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    Re: "Attainment of Precision" article (1964)
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2009 Jul 6, 20:26 -0700

    Jim, you wrote:
    "The referenced article was fascinating. I learned far more than I'll ever need."
    BEAR IN MIND that a good portion of what is contained in that article is 
    incorrect. Unfortunately, some people are over-awed by anything published in 
    a "journal" treating it as some sort of scripture. Publication in a refereed 
    journal does not mean scientific proof or scientific validity or even 
    scientific probability -- it means that the article met certain minimum 
    standards as provided to a small group of reviewers and as interpreted by 
    them. This is especially true for "journals" in minor subjects where referees 
    are hard to come by. If publication in a journal constituted proof, science 
    would be a much simpler process, and we would all have "cold fusion" 
    generators in our homes by now. :-)
    And you wrote:
    "I was pleased to note that the author recommended the method for
    determining the error from which the index correction is determined is
    what I tell my students to use: the averaging of horizon measurements by
    bringing them into conjunction from two directions."
    If you want a really good value for IC, shoot the Sun or the Moon 
    limb-to-limb. The author of that article back in 1964 was mostly working from 
    a very small boat (and with excellent results considering that!) and he 
    couldn't use the Sun or Moon for his frequent IC checks, but it's usually 
    more effective than the standard sea horizon test (but the standard test is 
    usually quite sufficient and it's the one that should always be taught).
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