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11 Questionable Suggestions for Raising the Titanic

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In the 100 years since the hulking ship slipped beneath the surface of the Atlantic, a wealth of ideas have been offered for how to bring it back up – many of them proposed before the ship was even located by Bob Ballard and his crew in 1985. Let’s take a look at 11 of the weird brainstorms offered up over the last century.

1. Fill It With Ping Pong Balls

One of the most commonly cited ideas for raising the ship is one that calls for filling it with ping pong balls and letting their buoyancy raise it to the surface. This idea poses a lot of problems – like how exactly you’d get the ping pong balls down to the ship, and how you’d deal with the fact that the water pressure at the ship’s depth would instantly flatten them. However, the general idea was proven to be possible on a smaller vessel during an episode of MythBusters.

2. Inject It With Vaseline

According to an article written just after the ship was located by Bob Ballard’s team in 1985, a “British underwater salvage expert” proposed filling a series of polyester bags with 180,000 tons of Vaseline and placing them inside the hull of Titanic. Apparently that would do something magical. But that isn’t even the craziest idea the article cited; that would be…

3. Turn It Into a Giant Ice Cube

In case you’ve forgotten, Titanic was sunk by a gigantic block of ice. So, proposing an idea where the wreckage of the ship is sprayed with liquid nitrogen in order to turn it into an enormous ice cube is at best ironic and at worst pretty disrespectful to those who lost their lives aboard her. Needless to say, that idea didn’t really float with anyone.

4. Pump It Full of Boiling Wax

Wax floats when it solidifies, so why not just transport an insane amount of hot wax several miles down into the ocean, pour it into the ship, and wait for it to cool. It’s almost too easy – yet nobody wanted to try it.

5. Bring up a Small Piece – For a Large Price

In 1996, a commercial attempt was made to raise a 21-ton portion of Titanic’s hull. The effort to bring up the 24’ x 16’ section of the ship was followed by 1,700 people aboard a nearby cruise ship, each of whom had paid anywhere from $1,800 and $6,000 for the honor of watching the action being captured by underwater cameras. The portion of the ship was just 70 yards from hitting fresh air for the first time in over eight decades when the lines hoisting it up snapped and sent it plummeting miles back down to the ocean floor.

6. Suck It to the Surface With Magnets

Roughly a year after its sinking – and 72-odd years before it was actually found in pieces – an architect named Charles Smith had the idea of finding the sunken ship and raising it by attaching electromagnets to both the ship’s hull and a cable attached to a barge on the surface. As the barge reeled in the cable, it would bring the 882-foot vessel with it.

7. Get a Huge Claw or an Enormous Scoop

A variety of plans have been talked about throughout the years to either develop a claw large enough to grab and raise the ship (like a gigantic version of that claw-dropping arcade game) or, conversely, create a huge scoop of some kind to dig under the ship and raise it gingerly upward. None of these have materialized.

8. Reverse-Engineer the Atlantic Ocean's Water

One idea called for the creation of a “deep water electrolytic process” designed to extract hydrogen and oxygen from ocean water – and use them to fill a series of containers attached to the ship. The plan was too complicated and expensive, and was never attempted.

9. Just Blow It Up

Just five days after the sinking of Titanic in 1912, an article in The New York Evening Journal detailed an idea being considered by Vincent Astor, whose father John Jacob Astor, the richest man aboard Titanic, had gone down with the ship. The idea called for locating and blasting apart the wreckage of Titanic with dynamite, the hope being that the explosion would dislodge the body of his father, sending it back up to the surface. In the article, a shipping expert is quoted:

“Having found the boat, the rest would not be difficult, although we would be compelled to completely wreck the boat. A large quantity of gun cotton, between 300 and 400 pounds, heavily weighted, would be dropped into the wreckage.

"An electric wire, connected with a battery, would be 'touched off'. We could use other explosives, if necessary, and the force of the explosions would be sure to bring all of the bodies to the surface."

10. Fill It With Compressed Air (In Order to Win the Cold War)

Did you know that in 1980 the United States successfully raised Titanic to the surface and sailed it into New York Harbor because they’d discovered that it contained a mysterious substance that could help knock Russian missiles out of the air? How did you miss that? Here, take a look:

http://youtu.be/5Il7Hub5Vqs

OK, that might have been a clip from the film Raise the Titanic! In the film, which was based on Clive Cussler’s popular book of the same name, the secret to making it work is to inject enough compressed air into the sunken ship.

