Float through any social event with M's fast facts. This week John Mather explains the Bermuda Triangle. THE BASICS On a map of the Americas: draw a line from Miami to Puerto Rico, to Bermuda and back to Miami. This is the Bermuda Triangle, a swathe of ocean where more than 50 ships and 20 planes have vanished in the past 100 years. WHAT HAPPENS In December 1945, five US navy planes, known collectively as Flight 19, disappeared in the area, as did the rescue plane sent to look for survivors. No crash debris was found. This is the pattern: ship/plane goes missing and nothing is found.
THE SUPERNATURAL THEORIES The disappearances have been blamed on giant sea monsters, time travelling, holes opening up in the ocean and aliens. THE NATURAL THEORIES The Gulf Stream runs through the triangle, and would carry crash debris out of the area, making it seem as though a ship had vanished. Vessels without the benefit of modern storm-tracking technology could easily have sailed into unexpected squalls. Even with hi-tech equipment, freak storms could bring down a plane. The wreckage of "disappeared" ships and planes has actually now been found on the ocean floor (where the aliens put them, of course).
THE CONVERSATION Lloyd's of London does not charge more to insure ships moving through the triangle. An oversight? Suggest your friends start a boutique insurance firm that offers "unexplained-disappearance-possibly-due-to-sea-monsters" coverage.