Did you know that there's an alleged photograph of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic? I did not. This is the sonovabitch right here:
The picture was taken the morning of April 15th, 1912, by M. Linoenewald, Chief Steward of the German liner Prinz Adalbert a few miles south of where the Titanic had gone down taking 1,517 souls with her just hours earlier. The news of the disaster hadn't reached the liner yet, but the Chief Steward noticed red paint on the iceberg and took the photo out of interest.
In a statement by Linoenewald and three other crew members, they said "on one side red paint was plainly visible, which has the appearance of having been made by the scraping of a vessel on the iceberg".
But a photo of another iceberg with a red gash was taken by the captain of a ship searching for bodies in the vicinity a few weeks later. So maybe this is the bastard:
Anyway, ship-sinker or not, a copy of the first photo recently sold at auction for £21000.
I was under the impression that not many photographs of the Titanic existed...especially those taken on the ship. But amateur photographer Francis Browne was aboard the Titanic from Southampton to Cobh, Ireland and captured many images of the ship's interior, exterior, and voyage. The photos were widely known in the aftermath of the sinking but have been little seen since then.
Browne took this as he was boarding the ship:
The infamous deck chairs:
Browne traveled on a first class ticket...this is a view of some passengers on the second class promenade:
This was taken shortly after the ship dropped anchor in Cobh. Browne obviously did not take this photo because he was still aboard the ship...he acquired it from a photography friend after the fact:
And this is one of the last photos taken of Titanic before Bob Ballard and his team found the wreckage in the mid-80s:
These photos will be a big blow to the remaining folks who believe that the Titanic was fictional:
The SOS signal celebrates 100 years of official use today.
It took the tragedy of the Titanic to reveal just how vital a universal system was. After the collision in April 1912, the ship's radio operators sent out both the old CQD and the new SOS signals, but some ships in the area ignored both, thinking that they were having a party. They soon learnt otherwise, as international headlines told how Jack Phillips, the Titanic's first radio operator, and 1,500 others had been lost along with the "unsinkable" ship. The new SOS distress signal was rarely ignored after that.
Guglielmo Marconi gave testimony to the panel investigating the loss of the Titanic about the emergency signals.
Mr. Marconi explained the distress signals in use in vessels equipped with wireless telegraphy. "C.Q." meant "All stations" and "C.Q.D." was the distress signal. According to the regulations that signal must not be used except by order of the captain of the ship, or other vessels transmitting the signal. Since 1908 the distress signal had been "S.O.S." This and the "C.Q.D." were simply three letters, but they could be interpreted as meaning "Come quickly, danger," and "Save Our Souls".
Here's a simulation of the message that the Titanic sent out that night.
The last meal for the first class passengers on the Titanic. The meal comprised 10 courses in all, paired with wine and as many after-dinner cigars as you could smoke.
Netflix, the online DVD rental company, recently released a bunch of their ratings data with the offer of a $1 million prize to anyone who could use that data to make a better movie recommendation system. On the forum for the prize, someone noted that the top 5 most frequently rated movies on Netflix were not particularly popular or critically acclaimed (via fakeisthenewreal):
1. Miss Congeniality
2. Independence Day
3. The Patriot
4. The Day After Tomorrow
5. Pirates of the Caribbean
That led another forum participant to analyze the data and he found some interesting things. The most intriguing result is a list of the movies that Netflix users either really love or really hate:
1. The Royal Tenenbaums
2. Lost in Translation
3. Pearl Harbor
4. Miss Congeniality
5. Napoleon Dynamite
6. Fahrenheit 9/11
7. The Patriot
8. The Day After Tomorrow
9. Sister Act
11. Kill Bill: Vol. 1
12. Independence Day
13. Sweet Home Alabama
15. Gone in 60 Seconds
17. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
18. Con Air
19. The Fast and the Furious
20. Dirty Dancing
22. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
23. The Passion of the Christ
24. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
25. Pretty Woman
So what makes these movies so contentious? Generalizing slightly (*cough*), the list is populated with three basic kinds of movies:
Misunderstood masterpieces / cult favorites (Royal Tenenbaums, Kill Bill, Eternal Sunshine)
Action movies (Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, Fast and the Furious)
Chick flicks (Sister Act, Sweet Home Alabama, Miss Congeniality)
The thing that all those kinds of movies have in common is that if you're outside of the intended audience for a particular movie, you probably won't get it. That means that if you hear about a movie that's highly recommended within a certain group and you're not in that group, you're likely to hate it. In some ways, these are movies intended for a narrow audience, were highly regarded within that audience, tried to cross over into wider appeal, and really didn't make it.
Titanic is really the only outlier on the list...massively popular among several different groups of people and critically well-regarded as well. But I know quite a few people who absolutely hate this movie -- the usual complaints are a) chick flick, b) James Cameron's heavy-handedness, and c) reaction to the huge success of what is perceived to be a marginally entertaining, middling quality film.
BTW, here are the movies on that list that fit into my "love it" category:
The Royal Tenenbaums
Lost in Translation
The Day After Tomorrow
Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind