Lessons in Longitude

Harrison-H4Andrea here, thinking about . . . Time. This month, most of us in the U.S. turn the clock back an hour for Daylight Savings Time (I don’t know about you, but I very much dislike the darkness that settles in around 5 pm in winter.) Now, where does that hour go? Yes, I know that we get it back in Spring, but it seems a cavalier attitude to play games with the ticking of the Universe.

800px-Christiaan_Huygens-paintingMy mulling on this has been amplified because I’ve been thinking of working in marine chronometers in a future Wrexford & Sloane mystery book. I happen to love antique mechanical wristwatches, as I think they’re both beautiful and functional. The intricate inner workings are exquisite works of art—for me it’s very cool when functional objects can also be intrinsically beautiful.

But back to marine chronometers! From the first stirrings of humanity, time is an elemental concept that regulates so many facets of our existence—our age, the cycle of the seasons, how calculate speed and distance . . . The first really precise timepiece was the pendulum clock, invented in 1656 by Christiaan Huygens (shown above), a Dutch scientist who was inspired by Galileo’s experiments with pendulums.

Moonlight_battle_Aftermath
However, they needed stability to function properly, and with the Age of Exploration in full sail, countries were vying to gain an edge on claiming new lands and establishing lucrative trading routes by inventing an accurate timepiece that could withstand the stresses of shipboard life. (Anyone who has sailed on the open oceans will understand what a huge technical challenge that presented.)

ImagesWhat, you might ask, does a clock (or chronometer, which is a the technical name for a timepiece that meets a certain standard of accuracy) have to do with sailing? The answer is that it’s key to navigation. I shall attempt to explain it simply. To know exactly where you are on the Earth, you need to determine latitude and longitude (the degrees that divide the globe horizontally and vertically. Latitude can be determined by measuring the sun’s angle from the horizon at its zenith (noon.)

Harrison 1However, to calculate longitude, you need to know the time of a fixed location somewhere in the world. (Since the British pioneered the chronometer, they chose Greenwich, just outside of London, and to this day Greenwich Mean Time—GMT—is the universal standard for navigation.) This is because the Earth rotates at a fixed rate, and so by comparing the difference between local time and GMT, you can calculate your longitude in relationship to the Greenwich Meridian—which has arbitrarily been assigned to be 0 degrees—by using spherical trigonometry. (This I shall not attempt to explain.)

How to calculate longitude was one of the world’s great scientific challenges. Huygens turned his attention to designing a chronometer during the 1670s (urged on by his patron, Louis XIV of France—for obvious economic reasons!) he came up with the idea of using a balance wheel and a spiral spring instead of a pendulum—which remain the basics of modern chronometers and watchmaking today—but he never got his designs to work.

The great English scientist Robert Hooke took up the challenge at the same time, and although he discovered a law of physics regarding springs, he, too, failed to make a workable marine chronometer. The early 1700s saw further experimentation in Britain by William Derham and Jeremy Thacker, who attempted to use gimbals and a bell jar—which created a vacuum. But still no luck.

In addition to mercantile reason, the British government was keen to have the means of accurate navigation for its navy, as ruling the seas was key to its survival. And so in 1714 it offered a Longitude Prize, ranging from £10,000 to £20,000 (£2 million to £4 million in 2018 terms) depending on accuracy.

John_Harrison_UhrmacherUp stepped John Harrison, a self-taught carpenter from Yorkshire, who began to tinker with the concept. He created a series of large, elaborate prototypes—H1 (shown above) through H3 used springs and counter-oscillating beams to counter gravity and the roll of a ship. But they didn’t perform as well as needed. With H4 (very first image) he took a different tack and reduced to the size to a 5-inch mechanism that resembled a pocketwatch. Though refinements and improvements would continue to be made, both by him and French scientists Pierre Le Roy and Ferdinand Berthoud (his chronometer is shown below), Harrison was awarded the £20,000 prize, marking a new era of navigation.

FB chronoToday most ships rely on fancy high tech gizmos to navigate by GPS (though the nautical world requires many senior officers to know how to navigate with chronometer and sextant. Hey, we all know the tech stuff can glitch!) And in fact, many of our everyday devices, like cellphones, track our every move via a sophisticated array of software and satellites. I recently got a fancy Fitbit that also has a heart rate monitor in order to track my daily exercise. I like the reminder to try for 10,000 steps. But I also began to think about how much I’m wary of all this personal data floating through the ether. I really don’t like the idea that someone can perhaps access the software to see my activities.

What about you? Do you think the convenience of GPS in cars and phones and other personal devices outweighs the concerns over privacy issues? I’m really torn.

110 thoughts on “Lessons in Longitude”

  1. Thanks Andrea. Nice to have the history set out like this. I think standards labs now use atomic clocks, exploiting precise frequency of electronic transitions between atomic energy levels. It requires cryogenic facilities to cool to very low temperature though, so not very portable!
    Personally I love the pendulum clocks. There used to be a Foucault pendulum in the London science museum, which can track the rotation of the earth. I studied at Imperial college in South Ken and often passed time in the museum … always checked the pendulum position on entering and leaving … to reassure that the earth was still spinning!
    I wouldn’t want to be without the high tech stuff but its always wise to have a fall back position. Solar flares, for example, could knock out satellite coms at a stroke, though I think early warning systems are in place. If transmitting sensitive info, encryption techniques and other protection software is available I think.

