New Suspects of Titanic's death

Initially Titanic sank in pages of a book

ALMATY, Apr 13


An iceberg, furrowing into about 90 metres of the Titanic's right side, making a vast hole in its sheeting, was responsible for the tragedy according to a commission, established in 1912 under the protection of Lord Mersey. However this conclusion remained unconfirmed, as the ship was lying at a depth of 4 kilometres, broken into two unequal parts and contemporary diving equipment did not allow divers to reach it. Moreover, the accurate location of the wreck of the Titanic was only discovered in September 1985 thanks to efforts by an international researching group headed by Jean-Louie Michael and Robert Ballard.

However a new expedition in 1991 headed by the Canadian scientist Steve Blasko, managed to locate and lift pieces of sheeting from the ship on the seabed. Steel sheets were tested for strength and found to be fragile. One reason for this was that in the second half of the 19th century, standard steel production methods (puddling) were being replaced by new, more progressive ones. Puddling steel was significantly cheaper when made according to the new methods. If the builders of Titanic used this method, steel could contain anything but primarily sulphur. Until the beginning of the 20th century, iron pyrite (a sulphide mineral) had been mainly used as an ore yet due to the excess of sulphur, metal was solid, but fragile. It is worth mentioning that no information on the composition of the steel used in the Titanic is available, but this version would explain what caused such a large hole.

However the most interesting fact is that when the next expedition, equipped with up-to-date devices, dived to the ship, they did not find a hole at all! Instead of a hole, at the join line between the sheets, there were a series of direct, short and very thin (not wider than 10 cm) slits. Probably, the events of the night on April 15 developed in the following way: the iceberg struck the board and joints of the front compartments and parted the bulkheads, allowing a powerful stream of water to gush in. But why did the joints break? Sheets in ocean liners are joined by electric welding during a process lasting several years, guaranteeing a safer construction. The Titanic's sheeting was riveted and its air-tightness was ensured by dense rivets. Could the rivets have had some sort of structural defect?

At the site of the sunken liner, two rivets without heads were found. Metallurgy expertise, along with modern testing methods, have shown that the metal was literally full of slag and silicates. If the concentration of silicon in iron is over 3%, the metal becomes fragile. The rivets of the Titanic contained silicon to three times more than the recommended level!

The question presents itself however, how could the Titanic float for up to five days and not sink before it clashed with the iceberg? Probably, thanks to gentle seas.

This is only a hypothesis and for the time being it is impossible to say for sure. But now it is clear that the liner had defected rivets. Were they in the place where the joints diverged?

 Mysticism or Coincidence?

In 1898, 14 years before Titanic sank, the writer Morgan Robertson rapidly wrote a novel of a fantastic liner. His made-up liner was called Titan and its dimensions exceeded all steamships of the time.

One edition of the book was published with the title "Vanity". Fourteen years later the British shipbuilding company, White Star Line, built a steamship similar in size to the one described in Robertson's novel.

The capacity of the new liner was 66,000 tons and Robertson's was 70,000. The length of the real ship was 882.5 ft; and the invented one was 800. Both ships were equipped with a three-paddle screw, both could move at speed of 24 to 25 knots and both could house about 3,000 passengers.

According to the book, wealthy self-satisfied passengers made up the passengers of the Titan. Robertson invented a clash with an iceberg and picturesquely described the shipwrecking, even down to minor details such as a lack of life-boats for all passengers on the Titan. Following the fate of the Titan, as we all know the Titanic clashed with an iceberg and sank on a cold April night.

The only thing that the author failed to guess was the scale of the real tragedy�



ALMATY, Apr 12 (PR)

British Airways is the only international airline to offer a seat that converts to a completely flat six-ft bed for business class travellers.

The new product has already been fitted to the first two aircrafts, which are operating daily between London and New York. The entire fleet of aircraft will be completely refurbished by September 2001.

The new product has already been fitted to the first two aircrafts, which are operating daily between London and New York. The entire fleet of aircraft will be completely refurbished by September 2001.

British Airways is the only international airline to offer a seat that converts to a completely flat six-ft bed for business class travellers.

More than �200 million is being spent to create a "lounge in the sky" for business passengers to allow them to sleep, work or relax at 35,000 ft.

The new product is part of the airline's biggest ever programme of product improvements that will redefine business travel for the 21st century and set new industry benchmarks for comfort and innovation. It builds on British Airways strategy of focusing on the most profitable segments of the market combined with fleet and network changes.

The new service has been developed following extensive customer research and sleep studies with ergonomic experts. Customers said they wanted real sleep, comfort, space, privacy, flexibility and the ability to maximise their time.

The seats are designed in forward and rearward facing pairs and configured to create a lounge style environment with 20 in the upper deck of a B747 and up to 50 in the main deck of B747s and B777s. Each armchair-like seat, complete with footstool, converts to a six ft fully flat bed at the touch of a button. The unique lounge style layout is designed to maximise personal space and privacy, with each seat also featuring individual privacy screens which can be opened or closed dependent on whether customers are travelling alone. Traditional side by side seating is also available if customers prefer.

