uncleamos: (Default)
Even though it was six feet long.

I just joined a conversation in the hall where one of the guys on the work crew was telling some library staff about his weekend trip to Erie where he deployed his 1:144 scale model of USS New Jersey in a battle in which the Axis crushed the Allies, with only his ship escaping unsunk, furiously steaming (well, not exactly) away at her to-scale top speed as her pump expelled the water that was pouring in through the BB-sized holes in her hull.

Some people gather their swords and go to cons and battles. Some people gather their fleets and go to sea.

So. Cool.

Sadly, my plan involves my hobby being work. No time for ship battles, sword battles, learning to sail, or WoW. Actually, I think that the hobbies I'd most like to actually spend time on are sailing (Gazela) and rubber-band powered model airplane making.
uncleamos: (Default)
The press is reporting that the coins salvaged from the so-called "Black Swan" may be worth half a billion dollars, making her the most valuable shipwreck ever recovered.

I could have sworn that the gold from Central America was worth more than that, on the order of 1-2 billion dollars. Anyone remember? (Or have better Google skills than I?)
uncleamos: (Default)
The Delaware, that is.

Basically the deal involves Pennsylvania agreeing to pay for the project entirely and agreeing to put the spoils in Pennsylvania instead of New Jersey. It also means that the Port Authority can finally resume business as usual.

In the article the NJ officials spin it as something that fulfills their obligation to protect the people of New Jersey, while environmentalists blast them for surrendering their ability to stop the awful destruction that the project will entail.

The real issue, of course, is that New York harbor is going from 45-50 feet, and the Delaware channel needs to go from 40-45 to compete. But in New York, even more so than in Philadelphia, the vast majority of the shipping is on the Jersey side of the river. So before this arrangement was worked out, Pennsylvania was asking New Jersey to spend money, lots of money, to divert some traffic from ports in northern New Jersey to ports in southeastern Pennsylvania. So the deal that was worked out is the only deal that makes sense: New Jersey will allow Pennsylvania to take a little shipping from New Jersey entirely at Pennsylvania's expense, and the environmental conditions are tossed in to make it worth New Jersey's while.

And in however many years, when container ships are however much bigger, they will still be coming up the river to Philadelphia. We need the business desperately.
uncleamos: (Default)
Holy Shit. Photos.

I want one.

Er, I want *it.*

uncleamos: (Default)
Elliot (!) and Marie and I visited the U.S.S. New Jersey today, and then there was much gaming as Swat, including a game of Settlers that I won. This is mostly a placeholder post, to remind me to try to think of something worth writing, some other time.


Nov. 30th, 2005 11:48 am
uncleamos: (Default)
Ira Glass, on visiting a German submarine in a museum:

"From the point of view of the Nazi government that built this sub, this right here is pretty much a worst case scenario. Little black and brown skinned children climbing through one of their most powerful machines of destruction, pointing and laughing, being interviewed by a Jewish reporter, who has not entirely lost that pestering, nasal, Jewishy quality that was ever so annoying back in the Fatherland. That is pretty much not the way they wanted the war to come out."
uncleamos: (Default)
So in a fit of bored of homework and not wanting to drag a tome of fantasy to work, I dug my copy of To Rule The Waves out of the box it's been in since Swarthmore. Amazingly, I had left off in the middle of a chapter (Victory at Sea, no less) so I finished it and read on a bit. Good times.

They've almost finished renovating the mezzanine level of 30th Street station - light fixtures went in today. Check it out if you're down there sometime, it looks great.

I've decided that too much of my primary play list is depressing. I'm not sure when that happened, but something should be done about it. For now, The Who.

...And I can't remember the interesting thought that made me decide to post. I do remember that I thought I might put it on the monkey blog. But what was it?
uncleamos: (Default)
Things that were Awesome Beyond All Expression, in no particular order:
Seeing Finlay
Meeting Finlay's family
Meeting Berit
Walking around town
Looking at old buildings
Walking on old brick and cobblestone
The graveyard at night
Frisbee on the beach
Name game (I admit it)
Going to Meeting for Worship with Lisa on Sunday
Having a Grown Up conversation with Finlay's mother
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Harry Potter
Walking along the cliffs at Siasconset
Eating great food at home AND when out
Visiting the Nantucket Historical Association's Library
Roaring across Nantucket Sound at 40 MPH aboard the catamaran Flying Cloud...TWICE!
Seeing the airport
Getting a behind the scenes tour of the airport by Finlay and her Very Awesome boss!
Finlay's house! (Floorboards especially)
Listening to Finlay and Berit talking about their high school people (even though I was usually lost)
The town of Nantucket
The island of Nantucket
Coming back to "America"
Coming Home

