The Mathematic Truth About Titanic

Just the rivets used to construct the “Titanic” weighed over 1000 tons. The steel plates they held to her hull became brittle in the cold, 400 miles south of Newfoundland, where the unsinkable ship sank. She was roughly as far north as Maine. Her captain knew about the iceberg field ahead, yet continued on course, never seeing the future nor being able to imagine what the sea felt like far ahead.

TitanicThe boat eventually landed on the ocean bottom, two and a half miles underwater, where water pressure is over 6,500 pounds per square inch, in two pieces said to be 2000-feet apart, 1200 miles from her intended destination, New York. We know a lot of the math. Titanic’s maiden voyage was her only voyage. The huge boat’s steel hull was too weak, while she was thought by many to be overbuilt.

With engines reversed full astern, Titanic was tested capable of stopping in about three minutes.

On embarking, before entering the English Channel, Titanic narrowly avoided a collision with another ship, the “New York,” because Titanic displaced so much volume she caused the other ship’s lines to snap as she passed by it, an unforeseen issue, the sea itself bending like Einstein’s space-time, threatening to wreck things! The bending almost had consequences that could have … changed everything!

Titanic Poster“The two ships avoided a collision by a matter of about 4 feet (1.2 m). The incident delayed Titanic’s departure for about an hour, while the drifting New York was brought under control.”

When Titanic went down, water temperature was about 28-degrees and “almost all of those in the water died of cardiac arrest or other bodily reactions to freezing water, within 15–30 minutes.” There were no other ships close enough to assist; it was reported a radio operator on the Birma estimated it would be 6AM, hours after Titanic sank, before that liner could arrive at the scene. Hundreds of bodies would be discovered, floating in life jackets, by many boats for an entire month after the sinking, dispersed over hundreds of miles.

There’s no doubt, if we could manipulate time and distance, we would have, and all these statistics would be different. But the story of Titanic is, and was, frozen, in time. All the same rules of the universe apply to her, just as they would to a little boy making mountains with his hands in the mud. The universe we live in begs us to be fascinated by it, but doesn’t care, if we understand it, or about anything we want.

TitanicHad you been on the boat, it was certainly an enormous and devastating crash … but had you been distant from it, it would have been a smaller crash, and had you been many miles away it would seem, almost unjustly, like an even smaller thing … without any social connections, just a recent news story, one most compellingly-described in the news by recency, up-close magnitude and testimonials. The “ultimate reality” is when something is so close it physically touches us; devoid of this experience what’s left is our imagination, which operates on a reality-basis that results in greater distance-away diluting events. In human reality, sense of importance “really” diminishes when things are far away. This is an extreme-subjective view, without accounting for emotion in the word-of-mouth story, but nevertheless true. If a faraway planet exploded, we would be interested, but if the filling station down the street exploded, we would be more than interested; it would alter our personal reality. If we met a disheveled alien who was one of the few survivors of the planet explosion, and he told us his dramatic account, the entire event would rise dramatically in importance, but even then, you still wouldn’t have “been there.”

Even though “meeting the alien” seems the most odd of the scenes, it’s the reason we’re building enormous telescopes; “because we want to know” easily becomes “because we want a little drama!” (or are unnecessarily afraid of something) and our imaginations are on fire!

While the universe just … keeps … going … and things keep … bumping into each other … just as they … according to the universe … are supposed to!

We should figure out the rhythm of the math, or figure out the math in the rhythm that’s already there!

While being ready to not get the answer we expect!

Sometimes, certainly not the one we want.

The perfect whimsy of the universe makes it easy to see how the biggest math sometimes leads to an almost spiritual conclusion, but a spirituality that’s still strict.

It’s interesting that both our ability to respond and our “need” to, in our subjective world, diminish when an event is very far away. If true of the Earth, it’s probably also true of the Universe. What’s important is related to its impact on us – closeness, combined with varying quantities of information and imagination.

… and you know, after all, it probably was the aliens! … oh, wait … that’s a different documentary!

(Above is from the forthcoming book “Nothing” by Mark Urso)

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