October 23rd, 2013
When I read last year about Australian billionaire Clive Palmer's plans to build a new Titanic, I somehow failed to note the biggest hostage to fortune of all:
The Titanic II will also sail the seas for real, with a spokesman for Palmer's Blue Star Line promising that "It will be the most safe cruise ship in the world when it launches." How can Palmer be sure? "Of course it will sink if you put a hole in it, but it's not going to be designed with a hole in," he's said. "It's going to be designed so it won't sink and it'll be designed as a modern ship with all the latest technology to ensure that that doesn't happen." Period costumes will also be provided to help set the mood for passengers.
The reason this story has resurfaced is that Palmer has announced plans to make a feature film to coincide with the ship's 2016 launch:
"In the third quarter of next year, we'll announce broader details about the new movie – a director, stars," he told the Sunshine Coast Daily. "It will be about Titanic II's first voyage. It will be a bit of a love story, so bring a hankie along. It's going to be bigger than the first Titanic from James Cameron. It's going to bring people together from China, Europe, the U.S. and Australia. It's going to bring about more peaceful co-operation and concentrate on what brings us together rather than what divides us."
How amazing would it be if the director could persuade Kate Winslet to star. At least this time she wouldn't have to spend weeks up to her neck in a giant water tank being shouted at by Jim Cameron.
May 6th, 2013
Another time-lapse sequence, this time of the US National Science Foundation's icebreaker the Nathaniel B. Palmer, traveling through the Ross Sea in Antarctica. Pink ice. Blue ice. Penguins. What more could you ask for?
July 31st, 2012
Things I learned online today:
[Shipwreck mortality study via The Morning News, news of Jonathan Hardy's death via MetaFilter]
February 11th, 2012
Adam Curtis recounts the story of how the cruise ship industry adapted to the era of mass leisure travel:
On many ships thousands of workers below deck work often 7 days a week, sometimes for fourteen hours a day. They are paid two to three dollars a day – depending entirely on tips to earn a living wage. The work most of them are asked to do on their shifts is impossible for one person to complete, so they in turn have to pay others to help them.
And a weird underground economy often results.
In his history of the industry, Kristoffer Garin has described how many of the workers also have to pay bribes to others elsewhere in the complex hierarchy of the ship – waiters have to bribe the cooks to make sure the food is hot, the cabin cleaners have to bribe the laundry chief to get clean sheets on time.
September 7th, 2010
This CCTV footage from the interior of a cruise ship in heavy seas is astonishing.
I think much of the impact is because the CCTV camera offers a fixed view of the action. When you see this sort of thing simulated in a film or TV drama the camera's field of vision tends to move around, be it to enhance the sense of turmoil or to direct the viewer's attention to what a character is doing. Here the camera is just calmly looking on as people and things slide on by … and back again … and then by again. It's simultaneously hilarious and horrifying.
January 26th, 2009
This hydrofoil, custom-built for a Siberian governor, looks like something out of a Gerry & Sylvia Anderson production.