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    News items about navigation
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2009 Sep 20, 20:02 -0700

    For a few years now I've had Google News collect any articles with the words 
    "sextant" or "celestial navigation" in them. It seems that they're becoming 
    much rarer even in this brief period of time. Here's a brief and somewhat 
    mournful reference from the managing editor of the newspaper of Marion, Ohio:
    
    "My dad used to fly in planes and look at the sun or some stars then do some 
    math and tell the pilot where they were located. It amazes me that he could 
    be somewhere over the Pacific Ocean and with nothing but a watch, a slide 
    rule and a sextant and be fairly precise about his location. Navigation is an 
    ancient and honored craft that sadly has gone the way of gas lamps.
    
    This week, Dad drove from northern New York to Marion, Ohio, using a GPS 
    device for navigation. Besides suggesting he have a John Henry-like 
    competition with the GPS device, we haven't talked much about how his 
    profession disappeared in the face of technology."
    
    Gas lamps... Sheesh. Hey, maybe we could use on of them thar gas lamps to keep 
    our quartz watches at constant temperature. Ha!
    
    Also via Google News, there was a reference to the method lunar distances in a 
    recent new article, as follows: 
    "Lunar distance, refers to an old method of navigation that takes the position 
    of the moon and the stars as points of reference. Using a sextant, an 
    eighteenth-century invention, the navigator is able to determine Greenwich 
    Mean Time. This is subsequently compared to the local time, which in turn 
    results in a siting. " 
    --and really, that's not half-bad for a very basic, introductory definition. 
    Is there then hope? Are there other people out there somewhere taking an 
    interest in our obscure subject?? Well, here's the link, so you can judge for 
    yourself, on this newsworthy reference to "lunar distance": 
    http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=33242
    
    -FER
    
    
    
    
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