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    Time recording,Russian manuals, etc.
    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2004 Sep 30, 19:26 -0500

    The topic of time recording was touched a little
    in my correspondence with
    Fred today
    on star-to-star distances, and it is also related to
    my recollections of an old Russian Manual
    I read in my childhood. As my previous recollections from
    this Manual had substantial feedback, I decided to add more
    in a separate message.
    Today I read in Bruce Bauer (p. 141 in the bottom)
    a charming description of a flegmatic merchant marine mate
    recording the time of his observation:-)
    I skip this, assuming that this book is common among the members
    of the list.
    By contrast, here is what I read in my Russian book
    (which I unfortunately lost):
    "When the celestial body and horizon are brought together
    to the field of view, the mate says to the assistant:
    "Ready!" In Russian it sounds "Tovs!" which literally means
    "Be ready!".
    From this moment, the assistant begins to look at the chronometer
    and reads the seconds aloud:
    "Twenty five-and-twenty six-and-twenty seven-and-...
    At the moment of contact, the mate says: "Yes!"
    and the assistant records quickly the last pronounced number
    of seconds, then minutes, then hours...
    If the last pronounced word is "and" he records 1/2 of a second.
    Then the mate tells him the sextant reading which the assistant
    also records."
    Did they indeed bring this precious chronometer to the deck/bridge??
    I imagine, in this way you can do several observations
    in a very quick sequence. The Manual recommends 5.
    (It also says that "it is a good practice to make observations
    5 times a day, if possible: morning and evening
    twilight, meridian Sun
    observation, and two additional Sun altitudes,
    one before noon, and one after. So I imagine that "a navigator"
    was a full time job, remember, this was in pre-CALCULATOR
    era, not speaking of computers (late 60-s).
    And I wanted to be a
    Another comment, just for fun.
    At the moment of contact, the mate says the Russian word which
    is pronounced "Yest". This word in this context definitely sounds
    In modern Russian, this word has several
    different meanings main of which
    a) To eat
    b) There is
    But in most military and naval contexts this words seems to
    be out of place from the point of view of Russian grammar.
    The explanation of the many strange uses of this word
    in military and naval
    contexts is this:
    Russian Navy was created by Peter the Great in the end of XVII
    century. He invited Western Europeans to teach Russian sailors.
    (And also sent Russians to study abroad).
    And the word "Yest" is a Russian interpretation of "Yes, sir":-)
    Sorry for deviating this much from the main topic:-)

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