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    Re: Slocum's lunars
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2003 Dec 14, 21:57 -0500

    George,
    
    Where is the evidence that Slocum ever took a sight of the sun or a
    star to find his latitude?
    
    Fred
    
    On Dec 14, 2003, at 4:56 PM, George Huxtable wrote:
    
    > Jan Kalivoda said-
    >
    >> George, sorry, but I cannot understand you:
    >>
    >>> In those days, tables for printing were set by hand, and there was
    >>> much
    >>> scope for things to go wrong. I have read of other cases of printed
    >>> errors,
    >>> and we can't reject the possibility of a whole column of them.
    >>
    >> If I can imagine the process of preparing the book by hand, the
    >> digits of
    >> table values were set one by one. Accordingly, I can understand a
    >> casual
    >> printing error in one digit of one logarithm, but what mental process
    >> could
    >> cause the error in a whole vertical column, while adjacent columns
    >> should be
    >> correct?
    >
    > Response from George.
    >
    > Perhaps it's unlikely, as Jan says. It might be a misunderstanding, by
    > the
    > printer, of the columns in the manuscript sheet that had been given to
    > him.
    > But now that Jan raises the question, I am less confident about it.
    >
    >> And two following paragraphs seem to be contradictory:
    >>
    >>
    >>> Nor can we reject the possibility that Slocum did something wrong,
    >>> got a
    >>> silly answer, and then found a way to "fiddle" things to get a
    >>> better one
    >>> by altering a set of numbers in a table. But Slocum would be asking
    >>> for
    >>> trouble in doing that, because it would be so easy to check it
    >>> retrospectively. Publishing it in a book, which would be widely read
    >>> by his
    >>> seagoing contemporaries, he was surely aware that the first question
    >>> another mariner would ask him would be "What was the table that was
    >>> wrong,
    >>> and what were those errors?", so that they could correct their own
    >>> copies.
    >>
    >> Therefore it would have been dangerous for Slocum to lay false claim
    >> for
    >> correcting a table value?
    >>
    >>
    >>> I agree with Herbert that his claim to have detected, and then
    >>> corrected,
    >>> an error in a table was a remarkable feat: so remarkable as to make
    >>> it hard
    >>> to accept.
    >>
    >> Or not?
    >
    >
    > Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself.
    >
    > There are two arguments being presented here, that pull in contrary
    > directions. I am unable to choose between them with any confidence.
    > It's an
    > interesting puzzle.
    >
    > George.
    >
    > ================================================================
    > contact George Huxtable by email at george---.u-net.com, by
    > phone at
    > 01865 820222 (from outside UK, +44 1865 820222), or by mail at 1 Sandy
    > Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    > ================================================================
    >
    
    
    

       
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