Sunday, 12 May 2019

Whale Falls

It's no small feat for life to exist anywhere in the universe, yet in the most extreme of conditions we find thriving flora and fauna everywhere we look. In this instance, the abysmal depths of the seafloor holds a special -- albeit morbid -- place in my heart. 

Let's take a look at it. The ocean is divided into several layers of varying depth. Here's a diagram:

Related image
Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...
Light only penetrates the first 800 or so meters, beyond that, the amount that filters through is insignificant in terms of supporting life. This diagram is a good diagram, but it doesn't show a few variations present in real life. For example, seafloor altitude is not constant worldwide, but rather can start as far up as the bathypelagic zone, although typically extends to the abyssopelagic zone. The hadalpelagic zone is where trenches in the seafloor are. 

While light goes down to almost 1000 meters down in some cases, the strength of the light is extremely weak. Light that can support photosynthesis only penetrates a meager 200 meters. 

Now, most animals and plants on the surface of the world are supported by photosynthesis, creating energy from sunlight. A cow will graze grass that lives off of their photosynthetic processes. All life stems from light, yet in the places in the world that have virtually no light -- such as the still support a litany of life-forms.

Down in the abyssopelagic zone, commonly referred to as the abyssal zone, creatures on the seafloor have special adaptations to live. One particular adaptation to life is living off of something called marine snow. 

Image result for marine snow
A vampire squid swims amongst a flurry of marine snow, fragments of once-alive organisms.
Nature's way of saying, "memento mori"
Marine snow is a euphemism for a macabre form of sustenance deep-sea creatures thrive off of. Essentially, marine snow is the remnants of dead animals and plants, alongside other various materials like feces. Very pleasant. 

But marine snow is often composed of small pellets and flakes of organic material, derived from small organisms in the upper regions of the water column. What happens when something much larger, say, a whale, dies?

Oh, boy. Here we go.

Related image
Thar she blows!

When a whale dies, its body floats around the surface of the sea for a few hours up to a few days. Eventually, a whale's body will begin to sink to the bottom of the ocean. This is known as a whale fall.

The carcass of a whale will remain on the seafloor, and gradually get eaten by organisms and scavengers. Larger organisms such as crabs, giant isopods, and sharks will consume the flesh of the whale for up to two years! After all the meat has been stripped away, organisms will begin to break down the nutrients in the bones and whatever leftover meat is present, breaking down the lipids and forming bacterial mats, which in turn sustain and nourish other organisms like clams.
This entire process takes many years, building up a localized ecosystem around the dead whale.

Circle of life.

Until next time.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

And We Start Anew

My advanced world of linear progression is decent. My random explorations into hardcore and ultra-hardcore worlds are fine. And as always, I've decided to create yet another world alongside this one.

Yeah, I know.

But the thing about Minecraft is that it gets old quickly, and when it does, it really just dries up. There's nothing to do but repetitive grinding, building, or sitting around. The surreal beauty of it back in the alpha and beta days have been lost, and you can never truly replicate the experience of being completely new to the game and just learning everything.

I like to make worlds. 

Behold, the latest creation.

I loaded up a new world on an older version, 1.6.4 for it's nostalgia. I started off slow, gathering resources and too afraid to venture into deep caves since the FPS was reluctant to stray above 15. Eventually, it recovered and a steady 30-60 FPS was the result.

I chose a flat area next to a lake on an extreme hills as my base of operations, and I began to dig out a quarry for my future underground base, night fell. I hastily threw up a hill of dirt to house a bed and a furnace, slept the night away, and then continued digging. When I ran out of stone shovels, I realized I had to go mining soon or face the wrath of mobs and no armor. 

Crossing a small river into the plains I lived nearby, I found a decent cave system that granted roughly a stack of iron ore and a stack of coal. Unfortunately, it didn't run deep enough for proper excavation of valuable resources. But it did pay off, for soon after the trip, I discovered a village right next to the system. Neighboring a swamp and a desert, the village was a relatively big one, with one library to loot and a blacksmith's containing no less than 3 diamonds. I quickly crafted a pickaxe and then set off to the mines.

