Tag Archives: Robert Ballard

Sunday Titanic News: Ballard is Honored, Titanic Tech To Help Missing Plane Search, And Titanic Wireless Operator Postcard Goes Up For Auction

Photo:Wikipedia
Photo:Wikipedia

1. Robert Ballard has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences according to University of Rhode Island(URI). Ballard is a oceanography professor at URI and founder of Ocean Exploration Trust. He is among 204 chosen in 2014 for American Academy. Induction ceremony will take place in October at the Cambridge, Mass., headquarters.
Source: Famed Ocean Explorer Ballard, Who Discovered Titanic Wreck, Elected Member Of American Academy(23 April 2014,Star Tribune)

Operators aboard ADF Ocean Shield move U.S. Navy’s Bluefin-21 into position for deployment, April 14, 2014, searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Photo:Public Domain (U.S. Navy ID 140414-N-OV358-036)
Operators aboard ADF Ocean Shield move U.S. Navy’s Bluefin-21 into position for deployment, April 14, 2014, searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Photo:Public Domain (U.S. Navy ID 140414-N-OV358-036)

2. Sky News reports that a sonar tracking system similar to what was used to locate Titanic may be used in the hunt for the missing Malaysian flight MH370. Bluefin 21, an autonomous underwater vehicle, has done 80% of the work so far but has a limitation of 4500 meters. So they plan to deploy a side-scan sonar device that will go deeper. The U.S. Navy Orion-towed search systems is available and offers real-time date unlike Bluefin 21. Also the REMUS 6000 autonomous underwater vehicle is being considered for use as well.
Source: Titanic Boost In Search For MH370(23 April 2014, Sky News)

Jack George Phillips, Titanic Wireless Operator Photo: Public Domain
Jack George Phillips, Titanic Wireless Operator
Photo: Public Domain

3. A postcard sent by Titanic wireless operator Jack Phillips will be auctioned off in the United States disappointing historians who want it brought back to England. The postcard, bearing the image of Titanic, was sent on 6 April 1914 to his sister Elsie reads: “Thanks very much for your letter. Having glorious weather, went to Cowes yesterday. Will write later before we sail.” Alison Pattison of the Godalming Museum says:”The story of Jack Phillips is one which gains a lot of interest locally and of course if money was no object we would be absolutely delighted to have it here in Godalming. However, we simply don’t have the budget for things like this, so purchases have to be made using grants, or more usually we receive items donated from collectors.”
Source: Titanic Hero’s Postcard ‘Should Be Returned To Godalming(25 April 2014,Get Surrey)


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Titanic News: Ballard To Speak At Museum, Titanic Memorial Garden in Cobh, Southampton Cemetery Walk, and Malaysia Airliner Possibly Deeper Than Titanic

1. The Marine Museum in Fall River will have a fund raiser that will feature a Titanic themed buffet followed by a presentation by Robert Ballard, co-discoverer of Titanic. The event will take place on 2 May and costs $125 for members, $150 for non-members, and is limited to 200 people. Tickets can be purchased by calling 508-674-3533 or at the Marine Museum in Fall River, MA.
Source:Titanic Discoverer Ballard To Speak At Museum (7 April 2014,The Herald News)

2.Titanic Memorial Garden To Open In Cobh(7 April 2014,Irish Examiner)
A special memorial garden is to be opened in the Titanic’s last port of call to commemorate the 123 people who boarded tenders onto the ill-fated liner. At 3pm this Friday, the memorial garden will be officially opened in Cobh, Co Cork — 102 years to the day after the Titanic anchored in the harbour. “The focal point of the garden is a glass memorial wall overlooking the final anchorage of Titanic onto which the names of the 123 passengers that boarded her in what was then known as at Queenstown are inscribed,” Hendrick Verwey, chairman of Cobh Tourism, said.

3. Southampton Cemetery Walks Will Remember Loss Of Titanic(8 April 2014,Daily Echo)
A series of walks will be held in Southampton to remember the loss of the Titanic. Friends of the Southampton Old Cemetery will be holding the walks this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, starting from the main gates at the end of Cemetery Road. Walkers will be guided around graves with family inscriptions relating to the loss of the White Star Line vessel.

4. Malaysia Airliner: ‘Best Lead Yet’ As Possible Black Box Signal Is Picked Up Deeper Than The Titanic(7 April 2014, Mirror Online)
Salvage teams hunting for the plane’s black box devices have picked up signals from 14,764 feet below the surface of the southern Indian Ocean. So-called “pings” have been detected 1,650km off the coast of Perth, Australia, at a depth of 4,500m. When the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on 14th April 1912 it finally rested 12,500ft beneath the Atlantic ocean. The depth will pose difficulties for salvage teams using the latest state of the art technology to locate the black boxes. There is little wonder as to why the area in the southern Indian Ocean is called the “loneliest place on earth”. One of the devices being used to try and fix the point of location of the two black boxes, the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, is the Bluefin 21. The 21 foot long robotic underwater vehicle which has a depth limit of 14,763 ft (4,500M) meaning it will be pushed to the very limit of its capabilities.


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Bob Ballard Weighs In On Missing Passenger Jet

Photo:Wikipedia
Photo:Wikipedia

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 turnto10.com 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, turnto10.com)

 

Friday Titanic Newswrap

1. Hartley Violin Update
Wallace Hartley's ViolinWallace Hartley’s violin will make one last public display before its date with auctioneer Henry Aldridge & Son on 19 Oct. The violin will be going to his hometown (Dewsbury, UK) and on display for one day only on Monday, October 14 in the town hall. A vintage tea room with period music will be setup as well.
Source: Wallace Hartley’s Titanic Violin To Return Home To Dewsbury(1 Oct 2013, Dewsbury Reporter)

2. Rory Golden, who has been on two dives to Titanic, will be giving two talks at the former Harland & Wolff Drawing Office about his experiences diving to Titanic. The first one is scheduled for 17 Oct and the second on 18 Oct. The second talk will include Ralph White, the cameraman who captured the first images of the ship. Full details are available at Titanic Belfast.
Source: Up Close And Personal With Titanic, By The Irishman Who Has Dived The Wreck Twice(2 Oct 2013, Belfast Telegraph)

Photo:Wikipedia
Photo:Wikipedia

3. Robert Ballard has begun an expedition to investigate major faults and underwater volcanoes in the northern and eastern Caribbean reports The Associated Press. Ballard is overseeing 31 scientists who hope the information they collect will help when natural disasters strike. Remote controlled vehicles will be used to explore the faults and underwater formations.
Source:Titanic Discoverer To Explore Caribbean Faults, Volcanoes(3 Oct 2013, WTVQ)

Saturday Titanic Newswrap

Photo courtesy George Behe
Photo courtesy George Behe

1.Titanic II Update: Model testing for Titanic II will begin next month at Hamburg Ship Model Basin in Germany. According to Marinelink: “A 9.3m wooden model of Titanic II will be put through resistance and powering tests in a 300m long tank at HSVA’s Hamburg facilities in mid-September.”
Source:Titanic II Model Tank Testing To Be In Germany(23 Aug 2013,Marinelink.com)

2. Famed underwater explorer Robert Ballard is exploring the Cayman Trough, the deepest part of the Caribbean reports AP.  The trough is at least  25,000 feet deep and the scientists aboard Nautilus hope organisms collected will help understand how life evolves on other worlds According to the news report, they have “captured a dumbo octopus, named for its two ear-like fins; a sea cucumber with an unidentified appendage; and various invertebrates living around hydrothermal vents that can reach temperatures of more than 400 Celsius (752 Fahrenheit).” They are also studying underwater earthslides to determine frequency and magnitude that causes tsunamis.The Nautilus is scheduled to return to port in September to avoid hurricanes and then heads to Puerto Rico in October.
Source:Explorer Who Discovered Titanic Wreck Now Investigating Deepest Trough In Caribbean Sea(22 Aug 2013,AP)

3. Here is a sneak peek of Titanic’s Final Mystery to be shown on Smithsonian Channel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdbnAyeUjt8

Sunday Titanic News

Happy Sunday
Happy Sunday

1.Update on recovered Titanic plaque
A long lost memorial plaque to Titanic musicians that was found in a scrapyard in Naples, Florida has been rededicated at Titanic The Experience this past Thursday and is on display. Doug Turner, who bought the plaque for $138, discovered it had been commissioned in 1912 by Musical Mutual Protective Union and had been in the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. It then disappeared and all attempts to locate it were unsuccessful. Apparently it ended in at the scrapyard through a construction worker who sold it to them while heading down to Miami.

