Project #52883 - essay


English 122A 


Q1. Discourse Analysis and Rhetoric (18 pts.)

Study the two articles "The Truth about the Bermuda Triangle" and " The Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle" carefully, and write an essay in which you analyze these two articles. 

Make sure you address the following points in your essay:


•The different rhetorical appeals used in each article.

•Any rhetorical devices used in the articles.

•The targeted audience in each article.

•Which article is more convincing depending on the authors' employment of the rhetorical appeals?

•Whether you are convinced or not.


Your essay should not be less than 800 words. You will find both articles below.



Q2. Culture and Language (12 pts.) 


In a well-organized essay, define and talk about culture and language.  Then choose any cultural behavior, habit, or situation and relate it to language. In your essay, you're supposed to discuss some of the complications or conflicts that might occur due to misunderstanding these cultural codes. Your essay should not be less than 600 words. 



Scoring Rubric

Please note that I will apply the following scoring rubric in grading your essays: 

Both answers should be written in well-formed and coherent essays. Make sure you check your spelling, vocabulary, and typos. 


•English Language (grammar, spelling, word choice) 30%


•Essay Structure (introduction, body, conclusion, logic in writing, coherence) 30% 


•Information, knowledge, and ideas   40 %   

The Deadline for submitting your assignment is Thursday 1/1/2015




The "Mystery" of the Bermuda Triangle


The five avengers lost on December 5th, 1945 are sometimes known as "The Lost Squadron." (Copyright Lee Krystek, 2011)

The Bermuda Triangle (sometimes also referred to as the Devil's Triangle) is a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean bordered by a line from Florida to the islands of Bermuda, to Puerto Rico and then back to Florida. It is one of the biggest mysteries of our time - that perhaps isn't really a mystery.

The term "Bermuda Triangle" was first used in an article written by Vincent H. Gaddis for Argosy magazine in 1964. In the article, Gaddis claimed that in this strange sea a number of ships and planes had disappeared without explanation. Gaddis wasn't the first one to come to this conclusion, either. As early as 1952, George X. Sands, in a report in Fate magazine, noted what seemed like an unusually large number of strange accidents in that region.

In 1969 John Wallace Spencer wrote a book called Limbo of the Lost specifically about the Triangle and, two years later, a feature documentary on the subject, The Devil's Triangle, was released. These, along with the bestseller The Bermuda Triangle, published in 1974, permanently registered the legend of the "Hoodoo Sea" within popular culture.

Why do ships and planes seem to go missing in the region? Some authors suggested it may be due to a strange magnetic anomaly that affects compass readings (in fact they claim Columbus noted this when he sailed through the area in 1492). Others theorize that methane eruptions from the ocean floor may suddenly be turning the sea into a froth that can't support a ship's weight so it sinks (though there is no evidence of this type of thing happening in the Triangle for the past 15,000 years). Several books have gone as far as conjecturing that the disappearances are due to an intelligent, technologically advanced race living in space or under the sea.


Kusche's Theory

In 1975 Larry Kusche, a librarian at Arizona State University, reached a totally different conclusion. Kusche decided to investigate the claims made by these articles and books. What he found he published in his own book entitled The Bermuda Triangle Mystery-Solved. Kusche had carefully dug into records other writers had neglected. He found that many of the strange accidents were not so strange after all. Often a Triangle writer had noted a ship or plane had disappeared in "calms seas" when the record showed a raging storm had been in progress. Others said ships had "mysteriously vanished" when their remains had actually been found and the cause of their sinking explained. In one case a ship listed missing in the Triangle actually had disappeared in the Pacific Ocean some 3,000 miles away! The author had confused the name of the Pacific port the ship had left with a city of the same name on the Atlantic coast.

More significantly, a check of Lloyd's of London's accident records by the editor of Fate in 1975 showed that the Trianglewas no more dangerous than any other part of the ocean. U.S. Coast Guard records confirmed this and since that time no good arguments have ever been made to refute those statistics. So many argue that the Bermuda Triangle mystery has disappeared, in the same way many of its supposed victims vanished.


