Get over it. The Titanic sunk!


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John Jaeger

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I can't help but wonder how many thousands of hours people spend obsessing over this tragic event, very much the same kind of obsession sports fans have as they watch baseball, and football, and basketball and read every newspaper and magazine article, and vent their spleens on message boards by the thousands.

Do you spend as much time doing things with your loved ones, your children or grandchildren, your wives, as you do obsessing where it cannot accomplish anything at all?

Beware wretched excess. The extreme pride in the *expertise* of some obsessive individuals here is indicative of their lack of breadth and balance, it seems to me. Get some exercise. Take a walk with your spouse or neighbor. Sit down in a fast food restaurant with a stranger and strike up a conversation, on a subject different from a ship that went down long ago because of the incredible stupidity of its captain.
 

Rob Lawes

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:(

I haven't finished watching the film yet and if you've spoiled the ending I am not going to be happy.

As long as Kate and Leonardo survive to live happily ever after it will be ok.
 
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Ryan Burns

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And what about the time you spent to come here and lecture us? Maybe that time should have been spent with one of your loved ones.
 
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Jim Currie

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" Do you spend as much time doing things with your loved ones, your children or grandchildren, your wives, as you do obsessing where it cannot accomplish anything at all?

Beware wretched excess. The extreme pride in the *expertise* of some obsessive individuals here is indicative of their lack of breadth and balance, it seems to me. Get some exercise. Take a walk with your spouse or neighbor. Sit down in a fast food restaurant with a stranger and strike up a conversation, on a subject different from a ship that went down long ago because of the incredible stupidity of its captain."

So what's your excuse for visiting this site, John?
 
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If you are really interested in lecturing on a complete waste of time, visit the two Flat Earth Society websites.

That would gjve you a good excuse.

My excuse for visiting this website is that I am sort of a history nerd, but I still have plenty of "family time" for other activities. I don"t spend all of my time on this website and on the internet. So what is your problem and what is your reason for you harangue ?
 
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May 3, 2005
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:(

I haven't finished watching the film yet and if you've spoiled the ending I am not going to be happ

As long as Kate and Leonardo survive to live happilo ever after it will be ok.

Have you watched the 1953 "Titanic" ? As long as Gifford and Annette survive to live happily ever after it will be OK ?
Or maybe I should say Robert and Audrey ?

And besides this website is sort of a learning experience for at least some of us.
 
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Rob Lawes

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I know when I'll reach my capacity for learning. It's when some chap is wheeling me in a wooden box towards a very powerful industrial burner.
 

Rob Lawes

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If I remember correctly, on Ballard's first dive, he failed to get over it as just as the hull came in sight he had to surface due to a fault with the submersible?
 

Gaston Sam

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I can't help but wonder how many thousands of hours people spend obsessing over this tragic event, very much the same kind of obsession sports fans have as they watch baseball, and football, and basketball and read every newspaper and magazine article, and vent their spleens on message boards by the thousands.

Do you spend as much time doing things with your loved ones, your children or grandchildren, your wives, as you do obsessing where it cannot accomplish anything at all?

Beware wretched excess. The extreme pride in the *expertise* of some obsessive individuals here is indicative of their lack of breadth and balance, it seems to me. Get some exercise. Take a walk with your spouse or neighbor. Sit down in a fast food restaurant with a stranger and strike up a conversation, on a subject different from a ship that went down long ago because of the incredible stupidity of its captain.

Despite I agree is somehow pointless searching a long lost steamer, it's none of your business how do people here or anywhere else spend their time or free time.

On the other hand, there's a thing regarding a spiritual matter here. This tragic event as a whole involves a great amount of energy of all the people that took part of the sinking, and most of their souls won't actually have peace until some unkown stories come to light beacuse they didn't want to die without these being known. This might be the reason many researchers feel attracted to it, having a spiritual reason behind, and why not, maybe even having a past-life conection of some kind.
 

John Jaeger

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Jim Currie said: So what's your excuse for visiting this site, John?

While transiting the Panama Canal, we heard a lecture by a historian on the Titanic, and after listening to even more of the inexcusable mistakes and poor judgment of Captain Smith, it occurred to me that I had never read or heard of anyone estimating the improbability of all of Smith's serial errors, piled one on top of the next. I set out to do just that, and found that the a priori probability of Captain Smith acting as foolishly as he did, as many times as he did, represented just one chance in 500 trillion trillion (24 zeroes). I googled Titanic message boards, and found this one, where I posted Titanic Probabilities.

Instead of reading it with an open and intelligent mind, many members here jumped on me with hatred, contempt, and intolerance. How dare any new member speak his mind here! How dare he. One had the incredible temerity to suggest that he simply would "not allow" me to speak so disrespectfully of his incompetent Captain Smith.... as if killing 1,500 humans and sinking a brand new ocean liner bespoke Smith's competence.

