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    Re: suggestion for a satisfactory celnav narrative
    From: Courtney Thomas
    Date: 2005 Jun 1, 14:30 -0500

    Thank you Andrew.
    I would suggest that possibly a satisfactory model might be a website
    where the current state of the project could be on view to all, with a
    separate section for suggested modifications, else a plethora  :-)
    of emails might ensue without benefit or structure.
    On Wed, 2005-06-01 at 12:47, Andrew Corl wrote:
    > Dear Frank, Courtney, Jim, and anyone else who cares to read this
    > >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??
    > For me a plethora of books is over a dozen, and portions of a dozen more.
    > Specific things that did or did not work out is hard to pinpoint.  I would
    > come to a point where I was frustrated and throw a book across the room.
    > What I need for learning is a sort of step by step process to do things.
    > Once I have the process down and can reference one statement, I should be
    > able to do fine with my navigation.
    > Courtney wrote:
    > >" I'd like to suggest a group project  of
    > >composing a "minimal" narrative of the essentials of  celestial
    > >navigation "
    > Frank wrote:
    > It's feasible but first you have to define:  what is the 'minimal' narrative
    > of celestial navigation? 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). 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 Reply:
    > For Courtney, I am raising my hand to help with this.  Don't know what I can
    > do but here is a list of techniques I feel should be in the manual:
    > Dead Reckoning
    > Latitude by Noon Sun
    > Longitude using a shortwave radio and the noon sun
    > Sextant operation and how to determine the elevation above the horizon of
    > the sun, moon, star, and planet
    > Sight reduction using H.O. 249 - method I am presently learning
    > Sight reduction doing all the math (the "apex of celestial navigation"
    > according to Frank)
    > Feel free to add to it as any and all feel necessary.
    > For Frank, I don't think we are attempting to come up with the definitive
    > text on Celestial Navigation.  What I envision this being is a simple and
    > accurate manual explaining what to do where numbers come from etc., and
    > maybe not so much emphasis on the theory as to why things work, just that
    > they do work. Again, I will echo Courtney's comments and operate on the
    > assumption that we are adults and know something about safety.
    > Frank wrote:
    > 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). In the absence of the perfect text for every
    > student, 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"
    > But that's just  three out of dozens and dozens of options...
    > My reply:
    > Yes there are a thousand different students with a thousand different skill
    > sets, but let's see if we can come up with something simple and easy to use
    > that is at least a start to wet the whistle of the interested novice and
    > challenge the expert to help us all.  As to your suggestion of answers to a
    > dozen different questions, yes I think that is a wonderful idea and should
    > be put together by those of you who are experts, I am not.  The list of
    > three texts you have suggested, I will look into to help me with my own
    > problems, who knows maybe one of those will be a "Holy Grail" and suddenly I
    > will see the light and all will become clear.
    > As I said Courtney I am raising my hand to help with this and will attempt
    > to come up with an outline for some of the problems I am having.  As I get
    > things written I will post them somewhere (not that far yet) and let all of
    > you "shred" I mean edit the document.
    > Andrew

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