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#5702 - 08/26/00 08:26 PM
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409

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#5703 - 08/27/00 02:33 PM Re: North is up, and South is down - sez hu?
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Okay, I'll lay myself out for correction/argument/ridicule--
haven't anything better to do just now, anyway.

Max, I am going to respond as though your question is asking why our world is considered right-side-up in maps that have North America, Europe, etc., above Tasmania, NZ,
etc. (In part because I haven't a clue as to where the
labels North and South came from.)

This would seem to be a problem to which the simplest solution may be right: it makes sense to me that it is this
way because not only did the northern hemisphere produce
cultures advanced enough to explore the globe and make maps
first, it produced vaster quantities of explorers/mapmakers.

I envision centuries-ago scenes where they looked at each other and agreed that of course the lands they were familiar with were "above", in all senses, the lands filled
with either uncivilized people, or no people, or at least which did not have representatives in sufficient quantities to make their view prevail. (You-all, don't take me literally on that one.)

I also imagine that early mapmakers in say, Australia, whom I don't actually believe were hanging off the bottom of the earth (!), probably drew maps of their continent with the part we call the South Pole at the top. They just walked/rode "up" and "down" and back and forth across their continent, and became aware of the curvature of the earth
just as the explorers of the opposite hemisphere did. And, to them, the coldest part would be toward the narrower "top".


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#5704 - 08/27/00 02:49 PM
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409

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#5705 - 08/27/00 03:18 PM Re: North is up, and South is down - sez hu?
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
Perhaps I'm oversimplifying this, but maybe they just picked one direction and universalized it. Maybe it wasn't a choice of superiority, but just a capricious decision made by a famous map maker, and it caught on, just like how misused words catch on.

And in response to: New puzzle - why would the wonderfully whimsical spell-checker suggest "O'Brien" as a replacement for "NZ"?

I would say that it's because this spell checker goes to the next alphabetical word, and seeing as there are no possible words beginning with N that can come after NZ, it moves on to the first existing word that begins with O, this being O'Brien because numbers, apostrophes and other non-alphabetical characters come first.


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#5706 - 08/27/00 04:13 PM
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
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#5707 - 08/27/00 10:32 PM Re: North is up, and South is down - sez hu?
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10513
Loc: this too shall pass
okay, here are some thoughts on your north v. south puzzle:
the earth is a giant magnet and as such has the usual magnetic properties, such as magnetic poles. (the North magnetic pole is *very displaced from the geographic pole.) perhaps these magnetic poles place N/S by convention. another question to ask is in regards to the discovery of earth magnetism in relation to the cartography conventions.
I don't have any answers to these questions, it just seems that this might be something to consider....




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#5708 - 08/27/00 11:15 PM
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409

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#5709 - 08/28/00 12:41 AM Re: North is up, and South is down - sez hu?
lusy Offline
member

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 140
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Since compasses always point North, I suppose it makes sense to have that direction at the top of one's compass, at 12 o'clock, rather than at 6 o'clock.

Yes, one end of the compass needle indeed points north, but the other end points just as surely south. So why should we of the (anglicised) Antipuses be forced to have the tops of our compasses indicating a spot some 6 or 7,000 miles away beneath our feet?

sakezuki lusy
(somewhat in the grip of post-golf Shiraz)


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#5710 - 08/28/00 02:14 AM Re: North is up, and South is down - sez hu?
Bingley Offline
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Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
I wonder if the answer might not have something to do with globes. When the first globes were made most, if not all, of the customers would have been in Europe. It's easier to see something when it's at the top of a globe than when it's at the bottom, especially if the globe is on a stand on the floor. At the time not much was known about the Southern hemisphere so if you put South at the top, you would have lots of embarrassing gaps at the top and all the stuff your customers are interested in down at the bottom where it's difficult to see.

Bingley
_________________________
Bingley

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#5711 - 08/28/00 07:18 AM
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409

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