Autumn Has Arrived

The Autumnal or September Equinox occurred yesterday. There are two equinoxes in the year: March and September.  When these equinoxes occur the sun is directly on the equator, and the length of day and night is almost equal. In the Northern hemisphere, the September Equinox heralds autumn while in the South it is the beginning of spring.

For those of us in the North, it means a transition from summer to winter during this period. Days start getting shorter and nights longer. Depending on where you live, you will likely have moderate warm days followed by long and cooler nights. Harvests of many crops often take place during the fall and in the old days you would make preparations to store food for the winter. Harvest festivals are very popular and in particular Halloween. Pumpkins begin appearing along with all kinds of Halloween decor culminating, of course, in All Hallows Eve (Halloween) on October 31.

English Autumn George Hodan (publicdomainpictures.net)
English Autumn
George Hodan (publicdomainpictures.net)

Recent Titanic News

W.T.Stead 1881 Public Domain (Wikipedia)
W.T.Stead 1881
Public Domain (Wikipedia)

1.Memorial plaque to regional editor who died on Titanic vandalised(holdthefrontpage.co.uk,20 Sep 2016)
The plaque in memory of the Northern Echo editor WT Stead has been removed by Darlington Borough Council from outside the town’s library after it was daubed with felt-tip by vandals and is now being cleaned.

2.Just Cool Cars: This 1911 Benz has a Titanic link(USA Today, 17 Sep 2016)
Gerhard and Adrienne Schnuerer of Huntington Beach, Calif., are owners of this one-of-a-kind 1911 Benz, rare because of its German heritage and New York coachwork.The car was ordered by Charles Hayes, a railroad tycoon from Chicago who went down with the Titanic after she struck an iceberg. Part of his legacy becomes the car he left behind — although he never saw it. It was still being built when he died.

3.Keys From Titanic Among Items Auctioned By Jersey Collector(ITV,15 Sep 2016)
A set of keys from the Titanic, which were previously owned by a Jersey collector, has sold for twice the estimate at auction. David Gainsborough Roberts put the set of four up for auction at Christies in London. The keys, which are thought to have belonged to Samuel Ernest Hemming, the lamp trimmer on board the ship, sold for £20,000 yesterday evening.

HMHS Britannic seen during World War I. Image:public domain
HMHS Britannic seen during World War I.
Image:public domain

4. Exploring The Britannic Wreck, Titanic’s Sister Ship (Engineering and Technology, 12 Sep 2016)
To get around this huge wreck in the limited time – only 45 minutes – that the divers have at depth, they use underwater scooters. Even with rigorous safety measures in place, the sea is still unpredictable, especially at these depths. Britannic claimed the life of world-renowned technical diver Carl Spencer in 2013 and Kovacs says that it’s not uncommon to hear the explosions of illegal fishermen nearby.Kovacs’ holy grail for this wreck is a rivet-accurate blended acoustic and optical model of the entire exterior yielding a hugely accurate picture of the bulkheads. What this means in practice is a 3D volumetric model. The acoustic images have been taken with multibeam and side-scan sonar from the Perseo ROV and these will be overlaid with the optical results from the divers.

5.Titanic Floats While Some Sink At Annual United Way Cardboard Boat Race(Mlive.com,9 Sep 2016)
It was a replica of the most famous sinking ship in history. Made with cardboard and deliberately cracked at its center, the vessel defied its design and the notorious fate of its predecessor. It floated. “We can’t even sink the Titanic,” designer and builder Dave Turk said Friday as he loaded the too-successful boat into the back of a pickup truck at the close of the United Way’s cardboard boat race.

Titanic Wreck Gone In 14 Years Experts Say

Titanic Wreck Bow Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)
Titanic Wreck Bow
Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)

Titanic not only sank but now the wreck itself will be mostly gone in 14 years according to a scientific study. The study done by experts from Institut Laue-Langevin, the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and the Institut de Biologie Structurale has determined “extremophile bacteria” will eat away the ship by 2030.
Source:Titanic wreck ‘will dissolve in 14 years’(Belfast Telegraph,9 Sep 16)

Southampton has a very strong connection to Titanic. Yet as a writer for Daily Echo points out, the city elders did not capitalize their connection as strongly as Belfast did. Titanic Belfast is a major tourist attraction for Belfast yet Southampton’s Sea City Museum only draws modest numbers. Sea City overlooks the area where Titanic docked but since the area is still a major working port, expansion is not as easy as Belfast had. Others agree more should be done to promote Southampton.
Source:Has Southampton missed the boat with Titanic museum? (Daily Echo,11 Sept 2016)

Labor Day (U.S.)

usa flagLabor Day is a U.S. federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September. It became a federal holiday in 1894 to celebrate workers and their achievements. It has also become the “unofficial”end of summer as by this time schools have reopened and most summer vacations have ended. Also by this time the days (in the northern hemisphere) are starting to get shorter as we get closer to the autumnal equinox. As all fifty states observe the holiday, state and local government offices are closed as well. Banks are closed as are the U.S. financial markets. Most people who work in office jobs get the day off but retail stores do not observe the holiday usually offering special “Labor Day Sales” to draw customers in.

