Saturday, May 10, 2014

Passion for the wind

Passion for the Wind from Thomas van der Gronde
A portrait of a sailmaker for windmills. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Inmarsat brings satellite communications to small vessels

'Fleet One' Broadband coverage map

From Inmarsat

Maritime satellite communications provider Inmarsat says it now connects leisure and fishing vessels with a specially designed broadband service.

Accessing weather information and chart updates, keeping in contact with loved ones or simply checking the news are now as simple to do at sea as they are on land with the launch of Fleet One from Inmarsat Maritime.
From now on, yacht and fishing boat owners can take full advantage of maritime broadband services previously only available to much larger vessels.

Whether on a sailing holiday or an extended fishing expedition, the new Fleet One service ensures small vessel owners have uninterrupted access to the Internet, while being able to send SMS messages and have telephone conversations from on board their boat, anywhere in the world.

New Sailor Fleet One terminal to be launched during the second quarter of 2014

Inmarsat’s Fleet One service makes use of the world’s most advanced and reliable global broadband satellite network; the same network which is used by the professional maritime industry across every ocean.

Inmarsat Maritime President, Frank Coles said; “We have all become accustomed to having access to information as and when we need it. When we can’t, it’s frustrating! Being at sea is a unique experience and conditions can change at the drop of a hat. This shouldn’t hamper your ability to remain connected to the world.”
“There is large market of unconnected vessels out there today, for many of these, Fleet One will bring satellite services within reach for the first time and that is a great opportunity for the maritime community and for Inmarsat’s business.  Our innovation strategy is keeping us at the forefront of the maritime communications market.”

Fleet One is delivered through a small terminal, especially created for leisure and fishing vessels.
It can be quickly and easily installed, providing a cost-effective solution enabling small vessels to remain connected at all times.

“With this new, simple, solution you will have dependable connectivity whenever you need it. With Fleet One, yachts and fishing boats now have access to the same, robust and reliable technologies previously only available on much larger vessels, allowing them equally to take full advantage of online connectivity,” said Coles.

Fleet One also supports Inmarsat’s unique ‘505’ safety service, which in an emergency routes you directly to a MRCC.
This means that in one phone call one can alert the safety services of your position and nature of distress, by reassuringly speaking to the Search and Rescue Services knowing that assistance is on its way.

The compact 2.5kg terminals will offer data connectivity up to 100kbps, a single voice line and SMS.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014


One man's struggle to transcend.
This humble film is about a friend of mine named Michael and his daily ritual to find his natural self through surfing.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Satellite data to be re-examined as ‘more difficult’ phase begins, search on ocean floor widened

Experts want Mapping the sea floor in search area
Rescuers search for weeks, with the latest technology – but of the lost flight MH370 is no trace.
In some places the forces do not even know the depth of the sea.
Now the area is to be measured.

From IBtimes

All data gathered in nearly two months of searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared with 239 people on board, will be re-examined by an international panel of experts, officials said Monday.

Teams searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane are to deploy a robotic submarine for the first time. Bluefin-21 drone has be sent down to search for wreckage on the sea floor.

Warren Truss, Australia’s deputy prime minister, said the “audit” of collected data, which has yielded no positive results despite crews scouring more than 1.8 million square miles of the Indian Ocean. Officials, who met Monday with senior representatives of the Malaysian and Chinese governments in Canberra, Australia, are shifting efforts to an expanded area of seafloor in a remote part of the Indian Ocean off Western Australia.

"We know very clearly the area of the follow-up search will be even broader, with more difficulties and tougher tasks," Yang Chuantang, China's Transport Minister, said Monday.

Angus Houston, head of the search operation, told reporters in Canberra, according to the Associated Press: “We've got to this stage of the process where it's very sensible to go back and have a look at all of the data that has been gathered, all of the analysis that has been done and make sure there's no flaws in it, the assumptions are right, the analysis is right and the deductions and conclusions are right.”

 The Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is craned over the side of the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield in the southern Indian Ocean during the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defense Force.
Australian Defence Force/Handout via Reuters

One of the key elements in the new phase will be a detailed mapping of the ocean floor, which will involve “sonar and other autonomous vehicles, potentially at very great depths.”

“It is likely that the debris of flight MH370 sunk to the bottom of the ocean before we started the search,” Truss said, adding that authorities are now considering equipment that can go deeper than Bluefin-21.

The Ocean Shield vessel has returned to Australia’s Fleet Base West on Monday to refill its supplies and “conduct routine maintenance and software modifications to Phoenix Autonomous Underwater Vehicle ‘Artemis’ Bluefin-21,” following which it will resume its search in the area where the underwater hunt for the missing jetliner will continue," the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said in a statement.

