Sabretache, Tenedos, Seddul, Soignard … Wordle.

I wanted to say something about the results from our fifth finished ship HMS Inflexible, so I’ve proccessed all the measurements and made a full set of plots showing trends in the weather over the voyage. The results are excellent, but sometimes even I get a bit tired of barometric pressures and wet-bulb temperatures, so instead of posting them here I’ve sneaked over to the other side of the project to have a look at the history data – the log entries that we’ve selected for inclusion.

The sort of history we’re doing in OldWeather: collecting and synthesising large quantities of diverse material, is an example of a new research trend sometimes called ‘digital humanities’. Because it’s new, the methods for making use of the events we’ve been collected are not yet well established (and anyway I’m no historian) so I’m not sure what the best way to use the events we’ve recorded is. But it’s always a good start to plot the data and see what you’ve got, so I’ve fed all the events recorded from the Inflexible into Wordle (www.wordle.net) and made this:

Events recorded from HMS Inflexible; bigger words are more frequently recorded. (Made with www.wordle.net).

Events recorded from HMS Inflexible; bigger words are more frequently recorded. (Made with http://www.wordle.net).


It’s a bit like the blob plots I’ve posted before – everything is in there (I’ve stripped out a few really common words like ‘the’ and ‘ship’), but more popular entries are bigger. Inflexible is most famous for being in the battle of the Falkland Islands (like her sister ship – HMS Invincible), but I think this image gives a more balanced indication of the real day-to-day story of the ship: Routine activities and references to other ships loom large, and only right down in the small print are the signs of drama: ‘Firing’, ‘Killed’, ‘Died’, and ‘Sunk’. I was baffed at first by the frequent reference to ‘Sabretache’ – a sort of cavalryman’s handbag, but it turns out that it is the name of another ship – a French destroyer.

So thanks and well done to captain clibby34, lieutenants sarek and instigator008, and all the crew. And just in case you’re interested in the wind direction, barometer height etc., I’ve put that on line here.

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