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Hey, I'm Roy Blount Jr., stand up comedian. I'm a correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. I'm a father, I'm a Sagittarius and I have a podcast called Roy's Job Fair. This show is a therapy session for anybody who's looking for work and wants to slap somebody at work or is hiring somebody to work for them. So eventually they can slap you to one part. Laughs One part inspiration. I cannot wait to welcome you to Roy's job fair on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast.
Welcome to Stuff You Should Know. A production of I Heart Radio. Hey, and welcome to the podcast, I'm Josh and there's Chuck and there's Gerri over there, and this is stuff you should know.
Titanic Edition, Part two, the sequel when we last left off the Titanic had just set sail.
Yeah, it was you. I'd like to say it was in fine shape, but it it almost sucked another ship into it and it had a coal fire aboard.
But other than that, it was doing just fine. I wonder if the captain, after they averted hitting the New York, was like, did you see those guys? They were totally pooping in their pants. Yeah, give them give me another toot toot. Don't mess with me.
So, yeah, I don't have the impression that the captain I don't know if we said his name or not. Yeah. Edward Smith to his name. I don't know that he he certainly doesn't in retrospect have a a sterling reputation.
No. No. As you say, he doesn't have a reputation that is like that of a maverick necessarily like I think he did have a sterling reputation until then, at least exactly like he was.
I saw in a I think, a PBS documentary that that like captains like this at the time were likened to rock stars of today, like they had their own fans. And like it was a like you knew what captain you were sailing with. There was a big deal. And he was one of the most famous and well well respected, if not revered as far as the captains go. But over time, like Stubing. Yeah, exactly like Stubing.
But over time, because of like the inquiries and the desire to place blame and to find simple answers and compartmentalize everything, he's been kind of painted with an inaccurate brush that loses a lot of nuance. And one of the ways that he has been mislabeled that makes him seem like a maverick is that he was going full speed ahead, trying to break speed records. Yeah, he wanted to get there as fast as possible, show up those Kenard jerks.
That seems to just be not the case at all. And in fact, yes, the Titanic was going very fast. But according to a an Irish journalist who's done a lot of research on this scene in Malony, I believe is their name, they were going that fast because they were trying they were having to use up more coal to keep that fire from spreading. And he didn't really have that much of a say in how fast the thing was going because they had to keep the coal fire under control.
I'd like to slow down. Are we still on fire? Yes. Well, we can't slow down then full steam ahead. But that really kind of goes to show you like really teaches you like. Oh, yeah. We've lost a lot of the details here. Or I shouldn't say that pop culture has lost a lot of the details. There are plenty of people out there who know details like that. And those are the people you should listen to you.
Those are the people who we listen to. So you can feel pretty comfortable listening to us for the last episode in this one. Let's begin now to.
All right. So fast forward from April 11 when it set sail to April 14. We all know what happens over those three days. There's some steamy love making in the back of a car in the cargo hold. John McWhorter, a French girls, when that is good, Kate Winslet.
I know you're doing Leo. Yeah, either one would have been funny. OK, there's room for me on that door. That was Leo. Yeah.
And she said, no, there's no I mean, we just a bunch of listeners. No, no. It should be great joke about that. So it is the night of April 14th, 1912. This is the third day out. It is very cold. The water is about twenty eight degrees Fahrenheit, negative two point two Celsius. And around noon that day, some things started happening. They had this really cool modern Marconi wireless system where they could receive messages wirelessly and the operators on board started receiving.
The first of at least what would be four messages about ice and like big, big ice that's in the water, a second one comes in at five thirty five from an actual ship that said, hey, icebergs 19 miles north of right. You're headed right toward toward these icebergs. And you know what they say, like, they don't look big on top, but there could be serious trouble underneath.
They really fill out underwater. And I don't think that's the thing. And about an hour before the collision at 11, 40 pm, the Californian, which was a nearby vessel, said, hey, we're stopped, we're surrounded by ice. And the operator on the Titanic said literally, shut up. I am busy. I'm working Cape Race, which apparently was a relay station in Newfoundland, and they were busy sending out messages for the passengers.
Yeah, the passengers could pay about 65 bucks to send a marcone gram to basically show off to their friends and family back home that they were sending a coastal low from the middle of the ocean. Yeah, because the postcard they sent was just in the mail room aboard the same ship or the same time as them. This this Marcone Graham could go out immediately. So the first class passengers were sending out little hellos to the tune of about 250 of them, I believe, just that day.
