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Longitude

Longitude, is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east–west position of a point on the Earth's surface, or the surface of a celestial body. It is an angular measurement expressed in degrees and denoted by the Greek letter lambda. Meridians connect points with the same longitude. By convention, one of these, the Prime Meridian, which passes through the Royal Observatory, England, was allocated the position of 0° longitude; the longitude of other places is measured as the angle east or west from the Prime Meridian, ranging from 0° at the Prime Meridian to +180° eastward and −180° westward. It is the angle between a plane through the Prime Meridian and a plane through both poles and the location in question. A location's north–south position along a meridian is given by its latitude, the angle between the local vertical and the equatorial plane. If the Earth were spherical and radially homogeneous the longitude at a point would be equal to the angle between a vertical north–south plane through that point and the plane of the Greenwich meridian.

Everywhere on Earth the vertical north–south plane would contain the Earth's axis. But the Earth is not radially homogeneous and has rugged terrain, which affect gravity and so can shift the vertical plane away from the Earth's axis; the vertical north–south plane still intersects the plane of the Greenwich meridian at some angle. The longitude shown on maps and GPS devices is the angle between the Greenwich plane and a not-quite-vertical plane through the point; the measurement of longitude is important both for ocean navigation. Mariners and explorers for most of history struggled to determine longitude. Finding a method of determining longitude took centuries, resulting in the history of longitude recording the effort of some of the greatest scientific minds. Latitude was calculated by observing with quadrant or astrolabe the altitude of the sun or of charted stars above the horizon, but longitude is harder. Amerigo Vespucci was the first European to proffer a solution, after devoting a great deal of time and energy studying the problem during his sojourns in the New World: As to longitude, I declare that I found so much difficulty in determining it that I was put to great pains to ascertain the east-west distance I had covered.

The final result of my labours was that I found nothing better to do than to watch for and take observations at night of the conjunction of one planet with another, of the conjunction of the moon with the other planets, because the moon is swifter in her course than any other planet. I compared my observations with an almanac. After I had made experiments many nights, one night, the twenty-third of August 1499, there was a conjunction of the moon with Mars, which according to the almanac was to occur at midnight or a half hour before. I found that...at midnight Mars's position was three and a half degrees to the east. By comparing the positions of the moon and Mars with their anticipated positions, Vespucci was able to crudely deduce his longitude, but this method had several limitations: First, it required the occurrence of a specific astronomical event, the observer needed to anticipate this event via an astronomical almanac. One needed to know the precise time, difficult to ascertain in foreign lands.

It required a stable viewing platform, rendering the technique useless on the rolling deck of a ship at sea. See Lunar distance. In 1612 Galileo Galilei demonstrated that with sufficiently accurate knowledge of the orbits of the moons of Jupiter one could use their positions as a universal clock and this would make possible the determination of longitude, but the method he devised was impracticable for navigators on ships because of their instability. In 1714 the British government passed the Longitude Act which offered large financial rewards to the first person to demonstrate a practical method for determining the longitude of a ship at sea; these rewards motivated many to search for a solution. John Harrison, a self-educated English clockmaker, invented the marine chronometer, the key piece in solving the problem of establishing longitude at sea, thus revolutionising and extending the possibility of safe long distance sea travel. A French expedition under Charles-François-César Le Tellier de Montmirail performed the first measurement of longitude aboard Aurore in 1767.

Though the Board of Longitude rewarded John Harrison for his marine chronometer in 1773, chronometers remained expensive and the lunar distance method continued to be used for decades. The combination of the availability of marine chronometers and wireless telegraph time signals put an end to the use of lunars in the 20th century. Unlike latitude, which has the equator as a natural starting position, there is no natural starting position for longitude. Therefore, a reference meridian had to be chosen, it was a popular practice to use a nation's capital as the starting point, but other locations were used. While British cartographers had long used the Greenwich meridian in London, other references were used elsewhere, including

Chrysler Sunbeam

The Chrysler Sunbeam is a small supermini three-door hatchback manufactured by Chrysler Europe at the former Rootes Group factory in Linwood in Scotland, from 1977 to 1981. The Sunbeam's development was funded by a British government grant with the aim of keeping the Linwood plant running, the small car was based on the larger Hillman Avenger manufactured there. After the takeover of Chrysler's European operations by PSA, the model was renamed "Talbot Sunbeam" and continued in production until 1981. A Talbot Sunbeam Lotus version was successful in rallying and won the World Rally Championship manufacturers' title for Talbot in 1981. In the mid-1970s, the British automotive industry was in crisis, marred by bad management, frequent strikes and decreasing competitiveness compared to the successful Japanese automakers, it took its toll on Chrysler UK, the name given to the former Rootes Group after its takeover by the US-based Chrysler Corporation. In particular, the Linwood facility was generating losses due to many reasons, including underutilised capacity.

