HMS Bounty

The HMS Bounty, a 180-foot sailboat, is shown submerged in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Sandy approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C., on Oct. 29. Of the 16-person crew, the Coast Guard rescued 14, recovered a woman and is searching for the captain of the vessel. (US Coast Guard via Reuters)

via The Big Picture. The original HMS Bounty is somewhere underwater here, at Bounty Bay, Pitcairn Island.

Luis Marden discovered the remains of Bounty in January 1957. After spotting remains of the rudder (which had been found in 1933 by Parkin Christian, and is still displayed in the Fiji Museum in Suva), he persuaded his editors and writers to let him dive off Pitcairn Island, where the rudder had been found. Despite the warnings of one islander – “Man, you gwen be dead as a hatchet!” – Marden dove for several days in the dangerous swells near the island, and found the remains of the fabled ship: a rudder pin, nails, a ships boat oarlock, fittings and a Bountyanchor that he raised…

 Later in life, Marden wore cuff linksmade of nails from Bounty.

Charles C. Mann


Reading this great article by Charles C. Mann, one of my faves.

About 75,000 years ago, a huge volcano exploded on the island of Sumatra. The biggest blast for several million years, the eruption created Lake Toba, the world’s biggest crater lake, and ejected the equivalent of as much as 3,000 cubic kilometers of rock, enough to cover the District of Columbia in a layer of magma and ash that would reach to the stratosphere. A gigantic plume spread west, enveloping southern Asia in tephra (rock, ash, and dust)… In the long run, the eruption raised Asian soil fertility. In the short term, it was catastrophic. Dust hid the sun for as much as a decade, plunging the earth into a years-long winter accompanied by widespread drought….

At about this time, many geneticists believe, Homo sapiens’numbers shrank dramatically, perhaps to a few thousand people—the size of a big urban high school.

Talking about how fast bacteria can grow:

The cells in the time-lapse video seemed to shiver and boil, doubling in number every few seconds, colonies exploding out until the mass of bacteria filled the screen. In just thirty-six hours, she said, this single bacterium could cover the entire planet in a foot-deep layer of single-celled ooze. Twelve hours after that, it would create a living ball of bacteria the size of the earth.

On behavioral changes by humanity:

To get Crusoe on his unlucky voyage, Defoe made him an officer on a slave ship, transporting captured Africans to South America. Today, no writer would make a slave seller the admirable hero of a novel. But in 1720, when Defoe published Robinson Crusoe, no readers said boo about Crusoe’s occupation, because slavery was the norm from one end of the world to another. Rules and names differed from place to place, but coerced labor was everywhere, building roads, serving aristocrats, and fighting wars. Slaves teemed in the Ottoman Empire, Mughal India, and Ming China. Unfree hands were less common in continental Europe, but Portugal, Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands happily exploited slaves by the million in their American colonies. Few protests were heard; slavery had been part of the fabric of life since the code of Hammurabi…

Even as the industrial North and agricultural South warred over the treatment of Africans, they regarded women identically: in neither half of the nation could they attend college, have a bank account, or own property. Equally confining were women’s lives in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Nowadays women are the majority of U.S. college students, the majority of the workforce, and the majority of voters.

Photo is of Lake Toba, I found it here.  

This guy


Chicken of the woods

Learning about laetiporous thanks to this article, “Cape Cod mushroom fan hit jackpot while foraging,” sent to us by Chestnut Hill office.  Three good sentences from the article:

Ian Sullivan saw the giant mushroom and rejoiced. There would be soup that night. 

“It’s fun for them to find something that is big and bright orange growing in the woods.”
“You have to think like a mushroom,” said Sullivan.
And here is a laetiporous prepared dish:

Train Dreams

One of Grainier’s last jobs was to get up the Yaak River Road to the saloon at the logging village of Sylvanite, in the hills above which a lone prospector had blown himself up in his shack while trying to thaw out frozen dynamite on his stove.  The man lay out on the bartop, alive and talking, sipping free whiskey and praising his dog…

Much that was astonishing was told of the dogs in the Panhandle and along the Kootenai River, tales of rescues, tricks, feats of supercanine intelligence and humanlike understanding.


Seven Psychopaths

Mickey Rourke dropped out of The Expendables 2 to star in the film. However, he later dropped out of Seven Psychopaths after having disagreements with [Martin] McDonagh, calling him a “jerk-off.”

George McGovern

Reading obituaries of this guy, who seemed great and tragic:

After leaving the Senate, McGovern held a number of visiting professorships and opened a motel in Stratford Connecticut — which struggled for a few years before going bankrupt. He was briefly and unsuccessfully involved in the 1984 Democratic primaries, his campaign notable for a speech in which he explained to party members why he needed their vote: “I didn’t have a job. My apartment burned down and I had a real nice dog but he died. If you want to house the homeless and comfort the afflicted, vote for me. I am one of these eight candidates who really does need that house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Awhile ago an English friend suggested that the Telegraph has the best obituaries.  From there I learned:

his 30th [mission as a bomber pilot] almost proved fatal when his aircraft was badly damaged over Vienna and his navigator killed. McGovern managed, however, to nurse the bomber away from the conflict zone to make a crash-landing on the island of Vis in the Adriatic.

Here is Vis (the town of Komiža, to be specific):

In his temperament (wise, good-humored) and his background (professor, considered becoming a minister) McGovern seems like a bit of a real life President Bartlet:

Kind of have the feeling that in real life Bartlet too would have only won Massachusetts.

(That top photo is from this great Life set, credited to Bill Eppridge; rest from wiki as us)