13 OCT 2013 by ideonexus

 The Importance of Mathematics in Seafaring

Before there was an accurate seafaring clock, the sailor seeking his bearings had to be a trained mathematician. The accepted way to find longitude at sea was by precise observations of the moon, which required refined instruments and subtle calculations. An error as small as 5' in observing the moon meant an error of 2V2. degrees of longitude, which on the ocean could be as much as 150 miles—enough to wreck a ship on treacherous shoals. Fatal miscalculation might come from a crude instrume...
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Sailors had to be mathematicians in order to keep their bearings on the ocean.