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.

Learning to Code

As CNN+ bites the dust, …Of course, they can always learn to code. I learned Fortran when I was a teenager and several other programming languages since then. These days, most coding is done with a keyboard, but I’ve found another tool useful for some forms of communication.OK, at least one of the Gentle Readers is going point out that manual telegraphy is as slow, essentially obsolete form of communications. That’s true, but Morse code still can deliver truthful information faster than CNN+ ever has. That’s why it will still be in use next month.

Their Democratic Republic

Bernie Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper the following on “State of the Union” last Sunday—

I hope that we will bring a strong bill to the floor of the Senate as soon as we can and let Mr. Manchin explain to the people of West Virginia why he doesn’t have the guts to stand up to the powerful special interests.

What Bernie misses is that the special interest group whose interest Joe Manchin is protecting is the voters of West Virginia—and that what he’s protecting is his constituents desire to keep their state’s sovereignty and its republican form of government as guaranteed by the Constitution. I’ll bet Joe Manchin is looking forward to explain to the people of West Virginia how he’s been standing up for their special interests.


Open Mouth, Insert Foot, …

Fox News reports that Brian Stelter may have breached the confidentiality agreement that is part of the settlement of the defamation lawsuit Nicholas Sandmann brought against CNN. Sandmann’ lawyer is quoted as saying, “This retweet by @brianstelter may have cost him his job at @CNN. It is called breach of confidentiality agreement. Brian Stelter is a liar. I know how to deal with liars.” The retweet in question speculated on the amount paid by CNN in the settlement.

Pro tip: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: … a time to keep silence, and a time to speak …”

Well, Its Name Is Cable *News* Network

Jon Gabriel has a post over at Ricochet suggesting that CNN might do well to change its format back to news reporting.

If CNN wants to survive our fractured media landscape, they need to take desperate action: abandon their failed politics-only format and return to news and information. …

You know, actual news and information. Families who keep the TV on all day would just leave it on CNN. Those taking a break from the home office would dip in every few hours for the latest. Over time, the network could replace high-priced pontificators with calm newsreaders. The public would be better informed and perhaps further mitigate the pandemic.

Yeah, and with better ratings, ad revenue would increase.

BTW, tonight is the anniversary of the most important news story I was ever involved in reporting. It was in 1968 when I was 20 years old. As the evening newscaster on a clear channel AM station I had a cumulative 2,000,000 listeners that evening—more than almost any CNN program.

Maybe I Shouldn’t Have Skipped the “Debate”

I was working overtime on a new project last night, so I skipped watching the CNN-sponsored Democrat news event in Detroit last night. Now that I’ve read some of the coverage, it appears that I may have missed something interesting. One thing that stands out is which candidate generated the most Google searches during the debate.My podcasting partner Stacy McCain has been following the Williamson campaign since March. When he covered Williamson’s campaigning in South Carolina last March, he was the only national reporter on the story. If you’re not reading The Other McCain, you should be.

CNN’s Bottom 20 List

Actually, it’s a bottom 21. The Daily Caller has a list of 20 bungled stories carried by CNN plus the “we never lie” Michael Cohen/Lanny Davis/Robert Mueller story of the past week or so. Although CNN hasn’t doubled down on all of them like the Cohen’s-Gotta-Rat-Out-Trump fantasy, many have gone uncorrected.

It’s a long piece, but real the whole thing.

Is the reason they have CNN in the airports to make the TSA look good by contrast?

Don’t Know Much About History

CNN’s Legal Analyst: The Founders never envisioned Supreme Court justices living past their 50s (H/T: The Washington Free Beacon)

Here’s the roster of the first six justices of the Supreme Court who were a nominated under the Judiciary Act of 1789 by George Washington and confirmed by the Senate:

John Rutledge, confirmed 1789, born 1739, age 50
John Blair, confirmed 1790, born 1732, age 58
John Jay, confirmed 1789, born 1740, age 49
William Cushing, confirmed 1790, born 1732, age 58
James Iredell, confirmed 1790, born 1751, age 39
James Wilson, confirmed 1790, born 1742, age 48

Four of the original justices lived past their 50s: Rutledge, 61; Blair, 68; Jay, 83; and Cushing, 78.

