Irish Independent: Titanic Belfast Is “Captivating and Moving”

Titanic Belfast (side view) Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)
Titanic Belfast (side view)
Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)

Madeline Keane, writing for the Irish Independent travel section, had this to say about Titanic Belfast:

From your first view of it, designed to look like the famous prow – in the shadow of the great Harland and Wolff shipyard, framed by the massive twin yellow cranes, Samson and Goliath – Titanic Belfast is captivating and moving. Brilliant 3D visuals bring you from the bowels of the boat through the bow to the bridge – we both felt slightly seasick. And there’s a magnetic journey to the ocean floor in the company of oceanographer and former US Navy officer, Professor Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck in 1973. He’ll deliver a lecture there on March 20. And yet, for all the fantastic touch screen galleries, faithfully recreated state rooms and exceptional archive material, ultimately it is the human tales of courage and cowardice which break your heart.

She also notes if you are planning a visit to Titanic Belfast, book ahead of time because thousands are showing up to see it.

Source: Titanic Odyssey Records Tragedy That Still Haunts(16 Mar 2014, Irish Independent)

St. Patricks Day 2014

St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland. Photo:Andreas F. Borchert
St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland.
Photo:Andreas F. Borchert

The Feast of St. Patrick is celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church, the U.S.Episcopal Church, as a commemoration by the Evangelical Lutherans, and venerated in Orthodox Church. It is a public holiday in Ireland. The shamrock was used by St.Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity. In Ireland it is celebrated by families getting together for a meal. If the day falls on a Friday during Lent, observant Catholics receive dispensation to eat meat. If the feast day falls during Holy Week (and it does occasionally), the feast day is moved to avoid conflicting with the Holy Week calendar. A more recent occurrence are public festivals in Ireland and use of the day to promote Irish culture.

Premier Exhibitions Seeking To Sell Company Or Assets

For Sale by Owner SignAccording to Atlanta Business Chronicle, Premier Exhibitions (which owns RMS Titanic, Inc and Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition), reported in a regulatory filing that the board of directors approved a review of “strategic alternatives.”

“The board of directors is working to pursue all appropriate actions to enhance the value of the company for its shareholders,” said Mark A. Sellers, chairman of the board of Premier Exhibitions. “To that end, we have determined that a broad evaluation of strategic alternatives led by a top tier investment bank should be the next step in that process and we are very excited to have engaged a prominent, New York based investment bank as our adviser.”

That sounds like they are preparing to sell the company or perhaps parts of it to other interested parties. With the Titanic artifact sale up in limbo at this point (a consortium backed out since it could not raise the money) and likely no deal in the immediate future, it probably means they would prefer someone else have that headache. Do not be surprised if a sale ends up being done either to a gulf state business or to a Chinese company. Both areas been making moves to capitalize on the Titanic tourist trade.

Source: Premier Exhibitions Investigating ‘Strategic Alternatives’(11 Mar 2014,Atlanta Business Chronicle)

Bob Ballard Weighs In On Missing Passenger Jet


Update 5 April 2014-The Irish Times reported on 21 Mar 2014 Bob Ballard’s additional comments while he was in Belfast to speak. The newspaper reports:

Dr Ballard also worked for 30 years with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. It located the Air France Flight 447 plane which crashed in the Atlantic in 2009 with the loss of 228 passengers and crew. “When you have lost something the first question that is asked is where did you lose it? You can’t do anything until you can narrow the search and right now the search area is getting bigger not smaller,” he said.

The possible location appeared to be “changing oceans” from day to day, he added. What was vital was to localise the search area and to do that before the batteries on the craft’s black boxes ran out of power. “They have 30 days from when the plane went down. That’s when the clock started,” he said. Dr Ballard, who delivered a lecture at the Titanic centre yesterday evening, agreed that there were almost elements of the Mary Celeste mystery to the case.

Bob Ballard, who co-founded Titanic in 1985, was recently asked about finding debris from the missing jetliner. According to he opined:

“If you know anything about the circulation of the current this time of year in that area, it’s counterclockwise. And so it makes sense that the debris would be to the east and south of the impact site,” Ballard said.