The plaque has a sculpting of a muse, lyre, a small iceberg, and the first four musical bars of Nearer My God To Thee. All eight musicians who perished are listed. It will be on display at Titanic Experience for six months.

Source: Titanic Experience Rededicates Musicians Plaque Honoring Those On Doomed Ship(15 Aug 2013,Orlando Sentinel)

2. Lucky 16-Year Old Joins Ballard On Week Long Expedition
C.B.Wren, a 16-year old sophomore at Augusta Preparatory Day School, was chosen by National Eagle Scout Association to represent the Boy Scouts aboard Ballard’s exploration vessel Nautilus. Wren joins other students and educators for the week long exploration of Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

Source: Augusta Prep Student On Expedition With Titanic Discoverer(15 Aug 2013,Augusta Chronicle)

3. Okay you have heard the joke “the fish was this big….” but this one is likely for real according to the Huffington Post. Marco Liebenow was fishing off the coast of Norway where he caught a 515 pound halibut in July. 515 pounds is a lot of fish and you just cannot reel it in like a normal fish. It had to be dragged back to harbor alongside the schooner. The current world record is 459 pounds for a Pacific halibut caught in 1996 in Alaska. The International Game Fishing Association will have to officially determine it’s a record holder. So what do you do with a 515 halibut? That is a lot of fish and chips!
Source:515-Pound Halibut Caught By Marco Leibenow Near Norway May Be World Record(17 Aug 2013, Huffington Post)

Real Science:New Robot Advances Underwater Research

With all the talk of Titanic II lately, it is forgotten there are still important things being done to advance underwater exploration. Like at the University of Delaware where they are testing a small Remotely Operated Vehicle. According to The Review,the ROV “has a front camera, a frontward high definition camera, a rear camera and sonar capabilities and is controlled by a joystick, which moves it to the front, back and side to side, while other buttons control the angle of the machine and cameras. The robot requires additional work for the sonar software and incoming data collection, as he says other people are required for such operations.”

And yes there is a Titanic connection of sorts (aside from the obvious ROV use). This ROV will be used in July to locate shipwrecks off Cape Henlopen in Delaware and then head off to the Aegean near Turkey to work with Robert Ballard.

Source: New Robot Advances Underwater Research (4 Mar 2013,The Review)

Titanic News For 14 Dec 2012

1. Express & Star (UK) is reporting a new memorial stone for Titanic cellist John Wesley Woodward, who perished when Titanic went down in 1912, has been put up in his honor. Wesley was from West Bromwich and his memorial stone had stood in Heath Lane Cemetery for decades. However the sandstone memorial had become weathered with age and two Black Country residents feared it would crumble, so they began seeking funds to replace it. Donations from local groups helped raise £900 to replace the stone. A ceremony was recently held to mark its unveiling.

Source: Express & Star, New Memorial Stone For West Bromwich Cellist On Titanic, 12 Dec 2012

2. Douglas Main, writing for OurAmazingPlanet.com, recently wrote of his experience visiting Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition at Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. One of the features he liked was that you got to know some prominent passengers. He was also surprised to learn the large number of second and third class passengers coming to America for a better life.

Source: Our Amazing Planet, Titanic Exhibit Gives Life To Ship’s Passengers, 12 Dec 2012

3. Robert Ballard believes he has found evidence that the Biblical story of a global flood may have some basis in fact. He has found an ancient shoreline 400 feet below the surface of the Black Sea. Pottery, man-made structures, and possibly an ancient shipwreck with human bones inside. His theory is that Earth was covered in ice 12,000 years ago and that when it started melting floods occurred. Carbon dating of shells from the shoreline indicates the Black Sea flood, which he calls the mother of all floods since that land stayed under water, was around 5,000BC.

