TIL A line with knots tied about every 47 feet was attached to a “log.” The log was tossed overboard while the attached log line would continue trailing out from the ship. After 28 seconds the number of knots that had passed overboard was counted and the resulting number was the speed of the ship.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knot_(unit)

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  1. I’m just wondering why they had chosen such seemingly random numbers. 47 feet and 3 inches. 28 seconds. Like who came up with those? I have a feeling that these correspond to some other ancient units that would be less random.

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