We just had a typically ill-informed discussion here about how Narcís Monturiol’s second submarine, Ictíneo II, worked. Robert Hughes’ Barcelona says that
If you use a conventional coal- or wood-powered boiler the first objection makes sense, but I don’t see why regulating the temperature (or humidity) of the vessel should be a problem. Anyway, Hughes continues:
I’m intrigued to know what this reaction was. If you want oxygen, you heat potassium chlorate (2 KClO3 → 2 KCl + 3 O2), and mix manganese dioxide into the KClO3 to reduce the temperature at which reaction takes place. So was Monturiol handing over some of the oxygen to his fellow-socialists and burning off the rest with powdered zinc to power his auxiliary motor, was it all mixed up like a big (and for me confusing) firework, or was something else happening? And did the fact that he didn’t attract military support for his project have something to do with the fact that potassium chlorate is prone to explode?
I’ve heard that the replica in Barcelona harbour is strictly nonfunctional (rather like the clunky costume drama for which it was built, Francesc Bellmunt’s 1992 Monturiol, el senyor del mar) and I suspect that Matthew Stewart’s new book, Monturiol’s Dream, is non-technical, so I’m afraid that I will need to lay hands on a copy of Monturiol’s Ensayo sobre el arte de navegar por debajo del agua. Oh dear.
(Robert Hughes also speculates that the magnificent Monturiol may have provided Victor Hugo with inspiration for Captain Nemo and his Nautilus, but I wonder. One can brush over the differences between the surface-down philanthropy of Monturiol and the depths-up vengefulness of Nemo–a metaphorical son-of-Moby, pursuing a generalised Ahab–but the fact that Hugo mentions but doesn’t adopt anaerobism suggests to me that he had no serious knowledge of Monturiol. Otherwise Barcelona would surely have figured in the list of suppliers for the Nautilus:
- Some advice for mayor Clos
For reasons that are unclear to me, the burlesque leader who ruled Dublin during carnival used to be known as Mayor
“All day I’ve faced, the barren waste,without a taste of… Can you see that big green tree,Where the sandwish’s running
- The other Blair
Re the unreliability of the Spanish press’s foreign coverage: a big profile in La Retaguardia this morning identifies Ian Blair as
- Turk’s head
Scapegoat in Catalan is cap de turc, in Spanish cabeza de turco. I haven’t got the OED, but Hector Zimmerman says
- New piano shopping Calvary
Barcelona. Shop no 1 is closed at 11:30, well within its normal opening hours. The iron street blinds are down and