Will We Look Like That To The Future

Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
Hmmmmmm...Kritina, while saying what you just did may be harsh, it's also pregmatically realistic. Any sense of idealism I ever had died a pretty quick death when I came to understand that.

I suspect when the epitath is written on "our" century, people will look back on our controversies, schisms, factions, and debates and say "Hmmmmmmm...more of the same old thing."

Not that our decendants will have much to crow about because they'll be doing the same thing all over again.

Bob Cruise

>Just more of "It's not my faaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwllllltttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" <

No - that's not what I'm saying.

My stance is - and has always been - that the human beings who design these wonders of technologies are imperfect in their ability to foresee exactly how such "wondrous machines" will misfire - despite what is perceived to be "due process of evaluation".

My difference of opinion with you is that I recommend that more restraints be placed on the implementation of new technologies, especially when such technologies are intended to service large numbers of people.

>the design is in no way faulty because a gun is a weapon<

Well yeah - a gun is supposed to shoot a bullet, but it's not supposed to go off in the hands of a child. The design is faulty precisely because it cannot tell who is pulling the trigger. Humans, of course, are responsible for making the device "child-proof" - as well as for setting those child-proof mechanisms in the first place.

>>The dummies behind the TITANIC built a ship with bulkheads which only went up to E deck. How smart was that?<<

>Very smart and based on some very reasonable assumptions about the sort of accidents that had been happening.<

But not smart enough.

More than "reasonable assumption" should have been applied when designing a ship that big.

Why wasn't it?

However, for a real skewering of the ship's design, let's go to the videotape:

"The design of the Titanic's bulkheads calls for some attention. The 'Scientific American', in an excellent article on the comparative safety of the Titanic's and other types of water-tight compartments, draws attention to the following weaknesses in the former - from the point of view of possible collision with an iceberg. She had no longitudinal bulkheads, which would subdivide her into smaller compartments and prevent the water filling the whole of a large compartment. Probably, too, the length of a large compartment was in any case too great - fifty-three feet.

The Mauretania, on the other hand, in addition to transverse bulkheads, is fitted with longitudinal torpedo bulkheads, and the space between them and the side of the ships is utilized as a coal bunker. Then, too, in the Mauretania all bulkheads are carried up to the top deck, whereas in the case of the Titanic they reached in some parts only to the saloon deck and in others to a lower deck still - the weakness of this being that, when the water reached to the top of a bulkhead as the ship sank by the head, it flowed over and filled the next compartment. The British Admiralty, which subsidizes the Mauretania and Lusitania as fast cruisers in time of war, insisted on this type of construction, and it is considered vastly better than that used in the Titanic. The writer of the article thinks it possible that these ships might not have sunk as the result of a similar collision."

- from "The Loss of the S.S. Titanic" by Lawrence Beesley

As far as keeping with the original title of this thread, I also want to say that, in 100 years, those living will probably look back at us as the "end bookend" of the very age which begin with the sinking of the Titanic.

As William McQuitty pointed out so shrewdly, the sinking of Titanica signaled the end of an era. As proof, McQuitty compares the Titanic memorial to the Great War memorial in Belfast City Hall: the former is in order of importance, the latter is in alphabetical order.

But someone else's ending is another's beginning.

What followed in the wake of the Edwardian Class System was the so-called "Modern World".

Courtesy of technology, a huge Middle Class burgeoned and thrived (due to all those office and factory jobs needing staffing).

Cars, credit, suburbs and the stock market became common denominators.

At least, for those in America and most of the rest of the Western World.

Now, however, it would seem, the rest of the planet is catching up.

Technology has since filtered down to the have-nots (e.g., the "Third World", as well as what's left of the Communist bloc), to the point that what began as Cuban skyjackers demanding a free flight home has diabolically morphed into Muslim terrorists employing laptops and devices from Radio Shack to wreak the most devastating attack on U.S. soil.

But wait - there's more!

