Up to a very recent date, it was universally believed that sensory impressions were transmitted to the brain, and that the voluntary impulse returned with the speed of lightning. The time necessary for these phenomena to take place was believed to be infinitely small, in fact, nil. Some physiologists declared that this point could never be determined by science.This made sense in terms of electricity. After Galvani found the basic connection, it seemed intuitively reasonable that nerves were like copper wires. The counterintuitive fact began to emerge later in astronomy:
About the year 1790, Maskelyne discovered the curious fact that there was a constant and equal discrepancy between his observations of the passage of stars across the thread of a meridian telescope, and those of his assistant, Kinnebrock. Other observers occupied themselves with the determination of this error, which is called the personal equation.Aaaahhh! Now we're back in beautifully familiar territory. The Personal Equation Machine. After the realization that nerves weren't simply wires, a long series of related experiments pinned down the general speed of transfer along spinal axons and the associative pathways (white matter) in the brain.
In 1845 Du Bois-Reymond devised a series of experiments, which, in 1850, was carried out by Helmholtz, who had the honor of falsifying the above prediction; and since then, Valentin, Donders, Hirsch, Hipp, and Mayer, repeated and simplified the method of operation.Hipp leads to an ugly piece of territory. Hipp's methods and Hipp's chronometer became major tools of "social" "science" in the 1920s as it evolved from simple observation to training eugenicists and torturers. "Social" "science" continues on the Hipp path today, designing and staffing torture chambers and assisting Deepstate's vicious propaganda and genocides. = = = = = The Personal Equation branch led to the concept of self-calibration, using refined human senses and skills to derive your own time directly from the Earth's orbit. When you are focused on a distant beacon that can't possibly be influenced by earthly tyrants, you're less susceptible to the propaganda and blackmail of earthly tyrants. When you stick to directly observed reality, you can easily see the lies and twists of verbal facts. Reprinting the PEQ piece: = = = = = START REPRINT: In discussing the splendid Elgin Observatory, I was especially tickled by the Personal Equation Machine. The PEQ Machine had a domesticated star that moved at a known rate across a small transit. The domesticated star clicked eleven contacts when it crossed the eleven lines on the transit, and the astronomer clicked "simultaneously". This yielded an average reaction delay, and the variability of reaction. Equation of Time referred to any calibration curve between sun time and sidereal time, or a clock versus sidereal time, or Personal reaction time versus sidereal time. In the era when standard time was still competing with sun time, Equation Clocks and Equation Watches were fairly common. How was the result of these Equations used? The same telegraphic clock that marked the chronograph also drove sounders in the adjustment workshops of the factory. Each watch was adjusted until its ticks exactly matched the telegraphic ticks. = = = = = Elgin even used the PEQ Machine in its advertising: PEQ Machines (simulators in modern terms) seem to have been homemade by each observatory, not manufactured. The available pictures are all different, and look like the sort of thing you'd slap together if you had clockmaking skills and a junkbox full of lenses and gears and pivots. So I used my own graphic junkbox in making this one, which closely resembles the Elgin version. First, naturally, an acetylene beacon. Acetylene was the purest light, closest to starlight, and it was also the least dependent on external pipes and wires. The light from the beacon is bent by the prism and then constrained and focused by a shield and focus tube. These pieces all ride on a slide that runs back and forth at a fixed speed, driven by some form of clockwork. The moving beam, simulating a moving star, slides past the eleven-line grid, just as in the real transit. A contactor on the slide sends current to eleven breaker points simultaneous with the eleven lines on the grid. The Person, again simulating the real star-transit experience, taps the signal key each time she sees the star hit one of the eleven lines. The chronograph receives the impulses from the contactor and the key, and displays both sets of clicks on the smoothly moving graph paper. Using these clicks, the astronomer calculates her Personal Equation, a curve showing the typical response delay and more importantly the variability of delay. If your delay wasn't close to constant under various conditions, you weren't qualified to measure real star transits. = = = = = END REPRINT. Summing up: Maskelyne's accidental observation led first to methods and training that help you to factor out tyrants and frauds and liars. The same observation later led to methods and training that help tyrants to kill and torture and lie. Two roads diverged, and can't possibly rejoin.
The current icon shows Polistra using a Personal Equation Machine.