What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Klear » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:50 am UTC

SlyReaper wrote:Of course we all know the reason the sun never sets on the british empire; god wouldn't trust an englishman in the dark.


Edit: OK, so typing drunk isn't as awesome as I thought. I wanted to write: That's a win if I ever saw one.
Sorry for the inconvenience. I'm leaving the original post in code tags.

Code: Select all

That'd s ein if Oi ecer sow one.

Also, ¨,m drunl =)

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Epistemonas » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:53 am UTC

brenok wrote:A historically accurate representation of the growth of the British Empire:

Spoiler:
Image

The claim doesn’t count if the flag is upside-down, does it?

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Popup » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:07 am UTC

mathmannix wrote:Let me know if I missed any others!


Thanks for the thorough investigation!

I thought that Scotland could have warranted inclusion (in the pre-union days) with its doomed colony in present-day Panama (New Caledonia) and it's namesake Nouvelle-Calédonie in Oceania.

However, it looks like the Scots never had anything to do with the Pacific-Ocean archipelago, except for its name.

(And in winter the sun sets over Nouvelle-Calédonie before it rises in Edinburgh.)

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby mathmannix » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:24 pm UTC

Popup wrote:
mathmannix wrote:Let me know if I missed any others!


Thanks for the thorough investigation!

I thought that Scotland could have warranted inclusion (in the pre-union days) with its doomed colony in present-day Panama (New Caledonia) and it's namesake Nouvelle-Calédonie in Oceania.

However, it looks like the Scots never had anything to do with the Pacific-Ocean archipelago, except for its name.

(And in winter the sun sets over Nouvelle-Calédonie before it rises in Edinburgh.)


Don't forget Nova Scotia... but, yeah. Still can't count New Caledonia - it was settled long after the Acts of Union.
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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby penguinoid » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:43 pm UTC

I immediatly thought of this video --

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df-uemc-e3w

Okay, not about flags, but it is about another tricky problem. What to name those new colonies...

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby WriteBrainedJR » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:12 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:Of course we all know the reason the sun never sets on the british empire; god wouldn't trust an englishman in the dark.


Edit: OK, so typing drunk isn't as awesome as I thought. I wanted to write: That's a win if I ever saw one.
Sorry for the inconvenience. I'm leaving the original post in code tags.

Code: Select all

That'd s ein if Oi ecer sow one.

Also, ¨,m drunl =)

I find no end to amusement at how bad people are at typing while drunk.

My drunk typing is actually intelligible, even good, probably because of the sheer volume of writing I do.

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby ijuin » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:56 pm UTC

keithl wrote:Satellites.

The UK Ministry of Defence and Astrium operate five "Skynet" geostationary satellites. In spring and fall, each is briefly eclipsed once per day, but never all five at once. None are, AFAIK, populated by restless native populations, though none produce tasty takeaway, either.

If you think these aren't national territory, try shooting at one.


By treaty, orbital space is legally equivalent to the High Seas, with each craft or satellite equivalent to a ship on the High Seas, and under the jurisdiction of its launching nation. As such, attacking a British Ministry of Defense satellite is legally equivalent to attacking a Royal Navy vessel.

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby firechicago » Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:06 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:Of course we all know the reason the sun never sets on the british empire; god wouldn't trust an englishman in the dark.

Can't blame him, he was a public school boy, after all.

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Klear » Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:22 pm UTC

WriteBrainedJR wrote:
Klear wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:Of course we all know the reason the sun never sets on the british empire; god wouldn't trust an englishman in the dark.


Edit: OK, so typing drunk isn't as awesome as I thought. I wanted to write: That's a win if I ever saw one.
Sorry for the inconvenience. I'm leaving the original post in code tags.

Code: Select all

That'd s ein if Oi ecer sow one.

Also, ¨,m drunl =)

I find no end to amusement at how bad people are at typing while drunk.

My drunk typing is actually intelligible, even good, probably because of the sheer volume of writing I do.


Oh god.. I completely forgot I wrote that :oops:

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby 5th Earth » Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:08 pm UTC

Just thought I should mention that Pitcairn island's main source of income is selling stamps to stamp collectors.