Even though the Bermuda Triangle isn't a true mystery, this region of the sea certainly has had its share of marine tragedy. This region is one of the heaviest traveled areas of ocean in the world. Both small boats and commercial ships ply its waters along with airliners, military aircraft and private planes as they come to and from both the islands and more distant ports in Europe, South America and Africa. The weather in this region can make traveling hazardous also. The summer brings hurricanes while the warm waters of the Gulf Stream promote sudden storms. With this much activity in a relatively small region it isn't surprising that a large number of accidents occur. Some of the ones commonly connected to the Triangle story are:

The USS Cyclops Sinking

One of the first stories connected to the Triangle legend and the most famous ship lost in the region was the USS Cyclops which disappeared in 1918. The 542 foot long Cyclopswas launched in 1910 and served as a collier ( a ship that carries coal) for the U.S. Navy during World War I. The vessel was on its way from Bahia, Salvador, to Baltimore, Maryland, but never arrived. After it had made an unscheduled stop at Barbados on March 3rd and 4th to take on additional supplies, it disappeared without a trace. No wreckage from the ship was ever found and no distress signal was received. The deaths of the 306 crew and passengers of the USS Cyclops remains the single largest loss of life in U.S. Naval history not directly involving combat.


The USS Cyclops in a 1911 photograph. (USN Photo)

While the sinking of theCyclops remains a mystery, the incident could have happened anywhere between Barbados and Baltimore, not necessarily in the Bermuda Triangle. Proponents of the Bermuda Triangle theory point to the lack of a distress call as evidence of a paranormal end for the vessel, but the truth is that wireless communications in 1918 were unreliable and it would not have been unusual for a rapidly-sinking vessel to not have had a chance to send a successful distress call before going under.

SS Marine Sulphur Queen Vanishes

The SS Marine Sulphur Queen, a tanker ship carrying molten sulphur, disappeared off the southern coast of Florida in 1963. The crew of 39 was all lost and no wreckage from the tanker was ever found. While the disappearance of the ship is mentioned in several books about the Triangle, authors don't always include that the Coast Guard concluded that the vessel was in deplorable shape and should have never gone to sea at all. Fires erupted with regularity on the ship. Also, this class of vessel was known to have a "weak back", which means the keel would split when weakened by corrosion causing the ship to break in two. The ship's structure had been further compromised by a conversion from its original mission as an oil tanker to carrying molten sulphur. The conversion had left the vessel with an extremely high center of gravity, increasing the chance that it would capsize. The SS Marine Sulphur Queen was all-in-all a disaster waiting to happen and it seems unfair to blame its demise on the Bermuda Triangle.



A Douglas DC-3 airliner of the same type as NC16002 (Wikipedia Commons)

The Disappearance of NC16002

NC16002 was a DC-3 passenger plane that vanished on the night of December 28, 1948, during a flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Miami, Florida. The weather was fine with high visibility and the flight was, according to the pilot, within 50 miles of Miami when it disappeared with its three crew members and twenty-nine passengers. Though no probable cause for the loss was determined by the official investigation, it is known that the plane's batteries were not fully charged on takeoff and this may have interfered with communications during the flight. A message from Miami to the plane that the direction of the wind had changed may have not been received by the pilot, causing him to fly up to fifty miles off course.

The Fate of Flight 19

The tale of Flight 19 started on December 5th, 1945. Five Avenger torpedo bombers lifted into the air from the Naval Air Station at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at 2:10 in the afternoon. It was a routine practice mission and the flight was composed of all students except for the Commander, a Lt. Charles Taylor.

The mission called for Taylor and his group of 13 men to fly due east 56 miles to Hens and Chicken Shoals to conduct practice bombing runs. When they had completed that objective, the flight plan called for them to fly an additional 67 miles east, and then turn north for 73 miles and finally straight back to base, a distance of 120 miles. This course would take them on a triangular path over the sea.

About an hour and a half after the flight had left, Lt. Robert Cox at the base picked up a radio transmission from Taylor. Taylor indicated that his compasses were not working, but he believed himself to be somewhere over the Florida Keys (the Keys are a long chain of islands south of the Florida mainland). Cox urged him to fly north toward Miami; if Taylor was sure the flight was over the Keys.

Planes today have a number of ways that they can check their current position including listening to a set of GPS (Global Positioning Satellites) in orbit around the earth. It is almost impossible for a pilot to get lost if he has the right equipment and uses it properly. In 1945, though, planes flying over water had to depend on knowing their starting point, how long and fast they had flown, and in what direction. If a pilot made a mistake with any of these figures, he was lost. Over the ocean there were no landmarks to set him right.

Navigational Confusion

Apparently Taylor had become confused at some point in the flight. He was an experienced pilot, but hadn't spent a lot of time flying east toward the Bahamas which was where he was going on that day. For some reason Taylor apparently thought the flight had started out in the wrong direction and had headed south toward the Keys, instead of east. This thought was to color his decisions throughout the rest of the flight with deadly results.


