March 27, 2012

"James Cameron becomes first solo explorer to reach the deepest point of ocean."

He directed "The Abyss" and "Titanic."Why the obsession with the bottom of the ocean?
“The Jacques Cousteau shows actually got me very excited about the fact that there’s an alien world here on Earth,” he said. “I might not go to an alien world on a spaceship someday — that seemed pretty unlikely. But [the ocean] was a world I could really go to right here on Earth that was as rich and exotic as anything I had imagined from reading these books.”

37 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Sounds like the beginning of a horror movie. Man goes to bottom of Trench. Unleashes something from the deep. Chaos ensues.

Are Debbie Gibson and Tiffany available?

Scott M said...

When I heard he was going to go to the deepest part of the ocean, I assumed someone else had challenged him to an AGW debate.

Bartender Cabbie said...

He is still a dick

Petunia said...

The ego has landed.

Quaestor said...

Financing deep sea exploration is one thing, and for an über one-percenter like Cameron it's an admirable form of philanthropy -- Heck, there's an unimaginable amount of hard science that needs to be done down there, but it needs to be done by scientists. How ever conversant James Cameron has become with deep research submersibles (Bob Ballard was a technical adviser for "Titanic" so it's likely he picked up a few tidbits) oceanography and marine biology, he still just that -- someone with enough knowledge to pontificate on the subject for 5 minutes on NPR. Deepsea Challenger can only support two people for about 20 hours, ideally a scientist/pilot and another scientist. What NatGeo got for it's partnership with Cameron was half a mission with a scientist/pilot and a tourist.

Quaestor said...

Whoa! Good one, Petunia! Four words and James Cameron is rendered just another fish in a barrel.

Quaestor said...

BTW, "Avatar" sucked.

Scott M said...

The ego has landed.

His ego is a red dwarf compared to Lucas' supernova.

chickenlittle said...

That Cameron was inspired by Cousteau is consistent with a hypothesis that I put out there a couple years ago regarding the Titanic and her sister ship, Britannic: link

Kate Danaher said...

Last laugh goes to Iowahawk...

http://twitter.com/#!/iowahawkblog/status/184384348936613888

Kit said...

I don't know, I guess if you've got the money and the actual toys to get you to the bottom of the ocean...hey, in my book, that's pretty cool.

The rest...well...whatever.

bridgecross said...

I can't help thinking; if he had automated the damn thing, stripped out the life support and pilot space, it would have cost a fraction of what he paid. And it could have stayed down for days, and explored 20 times the area, filming the same HD video. That's the difference between a scientific endeavor and and ego trip.

edutcher said...

"Sea Hunt" had the same effect on me, but I was happy just to go snorkeling.

PS Are we all agreed Petunia takes the thread?

Carnifex said...

I was inspired by Cousteau also. So much so that I became a scuba diver. Absolutely the best feeling I ever had. Like the euphoria I get from drinking, only no hangovers!! No blackouts!! No DUI's!

My best friend tried it, and he like a few others that are unlucky, just could not do it. He tried for an hour, but he could only go down about 12 feet before he would rocket back to the surface. We finally called it quits for him.

I recommend this as a great family friendly sport. Never met a diver with a bad attitude(except me)

As for Cameron, if I had the bucks, I'd do the same thing. I tell my wife that if we win the lottery I'm buying a big boat, and if she wants to come great, but if she doesn't, she can find me somewhere out on the ocean. I'll be back for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I guess it's like addiction, if you don't have it, you'll never know.

Scott M said...

Never met a diver with a bad attitude(except me)

A lot of the divers that work on the underside of barges plying the Mississippi and Ohio rivers are pretty crusty. I've never met a group of people that more reminded me of ARRRR-pirates than those guys.

Quaestor said...

Like the euphoria I get from drinking, only no hangovers!!

Sounds like Carnifex has been diving a bit too deep for 20% O2.

Tibore said...