    Reply
  2. Thanks Andrea. Nice to have the history set out like this. I think standards labs now use atomic clocks, exploiting precise frequency of electronic transitions between atomic energy levels. It requires cryogenic facilities to cool to very low temperature though, so not very portable!
    Personally I love the pendulum clocks. There used to be a Foucault pendulum in the London science museum, which can track the rotation of the earth. I studied at Imperial college in South Ken and often passed time in the museum … always checked the pendulum position on entering and leaving … to reassure that the earth was still spinning!
    I wouldn’t want to be without the high tech stuff but its always wise to have a fall back position. Solar flares, for example, could knock out satellite coms at a stroke, though I think early warning systems are in place. If transmitting sensitive info, encryption techniques and other protection software is available I think.

    Reply
  3. Thanks Andrea. Nice to have the history set out like this. I think standards labs now use atomic clocks, exploiting precise frequency of electronic transitions between atomic energy levels. It requires cryogenic facilities to cool to very low temperature though, so not very portable!
    Personally I love the pendulum clocks. There used to be a Foucault pendulum in the London science museum, which can track the rotation of the earth. I studied at Imperial college in South Ken and often passed time in the museum … always checked the pendulum position on entering and leaving … to reassure that the earth was still spinning!
    I wouldn’t want to be without the high tech stuff but its always wise to have a fall back position. Solar flares, for example, could knock out satellite coms at a stroke, though I think early warning systems are in place. If transmitting sensitive info, encryption techniques and other protection software is available I think.

    Reply
  4. Thanks Andrea. Nice to have the history set out like this. I think standards labs now use atomic clocks, exploiting precise frequency of electronic transitions between atomic energy levels. It requires cryogenic facilities to cool to very low temperature though, so not very portable!
    Personally I love the pendulum clocks. There used to be a Foucault pendulum in the London science museum, which can track the rotation of the earth. I studied at Imperial college in South Ken and often passed time in the museum … always checked the pendulum position on entering and leaving … to reassure that the earth was still spinning!
    I wouldn’t want to be without the high tech stuff but its always wise to have a fall back position. Solar flares, for example, could knock out satellite coms at a stroke, though I think early warning systems are in place. If transmitting sensitive info, encryption techniques and other protection software is available I think.

    Reply
  5. Thanks Andrea. Nice to have the history set out like this. I think standards labs now use atomic clocks, exploiting precise frequency of electronic transitions between atomic energy levels. It requires cryogenic facilities to cool to very low temperature though, so not very portable!
    Personally I love the pendulum clocks. There used to be a Foucault pendulum in the London science museum, which can track the rotation of the earth. I studied at Imperial college in South Ken and often passed time in the museum … always checked the pendulum position on entering and leaving … to reassure that the earth was still spinning!
    I wouldn’t want to be without the high tech stuff but its always wise to have a fall back position. Solar flares, for example, could knock out satellite coms at a stroke, though I think early warning systems are in place. If transmitting sensitive info, encryption techniques and other protection software is available I think.

    Reply
  6. Love reading this as I visited Greenwich observatory on a whim this summer while in London, and saw some of this history in person. Makes one think how much we can take even watches for granted, much less GPS and other advances.

    Reply
  7. Love reading this as I visited Greenwich observatory on a whim this summer while in London, and saw some of this history in person. Makes one think how much we can take even watches for granted, much less GPS and other advances.

    Reply
  8. Love reading this as I visited Greenwich observatory on a whim this summer while in London, and saw some of this history in person. Makes one think how much we can take even watches for granted, much less GPS and other advances.

    Reply
  9. Love reading this as I visited Greenwich observatory on a whim this summer while in London, and saw some of this history in person. Makes one think how much we can take even watches for granted, much less GPS and other advances.

    Reply
  10. Love reading this as I visited Greenwich observatory on a whim this summer while in London, and saw some of this history in person. Makes one think how much we can take even watches for granted, much less GPS and other advances.

    Reply
  11. What an interesting post. I love this sort of stuff.
    As to the convenience verses privacy concerns – I guess I’m divided too. My ability to move around is so restricted now, that you would not need a GPS to track me (smile). I guess everything is a two edged sword. I’m concerned about privacy until I read about some criminal that was caught because they were able to track his/her phone or they were exposed because they were recorded in the act on camera.
    Interesting post Andrea.

    Reply
  12. What an interesting post. I love this sort of stuff.
    As to the convenience verses privacy concerns – I guess I’m divided too. My ability to move around is so restricted now, that you would not need a GPS to track me (smile). I guess everything is a two edged sword. I’m concerned about privacy until I read about some criminal that was caught because they were able to track his/her phone or they were exposed because they were recorded in the act on camera.
    Interesting post Andrea.

