The Lost Art of Finding Our Way Kindle È The Lost

The Lost Art of Finding Our Way Kindle È The Lost



10 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Finding Our Way

  1. Carlos Carlos says:

    To be honest I have no way of knowing what rating to give to this book But I do have to warn everyone that attempts to read this book this is a textbook than a book and unless you really mean to sail or walk all around the world under the stars then all the plethora of information you’ll find on this book could feel superfluous to you And therein lies my trouble with rating this book I mean all the information you would need to find your way back from looking at the stars to finding the longitude and latitude to ascertain your location in the middle of the sea by looking at the waves is in this book but it went all over my headthis is a textbook or at least reads like one and unless you plan on spending a whole semester going over every calculation or learning the position of every star in the northern sky then I see no reason why you would need or want to learn this information I’m sure there are approachable books that deal with this issue So don’t judge this book by my rating but just take as a warning that this book is a major endeavor and massive in its scope


  2. Brett Brett says:

    It’s a moment that you’ve always dreaded – you stepped away from your hiking buddies to take a photo but on the way back you slipped down an embankment Now you’re isolated you can’t find the trail or your friends and you’re in unfamiliar woods You try your phone – no signal How did people navigate before GPS anyway?In The Lost Art of Finding Our Way author John Edward Huth aims to show us just that In a richly illustrated 544 pages Huth tries to illuminate the techniues that let man circumnavigate the globe long before the first GPS satellite was launched The book is divided into roughly two halves with the first being historical tales and discussions of techniues used by ancient navigators to find their way The Norse are here as are Pacific Islanders and European sailors all have lessons to teach us about our environment from the way that waves form around a cluster of islands to how to use a cross staff to estimate the position of a star on a heaving ship deck Following this the second half of the book is abstract dealing with factors useful to navigators like weather prediction or the factors that create the swell and tides in the oceanI found the first half of the book to be the most interesting as the practical techniues for say triangulating your position with only a map and a compass are very interesting to a city bound boy The second half was much tougher reading as it is uite dry often reading like a physics textbook Descriptions are clear although I will note that if you were looking for a practical manual to teach you navigation this book isn’t it It will for instance explain how dip angle and refraction in the atmosphere complicate accurate estimates of the horizon and the elevation of stars—but stop short of pointing you a resource to help correct for these inaccuraciesIt’s perhaps ironic that The Lost Art of Finding Our Way sometimes feels a little directionless Maybe it’s because the very scope of the book is so large in the one book you can find a discussion of how search parties can be most efficient; descriptions of the magnetic field variations across the Earth’s surface and their causes; speculation as to why many cultures have ‘great flood’ myths; and an explanation of the physics of wind interacting with sails Overall this book is an impressive attempt to give a broad overview of a number of navigation techniues Unfortunately it is marred by its own ambition and the result is a book that can at times feel random aimless and meandering


  3. Steven Steven says:

    I've had this in my ueue for nearly two years I'm glad I got around to reading it Huth starts with the argument that basic knowledge of navigating the world around is slowly slipping away as we become dependent on technology to get around In this book he looks at the science behind many navigational traditions The focus is on traveling across water it seems to be an personal interest of his but many of the skills mentioned could be used anywhere This book doesn't go into great detail on any one method or tool but that's a good thing Entire books could be written about using compasses or sextants or navigating by the starts Huth lays out the basic principles and then illustrates situations in which these skills could be usefulThere's a lot of good historical information here He describes how to navigate by the stars moving across the sky using the sun and moon to find your position different methods of determining latitude and longitude ways to avoid getting lost There is much discussion of matters related to ocean travel such as tides waves swells and the basics of sailing He explains these concepts clearly without getting too technical It's a great approach Historical methods such as using sun compasses and Pacific Islander stick charts are also described And at the end Huth uses a narrative of historical events in Kiribati that highlights many of the methods mentioned in the book It neatly wraps up his theme and illustrates the necessity of knowing than one way to find your way


  4. Bonnie_blu Bonnie_blu says:

    As technology advances humans move further away from a relationship with nature This trend results in an almost total reliance on technology to find our way and when technology fails humans are lost literally and figuratively This book points out in vivid detail how primitive human societies were able to navigate over vast areas of the world land and water by using an extensive knowledge of nature It teaches valuable lessons in finding our way and shows how less technologically advanced societies were highly developed in living in and using the natural world The book is packed with valuable information and is a pleasure to read


