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    Re: Newton and Halley
    From: Michael Daly
    Date: 2007 Nov 18, 13:20 -0500

    George Huxtable wrote:
    > First, let's deal with the unsourced quotations that I mentioned before. For
    > the first, he has (somewhat ungraciously) acknowledged that he can offer no
    > references.
    If telling you that I don't record every thing I read is ungracious,
    then I'm sorry for your poor, sensitive soul.  Given that I have to
    travel to another city to access only the libraries that have suitable
    reference works, it's not the sort of thing I'd do in an instant.
    > I've never, to my recollection, even suggested that Halley used lunar
    > distances. All his observations that I've examined have been of lunar
    > appulses with stars, to determine the Moon's position, and have involved no
    > measurement of lunar distance at all.  So not me, ever, Mike. Who else,
    > "often"?
    Of what use is Newton's instrument in occultations and appulses?  You
    just need a telescope.
    > It was written at the time as a formal official record of the Royal Society
    > gathering by the Secretary appointed to do so, and subject to later scrutiny
    > as being a true record. Hearsay? Absurd!
    Having attended many meetings of one royal society and one royal
    institute (neither in Britain), having been an executive of the first, I
    can assure you that secretaries make mistakes - that's why the first bit
    of the meetings is to review and correct the prior minutes.  And even
    after such corrections, there are still errors.  Further, the minutes
    are not completely written during the meetings; some are changed in the
    days, weeks or even months afterwards.  The text always contains the
    secretary's interpretation of what was said, not direct quotes.  I
    should note that this is with modern tape recording equipment available.
    I rather doubt that London's Royal Society of the day was somehow superior.
    > Does he contend, then, that Newton didn't say what the Secretary wrote? Or
    > that, for some reason, Newton was lying? Does Mike Daly know better, then?
    I only know that the record does not give us specific knowledge of which
    instrument was used.  Nor does it specify the means by which Halley
    tested the instrument.  It does not quote Newton, but paraphrase him.
    > In a previous posting, he proposed instead, with no evidence whatever,
    > that Halley used an unworkable instrument of Halley's own design, but
    > suitably modified according to Daly's precepts (including a second mirror)
    > to render it effective. Complete fantasy!
    You're making this up entirely.  I stated that the instrument would work
    - it may not be he best instrument ever, but it would work.  I then said
    that if _I_ were to make it, I'd suggest some modifications to make it
    more workable.  I also said that it could have been modified with a
    second mirror if you wanted it to be a double-reflection instrument.  I
    _never_ suggested that Halley actually used it, only that he could have
    if he wanted to.  There is no record on the matter one way or the other
    that I am aware of.  Cotter does not know of any either.
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