Fortunately, after digging up some more ores, I ran into a deep set of ravines that led to more cave systems and eventually more diamonds. Soon, my inventory began to fill up, and I deemed it a successful trip into the mines and headed back up. Shortly thereafter, I made a pen of animals for temporary farming and went to lay down strips of dirt in a river for a small garden of crops. I enchanted the diamond pick from the village and scored an Efficiency IV coupled with Unbreaking III. I made a snow golem (who knows why) and continued to mine out the quarry for my base. 

I planned to do a multi-layer quarry with several layers for farms, gardens, living areas and utility areas, and possibly a tree farm. I started off by leading all the animals into the topmost layer with a glass covering and a water fixture from a nearby pond, fenced the area off, and made a staircase into the lower regions of the quarry. The second layer was dedicated to a small garden, which I will need but not much, so I didn't bother to expand it any further than the top layer. I then proceeded to mine out the largest layer of them all, a tree farm layer. This one was going to be at least 10 blocks in height, and the same dimensions as the upper layers. 
I took a break from cutting stone and enchanted another diamond pickaxe with the last of my reserves and was rewarded with Unbreaking III and Fortune III.

I returned and began mining a 4-5 block area out, and then decided I had to go spelunking again.

Another short trip into the mines gifted me with 18 or so diamonds from the Fortune ranks on my pickaxe, and I managed to squeeze in 2 pickaxe enchantments, one level 30 and another level 10. The level 10 granted an Unbreaking 1 and -- somehow -- a Silk Touch.
I don't think this old-version world will be much of a staple, however, and it's mainly because -- well -- it's old. The version lag is significantly increased the further you go back in versions, so 1.6 framerate in comparison with 1.8 or 1.12 framerate really isn't optimal. Point is, I like this world, but it'll likely be just another monument, a testament to simpler times.

What I really should do, to spice things up, is undertake a large survival project, instead of wandering around making purely practical settlements.

More sometime later.

Monday, 22 May 2017

The Luck Here is Insane in The Membrane

I created a new hardcore world. I spawned by a village, took off with the loot and looted a desert temple nearby. I liked the location, made it my base, and then made a small tower as a mine in a plains biome nearby. I managed to get enough diamonds for an enchanting table, a pickax, and a chestplate. I found 4 more diamonds in the desert temple. I looted another temple with not much, found a desert village with virtually nothing, and returned to my base. I lured some animals (sheep, cows, and chickens using eggs.) I made pens for them in the first level of my temple. The second level was plant life, the third level is going to be either a storage unit or just more farms. The fourth level is my soon-to-be brewing, my enchanting table, my nether portal, and the rest of my facilities. The final level will be a railroad system to other places.


My luck in new the hardcore world has skyrocketed. I was caving somewhere south of my desert temple home, when I saw this:

It was a stronghold! And the portal with one of the eyes already filled in!

Further south, there was a small plain next to a dark forest. There was a village there, and it had some loot, along with a Cartographer:
This would be really nice if it was a desert village.

I blocked off the way to the portal, and I plan to create a railroad system to it from my temple base. It won't be too hard, it's not too far away. The real challenge is making the railroad system from my mine to my temple.

I will be trading with the Cartographer soon.

Mildy interesting albeit infuriating

English is one of the oldest (relatively) and trickiest (to non-native speakers) languages there is. It's as if it took the language construction rulebook and tore it up then boiled it as a stew. 

For example, we have a word that means this:

Nice. Real nice.

But we don't have a word for the day after tomorrow. Other languages have it. Chinese has "hou tian," German has slang for it -- Übermorgen --, but English has words resembling it, such as "eve" and "the morrow".
I'm out

Until next time,

Friday, 31 March 2017

Tea and Biscuits

Imagine this: a ship made of ice and wood shavings, able to regenerate itself by freezing sea water, one so grand that only the British could envision it. Welcome to Project Habakkuk. 

