Bayfront Center for Maritime Studies report on the Great Lakes Region Primary and Secondary Maritime Education Conferenc

The Great Lakes Region Primary and Secondary Maritime Education Conference at the Bayfront Center for Maritime Studies held Monday and Tuesday May 11th, 12th at BCMS brought together 57 Maritime Education representatives from New York City to San Francisco.

The Bayfront Center for Maritime Studies (BCMS) hosted the first ever Great Lakes Region Primary and Secondary Maritime Education Conference. The conference was held at the BCMS waterfront campus on May 11th and 12th, 2009, in Erie, Pennsylvania. There has been a growing movement nationally to encourage the development of maritime career opportunity awareness and K-12 maritime education. BCMS specializes in creating hands-on programs that provide maritime access and training ranging from elementary school student educational activities to United States Coast Guard Masters License Certification courses and includes Pennsylvania’s only adaptive sailing program.

Conference attendees discussed creating partnerships with businesses, agencies, and organizations that can further the development of schools, career awareness programs, curriculum development, grant writing, student recruitment strategies, and developing collaborations that will create additional opportunities for students and careers in the maritime trades. These efforts are aided by the Maritime Primary and Secondary Education Coalition, headed up by Captain Art Sulzer of the Ship Operations Cooperative Program.

This initiative has received national attention. Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper, United States House of Representatives, addressed the group of 57 on Monday, and was presented a canoe to decorate her Washington, DC office from students of the Sarah A. Reed Children’s Center that was built by young people from Pennsylvania’s 3rd District. Other participants included Anne Dougherty, the Maritime Administration Director of the Office of Maritime Workforce Development, Kathy Sommers, D.Ed., Ohio Department of Education, Captain Art Sulzer representing the Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) and the Maritime Academy School in Philadelphia, Renee Marazon, Superintendent of the Maritime Academy of Toledo, Mark D’Arcy, Lead Instructor and Chief Engineer from the Calhoon Marine Engineers Beneficial Association School of Marine Engineering, Sharon Jacker, Community Coordinator from the Harbor School in New York City, Carol Wolosz, Assistant Director of The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute at the University of Minnesota, Marc Deglinnocenti, National Sea Scout representative to the Maritime Administration, Kevin McMonagle, Vice President of the American Steamship Company, representing the Lake Carriers Association, Mr. Ray Schreckengost, Executive Director of the Erie Western Pennsylvania Port Authority representing the American Great Lakes Ports Association, Walter Rybka, Captain of US Brig Niagara representing the American Sail Training Association, Jesse Fendya, Buffalo State College Maritime Center Technical Education Curriculum Specialist, and representatives from Sarah A. Reed Children’s Center, Buffalo Computer Graphics, the Western New York Maritime Academy, the Imani II Foundation, Sea Scout Troop Ship II, and the Northwest Tri-county Intermediate Unit.

Thank you to: Ship Operations Cooperative Program, Maritime Primary and Secondary Education Coalition, The Maritime Academy of Toledo, The Maritime Academy Charter High School in Philadelphia, and the Erie Western Pennsylvania Port Authority, who are all working together to support this important maritime education initiative.

NOAA’s Arc

Nice video that explains just what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does.

YouTube – One NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Thanks to my former classmate/shipmate Jamie Hutton, my son Luke and I had an opportunity to tour NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow, the Quietest Ship in the World, a couple years ago.

NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is the United States government’s oldest scientific agency, with roots stretching back to the early 1800s. In 1970 many smaller government agencies came together to form NOAA and today, NOAA’s work reaches from the bottom of the sea to the surface of the sun, and it touches every aspect of our daily lives. Among the many responsibilities of NOAA are the mandates to protect our coasts, forecast our weather, monitor our atmosphere, manage our fisheries, explore our ocean, chart our waterways, understand our climate, and conserve our maritime heritage.

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Moby-Monday: Massive white whale beached in Philly high-rise

Mocha DickTristin Lowe’s latest artwork could have saved Herman Melville a lot of time. In Moby-Dick, Melville devotes chapter upon chapter to the shape and bulk of the sperm whale, painting a mental picture of this elusive underwater beast for his 19th-century readers—and for generations of irritated students to come.