After a considerable hiatus, and after visiting another website, one of sports extremists, also angry and intolerant armchair "experts," I thought of you Titanic extremists, and thought I would stick a thumb in your eyes. It worked, didn't it Jim. Rather than consider my suggestion, you and your pals jumped back on me AGAIN, one of whom lectures me on "incivility" by calling me an idiot. How British of him, wot?

I'd recommend using humour or ignoring it. incivility only goes to provide oxygen for idiots.

"Idiots." Is that supposed to be humorous? In fact, you demonstrated your own profound incivility, sir. Hatefulness, compounded by your contemptible condescension and arrogance, is most unbecoming. Here is humor, as expressed by Curly in City Slickers: "I crap bigger than you."
It is quite accurate, Robby. Take that to the bank.

Robert T. Paige said: If you are really interested in lecturing on a complete waste of time, visit the two Flat Earth Society websites. That would give you a good excuse.

My but aren't YOU clever, Robert. I will respond to your snarky and intolerant comment in kind. See how you like it.
"Complete waste of time" is your phrase, not mine. Do pay attention in the future, won't you Bobby? I had no idea that there was even one "Flat Earth Society website," much less two. However would you know unless you visited them. As to excuses, I don't need any, nor do I need your permission nor any other member's here to suggest that you just MIGHT want to consider, oh, family, friends, exercise, and other, more current subjects. Toward that end, I have created something like seventy websites, Robert. How about you? I know. Zero.
 

Mark Baber

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Moderator's hat on:

Keep it civil, folks. The last couple of messages have gone over the line.

Moderator's hat over.
 
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We are not extremists. We are normal people who know a lot about the RMS Titanic and her sinking. If new members come here with questions, we will politely answer them.
Anyone can post his/her theory about what happened, and other members will comment on it in a constructive way to correct them where they're wrong. That is exactly what we did a year ago on the "Titanic Probabilities" thread of this forum.

The basic idea of creating probabilities about the sinking is actually very good. However, it has to be performed correctly. I politely ask you to be open to other people's opinions on the subject, then we can peacefully construct some good Titanic probabilities.
 
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John --

Beware conventional wisdom. It served both the British Government's and the White Star Lines' purposes to obfuscate events surrounding Titanic's accident. Remember, you can't libel a dead man. Neither can you file a lawsuit against him. From the "powers that be" standpoint, Captain Smith was a fortunate victim of his own accident. But, was that the truth? Or, was it a convenient escape hatch for those "powers" to get out of a very sticky situation?

For instance, speed. Titanic was making 22 knots per Fourth Officer Boxhall. How fast is that? Let's look at the facts. Every six minutes the ship covered 2.2 nautical miles. The horizon from the bridge was a bit more than 9 miles. Simple division shows that the officer of the deck had roughly 24 minutes after seeing something come over the horizon to when it might impact the ship. Was 22 knots too fast for conditions? For comparison, you would need 24 miles between cars on traveling a mile a minute on a high-speed highway to give the same time margin of safety.

There's a myth that Smith did nothing. Worse, that he was napping in his cabin. Neither is true. We have eyewitness evidence he was plotting ice reports for more than an hour before impact. As I've pointed out in my "Titanic Myths" book, the dead reckoning evidence is that Titanic altered course to the south at 11:30 p.m. unaltered April 14th time. This change was small, but is obvious. It is also proof Captain Smith was taking action for the safety of his ship. Action means action, not napping.

Testimonies from Boxhall, quartermasters Hitchens and Olliver, seaman Scarrott, and lookouts Fleet and Lee seem to conflict and contradict each other. But, when you lay out events in an order that makes each man speak the truth, the story becomes obvious. Captain Smith ordered another course change to the south at 12:00 in unaltered April 14th time. That was 11:36 in crew time being observed at the moment. This was of two compass points (22.5 degrees) and was executed by Boxhall and Hitchens. The latter man even recalled the specific amount of the course change.

It was just as Boxhall was leaving the officers quarters that Fleet rang three strokes on the warning bell to report a "dark mass" against the horizon. Seaman Scarrott heard it as he stood outside the crew's mess. According to Scarrott, this warning came "five to eight minutes" before impact on the iceberg. With Boxhall on his way to make the course change, there seemed no need for an emergency response to the lookouts' bell. What was not knowable was that the berg was about a ship-length to the left of Titanic's track. Had there been no turn, there would have been no accident. But, at 2.2 miles (6 minutes which is about half of Scarrotts' estimate) the "black mass" appeared dead ahead, or nearly so.

I've done the math. Five minutes later the berg would have been about 22 to 24 degrees off the port bow. Boxhall was just finishing the two-point course change. Unwittingly, he had aimed Titanic at its doom. After that, Titanic steamed straight at the iceberg for just under a minute as described by lookouts Fleet and Lee. This is why Fleet felt compelled to telephone the bridge. Murdoch ordered "hard a-port" (right rudder) only as the ship was striking on the iceberg.