The bed was designed by leading UK-based design agency Tangerine, working with British Airways Design Management team.

New Club world features include:

� Fully flat bed - The first and only business class to feature a six foot completely flat bed. With an equivalent seat pitch of 73 ins - 50 per cent more than today (50ins) and over one foot more than leading competitors (60 ins).

� Unique footstool - Makes the most of the generous legroom and allows customers to really stretch their legs out and relax. As well as being the end of the six foot flat bed the footstool is fully adjustable in height and on a pivot which allows the customer to position it according to their height and swivel the stool around or stow it completely to provide easy access to and from the seat.

� Armchair-like support - The ergonomically designed seat is fully electronic with integrated lumbar support and can adept any recline position between fully upright and completely flat. It has a fully adjustable headrest with 'ears' to provide support

� Lounge in the Sky: - "Lounge in the sky" environment and interiors; with seats no longer configured in standard rows, the unique and innovative layout maximised personal space and privacy and has been designed to provide a more relaxed and home-like feel in the cabin. Less seats in each cabin means 30 per cent more personal space overall. Leading UK interior designers Futurebrand created the lounge feel with lighter, brighter seat fabrics, carpets, curtains and wall coverings complemented by new soft furnishings including faux cashmere blankets in cranberry, blue and sage, and crisp cotton pillows with Oxford borders. The cabin walls will feature black and white photography of British Airways and its ancestors.

� Greater in-flight entertainment choice - A choice of 18 channels of film and TV with a larger adjustable 8.4 ins screen for easy viewing, as well as 12 channels of CD quality audio.

� Catering - Features new classic white china, coloured glassware and simpler, better quality food - pastas, creamy mash potatoes, and salads prepared fresh from the galley. Pre-flight dining - passengers at key US gateways can eat from hot or cold buffet prior to flying to maximise sleep time on board out of major US east coast destinations or opt for the Goodnight service on board, an express service of a lighter snack for those who want to sleep straight away. Raid the larder service is also available offering help you treats and snacks.

� New on-board washbags - Male and female wash bags and refurbished washrooms featuring products from Molton Brown complement the range of beauty and spa treatments in the Arrivals Lounges at Gatwick and Heathrow airports.

� Business amenities - In seat laptop power and telephony to give you the opportunity to work and stay in touch.

� New handbaggage allowance: - To suit business needs, the handbaggage allowance has been doubled to two pieces up to 18kg total. More space has been created in new design overhead and sidebins. Wardrobe space has been doubled.

� New Departure Lounges - New 'Terraces' concept being brought in to departure lounges at airports worldwide. Terraces British Airways new design philosophy for lounges brings together an open, airy and refreshing environment offering you choice, flexibility, allowing you to make the most of your time. Unique Arrivals Lounge at Heathrow with showers, suit pressing service, mini gym, health and beauty services, and business facilities. Gatwick also has an Arrivals Lounge, although not all Terraces will contain all nine concepts.

History of the second millennium

April 10 1932 In German presidential elections, President Paul von Hindenburg, a conservative, was re-elected over Nazi Party candidate Adolf Hitler, a radical nationalist.

April 10 1847 Joseph Pulitzer, famous publisher (namesake of the Pulitzer Prize which he founded in 1917), was born.

April 11 1970 Apollo 13, the third manned lunar landing mission, was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying astronauts James A. Lovell, John L. Swigert, and Fred W. Haise.

April 12 1861 The bloodiest four years in American history begin when Confederate shore batteries under General Pierre G. T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina's Charleston Bay. Over the next thirty-four hours, fifty Confederate guns and mortars launched over four thousand rounds at the poorly supplied fort, and on April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson, commander of the Union garrison, surrendered.

April 12 1945 Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the longest serving president in American history, died of a cerebral hemorrhage three months into his fourth term.

April 13 1941 During World War II, representatives from the Soviet Union and Japan signed a five-year neutrality agreement.

April 14 1865 At Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer, fatally wounded U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

April 15 1998 Pol Pot, the architect of Cambodia's killing fields, died of apparently natural causes while serving a life sentence imposed against him by his own Khmer Rouge.

April 15 1452 - Leonardo da Vinci, artist (Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, The Virgin of the Rocks, The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne), was bron.

April 16 1943 In Basel, Switzerland, Albert Hoffman, a Swiss chemist working at the Sandoz pharmaceutical research laboratory, accidentally consumed LSD-25, a synthetic drug he had created in 1938 as part of his research into the medicinal value of lysergic acid compounds.

April 16 1889 - Sir Charlie Chaplin, famous comedy actor (�Little Tramp�: The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator, Limelight), was born.

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