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    Re: No sextant, no watch, no almanach, nothing
    From: Bill B
    Date: 2004 Nov 9, 00:28 -0500

    With a nocturnal, one can use the relationships between the pole star and
    the Big Dipper, or Little Dipper, or Cassiopeia to determine time, and
    therefore, longitude.
    Perhaps a chance for liberal-arts major to add something. 
    But how could natives remember what they saw from day-to-day and
    place-to-place?  Interesting question.  Note that tribal African cultures
    studied by sociologists (before they were enlightened with reading, writing,
    arithmetic and religion) possessed photographic memory.  They could, for
    example, watch a chess game and play it back move-by-move from memory.  Also
    of interest, when shown a photograph of something they knew, such as an
    elephant, they had not a clue as to what they were looking at!
    > When the author showed the natives modern charts, they couldn't understand
    Sadly, as westerners we regard them as primitive cultures.  IMHO, they are
    just different cultures that solved problems in others ways.
    I find it quite possible that they had an "almanac" stored between their
    ears, especially as they spent most of their time outdoors.
    I have experienced this to a small degree myself.  After a month of living
    on the shore in Connecticut, I no longer needed tables to know what the
    tide, set and drift were doing and when.  Conscious and subconscious clues
    just took over.  Flying kites on the beach on weekends gave me a good feel
    for what onshore and offshore breezes were doing without ever really
    thinking about it.
    Having spent only nine months with cel nav and the stars to date, with
    perhaps 100 hours or less looking at the night sky, find I myself getting a
    gut feel for it.  Working on a web site in earnest, I thought it was about
    11:30 p.m. and went outside for a break.  Looking up expecting to see the
    Summer Triangle, I noticed the sky was all wrong.  There was Orion's belt.
    Looking at my watch, I found it was 4 a.m.  Surprise!
    Or delivering a sailboat from Lake Superior to the Chicago area, and looking
    out on a clear day and seeing the lake outlined in the sky by clouds.
    And I am just a recreation sailor and beginner in cel nav.  I can only
    imagine the instincts and methods "professional" voyagers of old who spent
    their time under the Sun and stars, and on the water, possessed.  Perhaps
    not having to remember where the car keys are, how much time is needed to
    nuke four ears of sweet corn, or the stats on your favorite sports team has
    its advantages ;-)

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