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    Re: Age: is it relevant? (And Flinders)
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2005 Apr 9, 21:06 +0100

    I wrote-
    "Frank Reed recently chose to  tell us that he is 41 years old."
    and he replied>
    >And George joked:
    >"Remarkable,  that. I had taken him to be MUCH younger."
    On what evidence, I wonder, did Frank presume that it was a joke?
    But, more seriously, I asked whether age was relevant; and perhaps there's
    some evidence that it is.
    I had asked, in a posting headed "Thomas Jefferson and Lunar Obs.", if
    anyone was aware of after-the event longitude corrections being supplied by
    Greenwich Observatory. Frank Reed has just pointed out that he had raised
    (and answered) that very question, in regard to Flinders, just a few weeks
    before, and what's more, I had commented on the matter in a reply. And,
    indeed, so he did, and so I had. Sorry about that.
    I understand that Americans have coined a kindly euphemism for that kind of
    lapse, as a "senior moment". Such senior moments do seem to be occurring
    more frequently for me, nowadays. Perhaps list members should be asked to
    make allowances for my own advancing dotage, as well as for Frank's
    immaturity. Maybe age is relevant, after all!
    Now, back to Flinders, and his after-the event longitude corrections, from
    Greenwich Observatory. Frank quotes Flinders as follows-
    "... it was desirable that the  astronomical observations, upon which so
    much depended, should undergo a  recalculation, and the lunar distances
    have the advantage of being compared  with the observations made at the
    same time at Greenwich; and in July 1811  the necessary authority was
    obtained from the Board of Longitude."
    No doubt Flinders was in a privileged position with the Board of Longitude,
    being engaged in writing up the voyage he had commanded, which was an
    official Naval expedition. Even so, it seems that obtaining access to the
    earlier Greenwich observations was not an automatic process even for him,
    but required specific authority from the Board of Longitude. I wonder how a
    non-official land explorer, with none of those advantages, would have
    fared, with a similar request.
    Flinders described those corrections as having made "considerable
    alterations" to his longitudes. Did he provide any examples of those
    corrections, or give any idea of their magnitudes, I wonder?
    contact George Huxtable by email at george@huxtable.u-net.com, by phone at
    01865 820222 (from outside UK, +44 1865 820222), or by mail at 1 Sandy
    Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.

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