    Reply
  13. What an interesting post. I love this sort of stuff.
    As to the convenience verses privacy concerns – I guess I’m divided too. My ability to move around is so restricted now, that you would not need a GPS to track me (smile). I guess everything is a two edged sword. I’m concerned about privacy until I read about some criminal that was caught because they were able to track his/her phone or they were exposed because they were recorded in the act on camera.
    Interesting post Andrea.

    Reply
  14. What an interesting post. I love this sort of stuff.
    As to the convenience verses privacy concerns – I guess I’m divided too. My ability to move around is so restricted now, that you would not need a GPS to track me (smile). I guess everything is a two edged sword. I’m concerned about privacy until I read about some criminal that was caught because they were able to track his/her phone or they were exposed because they were recorded in the act on camera.
    Interesting post Andrea.

    Reply
  15. What an interesting post. I love this sort of stuff.
    As to the convenience verses privacy concerns – I guess I’m divided too. My ability to move around is so restricted now, that you would not need a GPS to track me (smile). I guess everything is a two edged sword. I’m concerned about privacy until I read about some criminal that was caught because they were able to track his/her phone or they were exposed because they were recorded in the act on camera.
    Interesting post Andrea.

    Reply
  16. Fascinating post. In an earlier discussion about traveling, I commented that a guided tour doesn’t allow for “extra” visits. Greenwich is one of the places we didn’t have time for.
    Quantum mentioned the Foucault pendulum. There is (or was) one in St. Louis (I believe at the Museum of Science). It was fun to observe the motion.
    And GPS, has local uses. For a time, we were deprived of the use of our car. The Uber transportation that served as our taxis all use GPS devices to negotiate the way around our medium-sized town.

    Reply
  17. Fascinating post. In an earlier discussion about traveling, I commented that a guided tour doesn’t allow for “extra” visits. Greenwich is one of the places we didn’t have time for.
    Quantum mentioned the Foucault pendulum. There is (or was) one in St. Louis (I believe at the Museum of Science). It was fun to observe the motion.
    And GPS, has local uses. For a time, we were deprived of the use of our car. The Uber transportation that served as our taxis all use GPS devices to negotiate the way around our medium-sized town.

    Reply
  18. Fascinating post. In an earlier discussion about traveling, I commented that a guided tour doesn’t allow for “extra” visits. Greenwich is one of the places we didn’t have time for.
    Quantum mentioned the Foucault pendulum. There is (or was) one in St. Louis (I believe at the Museum of Science). It was fun to observe the motion.
    And GPS, has local uses. For a time, we were deprived of the use of our car. The Uber transportation that served as our taxis all use GPS devices to negotiate the way around our medium-sized town.

    Reply
  19. Fascinating post. In an earlier discussion about traveling, I commented that a guided tour doesn’t allow for “extra” visits. Greenwich is one of the places we didn’t have time for.
    Quantum mentioned the Foucault pendulum. There is (or was) one in St. Louis (I believe at the Museum of Science). It was fun to observe the motion.
    And GPS, has local uses. For a time, we were deprived of the use of our car. The Uber transportation that served as our taxis all use GPS devices to negotiate the way around our medium-sized town.

    Reply
  20. Fascinating post. In an earlier discussion about traveling, I commented that a guided tour doesn’t allow for “extra” visits. Greenwich is one of the places we didn’t have time for.
    Quantum mentioned the Foucault pendulum. There is (or was) one in St. Louis (I believe at the Museum of Science). It was fun to observe the motion.
    And GPS, has local uses. For a time, we were deprived of the use of our car. The Uber transportation that served as our taxis all use GPS devices to negotiate the way around our medium-sized town.

    Reply
  21. I learned about much of this at the Greenwich Observatory exhibition on the history of time. Great to read it all again.
    As for GPS tracking, I figure it can be used for good or ill. I really don’t want certain people knowing I’m eating junk food at the same restaurant more often than I should. On the other hand, I loved the locate my iPhone when I did lose it. (Found it and had it back in 3 hours.).
    In the end of any discussion, I just shrug my shoulders. I really don’t have anything big to hide. Much of what I do that’s recorded goes to big data which makes generalisations about people like me, not just me. They want to know what to sell to me, and when to sell to me, and I”m kind of glad I do get the ads I do. I’m now finding more and more fun things to do and neat places to go.

    Reply
  22. I learned about much of this at the Greenwich Observatory exhibition on the history of time. Great to read it all again.
    As for GPS tracking, I figure it can be used for good or ill. I really don’t want certain people knowing I’m eating junk food at the same restaurant more often than I should. On the other hand, I loved the locate my iPhone when I did lose it. (Found it and had it back in 3 hours.).
    In the end of any discussion, I just shrug my shoulders. I really don’t have anything big to hide. Much of what I do that’s recorded goes to big data which makes generalisations about people like me, not just me. They want to know what to sell to me, and when to sell to me, and I”m kind of glad I do get the ads I do. I’m now finding more and more fun things to do and neat places to go.

