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Voyage to see what’s on the bottom

By Hal Robins
Thursday, July 5, 2012 10:09 EDT
 
ICTH - An Undersea view...

I am perplexed that as I scan the news, not more has been made of an amazing event that took place about three months ago. Amazing because of what happened– something never done before in human history.

Amazing because of who did it– a Hollywood film director, widely known, and in some quarters resented for, his blockbuster movies.

But what took place was real, and not a movie.

And amazing, perhaps most amazing of all, is how in this supposed Information Age, so few people seem to care that it happened, or even have heard about it.

What gives?

What’s considered important in today’s media landscape?

Justin Beiber? Donald Trump?

Granted, it wasn’t on Dancing With the Stars, so it’s not that generally known to the American public. But still…

What happened was this:

James Cameron –yes, that James Cameron, got into a tiny, experimental submarine and descended to the very bottom of the deepest part of the ocean. No human being ever reached this part of the sea floor alive before. This type of expedition was last tried around 52 years ago, without anything like this measure of success.

Where submarine exploration is concerned, anything below 650 feet is considered “deep sea.”

The record for the deepest recorded dive is 2,000 feet.

The greatest depth that light can penetrate is 3,280 feet. The Sperm Whale battles the Giant Squid no deeper than 3,770 feet. The Titanic rests on the ocean floor at about 12,000 feet.

In the Western Pacific, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench goes down 11 kilometers, or 6.8 miles. 35,756 feet.

The deepest spot on Earth, it’s distinguished by profound cold, complete absence of light– and enormous, crushing pressure.

When you fly on an airplane, you know how when you fly above the clouds and you look far, far down, and then, if there’s a gap in the cloud layer, you might catch sight of the ground, dimly seen far, far below that?

The Mariana Trench is deeper than you are high at that moment.

If Mount Everest, Earth’s highest mountain, were at the bottom, there would still be a mile of water above its highest peak.

At the very bottom, the pressure exerted by the water column above is approximately 1099 times that at the surface, 6 tons on every square inch. Most bathyscapes or submarines, if they ventured there, would simply be crushed in an instant.

So James Cameron traveled to the bottom. His special, anomalous submersible was not crushed, and he survived. He shot video– in 3-D! –of his searchlight passing over monumental cliff walls of rock.

Moreover, he did something else no one has ever managed to do before. With his specially designed and equipped ship he took a biological sample, and brought it back.

Now I know lots of people just don’t like Cameron. They didn’t like Avatar or his undersea movie The Abyss. They especially didn’t like his exuberant use of the phrase, “King of the World!” when he accepted his Academy Award for Titanic.

Come on– he was only quoting a line from his movie, which was being honored. What’s the big deal?

At any rate, he followed his passion– to do something dangerous and unprecedented.

I say he gets a pass.

[Here's a link to a graphic on ocean exploration I received from a friend, Meika Jensen:]

http://www.mastersdegree.net/explore-the-ocean/

illustrations above by Hal Robins

What good is Twitter? How a telltale tic is twitching us into twits

By John Shirley
Tuesday, July 3, 2012 2:42 EDT

It’s now thought that the reason CNN and Fox mistakenly reported, at first, that the ACA mandate had been struck down by the Supreme Court… was simply because some chucklehead pseudo-reporter in the room TWEETED the wrong information. (CNN et al may deny this—I don’t believe them, as the indications are strong.) The “reporter” heard a couple of preliminary remarks and, on impulse, reported them as a conclusion. Since Twitter remarks go out as twitchy…

 

The story of Jay 2Pay-Z and Joe’s garage — Conclusion

By Rev. Ivan Stang
Saturday, June 30, 2012 18:49 EDT

But, as I’d predicted, we couldn’t let go that easily — luckily for 2Pay-Z. Against Wei’s advice I wanted to go get a closer look and make sure 2Pay-Z was okay on the ground. I strolled over to the garage in a leisurely manner and came upon 2Pay-Z standing between…

 

The best antidote to that KONY2012 madness

Last week, “Dancing Matt” Harding released his latest video:…

 

The story of Jay 2Pay-Z and Joe’s garage Part Three

By Rev. Ivan Stang
Friday, June 29, 2012 14:15 EDT

During the night, 2Pay-Z appeared to have doubled in size. In fact we calculated during Saturday morning that he was doubling in size approximately every four hours. According to my figuring, by Sunday he would be like the Roc hatchling in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad – about the size of…

 

What happens when you take prime California farm land and turn it into McMansions?

By Roxanne Cooper
Thursday, June 28, 2012 1:08 EDT

An ode to Stockton, California — courtesy of Joni Mitchell:…

 

The story of Jay 2Pay-Z and Joe’s garage — Part Two

By Rev. Ivan Stang
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 22:13 EDT

But Joe had to go to bed early Friday night and work all day Saturday! We are old friends, so we took on the bird-feeding job until he could get back to it on Saturday night. I knew as soon as I saw the bird that, just as it would…

 

The story of Jay 2Pay-Z and Joe’s garage — Part One

By Rev. Ivan Stang
Monday, June 25, 2012 17:58 EDT

Last Friday afternoon, our next-door neighbor Joe found two baby birds in his driveway — one dead and drawing flies in the sun, one in the shade of his Jeep, still alive, but barely. Joe looked straight up, and sure enough, in the tree next to his garage, there was…

 

The endurance of Ray Bradbury

By Hal Robins
Sunday, June 17, 2012 11:54 EDT

At his death at age 92, Ray Bradbury’s status as an American writer is assured. He managed to live long enough to outlast most of a once-dominant critical establishment who prided themselves on being indifferent to creators of speculative fantasy. By persistence and originality, he overcame the stuffiest of stuffed…

 

Monster Kid Chronicles Part 3

By Hal Robins
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 17:53 EDT

It had started when packages of Universal Pictures’ horror films were released to TV stations, in those pre-video, pre-cable, pre-digital days. To see something then you had to wait for it to come on. I still remember the excitement we felt. But, how is it that we were hipped to…

 
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