Today’s students have YouTube to help them understand the shape of these creatures, but it’s still hard to conceive of their size unless you’ve gone eye-to-eye with one, as Melville had.

Lowe’s “Mocha Dick” fixes that. Sewn in quarter-inch white felt, this 52-foot inflatable sculpture is a life-size depiction of the rogue white sperm whale for which Moby Dick is thought to have been named. The work is on display through summer’s end on the eighth floor of Philadelphia’s Fabric Workshop and Museum.

Standing next to this scarred, barnacle-encrusted felt leviathan, you can begin to understand the awe common to people who have seen whales in the flesh. Looking placid and slightly put-upon, the whale seems to be waiting patiently for humans to evolve to the point where they can get over their need to gawk at him. Given our enduring fascination with sea monsters, though, that may be a long time coming.

Lowe—a fan of Melville, Hawthorne, and other scribes of the dawn of the industrial age—says the idea for the whale came to him while he was sewing “empties” out of white felt. Feeling depleted after the completion of his last large-scale piece, a humongous folding deck chair, Lowe had been depicting throwaway vessels, including “six packs, trash cans, 40-ouncers,” while waiting for his next big inspiration. “Felt is the oldest fabric in the world, and it’s almost made out of dust, in a weird way,” he says. Contained in that dust is both destruction—”an ash, emptiness”—but also possibility for a new beginning, he adds: “It’s waiting to be filled up.”

Thoughts of the industries that create trash like his “empties” turned Lowe’s mind to Moby-Dick, Melville’s 1851 paean to the then-dwindling whale-oil industry, which was soon to be done in by the rise of petroleum as a fuel source.

While hanging out with some friends who were playing psychedelic rock music—and having been invited to collaborate with the Fabric Workshop’s sewers on a piece—Lowe decided to create a felt sculpture that represented both “the birth of this petroleum industry” and also a sort of magnificent, timeless knowledge, “like some crazy, big grandfather to bestow some sort of wisdom to you.

“With all these little empty bottles,” he says, “I somehow caught a whale.”

“Mocha Dick” is showing at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, 1214 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, through summer 2009.

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

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Filet-a-Fish Friday

Just in case, here’s a valuable tutorial on how to filet a fish like a pro. Not the greatest videography but you get the point.

YouTube – How to Filet a Fish Like a Pro

Via Lifehacker (Eat to LiveHow to Filet a Fish Like a Pro)

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Hell On Water Social Networking

Seems that you can find a social network for nearly any interest nowadays. is a social networking site where members of the military with maritime experience can share videos, photos, and comments about their on-the-water experiences.

Hell On Water profiles are free and allow users to post videos and comments into the Hell On Water Site. If you love water and shooting guns then sign up or login to watch people doing exactly that.

A targeted audience is the first rule of successful social networking. ;-)

YouTube – Hell on Water

Of course, it’s always beneficial to have sponsor looking out for your best interests and appreciate it when you kick “you know what.”

Zodiac of North America sponsors this site for the benefit of all the men and women who work on the water. Zodiac promises not to use this forum for any sales pressure, but welcomes questions, comments (good and bad), suggestions, and the reporting of problems thru this site. This blog has the ability for Operators to provide them with direct feedback on product development and continued product improvement.

Zodiac is proud to provide the military with battle-tested and innovative products, but privileged to work with and know the most elite Operators on the water. Zodiac wants you to know they, as a company of individuals, are grateful for your service to our Nation. Stay safe and kick ass!

Here’s the type of awesome videos that you will find on the site.

YouTube – Chinook recovery of Navy Seal Team

Any questions or problems? Contact On second thought, you might want to try to figure it out yourself.

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Moby-Monday: Let’s Beat a Dead Horse!

Artist's rendering with baleen whaleWe all know Moby Dick is a badass—the erstwhile Badass of the Week, in fact. He can crush a wooden whaleship with his wrinkled brow. But can he crush Black Beauty? This is the question raised by a poll running on the Guardian (UK) website through the first week of July.

