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OT: Columbus and the round world

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  • acockburn@aol.com
    I d love to research that --- any recollection of how you found that information? Alistair In a message dated 12/3/2004 12:20:05 A.M. Mountain Standard Time,
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 3, 2004
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      I'd love to research that --- any recollection of how you found that
      information?
      Alistair


      In a message dated 12/3/2004 12:20:05 A.M. Mountain Standard Time,
      extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com writes:

      Re: Barry Boehm talking about Agile Software Development


      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Steven Gordon
      <sagordon@a...> wrote:
      > How long did most of "western civilization" believe the world was flat?

      Depends on who you mean by "western civilization."
      The medieval collegia taught that the world was
      round, and even had a reasonably good value for
      its size. That was Columbus' problem: everyone knew,
      correctly as it turns out, that they couldn't
      outfit a ship to go across the Atlantic and get
      to China. Columbus' expedition would have perished
      if they hadn't run into an unknown continent.

      The fable that people thought it was flat was
      invented by Washington Irving. The story was just
      too good to pass up, and the truth that
      Columbus cooked up a bogus set of figures for the
      size of the earth in order to get his expedition
      qoff was just too depressing.



      q

      ==============================================
      Alistair Cockburn
      President, Humans and Technology

      acockburn@... , 801.582-3162
      1814 Ft Douglas Cir, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
      _http://alistair.cockburn.us/_ (http://alistair.cockburn.us/)

      "The first thing to build is trust." (Brad Appleton)

      "La perfection est atteinte non quand il ne reste rien a ajouter,
      mais quand il ne reste rien a enlever." (Saint-Exupery)

      "Surviving Object-Oriented Projects" (1998)
      "Writing Effective Use Cases" (Jolt Productivity Award 2001)
      "Agile Software Development" (Jolt Productivity Award 2002)
      "Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams" (2004)
      ==============================================




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jeff Grigg
      ... Lots of information on the Internet. I think I heard that from public TV. Here s one:
      Message 2 of 8 , Dec 3, 2004
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        --- acockburn@a... wrote:
        > I'd love to research that --- any recollection of how you
        > found that information?
        > Alistair

        Lots of information on the Internet. I think I heard that from
        public TV.

        Here's one:
        http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/articles/worldhistory/columbus1.ht
        m
        -or-
        http://tinyurl.com/6g4mu

        "Ptolemy, the great geographer of ancient Greece, had made two giant
        errors: He had said that Earth was smaller around than it really was,
        and he had said that the landmass of Europe and Asia was larger than
        it really was. As a result, Columbus was convinced that Japan was
        only 3,000 miles west of Portugal. And 3,000 miles was a distance
        that ships could travel in those days."

        "Finally, add to this the idea (which was generally accepted by this
        time) that Earth was round."
      • Sean Gilbertson
        Wikipedia is everyone s friend: The fact that the Earth is round was evident to most people of Columbus s time, especially other sailors and navigators
        Message 3 of 8 , Dec 3, 2004
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          Wikipedia is everyone's friend:
          "The fact that the Earth is round was evident to most people of Columbus's time, especially other sailors and navigators (Eratosthenes (276-194 BC) had in fact accurately calculated the circumference of the Earth). The problem was that the experts did not agree with his estimates of the distance to the Indies. Most scholars accepted Ptolemy's claim that the terrestrial landmass (for Europeans of the time, Eurasia and Africa) occupied 180 degrees of the terrestrial sphere, leaving 180 degrees of water. In fact, it occupies about 120 degrees, leaving 240 degrees unaccounted for at that time."

          Use it extensively and use it often!

          http://wikipedia.org

          On Fri, Dec 03, 2004 at 03:33:48PM -0000, Jeff Grigg wrote:
          >
          >
          > --- acockburn@a... wrote:
          > > I'd love to research that --- any recollection of how you
          > > found that information?
          > > Alistair
          >
          > Lots of information on the Internet. I think I heard that from
          > public TV.
          >
          > Here's one:
          > http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/articles/worldhistory/columbus1.ht
          > m
          > -or-
          > http://tinyurl.com/6g4mu
          >
          > "Ptolemy, the great geographer of ancient Greece, had made two giant
          > errors: He had said that Earth was smaller around than it really was,
          > and he had said that the landmass of Europe and Asia was larger than
          > it really was. As a result, Columbus was convinced that Japan was
          > only 3,000 miles west of Portugal. And 3,000 miles was a distance
          > that ships could travel in those days."
          >
          > "Finally, add to this the idea (which was generally accepted by this
          > time) that Earth was round."
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
          >
          > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
          >
          > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >

          --
          Sean Gilbertson
          IT Systems/Software Developer
        • jhrothjr
          ... I see Jeff and Sean already gave pointers to a couple of sources. My sources are in the general science layer: as an amateur astrologer, I m quite
          Message 4 of 8 , Dec 3, 2004
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            --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, acockburn@a... wrote:
            >
            >
            > I'd love to research that --- any recollection of how you found that
            > information?
            > Alistair

            I see Jeff and Sean already gave pointers to
            a couple of sources. My sources are in the
            general science layer: as an amateur
            astrologer, I'm quite interested in the history
            of astronomy, and the entire Columbus issue
            forms a minor thread in that.

