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The Longitude Project is Delayed... Again

The 7 Years' War has disrupted the testing of the 3rd version of the marine chronometer designated H-3. It is small enough to fit into the captain's cabin. Amazing! But the British Longitude Board is worried that H-3 might be captured or destroyed. The inventor, John Harrison, has taken 19 years to build H-3. John is in his 60s. How many more clocks can he make? Currently, navigators find their position using a process called "dead reckoning" or "deduced reckoning" by plotting from a known position and then estimating based on assumed speed, and time. This procedure often results in sailing past a destination without realizing it, or unexpectedly running into a destination really, really hard. An early sextant uses astronomical objects to find a position at sea but they haven't figured it all out yet. (In other words, it stinks.) Despite the delays, Harrison has begun work on an even greater invention: H-4... the first marine pocket watch. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
In a world of GPS apps for your SmartPhone, it is easy to know where you are at all times, but GPS can be spoofed. (University of Texas engineers showed how it can be done.) Our new tools are wonders, but we still need to know how to perform this task the old-fashioned way. Knowing how to use our old tools gives us a fallback position. It's like the problem with cash registers that lose power and suddenly, the guy behind the counter no longer knows how to make change. Don't be that guy. The early marine chronometers were very expensive, which made the cheaper sextant quite popular. Once they mass-produce Harrison's watch, the price dropped considerably, but sextants have remained useful. A quick search of Amazon shows several available for under $60. [3] [4]

Mozart is born!

We call him Amadeus Mozart (am-ah-DAY-us Moh-zart), which is simple compared to his real name. Mozart is not simple, though. He is a musical genius! By age 5 he will be composing his own music, playing the violin and performing before royalty. By 35 he will be dead, buried in a common grave. His country will one day be called Austria. His father is a violinist and music teacher. His mother comes from a musical family. Mozart is a child prodigy and more. He will compose over 600 pieces of music and many of them will remain popular into the modern day. [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The names of his most popular pieces will be meaningless to the average listener, but once you hear them, they will be instantly familiar because they are in the background of so many movies including The Net starring Sandra Bullock, and even the children's movie, Richie Rich. The movie about Mozart's life is the Academy Award-winning Amadeus. It is still worth watching, although the story about his rivalry with a lesser court composer is total BS. It makes for good drama, though, while listening to some of Mozart's best work. Here are a few links:
A Little Night Music
The Marriage of Figaro
Symphony 40
Symphony 25
Motzart's Requium from the movie, Amadeus.

A Few Happenings

  • German Chocolate is made in Germany. It is their first chocolate factory. [6]
  • Aaron Burr is born. He will shoot dead Alexander Hamilton in a duel. [6]
  • 120 British Soldiers die in the Black Hole of Calcutta, India. (That's a dungeon in Fort William.) If you ever wondered how Great Britain came to rule over India, it has already begun. The 7 Years' War has come to India. [7] [6]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1756, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Dava Sobel. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. Walker & Company. ISBN 9780802715296. “He never considered trying to make a longitude watch to fit in the captain's pocket, because everyone knew that a watch could not possibly achieve the same accuracy as a clock. H-3, svelte in its dimensions of two feet high and one foot wide, had gone about as far as a sea clock could go toward diminution when Harrison completed the bulk of the work on it in 1757.” 
  2. Dead reckoning - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 31 March 2016. “In navigation, dead reckoning or dead-reckoning (also ded for deduced reckoning or DR) is the process of calculating one's current position by using a previously determined position, or fix, and advancing that position based upon known or estimated speeds over elapsed time and course. The corresponding term in biology, used to describe the processes by which animals update their estimates of position or heading, is path integration.”
  3. Sextant - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 31 March 2016. “A sight (or measure) of the angle between the sun, a star, or a planet, and the horizon is done with the 'star telescope' fitted to the sextant using a visible horizon. On a vessel at sea even on misty days a sight may be done from a low height above the water to give a more definite, better horizon. Navigators hold the sextant by its handle in the right hand, avoiding touching the arc with the fingers.”
  4. UT Austin Researchers Spoof Superyacht at Sea. Cockrell School of Engineering (July 29, 2013). Retrieved on 31 March 2016. “This summer, a radio navigation research team from The University of Texas at Austin set out to discover whether they could subtly coerce a 213-foot yacht off its course, using a custom-made GPS device.”
  5. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 24 March 2016. “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era, born in Salzburg. Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. He was competent on keyboard and violin by age five, and he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty.”
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 348-349. 
  7. Black Hole of Calcutta - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 31 March 2016. “The Black Hole of Calcutta was a small dungeon in the old Fort William in Calcutta, India, where troops of the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, held British prisoners of war after the capture of the fort on 20 June 1756. One of the prisoners, John Zephaniah Holwell, claimed that following the fall of the fort, British and Anglo-Indian soldiers and civilians were held overnight in conditions so cramped that many died from suffocation, heat exhaustion and crushing. He claimed that 123 prisoners died out of 146 held. However, the precise number of deaths, and the accuracy of Holwell's claims, have been the subject of controversy.”

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