Research (or Why Google Is Good, but Math Is Better)


While working on one of the season three episodes of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe, I ran into the question of exactly how long would it take to travel up the Nile by steamship from Cairo to Khartoum. When I tried to find the answer using Google, I kept getting pages and articles about current travel routes and how long it takes to drive or fly the distance. I phrased my searches various ways, but the best I could get was an article about how long a tour company in the 1800s took to do the same cruise and stops it took nearly a month to do by sail.

This still was not helpful. I wanted to find out how long the trip would take non-stop.

I ended up looking up how far up the Nile Khartoum was from the Mediterranean, then how far up the Nile Cairo was from the Mediterranean and subtracted the latter from the former to get the distance between the two cities. Next I looked up the top speed a steamship could make upriver (against the current). I got the miles per hour (5 knots) and divided the distance by this. Finally, I divided that result by 24 hours.

My conclusion was that a non-stop trip from Cairo to Khartoum by steamship would take approximately 14 days at the very least. I realize this isn’t entirely accurate, since a nautical mile is different from a land mile. Still, for my purposes, it’s close enough.

Who says you will never have to use algebra after school?

I will hopefully have episode 3, In the Woolfe’s Den up on Kindle by next weekend.