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    Re: Unless they're Vikings, old men can't navigate
    From: Geoffrey Kolbe
    Date: 2016 Nov 19, 19:51 +0000


    The study would have been far more credible if it had actually tracked the same subjects over many years as they aged, and observed a decline in navigation skill.  Instead it is a snapshot of a population that probably varies considerably in their comfort in playing computer games and their ability to relate them to real life.

    Don Seltzer

    ​I would agree

    The Bedouin Arab has had a long reputation for their ability to navigate long distances with very little in the way of landscape features to guide them. When I was In Jebel Uweinat in South West Egypt some years ago, (in the Libyan desert some 500 miles from the nearest tar road) we had a Bedouin driver and guide. I showed him a map I had of the area and he waved it away. "I don't understand maps." he said.

    David Shepphard was in the RAF back in the 60's and '70s but never-the-less managed to spend a good deal of his time wandering around the Sahara Desert on various expeditions. He wrote a paper on Desert Navigation in the Geographical Journal (1970, Vol 136, Pt 2, pp 235-239) and there was an interesting letter in response to this paper from a Brigadier Prain. He wrote that on one occasion he was in Jebel Anaiza on the Iraq/Jordan frontier when he got a message from Baghdad to proceed to Jebel Tenf on the Iraq/Syria frontier some 200 miles away in a straight line - 150 miles of which was uncharted. He asked his Bedouin guide if he knew where Jebel Tenf was and the guide replied in the affirmative. Could he guide them to Jebel Tenf? Yes, he could. The guide was then asked to point in the direction of Jebel Tenf from where they were, and Prain sent one the drivers out some 50 yards in that general direction. After some thought, the guide indicated that the driver should move slightly to a new position, upon which Prain took a compass bearing on the driver. Prain writes, "In due course we started off on our compass bearing towards Tenf over ground which was apparently flat and featureless and required little except the occasional diversion for a minor wadi. We travelled slowly for the rest of the day, always on the same general compass course, and in the evening when the heat haze and shimmer disappear, to give place to the merciful clear evening air and marvellous visibility, there was Jebel Tenf, still some miles away, but almost dead ahead."

    Geoffrey Kolbe




    Dr Geoffrey Kolbe, Riccarton Farm, Newcastleton, Scotland, TD9 0SN
    Tel: 013873 76715
    Mob: 0773 8069 663
       
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