Things that Utterly Sucked:
uncleamos: (Default)
I know why they named it that, (the titles of books 1 and 13), but I should point out that HM Frigate Surprise is a Post Ship (even if only a Sixth-rate), and Jno. Aubrey is a Post Captain (with seniority from May 3, 1804). He is not merely a Commander.

I have, in the last week, Purchased The Discovery Channel's book 'Napoleon's Lost Fleet,' checked out Vincent's 'Nelson: Love and Fame' from Haverford, and requested that tripod purchase Hayward's 'For God and Glory: Lord Nelson and His Way of War.'

The first is a coffee table book with glorious illustrations, the second is an introduction to Nelson's personal life, and the third is a very detailed study of his style of command, battle tactics, etc.

Also, check out some of the internet's various Napoleonic Societies. They hate Nelson like Republicans hate Clinton - tons of articles about little anecdotes and irrelevent nit-pickings in a desperate attempt to discredit. Unlike the Republicans, these people are doing something with no point at all.
uncleamos: (Default)
We went up to New York today, primarily to the Met to see an exhibit on religious art in Byzantium, which closed today. But we also discovered the genius of American impressionist Childe Hassam, which was very nice.

Much more important, however, was our trip up the HH from the Lincoln Tunnel. At the Intrepid Museum I caught a brief glimpse of the Concorde on display, which I very much hope to visit soon. Then at 50th st, the Queen Mary 2 was in port. Everything I've already said about her stands, but seeing her up close was very impressive. She really does look like a floating building. Oddly enough, 'Queen Mary 2' is displayed on the top of the superstructure, and at the bow where the ship's name should be there is instead the name 'Cunard.' But I guess they could use the ad space.

Lastly: One pier north of the Intrepid, there appeared to be another (small) aircraft carrier tied up. But it doesn't appear to be part of the Intrepid Museum. Anyone have any ideas? Any New Yorkers know?
uncleamos: (Default)
Thanks to Noda for a note about Sweden’s new stealth corvette Visby.

It’s exciting to see a stealth ship actually going into operation, but the existence of such technology is anything but news. It happened here first, twenty years ago, with the legendary Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ Sea Shadow.

You can read about the Visby class ships in a lot of places, I suggest here: http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/visby/

But I’d like to say a word or two about Sea Shadow. Poking around the Internet, it appears that Sea Shadow is not only active again, but being presented as a stealth technologies development system. Which is true, and also the only role Sea Shadow herself will ever have. But much grander things were planned.

According to Ben Rich in Skunk Works : A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed, Sea Shadow was originally intended to operate as a missile frigate. The idea was simple: equip a ship that cannot be detected with the then-new AEGIS system, and deploy it far off shore. Remember that the cold war was still on, so the USN was more focused on protecting North America than it is now. In early trials Sea Shadow was so stealthy that she showed up on sonar as a blank spot against the noise of the ocean, and some of her stealth characteristics had to be removed or degraded. Her radar profile is the same size as a dinghy's. The final plan the Skunk Works drew up involved a fleet of nine of these ships, each carrying a crew of only eighteen, standing far out to sea and protecting the entire fleet from air and sea attacks.

(I should mention that Rich also claims to have designed an aircraft carrier with a radar profile as large as a small fishing boat’s, so he may be exaggerating.)

Yes, that’s right. Nine ships with a crew of eighteen each, totaling 162 sailors at sea at a time. To protect the entire fleet. You can imagine why the USN ended up building Ticonderoga class cruisers and Arleigh Burke class destroyers instead.

Of course, in the end Navy plans centered around the CVBG (that’s “carrying vessel battle group” by the way) rather than around North American defense, so Sea Shadow type frigates would simply be cheaper to operate versions of what we have now, rather than a new and innovative combat system.

Whereas in the case of the Visby class corvettes, their anti-submarine abilities are exactly what Sweden needs. If Sweden even needs a military, which I’m not convinced of.

