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Sideways Globes

 
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brian-hansen
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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:08 pm    Post subject: Sideways Globes Reply with quote

I was contemplating the construction of an orrery to be able to demonstrate the motions of the earth in a graphic and compelling way, and started to contemplate why a simple globe was inadequate to the task. The results surprised me.

I'll just say that at noon, on the equinox, at the equator, something very special happens. At that point, you could realize that the rotation of the earth is moving you and everything around you, in the direction of due East, at the speed of approximately 1000 miles per hour.

Forgetting, for a moment, the complications introduced by considering different times and places, the idea of moving East at a thousand miles per hour, is, or can be, a compelling image. Many find it jarring if they have not thought very deeply about it before. I've even noticed an odd phenomenon where people seem to have a kind of subconscious image that they are actually moving West, along with the sun. A shift to an Eastward movement orientation might be doubly disorienting.

Every globe I've ever seen suffers from the problems associated with putting North on the TOP.

We're used to North being "UP" on the map, but if we really want to get oriented, we lay the map down, and make sure that East on the map points to the East, and North on the map points to the North. Globes don't do that.

I don't know why I haven't seen one, for all I know they were the rage in the 17th century, but when I just searched Google for "sideways globe" I got no hits even remotely relevant to this idea. Turning a globe sideways, that is, rotating it 90 degrees, and orienting it so that North on the globe points to due North, and not "UP" makes understanding the effects of the Earth's spin vastly easier. It gives it, for once, a visceral effect, as opposed to a necessarily abstract one.

I see two immediate offshoots from this idea: 1) I'd love to see globes manufactured this way, and 2) I might be further inspired to find some globes to experiment with.

In our real experience, the apparent movements of the sun and moon are from East to West across the sky. Ignoring latitude and season for a moment, the reality is more nearly the opposite, of course. We move, along with the Earth, on a course roughly West to East. Since the Earth's diameter is approximately 25000 miles, and one rotation is completed in 24 hours, the Earth is rotating at the rate of approximately 1,000 miles per hour.*

I'm forced to conclude that a kind of groupthink of "North is UP" has been an impediment to being able to use globes effectively. A Sideways Globe could correct that problem and unleash peoples' intuitions about the world we inhabit.



* as usual, at noon, at the equator, during an equinox.
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I have this image of the classic old English scientist with his globe, laying, as you describe, with the north south axis on its side...one of those big globes in the study, coffee table height.

I then looked up Victorian globe finding:

http://nosslak.deviantart.com/art/Victorian-Globe-187932455

And this:

http://www.onlinegalleries.com/antiques/d/a-victorian-36-inch-terrestrial-%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%98colossus%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99-globe-by-thomas-malby-4471721-by-thomas-malby-globes/85257

I believe this would allow you to tilt it as much as you would want even 90 degrees.

Ideally I guess your own place on the globe should be set perpendicular to the floor...say London for example would be "on top" of the globe to a person looking down at it.
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brian-hansen
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So far as I can tell, both the links you provide stay within the dominant "North is UP" paradigm. As do many good globes they also capture the tilt of the Earth relative to the Sun. It is conceivable that they are built in such a way that the tilt could be user-defined, but I would deem it unlikely. In any case I would not want to lose the ability to include the Earth's tilt into one of my "sideways" globes.

As for the image of the old English scientist, I do not share it. If I recall correctly, I've never seen a globe constructed in such a way, nor any pictures of such. I've only imagined it.
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still, I am agreeing with you. The globe could be positioned in such a way that looking down at it perpendicular to the ground would be the same as looking down at the Earth itself.
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found this globe a museum gift shop yesterday and took a video thinking it might approach what you are describing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PYt6V2XiB4
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