  5. Nathan Albright Nathan Albright says:

    This particular book is a fascinating one because it explores one of the fundamental issues of our age and that is the way that our use of computerized maps and detailed directions has tended to reduce our ability to find our way using cues and clues in creation  This particular complaint is one that many people have when it comes to technology the concern that greater technology will mean a loss of important life skills because reliance is placed on one's external memory and not one's internal one  When it comes to navigation skills this seems like a reasonable concern not least of which because a blind reliance on technology can lead people to overlook basic signs and cues that one can gain simply by being alert and aware and there are situations such as for example when roads and areas are under construction where computerized directions are likely to be in error and where some local knowledge would be useful when it comes to knowing the right detours to follow  Yet the author has far ambitious goals even than this when it comes to understanding what cues we have available to us which makes this book a joy to readThis particular book if you include its appendices is about 500 pages or so and it is divided into 18 chapters and four appendices  The book begins with a discussion of navigation before technology was relied upon 1 as well as a discussion of the maps we have in our minds 2  After this comes a discussion about being lost 3 and the use of dead reckoning to get a rough idea of where one is 4  After that the author talks about urban myths of navigation 5 as well the use of maps and compasses 6 as well as stars 7 to aid in navigation  After that the author talks about the sun and the moon 8 as well as the places where the heavens meet the earth 9  There is a chapter on longitude 10 as well as weather myths like the red sky at night 11 and how it is that people gained skill at reading the waves 12  There are chapters on soundings and tides 13 currents and gyres 14 as well as a look at the speed and stability of hulls 15  The author then writes about discussions of travel against the wind 16 as well as our fellow wanderers in creation 17 and an extended story of one particular navigator in the Pacific 18  There are then four appendices that close the book as well as a glossary notes acknowledgments and an indexIt is obvious that if someone has a love of navigation than this book would be an enjoyable one  There are plenty of forms of navigation that are interesting from a historical perspective as the author is especially impressed with the navigation skills of the Polynesian sailors for example  There are also some forms of navigation that are useful for people who go into the wilderness in using dead reckoning to deliberately seek to meet up with a landmark like a river and then move a particular direction to reach one's destination rather than be mistaken in trying to guess exactly where somewhere was  The stories the author tells blend with some humorous urban myths about moss preferring the north side of trees assuming that there is no moisture on other sides for example and demonstrates that humanity has done a good job throughout history of having solid cues for knowing where one was  If such cues are completely lost than there will obviously be a greater vulnerability where technology is not available but most people will probably be content to look at their GPS and not think about such subjects  For those people who do find this book and its content interesting there is a lot to appreciate and learn from here


