Posts Tagged ‘titanic’

Yes, The Titanic was Real

April 17, 2012

I  had thought I had lost any capacity to be amazed by the ignorance of some people but I was wrong. I would have thought that even someone with only the vaguest grasp of history would have realized that the movie Titanic was based on real events. According to this article in the Independent, I would be wrong.

IT may have been one of the most iconic disasters of the twentieth century but it appears that some Twitter users are only now waking up to the fact that the sinking of the Titanic was not just the plot of a blockbuster film.

While subscribers to the microblogging site may be kept constantly up to date with the latest news and gossip, it is appears that some are less than familiar with the major events of the more distant past.

The sinking of the White Star liner with the loss of 1,500 lives in 1912 stunned the world and became a byword for tragedy.

But it appears that it has become so enmeshed in popular culture – particularly with the recently re-released film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet – that some were not aware of the historical reality.

Twitter: Kelly Derrick: Is it bad that I didn’t know the titanic was real? Always thought it was just a film” :literally dont know what to say

Neither do I. I really don’t know how someone could be so ignorant. Maybe they don’t teach history in public schools anymore, except for politically correct victimology. I just don’t know.

Sinking of the Titanic, drawn from wireless de...

It really happened.

 

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Titanic Cruise

December 27, 2011
RMS Titanic

Image via Wikipedia

I found this story on Drudge about a cruise in which they are going to recreate the voyage of the Titanic, minus the iceberg I hope. Actually there will be two cruises with some passengers wearing period costumes and the same menus for the passengers. They will even have descendants of some of the people who sailed on the Titanic.

Such is the interest in places on the MS Balmoral, the vessel retracing the journey of the maiden voyage of the Titanic, that a waiting list for cancellations has closed.

Some of those who have booked berths costing up to £5,995 are having costumes made to recreate the appearance of the original passengers, while there have also been requests from musicians to audition for places on the string quartet that played as the flagship of the White Star Line fleet began to list.

Miles Morgan, managing director of Titanic Memorial Cruises, the Bristol-based company organising the events, said places on the cruise from Southampton had sold out weeks after going on sale, with the second cruise likely to sell out by next month and interest in the commemorative journey remaining intense. He said: “We have been approached by news crews all over the world who want to film our recreation of the fateful voyage. We could probably have filled the entire vessel just with journalists wanting to be there. The interest has come from all over the globe – we’ve had people from 24 different countries booking.

The culmination of restaging the Titanic’s voyage – which will see the Balmoral, a chartered vessel belonging to the cruise line Fred Olsen, sail to the point off Newfoundland, Canada, where the ship collided with an iceberg – will be a memorial service at 2.20am on 15 April – the moment when what was then the world’s largest passenger ship sank.

A second vessel chartered by the cruise company to carry 694 people will also meet at the site of the sinking after sailing from New York en route to Southampton. And plans are being made for the wireless radio station at Cape Race in Newfoundland, which received the Titanic’s SOS in morse code, to repeat the message.

Among those on board the Balmoral will be relatives of victims and survivors of the Titanic, including Philip Littlejohn, the grandson of Alexander Littlejohn, who was a steward in the first-class section of the vessel and survived by rowing away one of the 16 lifeboats on board. The small number of lifeboats meant that barely a third of the ship’s complement of passengers and crew could ever have been saved.

The attention to detail for the recreated Titanic voyage means that passengers will dine on the same menus offered to the 1,514 people who died and the 710 who survived when the ship struck an iceberg at 11.40pm. Among the items from the 11-course first-class dinner to be offered will be oysters, roast squab and sautéed chicken Lyonnaise.

If you want to go, it’s too late, as all the spaces have been filled up. There are still limited spaces for a tour of the Titanic wreckage on a Russian submarine.

The booming demand for Titanic-related travel has led to another travel company offering the chance to explore the wreckage of the ill-fated vessel in a Russian-built submarine next summer at a cost of $59,000 (£37,000) per person. Places for that voyage are already “very limited”.

I think I’ll pass on that one.

Personally, I am not sure why there has been such interest in the Titanic. It is a tragic story, to be sure but I just don’t get it. I never even saw the movie by James Cameron. But, to each his own.

Trillions and Trillions

July 21, 2011

The United States Federal Government is more than $14 trillion in debt. I think that one of the problems in our political discussions over the debt is that the human mind is simply not designed to comprehend such large numbers. We may understand them on an intellectual level but not on an emotional or “gut” level. I am not sure what the largest number we can really understand intuitively, maybe 20 or 100. Anyone can instantly tell the difference between 10 and 20 or 50 and 100, but when it comes to millions or billions, it’s harder to compare.

The largest number the ancient Greeks and Romans used was the “myriad” which was 10,000. So 50,000 was 50 myriad, 1,000,000 was 100 myriad, and so on. This went up all the way to a myriad myriad which means 100,000,000. They didn’t really need any numbers larger than that.

By the time of the Renaissance, mathematicians and bankers needed larger numbers. The precise meaning of large number names varies from country to country. I will be using American usage.  A million is a thousand thousand. The word million was coined sometime in the 14th century from French and Italian. A billion is a thousand million. The word was coined around 1680 and means simply two + million. A trillion is a thousand billion. The word was also coined around 1680 and means three + million. I could go on with quadrillion, quintillion, and so on but I think you get the point. Anyway mathematicians and scientists who use really large number use scientific notation, which is beyond the scope of this post.

All right now, let’s see if we can understand 14 trillion. Fourteen doesn’t seem to be a large number, does it? Well, let’s convert the trillions to billions giving us  14 thousand billion. That seems a bit larger. Now let’s go further down to millions. Now we have 14 thousand thousand million. One more step. Try thinking about 14 thousand thousand thousand. That sounds like a whole lot more than just 14 trillion.

Whichever way you put it, that is a truly astronomical number. It is more than the number of stars in our galaxy. It is more than the number of galaxies in the observable universe. It’s a little more than half the distance to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star, in miles, but give Obama a second term and I’m sure we’ll get there.

If any of this doesn’t help, here is a visual aid I got from life’s little mysteries.

What the 14 Trillion National Debt Looks Like
Infographic Source:

 

With all that in mind, the current controversy concerning the debt limit seems to me to be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The iceberg has hit us and we had better start plugging the hole.


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