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Risky Business

During World War I, the most hazardous place to be, relatively speaking, was not on the battlefield, but inside a German U-boat. Throughout the war, Germany deployed 375 Unterseebooten, i.e. U-boats or submarines; 202 were lost in action, or about fifty-four percent. Similarly, of the 17,000 sailors who served in them, about 5,100 were lost […]

Surveying: The Art of Measuring Land, Part One

This is the first of two posts outlining traditional 18th and 19th surveying methods. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, surveying is the art and science of measuring land. More precisely, it is “a means of making relatively large-scale, accurate measurements of the Earth’s surface.”  The authoritative 18th century treatise on surveying, entitled “The Compleat Surveyor or […]

The Mysterious Island

The title of this post does not refer to the science fiction novel of the same name by Jules Verne. It refers to the phantom island Frisland which was commonly shown on maps of the North Atlantic Ocean during the 16th and 17th centuries. Frisland never existed, however, cartographers believed that the island was real […]