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The 'Practically Unsinkable' Titanic Sinking

The Titanic is the star of the White Line super-luxury ocean liners. It boasts a double iron hull. Hatches below the water line can be shut at the flip of a switch. The engineering spec says that it is 'practically unsinkable', so why carry lifeboats? They will take a few, but let's not go overboard. Eh? Titanic sets off from Southampton with 2,224 passengers and crew on their way to New York. Two days later they receive warning of icebergs ahead, but there are no binoculars available for the lookouts. The First Officer makes a note of this deficiency to be corrected once they reach New York. The Titanic never makes it. At 11:40 PM, a lookout shouts, "Iceberg straight ahead!" He rings the bell and 40 seconds later, they hit. It is a glancing blow, but a gaping slash below the waterline opens up. The compartments flood fast, and oddly enough, the engineers hadn't designed them to be water tight. (I can see a hangman's noose in someone's future.) The new wireless telegraph issues a distress call. The Carpathia is 4 hours away. Plenty of time, so the lifeboats are filled but not lowered. Multi-millionaire John Jacob Astor helps his wife into a lifeboat, and then steps back politely to let the evacuation continue. He will be staying... forever. The final compartments give way, the bow goes under and everything not nailed down shifts forward. The stern lifts high into the air, and then snaps. The Carpathia arrives two hours later to pick up 705 survivors, mostly women. It is the greatest single disaster in maritime history. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The board of inquiry held the captain of the Titanic to have made a mistake but not a negligent mistake. This finding was greeted with mocking derision by the public. The entire event lives on in memory through the media such in the "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." That was the first live production I have ever seen. (It was also the first time my parents took me to a real sit-down restaurant.) Of course, there was the major motion picture, "Titanic" (1997). Guys with butter-fingers are still dropping their gals into the drink after that movie. My favorite novel on the subject is, "Passage" by Connie Willis. If I say more it will be a spoiler. Just know that the book scared the heck out of me. [3] [4]

Notable Births

  • Raoul Wallenberg (He will issue thousands of Swedish passports to Jews, saving them from the Nazis through creative paperwork.) [5] [6]
  • Wernher von Braun (Invents the V2 rocket for the Nazis and the Saturn V rocket for the USA.). [7]
  • Alan Turing (The father of computer science and the genius credited with breaking the Nazi's Enigma code.) [8]
  • Milton Friedman (Free-market economist who will say, "Governments never learn. Only people learn.") [9] [10]

In Other News

  • Opium is now illegal. IT'S THE LAW! A treaty to control opium sales is signed between countries in Asia, Europe and the USA. [11]
  • Jim Thorpe, All American, is stripped of his medals. The Olympic committee discovers that he once played semi-pro baseball. [6]
  • The missing link is found! Piltdown Man is supposedly 500,000 years old. 45 years later the hoax will be revealed. [6] [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1912, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. RMS Titanic - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 14 October 2016. “About 710 people survived the disaster and were conveyed by Carpathia to New York, Titanic's original destination, while 1,500 people lost their lives. Carpathia's captain described the place as an ice field that had included 20 large bergs measuring up to 200 feet (61 m) high and numerous smaller bergs, as well as ice floes and debris from Titanic; passengers described being in the middle of a vast white plain of ice, studded with icebergs.”
  2. Withington, John. Disaster! A History of Earthquakes, Floods, Plagues, and Other Catastrophes. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 9781602397491. “It was the worst accident in transatlantic maritime history. Nearly all the women in first class survived, but fewer than one-third of the men. Of those who had been in steerage, more than half the women and six out of every seven men died. All but one of the children who had been in first or second class survived, while two out of three of those who had been in steerage died.” 
  3. Connie Willis. Passage. Bantam Books. 0553111248. ISBN 0553111248. 
  4. Titanic (1997) - IMDb (2016). Retrieved on 7 December 2016. “A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.”
  5. Raoul Wallenberg - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 November 2016. “He is widely celebrated for saving tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust from German Nazis and Hungarian Fascists during the later stages of World War II. While serving as Sweden's special envoy in Budapest between July and December 1944, Wallenberg issued protective passports and sheltered Jews in buildings designated as Swedish territory.”
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Grun, Bernard. org/books/OL1756160M/The_timetables_of_history The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 464-467. 
  7. Wernher von Braun - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 7 December 2016. “In his twenties and early thirties, von Braun worked in Germany's rocket development program, where he helped design and develop the V-2 rocket at Peenemünde during World War II. Following the war, von Braun worked for the United States Army on an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) program before his group was assimilated into NASA. Under NASA, he served as director of the newly formed Marshall Space Flight Center and as the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the superbooster that propelled the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon.”
  8. Alan Turing - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 7 December 2016. “Alan Mathison Turing OBE FRS (/ˈtjʊərɪŋ/; 23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was an English computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and theoretical biologist. He was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence”
  9. Milton Friedman - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 7 December 2016.
  10. Milton Friedman - Wikiquote (2016). Retrieved on 7 December 2016. “Governments never learn. Only people learn.”
  11. International Opium Convention - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 7 December 2016. “The Convention provided that 'The contracting Powers shall use their best endeavours to control, or to cause to be controlled, all persons manufacturing, importing, selling, distributing, and exporting morphine, cocaine, and their respective salts, as well as the buildings in which these persons carry such an industry or trade.'”
  12. Piltdown Man - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 7 December 2016. “In 1912 amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson claimed he had discovered the 'missing link' between ape and man. After finding a section of a human-like skull in Pleistocene gravel beds near Piltdown, East Sussex, Dawson contacted Arthur Smith Woodward, Keeper of Geology at the Natural History Museum. Dawson and Smith Woodward made further discoveries at the site which they connected to the same individual, including a jawbone, more skull fragments, a set of teeth and primitive tools. Smith Woodward reconstructed the skull fragments and hypothesised that they belonged to a human ancestor from 500,000 years ago.”

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