Wow. So the Marconi operators were very much overworked, which is why he told the other one to shut up. Apparently, he said it twice, said, shut up, shut up. Two exclamation points to.
So two hundred and fifty first class passengers sent out messages that day. It's like there were only three hundred and something first class aboard. So that was most of first class.
Yeah, well, hopefully there wasn't just like some obnoxious one that had sent out like 10 or 12, but who knows Billy Zane.
He was like another Marka anagram about Picasso. Yeah. So he he I was just thinking and Billy Zane again, the Marconi operators like the presence of this this Marconi wireless thing on board was just as cutting edge technology got at the time. Yeah, it was a text. Basically, there were so few ships that had wireless aboard that it was just it was just nuts, which is why so many people were sending Marconi Grams to show off. But at the same time, the fact that there were these wireless radios on some ships, including ships that were in the area, means that the Titanic did have warning that there was an ice floe like in between them in New York.
And they started, you know, like you were saying, they were receiving warnings about the icebergs and the ice floes. And again, Captain Smith is depicted as having ignored this of just heedlessly headed on full steam ahead into an ice field, even though he'd been warned against it. And from what I saw, this is, again, a mischaracterization because he didn't receive any warnings that that would warrant slowing down or changing course or anything like that. He knew that there were icebergs.
It's just kind of like if somebody was saying there's an iceberg 20 miles ahead of your your projected course, you know, heads up, he'd be like, OK, good to know. But that didn't require you to do anything about it. But there was one, the very fateful one that really may have sealed the fate of everybody aboard the Titanic. And that was that last one that came in at eleven forty. That said, we're stopped and surrounded by ice that apparently did not make it to the captain, as far as I know.
So like. The deal. You're right, the deal was is is icebergs were very common, it wasn't like, oh my God, there are icebergs. We got to stop everybody. Like they were used to dealing with icebergs. It was just a heads up. And that that last one may have been a big difference maker. Right.
So they knew that they were icebergs, but there was nothing to be worried about as far as they could tell. And when when Captain Smith handed over command of the ship for the night to I think, uh, Charles second officer Charles Lightoller.
So when he handed it over Lightoller, he said, hey, if conditions become hazy, let me know and we'll, you know, we'll slow down. But until then, full speed ahead. And it turns out that the night of April 14th, 1912, in that area of the North Atlantic was incredibly calm. The sea was like glass. It wasn't hazy at all. It was totally clear there was no moon and lots of stars. So they couldn't see very far because there wasn't much light.
They didn't have binoculars in the look out, but also because the sea was calm. There were no waves to give out any telltale characteristics of breaking against icebergs. It was just nothing but clear water everywhere they could see. So there was not a lot of chance of them spotting icebergs under the conditions that they were dealing with.
So speaking of the moon, did you ever hear that theory about how the moon could have impacted the fact that the iceberg was where it was? No, there was apparently on January 4th, a few months before the Titanic, the moon made its closest approach to Earth in about fourteen hundred years. Wow. Which also coincided within six minutes of a spring tide, which is the semi monthly alignment of the sun in the moon with the earth. And basically all of this ends up in especially high tides and title currents.
And this was a really big year for icebergs. There were about double the amount of icebergs than average. And what usually happens is when they kind of calve off from where they start, they end up getting kind of hung up when it gets into sort of shallower lanes. And that almost always happens. It kind of keeps them in place. But because of this strong spring tide, it may have, like, sent more icebergs out to sea than normal.
That's nuts, man. Yeah. And, you know, again, it's one of these things that other people are like, you know, everyone's trying to find these retroactive things to blame. But I think it all kind of adds up when you start looking at sort of the sliding doors theory of fate, that it all sort of ended up impacting what happened that night.
Yeah, and I think that's another reason why people are so engrossed by it, because, again, it's like it just seems almost preordained. Yeah. And that is very often traced back to this hubris that kind of infested the whole origin in idea of the Titanic, that it was unsinkable and that it was just right. The biggest thing ever made. We're going to send it out as fast as we want. That that is that that just seems like they were sailing into to fate just from those things, you know?
Yeah. I mean, it's it is like a Hollywood script or something, but, you know, it really happened.
