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    Re: On potential error introduced by rounded values
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2005 Jan 13, 01:28 EST
    George H wrote:
    "Apologies to the majority of list members, who will be quite uninterested
    in what follows. Peter Fogg has introduced a certain acrimony into what
    should have been an entirely technical discussion, and it needs to be
    A useful litmus test: if you find that you must begin a post with a 'non mea culpa' apology suggesting that someone else started it, you're very likely the one who is starting something.
    And George H wrote:
    "That was the matter I was addressing. I had read his
    argument carefully, and answered it carefully, but he hadn't expressed it
    as he intended."
    Nah. Pretty much everything Peter Fogg wrote in this thread was right on the money AND STATED QUITE CLEARLY, too.
    Incidentally, as for me, I highly recommend George Bennett's "Complete On-Board Celestial Navigator" to beginners with an interest in celestial. In an era when the art is on its deathbed, it serves an extremely useful purpose, satisfying those who want a modern, economical, self-contained approach to the subject. But it is not perfect, and it is not right for everyone.
    Speaking of perfection, I'm reminded of a little morality play from the 1960s. It was on a television program with a starship called the Enterprise (perhaps you've heard of it? <g>). In this particular episode, the Enterprise encounters a small, powerful space robot rampaging throughout a nearby star system and killing every lifeform it can find. When confronted, it turns out the space probe speaks English and claims that it is from Earth. The crew of the Enterprise consult their records and discover that there was indeed a little space probe, called Nomad, launched years earlier from Earth with the goal to "seek out new life" while roaming throughout the Galaxy. So what's with all the rampaging and destruction of life then??! They are able to tap into the probe's memory, somehow partially damaged and discover the truth. It seems that an alien probe had somehow run into Nomad. The alien probe's mission was to collect and sterilize soil samples from planets possibly suitable for colonization. The two spacecraft repaired each other, and the programming was mixed together [yes, yes, that's absurd, but it's a fable --not reality]. So the new Nomad's goal was to "seek out new life and sterilize all that was not perfect". Naturally, there ARE NO perfect lifeforms, so the little metal monster had become a diabolical killing machine with no idea that it was doing wrong. In the end, the fallible humans manage to convince Nomad that it, too, is imperfect, and like all computers in 1960s television, it chokes on a morsel of irrefutable logic and promptly commits robotic suicide... Thus ends the morality play.
    And what is the lesson? Well, first of all, computers are evil --naturally. But more fundamentally, the lesson is that there is no perfection.
    And if you spend your days sterlizing everything that isn't perfect, you'll become a real pain in the ass.
    42.0N 87.7W, or 41.4N 72.1W.
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