The British postal service takes great pride in the fact that you can send and receive mail from Pitcairn Island, though delivery time is pretty variable as you basically have to ask a commercial ship captain to pick up and drop off the mail bags when s/he's in the area. This is compounded by the fact that the island doesn't lie along any major shipping routes, the the ships have to go significantly out of their way to do so. Pitcairn island makes its own stamps, which due to the difficulty of obtaining them, are highly prized by collectors.

They also harvest coconuts using rifles.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Kit. » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:11 pm UTC

they are not part of any empire that they know of

Love this part.

mathmannix wrote:The Russian Empire just before 1868 extended from what are now Poland, the Baltic States, and Finland, to Alaska. Just in Alaska, there were months of endless sunshine in the summer months... but the sun set every day in the winter. Around January 1, the sun sets in Klaipėda, Lithuania at 4:13 pm (1413 UTC), and doesn't rise in Juneau, Alaska until 8:45 am (1745 UTC), 3 and a half hours later.

You forgot Fort Ross, California. Still slightly over a hour without the sun, though.

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby project2051 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:47 pm UTC

WriteBrainedJR wrote:
Klear wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:Of course we all know the reason the sun never sets on the british empire; god wouldn't trust an englishman in the dark.


Edit: OK, so typing drunk isn't as awesome as I thought. I wanted to write: That's a win if I ever saw one.
Sorry for the inconvenience. I'm leaving the original post in code tags.

Code: Select all

That'd s ein if Oi ecer sow one.

Also, ¨,m drunl =)

I find no end to amusement at how bad people are at typing while drunk.

My drunk typing is actually intelligible, even good, probably because of the sheer volume of writing I do.


Not to mention the volume of drinking.

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby NotAllThere » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:17 am UTC

It sounds like a great climax to a sci-fi novel.

"...and the sun finally set on the British Empire".

Until a bunch of pedants said "hey- that's not a sunset, it's an eclipse".

The End.
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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Quicksilver » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:21 am UTC

NotAllThere wrote:It sounds like a great climax to a sci-fi novel.

"...and the sun finally set on the British Empire".

Until a bunch of pedants said "hey- that's not a sunset, it's an eclipse".

The End.
The true ending to the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby NotAllThere » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:14 am UTC

For some reason 8-) this song seems appropriate:

All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel.
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save.
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy,
beg, borrow or steal.
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say.
All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight.
All that is now
All that is gone
All that's to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby mathmannix » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:01 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:You forgot Fort Ross, California. Still slightly over a hour without the sun, though.


Fixed, thanks.
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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby addams » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:08 pm UTC

Everything under the Sun is in tune.
But; The Sun is eclipsed by the Moon.


That is lovely. What does that mean to you?
Just, Fact?
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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby gene123 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:02 pm UTC

addams wrote:Everything under the Sun is in tune.
But; The Sun is eclipsed by the Moon.


That is lovely. What does that mean to you?
Just, Fact?


That sometimes the person who gets noticed is not the one being the brightest, or the one who contributes most to your well-being, but the one who just happens to be in the middle. :wink:

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby pitareio » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:15 pm UTC

5th Earth wrote:Just thought I should mention that Pitcairn island's main source of income is selling stamps to stamp collectors.

The British postal service takes great pride in the fact that you can send and receive mail from Pitcairn Island, though delivery time is pretty variable as you basically have to ask a commercial ship captain to pick up and drop off the mail bags when s/he's in the area. This is compounded by the fact that the island doesn't lie along any major shipping routes, the the ships have to go significantly out of their way to do so. Pitcairn island makes its own stamps, which due to the difficulty of obtaining them, are highly prized by collectors.

They also harvest coconuts using rifles.


I love how the last sentence connects with your signature (at the time of this writing, "It seemed like a good idea at the time.").

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Uzh » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:27 pm UTC

nigenet wrote:But an eclipse isn't the sun setting, it just goes dark for a bit


But every sun setting is an eclipse. The earth stands in the way between the sun and you.

And - of course - the sunset was meant for the spanish empire of Charles V. I think...

