Tag Archives: Disasters

What Sank The Titanic? The Moon, Say Two Scientists

The Titanic was sunk by the moon, say two scientists, but others are not so convinced. Their claim is that a truly cosmic conspiracy was afoot on the night of January 4, 1912, which sent many icebergs hurtling towards an area, lying bang in the path of the Titanic. Although the giant ship’s crew were ultimately to blame for not responding to warnings about icebergs in the area, the duo say that this might explain why there were so many icebergs in the area to begin with.

An Astonishing night

The night of Jan 4, 1912 was an astonishing night indeed. The moon was very bright as it was a full moon night. On this night, it was extremely close to the Earth, closer than it had been in 1400 years. This is what is called a ‘supermoon’ event, when the perigee (coming closest to the Earth) and full moon coincide. On top of that, by some coincidence, the Sun, the Moon and the Earth were aligned in nearly a straight line, causing the gravitational forces of the moon and the Sun to be added and generate very high tides. If that were not enough, the Earth was also close to the Sun, with the perihelion of the Earth (position where the Earth is closest to the Sun) happening the day before. The researchers, David Olsen and Russell Doescher, both of Texas State University, argue that this astonishing series of coincidences conspired against the doomed vessel.

The supposed path of the iceberg

The pair argues that icebergs drifting southwards from the Arctic region were refloated by the increased tides. Generally, icebergs float south and then get stuck in the shallow waters near the Labrador Peninsula or Newfoundland (refer map above). This prevents them from drifting south any further. If the iceberg was set afloat once more by the high tides, then they could have indeed caught the Labrador current  and, after drifting south-east a bit, intercepted the Titanic.

Voices of skepticism

Many are not quite convinced, however! The critical question of how high the tides were has been left unanswered. Furthermore, as John Vidale, a seismologist at the University of Washington points out, to compress the normal drift time of three-and-a-half months to just a few hours or even a day or two, is to overestimate the power of the tides. In other words, the icebergs would’ve taken three-and-half months to drift that far to the south. How high must the tides be to reduce that time to just a few hours?

Also many people question the alignment of the Sun, Moon and Earth. Even slight misalignment will not work, as the force needs to be as strong as we can have.

Why the Titanic sank may not be as clear cut at these scientists are trying to make it sound. Their work appears in the April edition of the Sky and Telescope magazine and it might be an interesting read.

Verizon Wireless Makes Calls to Chile Free

In the wake of the recent natural disaster in Chile, Verizon has decided to make calls to and from Chile free till everything gets back to normal. The free calls will apply to monthly customer of Verizon Wireless in US, who make or receive call on the network to or from Chile.

The press release which went out earlier today, has this to say:

Starting immediately and retroactive to the time of the earthquake, Verizon Wireless customers with regular monthly bills can make calls to connect with family and friends in Chile at no cost when they’re on the Verizon Wireless network in the U.S. Verizon Wireless customers with monthly bills who receive calls from Chile will also receive those calls free of charge. The company is making calls free for at least one week. Calls made while roaming are billed at normal rates.

Definitely good to see someone taking an initiative in the time of crisis. In addition to that, all Verizon Wireless customers who pay a monthly bill, including those formerly with Alltel, may contribute to Chilean earthquake relief efforts via their mobile phones. To make a $10 donation to Habitat for Humanity, text the word CHILEto 25383; to make a $10 donation to World Vision, text the word CHILEto 20222.

Watch the Hawaii Tsunami Live As it Happens

A unfortunate natural phenomenon also known as Tsunami is about to happen in Hawaii, this Tsunami was triggered by a 8.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Chile.

Though it is really dangerous to be near a Tsunami it is a phenomenon which brings an awe as to how destructive nature can be when things are disturbed around it.

Hit Tsunami is now broadcasting videos from Hawaii live and will also be broadcasting the Tsunami live online. If you are someone who wants to watch a Tsunami without being near one, you can visit the Hit Tsunami website or watch the video embedded below.

If you are looking for someone who is missing in the earthquake, you can use the Google Person Finder (more info here) to lookup information about missing people.

Google Adds Chile Earthquake Donation and Person Finder

Google has added a link to their homepage, clicking on which takes users to a page where they can donate towards relief for the recent Earthquake in Chile and also provides an option for users to find information about a missing person or add information if users are aware about them.

Google Chile Disaster Relief

If you are looking to donate or find information about someone please visit http://www.google.com/relief/chileearthquake/> Mashable also has a list of places where users can track the progress of the impending Tsunami in Hawaii, which you can read here. Users can also track real time updates about the disaster by visiting this page. For more options to donate towards the Chile disaster you can also visit RedCross.org.