The general public’s awareness of maritime continues to be elusive. People without exposure to maritime have a vague notion of what ships do, but the knowledge is almost always superficial. Maritime is complex and therefore it takes a large investment to become deeply familiar with the dynamics of maritime in all its facets.
This made me wonder if it would be possible to make a list of 10 books that provides a strong introduction to maritime. These are not the 10 best maritime books, but rather a collection of books that contain a large part of the information that provides the reader with an understanding of the length, breadth, dynamics and human aspects of maritime. They are not listed in order of quality or importance, but rather in a roughly chronological fashion. While there may be fictitious characters or events in some of these books, the maritime details in these books all are true and correct and thereby are great sources for acquiring real maritime knowledge.
Today's Throwback Thursday is one of the most famous shipboard fires, and is especially well-known in our area because the vessel was beached for several months in Asbury Park, New Jersey, not far from our current headquarters. While the SS Morro Castle disaster of 1934 tragically killed 137 passengers, it directly resulted in numerous shipboard fire safety improvements (including fire alarms, improved fire drills, and the use of fire retardant materials), saving countless lives in the future. Martin & Ottaway attended at the vessel on September 10, 1934 - almost 80 years ago - to determine the extent of damage. Our field survey now hangs in the office:
The year is not quite over, but, since I wrote a 2012 top 10 Maritime Things blog, I now feel somewhat driven to think about a 2013 top 10. Like last year, the subjects I am picking may not be entirely 2013 subjects, but they certainly came to the fore to me in this year.
So here it goes in no particular order of preference:
1. MARITIME STEM
STEM education, which stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math education is the really big thing in education in the United States in 2013. Incredible amounts of money are spent to figure out ways to teach STEM more effectively. Meanwhile some schools and educators are shrugging their shoulders about STEM because they already know how to do it and are not struggling at all. Those schools are the maritime high schools and maritime academies. Those schools have developed seamless programs that integrate STEM in the normal course of the day simply by placing the students in a maritime setting. Since maritime education is deeply cultural it actually has already driven past the STEM concept and more accurately operates in the STEMPHLA arena where Science Technology Engineering and Math are tightly integrated with Philosophy, History, Language and Arts education. read more »
110 years after the first powered flight, I revisited Kitty Hawk with my college roommate John Mitchell and our wives. In the 31 years since my last visit, the surrounding area had become much more urbanized, but the park itself still tasted like that modest test facility that the Wright brothers had put together in the dunes.
However, 31 years of engineering experience, often related to engineering failures in all its phantasmagorical perturbations, left me with an entirely different appreciation of the Wright brothers. read more »