The accident was not the result of a stupid or brash captain. Although the concept was unknown at the time Titanic's accident was the result of "loss of situational awareness" by the entire bridge team. Everyone from Captain Smith down to the quartermasters and lookouts thought they were doing their jobs, and doing them to the best of their individual abilities. The trouble was that nobody had what we now call "the big picture." Smith had effectively taken both the deck and the con from Murdoch by plotting and ordering course changes from inside his private navigating room. Murdoch thought he had both deck and conn, but deferred to his captain's wishes. Fleet and Lee could only signal with a bell. They were unable to give details about their "dark mass." Boxhall was actually conning the ship during the course change, but couldn't see anything more than the back of funnel #2 as he did so. The result of all of this was that Titanic quite deliberately turned to put the fatal iceberg fine on its starboard bow at a range too short for any effective evasive maneuver.

It doesn't take a degree in reactive propulsion science to realize that nobody -- White Star or the British Government -- wanted it known that Titanic was deliberately aimed at disaster. Obfuscate and confuse. Make it difficult to prize out the truth. Focus attention on lifeboats and pass the blame to another captain who exercised prudence by stopping for the night. Just don't admit the truth.

As I said, the concept of situational awareness was not recognized in 1912. Today, we have the wisdom gained through their mistakes. A modern captain with a properly trained bridge team would be expected to recognize the problem and correct it. It is a temprocentric error, however, to hold those men responsible for not knowing what we know now.

Airplane pilots have a saying, "flight safety is written in blood." So too in maritime safety. Nobody has a crystal ball to see what's coming next. But, we all have the ability to learn from past mistakes -- ours and those of others.

-- David G. Brown
 
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Rob Lawes

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Looking at your blog objectively I can see what you are trying to achieve but you need to review your numbers.

Any major disaster can be analysed by breaking it down into a series of failures, some of which are dependant on others and some independent, which will lead to the eventual disastrous outcome.

Take the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster as an example:

1) Nasa selects Solid Rocket Boosters as a cheaper design option.
2) SRB build contract awarded to Morton Thykol who use a multi piece jointed design, instead of a rival bid which was a one piece design.
3) Build delays continually push back programme.
4) Evidence of field joint erosion becomes apparent in early missions but boosters still considered safe.
5) Challenger mission pushed back in launnch schedule.
6) Original launch scrubbed due to predicted weather which never occurs.
7) Second attempt delayed due to an inability to remove the hatch closing tool compounded by being unable to drill out the stripped screw thread due to 2 flat batteries in the launch pad tool kit. Resultant delay scrubs the launch again.
8) lowest overnight temperature recorded before a shuttle launch.
9) warnings from engineers about effect of low temperature on O-seal erosion over ruled by senior engineers.
10) the highest cross winds experienced on any shuttle launch until that time.

As you can see, some of those failures are man made, some unpredictable and number of other causes.

I have been involved in safety engineering where the challenge is to design out as many as these faults as possible. One method we use, and coincidentally NASA have done a lot of work in this field, is Fault Tree Analysis.

Here is a link to some of their work:

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&s...YYnIzIKd_HLRUXlhA&sig2=_jOkmOSsb-BRT3Jmmf2u3g

This would provide an excellent starting point to refine your probability study.

The challenge you have is trying to quantify some of the more random events that took place.

As an example, you state the odds of the lack of moonlight being 1 in 10. Given the lunar cycle is 29.5 days and that the new moon phase is a quarter of this the odds of no moonlight are closer to 1 in 4 days. Even if we are more generous and say the first and last days of that phase may contain enough moonlight to still see then we are only talking about 1 in 6. These odds also fail to take into account a number of other visual factors that could prevent the observation of an iceberg at night. Fog, Thick Cloud or Rain for example. It could well be the case that the odds of having a clear bright night at sea in which Icebergs are visible may be as low as 50/50.

For the odds of the Olympic accident delaying the construction of Titanic you state 1 in 10000. what this in effect says is that only one second ship of a multiple ship class of ocean going liners will be delayed due to an incident with the first, for every 10000 multiple class ocean liner fleets built.

I'm not certain there has ever been 10000 multiple classes of ocean liner however, I can say from experience that the first in class virtually always delays the second due to design faults, changes in plans, experience from build, sea trials etc and a whole number of other factors. In this case I could easily say that the odds of a problem with the first in class which impacted the in service date of the second ship could be as low as around 1 in 2.

If you combine Failure Mode Effects Analysis with Fault Tree Analysis I'm certain you could achieve a reasonably accurate set of probability predictions.

Hope that helps?
 
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When someone has to guess to assign a probability to an event rather than using collected data of similar events, then the analysis is flawed from the very start. What is easier to do is to look at the probability of something happening after collecting and analyzing conditions that led to the accident at the scene. For example, what can be analyzed is the probability of multiple iceberg sightings by the lookouts in the region where Titanic foundered using a stochastic approach. Like any analysis, assumptions have to be made, but those assumptions can be backed by supporting evidence. For those seriously interested in how an analysis such as that is done, see my 2006 article here on ET at:
Iceberg Right Ahead.
WARNING - It is a bit technical.
 
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