Triangulation

From: Hibbs, Philip (philip.hibbs@tnt.co.uk)
Date: Thu 26 Feb 1998 - 21:49:40 EET


Allen Wallace:
>I realize this probably classifies as an uninformed question, but here
>goes anyway. How high is the skydome over Genertela? How high is it
>altogether? Assuming it isn't RW lunar orbital distances, is there any
>reason why a navigator couldnt use triangulation to find his position?

>From Owen Jones' Mathematical Notes From Notchet Page:
[2001] This is a story I usualy relate to students, that they might take
care not to have too much pride in a knowledge of geometry, and that
they might know that the gods are unknowable.
    A young man from the provinces, having studied the properties of
congruent triangles, sought to measure the height of the red moon above
the earth. To this end he built a tall tower, and compared its height to
that of the moon. This he was able to do as he possessed a good map
showing the distance from the base of his tower to Glamour, which as we
know lies directly beneath the goddess.
    Pleased with his achievement, he travelled to Glamour, intent on
revealing his knowledge to the Red Emperor himself. However, rather than
rewarding him, the Red Emperor commanded that he justify his pride by
repeating his calculation, this time using a tower somewhat closer at
hand.
    To his dispair, his second calculation produced a very different
answer, and the young geometer threw himself off the tower in shame, for
he had realised that only a fool could believe that the gods would let
themselves be bound by mathematics. [Jude of Holay, also called Jude of
the Tower or Limping Jude]

I believe a mariner can triangulate his position if he has two
geographic compasses, and can see the Red Moon. This was heatedly
discussed on the Digest some time ago, and I think most people
(including Owen Jones, a maths professor) eventually agreed that three
accurate directional references will pinpoint you on a map.

philip.hibbs@tnt.co.uk or phibbs@compuserve.com
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/phibbs
+--------------+
| Philip Hibbs +---------------------------------------------+
| What immortal hand or eye dare frame thy perfect symmetry? |
+------------------------------------------------------------+

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