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In April 1912 the largest and most luxurious vessel ever built set forth on its maiden voyage The British liner Titanic had a double bottomed hull divided into sixteen watertight compartments Because as many as four of these could be completely flooded without endangering the ships buoyancy the Titanic was considered unsinkable Winocour 1960 12 On the fateful night of April 14 shortly before midnight the great liner was steaming through the foggy North Atlantic when it collided with an enormous iceberg A 300 foot gash was ripped in the ships right side rupturing five of its watertight compartments The Titanic sank into the icy depths claiming 1522 lives Stephens 1987 51 A tragic though often untold story about that night concerns one man on another ship less than 20 miles away from the Titanic The other vessel was the Californian and it could have come to the rescue of the sinking liner if someone had been listening Unfortunately the radio operator had fallen asleep on duty When help finally reached the disaster area it was too late to save more than a few lives Wade 1979 238 The very greatness of the Titanic had caused her crew and passengers to feel inordinately confident Unsinkable was such an assuring term but it proved a fatal misjudgment Like the Titanic our great ship of state America has gone adrift and is headed for a potentially fatal collision Many feel she too is unsinkable but that assessment is rooted in feeling not fact The truth of the matter is that America has already run into some icebergs that have damaged her hull and she is in grave danger Each year the industry that produces adult products of one kind or another chalks up profits in excess of 10 billion dollars That is as much as the legitimate movie and record industries make combined Wright 1990 243 Six of the most profitable newsstand monthlies are now
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