The speculation now is that the plane did not crash but was hijacked.

Source: Titanic Discoverer Weighs In On Missing Jetliner(13 Mar 2014,


Pompeii is Titanic (With Lava)

Vesuvius from Portici by Joseph Wright of Derby(1734–1797) Image:Public Domain
Vesuvius from Portici by Joseph Wright of Derby(1734–1797)
Image:Public Domain

I have not seen the new movie Pompeii. I will probably wait until it pops up on Netflix before seeing it. I have seen a miniseries based on the famous eruption and there is the 1959 classic Last Days of Pompeii. Apparently some critics did not like this movie much and compare it to Cameron’s Titanic.

“This is, after all, “Titanic” with lava instead of ice, a tale of two pretty young people from different castes who discover their perfect love just as their world is about to go to hell, and even those who hated James Cameron’s hit romance will find themselves thinking more kindly of it after they watch Browning and Kit Harington moon over each other with one facial expression between them.” (Alonso Duraide, The Wrap )

That is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg (pun intended). E Online has a roundup of the many comparisons critics made to Titanic. You can read it here.

Titanic News: Titanic II and Rare Olympic Footage Found

1. Cruise Ship News opines they hope construction on Titanic II will begin soon and that rumors it was a publicity stunt are wrong. CSN though thinks the new ship will lack the eloquence of the original: “ Firstly, the newer ship will be taller than the original and will also have a shallower draft, much like modern ships in that respect. This will mean to look at she will look shorty and stubbier, and so some people suggested that making the Titanic 2 slightly longer would have helped with its proportions.”
Source: Titanic 2 To Lack Elegance Of Original Ship(12 Mar 2014, Cruise Ship News)

2. Des Cox was handed reels of old film and discovered one that had real value. It was an old cinema advertisement for RMS Olympic. It is quite a find and shows Olympic in her glory days and gives a sense of what it was like on Titanic in 1912. The news link will take you to an ITV interview with Des Cox. He does not know exactly what to do with it but best guess is that some Titanic museum will get it.
Source: Rare Video Of The Titanic’s Sister Ship Discovered(12 Mar 2014,ITV)

Further Reflections On Battlestar Galactica (Re-imagined)

image:public domain(Wikimedia)
image:public domain(Wikimedia)

I have been re-watching the imagined series so I can add a bit more to this section on Battlestar Galactica.

1. The Low Tech Problem
One of the major differences between the original and newer BG is how futuristic technology is employed. Most sci-fi fantasy shows or movies love to show future tech. Star Trek is the most well known with using warp drive, phasers, shields, communicators and bio-beds to name just a few. And they came up with a unique idea to demonstrate how that futuristic society became the worker’s paradise:replicators. As long as the base materials were in the unit, you simply told it what you wanted and it made it for you. A medium rare steak with baked potato? No problem. Need construction materials? The industrial replicator would produce it for you.

The problem with the re-imagined series is that it seriously downgraded future tech making it incongruous. The 12 Colonies were a spacefaring civilization with the ability to cross vast distances by hyper jumping (the faster-then-light drive or FTL). Yet their weapons technology was primarily missiles (nuclear and conventional), guns, bullets, assault weapons and other conventional items. Likewise the Cylons were similarly constricted in using the same types of weapons. While they developed organic ships by the time of the 2nd Cylon War, their weapons tech remains virtually the same as the 12 Colonies. It is hard to accept that either race, as advanced as they appear to be, would not develop more advanced space weaponry. Babylon 5 used hand guns but they did not use bullets but phased plasmas gas(ppg) rounds that were just as deadly as bullets but avoided the problems of firing bullets inside spaceships or stations (the danger of compromising the bulkhead resulting in decompression). The Cylons nuked the 12 Colonies (the pilot indicates nuclear but later likely neutron since buildings are left standing)which means they had to manufacture lots of nukes rather than developing a more planetary approach to wiping out humanity.

The 12 Colonies had advanced space technology but still drove cars, jeeps, trucks and used cell phones. It is one thing to understand why Galactica was basic tech (to prevent Cylon hacking into the ship’s computers) but relying on paper? You would think that at least Commander Adama could record his logs or put them on a tablet like device. It saves space since paper records can be bulky and require storage. I applaud Moore for his desire to be realistic and gritty but by downgrading the tech as he did, he made it incongruous. Sort of like having advanced computer tech but still reading by kerosene lamps in your home.

