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    Re: Maskelyne and his "able computers"
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2004 Sep 21, 11:53 -0400

    Nice site Frank.
    
    On Sep 21, 2004, at 12:25 AM, Frank Reed wrote:
    
    > Shall I add Maskelyne's paper from the Philosophical Transactions of
    > 1764 describing how to clear a lunar to my web site?  It's interesting
    > and even without the math it's entertaining. Maskelyne's got an
    > almanac on his mind and writes:
    >    "the last rule for computing the distance of the Moon from a star,
    > though only an approximation, being so very exact, seems particularly
    > adapted for the construction of a nautical ephemeris, containing the
    > distances of the Moon from the Sun and proper fixed stars ready
    > calculated for the purpose of finding the longitude from the Moon by
    > observations at sea; an assistance which, in an age abounding with so
    > many able computers, mariners need not doubt they will be provided
    > with, as soon as they manifest a proper disposition to make use of
    > it".
    >
    >  An age abounding with so many able computers... I love that line.
    > Speaking of those able computers, there's a very fine article by Mary
    > Croarken on the early history of the Nautical Almanac focusing on the
    > "computers" --the people scattered across Britain whose job it was to
    > perform by hand the calculations that were published in the almanac.
    > Would you believe they had cheaters? This article is online at
    > http://www.jmr.nmm.ac.uk/ . When you get to this web site, enter
    > "longitude" in the search box. The paper is entitled "Providing
    > Longitude for All". The direct URL was too long to include.
    >
    >  Frank R
    >  [ ] Mystic, Connecticut
    >  [X] Chicago, Illinois
    
    
    

       
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