The U.S. Navy will continue supporting the MH370 sub-surface search effort for approximately four more weeks with the help of Bluefin-21 side-scan sonar, at the request of the Australian government.

Authorities have so far relied on satellite information and pings in picking their search area for the missing Beijing-bound Boeing 777.
The search for the passenger, which already has engaged dozens of countries and agencies, is expected to become the most expensive search of its kind in aviation history.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Human litter found in Europe's deepest ocean depths

Locations of the study sites sampled with imaging technology
(ROVs, manned submersible, towed camera systems) and trawling

From The Guardian by Jessica Aldred

Seabed survey reveals depth of marine litter problem by mapping waste in Atlantic and Arctic oceans and Mediterranean

Bottles, plastic bags, fishing nets and other human litter have been found in Europe's deepest ocean depths, according one of the largest scientific surveys of the seafloor to date.

Scientists used video and trawl surveys to take nearly 600 samples from 32 sites in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans and the Mediterranean Sea, from depths of 35 metres to 4.5 kilometres.
They found rubbish in every Mediterranean site surveyed, and all the way from the continental shelf of Europe to the mid-Atlantic ridge, around 2,000km from land.

 A Heineken beer can found by a remote-operated vehicle in the upper Whittard canyon at 950m water depth.
Photograph: Hermione Project/Plymouth University

Plastic was the most common type of litter found on the seafloor, accounting for 41%, while rubbish associated with fishing activities (discarded net and fishing lines) made up 34%.
Glass, metal, wood, paper and cardboard, clothing, pottery and unidentified materials were also documented.

Jonathan Copley, senior lecturer in marine ecology at the University of Southampton, who did not take part in the study, said: "This very important research confirms what most of us who work in the deep ocean have noticed for quite some time – that human rubbish has got there before us.
"But this paper presents an analysis of the kinds of rubbish, what is common where, and what sort of activities are having the most impact in terms of rubbish reaching the deep ocean in different regions. People are piecing this together on a global scale to appreciate how widespread this problem is potentially."

As more of Europe's deep seafloor is being explored, litter is being revealed as far more widespread than previously thought. While individual studies have used trawling to quantify the amount of litter in particular areas or remotely operated vehicles to study the types of waste, this paper is the first to analyse the patterns of distribution and abundance of litter across different underwater geographical settings and depths.

A plastic bag recorded at 2,500m in the Arctic Ocean.
Photograph: Hermione Project/Plymouth University 

The most dense accumulations of litter were found in deep underwater canyons, and the lowest density on continental shelves and ocean ridges, according to the international study involving 15 European organisations.

Dr Kerry Howell, associate professor at Plymouth University's Marine Institute, who took part in the study, said: "This survey has shown that human litter is present in all marine habitats, from beaches to the most remote and deepest parts of the oceans. Most of the deep sea remains unexplored by humans and these are our first visits to many of these sites, but we were shocked to find that our rubbish has got there before us."

Litter disposal and accumulation in the marine environment is one of the fastest growing threats the health of the world's oceans, with an estimated 6.4m tonnes of litter entering the oceans each year.
Plastics are by far the most abundant material, introducing toxic chemicals that can be lethal to marine fauna and break down into "microplastics" that have become the most abundant form of solid-waste pollution on Earth.
Plastic pollution has also been found to be changing microbial processes in the ocean.

Besides the visible impact of marine pollution, litter can be mistaken as food and ingested by a wide variety of marine organisms.
Entanglement in derelict fishing gear – known as "ghost fishing" – is a serious threat to mammals, turtles, birds and corals.
Floating litter also facilitates the transfer of alien species to new habitats.

 Cargo net entangled in a cold-water coral colony at 950m in Darwin Mound.

Scientists said one interesting discovery made in the study related to seafloor deposits of clinker – the residue of burnt coal dumped by steam ships from the late 18th century onwards.

Marine biologist Dr Eva Ramirez-Llodra said: "We have known that clinker occurs on the deep-sea bed for some time, but what we found was the accumulation of clinker is closely related with modern shipping routes, indicating that the main shipping corridors have not been altered in the last two centuries."

 Litter density

The report also showed the path that materials such as plastics can take, originating from coastal and land sources and being carried along continental shelves and slopes into deep water.
Dr Veerle Huvenne, seafloor and habitat mapping team leader at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, said: "Submarine canyons form the main connection between shallow coastal waters and the deep sea. Canyons that are located close to major coastal towns and cities, such as the Lisbon canyon offshore Portugal, or the Blanes canyon offshore Barcelona, can funnel litter straight to water depths of 4,500m or more."

The paper, Marine litter distribution and density in European Seas, from the shelves to deep basins, was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The study was led by the University of the Azores, and is a collaboration between the Mapping the Deep Project led by Plymouth University and the Hermione Project, coordinated by the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

400 years of beautiful, historical, and powerful globes

From Wired by Greg Miller

To look at an ancient globe is to look at the Earth as it was seen by the people of another time.
It reflects their understanding of the continents and seas, and it captures political divisions that have long since shifted.

