What's the most stupid question ever asked

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Haha, Roy, your pick was totally going to be my choice! There's something about the terse response of Lightoller after all that that cracks me up.
Hi, Carla!

Even radar hasn't always been the magic "cure-all." It didn't keep the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm apart. Machines can be trusted up to a point, but as yet, they still don't have all the intuitive qualities humans do.

"Computers are just machines after all, they can't think..."
"Some programs will be thinking soon."
"Won't that be grand -- the computers will start thinking, and people will stop." (TRON)

Not only is radar no cure all, there are surfaces as well as substances which don't reflect very well either. Metal is a great reflector and military stealth aircraft use removable reflectors made of metal so they can be tracked by air traffic control radar systems when conducting routine flights in friendly territory. These same aircraft are also made of carbon fibre composites and curved blended body surfaces which tend not to reflect radar or faceted surfaces which reflect the radar beams away from the antennea.

Ice is another one of those substances which make for a very poor reflector and the naturally craggy surces of a berg don't help matters one little bit even if the navigation set is tuned to the best possible frequency range for detecting ice. Strange as it may seem in a day and age of whiz bang electronic gadgets which can all but sing, dance and have your baby for you, often the best possible ice detector is the Mark I Mod 0 Eyeball.
What is the 'Mark I Mod 0 Eyeball'?


PS. I talked to the same kid that asked the question again yesterday and he still doesn't get that there was no radar then...
Probably a dumb question.......Granted it was a long time after 1912 before Sonar, Asdic or whatever was invented, but would they have been effective on icebergs, considering most of the iceberg is under water ?

Reference to "Mark 1 Mod 0 Eyeball"...radars in the USN were in the "S" category, such as SA, SG, etc....the most effective thing for sighting objects was said to be the "SE" radar.....Sailor's Eyes.
This isn't so much a question as an absurd misconception. I had a guy once tell me his idea that the Titanic broke in half because the water entered the ship and rushed to flood the ends first, causing her to hogback. How he reconciles that with the watertight compartments, the extent to which she trimmed down by the bow, the obvious question of why the water would go straight to both ends of the ship even if she were just a huge hollow bucket and how, if this were the case, the stern should have sunk stern first after she broke up, I don't know. Confused, I asked him to draw a diagram. He included a tiny DiCaprio at the bow....
Thanks, Robert!


PS. Peter, I don't know what to say about that guy! If he had seen the movie, as shown by him drawing DiCaprio, then he would know how the ship really sank..
That's what puzzled me most Carla. For all its faults (I reeaaallly didn't like Cameron's movie) it at least offered enough information to raise basic awareness about the ship. The best part: he was a science teacher (geology, not physics, thank god). Now that I'm coming more out in the open with my Titanic enthusiasm, I'm sure I'll encounter more like him.
I don't really like the film either. True, I cried the first time I saw it, but I was about 10 years old or so and I didn't realise that it was just a film that made fun of various historical figures, Bruce Ismay, for example. I don't think that you'll encounter people like him (the geologist) on this site though ;)

>>A geologist? Well, at least he will know what an iceberg is made of! :)<<

I feel like Senator Smith gets picked on a bit too much for the iceberg question. Surely, a glacier must pick up a lot of earth and non-ice material as it flows to the sea? I've been told that it's the rotting plant matter in icebergs that gives them their strong smell. Now that thing about the whether she sank by the head or the bow? That's something else, entirely.
Senator Smith did ask quite a few stupid (I couldn't think of a better word - I don't mean it in a mean way, though) questions, and he also repeated questions over again. I personally don't have anything against him myself, but his questions do make the reading of the inquiries a bit slower. I suppose that, due to the way that he worked, he had to re-ask questions so that he made sure that the information that he and the court were getting was correct.

Any opinion of Sen. Smith should be stretched to include: 1) that even the stupidest, most obvious points need to be put into the official record; 2) that asking the same question in a different way often produces a very different answer; and 3) that the room acoustics for the American Inquiry (and the British one) were reportedly terrible. No microphones and no recording devices, other than stenographers - who probably would have objected to being called "devices."

>>Granted it was a long time after 1912 before Sonar, Asdic or whatever was invented, but would they have been effective on icebergs, considering most of the iceberg is under water ?<<

I don't know. They might have been useful with the right equipment, the right operators, and the right frequency range, but how many merchent vessels carry it for any purpose? Outside of fishing craft, not very many and no passenger vessels or freighters as far as I know. Sonar carries with it it's own problems of limited range and dealing with temperature and salinaty variances in the water which make reliable detection a challange.

To use it effectively would require a sophisticated set along with operators of equally sophisticated training. Rather difficult to justify when ships tend to avoid regions of ice whenever possible. (And tread very carefully when they can't!)
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