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    Re: Crossbones
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2014 May 31, 10:27 -0700

    Dave:
    "crossbones-nbc.com/the-longitude-chronometer/"

    Thanks for the heads-up. I meant to watch that but missed it. John Malkovich as a pirate (vaguely modeled on Blackbeard) is interesting casting at least. Of course their idea of a "longitude chronometer" is going to be a long way from the real thing --more magical amulet than nautical science-- but it may get people talking nonetheless.

    In addition to 2014 being the 300th anniversary of the longitude act and its associated prizes which have come to be known as the "longitude prize", next year will be one whole generation, twenty years, since Dava Sobel's "Longitude" was first published and this whole business of longitude and chronometers was liberated from the moldy confines of navigation history and rocketed into popular culture.

    Note that since Edward Teach, the original "Blackbeard", died in 1718, the idea that there was already a "longitude chronometer" is anachronistic, though there's always the option that some charlatan was peddling a mysterious contraption in the Caribbean and might have claimed that it was a "longitude chronometer" (when nitpicking fiction, it's important to leave the door open to reasonable fictional solutions). And also, except for one satirical publication, the "stuffy" word chronometer did not become a common nautical term for a "marine time-keeper" until the beginning of the 19th century, more than eighty years after Blackbeard. But that's just history trivia --no problem for a fictional pirate story! :)

    -FER
    PS: Speaking of anachronistic language, I originally wrote that I meant to "tune in" to see Crossbones. Tune in?? Now I want a digital television with a tuning dial that I can crank up and down the frequency spectrum.

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