UPDATE—In fact, at least one of the Founders, the author of Federalist No. 78, explicitly stated that lifetime judicial appointments were critical to the proper functioning of the judiciary.

Upon the whole, there can be no room to doubt that the convention acted wisely in copying from the models of those constitutions which have established GOOD BEHAVIOR as the tenure of their judicial offices, in point of duration; and that so far from being blamable on this account, their plan would have been inexcusably defective, if it had wanted this important feature of good government.

Read the whole thing.

Time for an Intervention?

Sarah Hoyt has a piece over at PJ Media suggesting that CNN has become a Trump-Rage-Aholic and that it’s time for an intervention.

You know when the crazy uncle gets to this point, it’s time for detox.

Well, it does seem that CNN is powerless over Donald Trump and that their life has become unmanageable.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE—The sticking point may be coming to believe that there’s a power greater than themselves.

Friday’s Asteroid

First of all, asteroids aren’t caused by global warming. They’re the floor sweepings left over from the formation of the planets billions of years ago. Some of them are pretty big. Indeed, one of them, Ceres, is large enough to qualify as a dwarf planet. Most of them are tiny.

Several tons worth of the tiny asteroids collide with the Earth each day. Almost all of them burn up in the atmosphere as meteors. A few make it to the ground as meteorites. Every thousand years or so, a large meteor weighing tens of tons smacks into the ground releasing energy equivalent to a nuclear weapon. This happened in Siberia in 1908. Larger, Earth-shattering kabooms occur every few million years when an asteroid several hundred metres (or larger) in diameter hits. A large strike about 66 million years ago ended the Age of Dinosaurs.

This Friday’s asteroid will miss us. If it were to hit, the energy release would be roughly equivalent to a 2 megaton nuke, inconvenient for the local neighborhood but hardly Earth-shattering.

We frequently discover new asteroids. One was discovered in 1998 as the long blue streak in this archival image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.asteroidstreak_hst_960

This Just In–Scorpions Sting Frogs

CNN found Ambassador Stevens’ diary on the floor of the sacked compound in Benghazi where he was attacked. While they did not directly use any of the material in the journal, they did derive tips from it or use it to confirm other sources. One bit of information led CNN to report that the ambassador felt that he was on an al-Qaeda hit list and concerned about security in Libya.

The State Department has attacked CNN for its reporting, claiming that the network breached a confidentiality agreement with the ambassador’s family. Ann Althouse is having trouble buying the government’s line.

If the argument is that CNN broke an agreement, I want precision and I don’t see it. I repeat that I’m glad CNN got this information to us and didn’t supinely pass along the State Department’s talking points (which were wrong).

Yes, it looks as if the State Department is more concerned with covering up its mistakes before, during, and after the ambassador’s death than telling the truth. Stacy McCain writes:

While CNN’s conduct is certainly subject to criticism, that pales in comparison to the “worldwide significance” – the legitimate news value — of the story they were reporting. Attempting to distract from this important story by trying to indict CNN before the court of public opinion? Predictable and wrong …

Completely predictable. Governments caught screwing up will misdirect or lie. Journalists should understand that even their favored politicians will. It’s their nature.

Just as a scorpion will sting a frog, dooming both, so a lying politician can pull his pet journalists down with himself.

There’s Nothing New Under the Sun

Some folks are all atwitter over Soledad O’Brien using leftist talking points as the prep for an interview. There’s little new here—except for Ms. O’Brien being clumsy enough to get caught.

Bias in the newsroom is old hat. Barry Goldwater once said:

I won’t say that the papers misquote me, but I sometimes wonder where Christianity would be today if some of those reporters had been Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Et Tu, Wolf

Wolf Blitzer held Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s feet to the fire over bogus claims that the Ryan budget as passed by the House of Representatives will change Medicare coverage for those currently on Medicare. Video here. Indeed, his plan doesn’t affect anyone currently 55 or older.

The left is losing control of the narrative, and they’re starting to panic. It’s going to get very, very ugly.