Titanic, 100 years later

Titanic sits at the docks before its first and last sail.

All that remains of Elin Braf is a doll. Like tens of thousands of other Swedes, Elin had left her home in search of a better life in America. But 20-year-old Elin had the misfortune of travelling on the Titanic. On April 15, 1912, she was one of the 1,500 passengers who lost their lives on the “unsinkable” ocean liner.

“There were two horrific events in 1912″, notes John Maxtone-Graham, author of the new book Titanic Tragedy. “The Titanic and the death of Captain Scott, the polar explorer.” A hundred years later, it still fascinates: Would the accident have happened if the Titanic had struck the iceberg front on? Did rich people keep third-class passengers out of lifeboats? “Titanic,” the 1997 blockbuster, has been released in 3-D. Anniversary exhibits have already been seen by 25 million people. Cruise companies are organizing trips to the fatal spot in the Atlantic. On the day of the accident, 86 countries will broadcast a British Titanic special.

“There are so many elements that make the Titanic compelling,” says Maxtone-Graham. “It was one of the world’s three biggest ships, but had only 16 lifeboats. The disorganized embarking on the lifeboats. The many heroic moments, like when a woman in a lifeboat gave a man in the water her scarf so she could tow him, and how he survived but she died of hypothermia. And the fact that the musicians bravely played until they drowned.” Several doctoral theses have been devoted to the question of what, exactly, the band played during the Titanic’s final hours.

But the fascination is a recent phenomenon.

“The Titanic was pretty much forgotten until the 1950s,” says Karen Kamuda, vice president of the Titanic Historical Society. “Until the ship was discovered in 1985, not many people were interested, and most of those who were, came to us. The fascination with the Titanic isn’t bad, but misinformation keeps being repeated. The truth is that the Titanic didn’t have fewer lifeboats than other ships its size, and it wasn’t trying to break the speed record.”

Braf, on her way to joining her sisters in Chicago, had bought the doll for her niece. Carrying the doll, she boarded a lifeboat — but then realized that she had left her purse behind. Since the crew had told the passengers that everything was under control, Elin calmly made her way back to her third-class cabin. She drowned.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.