    Reply
  23. I learned about much of this at the Greenwich Observatory exhibition on the history of time. Great to read it all again.
    As for GPS tracking, I figure it can be used for good or ill. I really don’t want certain people knowing I’m eating junk food at the same restaurant more often than I should. On the other hand, I loved the locate my iPhone when I did lose it. (Found it and had it back in 3 hours.).
    In the end of any discussion, I just shrug my shoulders. I really don’t have anything big to hide. Much of what I do that’s recorded goes to big data which makes generalisations about people like me, not just me. They want to know what to sell to me, and when to sell to me, and I”m kind of glad I do get the ads I do. I’m now finding more and more fun things to do and neat places to go.

    Reply
  24. I learned about much of this at the Greenwich Observatory exhibition on the history of time. Great to read it all again.
    As for GPS tracking, I figure it can be used for good or ill. I really don’t want certain people knowing I’m eating junk food at the same restaurant more often than I should. On the other hand, I loved the locate my iPhone when I did lose it. (Found it and had it back in 3 hours.).
    In the end of any discussion, I just shrug my shoulders. I really don’t have anything big to hide. Much of what I do that’s recorded goes to big data which makes generalisations about people like me, not just me. They want to know what to sell to me, and when to sell to me, and I”m kind of glad I do get the ads I do. I’m now finding more and more fun things to do and neat places to go.

    Reply
  25. I learned about much of this at the Greenwich Observatory exhibition on the history of time. Great to read it all again.
    As for GPS tracking, I figure it can be used for good or ill. I really don’t want certain people knowing I’m eating junk food at the same restaurant more often than I should. On the other hand, I loved the locate my iPhone when I did lose it. (Found it and had it back in 3 hours.).
    In the end of any discussion, I just shrug my shoulders. I really don’t have anything big to hide. Much of what I do that’s recorded goes to big data which makes generalisations about people like me, not just me. They want to know what to sell to me, and when to sell to me, and I”m kind of glad I do get the ads I do. I’m now finding more and more fun things to do and neat places to go.

    Reply
  26. I think we have gone so far with our technology and we are getting so dependent on it, that we are in danger of loosing the ability to learn life skills and think for ourselves. Privacy is almost non-existent.
    On the subject of Daylight Savings time, it has lost the reason for doing it during WWII (saving electricity)that we should go back to regular time and quit changing the clocks.

    Reply
  27. I think we have gone so far with our technology and we are getting so dependent on it, that we are in danger of loosing the ability to learn life skills and think for ourselves. Privacy is almost non-existent.
    On the subject of Daylight Savings time, it has lost the reason for doing it during WWII (saving electricity)that we should go back to regular time and quit changing the clocks.

    Reply
  28. I think we have gone so far with our technology and we are getting so dependent on it, that we are in danger of loosing the ability to learn life skills and think for ourselves. Privacy is almost non-existent.
    On the subject of Daylight Savings time, it has lost the reason for doing it during WWII (saving electricity)that we should go back to regular time and quit changing the clocks.

    Reply
  29. I think we have gone so far with our technology and we are getting so dependent on it, that we are in danger of loosing the ability to learn life skills and think for ourselves. Privacy is almost non-existent.
    On the subject of Daylight Savings time, it has lost the reason for doing it during WWII (saving electricity)that we should go back to regular time and quit changing the clocks.

    Reply
  30. I think we have gone so far with our technology and we are getting so dependent on it, that we are in danger of loosing the ability to learn life skills and think for ourselves. Privacy is almost non-existent.
    On the subject of Daylight Savings time, it has lost the reason for doing it during WWII (saving electricity)that we should go back to regular time and quit changing the clocks.

    Reply
  31. Oh, I’ve read about the atomic clocks—it’s really hard to fathom the technical capabilities of today’s scientific instruments to measure things. Really boggles the mind to think of it.
    I love the London Science Museum! This past summer I really enjoyed looking at the chronometers, which is what got me started thinking about this.
    So true about knowing back-ups If I were an ocean sailor, I would make sure to learn celestial navigation, rather than bet my life electronics always working—especially as salt water is such a menace to sensitive equipment.
    I wish I were tech savvy enough to know how to set my devices to total privacy. I need to make some inquiries among my hi tech pals!

    Reply
  32. Oh, I’ve read about the atomic clocks—it’s really hard to fathom the technical capabilities of today’s scientific instruments to measure things. Really boggles the mind to think of it.
    I love the London Science Museum! This past summer I really enjoyed looking at the chronometers, which is what got me started thinking about this.
    So true about knowing back-ups If I were an ocean sailor, I would make sure to learn celestial navigation, rather than bet my life electronics always working—especially as salt water is such a menace to sensitive equipment.
    I wish I were tech savvy enough to know how to set my devices to total privacy. I need to make some inquiries among my hi tech pals!

    Reply
  33. Oh, I’ve read about the atomic clocks—it’s really hard to fathom the technical capabilities of today’s scientific instruments to measure things. Really boggles the mind to think of it.
    I love the London Science Museum! This past summer I really enjoyed looking at the chronometers, which is what got me started thinking about this.
    So true about knowing back-ups If I were an ocean sailor, I would make sure to learn celestial navigation, rather than bet my life electronics always working—especially as salt water is such a menace to sensitive equipment.
    I wish I were tech savvy enough to know how to set my devices to total privacy. I need to make some inquiries among my hi tech pals!

