Archive for 08/22/2011

Hydro International –

NASA-funded researchers have created the first complete map of the speed and direction of ice flow in Antarctica. The map, which shows glaciers flowing thousands of miles from the continent’s deep interior to its coast, will be critical for tracking future sea-level increases from climate change. The team created the map using integrated radar observations from a consortium of international satellites.

“This is like seeing a map of all the oceans’ currents for the first time. It’s a game changer for glaciology,” said Eric Rignot of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the University of California (UC), Irvine. He is lead author of a paper about the ice flow published online Thursday in Science Express.

Rignot and UC Irvine scientists Jeremie Mouginot and Bernd Scheuchl used billions of data points captured by European, Japanese and Canadian satellites to weed out cloud cover, solar glare and land features masking the glaciers. With the aid of NASA technology, the team painstakingly pieced together the shape and velocity of glacial formations, including the previously uncharted East Antarctica, which comprises 77 percent of the continent.

Like viewing a completed jigsaw puzzle, the scientists were surprised when they stood back and took in the full picture. They discovered a new ridge splitting the 5.4 million-square-mile landmass from east to west.

The team also found unnamed formations moving up to 800 feet annually across immense plains sloping toward the Antarctic Ocean and in a different manner than past models of ice migration.

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Chuck Mobley  –

After winning a tightly contested auction Saturday afternoon that finally topped out at $5,500, the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum celebrated the acquisition of the newest nautical treasure in its collection, a wrought-iron table that the czar of Russia presented to the captain of the S.S. Savannah in 1819.

“I overstepped my bounds,” said a beaming Cathy Adler, the president of the museum’s board of trustees.

The double-pedestal table, which has been on loan to the Owens-Thomas House by its owners since the late 1950s, will eventually become part of a new north garden at the Ships of the Sea, Adler said.

The bidding on it came some two and a half hours into the auction at River Street Inn.

“This is such an appropriate location,” said Ann Lemley of Old Savannah Estates, Antiques and Auctions, as she pointed out that the old cotton warehouse had been built in 1817, two years before Capt. Moses Rogers had piloted the S.S. Savannah on the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by a steamship. As bids were taken through the morning on items from several other estates, huge container ships, successors to Rogers and the S.S. Savannah in the Atlantic trade, sailed past the room’s window.

Though it wasn’t in the room — it was too heavy to bring over — the table was the source of constant conversation. Bidding on it started at $2,500, and that represented a phoned-in bid that had been made earlier, said Lemley.

The bids came quickly at the start, but slowed as the figure approached and then topped $5,000. At that point, only Adler and an anonymous phone bidder were left.

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Fosters –

One of the many memories Sheila Jordan has aboard the Albacore is the time she was 7½ months pregnant and came on board and her husband, “Butch,” decided to play a little joke on one of the crew members.

“I gave the poor helmsman a heart attack because my husband decided to tell him I was in labor,” Sheila said, with a laugh.

The couple, who currently reside in Connecticut, fondly remember the submarine as their “honeymoon vessel” because they had gotten married just before Butch was to board.

Serving on the Albacore from 1966 to 1968, the second-class petty officer was only 20 years old and it was his first submarine. Although he was only two years on board the Albacore, Butch, who retired a lieutenant commander in the Navy in 1989, has many stories to tell and is now a part of the Friends of the Albacore — an organization of former crewmates and others whose aim is to preserve the park where it’s permanently berthed and keep the submarine’s history alive.

On Saturday, Butch and many other former crewmembers came to Albacore Park to celebrate its 25th anniversary with cake and free tours of the submarine they once called home. The USS Albacore is an important part of not only Portsmouth history, but submarine history in general.

Up until the time the Albacore was launched in 1953, submarines were built to use mainly as surface ships with going underwater an afterthought, explained John Maier, executive director of Albacore Park. With the Cold War and competition with Russia, the Navy decided they needed to build a submarine for underwater purposes.

Maier said they were looking to build something that was not only fast underwater, but quiet and could maneuver well. The result was the Alabacore.

The diesel-electric submarine redefined the craft with its teardrop design that was similar to a blimp and allowed for extremely high speeds underwater. At a little over 203 feet in length, the submarine has never held weapons and was strictly used for research including testing control systems, dive breaks, sonar systems, and escape mechanisms.

Its motto has stood over time as “Praenuntius Futuri” or “Forerunner of the Future” and, as Butch Jordan explained, the vessel has come to serve as the prototype for all modern submarines. Its designs were even adopted into the Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine.

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All ship shape

Posted: 08/22/2011 in all marine news

Yorkshire Post –

The SS Great Britain was the theme of a weekend away for Paul Kirkwood, who also found another piece of maritime history.

Negotiating traffic on a city centre dual carriageway on a wet Friday evening while trying to find a hotel wasn’t the ideal start to a weekend with my sister in Bristol. But the following day the rain cleared to reveal a fascinating city worthy of far more attention than I paid it on my one previous visit to watch a football match at Bristol City in the ’80s.

We began by visiting the New Room, a magnificently restored Wesleyan chapel that, as a result of Second World War bombing in the vicinity, is now located within a shopping centre. The oldest Methodist chapel in the world, the New Room was the centre of operations for John Wesley in the mid-18th century.

Upstairs is a suite of lodging rooms and a common room for his fellow preachers. Displays include mugs and other memorabilia bearing his name. He was something of a celebrity. During his lifetime he spread the word by riding 250,000 miles on horseback to deliver 40,000 sermons. Not everyone supported his doctrine.

The chapel has no windows partly to avoid window tax but also to provide his opponents with fewer to break. Two pulpits on different levels were also designed with potential aggro in mind. The lower one was for bible readings while the upper pulpit was for the more contentious sermons. Speakers were harder to assault from this point and could easily scarper via a gantry back to their private quarters upstairs.

The lantern window of the chapel, the pillars of the preachers’ rooms and the panelling all have nautical echoes which led us neatly to the main event.

I could never have believed that the hull of a ship could be so beautiful until I visited the SS Great Britain, the first great ocean liner built by Brunel and launched in 1837. We admired the perfect curves – designed without a single kilobyte of CAD software, of course – and giant propeller from the bottom of the dry dock as the first stage in a tour of the ship.

This is an attraction firmly in the premier league: fascinating history, skilfully presented and imaginatively brought to life.

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RT –

Following two recent incidents of shark attacks in the Russian Far East, the authorities in Primorye have come up with a straightforward solution and announced that local sharks will be dealt with by professional fishermen.

“We are planning to take out a number of fishing boats to catch sharks in the near future,” governor Sergey Darkin said today in a video address, Itar-Tass reports.

He also called upon locals and visitors to refrain from swimming in the sea along the entire coastline of the region, particularly stressing the danger of deeper waters.

According to the governor, a special operation group has been made up of local authorities, scientists, emergency response specialists and members of law-enforcement services.

Police boats and teams of the Emergencies Ministry are currently patrolling the coastline. No new cases of shark attacks have been reported so far.

The beaches along Russia’s Pacific coast are full of people this August, but those willing to go into water are few, despite the heat. Those who dare, remain in shallow waters.

Patrol boats are cruising along the coastline outside Vladivostok – Russia’s main city in the region – to warn people of potential danger. To add to the mood of anxiety, local authorities have reported a shoal of large sharks near the island of Russky, just a few kilometers from Vladivostok.

The first attack occurred on Wednesday about 50 meters off the coast in Telyakovsky Bay in southern Primorye, when a 25-year-old man lost both his forearms after being mauled by what is thought to be a four-meter-long Great White shark.

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