A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Rommel John Miller
Date: 2016 Aug 8, 18:00 -0400
I agree I too have GPS that I use in the car and on the boat garmin gpsmap 620 is both map and chart capable of both on demand but those maps and charts also require me to update them through an internet connection. If a GPS links up with a satellite why then can't updates be done that way? They aren't and the main reason why is money. Like Microsoft and Apple charge licensing fess these days garmin is no different they can charge for an internet download of their data while doing so through the GPS is security problematic.
I like reading books on the subject of cn. Lately I am working through "A Star to Steer Her By.". By Edward J. Bergin. His preface tells its own story of the Navy STELLA and LORAN and how they botched a training exercise in the Pacific. He states that no one in the entire fleet bothered to check the bearings with a sextant fix and the math or forms. It happened while I was on Active Duty. A Navy study in Feb of 1980 concluded that the Navy (even back in 1980!) Had to get back to basics and the fact that stars don't fail but electronics do.
Go figure because only a year or so ago around 2012 the Navy stated it was teaching CN again at the naval academy because they found too that gov GPS tracking like so much else on computers can now be hacked.
So while I appreciate all that electronics has given society I am nevertheless mindful of the fact that the reason most anything like a toaster or TV fails anymore is due to some resistor or transistor burning out. And while you could once replace a tube in the back of the TV finding or isolating a single faulty component is more problematic as they are too small.
Electronics were once cased and sealed in Bakelite shells. Were the thing were burn out the heat generated would melt and throw off a terrible stench.
A good thing. Recently with all the problems I am personally having my computer's hard drive started going click click click. The thing is just spinning in a perpetual loop of sorts until in due time it would just burn out. I am using this damnable smart phone to get and reply to emails. I hate typing on this phone because I have short and stubby fingers that often press the wrong key and it is touch pad and that too is a technological bane as two are often pressed as one and it takes me an hour just to compose an email.
Doing this messes with my 57 year old sight. I need my glasses just to be able the read anything 6pt or thereabouts anymore. I look up at the TV after writing an email or watching a video on this contraption and my vision is fuzzy and doubled.
Hence my distrust for and lack of faith for electronics. They are only as good as the electricity in good for. If the grids are brought down imagine the mayhem and confusion that will ensue. Generators in boats and cars are nice but gas is pumped to our tanks with electricity. When the fuel goes empty and there is no electricity what will we do? Batteries burn out too.
Ergo we are too reliant on technology and for the most part fail to realize where the power comes from to keep the iPad and phones charged.
This is why the wind rarely dies the sun is always warm and the stars never lie. Constants in a superficially centered reliance upon fallible electricity and electronics. It is why I would just like to sail and live aboard a nice sailboat and practice and use cn exclusively.
On Aug 8, 2016 5:05 PM, "Frank Reed" <NoReply_FrankReed@fer3.com> wrote:
> Rommel, you wrote:
> "We should never trust electronics"
> But we do trust electronics, each and every day in myriad ways. That's not going to change. I would note that you "trusted" electronics to post this message about never trusting electronics! :)
> For any system that we trust, we also need the ability to test it, to verify, to validate its proper operations. Celestial navigation, especially automated, electronic celestial has a place here in the validation of satellite navigation. Trust but verify. And it's not just electronics. It's true of any "black box" (in the colloquial metaphoric sense). It was true of the chronometer in celestial navigation in the 19th and 20th centuries. Trust its displayed output, but verify it... with lunar observations in the early era, with multiple redundant chronometers in the later 19th century, and with radio time signals in the 20th century.
> Even manual, sextant-based celestial navigation also has an important role in maintaining and validating the far more error-prone side of the modern electronic navigation solution: the human user. We human beings screw up a lot. We mis-use our electronic systems. We turn off their alarms when they get annoying. We ignore display settings. And sometimes we just think ourselves better than all that electronic mumbo-jumbo and turn it off despite ourselves. A navigator who employs sophisticated electronics and also maintains situational awareness by using celestial to test the navigational product of the electronic system is much less likely to screw up.
> Frank Reed
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