A painting at Christie's sheds new light on how watermelons have changed over time. Depictions of The Last Supper tell us how portion sizes have changed over time. Medieval paintings of Noah's Ark tell us how ships have changed over time. Can you think of other examples in this genre?
A visual history of the sometimes unbelievable camouflage used by ships during wartime. The most famous approach, Dazzle camouflage (sometimes Razzle Dazzle), was designed by an artist in Britain during World War I, and is designed to disguise apparent motion and direction, [video] at which it was effective, if controversial. During World War II, the US Navy used a variety of schemes to camouflage ships, including false bow waves that made it difficult for submarines to judge how fast a ship was traveling. Recently, the Navy revived dazzle techniques for the first time since WW II.
And it’s even easier with a bit of international cooperation: Time lapse video of USCGC Bristol Bay and CCGS Samuel Risley working together to break ice from Sarnia to Windsor, Ontario, in one day. Further inland, Amphibex icebreaking machines are used to break ice on the Red River in Manitoba to prevent flooding from ice jamming ahead of spring. That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to icebreaking... [more inside]
The decommissioning of the USS Simpson, a Perry-class frigate that sank an Iranian fast-attack craft in April 1988, means that there is only one ship left in the U.S. Navy that has sunk an enemy ship -- "Old Ironsides", a.k.a. the USS Constitution, which was launched in 1797.
September 8, 1934, the SS Morro Castle suffered a catastrophic fire, killing 135 people. Was a crewmember responsible?
Youtube user ThomasHuntFilms has edited down the original Star Trek movies (i.e. no Abramsverse movies) to just the scenes with ships only. [more inside]
Earlier this year, Underwater explorer Barry Clifford claimed to have found the Santa Maria, one of Christopher Columbus' three ships, off the coast of Haiti. But a few days ago, A UNESCO mission of experts has concluded that a shipwreck is actually from a much later period, citing the bronze or copper fasteners found on the site that point to shipbuilding techniques of the late 17th or 18th centuries, and the journal of Columbus (translated text online; Archive.org scan of the 1893 translation from the Hakluyt Society), which indicates that this wreck is too far from the shore to be the La Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción. Despite this setback, Haiti will continue to search for the historic shipwreck.
"More than five centuries after Christopher Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria, was wrecked in the Caribbean, archaeological investigators think they may have discovered the vessel’s long-lost remains – lying at the bottom of the sea off the north coast of Haiti."
Cruise ship not long enough? Want that "limousine" feel to your ocean-going craft? Why not cut it in half and stick an extra 99 feet of ship in the middle? (Skip to 1:16 for a great cross-section shot) [more inside]
Stuck in the Antarctic ice we set out to study - Erik van Sebille of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013 describes his fieldwork in Antarctica. The Guardian has extensive coverage of the expedition, including visiting the remains of a previous expedition, how they became icebound, and their rescue.
An interactive version of Olaus Magnus’ 1539 Carta Marina, a map of the sea filled with the usual ( and unusual) monsters and creatures. (Slate)
Luigi Prina: The Ships That Sail Through The Clouds — Italian architect creates beautiful flying air ships.
ShapeWright Ship will take your name (or really any string of text) and generate a 3D model of a spaceship based on it.
Semi-submersible ships are the only vessels capable of loading, transporting and off-loading extremely heavy equipment. These mighty ships are used to carry entire gas refineries, huge oil drilling rigs, and even warships and submarines, on lengthy journeys across the globe.
It seems eco-friendly cargo ships are slowly on the rise. Today i learned there is a full length documentary on Vimeo about one of these sailing vessels, the Tres Hombres; a bittersweet account of a voyage to transport supplies and aid to Haiti after the devastating earthquake: How Captain Longhair saved the World (HD, 42 min.).
Bomb vessels were heavily-fortified sailing ships designed to carry explosive shells. The Hecla Class of bomb vessels lived particularly interesting lives. [more inside]
Old Ships is a website packed full of evocative, interesting and historical pictures of old ships from A to Zambesi. It's a feast of all kinds of other vintage maritime images, including ports, docks, ferries, harbors, paintings, canals, rivers, maritime scenes, onboard pictures, shipboard menus, lots of great postcards and other old historical nautical memorabilia (even the ship's cat). [more inside]
The Triumph of the Passenger Ship is an online exhibition of highlights from the Norman H. Morse Ocean Liner Collection at the University of Southern Maine. (The cutaway illustrations are fascinating.)
For centuries, ships navigated by the stars. Thousands of ships' logs representing hundreds of thousands of position readings were diligently recorded by sailors for a future use they never could have imagined: 100 years of ocean travel 1750 to 1850.
Seawise Giant - later known as Happy Giant, Jahre Viking, and Knock Nevis - was the largest ship ever built.
In Tonsberg, Norway, they are building a Viking Ship. By hand, using the same tools and processes the vikings used. [more inside]
Starship Schematics Database: dedicated to the sole purpose of archiving every single starship design ever conceived in the Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, and Space Battleship Yamato (A.K.A. Star Blazers in the USA) Universes, both official and unofficial, interesting and mediocre.
The Rhode Island School of Design has a set of beautiful designs for dazzle ship camouflage. Dazzle Camouflage was a way to confuse submarine operators as to the heading and speed of warships, so that they could not effectively fire torpedoes to sink them. Certainly a lot more colorful than today's camo! (previously)
MarineTraffic is a live map recording ship traffic based on AIS data. The site mainly covers European and North American coasts and includes info on vessels and ports, plus a gallery with some cool ship photos. Similar: see ShipAIS for live vessel movements from around the UK.