  6. David Dinaburg David Dinaburg says:

    A physical book is a finite object but the uestion of where it truly begins involves a metaphysical debate Does the book begin and end at the front covers? Should one eschew the informational precursors—publication and Library of Congress numbers for example—to dive directly into the text in Chapter One? Perhaps a hardcover boundary of the summation located on the front flap and the early review blurbs on the back? For the average reader these are no longer rhetorical but concrete and answerable uestions the simple metrics of reading have been laid to bare thanks to e reader technology Who looks at the dedication; who checks the publication dates; who reads the foreword; who reads the author’s biography—and for how long What’s been highlighted; where you linger; where you stop If you finish If you skim If you flip to the last page firstA reader that skips or skims the dedication page of The Lost Art of Finding Our Way would miss out on a fascinating puzzle that adds depth to the book in a personal and uniue wayDedicated to the memories ofSarah Aronoff and Mary Jagoda No one is lost to GodA check of the back flap illuminates nothing—the author is not a theologian but a Harvard science professor The mystery of the elegiac dedication remains shrouded by its peculiar specificity Presented with no new information the reader must abandon this page and move on dedication unsolved Comprehension presumably only available to those select few that know the author personally C’est la vie But shortly thereafter something happens names are mentioned a phrase pops up How closely were you paying attention? Wait let me flip back to the dedication—oh my yes They are the same names Oh what an absolutely stunning dedication page; what terrible perfect use Unknown to me at that moment two young women were lost in the same fogbank less than half a mile away disoriented and struggling for their lives Before they set out on what was supposed to be a uick paddle in Nantucket Sound Sarah Aronoff 19 and Mary Jagoda 20 told their boyfriends that they would be back in ten minutes When they didn’t return forty five minutes later the boys contacted the authorities triggering a massive search effort The next day Coast Guard Helicopters flew back and forth across the Sound eventually finding their two empty kayaks The day after Sarah’s body was found Mary’s body was never recovered Weeks later I was crushed when I saw a memorial to Mary on the beach reading “No one is lostto God” What happened? No one really knows but they probably got disoriented in the fog and mistakenly paddled out to sea rather than back to shore And so The Lost Art of Finding Our Way captures a peculiar sense of urgency; a need to deliver the didacticism that Ms Aronoff and Ms Jagoda never received to those still able to take advantage of it But it is not all misty eyed wistfulness; there is serious science delivered in a palatable way When the scientific principles are woven into historical tapestry the near magical can become even amazing In 1967 Danish archaeologist Thorkild Ramskou suggested that the Vikings used something called a “sunstone” to find the direction of the Sun using the polarization of the sky Part of this was based on a section of one of the sagas Harafns Saga”The weather was thick and stormyThe king looked about and saw no blue skythen the king took out the Sunstone and held it up and then he saw where the Sun beamed from the stone”Calcite is also known as Iceland spar and is found in large uantities in eastern Iceland According to a number of accounts spar crystals were highly prized during the Viking era Spar has an unusual of birefringence meaning that light is bent through the crystal at two different angles depending on the polarization state of the light This will give rise to two images of light from an object passing through the spar Pure crystals of calcite are rhombohedral in structure meaning that their sides each describe a rhombus The sides of the crystal are associated with the polarization state so when the side of the crystal is aligned properly one of two polarization states is extinguished Further detailing—capturing the angle and height of the sun in the sky versus the heavy low lying fogbanks of the Nordic regions—explains why the the particular geographic location of the Norse would make such an object useful while a culture such as the Pacific Islanders would not But for every mystical “sunstone” that has its place in reality another seemingly believable fantasy is dashed People should be suspicious about the moss on the north side folklore because many factors create a dark damp environment If trees are on the north side of a hill their bases are perpetually shaded and the base of their trunks can be fully ringed with moss In the middle of a dense forest where the floor is covered in shade there is little distinction between the north and south side of a tree for favorable growth conditions Prevailing wind directions and windbreaks also play a significant if not dominant role Another favorite aphorism Red sky at night sailor’s delight Red sky in the morning sailors take warning is mostly debunked as conjecture For some people discovering that they are citing Jesus of New Testament fame—Matthew XVI 2 3 “ When in evening ye say it will be fair weather For the sky is red And in the morning it will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering”—might be a bit startling if you’ve been parroting it without knowledge of its provenanceEtymology makes a strong showing as well Following to the east of Orion are his two faithful hunting dogs Canis Major big dog and Canis Minor little dog Sirius in Canis Major is the brightest star in the sky Its rising just before the Sun in the morning represented the season of the flood in the Nile to the ancient Egyptians Many ancient Greeks and Romans thought that the combination of the heat of the Sun and Sirius’s appearance was responsible for summer hence the name “dog days” If ancient Egypt isn’t your thing perhaps some uasi contemporary Americana The British Royal Navy created a standard for marking lead lines Intertwined with the rope were markers of various colors coded for the depth Black leather was tied at two and three fathoms white at five red at seven and black at ten with knots for greater depth tied every five fathoms After retrieving the lead a leadsman would report back the phrase “By the mark” or “By the deep” followed by the depth in fathoms So “By the mark five” would report a sounding of five fathoms This was also a common phrase in the United States The American author Samuel Clemens took his pen name from this phrase based on his experiences as a pilot on Mississippi steamboats “Mark twain” is a report of a depth of two fathoms Or another tidbit drawn from the Nordic regions The Norse used a steering board or starboard which is a long plank extended into the water from the right hand side of the boat By adjusting the angle of the steering board the navigator could hold or shift the course of the vessel In many ways the starboard acts like a wing generating a force akin to lift for a wing to move the stern of the boat to left or right depending on its orientation The starboard was by convention on the right hand side When bringing the knarr to a dock or unloading onto land the starboard side was kept to the water and the left or port side was where the vessel was unloaded This practice is the origin of the terms port for left and starboard for right The Lost Art of Finding our Way covers a very wide range and does it all very well Personal taste will like most things count for a lot A reader who prefers history and word origins will be extremely pleased The scientific discussions—while incredibly detailed—are interesting and remain comprehensibleWaves will build slowly as wind first skims the surface creating what’s called a cat’s paw very tiny ripples Once little ripples are created wind gains traction on the vertical faces causing the waves to build to progressively larger heights As it builds in height a wave crest becomes steeper and steeper finally becoming unstable and tumbling over This instability occurs when the wave height is greater than one seventh of the wavelength and also when the interior angle of the peak of a wave is less than 120 degrees It makes logical sense that water waves would have a particular height to length ratio and a specific angle from which they will fall The trick is in realizing that there is a uestion that can be asked in the first place an order underlying the chaos—not just a collection of random water falling all over itselfA feeling of wonder pervades The Lost Art of Finding Our Way; tales of “ sunstones” and “ celestial huts” “ portolan charts” and “ ecliptics” make it hard to not get wrapped up in the obscure and the exotic But it is the mundane aspects of peregrination that can truly astound Our perceptions function in two roles First the sight of familiar landmarks helps us update our location in the internal map Second the sight of objects drawing nearer as we approach them and receding into the distance behind us gives us a sense of speed and motion We usually take all of this for granted Technology—maps astrolabes GPS devices—may make finding our destination simple every day But finding our way rarely gets any easier


