Titanic Sunk

Front Page, New York Herald, 15 April 1912 Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress,www.loc.gov)
Front Page, New York Herald, 15 April 1912
Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress,www.loc.gov)

23:40 (11:40 p.m.) Lookouts Fleet and Lee sight iceberg. Bell rung and call to bridge. Murdoch orders helm hard a-starboard and engines reversed. Starboard side scraped by iceberg for 300 feet puncturing hull in various places. Water fills forward compartments.

1200 (12:00 a.m.) Thomas Andrews tells Captain Smith ship is sinking estimating ship can stay afloat estimating no more than 2 hours. Lifeboats are lowered by hand, evacuation of passengers begins. Wireless is used to alert nearby ships. RMS Carpathia responds and begins moving towards Titanic.

02:20 (2:20 a.m.) Titanic sinks at 2:20 a.m.with over 1,500 lives lost.

0400 (4:00 a.m.) RMS Carpathia arrives and rescues approximately 710 from lifeboats. Captain Rostron of Carpathia said the area was an ice field with at least 20 large bergs measuring up to 200 feet in height and numerous smaller bergs.

18 April 1912 0930 (9:30 a.m.) RMS Carpathia docks at New York Pier 54. Prior to that it offloaded the only remaining piece of Titanic afloat, the lifeboats. Due to confusing communications, the initial reports were more promising about the the severity of the tragedy. The confusion was caused by mixed up bits of wireless communication resulting in erroneous reports of Titanic being towed to New York and less lives lost. By the time Carpathia arrived in New York, everyone knew that over 1,500 had died in the tragedy.

Just In Time For Titanic Anniversary:Letter Up For Auction Tells Family To Pay For Remains

The UK Daily Mail is reporting a letter up for auction at Henry Aldridge & Son shows the callous indifference of White Star to grieving families. The letter, sent to Christopher Moody–the brother of Titanic officer James Moody–informs that the can arrange transport of his remains but they will need a £20 deposit for “for any expenses and land charges….” The letter also points out that once he took charge of the body, he would be responsible for all expenses after that.

1) Did White Star Attempt To Commit Fraud?

The Daily Mail says that White Star already knew that James Moody’s remains had not been found as they had been catalogued. Now you can look at this one of two ways:

1)The body had been marked as recovered or they had been told it had been recovered;

2)They were making plans in case it was found.

I doubt White Star was going to commit fraud here (hitting up grieving family members for money when there was no body likely would get some legal notice). Rather either it was miscommunication about his remains or they were simply being proactive in case of recovery. The body was never recovered so money was ever paid to White Star by Christopher Moody.

2)Was White Star Charging To Transport The Body?

It seems an odd position for White Star to take. Why charge for bringing the body of 6th officer James Moody home to England for burial? Here is what the letter actually say on this point:

Should you after further consideration desire the remains of your Brother to be returned will you kindly telegraph us in the morning at the same time sending us a deposit of £20 for any expenses and land charges on the other Side and we will at once cable New York asking then to arrange this if practicable.

A reasonable interpretation of this paragraph is they are not charging to transport the body to England but “expenses and land charges on the other Side….” That would likely mean whatever fees imposed to transport the body away from the ship. They could not store the body on the ship, it would need to go somewhere right away unless Christopher was there to meet the ship when it docked. So they asked him to deposit money so they could make those arrangements on his behalf.

Now I am not saying White Star ought not to have paid those fees. I think it would have been the right thing to do. This was poor public relations on their part and just adds to the overall impression that White Star was callous and cheap. This was not uncommon then and still a sore issue today after a major disaster at sea or on land. Who pays for the removal, transport, and storage of bodies awaiting final disposition? Families are often shocked when, after the loss of a loved on in a terrible disaster,they get a bill for transport or storage of their loved ones remains. Insurance may cover some, all, or none of it. White Star believed its duty was to transport the remains but not to pay for carriage and storage fees beyond the ship.

That of course is less lurid than saying White Star charged relatives to transit remains across the ocean. It makes for a great headline but not quite the truth.

Source: Amazing Letter Reveals For The First Time How Titanic Owners Demanded Huge Sums From Grieving Families To Be Reunited With Bodies Of Ship’s Crew(14 April 2015,Daily Mail)

Additional Sources

1. James Paul Moody Encyclopedia Titanica

2. A memorial plaque for James Moody is at Church of St. Martin, Scarborough. You can read a write-up at Encyclopedia Titanica or you can view a photo of it here (Flickr).

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The Perils of Sling TV II

"Please Stand By" Old Indian Head test pattern from RCA used from 1940's till color was used. Public Domain
“Please Stand By”
Old Indian Head test pattern from RCA used from 1940’s till color was used.
Public Domain

It is Monday and another black eye for Sling TV hoping to convince people to switch to them. HBO is now part of the growing options one can access through the service so many people signed up so they could view Game of Thrones on HBO. Unfortunately the service experienced technical problems. The Roku app would not load in some cases (that happened to me though I was trying to access ESPN) or took a very long time to load. The upshot: plenty of angry subscribers and Sling having to apologize.

 Tech Crunch said it succinctly:

The network finally risked offering an over-the-top version of its service to the 10 million broadband-only U.S. homes, despite the fact that the majority of its revenues still come from pay TV subscribers, but it could struggle to grow that cord cutting audience if they think that the streaming options are hit-or-miss when it comes to reliability and stability.

And that is exactly the problem. If people believe that services like Sling are hit and miss in content delivery, they will not be so quick to sign up for them. Apple will be the next big entrant into the field with their own service in the fall. Hopefully it will run much smoother.