Along with Moby Dick, contenders for “Best Performance by an Animal” in the newspaper’s literary poll include Buck, the half-St. Bernard, half-Scotch-Shepherd dog from Jack London’s The Call of the Wild; the unnamed bear from William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale; and lapdog Jip from Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield. But it’s the autobiography-writing horse in Black Beauty who is currently giving everyone’s favorite cetacean a run for his money. In fact, the horse has been leading by a nose since the poll started a couple weeks back, albeit by just a dinky horse nose, not a mighty sperm whale’s.

Seriously: The terrifying freakish embodiment of God, death, nature, vengeance, or [insert true meaning of Moby Dick here] is up against a talking horse … and the horse is winning? Something is wrong here, my friend. Will you help make it right?

“Horse and Whale,” by Marilyn Burkhardt, used with the artist’s permission.

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

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Giant Jellyfish Crop Circle

YouTube – UFO, Jellyfish Crop Circle found in Oxfordshire Field Telegraph Published June 2, 2009

From the Telegraph:

Karen Alexander, a crop circle expert, said: "We have seen butterfly and bird patterns in the past, but this is the first jellyfish crop circle in the world. It is absolutely huge – roughly three times the size of most crop patterns and extremely interesting. People have been aghast at the size of it. It is a complete monster.

"We are looking into the meaning of it, but at present it just seems to have appeared out of nowhere."

600ft jellyfish crop circle found in Oxfordshire field Telegraph, June 2, 2009

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The Business of Piracy / The Piracy of Business

Hassan Abdullahi, a 21-year-old pirate from the Puntland region of Somalia. Scott Baldauf / The Christian Science MonitorThe May 31, 2009 issue of The Christian Science Monitor has 2 fascinating articles about Somali piracy.

The first is by Scott Baldauf and is titled Pirates, Inc.: Inside the booming Somali business. Baldauf travels to Somaliland to interview some of the players in this mutlimillion dollar business operation including 21 year old pirate, Hassan Abdullahi (pictured right). While Baldauf readily acknowledges that the economic conditions in Somalia are desperate, making piracy an attractive profession for young men, he doesn’t directly address the overfishing and pollution that is cited in so many other articles. Instead, the journalist portrays Somali piracy as organized, international big business.

“Who are the real pirates?” asks Andrew Mwangura, secretary-general of the East African Seafarers Association in Mombasa. “It’s not these young boys on the boats. It’s the people behind them, with the money to buy the boats and the motors and the guns and the GPS devices. They put their money here in Kenya, but also in Dubai or Canada or Mumbai.” He pauses. “The real pirate could be a white person like you.”

In the same issue of The Christian Science Monitor, Adian Jones writes a companion piece that is an interesting juxtaposition to Baldauf’s article. Somali piracy a boost for London’s shipping insurers.

“Take the Sirius Star – it is worth about $85 [million] to $90 million. At the upper end you are looking at perhaps an extra $180,000 per transit,” says the broker. “That’s good money being made.”

Hmm, “good money” might not have been the best way to characterize it.

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Shiver Me Timbers! Bloggers Board USS Nimitz

USS Nimitz Some bigtime bloggers were running around the USS Nimitz over the weekend like a bunch of Somali teenage pirates on a fully laden supertanker.

The leader of the pack was Guy Kawasaki who wrote another comprehensive post (24 Hours at Sea on the USS Nimitz) about life at sea in the Navy on his always entertaining How to Change the World blog. You may recall Sea-Fever’s earlier post (Guy’s Excellent Naval Adventure) about his time served (as a blogger, not sailor) aboard the USS John C. Stennis, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier in the US Navy, named for Senator John C. Stennis of Mississippi. Like that earlier post, this one is chock full of photos, video and really good info.

Kawasaki is also the founder of the popular Alltop website and master marketer that never misses an opportunity to promote his business interests.

YouTube – F18 Landing Over Jennifer Leo’s Shoulder

There’s some decent photography about this adventure too.

Robert Scoble's big gun

More shameless self-promotion or is the government now selling sponsorships as part of the deficit reduction plan?

Sponsor-a-Bomb Program

Here are the other pirates bloggers, some of whom posted and some not yet, but you should still check out their blogs in case they do after I post this. They all write good stuff!

Pirate Bloggers

Great PR and blogger outreach by the US Navy! Looks like fun too!

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