Technology has also facilitated the process of "globalization".

Jobs that used to be relegated to the American lower-middle class (and, in certain cases, even the upper- and middle- middle classes) are now migrating across boarders and overseas (call your credit card company for "help" - more than likely you'll reach an operator in India who's been trained to speak with an American accent). Consequently, those living in under-developed countries seem poised to reap the biggest gains - serving, as they do, in this new global economy, in the same capacity as the simple office/factory employee of the early 20th century.

Also, the U.S. stock market - which was always seen as a even-handed gamble from the '20s to the '90s - is now in the doldrums. "Recovery" keeps being forecast, but, so far, the only companies making money are those which are laying off and/or re-locating their factories offshore. People who retired in the go-go '90s on the basis of their 401ks are now going back to work.

Thus, 100 years from now, it is my firm belief that, much as the Titanic signaled the end of the Edwardian Age, 9/11 will be viewed as the beginning of the end of the dominant role enjoyed by the Western World's Middle Class.

Respectfully yours,

Bob Cruise
Mayor of Curmudgeon City
(yes - I carry a rain cloud above my head at all times)
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
>>>Just more of "It's not my faaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwllllltttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" <

No - that's not what I'm saying. <<

Yes it is.

You may not think that, but in the end, that's precisely what's happening. As to the rest, the premise suffers quite badly from what can only be called the "Zero defects" mentality. It's a way of thinking that assumes that people should be able to see all the problems back then because we can in the here and now. And the problem with that is that we "see" all this with the remarkable clarity that can only come from hindsight.

I don't play that game.

Since this thread is now becoming quintessentially political (Meaning having nothing to do with reality) in a sense that is way inappropriate for this forum, I'm going to resign from any further discussions in this thread.

Bob Cruise

>this thread is now becoming quintessentially political<

Not necessarily so.

I think it all boils down to the fact that, stepping back 91 and a half years, you would have sailed on the Great Ship, I would have refused.

(Oh - have I confessed that the Trade Towers always scared the hell out of me? From the first time I laid eyes on them to the period just prior to 9/11, I avoided them like the plague. Any business that had to be conducted there was taken care of quickly - with my exits always swift!)

Of course, 100 years from now, who'll know the difference?

fred pelka

I find myself pretty much in agreement with Kritina on all this. In fact, sad to say, I'd even go one step further. Given the events of the past three years, I wonder if we've framed the wrong question. Instead of asking, "What will people think of us a hundred years from now," we might well need to ask ourselves, "Will there be anyone around, a hundred years from now, to wonder?"

If you combine Bob's initial point -- that technology has given us the means to do far more harm to each other and the environment than existed as little as a hundred years ago, and what seems to be Michael's constant theme -- that human fallibility, if not human folly, is the great constant of human history -- it seems to me that the future is likely to be very grim indeed.

Yes, the thread has gotten quite political. I personally don't have a problem with that. I think this too is a sign of the times, in that most everybody I know seems to have these same worries and questions. Anyway, I've always been of the opinion that politics and history both have a way of turning around and biting us if we don't pay close enough attention.

See you at the apocalypse.


Bob Cruise

"Funny, the Death Star wasn't scheduled to be here until 2012..."

Depends on which movie studio - or DVD - you follow.

fred pelka


I wonder if you saw the Ken Burns two hour plus documentary on "the rise and fall of the World Trade Center." It was shown here (east coast USA) last night. It seemed to me there was a lot in the program to reinforce your points made above.

"Give me back the Berlin Wall,
give me Stalin and St. Paul,
I've seen the future,
brother -- it is murder."

Leonard Cohen

That's from one "drag fatalist" to another.

Bob Cruise

>I wonder if you saw the Ken Burns two hour plus documentary<

I did not. My schedule was already booked, so I couldn't. However, my father taped it for me - and his comment was "It's the best thing I've seen regarding WTC".

Then again, were we expecting anything less from Ken Burns?

