April 15th is another eventful date

Well.  April 15th is another day that it seems like so many things happened throughout history.  And for the most part, it seems like it has been a date on which a lot of truly tragic things happened.  Honestly, I can only think of one really cool thing that happened on this date: it was the day that Jackie Robinson first debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.  And as big a fan of baseball as I am, and as happy as I am about how far my favorite sport has come since that time, I can’t help but contrast that event with all the other terrible, tragic things that have happened on this day.

Of course, the most immediate thing for me is that this is the 3rd anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.  Hard to believe it has already been three years.  But I am glad that Boston had really come together and bounced back.

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The science and history of rogue waves, part two

While searching for some videos on YouTube that might do a better job of explaining the phenomenon of rogue waves than I can, I actually found some really, really good material.  First, one of my absolute favorite people on the Intertubes, Hank Green, who is also half of the awesome duo that is the vlog brothers.  Here, Hank talks about rogue waves on his SciShow channel.

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The science and history of rogue waves, part one

In what could prove to be a huge step forward in predicting how rogue waves are formed, and thus a tool for saving lives at sea, researchers at MIT have found a way to give 2 to 3 minutes warning of an incoming rogue wave.

I know it probably sounds stupid, but it’s hard for me to explain how excited I am about this research.  So much so that I am tempted to go speak with the researchers sometime (living in Cambridge does have its advantages).  But to understand why I am geeking out about this, it might help for me to go into some detail about what we know about rogue waves, and how they have affected ships at sea, as well as oil rigs, lighthouses, and coastlines.  This is one of those times that my love of history (especially maritime history) and my love of science come together.

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Another historic shipwreck found

A shipwreck found near the coast of Oman is believed to be the oldest yet discovered from Europe’s Golden Age of Exploration.  The wreck is believed to be the Esmerelda, a Portuguese vessel from Vasco de Gama‘s fleet that was lost near the island of al-Hallaniyah in a storm in May 1503.

Fortunately, the wreck’s relatively remote location seems to have prevented the site from being looted.

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History, material culture and life at Downton

Kelly and I have been watching this final season of Downton Abbey.  I have to say, I have warmed to the show a bit, especially since they have developed some of the characters a little more fully.  I am particularly pleased that they have made Thomas Barrow out to be more sympathetic and less of a villain.

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The whaling fleet lost in 1871 has been found

It seems that at least two of the whaling ships lost in the great Arctic whaling fleet disaster of 1871 have been found off the coast of Alaska.   It is believed that their discovery may lead  marine archaeologists to the sites of the other 30 odd ships lost that terrible autumn.  The loss of these vessels, 22 of which were from New Bedford, Massachusetts, helped further the end of the whaling industry in the United States.

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A big story of Massachusetts maritime history is coming to the movies

I don’t know what it is, but something about the sea fascinates me, and has for most of my life.  Maybe it’s because the sea has played various roles in my family history – some big and some small.  Maybe it’s because ships captured my imagination as a little boy the way trucks or cars or airplanes do for most young boys.  For years as a kid, my favorite “souvenir” I would get from my trips to the Cape or Martha’s Vineyard was one of those little wooden ships, usually a fishing boat of some kind, that you find in local shops.  And I have been reading books about New England maritime history for years.

So anyway, it turns out that early next year there is a movie coming out based on the Michael Tougias book The Finest Hours

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