In 1975, the infamous Ryder Report led to the effective nationalisation of Chrysler UK's major competitor, British Leyland. Chrysler management decided that the company should therefore benefit from state aid, pressed the government for it by threatening to close the UK operations; the government agreed to a state grant reported at GBP 55 million to fund the development of a small car, to be developed in Chrysler's UK facilities and manufactured in Linwood. The development of the new car started in January 1976, under the codename "Project R424"; the technical side was the responsibility of the engineering team in Ryton, while the styling was the responsibility of Chrysler's Whitley design studio in Coventry, led by Roy Axe. Many constraints, such as a tight schedule, low budget and the need to use as many British components as possible, led to the decision to use the rear-wheel drive Hillman Avenger as the base for the new vehicle, rather than the more trendy front-wheel drive constructions of Chrysler's French subsidiary, Simca.

The Sunbeam was, unlike the larger Horizon and Alpine models which were launched by Chrysler in the mid to late 1970s, never sold in France as a Simca. Although it was targeted at the supermini size class, the Sunbeam's Avenger underpinnings meant that it was larger than its intended rivals, overlapped with the Horizon model. For this reason, the Sunbeam was only available as a three-door derivative. Basing the car on the Avenger's platform allowed for the car not only to use as many existing components as possible, but to put it in production in Linwood and at minimal investment; the Avenger's wheelbase was shortened by 3 inches, some modifications were made to accommodate the small, 928 cc Coventry Climax, engine, a version of the unit inherited from the Hillman Imp made in Linwood. Other than that, most components were identical to those of the Avenger; the car took its steering wheel and instrument pod from Chrysler's launched award-winning Simca 1307/Chrysler Alpine. On the outside, with the exception of the doors, which were straight from the two-door Avenger, the R424 was given an all-new body, styled much in line with Chrysler's new, angular "international" style, conceived by Axe, first presented with the debut of the 1975 Simca 1307/Chrysler Alpine, was also represented by the 1977 Simca/Chrysler Horizon.

This ensured that the R424 fit in well with the new Chrysler lineup and came across as modern. A constraint in the development process took its toll on the initial look of the car - as the C2's headlamps were not available at the planned launch time of the R424, the small car was given the lamps of the prefacelift Hillman Avenger, which required the characteristic "recessed" mounting in the front fascia; the GLS version had a vinyl roof as standard. There was only one body style for the Sunbeam; the car was a hatchback, with the rear hatch formed out of a single piece of glass as seen on the Hillman Imp. This required a high rear sill to provide some structural rigidity and which made the loading and unloading of luggage rather difficult. Although it was a good looking car with clean modern lines, the tricky luggage compartment and the lack of alternative bodystyles - the reasoning being that the Avenger range offered saloon and estate variants - compromised the car's appeal in the UK market.

The Sunbeam's main competitor in the UK, the Vauxhall Chevette was produced in different body styles, two- and four-door saloons and an estate, to cater for a broader range of customers. On the interior side, the "GL" version was the first car to sport printed "melded" fabric from Cambrelle on its seats; these have been considered similar to the Avenger in their comfort. Until the R424's launch, most Chrysler UK products were sold in export markets under the Sunbeam brand of the former Rootes portfolio. Chrysler, was striving to cut down on the Rootes brand palette and introduce a pan-European image using the Chrysler brand as the only one for the whole range; the result was naming the car, "Chrysler Sunbeam", the Sunbeam brand was discontinued, with the remaining Rootes Group models rebranded as Chryslers in 1976. After a remarkably short development period of 19 months, the Chrysler Sunbeam was launched on July 23, 1977, to a quite positive reception by the British automotive press. An advertising campaign featured Petula Clark singing "...put a Chrysler Sunbeam in your life."