I know somebody should make a movie of them so and get someone else to write it. Frederick Aaron Sorkin. Oh, man. Eight hours long, Frederick Fleet and originally were in the crow's nest. And I think Fleet is the one that later said that binoculars could have really helped. Yeah, because Fleet was the one who was close to the end of the shift when he saw this iceberg. He sounds an alarm down to the bridge and first officer William Murdoch was up there and about thirty seven seconds said, stop the engines go full speed astern, which was very common maneuver to sort of try and dodge something.
If you're in a big ship like that. And you know this, again, in retrospect, this was not a great idea. They some people posit that if it had just gone straight and hit this thing head on, it might not have sunk. But it ended up turning just enough to hit a very and especially when you factor in that fire, if that actually was the thing that weakened it, it hit the the hole at a very vulnerable spot, possibly its most vulnerable spot because of that fire.
But also even had that firing up in there. It was like that was the Achilles heel of the the Titanic, that area. And, you know, it's tough to to fault Murdoch for, you know, trying to spin away from it. But it was what you do it well, it isn't except acceptor. It was an accepted technique to also just ram an iceberg head on. But the reason Murdoch chose probably. Why he chose not to do that was because if you did that head on, you're going to send everything in, everybody lurching forward because it's a head on collision when you sideswipes something that's much less jarring.
And in fact, the passengers who did survive the Titanic later said that there was a slight jar when this thing hit the iceberg. So much so that I think a passenger said had he been holding a full glass of water, not a drop would have been spilled. So he did it, I think, out of instinct, because nobody wants to hit anything head on. But I think he also did it to spare the passengers and the crew in the cargo being jostled, injured as rudely as they would have been had they hit it head on.
Yeah, and this is where those rivets come into play as well, because it is theorized that because those rivets didn't hold like they should, it ended up buckling the ship right there. And apparently it's that buckling that really sort of put the nail in the coffin for the Titanic. Yeah. Think it might have survived the gouges had it not been for the buckling, apparently.
Yeah. So the I guess the buckling kind of pulled the rivets or the seams apart and that allowed the water in. Is that the idea behind it?
I think so, because, you know, they started Murdoch, you know, said let's get all these watertight doors shut, which was a really, really great move. But it was too late. And they were there were five of them that were filling up. They originally thought, you know, Captain Smith was like there, you know, must be a 300 foot hole in this thing. And I saw a couple of different numbers. This article from HowStuffWorks says three point two square feet for these six slim lacerations on the boat.
I saw about 12 square feet even still. Yeah. I mean, I saw it like into about two sidewalk squares.
Wow. Like that took down the Titanic. Now, can you imagine in that nuts, like, of course, you would think Captain Smith would be like, it's got to be a 300 foot gash just to have that kind of water. And he wouldn't know. It's not like he could see like this is beneath the water. It struck the iceberg underwater. So it was just an estimate. But, yeah, now we know from from going down and looking at the Titanic, using sonar just how small they were.
So just a couple of sidewalk squares, huh? Yeah.
And, you know, the really brutal part is Andrew's kind of just like in the movie Victor Garber, once he got word that there were five of those cavities filling up with water, he was like, that's it, man. Like we could have survived for. But and I know it doesn't seem like it right now, but this ship is going to go down.
Yeah. So, I mean, you remember I think in the first one we said that the thing was designed to be just fine with two and that for it could probably make it. But five was the magic number. With five, it was like this is this is not going to end well at all. And even with four compartments full in, sealed off, there's a good possibility that the Titanic would have sunk, but it might have taken so long to sink it.
All of the everybody aboard would have easily made their way off. But that five that fifth compartment was just it was just terrible because not only was this the Titanic doomed to sink, it was doomed to sink very, very fast. I think Andrew's estimated two hours basically when he he found out how many compartments were filling. Yeah.
It was really the speed. And if you're saying to yourself, but Josh, how can you say that when they were short lifeboats, as we'll see, there were other ships nearby that that that likely would have gotten there quicker or not gotten there quicker, but got there quick enough had it sunk slower to get people off of that thing.
Yeah, take a break. Yeah, I think so. I could use one buddy.
All right, let's take a break and we'll talk about what happened after that chunk of ice fell near Kate and Leo right after this.
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So we're going Thomas Andrews explained to Captain Smith, like, this is going down and it's going to happen in about two hours, Smith basically gathered his crew and said, hey, this is you know, the ship is sinking. We need to get everybody to the lifeboats. Yeah, he started he started lowering the lifeboats. But apparently, from what I've read aboard the Titanic, you wouldn't have known that that the ship was sinking based on the activity in the behavior of everyone aboard.
