SciTech

How Things Work: Submarines

As the ?How Things Work? columnist, I am obliged to ensure that my readers get the truth. When an egregious falsehood enters into mainstream thought, I must take immediate action. Therefore, I feel ashamed to admit that my readership has been misinformed on a very important subject ever since January 13, 1969.
The untruths that began to spread on this fateful day have even corrupted Carnival 2005 Booth. I speak to you, readers, of the release of the Beatles album Yellow Submarine and the falsehoods it spreads about undersea craft. Let us examine the song?s most duplicitous of verses, in order that the world of submersibles might see the light of truth once more.
?In the town where I was born lived a man who sailed to sea.? No submarine, past or present, has ever used sails as propulsion. Modern submarines employ diesel engines, electric battery power, and sometimes even nuclear power for propulsion. Not much wind underwater, is there?
?And he told us of his life in the land of submarines.? If this man was a crew member on a military submarine, he would not be telling tales of his time on the boat. Many day-to-day operations are classified and require security clearances as high as ?Top Secret: Sensitive Compartmentalized Information,? which requires extensive background checks. Unauthorized disclosure of such information can result in severe federal penalties, not excluding death. Think he?s going to tell you anything now?
?So we sailed on to the sun, ?til we found the sea of green.? Unlike what is shown in the animated rendition of the Yellow Submarine, real submarines can?t fly. You will never see a yellow submarine following you through Liverpool or flying away from an army of Blue Meanies. You might, however, see a submarine launching cruise missiles over Liverpool toward an army of Red Communists.
?And we lived beneath the waves in our yellow submarine.? The only yellow submarines in existence are smaller research submersibles. These submarines, however, are not fit for long-term habitation. Almost all submarines capable of long term habitation are designed for military use and are painted matte black. Yellow, unfortunately, isn?t good camouflage against the ocean.
?And our friends are all on board; many more of them live next door.? Submarines, by design, require a pressure hull to protect them as they descend to great depths. To protect vital systems and crew members, everyone must be inside this pressure hull. Naturally, this puts space at a premium aboard submarines. There is certainly no room for friends, neighbors, or anyone that isn?t vital to the efficient function of the boat.
?As we live a life of ease, every one of us has all we need.? Life aboard submarines can be very stressful. It is far from the psychedelic wonderland of Yellow Submarine. During the Second World War, crews routinely had to endure cold, damp air; moldy, stale bread and canned food for days on end, frequent sickness from the rolling seas, and the heavy smell of engine oil, bilge water, and food stores. The quality of life aboard submarines has improved in modern times, but it is still far from a ?life of ease.?
As you can see, Yellow Submarine is completely false! I urge you to go out into the world and spread the truth. Do it for the children.