'Titanic's Final Mystery' purports to answer questions regarding why the nearby Californian did not come to Titanic's aid, and why the Titanic's lookouts did not see the fatal iceberg until only 37 seconds away.
The Californian had stopped upon reaching the edge of a large ice field, and its radio operator, Cyril Evans, called to tell the Titanic of the situation. Unfortunately, the Titanic's on-duty radio operator was busy with personal messages to/from passengers and responded with 'Shut up, I am busy!' Evans went to bed, and ten minutes later the Titanic hit the iceberg.
Titanic's first distress call followed, 25 minutes later, followed by five rockets. Californian's Captain Lord was told, and responded to signal with the Morse lamp, but did not request wireless effort. The gist of the preceding was later confirmed by several sources. Lord later gave conflicting statements at ensuing inquiries. Both inquiries concluded that Captain Lord failed to provide proper assistance to the Titanic.
Director Nigel Levy, however, despite claiming to have exhaustively researched testimony from eyewitnesses, formulated an abstruse theory of reverse miraging that purports to explain why Captain Lord could have concluded the Titanic that he saw was actually a much smaller ship.
Similarly, Levy contends that rare atmospheric conditions (Fata Morgana) prevented spotting the iceberg earlier - supposedly the lookouts could see 30 minutes ahead (about 12 miles). But how? Levy also tells us it was a moonless night!
Other sources report that the Titanic's radio operators received six messages 4/14/12 from other ships warning of ice. Not all were relayed to ship's officers - turns out the radio operators did not work for White Star Line, but the Morse company. Regardless, the Titanic's speed was not reduced, and it continued at 25 mph. One survivor reported the see was so smooth that the stars were clearly reflected - now known as a sign of nearby pack ice. Had the sea been rougher, waves breaking against the icebergs would have made them more visible. Other evidence from experts reports that the steam-powered steering took up to 30 seconds to turn, and the center propeller was stopped, reducing the rudder's effectiveness. Had First Officer Murdoch simply turned the ship while maintaining speed, Titanic might have missed the iceberg.
Again, Levy ignored these sources, and utilized his same Fata Morgana theory (actually lifted from amateur historian Tim Maltin and an academic expert). While scientific experts have not rendered an opinion on the Levy/Maltin explanation, Wikipedia sources assert that such a mirage only occurs in the vertical dimension - thus, would not explain Captain Lord's claim that the ship he saw was too small (short) to be the Titanic.
Bottom-Line: Levy's explanation relies on selective extraction of material from subsequent eyewitness testimonies, violates the common-sense Principle of Parsimony, and represents egregious plagiarism. Further, it doesn't begin to excuse the facts that the Titanic had too few lifeboats, its radio operators did not act responsibly, the Californian's wireless should also have maintained operations, and that even knowing the Titanic didn't have enough lifeboats, they were launched without being near full. (Levy claims this was because passengers felt safer remaining on the ship - perhaps, but if so this would simply represent another failure of Captain Smith's leadership.) I do not understand why the Smithsonian would stand behind such sloppy and seemingly dishonest research.