However, in keeping with the original thread:

>Plus, who knows, maybe there will be another disaster/tragedy of even greater proportions than the loss of the Titanic, that will be studied in the future. And, some of us here tonight might just be a part of it. I get a chill when I think of my name, biography, and photographs being on a futuristic website for a tragedy, on whatever, if any, machine replaces a computer. It can get you thinking.<

As I sit here at my computer on the eve of 9/11, I can't help but wonder (like Beesley) where all this technology is taking us - not just when it comes to disasters themselves, but also with regard to the commemoration of them.

Dare I say it?

"Will Titanic lose its mystique as the years go by?"

After all, we must remember that, for the greater part of the past 91 and a half years, a good deal of the fascination with TITANIC resided in the fact that the wrecked ship lay somewhere in the mysterious deep, with only verbal accounts and old B&W photos to attest to the size and scope of the tragedy.

That has all changed in the 18 or so years since the wreck has been discovered.

For one thing, courtesy of technology, we now have "de-mystified" many of the mysteries surrounding the sinking of the ship. Everything from the verification of the breaking up of the ship as it sank to the latest entry in the documentation catalogue - "Ghosts of the Abyss" - which allows us all up-close-and-personal contemporary views of dining rooms and berths (and compares them to the B&W photographic record).

And let's not forget that, courtesy of technology, we also have a computer simulated, dramatically-scored version of the actual sinking.

More to the point, however, is that (for me, at least, and several other Titanophiles that I know) another point of fascination with the ship lay in the fact that so big a man-made object failed after reassurances that it wouldn't.

Yet on 9/11, the world witnessed (once again, courtesy of jet-age technology) a failure of technology which was on a scale even greater than TITANIC: the collapse of not just one but two of the biggest man-made structures in the world.

So - three things:

1) With TITANIC essentially having saturated the "pop" culture post-1997, will future generations find it as intriguing as those of us who were first introduced to the disaster via Walter Lord's tome "A Night To Remember" or any one of the 1950s depictions? (My nephew was 11 when the Cameron version came out - he was completely overwhelmed by the film - and then just as easily taken with the next big Jim Carrey film!)

2) With 9/11, the idea of a disaster beyond anyone's imagination once again became reality. Incredibly, the event even intruded on events surrounding the exploration of the wreck of TITANIC. As stated by Ken Marschall and Don Lynch in "Ghosts of the Abyss": "All of sudden, what we were doing all seemed so trivial". So - does this mean that future generations will be more taken with 9/11 because it's both "grander" and more immediate?

3) Will the fact that disasters can now either be stunningly re-enacted via elaborate computer special effects or telecast live via space-age real-time media result in a "de-sensitizing" of tragedy? The most peculiar yet common description of the events of 9/11 which I encoutered was "it seemed like a movie". It begs the question: for those growing up in this new age of media (yet another form of technology - in which the current vogue is broadcasting everyday life as entertainment), will live disasters be indistinguishable from directors' visions?

I hope not.

Lee Gilliland

Feb 14, 2003
Just a short comment here on the technology of all this - humans do not see what CAN be made out of the newest inventions because we look only in one direction when inventing things - "How can I solve this particular problem/make it faster/make it more efficient/make it more convenient to use?" An unfortunate side effect of this is that others take the invention and use it to their own ends in ways that never occurred to the inventor.


It's funny to read this after 10 years,your post is from April 9,2001.So much was change after 10 "The World Trade Center towers, in the wake of the September 11 attacks; the Euro enters into European currency in 2002; a statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled during the Iraq War; U.S. troops heading toward an army helicopter during the War in Afghanistan, part of the U.S. government's War on Terror campaign; social media through the Internet spreads across the world; a Chinese soldier gazes at the 2008 Summer Olympics commencing; an economic crisis, the largest since the Great Depression, hits the world in 2008; a tsunami from the Indian Ocean following an earthquake kills over 250,000 on Boxing Day, 2004."

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