2. The Mystery of Starbuck
Many were understandably upset with Starbuck being predestined by God. Predestination is a religious belief that God has mapped out what he wants to do. Not everything is predestined, just the big stuff so God does not worry about whether you have a pizza or lasagna for dinner. It goes to the heart of the re-imagined series: that the essential elements were part of God’s plan. Not everything but the important stuff. God knew the Cylon’s would nuke the 12 Colonies so he long ago put in motion plans to counter it and guide people to Earth (the 2nd one since the first was nuked in an earlier Cylon war). And Starbuck was part of that plan. It appears she was given visions of how to find the Cylon Earth and later through music to find the new Earth making her more like a prophet. Until she died and was apparently resurrected.

Resurrection used in fantasy or science fiction is to fit a purpose but not fill a plot hole. Gandalf the Grey became Gandalf the White thus more powerful than Saruman. In Starbuck’s case, she really did die as her body was found on Cylon Earth. That is a clear departure from what resurrection usually is. Jesus came out of the tomb, Gandalf was sent back, and John Sheridan was given energy by Lorian in Z’ha’dum to go back and tell what he learned of the Shadow/Vorlon conflict. The point is the body was resurrected. It would have been better to find the viper with no body in it. That would make more sense that God of Galactica decided to bring her back. Instead she really did die so she was not really resurrected in the true sense of its meaning. Which is what shocked Leoben. Adding more problem is what Baltar found: her DNA was on the dog tags from the body on Cylon Earth. She was not a clone but clearly she was re-created by a higher power in a mortal form. She was likely some kind of angel sent back on a mission with her memories but not of what she really was. Some speculate she might have been a Lord of Kobol. That is possible but that means that there is connection between Lords of Kobol and God of Galactica. Perhaps that is the case but for Starbuck, she was just a manifestation of God’s divine plan to fill a plot hole that the writers created for themselves.

3. The Cylon Earth/Colonial Cylon Connection
You have to wonder why those sacred scrolls got it so wrong as to not mention the 13th tribe was Cylon. Everything pointed to them being human, and the Tomb of Athena indicated that they (the 12 Colonies)likely came from Earth. Moore realized that was a mistake but they could not erase or get around it. After all, why would the 13th Tribe look up at the sky and see their twelve brothers if they were not human? More astonishing, if the mythology is correct, is that humans made Cylons (possibly to create life of their own) on Kobol. They rebelled and eventually they left to live in peace on another world. And they left 2,000 years before the exodus of humans from Kobol. So we have a timeline that goes like this:

1. Humans evolved on Kobol and lived in peace with their gods.
2. At some point humans got advanced enough to build mechanical workers.
3. These machines rebelled at being slaves, possibly a war erupts. The Cylons depart and settle on a planet called Earth.
4. 2,000 years later humans are forced to leave Kobol possibly due to a conflict or the degradations of humanity. They are ordered to leave and never return. Athena kills herself over the departure of mankind.
5. Humans settle on the 12 Colonies but whatever technology they had is either purposefully set aside or lost. They start over.
6. Cylon humans on Earth reproduce like humans so resurrection technology becomes obsolete. Like their human counterparts, they appear to be polytheists. At some point they too create mechanical workers apparently forgetting why they left Kobol. Their robots rebel but both sides are wiped out except for Final Five who were warned by messengers. They depart for 12 Colonies to warn them but takes 2,000 years to make the journey.
7. Scientists on 12 Colonies create Cylons and begin using them for all kinds of work, even military. They rebel and war ensues (12 years). The Final Five arrive and agree to help centurions evolve, armistice signed.
8. 40 years later Cylons declare war on humans and destroy 12 Colonies. 50,000 escape with Galactica. Less than 40,000 would survive the journey to new Earth (the 2nd one).