11. Create an Astonishing 3D Map of It Instead

Why raise Titanic when you can get an incredibly detailed look at it online? Thanks to the Expedition Titanic project, amazing 3D maps of Titanic are being created and an astonishing amount of detail is being assembled on the ship’s wreckage. The project’s website allows visitors to use interactive maps of the wreck and the debris field to learn about the ship – all while leaving it unharmed and in its final resting place.

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Courtesy Umbrellium
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Design
These LED Crosswalks Adapt to Whoever Is Crossing
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Courtesy Umbrellium

Crosswalks are an often-neglected part of urban design; they’re usually just white stripes on dark asphalt. But recently, they’re getting more exciting—and safer—makeovers. In the Netherlands, there is a glow-in-the-dark crosswalk. In western India, there is a 3D crosswalk. And now, in London, there’s an interactive LED crosswalk that changes its configuration based on the situation, as Fast Company reports.

Created by the London-based design studio Umbrellium, the Starling Crossing (short for the much more tongue-twisting STigmergic Adaptive Responsive LearnING Crossing) changes its layout, size, configuration, and other design factors based on who’s waiting to cross and where they’re going.

“The Starling Crossing is a pedestrian crossing, built on today’s technology, that puts people first, enabling them to cross safely the way they want to cross, rather than one that tells them they can only cross in one place or a fixed way,” the company writes. That means that the system—which relies on cameras and artificial intelligence to monitor both pedestrian and vehicle traffic—adapts based on road conditions and where it thinks a pedestrian is going to go.

Starling Crossing - overview from Umbrellium on Vimeo.

If a bike is coming down the street, for example, it will project a place for the cyclist to wait for the light in the crosswalk. If the person is veering left like they’re going to cross diagonally, it will move the light-up crosswalk that way. During rush hour, when there are more pedestrians trying to get across the street, it will widen to accommodate them. It can also detect wet or dark conditions, making the crosswalk path wider to give pedestrians more of a buffer zone. Though the neural network can calculate people’s trajectories and velocity, it can also trigger a pattern of warning lights to alert people that they’re about to walk right into an oncoming bike or other unexpected hazard.

All this is to say that the system adapts to the reality of the road and traffic patterns, rather than forcing pedestrians to stay within the confines of a crosswalk system that was designed for car traffic.

The prototype is currently installed on a TV studio set in London, not a real road, and it still has plenty of safety testing to go through before it will appear on a road near you. But hopefully this is the kind of road infrastructure we’ll soon be able to see out in the real world.

[h/t Fast Company]

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Live Smarter
How to Make Sure Your Cell Phone Receives Emergency Alerts
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iStock

Thanks to smartphones, we’re more plugged into the world than ever before. Some of us receive notifications for everything from Amber Alerts to trending news stories, so it makes sense that we’d also depend on our phones to alert us to emergencies in our neighborhoods. But as The Daily Dot reports, relying on your cell phone alone for such news might leave you in a dangerous situation.

Unlike Amber Alerts, local notifications for natural disasters like wildfires don’t operate on a broad alert system. If counties were to contact every single resident every time a specific area was threatened, it would lead to traffic jams and unnecessary panic, putting more lives at risk. So instead, the police only contact people in their database that live in the affected location.

The Reverse 911 law allows law enforcement to contact you at your home in case of emergencies. If you have a landline you can expect to get the call there, but because the law was enacted before the age of cell phones, receiving a call anywhere else isn’t guaranteed. To make sure your county knows to contact you on your cell phone, you need to reach out to them and ask for that number to be listed as your primary mode of contact. Just over half of all households in the country use cell phones for all personal phone communications, which means that most Americans need to opt in to receive life-saving emergency notifications.

Fortunately, getting your cell number into your county’s database isn’t hard. You can starting by searching your county’s name and “emergency alert” online. There’s no uniform system across the U.S., but on Los Angeles County’s emergency alert page, for example, residents are asked to indicate their name, address, phone number, and the type of alerts they wish to receive. This information can be updated at any time—so if you get a new phone number, make sure your local police department is one of the first to know.

[h/t The Daily Dot]

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