Dava Sobel · 192 pages
Rating: (45K votes)
“He wrested the world's whereabouts from the stars, and locked the secret in a pocket watch.”
“Time is to clock as mind is to brain. The clock or watch somehow contains the time. And yet time refuses to be bottled up like a genie stuffed in a lamp. Whether it flows as sand or turns on wheels within wheels, time escapes irretrievably, while we watch. Even when the bulbs of the hourglass shatter, when darkness withholds the shadow from the sundial, when the mainspring winds down so far that the clock hands hold still as death, time itself keeps on. The most we can hope a watch to do is mark that progress. And since time sets its own tempo, like a heartbeat or an ebb tide, timepieces don't really keep time. They just keep up with it, if they're able.”
“With his marine clocks, John Harrison tested the waters of space-time. He succeeded, against all odds, in using the fourth—temporal—dimension to link points on the three-dimensional globe. He wrested the world’s whereabouts from the stars, and locked the secret in a pocket watch.”
“Any clock that can track this sideral schedule proves itself as perfect as God's magnificent clockwork.
“One degree of longitude equals four minutes of time the world over, but in terms of distance, one degree shrinks from sixty-eight miles at the Equator to virtually nothing at the poles.”
“The zero-degree parallel of latitude is fixed by the laws of nature, while the zero-degree meridian of longitude shifts like the sands of time.”
“Having established itself securely on shipboard, the chronometer was soon taken for granted, like any other essential thing, and the whole question of its contentious history, along with the name of its original inventor, dropped from the consciousness of the seamen who used it every day.”
“The British Parliament, in its famed Longitude Act of 1714, set the highest bounty of all, naming a prize equal to a king’s ransom (several million dollars in today’s currency) for a “Practicable and Useful” means of determining longitude.”
“Earlier maps had underestimated the distances to other continents and exaggerated the outlines of individual nations. Now global dimensions could be set, with authority, by the celestial spheres. Indeed, King Louis XIV of France, confronted with a revised map of his domain based on accurate longitude measurements, reportedly complained that he was losing more territory to his astronomers than to his enemies.”
“In the wake of the Longitude Act, the concept of “discovering the longitude” became a synonym for attempting the impossible.”
“Today, the latitude and longitude lines govern with more authority than I could have imagined forty-odd years ago, for they stay fixed as the world changes its configuration underneath them—with continents adrift across a widening sea, and national boundaries repeatedly redrawn by war or peace.”
“the beaches. In literally hundreds of instances, a vessel’s ignorance of her longitude led swiftly to her destruction. Launched on a mix of bravery and greed, the sea captains of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries relied on “dead reckoning” to gauge their distance east or west of home port. The captain would throw a log overboard and observe how quickly the ship receded from this temporary guidepost. He noted the crude speedometer reading in his ship’s logbook, along with the direction of travel, which he took from the stars or a compass, and the length of time on a particular course, counted with a sandglass or a pocket watch. Factoring in the effects of ocean currents, fickle winds, and errors in judgment, he then determined his longitude. He routinely missed his mark, of course—searching”
“He wrested the world’s whereabouts from the stars, and locked the secret in a pocket watch.”
“Уверяют, будто Людовик XIV, увидев новые карты своих владений, основанные на точном определении долготы, посетовал, что геодезисты отняли у него больше земель, чем неприятель.”
“Time is to clock as mind is to brain. The clock or watch somehow contains the time. And yet time refuses to be bottled up like a genie stuffed in a lamp. Whether it flows as sand or turns on wheels within wheels, time escapes irretrievably, while we watch. Even when the bulbs of the hourglass shatter, when darkness withholds the shadow from the sundial, when the mainspring winds down so far that the clock hands hold still as death, time itself keeps on.”
“boxed set of novels featuring witches, vampires, werewolves, mermaids, psychics, Loki, time travel and more!”
“Not knowing… that could be as hard to handle as despair.”
“I guess I've found that I'd rather be alone than with the wrong person.”
“We are not called to be safe, we are simply promised that when we are in danger, God is right there with us. And there is no better place to be than in His hands.”
“After turning it in her mind for some time, she came to the conclusion, that she had been taking part in a great drama, which was, in itself, but one great system of robbery and wrong. 'Yes,' she said, 'the rich rob the poor, and the poor rob one another.' True, she had not received labor from others, and stinted their pay, as she felt had been practised against her; but she had taken their work from them, which was their only means to get money, and was the same to them in the end. For instance–a gentleman where she lived would give her a dollar to hire a poor man to clear the new-fallen snow from the steps and side-walks. She would arise early, and perform the labor herself, putting the money into her own pocket. A poor man would come along, saying she ought to have let him have the job; he was poor, and needed the pay for his family. She would harden her heart against him, and answer–'I am poor too, and I need it for mine.' But, in her retrospection, she thought of all the misery she might have been adding to, in her selfish grasping, and it troubled her conscience sorely; and this insensibility to the claims of human brotherhood, and the wants of the destitute and wretched poor, she now saw, as she never had done before, to be unfeeling, selfish and wicked.”
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