After the Titanic struck the iceberg on the night of April 14/15, 1912 and the damage was determined to be mortal, the captain went to the radio room with the ship’s estimated position and ordered radio transmissions to begin. Beginning at 12:25 a.m., the message, sent in morse code by radio operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride, took the form of the Titanic’s calling code, MGY, then the letters CQ, which meant that it was addressed to “all ships,” followed by the letter “D” indicating distress or danger. The resulting three letter group was often held to mean “Come Quick, Danger,” but in fact the letters had no significance other than as outlined above. In 1908 the famous SOS signal was introduced, this being easier to send in morse code as it consisted of three dots, three dashes and three dots, but it was still not in common use by 1912. Later in the evening, radio operators Bride and Phillips started using the SOS code instead of CQD, one of the first times that it had been used in an emergency.
This is the only known photograph of the radio (Marconi) room of the Titanic, taken by a passenger who disembarked before the fatal leg of the trip.
The steamboat Erie left Buffalo, New York, for Chicago on August 9, 1841 with a fresh coat of paint and varnish on the outside. But inside in its boiler room a disaster was waiting to happen: containers of inflammable turpentine had been stowed there, close to the hot boilers. When the turpentine finally exploded, the ship’s fresh paint and varnish caught fire immediately, spreading the flames in all directions like traces of gunpowder. The ship’s 250-plus passengers desperately tried to escape as the fire engulfed the steamboat. Well over a hundred immigrant passengers crowding the ship’s steerage section were probably trapped there and burned alive. Lifeboats were swamped as other, now hysterical passengers on deck overloaded them. Some of these people were drawn into the still-turning paddle wheels. Others jumped straight into the choppy waters and survived by clinging to pieces of floating debris until help arrived. By then, however, the disaster had killed some 242 people.
When performing an autopsy, the first cut made into the body is traditionally a Y-cut, two deep slices inward from a few inches below each shoulder to a point under the breastbone and then straight down through the abdominal muscles. Undertakers had demanded that technique, rather than a slash straight down the center from the throat, so that clothing would easily cover the incisions during an open casket ceremony.
Bronx resident Tomas Rivera, 51, died by self-decapitation Monday, September 1, 2014. The NYPD said Rivera tied a chain around his head and then to a pole before gunning his 2005 Honda CRV and slamming into a parked car. The incident resulted in Rivera’s decapitation. Witnesses who called 911 reported what they thought to be an accidental collision until surveillance video confirmed Rivera’s intent. .
On August 24, 2014, an earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter Scale struck northern California, centered in the Napa Valley wine-growing area. Hundreds of buildings were badly damaged, many injuries were reported, and millions of dollars in damages resulted. And on September 5, Laurie Anne Thompson of Napa became the first fatality of the quake. Thompson suffered a head injury when her TV set fell during the quake. She didn’t seek medical treatment till the next day when she began to feel dizzy and confused. Her condition continued to deteriorate and she died of an intra-cranial hemorrhage nearly two weeks after she was hurt.
Culled from the Associated Press
Submitted by: Aimee
Helpful household hint: Experts warn that TV sets, as well as other heavy furniture and appliances, can become deadly during an earthquake. Totally Unprepared gives step-by-step instructions and a video on how to secure your TV.
Judging from the various reactions of those present at the execution, the calmest person in the Texas death chamber on the evening of September 23rd, 1998 was former electrician and soon-to-be corpse David Castillo, who was convicted of slashing a 59-year-old liquor store cashier to death. While his father and three brothers cursed loudly and pounded on the glass wall separating witnesses from the condemned man, Castillo waited patiently for his death and philosophized on human nature. “There is no man that is free from all evil, nor any man so evil as to be worth nothing,” the 34-year-old mused while preparing for his demise. Although he never accepted responsibility for the death of the middle-aged store clerk and blamed the crime instead on a nameless acquaintance who supposedly fled to Mexico after the murder, Castillo accepted his punishment with a grain of salt – and a mountain of Mexican food. “There are some things you just can’t fight,” he said. “Little people always seem to get squashed.”
