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The Lost Art of Finding Our Way

The Lost Art of Finding Our Way 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 f

  • Title: The Lost Art of Finding Our Way
  • Author: John Edward Huth
  • ISBN: 9780674088078
  • Page: 343
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 our innate capacity to find our way Encyclopedic in breadth, weaving together astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, and ethnography, The Lost Art of Finding Our Way putLong 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 our innate capacity to find our way Encyclopedic in breadth, weaving together 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, quite literally, a matter of life and death.Haunted by 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 Pacific Islanders used underwater lightning and read waves to guide their explorations Huth reminds us that we are all navigators capable of learning techniques 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 way.Lavishly illustrated with nearly 200 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.

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      Published :2018-08-24T17:33:52+00:00

    1 thought on “The Lost Art of Finding Our Way

    1. 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 more 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 fin [...]

    2. 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 techniques [...]

    3. I've had this in my queue 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 more 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 [...]

    4. 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 advan [...]

    5. A physical book is a finite object, but the question of where it truly begins involves a more 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 concret [...]

    6. Fantastic book - equal 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 inquiry. 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 interdisciplinary.Other reviewers have noted that while it does provide solid [...]

    7. 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.

    8. More than about directions, this book is about understanding the world in which we live. We need to look at the sky and think of questions like; why is the sun setting where it is? This book answers many of these questions. It makes one think and not just walk in the park.

    9. The virtue of this book is its breadth of information - it contains a wealth of information on all sorts of navigation techniques. There are a lot of tips and tools I was not aware of, and my skills are definitely improved with a few simple techniques (did you know that a line drawn from the horns of crescent will point south in the northern hemisphere?)While there is something here for everyone, I did find that my limited sea experience left me a bit unprepared to fully absorb the contents of t [...]

    10. About a year ago I heard a very interesting NPR interview about the effects of technology in our lives, with a focus on the use of GPS systems. It was a fascinating discussion about how over-reliant we have become on such technology, and how very few people today actually know how to tell directions. I decided I wanted to learn more about this subject, and quite by accident came upon this book by John Huth, a physics professor at Harvard. A thorough treatment of how to get from one place to anot [...]

    11. A good mix of history, science, and practical tips. The author is a physics professor at Harvard and occasionally it reads like something written by a physics professor. This is not to say it's not readable, because it is, and if you gloss over the graphs and equations you will still be able to follow everything else. The book also spends a disproportionately large amount of time on the Marshall Islanders. Rightly so in some respects because they had, as I learned, excellent traditional methods [...]

    12. More that I wanted or need to know. Except for the fictional BAINTABU’S STORY, an excellent read. I know of Huth in the past as an introducer of other scientists during various Radcliffe Institute lectures and symposiums. Who knew he is such a good writer. I will be sure to tell him when it is his turn (radcliffe.harvard/eve) in February. His lecture will be the second following the symposium held on November 14, 2014:Lost and Found: A Science Symposium about Navigation | Radcliffe Institute f [...]

    13. Hmm maybe the geek in me got away, but this is a serious book for nerds! In a world pre smartphone, we used to navigate by all sorts of means - the stars, the wind, the waves, by tried and tested means we managed to find our way across the globe and back again, mostly by trial and error, but in so doing we learnt how to protect ourselves. I guess in today's world its too easy to let our devices do it for us, much to our detriment. I'd say, get off the couch and go and find your way using the old [...]

    14. History, science, and folklore combine to make a fascinating book that is also very well written. Huth writes about finding one's way through the woods, on the tundra, or out at sea. He discusses patterns of people lost in the woods, mistakes made by overland expeditions, and theories of South Pacific navigation with the patience and simplicity of a seasoned lecturer. He punctuates these explanations with stories from history and legend. Anyone interested in learning how our ancestors got from p [...]

    15. I wanted to like this book quite a bit. The first third was very interesting - talking about the different ways to find yourself using wind, stars, and such. It evolves into a book more about being lost at sea than anything else. I did like the discuss of the Marshall Islanders navigation -- the use of swells, currents, and the absence of them to find themselves. But in the end, disappointing - more about lost on land would have been nice.

    16. A collection chapters on the theory, rather than the practice, of pre-modern navigation. I suspect it will be of greatest interest to readers familiar with sailboats as it spends a lot of pages on hull design, the use of sails, and, how subtle changes in currents and waves indicate the presence of land beyond the horizon. A nice book for those of us who prefer finding our way through the world with the GPS shut off.

    17. I loved everything about this book. Sharply written, clear and understandable, particularly when the author was discussing pretty abstruse topics. Read it and you'll gain a new appreciation of the myriad ways in which one can understand the physical world. But be advised, the section early on about being lost was both sobering and in its own way terrifying.

    18. How did we navigate, before GPS and computers? This book answers that question, in a fascinating way. It starts by describing our behavior when we get lost, and then goes into all sorts of strategies for not getting lost in the first place. My only complaint is that it focused almost entirely on maritime navigation, and I would have liked to have more on navigating on land.

    19. I didn't 'finish' it. I skipped around, and laid it down. Parts of it were interesting and comprehensible, sometimes fascinating. Some of the exercises and knowledge sets are better suited for a sailor or pilot. Still, it's a book worth paging through . if only to appreciate and marvel at the ingenuity of our ancestors. How do we find our way successfully in the physical world?

    20. Compilation of navigational techniques from ancient cultures to the age of sail and into the modern era from folk wisdom to earth science. The art of navigation is something in the days of google maps that is a lost art but many of these old techniques were quite ingenious and it helps to have a little knowledge that doesn't depend on the availability of a smart phone.

    21. Do you know the name for the way the horizon can be deceptive in making distant objects appear to float? Do you know how to measure the placement of objects in the sky?I did not and am fully intrigued with the aspects I'm learning that can help me find my way, whether I'm lost in the urban jungle or the wilds of the forest.

    22. Writer is a physics professor at Harvard who very skillfully explains key concepts in navigation, getting lost, the constellations, ocean currents, prevailing winds, you name it. Some chapters were more interesting than others but wonderful writing, diagrams, and explanation.

    23. My interest in hiking has led me to learn more about using a compass, reading a map, etc. - all tools discussed in this book, as well as ancient tools like the stars and wind direction. Written by a member of the Harvard physics department, it is readable and fascinating.

    24. Fascinating book, very informative and historical. Huth had a way of connecting his concepts with events in the past to emphasize their importance.

    25. Excellent read which brings out a number of academic angles in the science of using the elements to find out way.

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