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    Yet another tale from the front-lines of an ivy league university
    From: John Huth
    Date: 2011 Oct 19, 18:30 -0400
    Today, I wanted to illustrate the use of the moon in finding longitude back in the day, so I talked about lunar eclipses.   I said that, in principle, if you did timing from sunset to a lunar eclipse, you could find longitude.   I included a spiffy animation that showed the moon passing through the shadow of the earth and froze it a couple of times, when the limbs were crossing in and out and drawing attention to the view of people on different parts of the globe.   It was the principle of the thing, I wasn't trying to get too technical.

    I passed out mid-semester evaluations today.   One student wrote back, saying that I was assuming too much knowledge, as I didn't explain what a lunar eclipse was (even though I showed an animation and said that it was the moon slipping behind the earth's shadow).  Some complained that the pop quiz wasn't on the syllabus.

    When I told this to my daughter, who is a sophomore in high school, she asked "How can they get into Harvard and not know what an eclipse is?"   A good question, indeed.

    She also thought it was amusing the people complained that a pop quiz wasn't on the syllabus.
       
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