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:51 pm UTC

A sunset is an eclipse of the local star by the body you are resting on (or "falling toward" for those who aren't at rest). So for those of us here on Earth, sunset is when the Earth eclipses the sun. If you were on the moon, then when the moon elcipses the sun (from your position on the moon, not necessarily from the Earth) would be your sunset. But if you're on Earth, the moon elipsing the sun doesn't count as a sunset.

Awesome photo op: a panorama taken from a point on the moon where sunset occurs exactly at the same time as the onset of a solar eclipse on Earth. So on one side you have sunset over the moon, and on the other side you have Earthrise, with a moonshadow cast on the rising Earth.
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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby ijuin » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:05 am UTC

That would not quite be an Earthrise, since the moon is tidally locked to the Earth. From any location on the moon, the Earth is motionless in the sky except for motions of a few degrees caused by the eccentricity and obliquity of the moon's orbit, which happen based on the moon's geocentric motion, with no relation to the relative position of the sun.

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:02 am UTC

ijuin wrote:That would not quite be an Earthrise, since the moon is tidally locked to the Earth. From any location on the moon, the Earth is motionless in the sky except for motions of a few degrees caused by the eccentricity and obliquity of the moon's orbit, which happen based on the moon's geocentric motion, with no relation to the relative position of the sun.

Ahh good point, I forgot about that. Which makes picking the spot to set up that shot easy: anywhere along what looks from Earth like the edge of the disc of the moon. Then just wait for a solar eclipse and bam, you've got your shot.
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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby addams » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:28 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:A sunset is an eclipse of the local star by the body you are resting on (or "falling toward" for those who aren't at rest). So for those of us here on Earth, sunset is when the Earth eclipses the sun. If you were on the moon, then when the moon elcipses the sun (from your position on the moon, not necessarily from the Earth) would be your sunset. But if you're on Earth, the moon elipsing the sun doesn't count as a sunset.

Awesome photo op: a panorama taken from a point on the moon where sunset occurs exactly at the same time as the onset of a solar eclipse on Earth. So on one side you have sunset over the moon, and on the other side you have Earthrise, with a moonshadow cast on the rising Earth.

Well described. Can you make a photoshop of it?
I would like to see it.

Your description will do, nicely.
It allows me to imagine the shadow of the moon moving across the surface of Earth.
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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Koyaanisqatsi » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:44 am UTC

CharlieP wrote:
phlip wrote:
xkcd wrote:Two hundred years from now, in April of 2432
Now, I'm no numerologist, but I think there might be something slightly wrong there...

Also, since it's not explicitly mentioned, does anyone want to check that he's correct after accounting for seasons? Most of the islands mentioned are pretty close to the equator, so I imagine the effect is small, but still...


The question is essentially - can you draw a Great Circle around the Earth such that all British territories are on one side of it? If the answer is no (which it is), then the sun will never set on the British Empire.

(If the answer were yes, you would then need to check that the centre(s) of your circle wasn't "out of bounds", i.e. north of the Arctic Circle and vice-versa)

Not exactly, that would only prove that the center of the sun never passes below the horizon, but the sunset takes time. This is why the day and night are not the same length on equinoxes. Just the sun's center is above and below the horizon for the same amount of time.

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby OP Tipping » Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:02 pm UTC

About a year ago, I was considering a similar, but not identical, question: can all of the current British territory be contained in a hemisphere.

To test this I drew the great circles centred on certain parts of the Empire: Pitcairn, Shetlands, the BIOT, Bermuda and the Falklands.

Image

Long story short, the answer is no: there is no hemisphere that contains all of the Empire.

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby ijuin » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:28 am UTC

Epistemonas wrote:
brenok wrote:A historically accurate representation of the growth of the British Empire:

Spoiler:
Image

The claim doesn’t count if the flag is upside-down, does it?


AFAIK, a LOT of non-British people are unaware that the Union Jack is not symmetrical about both axes, and instead believe that it looks exactly identical no matter which side is on top or which side is against the flag pole.

