Monday, April 16, 2012

On board the Titanic bandwagon (warning: contains SCIENCE!)




The above photo was recently released as a reminder that the RMS TITANIC is an underwater graveyard, the final resting place of over 1,200 people.

   The Titanic media blitz can't go 30 seconds without mentioning some fucking people who made a fucking movie, and the guy who told them how to read the goddamned words on the paper they were holding.

    I need to mention this: I don't give a shit about the movie, or the people who made it. I don't even give a shit about the guy who found the Titanic in the first place. He was simply a fundraiser who knew how to hire someone who could read maps, and is good at getting money out of people. For this, he gets called a 'scientist' though he certainly isn't. He doesn't study anything, but rather finds funding for people to study things, and then accepts credit for it. My dad sailed for the same organization for years, and was on the construction, testing and operating team that ran the submarine they used to find the ship. He retired long before the Titanic search took place, back when they used the sub to do things like find lost nuclear bombs and do actual scientific research instead of using the Navy's construction budget to engage in the intellectual equivalent of masturbating in front of a full length mirror and calling it 'art.'
(Edit: I sound hostile in the above because the ALVIN is expensive to charter, and there's a long line to get time on her. The initial TITANIC search, while pretty amazing, tied up the sub for a long while at a time when geophysicists and physical oceanographers with something to offer the world went sub-less. Had the Alvin been released ASAP to continue on her scientific mission, I'd be singing a different tune).


     The only thing I really care about the TITANIC:

 1).  SOLAS (The international convention on Safety Of Life At Sea) came from it, ushering in a new era of safety, about 400 years too late, but welcome still, so that the terrible lessons learned could have meaning, and be prevented in future.

2). The Titanic is a sunken graveyard, the final resting place of over 1,200 souls who died in the name of  greed and hubris (so what else is new!). As such, it should be (and is not) afforded the same level of protection as your town's graveyard, or that of other shipwrecks that aren't quite so profitable to certain interested  *cough cough james cameron cough cough* parties.

 Today's notable pap, showing the true value of self-education when a rich drama queen decides to 'do marine science' without benefit of education, or, more charitably, having a basic science education, comes from the self-serving sultan of Smug himself, James Cameron, recent creator of a cartoon version of Dances With Wolves, set in space. With big blue cats. This from the same guy who's justification in strip mining the TITANIC like a child with a booger-filled nose is that he's "never seen human remains".

Sigh. What does he want? The answer, of course, is dramatically-posed skeletons, a true double-edged sword. On the one hand, dramatic photos of well-dressed dead people would sell. On the other, photos of the mortal remains of accident victims might actually create enough of an outcry that the Titanic wreck site would be protected with a certain amount of dignity. Regardless, the skeletons in questionare nowhere to be found, and, therefore, makes this not desecrating a mass grave, but rather, some form of  'research' by mass media standards.
      Why aren't there skeletons? Chemistry. Same reason ocean water is ocean water. Something I learned on the 3rd day of Intro to Marine Biology. There's plenty of calcium in seawater, which is why mollusc shells and other calcium-heavy things don't dissolve quickly in water, despite a rather intense demand for calcium by creatures such as molluscs and other animals, who can pull it out of seawater and incorporate it into bones and shells and such. Below a certain depth, however, calcium carbonate (shells, bones and such are made up heavily of this stuff) gets aggressively dissolved rather more quickly than in the shallows. This is called the Carbonate Compensation Depth, or CCD. The Titanic rests in deep, deep water, well below the CCD. Aside from the animal life that would be interested in mortal remains, the bones wouldn't last too long, either. And so, once again, basic ignorance of day 1 science shit can be used as a wonderful reason to exploit the dead for fun and profit.
 Now look at that. You learned something! See, there's no reason to blindly dislike people. There's plenty of perfectly good reasons to dislike people.

   

10 comments:

tugster said...

you do have a way with words. you should be teaching !! oh . . you are. cheers, paul.

eastriver said...

Umm, no, perfidious Albion (this time.) The owners were the IMM Co., a trust bankrolled by all-American J.P.Morgan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Mercantile_Marine_Co.

HT said...

Well said Paul, I loved reading this post...have a good nite!

Paul, Dammit! said...

Thanks, Eastriver! Wow, that is convoluted!

bowsprite said...

Sent your rant along to the like-minded, seems the Blackgang liked it.

http://adventures-of-the-blackgang.tumblr.com/post/21276279396/titanic-hawsepiper-the-longest-climb

(I wonder why Monkeyfist did not use the cute ape photo.)

Ebb Tide said...

Wow, now that's a freaking Rant! And I love it! Rant On!!!

Anonymous said...

The CCD is around 1000 meters deeper in the north Atlantic; the Titanic is near 3800 meters down, the CCD is more like 4800 meters down

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