The more Taylor took his flight north to try to get out of the Keys, the further out to sea the Avengers actually traveled. As time went on, snatches of transmissions were picked up on the mainland indicating the other Flight 19 pilots were trying to get Taylor to change course. "If we would just fly west," one student told another, "we would get home." He was right

By 4:45 P.M. it was obvious to the people on the ground that Taylor was hopelessly lost. He was urged to turn control of the flight over to one of his students, but apparently he didn't. As it grew dark, communications deteriorated. From the few words that did get through it was apparent Taylor was still flying north and east, the wrong direction.

At 5:50 P.M. the ComGulf Sea Frontier Evaluation Center managed get a fix on Flight 19's weakening signals. It was apparently east of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. By then communications were so poor that this information could not be passed to the lost planes.

At 6:20 a Dumbo flying boat was dispatched to try and find Flight 19 and guide it back. Within the hour two more planes, Martin Mariners, joined the search. Hope was rapidly fading for Flight 19 by then. The weather was getting rough and the Avengers were very low on fuel.

Two Martin Mariners were supposed to rendezvous at the search zone. The second one, designated Training 49, never showed up, joining the 5 Avengers as "missing."

The last transmission from Flight 19 was heard at 7:04 P.M. Planes searched the area through the night and the next day. There was no sign of the Avengers.

Nor did the authorities really expect to find much. The Avengers, crashing when their fuel was exhausted, would have been sent to the bottom in seconds by the 50 foot waves of the storm. As one of Taylor's colleagues noted, "...they didn't call those planes 'Iron Birds' for nothing. They weighed 14,000 pounds empty. So when they ditched, they went down pretty fast."



A Mariner similar to Training 49 (USN Photo)

What happened to the missing Martin Mariner? Well, the crew of the SS Gaines Mill observed an explosion over the water shortly after the Mariner had taken off. They headed toward the site and there they saw what looked like oil and airplane debris floating on the surface. None of it was recovered because of the bad weather, but there seems little doubt this was the remains of the Mariner. The plane had a reputation as being a "flying bomb" which would burst into flame from even a single, small spark. Speculation is that one of 22 men on board, unaware that the unpressurized cabin contained gas fumes, lit a cigarette, causing the explosion.

Missing Avengers become the Triangle's "Lost Squadron"

So how did this tragedy turn into a Bermuda Triangle mystery? The Navy's original investigation concluded the accident had been caused by Taylor's navigational confusion. According to those that knew him he was a good pilot, but often navigated "flying by the seat of his pants" and had gotten lost in the past. Taylor's mother refused to accept that and finally got the Navy to change the report to read that the disaster was for "causes or reasons unknown." This may have spared the woman's feelings, but blurred the actual facts.

The saga of Flight 19 is probably the most repeated story about the Bermuda Triangle. Vincent Gaddis put the tale into the same Argosy magazine article where he coined the term "Bermuda Triangle" in 1964 and thetwo have been connected ever since. The planes and their pilots even found their way into the science fiction film classic, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Where is Flight 19 now? Well, in 1991 five Avengers were found in 750 feet of water off the coast of Florida by the salvage ship Deep Sea. Examination of the plane's ID numbers, however, showed that they were not from Flight 19 (as many as 139 Avengers were thought to have gone into the water off the coast of Florida during the war). It seems the final resting place of the lost squadron and their crews is still a real Bermuda Triangle mystery.

A sister tanker to SS Marine Sulphur Queen which suffered a failure of the keel and split in two.








The Truth About the Bermuda Triangle




The Bermuda Triangle is a large area of ocean between Florida, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda. Over the last few centuries, it’s thought that dozens of ships and planes have disappeared under mysterious circumstances in the area, earning it the nickname “The Devil’s Triangle.” People have even gone so far as to speculate that it’s an area of extra-terrestrial activity or that there is some bizarre natural scientific cause for the region to be hazardous; but most likely, it’s simply an area in which people have experienced a lot of bad luck—the idea of it being a “vortex of doom” is no more real than Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster (seeThe Origin of the Bigfoot Legend and The Origin of the Loch Ness Monster).

The Bermuda Triangle’s bad reputation started with Christopher Columbus. According to his log, on October 8, 1492, Columbus looked down at his compass and noticed that it was giving weird readings. He didn’t alert his crew at first, because having a compass that didn’t point to magnetic north may have sent the already on edge crew into a panic. This was probably a good decision considering three days later when Columbus simply spotted a strange light, the crew threatened to return to Spain.