    Reply
  34. Oh, I’ve read about the atomic clocks—it’s really hard to fathom the technical capabilities of today’s scientific instruments to measure things. Really boggles the mind to think of it.
    I love the London Science Museum! This past summer I really enjoyed looking at the chronometers, which is what got me started thinking about this.
    So true about knowing back-ups If I were an ocean sailor, I would make sure to learn celestial navigation, rather than bet my life electronics always working—especially as salt water is such a menace to sensitive equipment.
    I wish I were tech savvy enough to know how to set my devices to total privacy. I need to make some inquiries among my hi tech pals!

    Reply
  35. Oh, I’ve read about the atomic clocks—it’s really hard to fathom the technical capabilities of today’s scientific instruments to measure things. Really boggles the mind to think of it.
    I love the London Science Museum! This past summer I really enjoyed looking at the chronometers, which is what got me started thinking about this.
    So true about knowing back-ups If I were an ocean sailor, I would make sure to learn celestial navigation, rather than bet my life electronics always working—especially as salt water is such a menace to sensitive equipment.
    I wish I were tech savvy enough to know how to set my devices to total privacy. I need to make some inquiries among my hi tech pals!

    Reply
  36. Thanks, Mary! So glad you enjoyed it.
    Yes, the privacy stuff truly is a two-edged sword. Yes, it’s good when Evil is stopped because of technology. But it’s a little unsettling when I get an ad on my browser, based on something I’ve written in an e-mail, but not posted on any social media. The parsing of Big Data opens all sorts of difficult ethical questions.

    Reply
  37. Thanks, Mary! So glad you enjoyed it.
    Yes, the privacy stuff truly is a two-edged sword. Yes, it’s good when Evil is stopped because of technology. But it’s a little unsettling when I get an ad on my browser, based on something I’ve written in an e-mail, but not posted on any social media. The parsing of Big Data opens all sorts of difficult ethical questions.

    Reply
  38. Thanks, Mary! So glad you enjoyed it.
    Yes, the privacy stuff truly is a two-edged sword. Yes, it’s good when Evil is stopped because of technology. But it’s a little unsettling when I get an ad on my browser, based on something I’ve written in an e-mail, but not posted on any social media. The parsing of Big Data opens all sorts of difficult ethical questions.

    Reply
  39. Thanks, Mary! So glad you enjoyed it.
    Yes, the privacy stuff truly is a two-edged sword. Yes, it’s good when Evil is stopped because of technology. But it’s a little unsettling when I get an ad on my browser, based on something I’ve written in an e-mail, but not posted on any social media. The parsing of Big Data opens all sorts of difficult ethical questions.

    Reply
  40. Thanks, Mary! So glad you enjoyed it.
    Yes, the privacy stuff truly is a two-edged sword. Yes, it’s good when Evil is stopped because of technology. But it’s a little unsettling when I get an ad on my browser, based on something I’ve written in an e-mail, but not posted on any social media. The parsing of Big Data opens all sorts of difficult ethical questions.

    Reply
  41. Thanks, Sue. A pendulum really is cool to contemplate! Such a fun visual understanding how physics is all around us!
    My phone GPS has rescued my on many a long drive to a new place. It’s really nice not to have to be worried about getting lost. So it’s a definite plus in making life easier. I just think we need to be aware of all the ramifications. It’s here for good and we need to deal with it—thoughtfully, I hope!

    Reply
  42. Thanks, Sue. A pendulum really is cool to contemplate! Such a fun visual understanding how physics is all around us!
    My phone GPS has rescued my on many a long drive to a new place. It’s really nice not to have to be worried about getting lost. So it’s a definite plus in making life easier. I just think we need to be aware of all the ramifications. It’s here for good and we need to deal with it—thoughtfully, I hope!

    Reply
  43. Thanks, Sue. A pendulum really is cool to contemplate! Such a fun visual understanding how physics is all around us!
    My phone GPS has rescued my on many a long drive to a new place. It’s really nice not to have to be worried about getting lost. So it’s a definite plus in making life easier. I just think we need to be aware of all the ramifications. It’s here for good and we need to deal with it—thoughtfully, I hope!

    Reply
  44. Thanks, Sue. A pendulum really is cool to contemplate! Such a fun visual understanding how physics is all around us!
    My phone GPS has rescued my on many a long drive to a new place. It’s really nice not to have to be worried about getting lost. So it’s a definite plus in making life easier. I just think we need to be aware of all the ramifications. It’s here for good and we need to deal with it—thoughtfully, I hope!

    Reply
  45. Thanks, Sue. A pendulum really is cool to contemplate! Such a fun visual understanding how physics is all around us!
    My phone GPS has rescued my on many a long drive to a new place. It’s really nice not to have to be worried about getting lost. So it’s a definite plus in making life easier. I just think we need to be aware of all the ramifications. It’s here for good and we need to deal with it—thoughtfully, I hope!