Yeah, most people were kind of going about their business, hanging out in the lounge, still sleeping, getting ready to go to bed, because this is, I think, around 11:00 or so when when it struck the iceberg. And like I said, it was such a faint jar that I think people couldn't believe that the Titanic would be taken down by something that only produced that that faint of a jar. Sure. And so a lot of people just kind of acted like nothing was wrong.
Yeah. I mean, crew included. I think it was I think when the message went out from the captain. There was a lot of disbelief all the way around, right, like surely if we hit an iceberg bad enough to sink it, we would it would be, you know, it would be evident like just standing here, like but that's just not the case. And, you know, because it was so large, you know, like you said, you wouldn't even spill a glass of water.
So no one except Leo and Kate, they saw that ice fall. Yeah. So they knew.
Oh, yeah. They I forgot. They were witnesses to it. They knew what was going on. I forgot about that. Yeah.
They were out there. King and queen of the world. Right. All right. So 12, 15, the captain is sending out messages and I mentioned that ship nearby. There were a couple, but the Carpathia was a Cunard line steamer. And they were like, oh, you need help, do you? I knew you'd be back. Now, they they they acted fast, of course, but they were about fifty eight miles away and they they knew they like there's no way we can get there in time.
No. Especially not if it's going to sink in a couple of hours. But again, had you know, even just the only four compartments not flooded, the Carpathia probably could have made it there plenty of time. But there was actually took another ship, though, the Californian that was closer to the Titanic. And as we'll see in the inquiry that followed, basically the Carpathia hero, California villain, the Californian was accused of basically refusing to render aid.
And that just wasn't the case. There was a mystery ship that very much did refuse to render aid and just pretended like it, didn't see what was going on. Yeah, it was actually a ship called the Mount Temple that was kept in by a man named James Moore, Captain James Moore. That was, I believe, within ten miles of the Titanic the entire time that some passengers and crew later said they could see the lights, they could hear the lifeboats being lowered, they could hear the cries of people in the oh, my lord, in the water.
And that survivors said they saw another ship. There was close enough that they could see some of the porthole lights, like that's how close it was and that it just sat there wouldn't come. I knew it because the captain made the decision that that he wasn't going to risk going into the ice floes. Well, he also didn't come forward and say, yeah, that was me. He let the captain of the Californian, Stanley Lord, take the take the blame in Stanley Lord went to his grave, basically disgraced captain, even though he would be vindicated when they finally found the Titanic and said, oh, wait, you were way far away.
And also, more to the point, you didn't realize that the Titanic was in distress. Right? History's rehabilitated a lot of people. But at the time and for many, many years, you know, we like simple stories where there's a hero and a villain. The Carpathia was the hero in the Californian was the villain.
That's right. Good story. I think so, too. So they're giving out these life jackets made, of course, plenty of those. And they I think there was room for one hundred and seventy six passengers on lifeboats, if they're all full. There were about twenty two hundred and change of passengers and crew aboard. So at twelve twenty five a.m. the captain says, start lowering these things. Let's get those first class passengers. And their first I think there were fourteen of the lifeboats were the big daddies that could carry sixty five people.
There were I think two emergency ones that could carry thirty five each and then four collapsible boats that could carry forty nine people each.
And I see different numbers bandied about. But supposedly that first lifeboat and maybe the first few were not full. And I think that first one only had anywhere from twenty five to twenty eight people out of sixty five. Yeah.
Mostly because there are a lot of people aboard who were like I don't believe the Titanic is sinking and that getting in that lifeboat seems way more dangerous to me than staying shore. The nice warm toasty Titanic where there's lots of brandy to be had. Yeah. And that's why some of those first lifeboats, that's what I was saying, like it was apparently eerily calm and quiet and not at all chaotic. And then when it finally became apparent that, yeah, the ship was sinking and no, there's not enough lifeboats to save everybody, that's when it became rather chaotic.
And then suddenly people. Right, not only getting into lifeboats until the capacity was full, they were like jumping into lifeboats that were being lowered, endangering, injuring people already in there. Like it became kind of pandemonium all of a sudden.
Yeah, like when your drink was sliding off the bar, then it got real, you know. That's right. So first in class, I'm sorry, first and second class passengers are being. Going up to the highest deck, which is where these lifeboats are, they just like in the movie, the third class passengers were, you know, kind of locked down there for the time being because they were waiting to get other people out of the way and then they were going to let them out in that that John Hart, third class steward, John Hart basically was like you.
