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    Re: GPS versus sextants ?
    From: Jared Sherman
    Date: 2002 Feb 4, 19:17 -0500

     True, very true. The GPS depends on a long chain of technology, but the 
    sextant depends on one highly trained user. Often there will be only one 
    person on a boat who knows how to use the sextant, and if that one person is 
    incapacitated for any reason (eye damage, seasickness, concussion, overboard) 
    then the sextant is probably going to be useless junk, just like a 
    salt-water-soggy GPS.
     The advantage to GPS is that any reasonably intelligent human (and probably a 
    number of chimps) can figure out how to press the ON button, at which 
    point they will have sufficient navigational data to make some progress in 
    the right direction--immmediately and surely, without waiting for a three-day 
    storm to clear.
     The tools (sextant and GPS) are very different, and each has different 
    vulnerabilities. But in this day and age I think we must consider the sextant 
    to be a pursuit of intellectual exercise and curiousity--not a superior 
    navigational instrument.
     The fools who run aground with a GPS would have simply died lost at sea with 
    a sextant. No technology can overcome a properly motivated user. [sic]

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