    Reply
  46. I agree with you, Beverly. I worry that people–especially young people who’ve never learned how to compute things by themselves—would be helpless if suddenly they had to fend for themselves. Imagine if you couldn’t google how to make a fishing hook, or build an igloo!
    I definitely vote for an end to Daylight Savings. I hate it being dark at 5 pm! And as you say, it’s just outlived its usefulness.

    Reply
  47. I agree with you, Beverly. I worry that people–especially young people who’ve never learned how to compute things by themselves—would be helpless if suddenly they had to fend for themselves. Imagine if you couldn’t google how to make a fishing hook, or build an igloo!
    I definitely vote for an end to Daylight Savings. I hate it being dark at 5 pm! And as you say, it’s just outlived its usefulness.

    Reply
  48. I agree with you, Beverly. I worry that people–especially young people who’ve never learned how to compute things by themselves—would be helpless if suddenly they had to fend for themselves. Imagine if you couldn’t google how to make a fishing hook, or build an igloo!
    I definitely vote for an end to Daylight Savings. I hate it being dark at 5 pm! And as you say, it’s just outlived its usefulness.

    Reply
  49. I agree with you, Beverly. I worry that people–especially young people who’ve never learned how to compute things by themselves—would be helpless if suddenly they had to fend for themselves. Imagine if you couldn’t google how to make a fishing hook, or build an igloo!
    I definitely vote for an end to Daylight Savings. I hate it being dark at 5 pm! And as you say, it’s just outlived its usefulness.

    Reply
  50. I agree with you, Beverly. I worry that people–especially young people who’ve never learned how to compute things by themselves—would be helpless if suddenly they had to fend for themselves. Imagine if you couldn’t google how to make a fishing hook, or build an igloo!
    I definitely vote for an end to Daylight Savings. I hate it being dark at 5 pm! And as you say, it’s just outlived its usefulness.

    Reply
  51. Captain.Cook had two chronometers, one by Kendall and one by Arnold. There’s a poemby Kenneth Slessor, called Five Visions of Captain Cook, which takes the beat of each chronometer and uses the different rates of ticking to characterise each. It starts out ‘
    ‘Two chronometers the Captain had,
    One by Arnold that ran like mad,
    One by Kendall in a walnut case,
    Poor devoted creature with a hangdog face.’
    Worth googling!

    Reply
  52. Captain.Cook had two chronometers, one by Kendall and one by Arnold. There’s a poemby Kenneth Slessor, called Five Visions of Captain Cook, which takes the beat of each chronometer and uses the different rates of ticking to characterise each. It starts out ‘
    ‘Two chronometers the Captain had,
    One by Arnold that ran like mad,
    One by Kendall in a walnut case,
    Poor devoted creature with a hangdog face.’
    Worth googling!

    Reply
  53. Captain.Cook had two chronometers, one by Kendall and one by Arnold. There’s a poemby Kenneth Slessor, called Five Visions of Captain Cook, which takes the beat of each chronometer and uses the different rates of ticking to characterise each. It starts out ‘
    ‘Two chronometers the Captain had,
    One by Arnold that ran like mad,
    One by Kendall in a walnut case,
    Poor devoted creature with a hangdog face.’
    Worth googling!

    Reply
  54. Captain.Cook had two chronometers, one by Kendall and one by Arnold. There’s a poemby Kenneth Slessor, called Five Visions of Captain Cook, which takes the beat of each chronometer and uses the different rates of ticking to characterise each. It starts out ‘
    ‘Two chronometers the Captain had,
    One by Arnold that ran like mad,
    One by Kendall in a walnut case,
    Poor devoted creature with a hangdog face.’
    Worth googling!

    Reply
  55. Captain.Cook had two chronometers, one by Kendall and one by Arnold. There’s a poemby Kenneth Slessor, called Five Visions of Captain Cook, which takes the beat of each chronometer and uses the different rates of ticking to characterise each. It starts out ‘
    ‘Two chronometers the Captain had,
    One by Arnold that ran like mad,
    One by Kendall in a walnut case,
    Poor devoted creature with a hangdog face.’
    Worth googling!

    Reply
  56. Andrea, be glad you don’t live in China, where time means Beijing time—across eight time zones! Talk about early rising …
    If anyone out there is going to Greenwich, make time to visit the fan museum. It’s utterly charming. Greenwich is worth a full day, for sure. We took a Thames boat to get there and a train back to London, tired and happy. Loved everything, especially the old merchant ship.

    Reply
  57. Andrea, be glad you don’t live in China, where time means Beijing time—across eight time zones! Talk about early rising …
    If anyone out there is going to Greenwich, make time to visit the fan museum. It’s utterly charming. Greenwich is worth a full day, for sure. We took a Thames boat to get there and a train back to London, tired and happy. Loved everything, especially the old merchant ship.

