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We have always felt that there is something wonderfully dignified about the world of ships, something that extends to their place in the armed forces. Perhaps this is due to the important aspect of immediacy.
Where things on land happens quickly, and things that take place in the air almost always seem to be over before they have truly begun, that which occurs on the water takes time to happen. That sentence may have been needlessly pompous, but we think we’ve got a point. Whenever a ship needs to change direction it is a slow process, covering many miles. Naval warfare certainly seemed fast paced, but the ships were firing at each other from miles apart – no awkward close-quarters sparring needed here. Furthermore, in the ocean there are no landmarks, and as such it is hard to truly know how fast you are travelling. As such we instantly equate a ship with slow, dignified progress, even when in reality they are speeding at a rate of knots.
For anyone who doesn’t happen to know the origin of that measurement by the way, here it is. Back when measuring a ship’s speed couldn’t be done by GPS, it was rather difficult to know how quickly you are travelling. The solution was a rope with a series of knots tied in it at measured intervals – throw one end off the boat, count how many knots pass overboard in a certain amount of time and Bob’s your uncle. There you are, Newsstand – educational and the best source for your magazine needs. NB