Pellegrino as a scientist


Jun 11, 2000
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Think I made a mistake at the end of that long URL, I think it should be a zero after the F and before the 3 - but I expect you figured that out. One thing going for Venus would be the similar size - gravity suitable for us and all that.
 

Tracy Smith

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"One thing going for Venus would be the similar size - gravity suitable for us and all that."

Yes, that's true, but the length of the Martian day is only a half hour off from ours, so that is one factor in its favor.
 
Jun 11, 2000
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Hmmmph. Some tricky choices for our descendants coming up here. Whether to drag yourself around for 16 hours a day, or nip around but have to keep going to bed..... or do I have that the wrong way round?
 

Logan Geen

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Dec 2, 2001
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I just recently finished Ghosts of the Titanic. I also picked up on the slopiness of Pellegrino's research and his habit of playing fast and loose with the facts. I think it is a shame because personally I found both Ghosts and Her Name Titanic to both be superbly written...Pellegrino has a terrific and very gripping style. It's a shame...if his research was on par with Don Lynch or any of the folks on this board, his books could've been spectacular. As it is, they are gripping to read and he does make the Titanic come alive. If his facts were correct, his books could easily be my favorites.
 
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Oct 13, 2000
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Logan, I think you have hit the nail squarely on the head with your assessment of Pellegrino. He is a very good writer, and his books are very entertaining to read. If only he made the effort to get his facts straight, his books could be very worthwhile. It's a shame, really......

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 

Jeremy Lee

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But then without the 'spectactular' fabrication of facts and errors, would the story still be so gripping and interesting?
 

Logan Geen

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Interesting question Jeremy. My answer would be yes, the real story of the Titanic is equally as fascinating. I'm not totally opposed to the use of imagination to fill in the holes but Pellegrino seems to be unfamiliar with the concept of disclaimers (i.e. pointing what is his version vs. what is). I find him a bit hard to read...I don't know whether he is sincere and sloppy or intentionally doing it because it fits "his" version. It does disappoint me given that he was in a great research position yet still goofed so many things up. Either way, I still enjoyed his books, even though they simply can't be counted as good material for factual info.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>But then without the 'spectactular' fabrication of facts and errors, would the story still be so gripping and interesting?<<

Why not? Any number of Titanic authors have done the same. Geoffrey Marcus, Lynch, Marschall, Bruce Beveridge and Steve Hall, George Behe, David G. Brown...all of them managed that trick. That's not to say that everything they write is without error. These people would be the first to tell you otherwise, but they did the very best they could with the sources they had, and without fabrication.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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One interesting story that I remember from Ghosts of the Titanic, was intriguing, although I'm not sure whether it's based on some real Titanic account or purely fiction.

It was deemed (by Pellegrino) as "The Mystery of C-78." Supposedly, a steward (or two) had come around during the sinking, knocking on doors and calling for everyone to get their life belts on and get up on deck. When he/they came to C-78, no one answered at first. After a few knocks, a man from within asked "what do you want?" followed by a woman's voice telling the steward to "go away," which the steward did. Pellegrino went on to say that whoever was in there and why (theorized by 'many' as a secret tryst) and whatever secrets they had went to the bottom of the ocean, especially considering this was near the break. I thought this was interesting, if not a bit fantastic to be a true story. Then I noticed in the same book that Pellegrino had an illustration of decks with some cabins identified by the names of people who occupied those cabins. Guess what I found? C-78 (along with C-74, C-76) belonged to the Minihans. This contradicted the 'mystery' that he had described previously in the text--a 'mystery' in which the occupants of C-78 were supposed to have been unknown. I can tolerate (to some extent) colorful and imaginative elaborations and stories, twisted facts, and errors (understanding that they are such and nothing else; we're all entitled to mistakes, as we're human), but one thing I absolutely will not tolerate, under any circumstances, is an obvious contradiction made within the same book--a contradiction that a ten-year-old can see. Making errors is summed up as slipshod researching but contradicting oneself falls on the borderline of . . . stupidity. Sorry, I don't mean to insult Pellegrino, as his technical writings, if a bit simple to me, are interesting, but no one should be exempt from such inane practices as contradicting oneself. That would definitely reduced a writer's credibility exponentially.

Does anyone else here know of the account about which I describe? What are your thoughts on this? Is this based on some actual Titanic account or is it merely a figment of Pellegrino's imagination? I would be very interested in what you'd have to say.

Take care
 
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Paul Lee

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According to an email I got from Dr.Pellegrino, he is convinced that Major Peuchen's wallet wound up on the ocean floor because the Major was convinced in some preservation ideal and threw his wallet over the side of the ship. The evidence for this is incredibly flimsy!