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Titanic Chronology: 1 April – 12 April 1912

Poster Advertising Vinolia Otto Soap for Titanic Image:Public Domain
Poster Advertising Vinolia Otto Soap for Titanic
Image:Public Domain

1 April-Titanic’s sea trials postponed by bad weather.
2 April- 0600: Sea trials begin. Fire in boiler room six coal hold.
2000 (8.00 p.m.): Trials completed; Titanic returns to Southampton.
4 April-Titanic berths at Southampton around midnight.
10 April-Titanic departs Southampton at 12 noon. While departing,suction from propellers causes New York to break moorings.Collision is averted by tugs and extra speed from Titanic.
17:30 (5:30 p.m.): Arrival at Cherbourg, France. 274 passengers board including John Jacob Astor.22 passengers disembark.
20:30 (8:30 p.m.): Departs Cherbourg for Queenstown,(Cobh), Ireland.
11 April-11:30 (11:30 a.m.) Titanic arrives in Queenstown. 120 passengers board. Among those who depart Titanic is Francis Brown
(later Father Brown, SJ) with his camera and photos of life aboard ship.
13:30 (1:30 p.m.). Titanic departs Queenstown bound for New York with 2,206 passengers and crew.
12 April-Titanic travels 326 miles.

The Perils of Sling TV

When I last wrote about Sling, I was not overly optimistic about this service. It offers some compelling programming for a decent price but has drawbacks. One was lacking the dvr capability of a TIVO. And the other I now realize is the technical aspect. In other words, delivering the product.

ESPN and ESPN 2 is part of the basic bundle and I decided to try it out again so I could watch MLB baseball. Thanks to exclusive content contracts, all MLB programming goes to specific sports channels and the blackout restrictions are pretty heavy. Unless you pay for full cable or satellite package, you will not be seeing much MLB baseball on local broadcast channels. MLB Premium allows you watch just about every game except for the local teams you are excluded from watching. So ESPN gives me a chance to watch some baseball without costing an arm and leg.

Except they are having serious problems. Not only are there occasional feed problems, the infamous “You are Not Allowed To Watch” sign pops up and the game you are watching is gone. I had it more than once and contacted Sling about it. This is their reply:

We are aware that when volumes are high, some programming becomes difficult to stream. We at Sling TV are working as hard as we can in order to provide you with the best or services to our customers. Thank you for giving us this feedback so that we may better accommodate you

It is being reported on other forums as well and seriously angering sports fans. And for good reason. The draw for many is to be able to watch ESPN for as low cost as possible. $20 is a decent price but if the content is constantly being interrupted by technical problems, people are not going to be patient. They will, like me, finally give up in frustration at these problems. Why bother watching a game when it becomes a exercise in frustration with stuttered picture quality or the infamous you are blocked from watching the game sign? Sling is not ready for prime time is my assessment. Sad to say but if you want reliable sports programming via ESPN cable and satellite is still the way to go.

According to engadget.com, there was a major problem on Sling TV. Many tuned in to watch the NCAA Final Four games only to have them unwatchable or blocked. According to engadget:

” a combo of “extreme sign-ups and streaming” triggered the meltdown — Dish wasn’t prepared for the flood of new customers, and had to juggle the load across its networking partners to get things back to normal. That’s an auspicious sign for Sling TV’s future (there’s clearly a lot of demand for live sports online), but let’s hope that it’s better prepared for the next big wave of cord cutters.”


Titanic News: Premier Exhibitions Merges With Dinoking; Residents Try Saving Titanic Lighthouse

1. It was announced just before the Easter holiday that Premier Exhibitions is merging with Dinoking, a Canadian company that produces the “Dinosaurs Unearthed” exhibit. Premier will acquire all outstanding shares and its principal shareholder Daoping Bao will take over as president of the combined company. The deal is subject to shareholder approval in August. According to terms of the deal, Dinoking will become a subsidiary with 47 percent of the voting stock. Now we understand why there was a reverse stock split.
Source: Merger On Deck For Titanic Exhibitor Connected To Hopcat Owner Mark Sellers(6 April 2015, Mlive.com)

St John's Point Lighthouse, St John's Point, County Down, Northern Ireland(October 2009) Photo:Ardfern(Wikimedia)
St John’s Point Lighthouse, St John’s Point, County Down, Northern Ireland(October 2009)

2 Folks who live in Killough in Northern Ireland are not happy with plans to modernize the lighthouse at St John’s Point. The lighthouse uses a 6 ton lamp with mercury to light the way for seafarers but authorities want to replace it with an LED lamp. Though the light itself is automatic, its mercury is a cause for a concern. So it must go even though it poses no harm to anyone since the light is atop the lighthouse and the only people who might be at risk would be the occasional person doing routine maintenance. Locals do not want an ugly LED lamp in the lighthouse that once saw Titanic pass by. Ellen Peter says: “If that were to go, all you would have would be a thing like a bicycle light or an airport landing light.”
Source: Campaign To Save Titanic’s Guiding Light(5 Apr 2015,Sky News)

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Good Friday

Ecce homo by Antonio Ciseri(1821-1891) Public Domain
Ecce homo by Antonio Ciseri(1821-1891)
Public Domain

Today is Good Friday, an important event in the Christian liturgical calendar. It is the day in which Jesus was crucified on the cross. Observant Christians will mark the day by silent meditation, prayer, and church attendance. Many will fast during the day, particularly during the hours of 12 noon to 3 p.m. Hot Cross Buns are a traditional food many cultures use on this day (and through the Easter season). Most Catholics and Christians will avoid eating meat on this day and usually the main meal will be fish. Good Friday (and sometimes Easter Monday)are public holidays in many countries. Good Friday always occurs on the Friday before Easter Sunday. Passover, where Jews recall the flight from Egypt, often occurs during this time. In 2015 both Good Friday and Passover coincide since Jewish law does not allow Passover to begin on a Thursday.