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Earth Science

James Cameron Begins His Deep-Sea Dive 162

Posted by timothy
from the ok-you're-jealous-and-so-am-I dept.
James Cameron is on his way down. The director's long-planned trip to the deepest spot on Earth — the Mariana Trench's Challenger Deep — is in progress; by the time you read this, if all goes well, Cameron will be navigating around in depths unvisited since 1960. National Geographic's coverage of the dive is excellent as well, as is the BBC's (with video).
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James Cameron Begins His Deep-Sea Dive

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  • by M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @05:03PM (#39469291)

    Avatar , is not a good movie ,but it is an amazing cinematic experience on the proper theater.

  • by chispito (1870390) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @05:06PM (#39469313)
    Forget Avatar and Titanic... this is the kind of stuff he will be remembered for.
  • Cool rich guy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lucm (889690) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @05:07PM (#39469317)

    As far as rich guys hobbies go, this is way cooler than buying a fighter jet or trying to get a monopoly on fighting HIV in Africa.

  • by Coisiche (2000870) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @05:17PM (#39469401)

    That wouldn't be so bad since the aliens in The Abyss seemed to be quite benevolent at the end of the film.

    Unless I missed the sequel where they drowned everyone.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @05:38PM (#39469567)

    He made a movie that had a lot of elements that the masses enjoy. (action, etc)

    He created a sci fi world with at least some effort at plausibility. (not all of it, but some details were there, for instance Jake suffering muscle weakness after prolonged time in the tank)

    The reason the "indians" won was because the entire planet was a biological entity that could defend itself, by mobilizing all resources against the human invaders. It was never actually an underdog story : the planet has vastly superior technology and numbers to the human invaders (the brain transfers shown at the end of the movie were obviously extremely high tech), but the humans couldn't perceive it.

    Anyways, sure it ripped stuff off, but compare it to the competition. And, the film did use some of the best visual effects ever seen. Stop being a snob : would you rather all movies were some low budget indie film that tries to "make a point" but it's hard to figure out what it is because the movie was made in someone's garage? To make a movie with an enormous budget, an enormous number of people have to watch it, and you have to make the story accessible to them.

  • Re:Godspeed! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by braeldiil (1349569) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @06:01PM (#39469753)
    The reason we didn't send a manned mission back is that there's really no point - a realization they came to on the first trip. The people in the sub can't directly interact with the environment in any way. They have to look at the world through cameras, and all work is carried out by robotic arms. Essentially, all you've done is take the control room for a remote vehicle and send it down with the robot. It's a lot of engineering work and no small danger for basically zero gain.
  • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 25, 2012 @06:13PM (#39469839)

    ...the movie was made in someone's garage?

    Wayne's World! Party on!

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainLard (1902452) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @06:27PM (#39469933)
    Without those shitty movies he wouldn't be able to do things like this...
  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by multi io (640409) <olaf.klischat@googlemail.com> on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:15PM (#39470233)

    Doesn't just being the deepest point in the ocean make it worth exploring?

    Maybe not. I mean, yeah, I'll probably stare in awe at Cameron's video footage of the seafloor, thinking of the 10,900 meter water column above and of how this is the single patch of seafloor that endures a higher water pressure than any other patch of seafloor anywhere else. But from a scientific standpoint it might have been better if he'd visited some place that's only, say, 8,000 meters deep, but is located in the vicinity of some deep-sea volcano, hydrothermal vent or other geologically interesting feature, thus making it more likely to find many living creatures or other interesting things there.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by simtel (798974) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:18PM (#39470257)
    Honestly, I found the name "Unobtainium" no less plausible than a number of the heavier elements in the periodic table. Comparing "Unobtainium" to, say... "Promethium", "Ununoctium", "Berkeluim", "Californium"; not to mention a number of the proposed names for the current temporary ones... How does "Unobtainium" defy logic any more than those do?

    Or are you claiming that because we haven't discovered it yet, it doesn't exist? In a science fiction movie. Really? Really?

    As for orbital bombardment... That's probably the part the Cameron didn't show. Humans go down to the surface and try to strip-mine politely because of politics. Think of the PR win that it would be for the (then current) administration if they can convince these primitive creatures to live/act like humans! But now that we're kicked off planet, time to warm up the nukes.
  • by Guppy (12314) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @08:26PM (#39470689)

    Oh, c'mon! Where the frig in the Periodic Table does one find "Unobtanium"? Seriously? I heard that, and gave up on the flick from that point on.

    I figured Unobtainium to be some sort of ClarkeTech-level meta-material, much like the Cavorite in A Deepness in the Sky. In that story, Cavorite was a mineral discovered by the native Spider civilization, possessing miraculous anti-gravity properties Yet it was composed of nothing more than common elements, mostly diamonoid carbon, that should have yielded an unremarkable pile of dust. In that story, it was insinuated that the material was not naturally occuring, but the legacy of some hyper-advanced intelligence or civilization.