So yes, don’t attack Sweden by submarine in the Baltic. Instead, I suggest parking your carriers in the artic somewhere, and simply flattening all of Sweden that way. But Nimitz class CVN’s afford us just a wee bit of flexibility and arrogance.

Stealth ships are certainly interesting, and the way of the future, and the USN should be ashamed that Sweden is putting them into operation first. (Although we could bicker about what exaactly counts as "stealth," since many of Sea Shadow's features are in use on other USN ships).

But as far as I know Visby is the only true stealth ship currently preparing for or in operation.

Unless of course, there's something we don't know...


May. 1st, 2004 01:13 am
uncleamos: (Default)
QM2: 30 knots.
The Fastest Ship in the World: 38 knots, though her average is getting closer to 0.


I feel better now.
uncleamos: (Default)
More coverage of the QM2 can be seen here - http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/front/8519855.htm (registration required.)

Text )

Nitpick: “The Queen Mary 2 is the world's longest, heaviest ship at 1,132 feet and 151,400 gross tons. It cost $800 million to build, Cunard said.” I’ve checked this out, and while the QM2 is bigger than any other passenger ship or warship, the supertankers still win.

Digression on USN names )

Nitpicks aside, WHERE’S THE LOVE FOR THE BIG U??? Sure the article is about the QM2, but you’d think they could either mention the United States, or have more coverage of her in general. Arg, annoyed.
uncleamos: (Default)
Yesterday I finally (a whole two days after its release) purchased the special edition DVD of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. I've now watched the film again, the deleted scenes, and the main behind-the-scenes documentary, although several smaller and related documentaries remain.

I remain firmly convinced that M&C was last year's best film, and perhaps the greatest sea related film ever, although I haven't exactly seen all (or even many) of them, so I shouldn't speak too soon.

I have now succeeded in explaining away all but one of my concerns and confusions, specifically the great unanswerable question of how the hell an American super frigate became a French Privateer. As the readers of Master and Commander know, the Cacafuego was a Spanish xebec-frigate that was turned into a privateer, but no way would a super-frigate be used such, since there were just a handful of them and they were all the U.S. Navy had.

I suppose that I should explain (and will of course take great pleasure in explaining) what a super frigate was. The American super frigates were ships with hulls of great thickness, mounting 40 to 44 guns (nearly as many as a 4th rate ship of the line) in an era when "frigates" typically mounted 18 to 32 guns. One of these super frigates was/is USS Contitution aka Old Ironsides, which is called ironsides for a reason.

Incidently, while Constitution's website correctly points out that she is "the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world," the word afloat is very important, as HMS Victory is "the oldest commissioned warship in the world." Floating counts for something, but Victory is older, British, a first rate of 100 guns, and the flag ship of Vice Admiral the Viscount Horatio Lord Nelson, all of which is to say MUCH MUCH COOLER!

But I digress.

The deleted scenes from M&C include some stunning shots of the ship at sea, and many lovely vignettes of life at sea. I also enjoyed the longer first half of the flogging scene, including the reading of Article 35. ("All other crimes not capital committed by any person or persons in the fleet, which are not mentioned in this act, or for which no punishment is hereby directed to be inflicted, shall be punished by the laws and customs in such cases used at sea.") There were other deleted scenes, but I found them much more ho-hum.

The lash! The lash! (I wonder if Sodomy, I mean Tall, it is Tall, right? The current Pres. nicknames suck) reads this.

The behind the scenes stuff was also great. I was utterly amazed all over again at the attention to detail in *every* area of the film, from making the ship*S* (they overhauled the recreated Rose to look like Surprise and built a replica in the tank) match the plans of the real Surprise (still on file at the Admiralty), to costumes, and getting the right actors. It turns out that they tried very hard to find people who looked, hmm, how to say it, "natural." As in just *living* rather than eating out, going to the movies, etc. It was about what was on the inside, but it shows in how they act. It's hard to describe, you'd have to watch the documentary, but Weir likened the look to footage of Eastern Europeans when the wall came down. They came across (to him) as more serious, more real, less likely to assume a big cheerful face when saying hi, etc. More like people who spent their lives in wooden tubs getting shot at, basically. So he went and found people who came across like that to be the extras.

I could gush on, but the ride is turning and we must lose not a minute!