A lot of you people haven't even been out of third class, so you don't even know where to go. So John Howard spent a lot of time directing people to the proper route to get them to safety or at least an attempt at safety.
Yeah, I mean, there were a lot of like stories of heroics, of everyday heroics, of people who were just like, you know, this is my job. I'm going to die doing my job, trying to make people as safe as possible. And that that's that's a John Haaz a very good example of that. Totally.
So the first officer Murdock and second Officer Lightoller were in charge of overseeing the lifeboats on the port side and the starboard side. And they kind of approached it differently. I believe Murdoch was basically like, hey, you're breathing, get in a lifeboat or you're just going to try to get as many people out of here as possible. Yeah, whereas Lightoller was like, if you're a woman or a child, come on. But if you're a man, I'm going to shoot my gun in the air, because, by the way, all of the officers who were in charge of overseeing lifeboats were issued.
Pistols basically keep people in line and in worst case scenario, shoot people who tried to get aboard lifeboats otherwise shouldn't have been. And I think Lightoller shot or no, not Lightoller. I think one of the the fourth or the fifth officer had to fire his gun in the air to basically, like, get people to come back to their senses because they were like men were starting to try to push aboard lifeboats. Well, which means. Yeah, exactly.
While women and children were still there. So, again, it was it was nice and calm. And everybody was following the order of women and children first. And then, you know, that that kind of started to crumble in places not everywhere, but in some places.
Billy Zane grabbed a kid. I have a child. I remember that. Yeah.
Yeah. And that was in another movie I saw recently.
What, Billie Jean or Billy Zane stealing a kid to get in the lifeboat? No, I'm trying to think there was another movie that was made recently where this couple that's like a kind of a postapocalyptic thing or something's going. This isn't going to be interesting. I've tried to figure it out and tell you later, but somebody else did the same thing and grabbed a kid and used the kid. Yeah. And you don't realize it until about two thirds of the way through the movie.
And then you're like, oh, my God, like that. It's a it was really well done. But I didn't realize that they'd stolen that from Titanic.
All right. Well, let me let me know. So the band really did play on that. That movie scene is straight out of reality, apparently right down to the song. I think they say the last song was either autumn or Nearer My God to Thee. And I think near my God is the one they played in the movie very, you know, say what you want about the movie. That was there were some really, really gripping scenes in the second half of that film.
And that was one of them. The other one that really always got me was and this is kind of the point where we are now with how this thing actually sank when Kathy Bates is as Molly Brown is in that lifeboat and sees.
That those propellers up in the air, it was pretty remarkable, yeah, that that those lacerations in the hull they took on like water toward the bow. So the front of the ship was suddenly much heavier than the back of the ship. Yeah. And the ship was built so strongly, even with those subs, substandard rivets, the wrought iron ones, that it didn't just break immediately, that it actually lifted up the rear and the propellers became became visible first and then it kept going higher and higher and higher.
And then the pressure on those on the plates that held the whole thing together became so enormous that it was something like 17 and a half tons of pressure per square inch. That's how much pressure was being exerted on the basically the the halfway point where the where the Titanic split in two and finally it did split in two, but it didn't break into two immediately.
The bottom of the hole, the that connected the front to the back, still hung on and almost became like a hinge. And so the whole bow went underwater, but just dangled there for a little while until it finally filled up. And at one point, the stern the back half of the ship was straight up in the air, basically, and was about as tall as a 25 story building to.
Can you imagine being a lifeboat and seeing that?
I can't I cannot like I can't like all of this all of these things that you're seeing, you're like this shouldn't be happening. None of this should be should exist right now. And it was and it was all still it was going pretty fast, too. I mean, like they launched the first lifeboats about two hours before the stern was now suddenly like 25 stories into the air. Finally, the bow part fills up with enough water that it breaks off.
And it was so heavy that it traveled to about two point four miles down to the sea floor or the Titanic rest today in like six minutes. That's how fast it traveled down there and just hit like like a missile. Basically, it hit the sea floor.
Yeah. And, you know, obviously, this is when they start losing, like, remarkably, they had electricity and even, I think, radio that Marconi was still working for a while. But obviously, when this thing splits in half, that's when these flickering lights even go out. And that was also a very, you know, pretty emotional part in the movie. When it goes quiet, when, you know, there's so much chaos going on and when those lights go out and the boat is finally, you know, when both halves fully go underwater, then you're just left with screaming human beings.
