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Time, as in GMT or UTC, is measured plus to the East and minus to the West. Supremely logical, since it fits the movement of solar midday.
Navigators reckon longitude positive to the East, and negative to the West, Why? Well check out that damn' great big yellow star up there, and check it against your ship's chronometer. Works pretty well huh?
Astronomy first started as a science as a service to navigators. In fact, some say that Homer's 'Iliad', where the warriors are entering their boats, that they represented the navigational stars of the Northern hemisphere, and by memorizing them in a poem, it would be easier to identify them when sailing the Mediterranean. Likewise, the second poem, 'The Odyssey' was a warning of various perils. (Bear in mind that Homer wrote down the poems about 500 years after their memorized recital.)
Having said all that, would somebody please kindly tell me why astronomers insist that East is negative, and West is positive? OK, so it means that the Right Ascension increases with time to the West, but that is actually meaningless as the same thing would happen, but just with a minus sign before the number.
A few centuries of analytical astronomy fighting five millennia of navigation by the Sun and stars - and the astronomers decide to do it differently!
If you wonder why this rant, I have just wasted a couple of hours trying to track a serious bug - when it was just the wrong sign on the input.
When dealing with other forms of power storage, energy flows from the higher (positive) potential to the lower. Examples are hydrological power, wind power, etc. etc. Only in electricity does the power flow from the negative to the positive. Why couldn't those damned natural philosophers (==scientists) have given the electron a positive sign?
Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
-- 6079 Smith W.
Yes , and why had all those good Englishmen have to fall asleep on the leftmost lane of a four lane highway with only moderate traffic and all speed limits lifted? And, as far as I know, that highway is not in England.
I have lived with several Zen masters - all of them were cats.
His last invention was an evil Lasagna. It didn't kill anyone, and it actually tasted pretty good.
I remember the good old days doing 200 kph down that same highway (not in England) and putting my left indicator on to move the police car in front of me out of the way. They moved into a goodly gap in the right lane, I went past, they moved back. The joys of driving on a two-lane highway with no speed limits when everyone knows what they are doing - no brake lights were shown during this operation!
Those sleepy Englishmen in the left were obviously American tourists driving as they normally do in the US where they have no concept of three digit speeds (mph or kph for that matter).
- I would love to change the world, but they won’t give me the source code.
Well now, as I understand it people rode their horses to the left so that another rider coming toward them couldn't press up against their side and trap their sword in its scabbard (I assume they were all right handed). Then that fiend Napoleon, rode on the right as a secret weapon. Probably cheated at cricket, too.
Only in electricity does the power flow from the negative to the positive.
Pedantic hat on.
Actually wrong, electrics/electronics recognizes positive (vs ground) as the "power source." Directional indicators point arrows from positive, one-way components (diodes and up) show the arrow as working working from or against the positive energy depending what it's supposed to do....
So power is recognized as positive to negative or zero - electronics and electricity deals with charge (positive values indicate positive charge.)
The actual direction that the charge propagates*, that s by way of loosely bonded electrons, is rarely if ever a consideration in electronics/electrical applications. All they know is the + gets eaten.
Oh, while being pedantic power doesn't flow, it propagates* (otherwise electricity would be really slow).
Because the definition of positive/negative charges dates back to the cat-rubbing era of static electricity generation when no one knew how it worked. That the negatively charged particle ended up being the one to move is down to a bad coin flip.
Did you ever see history portrayed as an old man with a wise brow and pulseless heart, weighing all things in the balance of reason?
Is not rather the genius of history like an eternal, imploring maiden, full of fire, with a burning heart and flaming soul, humanly warm and humanly beautiful?
Training a telescope on one’s own belly button will only reveal lint. You like that? You go right on staring at it. I prefer looking at galaxies.
-- Sarah Hoyt
Having said all that, would somebody please kindly tell me why astronomers insist that East is negative, and West is positive?
I guess it's a matter of relative thinking. Are the stars moving above us or is the earth moving below the stars?
I have a feeling the celestial coordinate system might be older than both chronographs and Galileo.
From a navigator's point of view, the stars are anchored to a non-existent point in the sky called the first point of Aries (apart from their proper motion). It is accepted that the earth moves relative to that, for a geocentric position, and then the attitude of the earth is calculated to obtain a topocentric position. All these calculations are related to time - Right Ascension is measured in HH:MM:SS.ss - where East positive rules.
What the astronomers do to get it so wrong, I have no idea.
If I remember correctly (which is doubtful) from my Navigation/Nautical Astronomy lectures of almost 50 years ago. I think it is because the celestial sphere, which comprises all objects in "the sky", moves relative to a static earth.
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