I have to say I’m not sure what they were hoping for, the discourse hasn’t felt overly mean by internet standards, but maybe that’s just my bubble. I’m sorry they died, but now that we know all the details it’s a bit like the guy that decided to hike up a lava field last year.

Also,

People’s fascination with the wealthy is fuelled by both curiosity and envy. And when rich people find themselves in trouble, it makes the rest of us feel better, Pamela Rutledge, director of the California-based Media Psychology Research Center, wrote in a piece about social media and the submersible for Psychology Today.

I feel like “outrage” should be in there somewhere. It makes me mad that people can be that dumb with a quarter of a million dollars while I’m just glad to have a safe roof over my head, and other people (like the mentioned boat migrants) aren’t even that lucky.

Alright, back off my soap box.

  • @CanadaPlusOP
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    11 months ago

    The thing is Rush was by all accounts a smart guy and not a swindler. Obviously, he really believed his thing was safe, what with being on it and all. I suspect this will be a case of an elite expert that thinks knowing his field in and out means he knows everything. I usually call it “Ben Carson syndrome”, haha.

    • Alue42
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      11 months ago

      But the thing is, he wasn’t a smart guy and was a swindler.

      His background is in aeronautics, not marine engineering, so he was trying to apply knowledge meant for 0-1 atm of pressure to engineering a vessel to withstand 400 atm of pressure.

      Just like everyone in the submersible world is coming out of the woodwork saying they all knew about his designs and told him not to do it, he was also known in the oceanography world (my field of research) - he (or others from oceangate) would show up at the conferences and be on the tech expo floors, especially in his early years, and try to convince us all that we should be using his subs to do our research. He wasn’t pitching for us to do anything new or innovative with our research, just that he could attach our tech to his sub and go out there with it instead of towing it behind a boat, taking measurements remotely, using an ROV/AUV, etc. A) we already have tried and true methods of collecting or data, and in order to publish our data it needs to be reproducible in order to be peer reviewed, so why would we collect data with a method that would be best impossible for anyone else to do, B) why would we go through that risk of an untested method when the method isn’t our research, C) there wasn’t a chance that our research grants would cover the cost, D) there wasn’t a chance that our research institutions would insure us or our research for it. He really wanted to be part of the research world to show this was an important part of research and prove the legitimacy of his creation, but he was barking up the wrong tree. He was coming to those of us that were doing acoustic data collection of the seafloor and saying we could be in the sub while the data is being recorded - but there’s no benefit to that, or teams that take measurements that are taken regularly over a period of time which would require multiple deployments instead of planning a sensor that is checked remotely regularly. He really tried selling it hard though. Maybe if he went to the animal behaviorists that always say “I wish I could just see when they do ______” whatever behavior it is that has never been seen by humans because it’s underwater and too far to dive - but chances are the appearance of a strange bubbling metal vessel with a light will scare it off… This is what ROVs are for.

      Anyway, since he couldn’t get anywhere with the research angle, he started hawking it to his rich acquaintances and friends of friends. He still claimed to them that the overall goal was to have it be used as a research tool, so I don’t know if the Titanic dives were a means to an end or a detour that would continue, but either way, he knew he had these acquaintances that had the will and the means to pay massive amounts of money for limited access adventure experiences and exploited the Titanic.

      • @CanadaPlusOP
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        11 months ago

        I feel like you didn’t contradict me there. His field was aerospace engineering, and he seemed to think being good at it made him a submarine expert, too.\

        Edit: He never designed planes professionally, it seems, he only did various adjacent jobs.

        • Alue42
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          211 months ago

          Doesn’t that make him not a smart guy? If he’s not willing to listen to the people who are experts in the field he’s trying to transition into and instead think that his knowledge of a completely different field not only makes him an expert in it, but able to completely “change the game”

          • @CanadaPlusOP
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            111 months ago

            That’s a matter of semantics. I’d say it doesn’t nullify being an aerospace golden boy, and it’s actually really common among specialists, especially engineers for whatever reason, so yeah he was still smart. Just maybe not wise.

            • Alue42
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              11 months ago

              Nobody is questioning his aeronautics skills - he may have done well, he may not have. Considering he didn’t go into that field and choose to do adventure tourism in space or research in space, I’m betting he couldn’t hack it in that field either. But we don’t have anything to go on because he chose not to showcase those skills.

              What he did choose to showcase was his ability to translate those skills to the ocean environment - which he failed at, significantly (ie, not smart). And when experts in the field offered their sincere advice, he showed arrogance, a classic sign of “not smart”. His own team tried to recommend different tests and different materials and he fired them instead of listening to them, not smart.

              He had every opportunity to make smart decisions. People who are specialists and are very smart definitely work on projects in other fields, but they know they are specialists and know when they’ve hit their limit of translating their skill set and when to take the advice of others. Yes, there is a difference between smart and wise, but this guy was not smart.

              • @CanadaPlusOP
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                111 months ago

                Considering he didn’t go into that field and choose to do adventure tourism in space or research in space, I’m betting he couldn’t hack it in that field either.

                Hmm, I remembered it slightly wrong. He had a career as a pilot and flight-test engineer, and set records for being certified on certain planes the earliest of anyone, but it looks like you’re right, he wasn’t ever a design engineer. He went into the business end of aeronautics after that.

                The submarine thing came out of a midlife crisis, which is another disturbing part of it.

                I’m not going to bother arguing over the definition of “smart”. Natural language is fundamentally imprecise. How about we just agree that he made bad decisions and call it a day?