 This "dissected globe" dates to around 1866.
At the time such items were a popular toy for children, which may explain why so few survive with all of their pieces intact.

Even the typography and colors of a globe are indicative of the time and place of its origin, says Sylvia Sumira, a London-based conservator of ancient globes.

This is the oldest surviving terrestrial globe made in China.
It dates to 1623.
Unlike other Chinese maps of the time, which showed China at the center and left the rest of the world blank, this globe shows the world as it was understood in Europe at the time.

Often, it’s a thing of remarkable craftsmanship and beauty.
“If you go into a room and there’s a globe, your attention is immediately drawn to it,” Sumira said.
In her lavishly illustrated new book, Globes: 400 years of exploration, navigation, and power, Sumira traces the history and making of globes and showcases dozens of fine examples drawn largely from the collection of the British Library.

These gores, the printed sheets that cover a globe, date to around 1700.
They were published in an atlas by Vincenzo Coronelli, a enterprising Venetian cartographer who realized that books were easier to transport -- and therefore easer to sell -- than globes.

Contrary to the popular misconception that nobody knew the Earth was round before Columbus, the ancient Greeks described the making of globes (in verse, no less) in the third century B.C.
The oldest surviving globe dates back to 150 A.D.
But they really took off between about 1500 and 1900, and it’s this period that’s the focus of Globes.

This celestial globe was made in the early 1600s by famed Dutch cartographer Willem Blaeu.

There are records of globes being brought on ships during the age of exploration, but they probably weren’t used for navigation, Sumira says.
For one thing, any globe that’s small enough to be brought onboard would have to be scaled down to the point of being useless for charting a course on the high seas.

This pocket globe is just three inches in diameter.
It was made in 1793 by Scotsman John Miller.
British Library

“They’re more a symbol of navigation than a tool for navigation,” she said.
In the book, she writes that in the 17th century, globes were sold as “handsome objects of status and prestige to a comfortable merchant class.”

This 1772 celestial globe spurns the traditional mythical beasts to pay homage to the hottest tech trends.
Here you can see call outs to the constellations Microscopium and Telescopium.
Not visible in this view: Air Pump.

Not that ancient globes don’t convey some useful information.
Much of it is contained in the horizon ring that surrounds many of them.
Concentric circles printed or engraved on the ring indicate the degrees of the compass, the months of the year, zodiac signs, and sometimes information about winds.
They can be used, for example, to determine the sunrise and sunset on a given day of the year, Sumira says. “Most of the globes were like little calculating machines.”

This pocket globe, from around 1715, is less than three inches across.
The inside of the leather case is lined with a celestial map.
The terrestrial globe opens up to reveal a hollow armillary sphere with a ring depicting the zodiac signs and a tiny Sun at its center.

Several globes in the book come in pairs: one terrestrial, one celestial.
“The constellations were very much used for navigational purposes,” Sumira says, so being able to study pairs like this would have been very instructive for mariners in training.
The celestial globes sometimes look like someone let the animals out of the zoo: the stars that make up a constellation are overlaid on the figure that gives it its name — a lion for Leo, a big bear for Ursa Major and so on.

This tiny pocket globe made in 1831 is just 1.5 inches in diameter.
Dotted lines trace voyages by Captain Cook and other explorers.

Getting your bearings with the celestial globes is a little tricky.
It helps if you pretend you’re God, looking down at the heavens from on high.
The earth would be a dot inside the center of the globe.
From this view, the constellations are mirror images of how they appear from Earth.

Another beautiful pocket globe, this one from 1731.

Among Sumira’s favorites are the pocket globes
 “They’re just delightful little things,” she said.
The smallest is just 1.5 inches in diameter.
Many come in a wood or leather case that opens up to reveal a terrestrial globe that can be taken out. The concave surface of the case often contains a matching celestial globe.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Staring down shorebreak for the perfect shot

Getting tossed around by shorebreak and slammed into the sand day after day is a rough go; Clark Little wouldn’t have it any other way.
In fact, for the North Shore local, it’s all in a good day’s work.
But the Waimea addict didn’t grow up snapping shots with his father’s camera like so many photographers do.
He instead set out to capture his longtime stomping grounds when his wife came home with a framed photograph of Waimea shorebreak, an image he figured he would be able to easily replicate.
Having never owned a camera, he threw a cheap “waterproof” casing over a cheaper point-and-shoot and headed out to the beach.
Since that first attempt, Clark has not only emulated his wife’s purchased wall art, but — with a gallery in Haleiwa and international recognition — has become a heavily respected fixture of wave photography.

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