Thursday, April 2, 2015

Speedy Speed Words

          Speedy Speed Words

We need words for velocity; short words to be said in a great hurry. Sailors have ‘knots’ for ‘nautical miles per hour’; but what do we call a mile per hour? “MPH” is an acronym, and it’s three syllables long; by the time you’ve screamed it at the driver, he’s already crashed the car. So what word will do? “Miph”? “Oomph”? Nah... I offer “knats”, a homophone for my name, as landlubber variant of knots.

Or take KPS, for “kilometers per second”; useful for all space-farers. I think “kaypees” will do admirably, as will “kaypes” and “kims” (for km/s). “Kaypes” sounds just like “capes”, but I assume 1) that astronauts don’t wear capes, and 2) if they did, then the double-meaning is resolvable by context; a common linguistic compromise.
Earth's escape velocity is 11.2 kaypes; the Moon's, 2.4 kaypes; Jupiter's, 59.6 kaypes.

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