Did the moon doom the Titanic?

Author's Note

Will we ever get over our morbid fascination with the Titanic? I hope not. It seems to me that morbid fascination -- with sinkings, disappearing airplanes, strange sightings -- has inspired more kids to go into careers in science and history than a thousand dry lectures. Give me "In Search of ... " any day.

That's why I find poking holes in pet theories, especially bizarre ones, a bit dispiriting. They make us feel connected to the mysterious, ineffable world that surrounds us as children, a realm that sadly shrinks as we grow older -- unless we're science geeks, in which case it expands exponentially. Pascal's triangle, in its own way, is as haunting and wondrous as the Bermuda Triangle.

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  • Cottam, Harold Thomas. "Titanic's 'C.Q.D.' Caught by a Lucky Fluke." The New York Times. April 19, 1912. (March 14, 2012) http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9A07E0DF153CE633A2575AC1A9629C946396D6CF
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Titanic." (March 12, 2012) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/597128/Titanic
  • Lorenzi, Rossella. "Steering Error Sank the Titanic, Says Author." Discovery News. Sept. 22, 2010. (March 14, 2012) http://news.discovery.com/history/steering-error-sunk-the-titanic-says-author.html
  • Maltin, Tim. "Did the Titanic Sink Because of an Optical Illusion?" Smithsonian. March 2012. (March 14, 2012) http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Did-the-Titanic-Sink-Because-of-an-Optical-Illusion.html
  • The New York Times. "The Weak Link of the Titanic." April 14, 2008. (March 13, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/04/14/science/041308Titanic_index.html?ref=titanic
  • Reuters. "Did the Moon Sink the Titanic? Tides May Have Played Role." MSNBC. March 7, 2012. (March 12, 2012) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46642918/ns/technology_and_science-space/#.T2DN9BEgdf4
  • University of Texas News Service. "The Iceberg's Accomplice: Did the Moon Sink the Titanic?" March 5, 2012. (March 12, 2012) http://www.txstate.edu/news/news_releases/news_archive/2012/March-2012/Titanic030512.html
  • Wallace, Lane. "No, the Moon Did Not Sink the Titanic." The Atlantic. March 12, 2012. (March 14, 2012) http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/03/no-the-moon-did-not-sink-the-titanic/254291/