[ExI] Happy Solstice!

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat Jun 23 17:31:57 UTC 2007

Happy Solstice to you too, Spike.

I performed the appropriate ritual in the parking lot at work with the
help of an assistant. We used a yardstick as plumb line, waited until
1pm, and measured the length of the shadow ('twas 9 inches). 

(Oddly, I noted that our shadows didn't seem to point exactly north
until about 7 minutes after 1pm---1 pm, of course, because of the
dratted daylight savings time.)

So the angle generated by the sun and yardstick was arctan of 1/4,
which is almost exactly 14 degrees. So (drawing a sanity-check
diagram and) adding to the 23.5 degree axial tilt of the Earth, we
got 37.5 for our latitude.   Very nice for Santa Clara, California,
no?  (Google Earth gave 37.38 or something.  Had to be pretty
lucky given how much the wind was blowing the yardstick around.)

But it got even better.  My assistant pointed out that we were 
somewhere in the middle of the time zone, so substituting +8 hours
from UCT (GMT in London) was only an approximation. Google
suggested that the *longitude* of our parking lot is 121.99 W.
My assistant's idea was
that if we were, say, a bit to the west of the middle of our time zone,
then we should have to wait a bit for the sun to get exactly overhead.
Lo and behold once more!  Two degrees (1.99, that is) yields eight
minutes because the Earth turns one degree every four minutes (an
hour is 1/24 of 360, or 15 degrees, so 60 minutes = 15 degrees is
of course four minutes.)

Delighted was I, since I had noted that we seemed to have to wait
seven minutes for the sun to get the yardstick's shadow lined up right!

You can do this any day this summer! See how many minutes before
or after the hour you have to wait for a shadow to point exactly 
north, and compute your longitude.  It makes the Admiralty and
John Harrison's quest all the more poignant.

Every time that ritual measurements like this are performed, the claims
of the flat-Earthers are weakend a little more.  :-)


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "spike" <spike66 at comcast.net>
To: "'ExI chat list'" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2007 7:56 AM
Subject: Re: [ExI] Happy Solstice!

> Growing seasons would lag behind the solar seasons, which is the most
> critical schedule to most societies.  Those smart Celts, being astronomy
> minded, would perhaps be more likely ignore the air temperature and note the
> celestial cues.
> spike
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-
>> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Alex Ramonsky
>> Sent: Friday, June 22, 2007 2:53 AM
>> To: ExI chat list
>> Subject: Re: [ExI] Happy Solstice!
>> Happy Solstice Amara  :  )
>> ...Something that I have wondered for many years...Does anyone know why
>> the Midsummer Solstice/Midwinter Solstice are called so, when (at least
>> in the UK) they're considered to be the _beginning_ of summer/winter?
>>  The Celts treated them as the middle of the seasons...Is this one of
>> those eccentric British things or is there genuine worldwide confusion?
>> Best,
>> AR
>> **********
>> Amara Graps wrote:
>> >Happy June Solstice [1] to you Northerners and Southerners (hemispheres,
>> >that is)!! Celebration time!
>> >
>> >Midsummer Night  [2]
>> >by Zinta Aistars
>> >
>> >One night each year, that longest night
>> >be
>> >
>> _______________________________________________
>> extropy-chat mailing list
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
>> http://lists.extropy.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/extropy-chat
> _______________________________________________
> extropy-chat mailing list
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> http://lists.extropy.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/extropy-chat

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list