A Limerick A Day


Three lost sailors from the Federated States of Micronesia were found after their SOS message outlined on a beach was spotted from the air

When you’re miles from the next bit of land
Just write SOS in the sand
In letters so high
They’ll be seen from the sky
And help will arrive. You’ll be grand

John Moynes

Pic via CNN

4 thoughts on “A Limerick A Day

  1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

    It’s more poetic to say souls rather than lives. You could SOS with an aul prayer, though, surely.

    1. Slightly Bemused

      The use of Save Our Souls (or Save Our Ship as it was first) is actually a backronym of sorts. SOS was chosen because of its ease to remember and transit in an emergency, sent without spaces which would be needed for an acronym. It was the Germans adopted it first, and because the letters S and O were the simplest where there were repeats (three dots, threes dashes).
      While some letters were only single dot or dash, they needed the repeats to get through any interference to avoid ambiguity. Similarly, they always repeat 3 times. This is noted where you have the voice call equivalent Mayday (Mayday, Mayday, Mayday). This ensures at least one repetition gets through, and there is no doubt in the receiver’s mind that an emergency has been declared.
      Such was the success of SOS that it has entered the greater public consciousness, and as here it is still used across the world.

      1. The Old Boy

        Indeed, SOS was an unofficial way of memorising it, as there are no “letter gaps” between the dots and dashes and the signal is in fact a single character meaning “Attention all stations, I am in distress and require urgent assistance”.

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