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  • this video was made possible by brilliant learned complex topic simply for 20% off by being one of the 1st 200 people to sign up at brilliant or slash real life floor.

  • Simple math Mistake's have caused massive engineering catastrophes in the past, and they probably will again because humans are fantastic at making mistakes.

  • In 1983 a simple conversion error led to an airplane with 69 passengers on board to run out of fuel while 30,000 ft high in the sky.

  • In 2004, a NASA probe returning back to Earth from space crashed into the deserts of Utah without ever deployed.

  • It's parachute because a team of engineers installed a pair of parts backwards.

  • Simple mathematical mistakes sometimes have catastrophic consequences, and in this video we're going to be talking about one of the worst instances, and it happened nearly 400 years ago in Sweden.

  • Back then, Sweden was a lot different than the Sweden we know and love today.

  • 17th century Sweden was a European great power, practically dominated the entire Baltic Sea and was one of the most militaristic empires that the world has ever seen in the 16 twenties, the Swedish Empire was actively fighting two wars simultaneously against the Polish Lithuanian commonwealth in Poland, naturally and against the imperial Catholic forces of the Holy Roman Empire in Germany.

  • And Sweden's naval situation looked pretty grim.

  • The polls were defeating the Swedish navy in nearly every battle in the Baltic, and worse, the Catholic forces from the empire had invaded Denmark and were poised to take control of the Danish Straits, potentially blocking and confining the Swedish navy into the Baltic Sea, Sweden clearly needed a powerful navy with big ships to secure her interests.

  • And so in 16 26 they came up with an idea.

  • In 16 26 the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus was leading the Swedish army in Poland.

  • Sweden was winning the battle on land, but like I mentioned previously, they were losing pretty badly on the seas.

  • Up until this point, the Swedish navy was utilizing pretty small warships with only a single gun deck.

  • There were more prioritized for ramming and boarding enemy ships than blowing them up with cannons.

  • Gustavus Adolphus decided that he wanted to dramatically upgrade the navy in order to meet the challenges of the time so he ordered the construction of five brand new, larger warships that would be the first in the Swedish Navy to contain to gun decks and the first of these to be constructed.

  • The Vasa was intended to severely overcompensate for the Swedish navies embarrassing string of defeats because it was going to be built to be the most powerful warship anywhere in the world, so that nothing else could come close to challenging it.

  • While the Vasa was initially designed to hold 36 bronze cannons divided between 24 pounder guns on the lower deck and smaller 12 pounders on the upper deck, the king demanded that the number be doubled up to 72 cannons and that they all were the larger 24 pounder guns.

  • This armament would have given the Vaasa the highest firepower of any ship in the world at the time, capable of blasting a metal wall the way nearly £900 out of a single side, straight out whatever enemy was unfortunate enough to come across its path.

  • This massive amount of firepower coming from a relatively small ship is pretty goofy historically, because the U.

  • S s Constitution, an American frigate that fought against the British in the War of 18 12, nearly two centuries later possessed on almost identical level of firepower but was also almost 700 tons heavier.

  • But the king was impatient while fighting an act of war that he was losing at sea.

  • And so he kept on demanding that the construction of the world's most powerful ship be hastened.

  • So rather than building a brand new ship from scratch that could actually safely fits 72 heavy 24 pounder cannons aboard, they had to cut some corners and decided to cram all 72 of them in a ship that was only designed for half of that amount.

  • Instead, these cannons were also all made out of bronze, which is more dense than iron, and it was also beautifully decorated by roughly 500 sculptures depicting the king's family and figures from Roman mythology and Swedish history and some of which were huge and over 10 ft tall.

  • The Swedish Empire was effectively building the early 17th centuries version of The Death Star, and just like the Death Star, it came complete with one really stupid flaw.

  • In this case.

  • It was just a simple matter of physics, though, rather than an obvious exhaust port.

  • But it also took way less enemies to destroy it.

  • The upper gun deck of the Vasa was initially supposed to house just 18 12 pounder cannons.

  • But due to the king's commands, that number was increased to 36 of the larger 24 pounder cannons without significantly changing the design structure of the ship itself.

  • Throw in a bunch of heavy wooden sculptures to the upper gun deck as well, and the Vasa was all set to become dangerously unstable, with a rollover risk of an 800 horsepower Jeep Wrangler.

  • To further complicate things, the shipbuilder that the sweets and higher to build the thing was some Dutch guy named Henryk who had a pretty shoddy resume because there's absolutely zero historical evidence that he had ever actually built a ship with two or more gun decks ever before in his life.

  • So he only sort and knew what he was doing.

  • Modern archaeologists have also found evidence that separate teams involved in the construction of the ship were using different systems of measurement.

  • A classic mistake's one team working on one side of the ship was using the Swedish foot in 12 inches, while another team working on the other side of the ship was using the Amsterdam foot in 11 inches.

  • Nobody noticed this discrepancy during the hurried construction under wartime pressure, and as a result, the Vasas Mass was distributed asymmetrically and was heavier over on the port side.

  • Further, the headroom in the decks themselves was built higher than necessary for crewman at the time, who on average were only 5 ft and 5.5 inches tall.

