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    Re: Wulf on Venus transits of 1761 & 1769
    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2012 Jun 1, 11:56 -0400

    This reminds me another navigation-related topic:
    >> Curate Nevil Maskelyne had made sure that he
    >> would be equipped with the best instruments but also that he received a
    >> suitable liquor allowance - the bill for wine and spirits accounted for
    >> almost one-quarter of the entire budget for the expedition.
    In the end of XIX century and the beginning of XX century, there was
    a race for the North Pole. A very famous German mathematician,
    Ernst Zermelo
    lived in that time, and he was following the race closely
    (by reading newspapers and logbooks). He carefully read the descriptions
    of all expeditions.
    {}From the available data he derived an interesting empirical law:
    a mathematical relation between the maximal latitude reached
    and the amount of alcohol used by the expedition.
    According to Zermelo's Law, the amount of necessary alcohol
    was proportional to the tangent of the latitude reached.
    It easily follows that the North pole will be never reached
    because the alcohol supply needed for this is infinite...
    This Zermelo Law is well documented in the history of mathematics:-)

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