Titanic Tidbits and Musings

Summer is drawing to a close and schools are opening up. Sleepy eyed kids are getting on the local buses again to make the journey to school. It has been a quiet summer Titanic wise. Not a whole lot of news though some important news did occur.

United_States_Bankruptcy_Court_SealPremier Exhibitions Declares Bankruptcy To Reorganize
The big news before the summer began was Premier declaring bankruptcy under Chapter 11 and seeking to reorganize. Typically this means the company has enough resources to stay afloat and needs the courts to reduce its liabilities. For creditors it means they usually get something but not everything. It means the court has to take a hard look at how the company operates which means an intensive look at the financial records and other aspects of the company.

While things have not gone well for a while with Premier, it was thought the Dinoking merger and bringing aboard its ceo to manage would bring things in line. What apparently occurred is that the debts owed by Premier were far greater than the cash infusion the merger could solve. So to stave off likely lawsuits from creditors, they headed to bankruptcy court. Now one of the big arguments is over the French Collection. These artifacts were brought up with a joint expedition with IFREMER and are separate from the other artifacts covered under the U.S. Federal Court salvage award. That salvage award limits how the artifacts can be sold, specifically as one collection making it very difficult to find buyers due to the high cost. However Premier believed it had clear title to the French artifacts and wanted to sell some of them to pay off debts. And sought permission from the court to do this. It was denied, in part, because bankruptcy law requires an adversary action to remove any possible claims to items that will be sold or auctioned off to pay debts.

So Premier is suing the French government in federal court. Premier has submitted documents that appear to support their position. Meanwhile we wait on France to decide whether it will contest a possible sale or file a brief saying they will not fight it.

So Much For Palmer’s Titanic II
Well it appears to be over. After all the fanfare and some preliminary work, the Clive Palmer’s dream to recreate Titanic has come to an end. No one can blame him for wanting to bring it about. It is a great dream. Despite all the positive news spun out by his public relations team, financing the construction proved harder than realized. It was to be constructed in China but the date for the work start came and went, new dates were set, but the shipyard remained quiet. Then came news that once it was launched it would stop in Dubai. That raised speculation that investors from that area were keen on tying in their own Titanic themed areas with this new ship. And I speculated that perhaps money to build could come from there (or even be built there). But Palmer’s relations with the Chinese took a real nosedive with his criticisms of a Chinese company and the lack of Chinese investors in the project meant it would go nowhere. So without much fanfare and no publicity, construction of Clive Palmer’s Titanic II has ended.

Chinese Titanic II
Palmer’s version fizzled but China is building their Titanic II that will docked at a theme park. It will be full size and look exactly like the original. It will also be a hotel and tourist attraction. Visitors will be able to stay aboard, sample high-end late Edwardian age cuisine, and even visit the Titanic Sinking Simulator. That has caused a lot of controversy. Perhaps what will stun visitors from the West is that likely the message about Titanic will be strongly anti-capitalist and demonstrate why the Chinese way is more superior. Just do not mention their awful human rights record or persecution of those who practice religion of any kind.

Masterchef
The current season is interesting but has its usual combination of the excellent, the not-so-good, and those just filling a slot until they are dropped. Poor Nathan is the butt of so many jokes. The bow tied tuxedo salesman (and he always wears a suit even when outside at the farm) may be good at cooking dishes alone but has severe problems working in a team. Some of the good have made their mistakes and departed but perhaps none worse than Andrea. She showed really excellent skills but when she failed to bring her sausage dish down to the front table at the right time, it was bad. Worse was how Gordon and company handled it. At this point they knew she was out of the contest. Instead they go through the mockery of tasting the dishes of which the two useful facts were announced: that she (Andrea) had the best dish while Diamond served up raw sausage. In a normal competition, Diamond would go home. But that is reality and not the often strange world of Masterchef that live in an alternate universe.

They knew Andrea was out the moment she put her plate down three seconds too late. Gordon seemed to argue with Christina and Chef Lee about her having the best dish but Christina reminded rules are rules. Do not be fooled, that was all for show as none of it was for real. It was to make it look like there was some dispute when none existed. Diamond, a weak contender, went into the next round and would be sent home in the next episode. In a real contest, Andrea would have been sent home immediately for missing the time requirement. No need to bother with tasting the dishes and move on to the next round. It just shows the strange world that Masterchef inhabits.

