Filed under: Astronomy, BoingBoing, Brave New World, Connections, Emergency, General Musings, Government, Predictions, Preparedness, Science Fiction, Society, tech, Wales, Writing stuff | Tags: astronomy, blogging, celestial navigation, Defense One, GPS, jim downey, Landranger, Naval Academy, Ordnance Survey, predictions, Science Fiction, St. Cybi's Well, Steve Mollman, technology, Wales, writing
Via BoingBoing, this news item:
Sometimes old school is best. In today’s U.S. Navy, navigating a warship by the stars instead of GPS is making a comeback.
The Naval Academy stopped teaching celestial navigation in the late 1990s, deeming the hard-to-learn skill irrelevant in an era when satellites can relay a ship’s location with remarkable ease and precision.
But satellites and GPS are vulnerable to cyber attack (paywall). The tools of yesteryear—sextants, nautical almanacs, volumes of tables—are not. With that in mind, the academy is reinstating celestial navigation into its curriculum. Wooden boxes with decades-old instruments will be dusted off and opened, and students will once again learn to chart a course by measuring the angles of stars.
Interestingly, here’s a passage from Chapter 13 of St Cybi’s Well:
After selling Darnell the books he’d purchased, the bookseller had kindly recommended another nearby shop which specialized in all manner of maps, from antiques to the latest Ordnance Survey publications before he closed up his store. Because once he heard the news of what had happened, he immediately understood why Darnell had selected the books he did, and wanted to go make his own preparations.
So with only a slight delay Darnell was able to get Landranger maps covering most of Wales and the border country and get back on the road. They sat in a large sack on the floor of the passenger’s seat, cheap insurance should the cell network or GPS system go down.
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