    Reply
  58. Andrea, be glad you don’t live in China, where time means Beijing time—across eight time zones! Talk about early rising …
    If anyone out there is going to Greenwich, make time to visit the fan museum. It’s utterly charming. Greenwich is worth a full day, for sure. We took a Thames boat to get there and a train back to London, tired and happy. Loved everything, especially the old merchant ship.

    Reply
  59. Andrea, be glad you don’t live in China, where time means Beijing time—across eight time zones! Talk about early rising …
    If anyone out there is going to Greenwich, make time to visit the fan museum. It’s utterly charming. Greenwich is worth a full day, for sure. We took a Thames boat to get there and a train back to London, tired and happy. Loved everything, especially the old merchant ship.

    Reply
  60. Andrea, be glad you don’t live in China, where time means Beijing time—across eight time zones! Talk about early rising …
    If anyone out there is going to Greenwich, make time to visit the fan museum. It’s utterly charming. Greenwich is worth a full day, for sure. We took a Thames boat to get there and a train back to London, tired and happy. Loved everything, especially the old merchant ship.

    Reply
  61. This is such an interesting post. Thanks. I had no idea about time in China so I have learnt something quite new. Andrea, to speak to your original question, while I am aware that there are risks in our modern communication and time systems, I always think they are not as risky as sailors who went to sea before longitude was sorted out. I do think you need to get your techie friends to help you ASAP with your privacy settings though.

    Reply
  62. This is such an interesting post. Thanks. I had no idea about time in China so I have learnt something quite new. Andrea, to speak to your original question, while I am aware that there are risks in our modern communication and time systems, I always think they are not as risky as sailors who went to sea before longitude was sorted out. I do think you need to get your techie friends to help you ASAP with your privacy settings though.

    Reply
  63. This is such an interesting post. Thanks. I had no idea about time in China so I have learnt something quite new. Andrea, to speak to your original question, while I am aware that there are risks in our modern communication and time systems, I always think they are not as risky as sailors who went to sea before longitude was sorted out. I do think you need to get your techie friends to help you ASAP with your privacy settings though.

    Reply
  64. This is such an interesting post. Thanks. I had no idea about time in China so I have learnt something quite new. Andrea, to speak to your original question, while I am aware that there are risks in our modern communication and time systems, I always think they are not as risky as sailors who went to sea before longitude was sorted out. I do think you need to get your techie friends to help you ASAP with your privacy settings though.

    Reply
  65. This is such an interesting post. Thanks. I had no idea about time in China so I have learnt something quite new. Andrea, to speak to your original question, while I am aware that there are risks in our modern communication and time systems, I always think they are not as risky as sailors who went to sea before longitude was sorted out. I do think you need to get your techie friends to help you ASAP with your privacy settings though.

    Reply
  66. Yikes—I hadn’t realized that, Mary! Do people have to work “9 to 5” regardless of where they live?
    And thanks for the tip on the fan msueum. I somehow missed that, but next time! The Maritime Museum there is spectacular too. Greenwich is definitely well worth the trip for all the wonderful things out there.

    Reply
  67. Yikes—I hadn’t realized that, Mary! Do people have to work “9 to 5” regardless of where they live?
    And thanks for the tip on the fan msueum. I somehow missed that, but next time! The Maritime Museum there is spectacular too. Greenwich is definitely well worth the trip for all the wonderful things out there.

    Reply
  68. Yikes—I hadn’t realized that, Mary! Do people have to work “9 to 5” regardless of where they live?
    And thanks for the tip on the fan msueum. I somehow missed that, but next time! The Maritime Museum there is spectacular too. Greenwich is definitely well worth the trip for all the wonderful things out there.

    Reply
  69. Yikes—I hadn’t realized that, Mary! Do people have to work “9 to 5” regardless of where they live?
    And thanks for the tip on the fan msueum. I somehow missed that, but next time! The Maritime Museum there is spectacular too. Greenwich is definitely well worth the trip for all the wonderful things out there.

    Reply
  70. Yikes—I hadn’t realized that, Mary! Do people have to work “9 to 5” regardless of where they live?
    And thanks for the tip on the fan msueum. I somehow missed that, but next time! The Maritime Museum there is spectacular too. Greenwich is definitely well worth the trip for all the wonderful things out there.

    Reply
  71. I’ve just been reading “The Governess Game” by Tessa Dare, whose heroine makes a living by working with chronometers. It’s a charming story.
    I try not to think about the loss of privacy with using GPS, Google, smart phones and apps like Fitbit. Hopefully, my doings are not of that much interest to anybody but me!

    Reply
  72. I’ve just been reading “The Governess Game” by Tessa Dare, whose heroine makes a living by working with chronometers. It’s a charming story.
    I try not to think about the loss of privacy with using GPS, Google, smart phones and apps like Fitbit. Hopefully, my doings are not of that much interest to anybody but me!

    Reply
  73. I’ve just been reading “The Governess Game” by Tessa Dare, whose heroine makes a living by working with chronometers. It’s a charming story.
    I try not to think about the loss of privacy with using GPS, Google, smart phones and apps like Fitbit. Hopefully, my doings are not of that much interest to anybody but me!

