Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2008 at Roosevelt Island. This picture was taken about a week before Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. As was typical of our weekends, we always went for walks. Feeding ducks was something Mattie loved to do, I literally saved old bread and crackers for just these outings.
Quote of the day: Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.~ Albert Einstein
Since May, I have wanted to go to the Titanic exhibit at the National Geographic Museum. An exhibit acknowledging the 100 year anniversary of the ship's sinking on April 15, 1912. I have always been intrigued by the Titanic, and I know I am not alone, clearly, since the exhibit is entitled, "Titanic 100 Year Obsession."
Einstein's quote tonight seems very appropriate considering the exhibit we saw today. The White Star Line was quite sure that its Titanic was unsinkable, so much so that history reports passengers being told that even "God couldn't sink the Titanic." I relate deeply to the Titanic's story because what this tragedy shows us is that our fate and destiny are truly out of our control. The builders of the Titanic lost the needed humility and awareness needed to thrive in this world. I say that because when you reflect on the fact that this massive ship was only equipped with 20 lifeboats, not enough to even rescue half of the passengers, you have to wonder. It was almost like they were tempting fate.
I believe the reason why this exhibit is being featured this year at the National Geographic Museum, is that the first to unveil images of the ship's wreck was National Geographic's own explorer Robert Ballard in 1985. I learned today that Dr. Ballard had a fascination with submarines and the ocean as a little boy. Fortunately growing up in San Diego gave him access to study at some of the best oceanographic institutes. Ballard wanted to locate the Titanic wreckage, however, that wasn't the main purpose of his expedition in 1985 which led to its finding. Unbeknownst to some, this trip was financed by the U.S. Navy for secret reconnaissance of the wreckage of two Navy nuclear powered attack submarines, the USS Scorpion and the USS Thresher, which sank in the 1960s. Back in 1982, Ballard approached the Navy about his new deep sea underwater robot craft, the Argo, and his search for Titanic. The Navy was not interested in financing the search for the large ocean liner. However, they were interested in finding out what happened to their missing submarines and ultimately concluded that Argo was their best chance to do so. The Navy agreed it would finance Ballard's Titanic search only if he first searched for and investigated the two sunken submarines, and found out the state of their nuclear reactors after being submerged for such a long time, and whether their radioactivity was impacting the environment. Ballard was placed on temporary active duty in the Navy, in charge of finding and investigating the wrecks. After the two missions were completed, time and funding permitting, Ballard was free to use resources to hunt for Titanic. What you should note however is that the two submarines sunk in close proximity to the Titanic. To the rest of the world, however Ballard's trip was promoted solely as a search for the Titanic, and not as a reconnaissance mission to determine the state of affairs of a sunken submarine with nuclear weapons aboard.
This was an advertisement geared toward 3rd class passengers. If you look at the sample room on the poster, it had two sets of bunk beds in it, and between the beds was a toilet and sink!
Peter and I both had the opportunity today to sit down in front of a machine and try to do Morse Code. We had this sign in front of us which indicates how letters are replaced by certain dots and dashes, but I can tell you trying to tap out these dots and dashes precisely on the machine is NOT easy.
Peter took a picture of this poster because I was fascinated by the explanation for the lack of lifeboats aboard the Titanic. I also find it interesting that when the Captain ordered the evacuation of women and children first, this directive had two different interpretations by his crew. Which was why some male passengers actually survived.
Thanks to Dr. Ballard, the debris field of the Titanic was mapped out and he was able to declare with certainty that the ship did break into two while sinking. The bow and stern of the ship landed 1970 feet apart from each other on the ocean's floor.