I bet if they added flags and dirt and claimed it as British soil and land, and they traveled around the world, the sun would really never truly set on the British Empire.

During the Second World War, Geoffrey Pyke devised a solution to fighting German U-boats in the Atlantic ocean, where Allied troops had little to no air cover. Pyke thought that an iceberg station in the Atlantic to help store aircraft and fight the German U-boats. Instead of ice, however, he invented a material called pykrete. Pykrete is made of around 14% sawdust and 86% ice, a 6:1 ratio. Pykrete is something like a biological concrete, and it was proposed for the Habakkuk because it can be maintained using seawater.

Wood shavings and water.
The Habakkuk would have giant coolers to maintain the pykrete hull of the ship, and since it would be fighting in seawater, the Habakkuk would have a virtually unlimited source of armor, as long as the Habakkuk didn't run out of power. 

 - Crushing Strength (MPa): 7.584 
 - Tensile Strength (MPa): 4.826 (Almost 4-5 times that of concrete)
 - Density: 980

Damn, those British people are smart.

The Habakkuk would not have main cannons, just machine guns. It's primary weapon would be it's aircraft, since it was going to be an aircraft carrier. Sadly, the British Royal Navy never carried out their weird but wonderful idea due to a "lack of paper" and "paper needed in other industries", which sounds like an excuse to not build the most overpowered ship in the history of ships.

I wonder if they would have stores of tea and biscuits on board.

Friday, 24 March 2017


I went caving in a cave I had found in a nearby savanna in my hardcore world.

I found a dungeon:

Some loot:

I went back to my home to put back the loot, then went tunneling underground. A part of a tunnel was unlit, and as a result, a witch spawned and killed me:

Ugh, witches...
I shall try again soon.

The Beginning?

I am geared up for the fight against the Wither. I chose a nice, flat area in a savanna relatively far from my house, and I started constructing a wither. I left my final set of tools (aside from my bow because I have another one with Flame and Infinity) in my ender chest and brought a diamond pickaxe (Efficiency IV, Fortune III, Unbreaking III), my older sword (Sharpness IV, Fire Aspect II, Unbreaking III, Knockback II), and my final bow with Power V, Unbreaking III, Flame, and Infinity. I repaired my armor a little (the helmet was wearing out) and gathered my materials:

Ender chest
4 pieces of soul sand
3 Wither skeleton skulls
Water bucket
5 golden apples
2 potions of Strength II
5 potions of Speed II
2 potions of Regeneration II
3 splash potions of Instant Health II
Diamond Pickaxe with Efficiency IV, Fortune III and Unbreaking III
The Feral Timekeeper (Sharpness IV, Fire Aspect II, Unbreaking III, Knockback II.)
Full set of diamond armor, all at around half durability
Stack of dirt
Stack of cobblestone
19 pieces of steak
Bow with Power V, Infinity, Flame and Unbreaking III
16 arrows
2 stacks of torches (not sure why I brought them, maybe to light up the whole place if it gets dark)

During the heat of the battle, I forgot to take any screenshots. But nothing too important was missed.

I died the first two times very easily, my aiming was horrible and the boss just hovered above me and struck projectile after projectile into my face, all the while making sounds that were reminiscent of dying whales. 

I lost my full set of diamond armor, my bow, and all the stuff I had with me. I spent some days making and enchanting a full new set of armor and a new sword and some more potions. I didn't have any more apples, so I left that section alone. This time, I was lucky enough to have a Smite IV enchantment on the sword. I made another Infinity, Power V, Flame and Unbreaking III bow but left that for later. I grabbed another bow, with Power IV, took 4 stacks of arrows and headed to where I last saw the Wither.

I sniped it down to half health from an extreme hills biome when it was in a roofed forest biome. Then I drank a potion of speed II and ran towards it, striking it with my sword. Luckily, it stayed directly in front of me and I was able to kill it using the sword. 

I probably would've died if it weren't for the Blast Protection IV diamond chestplate I was wearing.

Here is a screenshot of the Nether Star, hanging above my bed in my main base.

Quite a fight, that was.