How To: Fix a 50 Ton Rudder, At Night, Underwater

We like extremes. A couple of posts ago we gave you plans for building your own mini ROV submersible for about $100. (NOAA DYI ROV (aka mini-submarine in a bucket))

Today we bring you a video of how to fix a 50 ton rudder, at night, underwater.

YouTube – Giant Rudder Fix

Behind the scenes interviews are always cool.

YouTube – WTF Behind the Scenes: Sean Riley Talks Rudder Repair in BZ

The above video clips are from National Geographic’s TV show, The World’s Toughest Fixes. There’s lots more video worth checking out on the website.

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Moby-Monday: A big honking book in tiny poems

I will write haiku / without "Call me Ishmael" / e'en if it kills me!
You might think nothing could be more antithetical to Herman Melville’s sprawling Moby-Dick than haiku, the compressed Japanese form that was the salvation of every “write a poem” assignment in school: five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables, and time for lunch. But where there’s an idea, there’s a haiku about it on the Internet.

In the case of the white whale, online haiku abound. Here’s one by Dan Higgins, a reader of the Albany (NY) Times Union newspaper:

Call me Ishmael
Then we will go whale hunting
‘Til the thing kills us.

A darker version showed up on last week:

Call me Ishmael.
Ahab’s white whale heart of Hell.
Obsessed depths of death.

The king of Moby-Dick haiku, though, is Moby-Dick in Haiku, a hilarious 15-part retelling by the genius behind Here’s chapter one:

Call me Ishmael
a white boy from Manhatto
I’m not really gay!

Noticing a pattern? There are other Moby-Dick haiku out there … and they all seem to start the same way. Do you think Melville wrote that famous first line in five syllables on purpose?

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

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NOAA DYI ROV (aka mini-submarine in a bucket)

Now that summer’s here you’ll probably be looking for some fun projects to occupy the kids. How about building your own ROV.


With NOAA’s help now you can! Here’s a link to a download with the instructions as well as shopping and tool lists. (ROV in a Bucket by Doug Levin, NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office) It’ll set you back about $100 but think of all of the hours of enjoyment you and the kids will get from building and operating it. There’s even a downloadable lesson plan for middle and high school students that talks about careers in science and technology as well as buoyancy, navigation and exploration.

Some kids take this stuff very seriously.

YouTube – MATE international student ROV competition

In case the DYI ROV is too ambitious, here are instructions to make an origami USS Monitor from The Mariners Museum via NOAA.

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Yikes! Art Zombies Take Over Governor’s Island!

YouTube – PLOT09: This World & Nearer Ones – Trailer by the Bruce High Quality Foundation

This is another great Creative Time project. In case you aren’t familiar with Creative Time, they do site specific art in New York City. Their own words are better:

Creative Time strives to commission, produce and present the most important, ground-breaking, challenging and exceptional art of our times; art that infiltrates the public realm and engages millions of people in New York City and across the globe. We are guided by a passionate belief in the power of art to create inspiring personal experiences as well as foster social progress. We are thrilled when art breaks into the public realm in surprising ways, reaching people beyond traditional limitations of class, age, race and education. Above all, we privilege artists¹ ideas. We get excited about their dreams and respond to them by providing big opportunities to expand their practices and take bold new risks that value process, content and possibilities. We like to make the impossible possible, pushing artists beyond their comfort levels, just as they push us beyond ours. In the process, artists engage in a dynamic conversation between site, audience, and context, offering up new ideas about who an artist is and what art can be, pushing culture into fresh new directions. In the process, our artists¹ temporary interventions into public life promote the democratic use of public space as a place for free and creative expression.

My first experience with a Creative Time project was probably more than 25 years ago when they had an exhibition inside the East caisson of the Brooklyn Bridge called Art in the Anchorage. As with nearly all of their projects the space was as captivating and exciting as the art that filled it. Unfortunately, our times took it’s toll on this incredible series of art shows. From the Creative Time website:

Art in the Anchorage drew thousands of people to the bridge’s majestic vaults, while encouraging artists, musicians, performers, fashion designers, filmmakers, and dancers to create new, groundbreaking works until its closure in 2001 due to national security.

The current show, PLOT/09 This World & Nearer Ones, which is on Governor’s Island this summer and open and free to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays looks very interesting too.

Creative Time's  PLOT09 - This World & Nearer Ones

A stone’s throw from the southern tip of Manhattan, Governor’s Island has an incredibly rich maritime history but access always been limited to the general public; so here’s your chance to check out the cool little island with some hot art. If you do go, please send me some pictures and your thoughts about the exhibition and I’ll create another post with your review(s) of it.

Just keep an eye out for the zombies! (Bonus points if you capture any on film)

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Whales vs. Gulls

Yesterday the BBC posted an amazing slideshow on their website about some whales in South America who are under siege from an air force of hungry seagulls. Its pretty unbelievable but seeing is believing so check out the slideshow.

Gulls vicious attack on whales BBC June 24, 2009

(via deekdeekster on Twitter)

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Moby-Monday: Read Moby-Dick, or the Whale Gets It

Don't skip the chapter on Moby-Dick
Among Moby-Dick’s kabillions of pages of literary fallout, some of the most charming and passionate are essays by fans trying to convince other people to read the book. Saved from obscurity in the 1920s by a surge of belated good press, Herman Melville’s dense, challenging 1851 novel continues to turn readers into evangelists on its behalf. Christopher Routledge of Liverpool’s The Reader calls this tale of whaling and obsession “the ideal ‘desert island book'”; novelist Rebecca Stott says it’s her inspiration as a writer, a work of “mad genius” that she reaches for “whenever my nerve fails me.”

The white whale’s latest endorsement comes as a chapter in Jack Murnighan’s new book, Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature’s 50 Greatest Hits (Three Rivers Press, 2009). Admitting that Melville’s tome “is often thought of as one of the most boring, unfinishable books you can imagine,” the author reveals a secret: Moby-Dick “is funny, I mean really funny, as in one of the funniest books of all time.” The chapter—which Murnighan and his publisher have graciously allowed me to post in full on Power Moby-Dick—goes on to discuss that humor; reveal the book’s “best” line; and even (horreurs!) tell readers which chapters it’s OK to skip. (But don’t skip any.)

Cynics might wonder: if the book is so good, why does it need such a loud and fervid cheering section? Why not let people just read it—or not? The reason is that, like many of life’s most exquisite pleasures, Moby-Dick doesn’t always reward a casual first try. Fans don’t want the book’s bad reputation to make readers bail too early. After all, the more people they can convince to read the book, the more people there’ll be with whom to ponder its mysteries.

But fair enough. If you are a person who just wants to read the book (or not), you might consider signing up for “Read Moby-Dick This Summer.” The organizer, James Bickers, is sending out the whole book in emailed installments, starting July 1 and running through September 30—at which point, you can begin drafting your own “you gotta read this” essay.

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

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Happy Fathers’ Day!

Hope all you fathers had a great day today! I did. It started a little after 6:00 am with my little people excitedly bursting into our room making sure that I didn’t miss a second of this special day. They gave me an ice cream maker and as you have probably already guessed, we made and ate ice cream today. :-) I won’t bore you with all of the details of the day but it was great to have my dad celebrate it with us too.

Here’s a video that from the White House blog today with President Obama’s Fathers’ Day message that features Navy Chief Petty Officer John Lehnen (2009 Military Fatherhood Award recipient).

YouTube – President Obama Discusses the Importance of Fathers

Here’s a great post written by one of my Weekly Leader colleagues, Pam Fox Rollin. Leadership Lessons from My Dad

Happy Fathers’ Day!

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