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    Re: "Hints to Travellers" on Google Books
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2006 Nov 27, 18:31 EST
    Geoffrey, you wrote:
    "I resigned myself to the fact that I would never have a copy of this book. Needless to say,  I have immediately put a bid on it!"
    Oh, good. I'm glad I mentioned it then. Since the auction ended with one bid, I gather you got your book. :-)
    You also wrote:
    "In a sense, Frank is right in that this book is written for the practical explorer making his (or her) way through unexplored country and mapping as they go. There is not a single formula (in the sense that we would describe it) in the entire book. All the instruction is by worked examples, written out in detail. But these people were not "dummies"! "
    I should explain. The modern "for dummies" books are often excellent. The self-effacing titles are designed to lure the reader in. Whenever I start studying something new (like a new software tool, asp.net for example), I at least browse and sometimes buy the "for dummies" guide. It's just the meaty, useful stuff that you don't want to miss when you start a new topic. And my impressions of the Society's "Hints for Travellers" are similar. It's the material that any explorer should know, or at least have easy access to, with no theoretical background, nothing impractical.
    And you wrote:
    "Ralph Bagnold went on to write "The Physics of Blown Sand and Desert Dunes", giving a mathematical description of how dunes form for the first time, for which he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was even (in his 80s) a consultant to NASA on the missions to Mars about how the dunes form there. Ralph Bagnold was no dummy!"
    Fascinating story. Thanks. I'm sure you're right that Bagnold was no dummy. I wonder whether he would have been too embarrassed to read a "for dummies" book? I know some people who are afraid to be seen near one. <g>
    Of course, in the late 19th century there were in fact some "gentleman explorers" who met the definition of "dummy" rather well. 
    42.0N 87.7W, or 41.4N 72.1W.

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