Source: Newser, Scientist Who Found Titanic: Biblical Flood Probably Real, 11 Dec 2012

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Bob Ballard Thanks Crew For Restoring His Power

World famous ocean explorer and co-discoverer of Titanic was recently without power at his Connecticut home thanks to a nor’easter. When a crew from Greenville Utilities arrived in his neighborhood, Ballard came out and introduced himself. He also mentioned he discovered Titanic.

“He came out and said, ‘I’m Bob Ballard and I discovered the Titanic,'” said Jeff Byrd, electric distribution engineer for Greenville Utilities. “He said several crews had already looked at his outage and left during the week.”

Apparently Connecticut Light and Power had come out to look the area over and decided they lacked the proper equipment. When they had completed work and restored power to the area, they all got free National Geographic DVD’s of his latest project.

Team members said the world-famous explorer was gracious, and appreciative that the North Carolina crew got the job done.

Once again Titanic finds its way into the news without having to be a cliche.

Source: WCTI12.com, Greenville Crew Helps World-Famous Titanic Explorer, 10 Nov 2012


Titanic Musings-Premiere Revenues Up, Ballard Helps Out Turkey, Lusitania Questions, and MasterChef

Titanic Musings
18 Jul 2012

Take some time off to come back to find lots of news stories to sift through! Actually it was not that bad since I filter out a lot of stories that have no bearing to Titanic at all. Some just mention Titanic as a descriptive like “it was a match of titans” or it was a “Titanic event. ” Of course there are the usual cliches like the infamous “rearranging desk chairs” that seem never to go out of style. Pity that politicians just seem to love to use Titanic. It crosses borders and parties as well.

Over at Premier Exhibitions, the word seems to be silence. No word on what is going except that negotiations are continuing regarding the artifact sale. They got title to the salvaged artifacts but can only sell it as one piece limiting sales to only mega corporations, museums or consortiums with very deep pockets, or wealthy oil princes in the Middle East. Perhaps China will buy it up and make it a tourist attraction. Stranger things have happened.

Premiere Exhibitions reported that its profits are up for the first three months that ended 31 May. They report a 9 percent jump resulting in $1.2 million or 2 cents a share.  Last year at the same time it was $1.1 million and 2 cents a share. Overall revenues (before expenses) were up 19 percent to $11.5 million from $9.7 million. Their acquisition of Arts and Exhibitions International LLC–which has King Tut II, Cleopatra and Real Pirates (and others) as part of its programs–added to the bottom line. Ticket prices however went down during the period (no doubt to attract people) by 7.6 percent.

Titanic II appears to be rolling along. Still in the planning stages (actual construction has not yet started) but Clive Palmer already has said he will likely exclude everyone but first class passengers from its casino. He says he did not want people not able to lose money to go there. Nice sentiments but Las Vegas has no such qualms. As long as your money is good (and not one their list of banned people) you can gamble as you wish. Some people do get foolish and gamble too much. There are some who do get addicted to gambling but that is a special category. And those people, like alcoholics, need counseling to deal with this problem. Palmer likes to remind that Titanic II will have all the latest in safety technologies, be wider than the original for stability, and offer nice amenities. Hopefully they will not serve Titanic shaped ice cubes in the bars.

Robert Ballard has been in the news recently. The Turkish government asked him to assist in locating the downed fighter craft shot down by Syria. Since his ship was docked in Turkey already for an expedition, he went out and located it in Syrian waters. Still up for debate is whether the Syrians had any legal right to shot it down (if it was in their airspace they will claim they had the right while Turkey says they did not). Ballard’s ship Nautilus is exploring the Black and Mediterranean seas this summer looking for Byzantine era ships and to observe marine life. You can check out their progress at www.nautiluslive.org.

