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    Re: Trombone Kamal Prototype
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2009 Jun 6, 09:05 +1000

    Frank wrote:
    Crossing the threads and tangling them up a little, why didn't those Polynesian navigators a thousand years ago ever invent the cross-staff? Is it possible that the "dead reckoning" cues in the tropical Pacific, things like bio-luminescence, are so much better there than in the Atlantic that Polynesian navigators simply never had any practical reason to go beyond the tools of dead reckoning (and possibly basic zenith stars)?

    Seems to me that they weren't mechanically minded; is all.  You might as well ask why they didn't invent the wheel.  Which suggests its own answer: wasn't much use to them.

    The genius of many indigenous peoples appears to be the practical uses they could drive from keen observance of their natural world.  Western European renaissance culture, which is what has come to dominate the modern world, has taken another path: that of mechanical inventiveness.  Ideally, of course, we should strive to combine the best of both...

    I'm not sure Frank is being fair by claiming limitations associated with dead reckoning or zenith stars.  Have another look at the books that have been suggested here recently.  Amongst other techniques, they knew the navigational stars and observed their appearance above the horizon and subsequent setting, although the writings of the westerners who have recorded this (we need to remember that they may not have been privy to the full story) suggest that these observations were used for orientation, ie; they had the same function as a compass.

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