    Reply
  74. I’ve just been reading “The Governess Game” by Tessa Dare, whose heroine makes a living by working with chronometers. It’s a charming story.
    I try not to think about the loss of privacy with using GPS, Google, smart phones and apps like Fitbit. Hopefully, my doings are not of that much interest to anybody but me!

    Reply
  75. I’ve just been reading “The Governess Game” by Tessa Dare, whose heroine makes a living by working with chronometers. It’s a charming story.
    I try not to think about the loss of privacy with using GPS, Google, smart phones and apps like Fitbit. Hopefully, my doings are not of that much interest to anybody but me!

    Reply
  76. Oh, thank you for this post. I love learning the hows and whys and thinking about the sheer stubborn faith of many who simply started sailing ⛵️ with no real understanding of the time involved or the risks on landing. As far as modern times the “things watching us”, I will not have devices in my house which listen all the time so no Siri, Alexis etc. I have no idea who might be listening. I cover the camera on my laptop with a bit of paper. I do not own Fitbits or other such things. I monitor my phone for which apps have location features and use them appropriately. I do not feel I am over reacting or behaving paranoid. Just careful of mt privacy. Gadgets are very useful but caution is good, too.

    Reply
  77. Oh, thank you for this post. I love learning the hows and whys and thinking about the sheer stubborn faith of many who simply started sailing ⛵️ with no real understanding of the time involved or the risks on landing. As far as modern times the “things watching us”, I will not have devices in my house which listen all the time so no Siri, Alexis etc. I have no idea who might be listening. I cover the camera on my laptop with a bit of paper. I do not own Fitbits or other such things. I monitor my phone for which apps have location features and use them appropriately. I do not feel I am over reacting or behaving paranoid. Just careful of mt privacy. Gadgets are very useful but caution is good, too.

    Reply
  78. Oh, thank you for this post. I love learning the hows and whys and thinking about the sheer stubborn faith of many who simply started sailing ⛵️ with no real understanding of the time involved or the risks on landing. As far as modern times the “things watching us”, I will not have devices in my house which listen all the time so no Siri, Alexis etc. I have no idea who might be listening. I cover the camera on my laptop with a bit of paper. I do not own Fitbits or other such things. I monitor my phone for which apps have location features and use them appropriately. I do not feel I am over reacting or behaving paranoid. Just careful of mt privacy. Gadgets are very useful but caution is good, too.

    Reply
  79. Oh, thank you for this post. I love learning the hows and whys and thinking about the sheer stubborn faith of many who simply started sailing ⛵️ with no real understanding of the time involved or the risks on landing. As far as modern times the “things watching us”, I will not have devices in my house which listen all the time so no Siri, Alexis etc. I have no idea who might be listening. I cover the camera on my laptop with a bit of paper. I do not own Fitbits or other such things. I monitor my phone for which apps have location features and use them appropriately. I do not feel I am over reacting or behaving paranoid. Just careful of mt privacy. Gadgets are very useful but caution is good, too.

    Reply
  80. Oh, thank you for this post. I love learning the hows and whys and thinking about the sheer stubborn faith of many who simply started sailing ⛵️ with no real understanding of the time involved or the risks on landing. As far as modern times the “things watching us”, I will not have devices in my house which listen all the time so no Siri, Alexis etc. I have no idea who might be listening. I cover the camera on my laptop with a bit of paper. I do not own Fitbits or other such things. I monitor my phone for which apps have location features and use them appropriately. I do not feel I am over reacting or behaving paranoid. Just careful of mt privacy. Gadgets are very useful but caution is good, too.

    Reply
  81. There is a famous story of a British fleet returning to home waters after a long voyage. The official “guess” as to their longitude had them several days away from land. An able seaman approached the officers to say that by his calculations they were rapidly approaching the shore. He kept insisting on his location, and was eventually hanged for disobedience, just before the fleet ran aground!

    Reply
  82. There is a famous story of a British fleet returning to home waters after a long voyage. The official “guess” as to their longitude had them several days away from land. An able seaman approached the officers to say that by his calculations they were rapidly approaching the shore. He kept insisting on his location, and was eventually hanged for disobedience, just before the fleet ran aground!

    Reply
  83. There is a famous story of a British fleet returning to home waters after a long voyage. The official “guess” as to their longitude had them several days away from land. An able seaman approached the officers to say that by his calculations they were rapidly approaching the shore. He kept insisting on his location, and was eventually hanged for disobedience, just before the fleet ran aground!

    Reply
  84. There is a famous story of a British fleet returning to home waters after a long voyage. The official “guess” as to their longitude had them several days away from land. An able seaman approached the officers to say that by his calculations they were rapidly approaching the shore. He kept insisting on his location, and was eventually hanged for disobedience, just before the fleet ran aground!

    Reply
  85. There is a famous story of a British fleet returning to home waters after a long voyage. The official “guess” as to their longitude had them several days away from land. An able seaman approached the officers to say that by his calculations they were rapidly approaching the shore. He kept insisting on his location, and was eventually hanged for disobedience, just before the fleet ran aground!

    Reply

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