Yeah. There was a survivor who said that it sounded to him like the sound of all the people crying and screaming and yelling for help in the water, that it sounded like the sound of cicadas on like a summer night. It was just that kind of frenetic and all encompassing. But then I saw another survivor who said that the worst part was when those when it started to, like, fall silent, when they were like fewer and fewer people yelling because you knew that the people who had just been yelling a few minutes before were now dead.
They'd frozen to death, apparently, that the the temperature of the water was so cold that you would lose consciousness in about six to 12 minutes, basically.
Yeah. And, you know, we've been joking around and stuff. I think the adage comedy is tragedy plus time. You can apply here, but we do not take any of this lightly. It's at this point, it is one of the most horrific scenes that anybody could ever imagine being a part of. Absolutely.
Which is, again, why why so many people celebrate Molly Brown, because there are so many people out in the water still with those cork lifejackets. The the guy who I think the quartermaster, Robert Hitchins, who was basically the captain of the lifeboat that Molly Brown happened to be in, refused to go try to pick up survivors who might be in the water. He said they're all dead and she's she threatened, apparently, to throw him overboard if he didn't go find people.
And what was amazing is that some people did actually survive. The chief Baker, his name was Charles Jocelin, her joffrin. He survived paddling around for two hours. She's two hours. And then he finally found a capsized lifeboat and clung to that, climbed aboard that. And some people did survive like that. But but but he he was in the water for a couple of hours. And weirdly, they attribute it to him getting drunk before he went in the water.
But this was apparently after he had helped save a bunch of people. The first thing he did is he went and stocked as many lifeboats as he could with bread and provisions. Then he started actually physically throwing women who refused to get into lifeboats, into the lifeboats. And then after there was no one left to help, he went and started drinking. For some reason, they think that that kept him alive or otherwise he might not have just maybe by freaking out like it kept him from freaking out.
Yeah, well, warmed him up to maybe. I don't know. No, I think it's supposed to do the opposite. That is the opposite. Yeah. Like don't take that advice for stranded in the cold. Don't drink. That's right.
Chuck, there is one other story I saw talking about the sound of the like the people who are crying out there was a young survivor. I think he was like nine or 10 or 12. And he later on, they his family was moving to America and he found out the hard way that he couldn't go to baseball. Games because the sound of the cheering crowd took him right back to the sounds of the people crying for help o Titanic, and he just wanted to love baseball, but absolutely couldn't because because of that, basically he had PTSD.
Basically they yeah, that's very sad.
But let's take our last break here and we'll talk about what happened after two twenty a.m. after the Titanic made its way to the bottom of the ocean.
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Some. All right, so the Titanic is underwater at this point, it is chaos and death and despair everywhere. You can see the Carpathia finally arrives at about 430 a.m. on April 15th. And, you know, these lifeboats were adrift. They had no compasses, no lights. They were freezing. They were I think the Carpathia recovered 14 boats and seven hundred and twelve people, which is remarkable. One of those people, only one of those, I think died en route to New York.
And, you know, the world starts getting word that the mighty Titanic has sunk. And it's, you know, it's front page news all over the world, basically.
Yeah. When the Carpathia finally made port in New York, it was surrounded by smaller boats that had been rented by the press who were trying to get scoops by shouting up to to people aboard asking for quotes and all of that, like there was a little gobs of money thrown at people by journalists to try to get their story. Because there this is as international news is, as news gets. Yeah.
So apparently the Californian looked for bodies and did not find any may not have accounted for the drift and, you know, may have been looking sort of in the wrong place. And White Star said, as you would say, nuts to that. Let's send out a bunch of search vessels to see what we can do. And I think they knew at that point they were not going to find anyone alive, but they were at least trying to recover bodies.
And they sent out a few boats and one of them found and six bodies, one found 15 and one. And then another couple found four people and one person. And again, all these people died in the most tragic way you could imagine. They were waterlogged. They were so heavy that it took several people to lift them aboard. The first class passengers were put in coffins. They were embalmed. This is really gruesome. But sometimes they had to break their frozen limbs just to fit them inside.
It was it was sort of no time for the formalities of burial. It seems like it was a mass casualty scene. And so they were just kind of doing what they could, I think.
Yes, some of the crew was actually buried at sea. Yeah. Which I would be like, I don't bury me at sea. That sounds like the opposite of OK to me. Right. I've never been OK with burial at sea.