  • The weight of the decks themselves.

  • The design errors while constructing the whole, along with the heavier weight of the bigger guns than initially designed for as well as the increased weight from bringing along 1000 Big £24 cannonballs and their accompanying gunpowder, meant that the ship center of gravity, when launched and fully armed, would be dangerously high in the ship's upper area.

  • In other words, the Vasa was critically unstable, and many of the officers on board knew it when conducting a test to prove its stability.

  • Just prior to launching, an officer made 30 men run up and down the deck to see how well it could handle it.

  • It didn't handle well, it all.

  • And after just three runs, the officer ordered a halt out of fear of making the boat capsized if they continued any further.

  • There are letters from a Swedish admiral present where he wrote about how he wished the king was there to see how unready it was and not often war, demanding that the ship be launched anyway.

  • In the end, the political pressure to launch the ship was just too great, and nobody was brave enough to challenge the king.

  • And so, on the 10th of August 16 28 after two long years of construction, the Vasa was ordered out of Stockholm port on her maiden voyage to take a per position as the new flagship of the Swedish Navy, and within just one nautical mile of this maiden journey, it would already be completely destroyed.

  • A crowd of thousands gathered in Stockholm toe watch, the most powerful ship ever built, sail off on her first journey.

  • The ship's gun ports were left open toe fire office salute as they left the harbor, and within minutes the first signs of trouble appeared a sudden gust of wind just a little stronger than a breeze was strong enough to tip Vaasa over significantly on her port side because of her high center of gravity.

  • But this was thankfully able to be reversed by the crew.

  • However.

  • Shortly afterwards, a second and slightly more powerful gust of wind tip the ship over again, and this time it dipped far enough over that, the lower gun deck with the open gun ports slept just beneath the water line, and it was all over from their water rushed in.

  • And the greatest ship ever built that took two years to build took probably just a few minutes to sink.

  • In the full view of thousands of shocked and disappointed Swedes, it was effectively the equivalent of the Challenger disaster in the 17th century and a catastrophe for the Swedish king.

  • Had the gun ports been closed, it's possible that Vaasa wouldn't have sunk almost immediately right after it began to sail.

  • But the flaws in her design and engineering were so apparent that the ship never would have lasted for long anyway.

  • The wind would have destroyed the ship sooner or later, simply because of the laws of physics that the shipbuilders just didn't quite completely understand.

  • While the Vasa was a catastrophe for Sweden in the 17th century, it would end up becoming a triumph for Sweden over 300 years later in the 20th.

  • In the 19 sixties, technology had finally progressed far enough to where the Swedish government could pull the Vasa out from beneath the depths, where it was 95% still intact.

  • Even after all that time.

  • And rather than pressing the ship back into the service of the Swedish Navy of the 19 sixties, they decided that it would probably end up being more useful in a museum.

  • And so they drug it here to the Vaasa Museum in Stockholm, where you could go today and gawk at the aftermath of one of the greatest engineering disasters of all time.

  • When dealing with complicated problems like constructing a ship, it's easier than you think to make mistake's.

  • Kings, engineers, governments, myself and everyone else are all prone to making easy errors that can create problems both big and small.

  • Luckily, though you and I both have a resource today that the ship builders and engineers of the 17th century didn't the Internet, it's easy to look up things you're curious about on places like Wikipedia.

  • But honestly, when I was researching this video, I visited the Wikipedia page on Center of Mass, and the equations there may as well have been written in a foreign language.

  • I hated math growing up in high school, and I've always struggled learning about it when I have to just read about it on a piece of paper or on a screen without anyone there to help guide me through the steps.

  • And I'm certain that I'm not alone there.

  • But thankfully, there is a perfect alternative toe learning about math and science for people like you or me who might normally be struggling.

  • It's called brilliant, and their simple introductory classes on science essentials and physics of the every day helped me out tremendously with understanding how the Vaasa came to sink 400 years ago, while also teaching me even more than I learned about while in college.

  • There are tons, of course, is that you can take on brilliant, ranging from beginner difficulty ones like these up to more complex subjects like statistics, calculus, computer science and more.

  • Now, on online course, teaching you more than a college course in something pretty complex might seem pretty scary.

  • But the main reason why brilliant to so great is because they take the's huge, scary subjects and break them down into a little easy chunks, which they teach by explaining you the fundamentals.

  • So pretty much.

  • Even if you're the furthest thing from a math expert like me, you can finally understand these subjects that you previously looked at with fear or maybe even low thing.

  • So if you want to learn the subjects that you hated in school, but you actually enjoy the process than brilliant is the best place for you to go to right now by heading to brilliant or slash real life floor, or by clicking the link in the description.

  • You can not only sign up for free, but if you also decide upgrade to premium the 1st 200 people to use.

  • That same link will additionally get 20% off and you'll be supporting the channel at the same time.

this video was made possible by brilliant learned complex topic simply for 20% off by being one of the 1st 200 people to sign up at brilliant or slash real life floor.

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How Europe's Greatest Warship Was Destroyed by a Breeze

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/01/30
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