When I started Martin’s Marine Engineering Page – www.dieselduck.net in what will be ten year ago next month, there wasn’t any real sources of information online – real maritime content. I use to laugh at myself when “the best marine website” where nothing more than a series of links to other website which just listed more links to the same marine websites. That’s why I was never a really big fan of the “link page” concept, although this was always considered a staple of every website. Instead I preferred to focus on real accessible resource not just links.
Things improved with the arrival of search engines and catalogs, and took a leap forward when Google came online. I am not sure what the future holds, but one can certainly say that Wikipedia is a pretty darn big step in the evolution towards a more accessible way of learning. In its perfect form, I can see that over time, website like www.dieselduck.net will be obsolete, since the information about marine industry and its processes is so vast and ever changing, it is very difficult for one organization to keep tabs on it. I am a big fan of the project and laud the idea and how it has changed the way I seek information on a daily basis. Granted, it is not perfect, but being a living document makes it a formidable and democratic “super learning” tool.
The real purpose of this post today is actually to bring up a few interesting pages I found at Wikipedia. As a fan of history, as we all become as we get older and gain perspective, I get fascinated easily – but then, it could also be my ADD acting up. Below are three interesting bookmarks I came across recently, which may provide you with insight, amusing to read, perhaps even provide timely information. Such is the wonderful world of Wikipedia. Enjoy.
The first bookmark is regarding the Sea Devil, Felix von Luckner, most famously, a German ship Captain during the first world war. In today’s world I find that the word “hero” is often misused, but I tend to agree with the Wikipedia comment; “It was his habit of successfully waging war without any casualties that made him a hero and a legend on both sides.” His life story is fascinating one. His, is a story that illustrates what can be done when you have enough courage to fully follow your convictions. One can only imagine the charismatic presence he introduced to a roomful of people.
Next item is the ship Mary Celeste. A riveting yarn of mystery surround this fateful ship, which I enjoyed reading about. This “Canadian” built ships seem to have nothing but bad luck. I was surprised to read how long it traded considering the ages in which it traded, and the various superstitions mariners often held. Read about the various mishaps and demise, not to mention a mysterious disappearance in the Atlantic and the subsequent economic and political wranglings.
And finally, but certainly not the least of interesting web pages at Wikipedia, is about Asbestos. This link has been in my Bookmarks folder for quite some time. I was unsure how to incorporate the information into and interesting marine article, but still fascinated by the “plague” of ships. If you have been working on a ship in North America, you have certainly been made aware at some point in your career about Asbestos. This substance was widely used in ship building for its heat resistance properties. Little did we know, its usage has contributed to the deaths of about 100,000 people – that we know of.