OK. You're telling me this. I'm just going on the record in case we ever go on a cruise together. Yeah. All right.
So the US kind of like really insinuated itself into this tragedy to a questionable degree in some people's minds at the time. You know, the Titanic was a British ship. The White Star Line was a British company. And yet the U.S. held public inquiries the Senate did on the Titanic tragedy before the the Brits could even do it because they they started this inquiry, I think, one or two days after the Carpathia made port. That's how quick these the the inquiry was launched by the US Senate.
And so all of these people who were subpoenaed as witnesses before they could leave New York had to stay and give their testimony before they could go back to England. So the British had to wait to hold their public inquiry until the American one was over, which I think kind of chafed everybody a little bit. But between the British inquiry and the American inquiry, they both basically reached the same conclusions and they were three-fold, lifeboats, lifeboats and lifeboats.
Yeah, and not just the amount of stuff we've already been over. Like there was no system. Seems like and this is all because it's true. It seemed like no one knew how to load these things seem like there was a lot of indecision about where you actually do the loading. There were a lot of opinions flying about about who should be loaded, about how many crew members you need on these lifeboats. And there was just there was no direction at all.
There was no uniformity and there was no plan. And that's like we mentioned at the beginning, because so many of these crew members just kind of showed up at the last minute and they they didn't even have training in how to do this. Yeah.
And like we said, the Californian was vilified. That was another thing. But the it was, you know, even at the time it was explained by the California captain, like, look, the wireless operator went to bed. He didn't hear these distress signals. Yes, they were shooting off rockets, but we thought it was another boat that was mainly doing it to navigate through the ice. Like it didn't seem like a distress thing to us. Yeah.
And again, history has kind of exonerated him. But at the time, he was not very well thought of. Neither was Jay Bruce Ismay, who survived because he got in a lifeboat. Yeah, he was vilified as a coward who didn't go down with his own ship. He was painted as having dressed up as a woman to get aboard, like just basically anything you can think of that's despicable. He was described as having done to get aboard a lifeboat to save his own skin.
The only way that he could have had any honor, dignity is if he had, like, willingly died with the ship. He didn't do that. And supposedly in retrospect, he was probably unfairly characterized. He went to his grave saying that he there was no women or children anywhere near where he was like they were not around. And he decided to get into a lifeboat that had space. But even still, like he's just considered this despicable figure because of this kind of historical trend that was initiated during the public inquiries.
Yeah. And of course, Andrew's the designer. And Captain Smith, you know, as in the movie, you see them both go down with the ship. Then that another very impactful emotional scene with Victor Garber, I think doesn't he, like, set the time correctly on a clock or something like that?
I think he went and rearrange the deck furniture. The Weickert, you know, he did.
I think he set the clock right. He's just such a cliche as he said the clock. He said the clock. Sure. And, you know, this is as things are sliding off tables and it's a good movie now that I'm talking about.
I kind of want to watch it again. OK, all right.
There were other people that were hailed as heroes. The captain of the Carpathia was knighted by King George the Fifth for his actions in saving people. The Marconi operators and just the Marconi operating or wireless system in general was viewed as heroes because had it not been for those instant distress signals that were sent over Marconi Wireless, who knows how long those those people would have been out there in the lifeboats and how many more would have died. So, yeah, a lot of people could be saved, could have been saved.
I think the number I've seen most widely used is 500. Had the lifeboats been properly filled with passengers, another five hundred people would have survived. But you also have to say, well, how many people would have died had the Marconi wireless not been in operation? Right. Time to. So Marconi himself is actually hailed as a hero for having, you know, come up with this this wireless, even though I don't think he invented the technology.
Binocular locker, maybe need a lock? Yeah, Davey player was like, oh, God, I've got the key in my pocket or maybe just put it in a in the basket right there in the crow's nest or just a bunch of like, you know, I mean, the key that unlocks you don't need a lock, OK?
Are they afraid they're going to people are going to walk off with the binoculars. Right. What they did, there were a lot of a lot of reforms that came out of this. They started launching ice patrols. Wireless operators started appearing on ships far more prevalently. And they were there were operators sitting there around the clock to help with distress signals. But I mean, you know, in these probably saved thousands and thousands of lives. But because these things hadn't existed at the time or were ignored like the lifeboat regulations, then, you know, a lot of people died.
Brutal. So, Chuck, the Titanic was it went down and was not discovered until 1985, I believe, right?