An article in the Daily Mail once again asks the question whether or not Lusitania was carrying illegal munitions that contributed to its sinking in 1915. On 7 May 1915, a German submarine torpedoed the liner which sank rapidly taking 1,198 lives. Controversy swirled from the very beginning because there were two explosions. One was the torpedo and the other no can ascertain for sure. Some speculate it was munitions for the war in Europe put on board illegally, others that it was coal that ignited as a result of the torpedo. Greg Bemis, who is co-owner of the wreck and believes that it went down as result of illegal munitions, is conducting dives to the wreck to determine what happened. The wreck lies 300 feet down off the coast of Ireland near Cobh (Titanic docked there in 1912 but it was Queenstown then). The water is murky making it hard to see and cutting into the hull takes time. Weather of course makes it difficult. All of this is for a documentary that will reveal what they found.

It was a major news story back in 1915. Europe was at war with England/France/Russia on one side vs. Germany/Austria/Turkey on the other. Lusitania was a civilian vessel and many Americans were aboard. The German embassy had placed notices in newspapers warning such ships were subject to attack. The German policy of unrestricted submarine warfare allowed them to target military and civilian vessels of its enemies. Its sinking angered America and President Wilson. However it did not lead to American entry into the war (that came in 1918 thanks to the infamous Zimmerman Telegram). Like people who believe President Roosevelt knowingly allowed the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor on 7 Dec 1941, there are those who argue the same for Lusitania. They argue the British (in particular Churchill) wanted the Americans in the war and put the illegal munitions on the ship knowing the Germans would get the blame when they torpedoed her. No real proof exists (though lots have been written to support it) that is the case.  A lot of post-World War I history is written from the point of view, that America was sucked into that war by the British and that Lusitania was part of it.

Turning away from Titanic, I have been watching MasterChef(Fox-USA). I like this show. Unlike the other shows (except maybe for Food Network Food Star) all of the participants are amateurs and mostly home cooks. A few have some restaurant experience as food runners, servers, burger flippers, or breakfast serving, but most learned from just doing it at home sometimes with their parents or others around them. What is surprising is the creativeness and quality of dishes presented. The judges–Joe Bastianich, Graham Elliot, and Gordon Ramsey–put the aspiring MasterChefs through a lot of hurdles to get the best of the best. Along the way you get interesting challenges and personalities. This season has also seen lots of changes. Obviously aware that shows like these become predictable, they have chosen to shake things up to make it less so. For instance, usually at the end of a mystery box challenge they call down the three best they want to try. However at the first one, the three they called down were judged by them (they walk around and taste the dishes and talk with the cheftestants) to be the worst. They also have mixed up the elimination challenges by having the winner select who cooks what in that challenge. It adds a lot more stress and strategy. Choose right and you might send home someone who was a competitor. On the other hand, you might end up helping the very people you want to eliminate as Ryan found out to his embarrassment. Sadly some of the challenges send favorites away like Josh (who really excelled in most challenges but the egg pressure test was his doom). Christine, who is blind, has proved to be very creative in her dishes despite an obvious impediment.

And it is never certain who wins or loses. For instance, Ryan was pleased to think that Monti had screwed it up by using canned crab to make scotch eggs. At first Gordon thought she was nuts but upon tasting realized it was delicious. Tali, never known for anything particularly great, did produce a delicious strawberry shortcake while Becky, a front runner, produced a trifle that looked beautiful but was very bad. So the show keeps you guessing as to whether the people you think are good will in fact cook well to survive to the next round. The worst offenders are easy to spot. Generally they serve undercooked food, miss key components required, or poorly executed dishes. Or you do something totally bizarre like baking cheddar cheese on top of your apple pie or putting unthinkable combinations in risotto. You know how bad it is when Joe takes your dish and tosses it into the trash. Your only hope is someone has done worse (and that has happened). Give MasterChef a watch. I think you will like it.

Sources:
1.Businessweek, Premier Exhibitions 1Q Profit Up, Attendance Rises, 12 Jul 2012

2. Herald Sun, Clive Palmer reveals detailed plans for Titanic II,17 Jul 2012

3. Washington Post, As Titanic’s Discoverer Does Research At Sea, Armchair Explorers Can Watch Online, 16 Jul 2012

4. Daily Mail,Was The Lusitania Our War Crime: 1198 Passengers Died When The Liner Sank, 13 Jul 2012

 

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