    The implication being that the Na'vi were not a primitive pre-industrial society -- but a primitive post-industrial one. The planet-wide bio-net and cooperative defense system doesn't make sense from a Darwinian evolutionary standpoint, but it might have made sense if it was designed that way. And those Unobtanium "ore" formations? Perhaps the remains of some ancient server farm or energy storage-facility... or garbage dump.

    Entity, meet biological warfare (easily possible, given the ease with which the DNA was replicated) and a gaggle of large asteroids being flung at the surface just for good measure (also possible, given the massive energy require to go FTL (or was it near-light?) speeds in the first place). There's at least half a dozen ways, given that story's tech, in which to destroy the inhabitants without harming the material, endangering a single human being, and basically turning the place into an airless rock that can be strip-mined.

    In the aftermath of Avatar's release, I found similar viewpoints all too common among my fellow nerds. It bothers me to think that we can consider genocide to be the "obvious" solution, and that not resorting to total war at the get-go as being the mark of a plot hole.

    The corporate managers in Avatar weren't actually evil, but merely self-serving and cynical. They told themselves it was ok because they weren't really doing anything evil -- just moving some stubborn natives somewhere less inconvenient. I'm sure after the orders were given, they told themselves that it was the natives who forced them to act as they did, their superstitious and ignorant natures prevented the savages from listening to reason.

    In any case, we often forget that the humans were employees of a corporation, not a sovereign military force. The soldiers were the equivalent of some Blackwater mercenaries. Regardless of how powerful corporations sometimes seem, it is government who still holds the leash, being jealous entities that hold the best goodies (like WMDs) for themselves.

  • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JoeMerchant (803320) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @08:50PM (#39470835)

    He created a sci fi world with at least some effort at plausibility.

    Oh, c'mon! Where the frig in the Periodic Table does one find "Unobtanium"? Seriously? I heard that, and gave up on the flick from that point on.

    Unobtainium: well, why not call it Carbon, formed in large quantities into some kind of useful room-temperature superconductor (or other highly valuable commodity) by processes unique to the formation of Pandora. Sure you could synthesize it, but it's cheaper to go dig it up. The miracle of Unobtainum was irrelevant to the plot beyond the fact it was valuable and they had to take down HomeTree to get it. Any time wasted explaining what Unobtainium was good for is just pandering to a very small percentage of the audience, a small percentage with relatively little influence over ticket buyers, apparently.

    The reason the "indians" won was because the entire planet was a biological entity that could defend itself, by mobilizing all resources against the human invaders

    Entity, meet biological warfare (easily possible, given the ease with which the DNA was replicated) and a gaggle of large asteroids being flung at the surface just for good measure (also possible, given the massive energy require to go FTL (or was it near-light?) speeds in the first place). There's at least half a dozen ways, given that story's tech, in which to destroy the inhabitants without harming the material, endangering a single human being, and basically turning the place into an airless rock that can be strip-mined.

    Seriously... good visual effects (easily give it that), but the story had more holes in it than a sieve.

    Yeah, and the U.S. could have nuked Afghanistan and Iraq into oblivion, as well as any upstarts like Iran or North Korea who would have chirped about it. Maybe, just maybe, there were political implications back home that prevented waging all-out war on obviously sentient beings that are absolutely no threat to us, and whose only crime is sitting on something valuable.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by izomiac (815208) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @10:31PM (#39471399) Homepage
    Unobtanium is a physics/engineering joke, and placeholder term for a material with highly desirable properties but doesn't actually exist. It's a rather common term, and I found it an appropriate and amusing name for the movie's MacGuffin. If you pay attention, it's obviously a room temperature superconductor (Meissner effect), and it's rather common to call such a material unobtanium. Also, it's a literary device, since it proves to be unobtainable.

    In the movie, the humans never wanted to exterminate the inhabitants. They just wanted to mine unobtanium, and were likely just equipped for that. They hired mercenaries to protect the miners, but were not affiliated with any military, and thus unlikely to have access to weapons of mass destruction. I also doubt they were permitted to do much against the navi, and likely suffered legal consequences when they returned to Earth. That said, since it's obvious there'll be a sequel, the humans will be bombing the navi again for some contrived reason.
  • Re:That's neat! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Monday March 26, 2012 @02:40AM (#39472235)

    Trenches are capable of supporting carbon based life forms, some of which we are yet to discover. Some of which might prove incredible useful in build subs that can withstand such pressure, or be useful for building some sort of night vision. The possibilities of what we can discover, that can be of direct use for mankind and the accessibility, in my opinion, makes deep sea exploration more useful than space.

  • You know what, I imagine it probably does take "bulldozing" to overcome the entrenched existing entities in order to do Really Big Effective Things.

    If it takes hurting some feelings to ELIMINATE Polio and Malaria forever (!!), and who knows what other diseases in the coming decades, then that seems fine to me. Polio has been eliminated in India. I'm pretty sure all the millions of children saved aren't too concerned about the fact that Bill Gates is in a bit of hurry to get things done.

The difficult we do today; the impossible takes a little longer.

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