Yeah, I mean, that's when things get really interesting. I think anyone who had any even passing interest in the Titanic has marveled for years, like we were talking about in Episode one about these images and especially, you know, the way these things are lit with these little sort of, you know, these little swimming robots and their flashlights in the dark down there, it adds this eerie quality to it with the suspended debris and how easily this thing, you know, would would kind of come apart if it was knocked against or something.
Just really stunning, stunning footage. And that's, I think, what like drove James Cameron. He got really into it.
Oh, yeah. The guy who discovered the Titanic is Dr. Robert Ballard. And he I saw a talk by him where he was talking about one of those early ones where they were using one of their remote vehicles with equipped with like a spotlight on it. And he said in from the inside, the gloom of the Titanic looked like a light came on. He said he and the rest of his crew on the vessel, aboard and on the surface, just like stopped breathing, like there was the eeriest thing he'd ever seen.
And he realized that the the searchlight had was reflecting off of one of titanic chandeliers that was still hanging there. I can't imagine what that sensation would have been like just by terror, but also just total all you know. Yeah, totally. So the Titanic is falling apart thanks to a kind of iron loving bacteria, I believe, called Hellerman Titanic.
Yeah, I think that's right. Right. Surely that's on purpose. Yeah.
Yeah, they I think they discovered it from evaluating the Titanic, right. Yeah, OK. And so they're the they basically don't think it's going to be around much longer. But Dr. Ballard is saying, no, no, we can we can do something with this. There's actually underwater technology that uses epoxy paint where you can paint underwater. And he has a proposal to save the Titanic by painting it and turning it into an underwater museum, because outside, outside in the debris field, like bodies were, you know, dissolved and eaten within a very short amount of time.
But there's still plenty of objects that are still there inside the Titanic. There's no currents and a lot of areas inside the Titanic might be anaerobic. So it's quite possible that there are bodies generally preserved in there and that a lot of the like rooms and different areas in the bowels of the Titanic are still in relatively good shape. So he's saying it's imperative that we keep the Titanic from rupturing and opening up and exposing its innards to the currents and the the oxygen in the ocean.
And we can do that by painting it the outside of it. So I'm really hoping that he he's successful in that quest. Very cool. Yeah. You got anything else? I got nothing else. I got one more thing. We could not talk about the Titanic without talking about futility. The 1898 book that was written by a guy named Morgan Robertson. And it's about the biggest ship ever built, the Titan that is headed from Liverpool to New York to Liverpool when it encounters an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sinks.
And like the description of the type, the Titan almost matches the Titanic, even though it was built 14 years. It was written 14 years before. Very cool. We covered that on something else at some point, did we do an episode of Coincidence once? I don't know, because if so, I'll bet that was it. Well, if you want to know more about the Titanic, have a good rest of your life because there is a lot to learn.
So go forth, find your favorite Titanic based podcast or website and start there since I said start there. It's time for finally listen to me.
Uh, I'm going to call this, uh, whispery commercial.
Hey, guys, I've learned so much from your podcasts as I walked at least a thousand miles during my predawn neighbor, avoiding strolls over the course of the pandemic because I'm a high risk person. Uh, your show strikes a perfect balance with the information and amusement. And I check my phone each morning to see if a new episode is dropped Tuesdays and Thursdays.
That being said, if the person so much trouble and also annoyed this person, because as you will see, I have to confess that during the recent stuff you select on plasma waste converters, I experience an intense rage that was quite atypical for me, a mild mannered speech language pathologist who works with young children that trigger a commercial in which the speaker was whispering. Can I tell you the name of the sponsor is my higher brain function instantly shut down. I can no longer process language.
All I know is throughout the experience I was just shouting, Now stop, make it stop and care little that my neighbors probably thought I was being attacked by stealthy coyotes that occasionally visit our otherwise peaceful Southern California suburb.
So now I've calmed down and recovered from auditory onslaught and have to request please never, ever play that commercial again. Please do an episode on Misophonia. I'm no, I'm not alone.
Sorry, Deborah. It'll never happen again, Deborah. Or very sorry. That's from Deborah. By Deborah.
By forever so mean smacking your lips do. I was doing something weird, you little boy. So if you want to be like Deborah and just go overboard, we want to hear from you. You can write to us via email that I heart radio dot com. Stuff you should know is a production of I Heart Radio for more podcasts, my heart radio visit that I heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.
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