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    Re: When did "time sights" fade away?
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2011 Jul 12, 19:07 -0700

    Antoine, you wrote:
    "not really necessary, I buy that one. and in computing then ??? : maybe spherical trigonometry might be useful - oh !!! just a bit, only - now and then, no ???"

    Well, he knew that he was *using* spherical trigonometry, but the point that he was making of course is that you don't need to understand it to use it successfully as a tool. For a 21st century example, GPS fixes require the use of general relativistic corrections because those orbiting atomic clocks are a long way up out of the Earth's "gravity well" but very few people who use GPS navigation, even in the sciences, know why those corrections work. The published, standardized methods of traditional celestial navigation are a lot like today's computer software, like spreadsheets --but they're designed for a human computer. As long as we trust the source of a spreadsheet, we don't need to rebuild it from scratch. Similarly the methods of celestial navigation don't need to be understood, and certainly not re-derived, to be used. There's no reason whatsoever to learn spherical trigonometry if the goal is practical celestial navigation. People like you and me and many who post here would then say, "but you're missing half the fun!" They would then look at us with that look... you know the one. :)

    -FER


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