Tell the Tale of The OctoFlood and Win Valuable Prizes

It was no April Fool’s joke, but rather a malicious act by an sneaky cephalopod. On February 12, 2009, the site of the crime was the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Here’s what happened:

Turning lemons into lemonade (which is probably better than turning octopus into fried calamari) the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is running The Octopus Flood Art & Story Contest. There are 2 categories Grades K – 2 and 3 – 5 and lots of valuable prizes are at stake. So join in the fun and spin a yarn about this cephalopodic misadventure.  Entry deadline is April 15, 2009.

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Bad News Day For Maritime Heritage And Professional Mariners

Some very bad news for tall ships, maritime heritage preservation and professional mariners today.

Plans for U.S. Brig Niagara’s sailing season could be sunk by Kevin Flowers for the Erie-Times News March 25, 2009 (download copy)

Foreclosure For Tall Ship Mystic by Joe Wojtas for The Day (New London) – March 25, 2009 (download copy)

I’ll be writing more about this later.

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Maritime Art: Messing About On The River Thames

Plouf = splash in French

Plouf! was also a performance art piece by Julien Bismuth and Jean-Pascal Flavien on the Thames River in London for and in front of the Tate Modern on February 21, 2009. This video is part of the great Bloomberg TateShots short video podcasts series. From the website:

On a rare, almost miraculously sunny day in London, TateShots and a group of art lovers boarded a boat and sailed out onto the Thames. We were there to see a work by Jean-Pascal Flavien and Julien Bismuth, the splashily named Plouf!, which was first performed in the sea off Rio de Janeiro. The work consists of Flavien and Bismuth, who are on another, smaller boat, reading through a megaphone, signing semaphore and flashing morse code: a poetic tale of loneliness and loss at sea.

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Weird Fishes: Deep Sea Robots

YouTube – Robot Fish

Okay, why exactly do we need $30,000 robotic fish? Fast Company tells us:

It’s a classic example of biomimicry. Fish, and dolphins and sharks, have evolved to the point where their swimming efficiency is extraordinarily high. It’s a vital technique to conserve precious energy reserves in a harsh eco-system, of course, and it puts most human-designed underwater propulsion systems to shame. Hence the interest in developing robot fish, hat can have a higher battery lifespan as a result.

The five-foot long fish in the SHOAL scheme will operate autonomously, swimming at will around selected areas of the ocean, only returning to their base stations every eight hours when they need a charge. They’re going to be equipped with a sophisticated sensor suite that will monitor for ship-and-shore-based chemical spills and oil contamination of the surface and deeper waters off the town of Gijón in Asturias. Their data logs are downloaded wirelessly as they charge, and collated to form a picture of when and where pollution was sourced.

Okay, but I prefer their cool cousins in this video made by Tobias Stretch for the the Aniboom Animation Contest For Radiohead’s In Rainbows.

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9 Marine Energy Projects That Could Save The Planet

Fast Company has an interesting slide show with a grand title: 9 Marine Energy Projects That Could Save The Planet. From Fast Company:

Marine energy has taken a back seat to its more well-developed and well-funded rival, wind. That’s about to change. Water has several advantages over wind power: marine current turbines (essentially underwater windmills) tend to be smaller and less costly to produce than their terra firma brethren, and wave energy and tidal flows can be predicted with much greater accuracy than wind speeds. The power contained in accessible coastal currents is estimated at about 4,000 TW, or about a quarter of the electricity demand of the entire world. Some recent developments have been especially encouraging. The first 5 projects here have been shortlisted as candidates for the Severn River between England and Wales.

Hope they’re right!

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