  7. David Simmons David Simmons says:

    Fantastic book eual parts compelling historical nonfiction and reasonably practical resource What I really enjoyed about this book was Huth's obvious personal passion in this field of inuiry The broad scope of its content blending anthropology psychology physics personal stories and even short fiction towards the end feels like a reflection of the author's immense intellectual interest that's refreshingly interdisciplinaryOther reviewers have noted that while it does provide solid theoretical explanations for the different navigational technology referenced it doesn't go into much further detail as to how one might practically work toward honing their own navigational tool set Given the overall density of the book I can understand the decision to avoid going any deeper though I personally would've loved it; a 'how to' version of the interesting methods introduced by Huth would be awesomeAll in all this is a very solid information dense slab of a book that will satisfy the reader looking for than just a surface level overview of the subject area with a smattering of anecdotal cases


  8. Linda Street-Ely Linda Street-Ely says:

    I should probably read this again so I can be specific about the best parts and the parts I wish were different Generally there are some areas that are easily understandable but overexplained yet other areas that are complicated and left unexplained I kind of like this book but I think it has so much potentialThe best part is the storytelling at the end There are a few instances of brief storytelling sprinkled through the book


  9. Amy Amy says:

    This book took me forever to read mostly because it's like a textbook and because of that takes some time to digest hence slow going in terms of reading it While it is mostly an introductory book it does get down in the weeds a bit in places and also makes a bit of an assumption about the level of knowledge the reader brings to the table Having said that I'm glad I took the time to read it and I do feel like I learned uite a bit


  10. Greta Greta says:

    A lot of good information but almost too much It was pretty dense with fairly technical information and illustrations which is great if you’re planning on grabbing your sextant heading out in uncharted waters but not so much for the casual hiker who just wants to be able to find the way out of the woods if there’s no GPS Still an interesting read


