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    Re: Slocum's lunars
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2003 Dec 13, 17:49 +0000

    Like Jan and Herbert, I found the story of the erroneous lunar table rather
    intriguing.
    
    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.
    
    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.
    
    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.
    
    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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