There were

The Deruga Case

Der Fall Deruga is a novel by Ricarda Huch first published in German in 1917 about a physician charged with killing his ex-wife. An early courtroom drama, it depicts a trial by jury in which the defendant is reluctant, if not unwilling, to talk about the crime he has committed. In 1938 the novel was turned into a film of the same title. After the death, assumedly from cancer, of his former wife Mingo Swieter, Dr Sigismondo Deruga, a 46-year-old nose and throat specialist, is accused by the deceased woman's cousin, a Baroness, of having poisoned her. A post-mortem is performed, indeed traces of curare are found in the woman's body. Deruga leaves his medical practice in Prague and travels to Munich, where his wife lived after their divorce, only to learn that rumour has it that he murdered Mingo Swieter out of greed, as he now stands to inherit a considerable fortune. Deruga on the other hand claims that he did not know he was the beneficiary of her will, that he did not communicate with her in any way for the last seventeen years of her life.

He maintains that at the time of the murder he was unavailable for his patients not because he was travelling to Munich to kill his ex-wife but because he was spending three days in the flat of a woman whose name he refuses to disclose as he does not want to taint her reputation. The novel opens with the beginning of the trial. Right from the start Deruga, who has not been taken into custody so far, attracts the attention of everyone present through his conspicuous behaviour, which ranges from unmotivated emotional outbursts to complete indifference as to what is going on in the courtroom—at one point he seems to have fallen asleep. Part of his idiosyncratic demeanour is attributed to his Italian ancestry—Deruga was born and raised in poor circumstances in an Italian mountain village and only came to Germany and Austria to read medicine— but the rest is ascribed to his choleric temperament; as the trial proceeds, Deruga turns out to have been living a life somewhat outside the bourgeois society which would harbour people of his professional standing: he neglects his run-down practice, has debts not only with one of his colleagues but with his restaurateur and hairdresser, shuns the local medical society, has frequent and irregular love affairs.

While Deruga himself does not seem to care one way or another, there are two opposing parties: one group, headed by the Baronin Truschkowitz, who feel that a murderer must be brought to justice. They point out his unblemished professional record, therefore say that he must be acquitted; the discovery of a handwritten letter from Mingo Swieter to Deruga triggers a turn of events in Deruga's favour. It is found in the inside pocket of a man's suit, carelessly thrown into a canal in Munich and retrieved by a poor woman, going to sell it to a clothes peddler. In the letter, the first communication between the ex-spouses since their divorce, the dying woman appeals to Deruga to shorten her suffering by performing euthanasia on her. On the last day of the trial, Deruga at last explains how he received the letter took the train to Munich, disguised himself as a peddler, stole into Mingo Swieter's flat while her daily help was away on errands, talked to the dying woman, administered the poison, waited until she was dead, travelled back to Prague, happy to have been able to assist his ex-wife in her hour of need.

In the end Deruga is acquitted. The final chapters of the novel throw some light on the individual characters' motives to act the way they do. Deruga's arch enemy, the Baronin Truschkowitz, who appears throughout the trial as an embittered and vengeful woman only out to get her cousin's inheritance, turns out to be a moral person trapped in a boring marriage who intended to use the money to buy her freedom from her dull husband now that their daughter Mingo has come of age. Neither her unfading beauty, which has not gone unnoticed by Deruga, nor her joie de vivre have tempted her to be unfaithful to her husband, but after her cousin's death she thought the time had come to divorce him; when she meets Deruga after the end of the trial, they are surprised to see that their attraction is mutual, Deruga admits that she is the reason why he has decided to close down his practice and go abroad for good—as far away as humanly possible. Further complications arise when Mingo von Truschkowitz declares her love for Deruga, although he is 25 years her senior.

The Baroness offers him her daughter's hand, but Deruga is too sensible to accept and sticks with his decision to move on. In 1917, the first edition of the German original was published in Berlin by Ullstein and in Freiburg im Breisgau and Zürich by Atlantis Verlag; the novel has been reprinted. In 2007, the Süddeutsche Zeitung chose Der Fall Deruga as one of 100 "great novels of the 20th century" and published a special edition. Der Fall Deruga at Project Gutenberg. EBook, published by McPub, buyable from Mobipocket. In 1938, a UFA movie directed by Fritz Peter Buch was released; the Deruga Case starred Willy Birgel as Deruga, Georg Alexander and Dagny Servaes as Baron and Baronin Truschkowitz