Not just a huge conspiracy... a TITANIC CONSPIRACY! "There are a number of good reasons to believe that the vessel which sank on the night of April 14/15 was in fact Titanic's slightly older, and very similar, sister ship Olympic."
Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, has launched his 557-foot yacht, Eclipse.
Ship to Shore. Much of downtown San Francisco, including everything in this photo, is built on landfill based on sunken ships that were abandoned during the Gold Rush (see the map linked at the bottom of the page). [more inside]
Around Cape Horn - if you've ever wished for an authentic glimpse into the bygone era of the majestic age of sailing, this is it - a rare 1929 true adventure film about sailing a four-masted commercial barque around the Cape Horn during a huge gale. It was shot with a hand-cranked camera by Captain Irving Johnson who offers a spirited narration. 36 minutes, B&W
The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 — Authorized and funded by the U.S. government, six ships sailed with 346 men (including officers, crew, scientists, and artists) on a four-year scientific and surveying mission, logging 87,000 miles around the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. Two ships and 28 men were lost, and the Expedition's contentious commander Charles Wilkes was court-martialled for his erratic behavior, and was sued by former officers and crew members. During the Civil War in 1861, he boarded a British ship, seized two Confederate agents, and nearly provoked military retaliation by England (he was court-martialled once again in 1864 for insubordination.) Wilkes' 1845 Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition and the Ex. Ex.'s journals were published by Congress, and some 40 tons of Expedition specimens and artifacts became the foundation of the Smithsonian Institution's collections. [Nathaniel Philbrick (video lecture) chronicles this almost-forgotten voyage in his 2003 book Sea of Glory (NYT review).]
Today is the 202nd birthday of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of the world's greatest engineers and a personal hero. I gaped at the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol when the shock of recognition dawned on my jetlagged brain. This was the man that laid the foundation for Britain's global economic might, built the first underwater tunnel, Paddington Station and inspired engineers everywhere. His legacy lives on in his works, a university, a museum or two among others.
Edinburgh author Iain M. Banks, creator of the post capitalist space faring society The Culture and it's oddly named ships, has long been the UKs top science fiction writer, but has never had more than a toehold in the US (in part through lack of availability, in part due to lack of promotion and in part due to some pretty awful covers. That could change: Matter, his latest, has been heavily promoted in the US and sports a cover nearly identical to the UK edition. This week Orbit are releasing US editions of the two earliest Culture novels, with the third following in July, which could mean a complete release of all the novels in the US in order. [more inside]
A visual history of floating prisons shows that using ships at prisons did not end with the infamous prison hulks along the Thames. Today, New York (home to the Prison Ship Martyr's Monument commemorating the most deadly part of the Revolutionary War) uses the impressive Bain, anchored off the Bronx, as a prison barge, while the Australians have the sleek-looking Triton as a mobile prison ship patrolling national waters.
The Skeleton Coast, so called for the whale skeletons that littered its shores when the whaling industry was at its peak, is now well known for the skeletons of shipwrecks. More. And a a bit of description here. Still, the coast is full of life. Each year hundreds of thousands of Fur Seals come ashore. (Video on this site of baby Fur Seal vs. a jackal.) (wp)
Having served as a troop transport in WWII, a luxury liner, and a sea cadet training vessel, the Texas Clipper will come to her final resting place tomorrow as part of an artificial reef in the Texas Gulf. During preparations for sinking, a long lost mural (1 2 3 4) by Saul Steinberg, best known for his work at The New Yorker, was rediscovered hidden behind wallpaper and paint and saved from a watery grave.
What do you know? Just when I thought ships were the way to go, I learned that global emissions of carbon dioxide from shipping are twice the level of aviation, one of the maritime industry's key bodies has said It came out on the BBC News this week.
The Cutty Sark burns. Nineteenth century tea clipper, preserved as a museum-ship in Greenwich since the fifties, is currently ablaze.
A modern day Mary Celeste. A ship has been found adrift near the Great Barrier Reef... without her crew. The engine was idling, the table was set, and all the expensive kit was still on board (pirates surely would've gutted the place). The mast was ripped and the life rafts were missing. It's looking less and less likely that three sailors will be found alive. Where is Jack Ryan when you need him?
Oil Rig Disasters--Deadliest, most expensive, blowouts, sinkings. Building a rig. Barrels of rig pictures. NOAA's archive of spill pictures. ROVs, rigs, vessels. All kind of Canadian rig (and related) pictures. More.
Float-on, Float-off cargo ships. They're huge. One carried the USS Cole. One class is called the Mighty Servants. There are also the Marlins, or the elegant honesty of the "Transshelf". Big ships need big dock cranes. For maximum impact, compare these monsters to the common penny. Previously, "Where do Supertankers go to die?"
Where, exactly, were commercial vessels in the San Francisco Bay in the past hour? Here, for one. Behold the power of AIS! Previously
Pearl Harbor ship salvage began immediately after the attack and continued until 1944. It was dirty, dangerous, detailed, (and discouraging) work for U.S. Navy salvors and divers, but their impressive repairs eventually returned eighteen sunken and damaged ships to wartime service. Only one was left where she fell. [More in the book Resurrection: Salvaging the Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor.]
Amazing photoseries of 70 foot storm waves crushing the surface of a large tanker in the North Pacific. More on the post-storm damage here.
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