Krakatoa Eruption In 1883 Kills Thousands and Heard 3,000 Miles Away

The eruption of Krakatoa, and subsequent phenomena. Report of the Krakatoa Committee of the Royal Society (London, Trubner & Co., 1888) Public Domain
The eruption of Krakatoa, and subsequent phenomena. Report of the Krakatoa Committee of the Royal Society (London, Trubner & Co., 1888)
Public Domain

On 20 May 1883, Krakatau(Krakatoa)–a small volcanic island west of Sumatra in Indonesia–came alive with an eruption noticed by a passing German warship. Other eruptions would be noticed by commercial liners and those living on nearby islands for the next two months. Then on 26 Aug an enormous blast took place that destroyed nearly two-thirds of the island. Pyroclastic flows and huge tsunamis would sweep over nearby islands and coastlines. But the worst came the following morning, 27 Aug, at 05:30. Four eruptions would took place with the resulting sound heard over 3,000 miles away. Ash was propelled fifty miles into the air and would circulate around the globe creating colorful sunsets but also lowering temperatures worldwide by several degrees.

36,000 deaths resulted from the eruption and 31,000 were from the tsunamis created when much of the island fell into the water. The highest waves were 120 feet high when they washed over neighboring islands stripping them of people and vegetation. Pyroclastic flows that stretched as far as 40 miles claimed about 4,500.

The Krakatau eruption of 1883 is considered one of the most violent volcanic activities in modern times and even recorded history. However volcanic activity continues in that area. In 1927, a submarine lava dome was detected in the area that had been destroyed by the eruption in 1883. A new island volcano began to emerge spewing ash. Other islands also started appearing as well but eroded away by the sea. Ultimately a fourth one appeared in August 1930 and was able to last. It was named Anak Krakatau and continues to grow taller each year. It is an active volcano and seemed similar to Stromboli in its eruptions. However more recent eruptions have resulted in volcanologists to warning people to keep a safe distance away. And more ominous is that a large lava dome is growing in its crater. Signs point to one day a very explosive event occurring at this volcano.


Thieves Get Trapped In Store But Police Fail To Respond In Time

A Boost Mobile wireless store in New Jersey was recently the scene right out of a screwball comedy. Two guys enter the store and one draws a gun on the manager. They proceed to begin robbing the place but the manager gets out and drops the security gate down on the door. This effectively seals them in. They get no help from people outside the store, who jeer and mock them while recording it. Meanwhile the manager is calling the police. At first they refused to dispatch cops to the store (a daytime robbery and they are not interested in responding with the thieves trapped inside?). Finally the manager points out that they have a gun so that finally gets the police dispatched. Meanwhile the two men, frantically trying to get out, find a tool box so that they can force open the security gate. Which they do and remarkably escape since the police arrived long after they left. It has major embarrassment all over the local police department for failing to respond in time. They are apparently retraining the 911 dispatch operators.

Source:Crowd laughs at, mocks thieves who lock themselves in cell phone store during robbery(Leo Affairs,19 Aug 2016)

Here is a shorter and edited version on YouTube of this.

Premier Exhibitions Update: Company Files Adversary Action For French Collection

PremierExhibitionslogoPremier Exhibitions has gone forward with the adversary proceeding against France to attain clear title to the French Collection. Premier tried to get the bankruptcy court to allow the sale arguing they had clear title. However the court found that under federal law, the must first conduct an adversary proceeding. As part of the filing on 17 August, Premier argues they were given clear and unambiguous title. What happens next is that France will have to respond through their American lawyers as to what their position in the matter is. The documents attached to the filing appear to support their claim.

Source: Adversary Proceeding, In Re: RMS Titanic, Inc: U.S. Bankruptcy Court,Middle District Florida, 17 Aug 2016


Chinese Titanic Replica On Course;Belfast Titanic Celebrates A Milestone

The Grand Staircase of the RMS Olympic Photo:Public Domain (Wikipedia)
The Grand Staircase of the RMS Olympic
Photo:Public Domain (Wikipedia)

Clive Palmer’s plan to build Titanic II appears dead but a Chinese full size replica is on course to be built. According to China.org.cn a full size replica will be assembled at the end of this year. The replica will be the exact size of the original Titanic and will cost 1 billion yuan. Everything from door knobs to menus will look as if it was on the original Titanic (except some modern necessities as needed of course). The replica will also employ the use of a Titanic Sinking Simulator so that visitors will experience what it was like to be aboard when the ship was sinking. The replica will be permanently docked at a theme park in the Qi River in Daying County, Sichuan. It is scheduled to open in 2018.
Source:Life-Size Replica Of Titanic To Be Assembled Late This Year(China.org.cn,17 Aug 2016)

Titanic Belfast just celebrated its three millionth visitor recently. Since it opened in 2012, Titanic Belfast has seen a steady stream of tourists from all over the world. They recently had their busiest day when 4,200 people came through the doors beating down previous numbers. Titanic Belfast chief executive Tim Husbands notes “We have spent over £1m refurbishing and refreshing three or four of the galleries because obviously Titanic is a story that can be told in so many different facets.”
Source: Titanic Belfast Welcomes Its Three Millionth Visitor(Irish Times,15 Aug 2016)


For Your Sunday: Frank Sinatra “At Long Last Love”(1962)


Commentary on Titanic news and other related items.

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