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The Lost Art of Finding Our Way ❴PDF / Epub❵ ★ The Lost Art of Finding Our Way Author John Edward Huth – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk Long before GPS Google Earth and global transit humans traveled vast distances using only environmental clues and simple instruments John Huth asks what is lost when modern technology substitutes for Long before GPS Google Earth and global transit Art of PDF/EPUB Á humans traveled vast distances using only environmental clues and simple instruments John Huth asks what is lost when modern technology substitutes for our innate capacity to find our way Encyclopedic in breadth weaving together The Lost PDF \ astronomy meteorology oceanography and ethnography The Lost Art of Finding Our Way puts us in the shoes ships and sleds of early navigators for whom paying close attention to the environment around them was uite literally a matter of life and deathHaunted by Lost Art of eBook ✓ the fate of two young kayakers lost in a fogbank off Nantucket Huth shows us how to navigate using natural phenomena the way the Vikings used the sunstone to detect polarization of sunlight and Arab traders learned to sail into the wind and Lost Art of Finding Our Kindle - Pacific Islanders used underwater lightning and read waves to guide their explorations Huth reminds us that we are all navigators capable of learning techniues ranging from the simplest to the most sophisticated skills of direction finding Even today careful observation of the sun and moon tides and ocean currents weather and atmospheric effects can be all we need to find our wayLavishly illustrated with nearly specially prepared drawings Huth s compelling account of the cultures of navigation will engross readers in a narrative that is part scientific treatise part personal travelogue and part vivid re creation of navigational history Seeing through the eyes of past voyagers we bring our own world into sharper view.

10 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Finding Our Way

  1. Carlos Carlos says:

    To be honest I have no way of knowing what rating to give to this book But I do have to warn everyone that attempts to read this book this is a textbook than a book and unless you really mean to sail or walk all around the world under the stars then all the plethora of information you’ll find on this book could feel superfluous to you And therein lies my trouble with rating this book I mean all the information you would need to find your way back from looking at the stars to finding the longitude and latitude to ascertain your location in the middle of the sea by looking at the waves is in this book but it went all over my headthis is a textbook or at least reads like one and unless you plan on spending a whole semester going over every calculation or learning the position of every star in the northern sky then I see no reason why you would need or want to learn this information I’m sure there are approachable books that deal with this issue So don’t judge this book by my rating but just take as a warning that this book is a major endeavor and massive in its scope

  2. Brett Brett says:

    It’s a moment that you’ve always dreaded – you stepped away from your hiking buddies to take a photo but on the way back you slipped down an embankment Now you’re isolated you can’t find the trail or your friends and you’re in unfamiliar woods You try your phone – no signal How did people navigate before GPS anyway?In The Lost Art of Finding Our Way author John Edward Huth aims to show us just that In a richly illustrated 544 pages Huth tries to illuminate the techniues that let man circumnavigate the globe long before the first GPS satellite was launched The book is divided into roughly two halves with the first being historical tales and discussions of techniues used by ancient navigators to find their way The Norse are here as are Pacific Islanders and European sailors all have lessons to teach us about our environment from the way that waves form around a cluster of islands to how to use a cross staff to estimate the position of a star on a heaving ship deck Following this the second half of the book is abstract dealing with factors useful to navigators like weather prediction or the factors that create the swell and tides in the oceanI found the first half of the book to be the most interesting as the practical techniues for say triangulating your position with only a map and a compass are very interesting to a city bound boy The second half was much tougher reading as it is uite dry often reading like a physics textbook Descriptions are clear although I will note that if you were looking for a practical manual to teach you navigation this book isn’t it It will for instance explain how dip angle and refraction in the atmosphere complicate accurate estimates of the horizon and the elevation of stars—but stop short of pointing you a resource to help correct for these inaccuraciesIt’s perhaps ironic that The Lost Art of Finding Our Way sometimes feels a little directionless Maybe it’s because the very scope of the book is so large in the one book you can find a discussion of how search parties can be most efficient; descriptions of the magnetic field variations across the Earth’s surface and their causes; speculation as to why many cultures have ‘great flood’ myths; and an explanation of the physics of wind interacting with sails Overall this book is an impressive attempt to give a broad overview of a number of navigation techniues Unfortunately it is marred by its own ambition and the result is a book that can at times feel random aimless and meandering

  3. Steven Steven says:

    I've had this in my ueue for nearly two years I'm glad I got around to reading it Huth starts with the argument that basic knowledge of navigating the world around is slowly slipping away as we become dependent on technology to get around In this book he looks at the science behind many navigational traditions The focus is on traveling across water it seems to be an personal interest of his but many of the skills mentioned could be used anywhere This book doesn't go into great detail on any one method or tool but that's a good thing Entire books could be written about using compasses or sextants or navigating by the starts Huth lays out the basic principles and then illustrates situations in which these skills could be usefulThere's a lot of good historical information here He describes how to navigate by the stars moving across the sky using the sun and moon to find your position different methods of determining latitude and longitude ways to avoid getting lost There is much discussion of matters related to ocean travel such as tides waves swells and the basics of sailing He explains these concepts clearly without getting too technical It's a great approach Historical methods such as using sun compasses and Pacific Islander stick charts are also described And at the end Huth uses a narrative of historical events in Kiribati that highlights many of the methods mentioned in the book It neatly wraps up his theme and illustrates the necessity of knowing than one way to find your way

