Posts tagged ‘vessel’

Measuring Speed in Knots Started With Tying Knots in Rope

By Chad Upton | Editor

Sailors have it easy these days — an inexpensive GPS will tell you how fast your ship is travelling. Heck, even your smartphone can do it if you have the right app. That’s how I clocked the car ferry on Lake Michigan at 35 mph (56 km/h) last summer.

However, a blackberry could not measure your speed 450 years ago. That required a “chip log” (aka “ship log” or “log”). This was a spool of rope attached to a small piece of wood. The sailors would place the wood in the water where it would drag in the water, unspooling the knotted rope. One sailer count the knots passing over the haul and another would use a 30 second sandglass to measure the time. They had a table to lookup the speed (“knots”) based on the number of knots that passed by.

Although the method has changed significantly, the units are still called “knots.” To put that in a way that might have more meaning, one nautical mile translates to 1.151 miles or 1.852 km.

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Sources: wikipedia (knots, chip log)

Photo: Rémi Kaupp (gnu license)

November 10, 2011 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Secret Codes in Public Places

By Chad Upton | Editor

I was at Walmart today and I realized, I absolutely love that place — I feel like a supermodel in there.

While there, I heard an announcement for “Code C” and I had to know what it was.

You see, airports, retail stores and hospitals all have secret codes to announce information to staff without causing alarm to the general public.

Walmart actually has a lot of these codes and for good reason. Perhaps the most well known code is “Code Adam.” It was invented by Walmart 1984 and it’s now used by many different companies, all over the world.

It’s named after Adam Walsh, son of America’s Most Wanted TV host John Walsh. Adam was kidnapped from a Sears store in 1981 and murdered. Walmart actually has a very strict policy about this code. All employees drop what they’re doing, some watch the doors and other sweep the store looking for the child. Employees do nothing else until the child is found.

Other Walmart Codes:

  • Code Black – Severe weather (ex. tornado warning)
  • Code Blue – Bomb threat
  • Code Brown – Shooting
  • Code Green – Hostage situation
  • Code Orange – Chemical spill
  • Code Red – Fire
  • Code White – Accident
  • Code C – Customer service or cashier needed
  • Code 300 or Department 51 – Security

Walmart also has color coded pillars in their stores:

  • Blue – Telephone
  • Red – Fire extinguisher
  • Orange – “Spill-O-Magic” station

Boat/Ship/Vessel Codes

  • Code Oscar or Mr. MOB – Man overboard
  • Bravo, Bravo, Bravo – Serious incident such as a fire
  • Mr Skylight – Minor incident
  • Code Blue – Medical emergency

Hospital Codes

  • Code Blue, Code 90, Code 45 – Cardiac arrest
  • Code Red, Dr Red, Dr Pyro, Dr Firestone – Fire
  • Code Grey, Code Silver – Combative or violent person
  • Code Orange – Mass casualty incident
  • Code Black, Code Brown – Extreme weather warning

These are the most common codes, obviously some of these codes will be known by other code names in certain places. Some countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States have standards for these codes, but they differ from each other and many other countries do not have standards.

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Sources: Wikipedia, Google Answers, Wal-mart Info, UPHAA, Vessel Emergency Codes, Hospital Codes

July 12, 2010 at 5:00 am 51 comments


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