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    Re: Drawing the Line - Edwin Danson
    From: Renee Mattie
    Date: 2004 Mar 25, 14:29 -0500

    Kieran Kelly said:
    
    > 2) Given the scientific achievements of these two -"A Geordie and a
    baker's boy in the > forests of the Iroquois" as Mark Knoffler says in his
    song "Sailing to Philadelphia" - > why aren't their  achievements more
    celebrated in the USA.
    
    I haven't read "Drawing the Line", but I did want
    to add my thoughts on why Lewis & Clark are more
    famous than Mason & Dixon.  My comments have more
    to do with US history and national character
    than with the art and science of position-finding.
    
    In the national conciousness of the US:
    * Surveying is boring.  The technical details
       and difficulty quotient are boring geek-speak
    * Pennsylvania is boring (despite its vibrant history)
    * As Fred Hebard said, Mason & Dixon did what
       they did with very little fanfare or media
       attention at the time.  Probably because,
       even then, both surveying and Pennsylvania were
       considered boring (debate over religious freedom
       and freedome of settlement notwithstanding).
       Also because of the lack of a national news media.
       Or a nation, for that matter.
    * Lewis & Clark were explorers -- not boring.
    * Lewis & Clark travelled a long distance,
       through terra incognita, which turned out
       to be varied and exciting terrain
    * Lewis & Clark brought back records of exotic
       cultures and languages, as well as records and
       samples of exotic terrains, flora, and even vegetables.
    * The news media could distribute stories much more
       widely and cheaply in the time of Lewis & Clark.
    * Lewis & Clark were part of the "opening of the West".
       This is still a defining feature of US history and
       national conciousness and character, perhaps still
       THE most important.  The US still sees itself
       as a nation of explorers and pioneers, and attracts
       immigrants who want to be a part of and continue
       that national character.
    
    Renee
    
    
    

       
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