Visiting my old alma mater today, Bangor University. It’s nice to get invited. We are opening a new Laboratory and then the Annual Engineering Lecture. This year it is entitled “Submarine Engineering across the years” and is to be given by Rear Admiral (retd) Paul Thomas CB, FREng, FCGI, FIMechE, Hon FNucI, Hon FSaRS. That’s more badges than most of us could possibly dream of!
The subject is quite convenient because some time ago I bookmarked a website http://www.submarinecablemap.com/ thinking it was cool and would come in handy some day. Well now it has and whilst absolutely nothing to do with today’s lecture it is fascinating to see where all the undersea cables are. The whole internet is underpinned by relatively few connections really.
If you click on an individual cable line it tells you who owns the cable, how long it is, when it was laid and where it lands. This is big business. Some of these cables are very long. SeaMeWe3 for example is 39,000km, stretches from Germany all the way to Australia and South Korea and is owned by a cooperative of 16 organisations.
Keeping it topical, some governments, ours included want to monitor the traffic running though these cables. When you look at the map it makes you realise how absurd this is.
I have visions of Rear Admiral (retd) Paul Thomas in his sub pootling along following the cables to find his way home – a bit like the pilots in their Sopwith Camels during WW1 following the roads and railway lines. Fiendishly clever. Splice the mainbrace, Klingons on the starboard bow, land ho, take her down number one, dive dive dive, etc etc etc.
I’ll let you know how the lecture goes