731: Desert Island
This comic is making the point that there is a wonderful world waiting to be explored in the ocean. From above it seems so plain, endless, and boring. But underneath the surface lies the most unexplored area on the planet. This comic is a commentary on the need to head below the waves and start exploring.
Cueball sits writing in a diary on a desert island which is really a mountain of which only the sandy tip with a palm tree on it stands above the water. From his diary entry, it appears that he has been stranded on this island for 44 days, and only sees "flat empty waters" around him. The waters around him may be "empty", in that there are no other boats or coastlines around him, however, there are many objects below the surface.
Beneath the surface is:
- A kelp forest
- Three sharks
- A stingray
- An eel
- A shipwreck
- A submarine following a small school of fish (it should be noted that if Cueball tried, he could make contact with the submarine and get home)
- Three large jellyfish
- A giant squid fighting a sperm whale
- A crashed plane
- Coral formations
- A thermal vent emitting a plume of smoke surrounded by several annelids
- A snail
The most important items from the title text are:
- A bathyscaphe is a deep sea submersible: a submarine for exploring the ocean floor.
- Some Scottish loch are very deep, especially those in the Great Glen. There may also be a reference to the famous Loch Ness.
- The Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed when wind blowing over the bridge caused it to oscillate wildly. When the oscillations changed from one mode to another, they grew in amplitude until the bridge failed dramatically.
- Charles Minard did a visualization of the losses incurred by Napoleon's army in its attempt to conquer Russia.
The title text itself is a poem:
Telescopes and bathyscaphes and sonar probes of Scottish lakes, Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse explained with abstract phase-space maps, some x-ray slides, a music score, Minard's Napoleonic war: the most exciting new frontier is charting what's already here.
- [Cueball sits writing in a diary on a desert island, only the sandy tip of which with a palm tree on it stands above the water. Beneath the surface is a kelp forest, some sharks, a stingray, a shipwreck, a submarine, several large jellyfish, a giant squid fighting a sperm whale, a crashed plane, some coral formations, a thermal vent emitting a plume of smoke surrounded by several annelids, and a snail.]
- Cueball: Day 44: Still stranded, with nothing but flat empty water as far as the eye can see.
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