Urbania | Beneath City Streets

Urbania | Beneath City Streets

From time to time, our work has taken us to and within the deep and dark voids that lie beneath city streets. There, worlds created by people have been lost, but very much exist and require human intervention to explore, examine, and sometimes repair.

In many cases, these bowels of our cities and industrial centers are part of human vitality, bringing us critical utilities and resources, and taking away our waste.

Other times, abandoned space and infrastructure presents unique problems for urban planning and development – and unique opportunities at the very same time.

Ocean Opportunity Inc. has a unique interest in urban exploration, particularly as many of the necessary technologies and techniques to intervene within these spaces are the very platforms that will take us to new ocean depths, and other world that we have yet to discover.

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the smells and the sounds of a day welding in the mud

As hard as the days can be, the entire experience of a days worth of diving in the mud is nothing short of value packed. And after a hard days work, the level of appreciation for having the opportunity is always elevated. This past week’s activities: wet welding. I’ve written about underwater welding a few times, but figure its worth elaborating upon a bit given that it’s fresh, and as I sit here to write I am still suffering in the aftermath. I’ll start by saying that welding is not my strong suit, but it is one of the things I enjoy the most about commercial diving. There are so many subtleties to the process in that it requires a very slow hand, patience, focus,...
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Overpopulation Nation? We need a Sea Station!

Call it one of those quirky fateful twists – as I started up my truck this morning, the local radio was airing an interview with Frank Carini from EcoRI News (my favorite environmental watchdog) which was tackling the controversial subject of overpopulation. I haven’t written about this in some time, so figured that in the spirit of those fearful of what forthcoming environmental policy might look like, this would be as good a time as any to dive deep into the subject. At the surface, at face value, overpopulation is very real. Those of us who have been around for a quarter to a half a century have felt the pressure everyday – just think about something as simple as traffic. It is very obvious...
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Norway’s floating underwater traffic tunnels

Submerged megastructures are exactly what humanity needs to drive our aquatic evolution, and it’s great that some folks are thinking, and planning, that way. Recent news from Norway has revealed ambitious plans for submerged tunnels that allow traffic to cross its fjords, without an obtrusive bridge hopping from land. Now, it goes without saying that such a submerged structure is incredibly complicated to design, let alone install. On the design front, the structure itself must tolerate the stress that comes with pressure at depth, and must combat the aquatic elements – tidal surge, waves, currents, cold temperatures, and biofouling An ambitious new plan in Norway would install a series of “submerged floating bridges” to help travelers easily cross the nation’s many fjords. At present, the...
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Christmas Trees and the Environmentalists Dilemma

Tis the season – we highly complex hominids decide it’s a good idea to put a pine tree in our homes despite warnings of fire hazards, sap all over the furniture, and pine needles throughout the house until springtime… So, what’s this absurdity all about? Well, there are stories that take us back over a thousand years, but according a very little bit of web research, it seems the first trees made it inside the house in the16th century by German preacher Martin Luther. According to the story, one night before Christmas, he was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the tree branches. He went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left...
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bah humbug to our failed state

‘Tis the season and that time of year, where the consumerism that now resides deeply embedded within our American heritage is at the forefront and is cause for nothing short of hysteria and pandemonium on the streets. Sounds like a bad movie but it’s actually just the Christmas shopping season. Bah humbug I say to that! I am all for Christmas cheer, and the camaraderie that comes with holiday festivities. And naturally, especially having kids, its important to advocate good will. But, every year, the little grinch within makes me just a little more nauseated by the consumer chaos…it just isn’t supposed to be like this. This post was inspired by a recent visit to the mall, which is among my least favorite places on...
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Oak Island | shedding some light on the value of discovery based science

I am first to admit that I stayed up late last night to take in another new episode of History Channel’s Oak Island. Oak Island itself is fascinating – ranking up there with the Pyramids, crop circles, the Bermuda Triangle, ancient alien theory, Atlantis, ‘the Flood’, and so on. Any of these taboo “science” topics are hot in their ability to capture public attention, but are considered far out there enough to yet justify significant attention from the hard science community – at least their many conspiracy or off-center theories. I certainly cannot sum up the Oak Island mystery here in one Blog post, so am simply going to use the excitement behind the television show as an excuse to shed light on the value of...
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The a[l]lure of an Aquarium on Ice?

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all… A Japanese theme park tried to draw visitors by freezing 5,000 fish beneath its ice rink, but a public outcry forced it to close the attraction after just two weeks. Source: Aquarium on Ice, a Lure for Skaters in Japan, Appalls Them Instead – NYTimes.com From an artistic perspective, this is certainly creative. The controversy lies with where the animals came from – were they purposefully harvested for this exhibit, bycatch, purchased from a market, other? On one hand I hear the environmentalists loud and clear in that this is nothing short of an atrocity and disrespect for nature. On the other hand, if carefully curated, this is a unique presentation of the aquatic realm for public...
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a lot to digest…

Here in the US, consumerism has evolved to reach scales of excess that most cannot even imagine. Most people go about their day, making trash, flushing toilets, and throwing away food without any second thought of how this post consumer waste is managed. Frankly, once the trash man takes it away, it is out of sight, and out of mind. We ocean enthusiasts can at times be sensitized to images of plastic garbage on coral reefs, a large marine mammals drowned by garbage, and of course bioaccumulation of various toxins within critters higher up the food chain. The intrinsic beauty of the ocean is a stark contrast to these issues of pollution and waste, so it certainly makes for a compelling story. Today, I got...
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