Where is Captain Cook's HMS Endeavor? Science can almost tell us!

HMS_Endeavour

The once famed HMS Endeavor, Captain Cook's ship as he claimed Australia for the British, later renamed something boring and sunk as part of the Royal Navy's blockade of Newport, Rhode Island, has sort of been found! The British scuttled 13 ships to block the harbor, and research has shown a ship formerly known as Endeavor, was sank in a group of 5 recently identified wrecks. One of them is almost certainly Cook's ship.

Via Sky News:

Lead investigator Dr Kathy Abbass told Sky News: "We may have been looking right at her without even knowing it.

"The important thing now is to get the funding so that we can build the facilities to process and house all of the artefacts we must examine to prove which one of the wrecks is Endeavour".

Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission Charlotte Taylor said: "It really isn't easy to explore these sites.

A print from a painting showing Captain James Cook (1728 - 1779) taking possession of New South Wales Captain Cook takes possession of New South Wales

"It takes time, money and effort at each step.

"Divers battle very poor visibility and lots of silt, which is hard to remove and risky to do, because it has essentially been protecting the wood of these ships for hundreds of years."

The group from the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project hopes to have found and explored the fifth site by this summer.

The Endeavour is one of the most famous ships in naval history.

Read the rest

Britons vote to name $287m research ship "Boaty McBoatface"

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After asking the public to decide upon a name for a $287m research ship, Britain's Natural Environment Research Council is feeling stupid, because they've picked "Boaty McBoatface."

“The storm that has been created has got legs of its own,” Mr. Hand told the BBC on Monday, and added that he had submitted Boaty McBoatface in another competition. (For what it’s worth, Mr. Hand voted for the name R.R.S. David Attenborough.)

The research council would not comment on whether it would override the Internet’s suggestion, but Alison Robinson, a spokeswoman, said in an email that the group was “delighted by the enthusiasm and creativity” of people vying for names like Boaty McBoatface. The ship is scheduled to set sail in 2019.

“We’ve had thousands of suggestions made on the website since we officially launched; many of them reflect the importance of the ship’s scientific role by celebrating great British explorers and scientists,” Ms. Robinson said. “We are pleased that people are embracing the idea in a spirit of fun.”

There's something particularly British about "Boaty McBoatface." The way it thinks it's funny and lighthearted and a bit subversive, but the teeth are pressed together just a little too hard for it to be any of those things.

(Just leaving it as "Name of Vessel", on the other hand, would be British in a good way: sarcastic, passive-aggressive, likely to confuse/irritate foreign maritime officials, etc) Read the rest

3D Printed Boat Race

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What was once the busiest freight port in the world recently held another freight hauling competition, but with a catch: all the boats were remote-controlled, had to fit in a 2'x2'x2' box, and had to be 3D printed. The Red Hook Regatta was a race to see how many "shipping containers" (actually, brick sized pieces of foam) teams could ferry to "cranes" (guys with fishing poles dangling down from the pier) through the choppy waters of New York Harbor. 

Steering and propulsion are standardized, so it was a test of ship design, building, piloting, stevedorism, and Poseidon's whims.

The event was a collaboration between two Brookyln-based groups - high tech job training Digital Stewards and artists Pioneer Works.

More coverage at The Brooklyn Paper, PIX11 News (video), and The New York Times.

Image: 3d printed boat, by Creative Tools/3D Benchy Read the rest

Amphibious truck goes off-road, and off-land

This is the Gibbs Humdinga, a truck that truly goes off-road, right into the water. Read the rest

Wrecked "ghost ships" off San Francisco

Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and independent shipwreck divers exploring the Golden Gate strait discovered two sunken ships from 1863 and 1910, with several hundreds more "forgotten ghost ships" likely still undiscovered in the area. Read the rest

Jet Capsule futuristic yacht pod

This is the Jet Capsule, currently in use as an escape pod on the Boing Boing luxury liner currently adrift somewhere in the Arctic Ocean. The Jet Capsule holds eight people and can be customized with many of the luxury amenities one might expect from a full-size yacht, from fine wood flooring to bathrooms and kitchens to interior projection systems and LED mood lighting. There is even an "armored capsule" configuration featuring a reinforced steel shell and bulletproof glass. Base price for a Jet Capsule is $250,000. Jet Capsule Read the rest

Crocodile strands man on island

Last month, an adventuresome tourist was dropped by boat on the small, remote Governor Island off Western Australia. He planned to explore the island but quickly realized he didn't have enough food and water to sustain himself. So he decided to kayak the four kilometers back to the mainland. The problem was that every time he'd get ready to head out, a six-meter crocodile would stalk him. The man reportedly was stuck on the island for two weeks until a local noticed his light and rescued him.

"He said every time he got in his little kayak, which was only 2.5m long, this crocodile – who has lived there for many years and is a monster – has chased him," (rescuer Don) McLeod said.

"He was desperate for water when I trotted up. We gave him a cold beer, which was probably the wrong thing, and then he went to sleep about three-quarters of the way home." "Crocodile stalked New Zealand kayaker on remote island in Western Australia"

image from Wikimedia Commons Read the rest

What happened to the HMS Bounty? After Hurricane Sandy sinks tall ship, many questions remain

The HMS Bounty, a 180-foot sailboat, is shown submerged in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Sandy approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C., Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tim Kuklewski.

This Washington Post article by Ian Shapira is the most comprehensive account I've seen of what happened to HMS Bounty, a replica of the 18th century tall ship which starred in the 1962 Marlon Brando "Mutiny on the Bounty" film, and various Pirates of the Caribbean movies. No definitive word on exactly what caused the accident, but many theories.

Of the 16-person crew, the Coast Guard rescued 14. They recovered the body of Claudene Christian, 42, and are still searching for Robin Walbridge, 63, the ship's captain.

In the LA Times today, a remembrance of Ms. Christian.

Even other sea captains are mystified.

Above, a Coast Guard photo of the foundering HMS Bounty.

(thanks, Andrew Thaler)

 Rescue video: Sandy sinks tall ship HMS Bounty replica off NC Read the rest

Gentleman builds his own mini-submarine for harvesting sea cucumbers (photo)

Photo: REUTERS

A worker paints a single-seater submarine designed by Zhang Wuyi and his fellow engineers at a shipyard in Wuhan, Hubei province May 7, 2012. Zhang, a 37-year-old local farmer, who is interested in scientific inventions, has made six miniature submarines with several fellow engineers, one of which was sold to a businessman in Dalian at a price of 100,000 yuan ($15,855) last October. The submarines, mainly designed for harvesting aquatic products, such as sea cucumber, have a diving depth of 20-30 metres, and can travel for 10 hours, local media reported. Read the rest

Big ships can leave "contrails" too

You're familiar with contrails, the tracks left by airplanes as they move across the sky. Those are made when hot water vapor from the exhaust of jet engines hits cold, high-altitude air and condenses into ice.

Under the right conditions, big ships can leave a very similar trail, but it's caused by a slightly different mechanism. Incomplete combustion of fossil fuels means little particles of dust—aerosols—come out in the exhaust. Water molecules are attracted to these aerosols. As water builds up around a piece of dust, you get a cloud. Yes, it's basically cloud-seeding.

This photo of oceanic "contrails" over the Pacific is one of NASA's Images of the Day today, but it's not the first time they've featured this kind of photo. This is a cool phenomenon and they've posted photos of it in 2002, 2005, and 2009.

Thanks Philip Bump! Read the rest