Then and Now

When I was working in radio in Nashville back in the ’60s and ’70s, there were only six effective daily news outlets in town: The NBC outlet (WSM-AM/TV), the ABC outlet (WSIX-AM/TV), the two separately owned and staffed CBS outlets (WLAC-TV and WLAC-AM), the morning paper (The Tennessean), and the evening paper (The Nashville Banner). Only one, the Banner, had a conservative point-of-view. In the early ’70s, the Nashville media market began to “diversify” when WPLN joined NPR. Nashville was not unique in left-wing dominance of its news media.

The Banner folded in 1998, but it was replaced by an online site of the same name in 2022 which says it “will be politically agnostic and will not include opinion pieces.” Things are still a bit lopsided in the media back home.

Several folks roughly my age at those news operations have gone on to other things. I’ve gone from WLAC-AM to working at Goddard Space Flight Center. Oprah Winfrey moved on from WLAC-TV and Pat Sajak from WSM-TV to other work in television. And Al Gore … well, being Bill Clinton’s VP was the high water mark of his career.

Math Is Hard

CNN is correct that it would be theoretically possible to convert modern cargo ships to sailing vessels, but would it be practical.Let’s do some math.

As a first approximation, let’s assume that the amount of force necessary to move the ship roughly varies in proportion to its displacement, the mass of water it pushes aside as it moves. The Cutty Sark clipper ship displaced about 900 tonnes when loaded and underway and carried just over 2,900 square metres of sails supported by over 17 km of rigging rope. The typical medium-sized oil tanker displaces 1,200,000 tonnes unloaded. That’s over 130 times greater displacement. Thus, we might expect that an unloaded tanker would need at least 380,00 square metres of sail area to achieve the performance of a sailing ship that was obsolescent in the mid-19th-century. Thousands of cargo ships are this large or larger. [Opps, see Update 3.]

BTW, 380,000 square metres is about 94 acres. It will take a lot of cotton (or, more likely, dead dinosaurs to make the kevlar) to make the sails for one ship. Thousands of sets of sails would be necessary to keep world commerce alive.

UPDATE—Where would the energy to run the motors needed to control such sails come from? They would be too heavy to be operated by human muscle power.

Also, how would such a ship maneuver in the confines of a harbor?


UPDATE 3—Math is hard indeed. I slipped a digit. The mass ratio is 1,300:1 rather than 130:1, so the sail area required is 10X larger—940 acres!

Thanks to @WitCoHE_Bak for catching my error.


I live on the fringe of the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area and work just outside the Washington Beltway. The weather around here has been smoky and hazy this week. The smog has been caused by smoke from wildfires in Quebec.

The usual suspects such as Politico have tried to spin their reporting to follow The Narrative.

On the Hill: Lawmakers certainly took notice as a thick layer of smoke penetrated Washington and the Capitol.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called the plague of smoke “a sobering reminder that we must manage our forests to make them more resilient to catastrophic fires.” But he stopped short of making the connection between fires and fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, Republicans are still opposing multiple federal and state-led efforts to tackle climate change.

The senator didn’t talk about a connection between forest fires and fossil fuels because there isn’t any. Forest fires burn trees which haven’t been through the process of being buried and converted to coal or natural gas.

(I’m so old, I remember when heating with a wood stove was considered environmentally friendly because trees are a renewable resource. But that was before the EPA cracked down on the soot and other pollution caused by wood stoves.)

The underlying cause of the fires in Canada is the same as the fire problem in California—shoddy forest management caused by leftist environmental priorities.

True But Non-Sequitur

In response to Twitter labeling NPR as “state-affiliated media,” NPR CEO John Lansing has said, “NPR stands for freedom of speech and holding the powerful accountable. It is unacceptable for Twitter to label us this way. A vigorous, vibrant free press is essential to the health of our democracy.”

While the last sentence in Lnasing’s statement is true, I don’t see how it follows from the first two sentences. Further, his words don’t seem to relate to how NPR has operated since roughly the turn of  the century.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

I’m not the only person who’s written about Brett Kimberlin’s lawfare. Seven years ago, this post, Eugene Volokh Weighs In …, linked to coverage in the Washington Post.

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… on the Court of Special Appeals decision in Kimberlin v. Walker, et al. at The Volokh Conspiracy.

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Prof. Volokh’s article contains links to other coverage from sites around the Interwebz.

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know

She was obviously making it up as she went along …… and clearly demonstrating that she’s a Constitution denier.

Or does she think that 38 states would vote to repeal the 26th Amendment? Or amend Article 1, Section 2, which sets the minimum age for a Member of the House of Representatives at 25?