  4. Bonnie_blu Bonnie_blu says:

    As technology advances humans move further away from a relationship with nature This trend results in an almost total reliance on technology to find our way and when technology fails humans are lost literally and figuratively This book points out in vivid detail how primitive human societies were able to navigate over vast areas of the world land and water by using an extensive knowledge of nature It teaches valuable lessons in finding our way and shows how less technologically advanced societies were highly developed in living in and using the natural world The book is packed with valuable information and is a pleasure to read

  5. Nathan Albright Nathan Albright says:

    This particular book is a fascinating one because it explores one of the fundamental issues of our age and that is the way that our use of computerized maps and detailed directions has tended to reduce our ability to find our way using cues and clues in creation  This particular complaint is one that many people have when it comes to technology the concern that greater technology will mean a loss of important life skills because reliance is placed on one's external memory and not one's internal one  When it comes to navigation skills this seems like a reasonable concern not least of which because a blind reliance on technology can lead people to overlook basic signs and cues that one can gain simply by being alert and aware and there are situations such as for example when roads and areas are under construction where computerized directions are likely to be in error and where some local knowledge would be useful when it comes to knowing the right detours to follow  Yet the author has far ambitious goals even than this when it comes to understanding what cues we have available to us which makes this book a joy to readThis particular book if you include its appendices is about 500 pages or so and it is divided into 18 chapters and four appendices  The book begins with a discussion of navigation before technology was relied upon 1 as well as a discussion of the maps we have in our minds 2  After this comes a discussion about being lost 3 and the use of dead reckoning to get a rough idea of where one is 4  After that the author talks about urban myths of navigation 5 as well the use of maps and compasses 6 as well as stars 7 to aid in navigation  After that the author talks about the sun and the moon 8 as well as the places where the heavens meet the earth 9  There is a chapter on longitude 10 as well as weather myths like the red sky at night 11 and how it is that people gained skill at reading the waves 12  There are chapters on soundings and tides 13 currents and gyres 14 as well as a look at the speed and stability of hulls 15  The author then writes about discussions of travel against the wind 16 as well as our fellow wanderers in creation 17 and an extended story of one particular navigator in the Pacific 18  There are then four appendices that close the book as well as a glossary notes acknowledgments and an indexIt is obvious that if someone has a love of navigation than this book would be an enjoyable one  There are plenty of forms of navigation that are interesting from a historical perspective as the author is especially impressed with the navigation skills of the Polynesian sailors for example  There are also some forms of navigation that are useful for people who go into the wilderness in using dead reckoning to deliberately seek to meet up with a landmark like a river and then move a particular direction to reach one's destination rather than be mistaken in trying to guess exactly where somewhere was  The stories the author tells blend with some humorous urban myths about moss preferring the north side of trees assuming that there is no moisture on other sides for example and demonstrates that humanity has done a good job throughout history of having solid cues for knowing where one was  If such cues are completely lost than there will obviously be a greater vulnerability where technology is not available but most people will probably be content to look at their GPS and not think about such subjects  For those people who do find this book and its content interesting there is a lot to appreciate and learn from here