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Klear » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:27 am UTC

ijuin wrote:
Epistemonas wrote:
brenok wrote:A historically accurate representation of the growth of the British Empire:

Spoiler:
Image

The claim doesn’t count if the flag is upside-down, does it?


AFAIK, a LOT of non-British people are unaware that the Union Jack is not symmetrical about both axes, and instead believe that it looks exactly identical no matter which side is on top or which side is against the flag pole.


Pst! I found out not long ago and since then I can't not see the terribly asymmetry. And to think it used to be my favourite foreign flag =(

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby pitareio » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:52 pm UTC

OP Tipping wrote:About a year ago, I was considering a similar, but not identical, question: can all of the current British territory be contained in a hemisphere.

To test this I drew the great circles centred on certain parts of the Empire: Pitcairn, Shetlands, the BIOT, Bermuda and the Falklands.

Image

Long story short, the answer is no: there is no hemisphere that contains all of the Empire.


So, the UK would have eternal sun even without the British Isles? I really have no idea how to interpret your graph.

I'd like to know if the same applies to France without the metropolitan part, I suspect it would because the daytime in Mayotte and Guyane should overlap but I'm just guessing.

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Red Hal » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:53 am UTC

Shetland is considered a part of the UKOG BANI proper and a part of the British Isles.
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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:19 pm UTC

First off, that's a really odd place for a space in the acronym. = )

Second, while that's true, the graph doesn't contain a hemisphere that contains everything but the SHET marker. The only hemisphere that isolates just one territory is the black line, which isolates the British Indian Ocean Territory from everything else. Of course, unless I'm very much misunderstanding something, these hemispheres aren't falling on longitude lines, so they're a higher bar than just the sunset-less empire.
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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Red Hal » Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:08 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:First off, that's a really odd place for a space in the acronym. = )

Second, while that's true, the graph doesn't contain a hemisphere that contains everything but the SHET marker. The only hemisphere that isolates just one territory is the black line, which isolates the British Indian Ocean Territory from everything else. Of course, unless I'm very much misunderstanding something, these hemispheres aren't falling on longitude lines, so they're a higher bar than just the sunset-less empire.
The Acronym was used in that format in a song on a comedy show on BBC Radio 4 - they had a character representing the UK called "Eucog Barney", and it sort of stuck with me (and seemed appropriate here) As to the hemisphere thing, I was merely pointing out the fact that Shetland is a reasonable stand-in for the rest of the British Isles in that graph, but one could have as easily picked any point on the mainland.
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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby CharlieP » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:43 am UTC

keithl wrote:Satellites.

The UK Ministry of Defence and Astrium operate five "Skynet" geostationary satellites. In spring and fall, each is briefly eclipsed once per day, but never all five at once. None are, AFAIK, populated by restless native populations, though none produce tasty takeaway, either.

If you think these aren't national territory, try shooting at one.


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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby bmonk » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:03 pm UTC

imantodes wrote:What nigenet said. Eclipse is not sunset.

If we're worried about events during which the sun is not directly visible even though it is above the horizon (i.e., -not sunset-), then presumably overcast days are more of a concern than eclipse. I'm sure the sun not being visible in the British Empire is a reasonably common event, eclipse or no.

We could use the definition of "sunset" from What-If 0042: "Longest Sunset"
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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby Kaiman » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:26 am UTC

Those bracketed footnotes seriously need to open a new tabs rather than surprise renavigating your current tab.

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Re: What-If 0048: "Sunset on the British Empire"

Postby january1may » Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:04 pm UTC

There was, in fact, a tiny western possession of the Russian Empire that escaped the list: the German town of Jever (now in the Friesland district of Germany), which was Russian up to 1818 because of complicated dynastic stuff (then they gave it back because it was pretty meaningless to have).
As far as I could calculate, this still isn't enough to bridge the gap; it does make the margin as close as 15 minutes - but still no endless sun :D

I suppose that, between Alaska, Maine, Hawaii, Philippines, US Virgin Islands and the American occupation zone in Berlin, there could've been enough US territory to just about make a full year of continuous endless sun at some point in 1944-'46. But I didn't do much calculation, and couldn't find any definite dates for the Berlin occupation anyway.
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