Titanic Musings

The Ship That Might Be Built
The most interesting news in a while is that Titanic II is possibly back on again. A spokesman for Clive Palmer’s Blue Star Line told a newspaper that it will be built by late 2018. This follows a string of reports over the year that it was not on. Palmer has had problems getting Chinese investors, the shipyard in China appears reluctant, but worse is his spat with the Chinese government that would doom it completely. The recent news comes from a Middle Eastern news agency. That would suggest that perhaps Palmer is rounding up investors there and that it could be built there. China is already building its own Titanic replica for a theme park so they might not be interested in building one for Palmer. Will it be built? Many doubt it will and until actual construction begins all we have are words floating around the air.

Krakatoa, Again
The famous Krakatoa eruption occurred 132 years ago and still fascinates those who study volcanoes. What made this eruption remarkable were a couple of things. It was the first eruption that got instant media attention. Thanks to underwater telegraph cables, the world learned about the devastating eruptions of 26-27 Aug 1883 within hours. People forget that before there was an internet and telephones were still a marvel, it was the telegraph that alerted people to news and other things. Underwater cables, which used a particular rubber from Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies) to protect them, made telegraph transmission faster than the old overland route that took a long while. The eruption pushed forward the science of volcanoes and their effects. It confirmed that small bits of volcanic matter thrust into the atmosphere (something that happened when Tambora erupted in 1815 causing the “Year Without A Summer” in the west) would hang around for a long time causing global effects. The massive pressure of the islands eruption was measured on barometers nearby and far, far away. The huge tsunami was also measured quite a distance away as well (though greatly reduced in strength in many cases). Krakatoa spurred more investigation into understanding how our world works geologically speaking. It came at a terrible price with over 36,000 dead.

Baseball Movie: The Natural(1984)
Bernard Malmud’s antihero story was transformed into a more positive story about its central character Roy Hobbs. The movie sought to create a wonderful mythological story with elements of Greek and Arthurian elements. When it was first released, it got mixed reviews from critics and baseball fans. I had a chance to view a new edition of the movie that has put back the scenes deleted from the theatrical run. This director’s edition adds a lot more depth to the movie (it has a lot more background information about Hobb’s). And the extras include interviews about the movie, the book it is based on, and other information most will like. It works. I thoroughly enjoyed this edition and cheered when Hobb’s hits the lights at the end of the movie.