  6. David Dinaburg David Dinaburg says:

    A physical book is a finite object but the uestion of where it truly begins involves a metaphysical debate Does the book begin and end at the front covers? Should one eschew the informational precursors—publication and Library of Congress numbers for example—to dive directly into the text in Chapter One? Perhaps a hardcover boundary of the summation located on the front flap and the early review blurbs on the back? For the average reader these are no longer rhetorical but concrete and answerable uestions the simple metrics of reading have been laid to bare thanks to e reader technology Who looks at the dedication; who checks the publication dates; who reads the foreword; who reads the author’s biography—and for how long What’s been highlighted; where you linger; where you stop If you finish If you skim If you flip to the last page firstA reader that skips or skims the dedication page of The Lost Art of Finding Our Way would miss out on a fascinating puzzle that adds depth to the book in a personal and uniue wayDedicated to the memories ofSarah Aronoff and Mary Jagoda No one is lost to GodA check of the back flap illuminates nothing—the author is not a theologian but a Harvard science professor The mystery of the elegiac dedication remains shrouded by its peculiar specificity Presented with no new information the reader must abandon this page and move on dedication unsolved Comprehension presumably only available to those select few that know the author personally C’est la vie But shortly thereafter something happens names are mentioned a phrase pops up How closely were you paying attention? Wait let me flip back to the dedication—oh my yes They are the same names Oh what an absolutely stunning dedication page; what terrible perfect use Unknown to me at that moment two young women were lost in the same fogbank less than half a mile away disoriented and struggling for their lives Before they set out on what was supposed to be a uick paddle in Nantucket Sound Sarah Aronoff 19 and Mary Jagoda 20 told their boyfriends that they would be back in ten minutes When they didn’t return forty five minutes later the boys contacted the authorities triggering a massive search effort The next day Coast Guard Helicopters flew back and forth across the Sound eventually finding their two empty kayaks The day after Sarah’s body was found Mary’s body was never recovered Weeks later I was crushed when I saw a memorial to Mary on the beach reading “No one is lostto God” What happened? No one really knows but they probably got disoriented in the fog and mistakenly paddled out to sea rather than back to shore And so The Lost Art of Finding Our Way captures a peculiar sense of urgency; a need to deliver the didacticism that Ms Aronoff and Ms Jagoda never received to those still able to take advantage of it But it is not all misty eyed wistfulness; there is serious science delivered in a palatable way When the scientific principles are woven into historical tapestry the near magical can become even amazing In 1967 Danish archaeologist Thorkild Ramskou suggested that the Vikings used something called a “sunstone” to find the direction of the Sun using the polarization of the sky Part of this was based on a section of one of the sagas Harafns Saga”The weather was thick and stormyThe king looked about and saw no blue skythen the king took out the Sunstone and held it up and then he saw where the Sun beamed from the stone”Calcite is also known as Iceland spar and is found in large uantities in eastern Iceland According to a number of accounts spar crystals were highly prized during the Viking era Spar has an unusual of birefringence meaning that light is bent through the crystal at two different angles depending on the polarization state of the light This will give rise to two images of light from an object passing through the spar Pure crystals of calcite are rhombohedral in structure meaning that their sides each describe a rhombus The sides of the crystal are associated with the polarization state so when the side of the crystal is aligned properly one of two polarization states is extinguished Further detailing—capturing the angle and height of the sun in the sky versus the heavy low lying fogbanks of the Nordic regions—explains why the the particular geographic location of the Norse would make such an object useful while a culture such as the Pacific Islanders would not But for every mystical “sunstone” that has its place in reality another seemingly believable fantasy is dashed People should be suspicious about the moss on the north side folklore because many factors create a dark damp environment If trees are on the north side of a hill their bases are perpetually shaded and the base of their trunks can be fully ringed with moss In the middle of a dense forest where the floor is covered in shade there is little distinction between the north and south side of a tree for favorable growth conditions Prevailing wind directions and windbreaks also play a significant if not dominant role Another favorite aphorism Red sky at night sailor’s delight Red sky in the morning sailors take warning is mostly debunked as conjecture For some people discovering that they are citing Jesus of New Testament fame—Matthew XVI 2 3 “ When in evening ye say it will be fair weather For the sky is red And in the morning it will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering”—might be a bit startling if you’ve been parroting it without knowledge of its provenanceEtymology makes a strong showing as well Following to the east of Orion are his two faithful hunting dogs Canis Major big dog and Canis Minor little dog Sirius in Canis Major is the brightest star in the sky Its rising just before the Sun in the morning represented the season of the flood in the Nile to the ancient Egyptians Many ancient Greeks and Romans thought that the combination of the heat of the Sun and Sirius’s appearance was responsible for summer hence the name “dog days” If ancient Egypt isn’t your thing perhaps some uasi contemporary Americana The British Royal Navy created a standard for marking lead lines Intertwined with the rope were markers of various colors coded for the depth Black leather was tied at two and three fathoms white at five red at seven and black at ten with knots for greater depth tied every five fathoms After retrieving the lead a leadsman would report back the phrase “By the mark” or “By the deep” followed by the depth in fathoms So “By the mark five” would report a sounding of five fathoms This was also a common phrase in the United States The American author Samuel Clemens took his pen name from this phrase based on his experiences as a pilot on Mississippi steamboats “Mark twain” is a report of a depth of two fathoms Or another tidbit drawn from the Nordic regions The Norse used a steering board or starboard which is a long plank extended into the water from the right hand side of the boat By adjusting the angle of the steering board the navigator could hold or shift the course of the vessel In many ways the starboard acts like a wing generating a force akin to lift for a wing to move the stern of the boat to left or right depending on its orientation The starboard was by convention on the right hand side When bringing the knarr to a dock or unloading onto land the starboard side was kept to the water and the left or port side was where the vessel was unloaded This practice is the origin of the terms port for left and starboard for right The Lost Art of Finding our Way covers a very wide range and does it all very well Personal taste will like most things count for a lot A reader who prefers history and word origins will be extremely pleased The scientific discussions—while incredibly detailed—are interesting and remain comprehensibleWaves will build slowly as wind first skims the surface creating what’s called a cat’s paw very tiny ripples Once little ripples are created wind gains traction on the vertical faces causing the waves to build to progressively larger heights As it builds in height a wave crest becomes steeper and steeper finally becoming unstable and tumbling over This instability occurs when the wave height is greater than one seventh of the wavelength and also when the interior angle of the peak of a wave is less than 120 degrees It makes logical sense that water waves would have a particular height to length ratio and a specific angle from which they will fall The trick is in realizing that there is a uestion that can be asked in the first place an order underlying the chaos—not just a collection of random water falling all over itselfA feeling of wonder pervades The Lost Art of Finding Our Way; tales of “ sunstones” and “ celestial huts” “ portolan charts” and “ ecliptics” make it hard to not get wrapped up in the obscure and the exotic But it is the mundane aspects of peregrination that can truly astound Our perceptions function in two roles First the sight of familiar landmarks helps us update our location in the internal map Second the sight of objects drawing nearer as we approach them and receding into the distance behind us gives us a sense of speed and motion We usually take all of this for granted Technology—maps astrolabes GPS devices—may make finding our destination simple every day But finding our way rarely gets any easier