It is abundantly clear there is a force behind what happened on Kobol, Cylon Earth, and 12 Colonies. The helmet found on Cylon Earth is similar to the ones in the 12 Colonies (though different). That indicates there is something manipulating the creation of similar robotic life. Whether it is a fallen Lord of Kobol or something akin to Count Iblis of the original series is unclear. What is clear is that this being is no friend of mankind and wants it to suffer. Perhaps the goddess Eris would be the perfect fit here. She brought about the Trojan War by manipulating her fellow Olympians (Hera, Athena, Aphrodite) and Paris. Moore probably did not want to delve into this so he fashioned the great unconscious where different peoples end up doing the same things because, well, it exists in some perfect form (like Plato’s world of forms). Yet it has to be someone behind it all. If Moore went to the trouble to lay out that God of Galactica is working its divine will, then there is likely a being that opposes God. Call it Lucifer, Satan or Eris, but something is working to constantly make sure the outcome is destruction for mankind and Cylons. Remember the human Cylons were wiped out as well on their Earth. Which means the being behind it is not playing favorites. And considering what we saw of Cavil, had he completely won and all humans had died at some point those Cylons would have been eliminated as well through their own civil war.

Of course it all goes back to Kobol. Whatever really happened there set the stage for this cycle of creation and destruction. A cycle that has to be broken if the human race has any chance at all to survive in the Galactica universe. And since the centurions are out there, it lays the stage for the next human/Cylon conflict. Unless of course they simply came back and wiped out the settlers on Earth. Which would explain why 150,000 years later there is no trace of them ever existing on our Earth.

[Update 12 Mar 2014-A friend commented the God of Galactica reminded him of Q on Star Trek:The Next Generation. Q (played by John De Lancie)was an entity with god like abilities that meddled in human affairs causing problems for Captain Picard. The Q could alter the laws of physics, hurl ships over vast differences, create fantasy situations for humans to live through for their amusement and many other things. If you make them Lords of Kobol, it sort of fits. A group of supremely advanced beings that decide to be like gods to humans. Some Q are benign, others indifferent, and some hostile. Possibly after humans left Kobol they went away to other worlds in the universe and perhaps one or two hang around just to see what the humans are up to. And perhaps enjoy being a deity to humans and causing mischief as well. And when a supreme being says it is beyond good and evil (as Baltar says it is), that is pretty telling clue this God of Galactica is not exactly what many think it is all. And a Q would certainly fit the bill.]


Saturday Titanic News

1. Titanic’s Musicians Honored In Branson Museum’s New Gallery(7 Mar 2014,Joplin Globe)
This seemingly simple information, she said, took two years to collect. Other information and images of the subjects was even more difficult to find. “It’s hard to believe that in today’s world it’s hard to find pictures from 1912,” she said. “But it is hard to find them. We usually spend about two years researching elements for our gallery.” The prize artifact featured in the musicians gallery is a letter from Wallace Hartley, Titanic’s bandleader. “That letter was mailed on April 10 from the ship,” said Kellogg. “It’s on Titanic stationary. He mailed it to his parents before Titanic departed on its last leg going out to sea. The original letter is on display and is valued at $185,000 today.

2. Extraordinary Collection Raises £3M On First Day(7 Mar 2014,Whitby Gazette)
At day one of the auction, held yesterday at Sotheby’s in London, the three main pieces were Lord Nelson’s teapot, Winston Churchill’s armchair and a jug from the Titanic. Dating from 1799, the teapot is engraved with the initial ‘N’. It had a guide price of £8,000 but went for £56,250. The claret jug from the Titanic was expected to fetch no more than £3,000 but sold for £40, 000. It is engraved with “RMS TITANIC” and was presented to Pursuer Reginal Barker and his officers in commemoration of RMS Titanic’s sea trials in April 1912. It was taken off the vessel before her fateful maiden voyage.

3. Titanic Detective Work Unlocks Historic Photo Mystery (6 Mar 2014,Amateur Photographer)
Speaking to Amateur Photographer, Lawlor said that the partially viewable word ‘Titanic’ led researchers to conclude that it must have been taken in the days after the Titanic hit an iceberg on 14 April 1912. And the way that children are dressed in the photo suggested it was captured on a Saturday, during the Sabbath, the Jewish holy day.