainly the most famous engagement and HMS Victory the most famous of the ships. Next year is the 200th anniversary of the battle, the preparations sound spectacular and it is good to see the strong British sailing tradition continues.
This baby, a Norwegian coastal defense high-tech catamaran can travel at 60mph, fool radar and ride 5 feet above the water was in Washington, D.C. recently cruising the Chesapeake Bay to possibly be bought by the US Navy.