            I'm not sure where I picked up the factoid
            on Washington Irving: the story is in, I
            believe, "Americans Abroad", which was one
            of the first travel books by an American
            writer and was very widely read by an
            audience that had mainly been born here
            and not in Europe.

            The comment about Ptolomy is correct,
            but the assertion that Ptolomy's values
            were generally accepted is wrong. They
            weren't, which is why Columbus had a lot
            of trouble getting funding for his
            expedition, and also why nobody else had
            tried it. They knew better, based on a
            reasonably close figure for the size of the
            earth and the distance from Spain to India.
            It was Columbus that argued Ptolomy's case.

            The fact is that it's simply not that hard
            to calculate relative longitudes for fixed
            points during a lunar eclipse, using the
            technology of the day (and for many centuries
            before, for that matter). Once you've got that,
            it's not difficult to get the size of the
            earth by going between points with known
            distances. That is, in fact, how the ancient
            Greeks did it, using the difference in latitude
            between Athens and Alexandrea, and the known
            distance between them.

            John Roth


            >
            >
            > In a message dated 12/3/2004 12:20:05 A.M. Mountain Standard Time,
            > extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com writes:
            >
            > Re: Barry Boehm talking about Agile Software Development
            >
            >
            > --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Steven Gordon
            > <sagordon@a...> wrote:
            > > How long did most of "western civilization" believe the world was
            flat?
            >
            > Depends on who you mean by "western civilization."
            > The medieval collegia taught that the world was
            > round, and even had a reasonably good value for
            > its size. That was Columbus' problem: everyone knew,
            > correctly as it turns out, that they couldn't
            > outfit a ship to go across the Atlantic and get
            > to China. Columbus' expedition would have perished
            > if they hadn't run into an unknown continent.
            >
            > The fable that people thought it was flat was
            > invented by Washington Irving. The story was just
            > too good to pass up, and the truth that
            > Columbus cooked up a bogus set of figures for the
            > size of the earth in order to get his expedition
            > qoff was just too depressing.
            >
            >
            >
            > q
            >
            > ==============================================
            > Alistair Cockburn
            > President, Humans and Technology
            >
            > acockburn@a... , 801.582-3162
            > 1814 Ft Douglas Cir, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
            > _http://alistair.cockburn.us/_ (http://alistair.cockburn.us/)
            >
            > "The first thing to build is trust." (Brad Appleton)
            >
            > "La perfection est atteinte non quand il ne reste rien a ajouter,
            > mais quand il ne reste rien a enlever." (Saint-Exupery)
            >
            > "Surviving Object-Oriented Projects" (1998)
            > "Writing Effective Use Cases" (Jolt Productivity Award 2001)
            > "Agile Software Development" (Jolt Productivity Award 2002)
            > "Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams" (2004)
            > ==============================================
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Sean Gilbertson
            If you believe that information to be incorrect, you should edit the Wikipedia! ... -- Sean Gilbertson IT Systems/Software Developer
            Message 5 of 8 , Dec 3, 2004
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              If you believe that information to be incorrect, you should edit the Wikipedia!