"Quaestor said...
Financing deep sea exploration is one thing, and for an über one-percenter like Cameron it's an admirable form of philanthropy -- Heck, there's an unimaginable amount of hard science that needs to be done down there, but it needs to be done by scientists..."


Well, part of me wants to agree. But in the end, if he gathers samples, shoots sufficient video, and in the end manages to provide sufficient data for scientists to analyze, it doesn't really make any difference. Astronomers are well used to dealing with remote observation, and I'd imagine deep sea researchers (marine biologists, geologists, etc.) are as well, so this doesn't really bug me in practical terms as much as it does in principle. It'd be nice to have an actual academic researcher at the bottom of the ocean, but it doesn't actually harm science. They still get their data, and someone else ends up taking the risk.

Heck, I'd go so far as to say that it can be argued as being better this way. You don't actually need the degreed researcher on the bottom of the ocean; the analysis comes afterwards, and probably occurs on dry land. That's actually where the science is done: In an office or lab while poring over the data. So if this encourages more super-rich playboys to go deep diving to provide data for the researchers, it's better in the end. Marine biology/marine geology/general oceanography doesn't really require the scientist to be down there to do the research firsthand, and if the rich playboys end up generating more data for those researchers, it's just simply better in the end for science.

Again, though, I do agree that in principle it would be nice to have an academic in the tube. Just to drive home the fact that the researchers can go there, even if they're not actually, physically needed down there.

Synova said...

This makes me crabby, but I'm not really sure why.

Is it because I want to go instead? Perhaps, just a little bit.

Mostly, I *think* it's because he's a wealthy scold. Makes me think of Drew Barrymore shitting in the rain forest. (Though I actually had a little bit of sympathy for her.)

He can go hang out with painted aboriginals (who undoubtedly put the paint on in his honor and left their iPod's in their blue jeans) and he can't be honest about that, about doing it because he *could* and because it's fun and exciting and adventure. Noooooo... he's saving the planet.

The same will be true about this. Not, OMG this is soooo awesome and cool and gosh-wow, and I get to have *fun* because I am very rich. Very. Very. Rich.

It's going to be presented as duty, as saving the planet, as a service of sorts.

And if it's a service, yes, he should have just paid for a scientist to make the trek.

I've got nothing against self-indulgence or wealth. But a person should be honest about it.

deborah said...

Petunia ftw.

Revenant said...

That's the difference between a scientific endeavor and and ego trip.

Cameron certainly has more than his fair share of ego, but I don't think it is accurate to call this an ego trip.

The guy is absolutely filthy rich and wanted to do this in person. That's not ego -- that's just "having fun".

Joe Schmoe said...

I live in sort of a cave so I haven't been subjected to Cameron's moralizing. I haven't seen Avatar just because we've been too busy. Any movies I've seen have been children's movies.

That said, I don't care who goes to the bottom of the ocean. It's a place ripe for exploration. The BBC has a nice documentary on really deep sea aquatic life, and it's really amazing stuff. I think it's as useful and necessary as space exploration, and it's not happening through the usual scientific channels. So good for him.

I agree with Tibore that as long as he collects samples, it needn't be a scientist-only expedition. In fact, he may be the best person for the job with his extensive cinematic experience. Undoubtedly the 3D video that he captured for the 5+ hours down there will be the biggest gold mine of the whole expedition.

I just hope I don't have to go to some IMAX theater at a Disney aquarium and pay $20/head to see it. I hope there's a free TV version of it.

Larry J said...

Cameron decided to use his own money to build the submarine and to make the first trip himself. If you don't like how he spends his own money, tough. Some people have a lot of gall telling others how they should spend their own money. Kiss off.

The vehicle will likely make many more trips to the deep ocean (4 times as many men have been to the moon compared to the Challenger Deep).

As for "Avatar", it's "Dances with Wolves" in space.

Scott M said...

As for "Avatar", it's "Dances with Wolves" in space.

Technically, it's "Dances With Wolves" on a moon orbiting a gas giant. But who's keeping track?

Joe Schmoe said...