Last Meal: 24 tacos, 2 cheeseburgers, 2 whole onions, 5 jalapeno peppers, 6 enchiladas, 6 tostadas, one quart of milk, and one chocolate milkshake.
Thank you to everyone for the many well-wishes I’ve received regarding my depression. Thankfully, I’ve bounced back from this bout much quicker than I thought I would. I should be sending out an MFDJ tonight. In the meantime, I impossibly managed to complete another travelogue – this time to Beelitz Hospital in Germany, aka “Hitler’s Hospital”. I hope you enjoy it!
I’ve started working on my travelogues for the various places I visited during my European adventure in June/July. You can watch the progress unfurl at Forlorn Photography. One of the things I’ll be discussing in my next post is the city of Hamburg, which brings me to…
Today’s Drafty Yet Truly Morbid Fact!
The Battle of Hamburg, codenamed Operation Gomorrah, was a campaign of air raids beginning 24 July 1943 for 8 days and 7 nights. It was at the time the heaviest assault in the history of aerial warfare and was later called the Hiroshima of Germany by British officials. The devastation reached its peak on the night of 27 July, shortly before midnight, when 739 RAF aircraft attacked Hamburg. The unusually dry and warm weather, the concentration of the bombing in one area and firefighting limitations due to blockbuster bombs used in the early part of the raid – and the recall of Hanover’s firecrews to their own city – culminated in the so-called “Feuersturm” (firestorm). The tornadic fire created a huge inferno with winds of up to 240 km/h (150 mph) reaching temperatures of 800 °C (1,500 °F) and altitudes in excess of 1,000 feet, incinerating more than eight square miles (21 km²) of the city. Asphalt streets burst into flame, and fuel oil from damaged and destroyed ships, barges and storage tanks spilled into the water of the canals and the harbour, causing them to ignite as well. The majority of deaths attributed to Operation Gomorrah occurred on this night. A large number of those killed died seeking safety in bomb shelters and cellars, the firestorm consuming the oxygen in the burning city above. The furious winds created by the firestorm had the power to sweep people up off the streets like dry leaves:
Some people who tried to walk along, they were pulled in by the fire, they all of the sudden disappeared right in front of you (…) You have to save yourself or try to get as far away from the fire, because the draught pulls you in.
The last raid of Operation Gomorrah was conducted on 3 August. Operation Gomorrah killed 42,600 people, left 37,000 wounded and caused some one million German civilians to flee the city. The city’s labour force was reduced permanently by ten percent. Approximately 3,000 aircraft were deployed, 9,000 tons of bombs were dropped and over 250,000 homes and houses were destroyed. No subsequent city raid shook Germany as did that on Hamburg; documents show that German officials were thoroughly alarmed and there is some indication from later Allied interrogations of Nazi officials that Hitler stated that further raids of similar weight would force Germany out of the war. The industrial losses were severe, Hamburg never recovered to full production, only doing so in essential armaments industries (in which maximum effort was made). Figures given by German sources indicate that 183 large factories were destroyed out of 524 in the city and 4,118 smaller factories out of 9,068 were destroyed. Other losses included damage to or destruction of 580 industrial concerns and armaments works, 299 of which were important enough to be listed by name. Local transport systems were completely disrupted and did not return to normal for some time. Dwellings destroyed amounted to 214,350 out of 414,500. Hamburg was hit by air raids another 69 times before the end of World War II.
A 25-year-old Egyptian man cut off his own penis to spite his family after he was refused permission to marry a girl from a lower class family in May, 2009. After unsuccessfully petitioning his father for two years to marry the girl, the man heated up a knife and sliced off his reproductive organ. The young man came from a prominent family in the southern Egyptian province of Qena, one of Egypt’s poorest and most conservative areas that is also home to the famed ancient Egyptian ruins of Luxor. The man was rushed to the hospital but doctors were unable to reattach the severed member. The hospital official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the press, added that the man was still recovering in the hospital. Traditionally, marriages in these conservative part of southern Egypt are between similar social classes and often within the same extended families – and are rarely for love.