  7. David Simmons David Simmons says:

    Fantastic book eual parts compelling historical nonfiction and reasonably practical resource What I really enjoyed about this book was Huth's obvious personal passion in this field of inuiry The broad scope of its content blending anthropology psychology physics personal stories and even short fiction towards the end feels like a reflection of the author's immense intellectual interest that's refreshingly interdisciplinaryOther reviewers have noted that while it does provide solid theoretical explanations for the different navigational technology referenced it doesn't go into much further detail as to how one might practically work toward honing their own navigational tool set Given the overall density of the book I can understand the decision to avoid going any deeper though I personally would've loved it; a 'how to' version of the interesting methods introduced by Huth would be awesomeAll in all this is a very solid information dense slab of a book that will satisfy the reader looking for than just a surface level overview of the subject area with a smattering of anecdotal cases

  8. Linda Street-Ely Linda Street-Ely says:

    I should probably read this again so I can be specific about the best parts and the parts I wish were different Generally there are some areas that are easily understandable but overexplained yet other areas that are complicated and left unexplained I kind of like this book but I think it has so much potentialThe best part is the storytelling at the end There are a few instances of brief storytelling sprinkled through the book

  9. Amy Amy says:

    This book took me forever to read mostly because it's like a textbook and because of that takes some time to digest hence slow going in terms of reading it While it is mostly an introductory book it does get down in the weeds a bit in places and also makes a bit of an assumption about the level of knowledge the reader brings to the table Having said that I'm glad I took the time to read it and I do feel like I learned uite a bit

  10. Greta Greta says:

    A lot of good information but almost too much It was pretty dense with fairly technical information and illustrations which is great if you’re planning on grabbing your sextant heading out in uncharted waters but not so much for the casual hiker who just wants to be able to find the way out of the woods if there’s no GPS Still an interesting read

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