This and other reported compass issues in the region gave rise to the myth that compasses will all be off in the Triangle, which isn’t correct, or at least is an exaggeration of what is actually happening as you’ll see.  Despite this, in 1970 the U.S. Coast Guard, attempting to explain the reasons for disappearances in the Triangle, stated:

First, the “Devil’s Triangle” is one of the two places on earth that a magnetic compass does point towards true north. Normally it points toward magnetic north. The difference between the two is known as compass variation. The amount of variation changes by as much as 20 degrees as one circumnavigates the earth. If this compass variation or error is not compensated for, a navigator could find himself far off course and in deep trouble.

Of course, despite this now being repeated as an explanation for disappearances in the Triangle on numerous documentaries and articles since then, it turns out magnetic variation is something ship captains (and other explorers) have known about and had to deal with pretty much as long as there have been ships and compasses. Dealing with magnetic declination is really just “Navigation by Compass” 101 and nothing to be concerned about, nor anything that would seriously throw off any experienced navigator.

In 2005, the Coast Guard revisited the issue after a TV producer in London inquired about it for a program he was working on.  In this case, they correctly changed their tune about the magnetic field bit stating,

Many explanations have cited unusual magnetic properties within the boundaries of the Triangle. Although the world’s magnetic fields are in constant flux, the “Bermuda Triangle” has remained relatively undisturbed.  It is true that some exceptional magnetic values have been reported within the Triangle, but none to make the Triangle more unusual than any other place on Earth.

The modern Bermuda Triangle legend didn’t get started until 1950 when an article written by Edward Van Winkle Jones was published by the Associated Press. Jones reported several incidences of disappearing ships and planes in the Bermuda Triangle, including five US Navy torpedo bombers that vanished on December 5, 1945, and the commercial airliners “Star Tiger” and “Star Ariel” which disappeared on January 30, 1948 and January 17, 1949 respectively. All told, about 135 individuals were unaccounted for, and they all went missing around the Bermuda Triangle. As Jones said, “they were swallowed without a trace.”

It was a 1955 book, The Case for the UFO, by M. K. Jessup that started pointing fingers at alien life forms. After all, no bodies or wreckage had yet been discovered. By 1964, Vincent H. Gaddis—who coined the term “Bermuda Triangle”—wrote an article saying over 1000 lives had been claimed by the area. He also agreed that it was a “pattern of strange events.” The Bermuda Triangle obsession hit its peak in the early 1970s with the publication of several paperback books about the topic, including the bestseller by Charles Berlitz, The Bermuda Triangle.

However, critic Larry Kusche, who published The Bermuda Triangle Mystery: Solved in 1975, argued that other authors had exaggerated their numbers and hadn’t done any proper research. They presented some disappearance cases as “mysteries” when they weren’t mysteries at all, and some reported cases hadn’t even happened within the Bermuda Triangle.

After extensively researching the issue, Kusche concluded that the number of disappearances that occurred within the Bermuda Triangle wasn’t actually greater than in any other similarly trafficked area of the ocean, and that other writers presented misinformation—such as not reporting storms that occurred on the same day as disappearances, and sometimes even making it seem as though the conditions had been calm for the purposes of creating a sensational story. In short: previous Bermuda Triangle authors didn’t do their research and either knowingly or unintentionally “made it up.”

The book did such a thorough job of debunking the myth that it effectively ended most of the Bermuda Triangle hype. When authors like Berlitz and others were unable to refute Kusche’s findings, even the most steadfast of believers had difficulty remaining confident in the sensationalized Bermuda Triangle narrative. Nevertheless, many magazine articles, TV shows, and movies have continued to feature the Bermuda Triangle.

Because the number of disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle is no greater than any other similarly trafficked area of the world’s oceans, they don’t really need an explanation. But if you’re still convinced that the Triangle is a ship graveyard, relative to other regions that get around the same number of travelers, here are some natural explanations from the Coast Guard to combat some of the “alien” and other fantastical theories.

The majority of disappearances can be attributed to the area’s unique features. The Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current flowing from the Gulf of Mexico around the Florida Straits northeastward toward Europe, is extremely swift and turbulent. It can quickly erase any evidence of a disaster.

The unpredictable Caribbean-Atlantic storms that give birth to waves of great size as well as waterspouts often spell disaster for pilots and mariners. (Not to mention that the area is in “hurricane alley.”) The topography of the ocean floor varies from extensive shoals to some of the deepest marine trenches in the world. With the interaction of strong currents over reefs, the topography is in a constant state of flux and breeds development of new navigational hazards.


Not to be underestimated is the human factor. A large number of pleasure boats travel the water between Florida’s Gold Coast (the most densely populated area in the world) and the Bahamas. All too often, crossings are attempted with too small a boat, insufficient knowledge of the area’s hazards and lack of good seamanship.

Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 01/01/2015 12:00 am
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