April 14, 2012
I am drowning in Titanica. Anniversaries (like Kennedy assasination and 9-11) prompt conjecture costing millions. Insatiable fascination is fed by the likes of zillionaire James Cameron, whose "expertise" surely must be profit-motivated given the re-release of his film in 3-D. I mean, he had the audacity to host a show offering "the final answer" to the Titanic tragedy. This week, engineers -- while not scratching their heads -- were creating 3-D computer models of what might or might not have caused the ship to break, and where. Was it the expansion joint, later redesigned on the Britannic, now at the bottom of the Aegean? Was it the physics of compartments filling with sea water? What force peeled off the double bottom and left it far from the bow on the ocean floor? How about the cover-ups, the finger-pointing? How about the class profiling? I am riveted to my elongated high-def screen. The History Channel devotes itself to theories about ancient aliens with 21st century technology who landed on earth, helped build temples and pyramids -- and departed. But, according to "research," their images, with elongated heads, are preserved in stone. Original plans and paperwork for Titanic survive, provoking study, theories, books by warring historians. What happened in Pompeii that fateful supper hour is preserved in layers of earth. Remember the sweet little time capsules children used to bury behind the barn? The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Rosetta Stone unlock and explain antiquities..The cavernous ballroom of the Doges palace in Venice, built on water without interior supports, stands witness to non computer-assisted engineering/architecture. Mummies illustrate familiar diseases and medical procedures. Leonardo's notebooks are astounding. Glaciers yield preserved remains of extinct animals. But you have to wonder, with the way buildings are constructed now, and power of forces to destroy them, with the history of everything stored electronically and polar ice melting faster than a Popsicle on a July afternoon ... what footprint, what artifacts of everyday life (besides resin patio chairs) are we leaving for future millenia? I sure hope somebody kept a hard copy.