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What would you have done?



The Presence - or Absence - of Evidence

Transmission Interception

The Survival of Our Company

The Band Played On

A Signal in the Distance

In Search of a Speed Record

Our Own Life Boat

Return to the Scene

I Don't Work For You

I Ordered This - Not That


The Route

CQD / SOS / Wireless

Ocean Temperature


Ocean Currents

Lifeboat "Capacity"

Radar / Sonar

Deep Sea Diving


The Bow Under the Water


Report / Don't Report

The Presence - or Absence - of Evidence

"The Titanic has hit an iceberg!"  The news - via wireless communication - spread like fire through the New York media.  "But all is well."  Was it?  Carl Van Anda, managing editor of the New York Times, noticed there had not been any communication from the Titanic after 12:27 AM.  Knowing nothing more than this, he scrapped the lead headline and printed:  TITANIC IS SINKING. 

What would you do when faced with the dilemma:  Go to Press / Do not go to Press, in the absence of evidence?

Let's focus on the essential issue:  In the absence of evidence ...

Let's suppose you invited a friend over, and after they left, you noticed a $20 bill missing from the counter?  In the absence of any other evidence, would you confront - or not - your friend?






Act / Don't Act

Transmission Interception

The Titanic has sunk, it's been reported.  The Carpathia has rescued roughly a third of the people on board.  It's steaming towards New York.  And a wireless transmission is intercepted:  "Get our crew back to England as soon as possible".  Legislators rush to issue a subpoena, keeping the crew here, so the United States can investigate the tragedy and question the crew.

But was it legal?  Could one intercept a wireless transmission, and if so, issue a subpoena from this transmission interception? 

Let's focus on the essential issue:  Having wrongly overheard a transmission ...

If you were at school, and overheard students talking about a fight after school, would you tell the principal - or not?  What if you were in the bathroom smoking, and you knew, in telling the principal, it would be discovered you were smoking - and you yourself would get in trouble?  What would you do?





Tell the Truth / Don't Tell the Truth

Trying to Save Our Company

Many passengers escaping the Titanic reported the ship broke up before sinking.  Two crewman reported it was intact.  Past midnight, and in the darkness of the sea, official testimony believed the crewmen.

But workers back in England thought otherwise.  "There's no way our ship could sink that quickly unless it broke up."  But why would it break?  The massive size of the Titanic required a new device in ships:  the expansion joint, that allowed the ship to bend slightly in the middle as it rode large waves.  The ship-builder's belief was the stern took on water, got pulled into the water, and as the aft was raised, broke in two.

And if this was the case, the Titanic expansion joint was flawed.  Harlan and Wolff, the ship-builders, could be blamed.  And they wouldn't have a chance to retrofit Titanic's sister ship - the Brittanic.

To tell the truth - and destroy the shipping line - or lie (or keep silent), and learn from the mistake.

Let's focus on the essential issue:  Revealing the truth could destroy something you value ...

Suppose your child was a driver in a vehicular accident where someone was injured.  You know your child has been drinking.  Do you tell the truth to the officer / judge, and likely send your child to jail, or do you you hide the truth about your child, and hope for a small fine / ticket?






And the Band Played On

Keep Calm!  Maybe!

The Titanic has hit an iceberg.  How bad was it?  Captain Smith and First Officer Murdoch didn't know.  Fourth Officer Boxhall made a quick inspection of forward areas and reported "no damage".

Captain Smith and Thomas Andrews, naval architect in charge of the plans for the Titanic, decided to see for themselves.

Sea water was rushing into the ship's first five compartments, and was already fourteen feet above the keel.  The ships bow started to sink under the weight.

"How long have we?" Captain Smith asked Andrews.  Andrews did some quick calculations.  "An hour and a half - possibly two.  Not much longer."

The ship would sink - with absolute certainty.



Let's focus on the essential issue:  In dire situations where panicking is likely ...

Suppose you're a pilot, and realize, flying over the Atlantic, the ground crew has mistaken kilograms for pounds in refueling.  You're certain to run out of fuel 500 miles from North Carolina.  Also, because of a faulty gauge reading, you only know this because engine #1 just stalled.

Would you tell the passengers the truth about the airplane's problem - or not?

Let's suppose you decide to say, "We're going to make an emergency landing on water, but things will be OK.  The plane will float until rescue personal arrive."  And then you play music over the loud-speaker.  Does this help at all?  "The Titanic's band did play on", of course, but was this a good thing?  Did it help - or hinder - escape from the ship - and short-term survival at sea?"