So far he hasn't released any pictures from the trench. He claims not to have seen very much aquatic life. Wonder what they're waiting for? Either it could be some spectacular footage, or it could be another Al Capone's vault.

Scott M said...

Honestly...I don't who you are, it takes stones the size of grapefruit to make that dive. There is a seven mile column of water on top of you. You're about as isolated as it's possible to be without leaving the planet.

Joe Schmoe said...

Those guys were pretty hardcore in 1960. A Navy captain made it to Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, and an Air Force captain skydived from almost 103,000 feet above ground. It's pretty amazing to me that nobody else has done those things until now.

leslyn said...

...And, just for hoots and giggles, "Westboro teacher" commented on the story:

"James Cameron will suffer, god never allowed for man to explore the depths of the ocean. We cannot go there without satanistic technology FOR A REASON..." http://news.yahoo.com/james-cameron-reaches-deepest-spot-earth-223416087.html

"Satanistic technology." (It was one of those little submarine thingys.) Who knew? But now that I think about it, if God had wanted us to go ocean-diving, he'd have given us flippers and gills. Or at least a handy whale to climb into for a religious experience.

chickenlittle said...

I'm detecting lots of resentment in this thread from unusual places.

Scott M said...

I'm detecting lots of resentment in this thread from unusual places.

Not me. I'm envious of the guy's machismo. I had to sit in an MRI for 40 minutes a couple weeks back and hated it...and that was without implosion-level pressure just inches away from me.

leslyn said...

"I'm detecting lots of resentment in this thread from unusual places."

Only from the usual suspects.

RonF said...

Did he see Osama when he was down there?

Synova said...

Even if it's not a joke and it's really one of Fred Phelps's crew, at what point does that become relevant to anyone else on the planet whatsoever?

Or funny?

I was thinking today about how anti-science the left is. Sure, religious sorts have creationism, God created the world and people, but does that impact us negatively? Not at all. Not even trivially, compared to the harm done by anti-science superstition about GM foods or radiating fresh fruits or vegetables, DDT, immunizations, anti-nuke hysteria, anti-mining hysteria, Malthusian bitter-clinging in the face of human fertility nearly bottoming out in the West... anti-science, anti-progress, anti-human.

leslyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leslyn said...

?? Out of what right field did that come, Synova??

Synova said...

It came out of the left-field where a moronic statement by someone pretending to be related to Phelps is either cogent or funny.

And the thought that (supposedly) religious sorts are worried about satanic technology, related to the real world where it's the supposed rational non-religious left that is the most anti-science and anti-progress.

In order to be *funny* a ha-ha about satanic technology or flippers and gills has to have some clever resonance with truth.

leslyn said...

Goodness. You make a lot of assumptions from which you draw opinions (not even non-fact-based conclusions).

So. Now that I've made a direct statement about the cause-and-effect of your reasoning:

Let the ripping begin.

Synova said...

I don't know that I made any claims other than that someone pretending to be related to Phelps isn't funny and even if it wasn't a joker and really was a Phelpsoid, it still doesn't have anything to do with anything. Phelps and his lot can hardly be said to be relevant in any manner to any other existing world view or mindset.

Humor relies on a juxtaposition of conflicting, but not conflicting, elements. An unexpected divergence or sudden intersection of one unexpected thing with another.

Phelps doesn't intersect with anything, thus no ha-ha.

So, yes, I suppose I did just sort of make up what I figured *must* have been the point, since I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that there was a point, which could only be nonsense about other people who prefer faith over science. Unless it really was totally random?

But I've been thinking about who is anti-science quite a bit lately. Synchronicity, you know. And the various shibboleths of the left are anti-science to an incredible degree. Also, the university newspaper had a political cartoon decrying GM chili peppers, "greed" is even getting our *gasp* red and green! Oh noes! Because growing more food is *bad* greedy horrible evil. EVIL! Evil greedy people want to grow more food.

So, I was already in left field, a left field full of GM chili peppers and liberal activists scared of science and progress and and feeding people and wanting us all to scrape along in primitive splendor for fear someone might make some money.