"Make sail."
uncleamos: (Default)

Saturday I went down to the Kimmel Center with Spielberg and saw the Orchestra perform Brahms' Violin Concerto and Prokofiev's 5th. Both excellent, with Eschenbach conducting and Gil Shaham on the Violin for the Brahms. Shaham broke a string during the first movement, which proved somewhat interesting. They handled it well, however.

We ran into George Blood (chief recording artist) who told us that next week the GFS choir is singing Mozart's Requiem so we'll probably go to that.

Then today was the housing lottery. I'm in Hallowell 111. This is a good thing, as it's big, outside (good view and some privacy), on the first floor for easy bike storage, and we expect next to the men's room and we think next to the water fountain. I need to look into that.

It's also far away from all of SWIL (may they rot in Hell) and not near anyone I really know. This means that I'll hopefully hit just the right mix of meeting new people and focusing on my studies. I may also play a lot of UT.

Lastly, ships!

I have learned a bit more of the history of the Blue Riband since it was won by S/S United States in 1952.

It's ugly.

The first boat to take it was the 72' motor boat Virgin Challenger II, in 1989. However, opinions differ as to whether or not it really won, because it refueled three times and wasn't a commercial ship.

The Riband was next taken in 1990, by the 114' motor boat, Gentry Eagle. She's currently for sale, if you have four million dollars to blow on the world's fastest luxury yacht. Check her out at http://www.gentryeagle.com.

The Riband was finally, officially, unquestionably taken later in 1990 by the fast ferry catamaran Hoverspeed Great Britain. Apparently there was a court case over whether or not Hoverspeed Great Britain's run counted, but it was a commercial ship so in the end it stood. Since then additional fast ferrys have broken the record, first Catalonia in 1998 and then Cat-Link V also in 1998.

Still, while the catamarans are cute and techy, they can't compare with
this ship
for general awesomeness (seen here passing Queen Mary on the morning of the last day of her run breaking Queen Mary's record).

[HTML just isn't quite right yet. *SIGH*]

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ccommack for bringing the fast ferrys to my attention, although I think we can all agree that United States is still the fastest ship in the world. Take that ferries.

I leave you with my first Christian pop song of the day (not updated daily). I was looking for a good excerpt, but I just can't pick one.

Everyday is a new day
I'm thankful for every breath I take
I won't take it for granted
So I learn from my mistakes
It's beyond my control sometimes it's best to let go,
whatever happens in this lifetime
So I trust in love (So I trust in love)
You have given me peace of mind

I, I feel so alive
For the very first time
I can't deny you
I feel so alive
I, I feel so alive
For the very first time
And I think I can fly

Sunshine upon my face
A new song for me to sing
Tell the world how I feel inside
Even though it might cost me everything
Now that I know this is beyond my control
'cause I could never turn my back away
Now that I see you
I can never look away

I, I feel so alive
For the very first time
I can't deny you
I feel so alive
I, I feel so alive
For the very first time
And I think I can fly

Now that I know you
I could never turn my back away
And now that I see you
I could never look away
And now that I know you
I could never turn my back away
And now that I see you
I believe no matter what they say

I, I feel so alive
For the very first time
I can't deny you
I feel so alive
I, I feel so alive
For the very first time
And I think I can fly
I, I feel so alive
For the very first time
And I think I can fly
I, I feel so alive
For the very first time
And I think I can fly

~ Payable On Death
uncleamos: (Default)
http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/local/8411658.htm Registration required, because the site sucks.

Their excuse is that freak weather has held up completion of a much closer to finished project, which is legitimate, but it's worrisome. Many people will stop worrying about what NCL is doing with the Big U due to this, and then they could quietly scrap the project entirely. If they don't ever fix her up, I think that I'll never sail with NCL, but if they do, sign me up! The only question is how far in debt am I willing to go to sail aboard S/S United States? Probable answer: lots.

A relaunched United States would be such a cool answer to the QM2 as well. Oh well, her next maiden voyage is years away regardless. Hopefully in our lifetimes.

I must admit, I'm slightly suspicious as to why they waited until now to announce the hold on the Big U, when the storm was in January. I assume that they were waiting for the report from this: http://www.ssunitedstates.org/latestnews.htm#NCLstatus Still, that was a month ago.

I really must learn some HTML.
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