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    Re: suggestion for a satisfactory celnav narrative
    From: Courtney Thomas
    Date: 2005 Jun 1, 11:07 -0500

    Please see inserted comments:
    On Tue, 2005-05-31 at 21:32, Frank Reed wrote:
    > "As one who has struggled with a plethora of  publications that purport to
    > convey the celnav gospel"
    > How many books  constitute a plethora?  More seriously, which books have
    > you enjoyed?  Which did you find less satisfactory? Can you pinpoint any
    > features that worked  or didn't work for you??
    In my case, a plethora is more than I own and remember examining, none
    of which was satisfactory in meeting what I have attempted to describe
    as successful in conveying a succinct and unified view of the essentials
    of celnav as currently practised by navigators whose motives are
    efficiency and accuracy suitable for their perceived notion of safety,
    i.e. avoiding historical or theoretical considerations [other than those
    necessary for comprehension of the minimal skill set], for example.
    > " I'd like to suggest a group project  of
    > composing a "minimal" narrative of the essentials of  celestial
    > navigation "
    > It's feasible but first you have to define:  what is the 'minimal' narrative
    > of celestial navigation?
    When I used the word minimal in this context, [one reason I put it in
    quotes] was that the intent was not to define it but rather imply that
    it should meet the group's idea of minimal, not mine. I implied that...
    ONLY my idea of minimal would be inadequate, and anticipated your
    objections but apparently failed to accomplish even that  :-)
    Anyway, I realize a "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin"
    approach will never land, but...a landfall IS doable however, if
    objectives are initially set out that provide a suitable baseline,
    though am certain all will never be satisfied with even a baseline  :-)
    That's the reason for the suggested bibliography and the disclaimer
    regarding being included in "theological" debate.
    > Latitude and longitude  by Noon Sun can be taught in
    > one long afternoon. That's 'minimal' and you can  sail around the world using
    > it (if you're feeling reckless and choose to leave  your GPS at home).
    I assume I'm talking to adults and therefore it's unnecessary to tout
    >  But
    > most navigators who learned the art of celestial  navigation in the late 20th
    > century would be repelled by this choice of  'minimal' cel nav because they
    > learned, what I call, "apex celestial navigation"  --the extremely stable set of
    > celestial navigation tools and ideas that appeared  c.1958 and lasted through
    > the obsolescence of the system four decades later.  This "apex celestial" takes
    > maybe 8 or 10 long afternoons to learn, and it's  naturally much more
    > involved. Do you need that? Does the student sitting next to  you need that? And the
    > one sitting next to him??
    My initial email was addressed to those, such as yourself, whose
    knowledge and experience far exceeds my own, with the hope that such
    individuals would collaborate to minimally, meet my hoped for objectives
    avoiding an exegesis that would be excessive, daunting and so elaborate
    as to obscure the stated criteria, thus causing avoidable obfuscation
    for those, such as myself, whose desires and needs are defined in the
    project goal, as initially stated.
    > Generally speaking,  there are a thousand different students with a thousand
    > different skill-sets and  educational backgrounds to bring to bear, and each
    > of those has different goals,  too. For each of them, there is a unique, ideal
    > 'minimal narrative'. Maybe we  need an expert system that builds a textbook
    > based on each student's answers to  a dozen questions (I'm serious --that's a
    > real possibility).
    I'm most hopeful that you will actually contribute such a desirable
    mechanism to the group's formulation of a celnav project, as proposed.
    >  In the absence of  the perfect text for every student,
    That's another reason I propose creating a group defined and supported
    skill set that, at least, meets, in it's judgment and collective wisdom,
    the -> initially proposed minimal criteria and objectives <-. Anything
    more is fine, but let's at least and first, meet that standard and in
    the wiki tradition, and for other purposes, later, permit accretions to
    other ends.
    In that, to my knowledge, even this minimal objective hasn't been done,
    satisfying the stated criteria, I assume even it to be burdensome and
    therefore.... to initially exceed this relatively modest proposal... is
    counter productive and presumably over-ambitious,.. in that no one has
    even stepped forward offering to be group coordinator for this minimal
    goal. I hope it is not perceived as hypocrisy in my own case, as I am
    unqualified and will be gone for the summer besides.
    Volunteers ?
    > there
    > are numerous books that do an  excellent job of reaching some large fraction
    > of celestial navigation student  'population'. Three I can think of:
    > Howell's "Practical Celestial  Navigation"
    > Whitney and Wright's "Learn to Navigate" (by the tutorial system  developed
    > at Harvard)
    > Mixter's "Primer of Navigation"
    Better than most, in my experience, but, for many, a mini-career, especially
    considering all the other material a competent sailor needs to  digest.
    > But that's just  three out of dozens and dozens of options...
    > -FER
    > 42.0N 87.7W, or  41.4N 72.1W.
    > www.HistoricalAtlas.com/lunars

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