              On Fri, Dec 03, 2004 at 04:50:46PM -0000, jhrothjr wrote:
              >
              >
              > --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, acockburn@a... wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > > I'd love to research that --- any recollection of how you found that
              > > information?
              > > Alistair
              >
              > I see Jeff and Sean already gave pointers to
              > a couple of sources. My sources are in the
              > general science layer: as an amateur
              > astrologer, I'm quite interested in the history
              > of astronomy, and the entire Columbus issue
              > forms a minor thread in that.
              >
              > I'm not sure where I picked up the factoid
              > on Washington Irving: the story is in, I
              > believe, "Americans Abroad", which was one
              > of the first travel books by an American
              > writer and was very widely read by an
              > audience that had mainly been born here
              > and not in Europe.
              >
              > The comment about Ptolomy is correct,
              > but the assertion that Ptolomy's values
              > were generally accepted is wrong. They
              > weren't, which is why Columbus had a lot
              > of trouble getting funding for his
              > expedition, and also why nobody else had
              > tried it. They knew better, based on a
              > reasonably close figure for the size of the
              > earth and the distance from Spain to India.
              > It was Columbus that argued Ptolomy's case.
              >
              > The fact is that it's simply not that hard
              > to calculate relative longitudes for fixed
              > points during a lunar eclipse, using the
              > technology of the day (and for many centuries
              > before, for that matter). Once you've got that,
              > it's not difficult to get the size of the
              > earth by going between points with known
              > distances. That is, in fact, how the ancient
              > Greeks did it, using the difference in latitude
              > between Athens and Alexandrea, and the known
              > distance between them.
              >
              > John Roth
              >
              >
              > >
              > >
              > > In a message dated 12/3/2004 12:20:05 A.M. Mountain Standard Time,
              > > extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com writes:
              > >
              > > Re: Barry Boehm talking about Agile Software Development
              > >
              > >
              > > --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Steven Gordon
              > > <sagordon@a...> wrote:
              > > > How long did most of "western civilization" believe the world was
              > flat?
              > >
              > > Depends on who you mean by "western civilization."
              > > The medieval collegia taught that the world was
              > > round, and even had a reasonably good value for
              > > its size. That was Columbus' problem: everyone knew,
              > > correctly as it turns out, that they couldn't
              > > outfit a ship to go across the Atlantic and get
              > > to China. Columbus' expedition would have perished
              > > if they hadn't run into an unknown continent.
              > >
              > > The fable that people thought it was flat was
              > > invented by Washington Irving. The story was just
              > > too good to pass up, and the truth that
              > > Columbus cooked up a bogus set of figures for the
              > > size of the earth in order to get his expedition
              > > qoff was just too depressing.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > q
              > >
              > > ==============================================
              > > Alistair Cockburn
              > > President, Humans and Technology
              > >
              > > acockburn@a... , 801.582-3162
              > > 1814 Ft Douglas Cir, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
              > > _http://alistair.cockburn.us/_ (http://alistair.cockburn.us/)
              > >
              > > "The first thing to build is trust." (Brad Appleton)
              > >
              > > "La perfection est atteinte non quand il ne reste rien a ajouter,
              > > mais quand il ne reste rien a enlever." (Saint-Exupery)
              > >
              > > "Surviving Object-Oriented Projects" (1998)
              > > "Writing Effective Use Cases" (Jolt Productivity Award 2001)
              > > "Agile Software Development" (Jolt Productivity Award 2002)
              > > "Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams" (2004)
              > > ==============================================
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
              >
              > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
              >
              > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >

              --
              Sean Gilbertson
              IT Systems/Software Developer
            • Tony Bowden
              ... Most flat-earthers are quite happy believing that the Earth is round... Tony
              Message 6 of 8 , Dec 5, 2004
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                On Fri, Dec 03, 2004 at 09:42:22AM -0600, Sean Gilbertson wrote:
                > "The fact that the Earth is round was evident to most people of
                > Columbus's time, especially other sailors and navigators

                Most flat-earthers are quite happy believing that the Earth is round...

                Tony
              • aacockburn
                ... that ... Thanks for all the replies. I did know that the Greeks established that the world was round, but that does not at all imply that the 1400s
                Message 7 of 8 , Dec 5, 2004
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                  --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, acockburn@a... wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > I'd love to research that --- any recollection of how you found
                  that
                  > information?
                  > Alistair
                  >
                  > --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Steven Gordon
                  > <sagordon@a...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Depends on who you mean by "western civilization."
                  > The medieval collegia taught that the world was
                  > round, and even had a reasonably good value for
                  > its size. That was Columbus' problem: everyone knew,
                  > correctly as it turns out, that they couldn't
                  > outfit a ship to go across the Atlantic and get
                  > to China. Columbus' expedition would have perished
                  > if they hadn't run into an unknown continent.
                  >
                  > The fable that people thought it was flat was
                  > invented by Washington Irving. The story was just
                  > too good to pass up, and the truth that
                  > Columbus cooked up a bogus set of figures for the
                  > size of the earth in order to get his expedition
                  > qoff was just too depressing.
                  >

                  Thanks for all the replies.
                  I did know that the Greeks established that the world was round, but
                  that does not at all imply that the 1400s Europeans believed the
                  world to be round -- they had already thrown off much previous
                  knowledge. I suppose that Queen Isabella would have the thought the
                  world round, because she would be less likely to fund a trip off the
                  edge of the planet than a 3,000 mile trip around a globe. So who
                  really was (if anyone) thinking the world was flat back then?

                  I didn't know about Ptolomy's errors or the 3,000 mile calculation -
                  that was very nice, thanks.

                  What's left over is the attribution to Washington Irving. Any leads
                  on that tidbit?

                  thanks - Alistair
                • Jim Standley
                  Steering slight back toward the original topic .. There are indeed many incorrect belief systems that will do relatively little harm in the long run. But those
                  Message 8 of 8 , Dec 5, 2004
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                    Steering slight back toward the original topic .. There are indeed many
                    incorrect belief systems that will do relatively little harm in the long
                    run. But those that lead to unrealistic expectations can make one
                    profoundly unhappy or worse. Some I've run into include: The world owes
                    me a living, this next investment scheme will pay off, someone else is
                    to blame for anything that goes wrong, my customer will buy this level
                    of quality, we make all our dates ...

                    Tony Bowden wrote:
                    > On Fri, Dec 03, 2004 at 09:42:22AM -0600, Sean Gilbertson wrote:
                    >
                    >>"The fact that the Earth is round was evident to most people of
                    >>Columbus's time, especially other sailors and navigators
                    >
                    >
                    > Most flat-earthers are quite happy believing that the Earth is round...
                    >
                    > Tony
                    >
                    >
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