Cheers

Paul

 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi Paul,

"The evidence for this is incredibly flimsy!"

Yes, it definitely is. While I respect Pellegrino's opinions, this is an outrageous theory. Up until he was ordered into lifeboat #6, Peuchen was assisting people into the boats, so I do not believe he would have stopped to throw his wallet into the sea.

Best regards,

Jason
happy.gif
 
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Matt Pereira

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Ill agree hes not too good as a Titanic historian. Ive read his book a few times *mainly cause I havent had a chance to get any new ones* and I have noticed errors such as him saying lightoller had the E deck gangway doors open even though the gangway doors were on D-Deck that E-Deck didnt have no doors for the first class passenger the only doors on E-Deck were way up under the well deck in the general location of the well deck.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I wouldn't sell Dr. Pellegrino completely short. Some of what he says may "Walk On The Wild Side" so to speak, but there may be some merit to what he's been saying about hydrodynamic downblast which supposedly follows a ship to the bottom.
 
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Matt Pereira

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Well some of what he says dose make sense but some is way out there. Ill admit that. I mean supposed if your an historian on the Titanic surely you would know that the gangway doors that lightoller had open was on D deck not E deck like he says in his book.
 

Cam Houseman

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Kathy, I would agree with you that Pellegrino seems a better marine scientist than a Titanic historian. maybe because he has the educational background for the former, where Titanic is more a hobby for him?

my concern is that all the qualities that make a good historian are even more critical for a scientist. have you done any research in Pellegrino's field to see what his peers think of his scientific work? the answer to that question should speak volumes as to whether you should consider recommending his books or not.

there are probably plenty of other authors who might be better recommendations, in any event. any of Dr. Ballard's books would be a good example. he has written a wide range of books on many topics from geothermal vent exploration to wreck diving. his reputation is considered very solid. I don't think you could go wrong recommending any of his books.

it wasn't entirely clear from your post what grade level your students are. let me know what grade level you are teaching and I will try to come up with some further authors.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
I respectfully disagree.
Dr. Pellegrino has been there on multiple occasions, most notable the 1996 and 2001 expeditions. Hi peers of those expeditions, George Tulloch, Walter Lord, Bill Maquitty, Don Lynch, James Cameron, Ken Marschall, Mike Cameron (rest in peace) have not come forward and called him out. He has worked with them on multiple occasions. If not for his work, the downblast theory would not be a reality, and accepted Widely among Titanic historians and researchers, myself included. I would HAPPILY recommend his books and scientific research to anyone, mentioned in the same tone as I would say Sam Halpern’s or Don Lynch’s /Ken Marschall’s book :)
 

Cam Houseman

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Well some of what he says dose make sense but some is way out there. Ill admit that. I mean supposed if your an historian on the Titanic surely you would know that the gangway doors that lightoller had open was on D deck not E deck like he says in his book.
Mistakes happen, he fully outlines that Ken Marschall found the safety gate drawn open and the locks open in 2001, and within no area of hull deformity, thus supporting the D-Deck Portside door to be open during the sinking
 

Cam Houseman

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Thanks to all for your input on this. I've done some searches on the board the found some very good stuff. Here is a discussion about Pellegrino's assertion about the smoking room being on fire. This is one of the worst blunders as far as I'm concerned.

I've also tapped into my NASA contacts because Pellegrino claims to have connections there. Thse apparently go way back to the Challenger disaster. He mentions some things about the shuttle in the first book that are a bit questionable too. He certainly does a variety of dabbling.

I am most of the way through Daniel Butler's book, Unsinkable. It seems very good. It's also written in the style that has his sources everywhere. When Butler quotes someone, he notes where he got it from, the same goes for most other specific events and assertions. It's pretty good. The only mistake I've found so far is Butler got fireman Barretts first name wrong.

Based on my opinion, and the valued opinions of the good folks on this board, Pellegrino's book will not be on my "recommended reading" list.

Cheers,
Kathy
He does not state the Smoking Room on fire theory as fact, he theorizes that could be possible for the “lights” passengers saw still on during the stern’s final plunge
 

Mike Bull2019

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...except in 'Ghosts' he says it several times and there's even smoke drawn coming from the stern section in the illustrations, one caption for which ends with-

'The stern is now burning and sinking'.

A pretty definitive statement, I would say.
 
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Mike Bull2019

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Yes. It's a typical writing style that I have seen before, too- suggest something as a 'theory', then repeat it...and repeat it again...then say it again, for good measure, more definitively...

It's incredibly frustrating that people waste time on it, when there are infinitely better works available.
 
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