1255: "Columbus"

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dalcde
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1255: "Columbus"

Postby dalcde » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:11 am UTC

Image
Title text: "And thus was smallpox introduced into the previously Undying Lands."

http://xkcd.com/843/

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:12 am UTC

Those kids are going to be wonderfully fucked-up.

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby netcrusher88 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:18 am UTC

When do they learn about the lost island of Atalantë?
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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Quicksilver » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:19 am UTC


dalcde
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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby dalcde » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:27 am UTC

Quicksilver wrote:Reminds me of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yckqyg75oE


When I saw the Great Wall of China I thought it was the only-man-made-object-visible-from-space nonsense :)

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:52 am UTC

Well that response is a lot more fun than merely setting the record straight.
Nicely drawn kids too.
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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby BlitzGirl » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:01 am UTC

I spy mustard! In panel 2, the little squiggly line between White Hat Guy and his dialogue is missing.
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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby The Chosen One » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:03 am UTC

Well, no, see, it's like how Sir Isaac Newton invented gravity, or how Benjamin Franklin invented electricity:
Before Columbus set sail and folded the four corners of the earth into sort of a burrito shape, the world WAS flat.
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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby da Doctah » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:11 am UTC

Everybody knows that when Columbus came to the New World, he landed in Ohio.

(As opposed to the Pilgrims, who according to an old Smothers Brothers album I have here, landed at San Diego.)

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Ghost Story » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:41 am UTC

What Columbus actually thought is so unexpected and fantastic you couldn't make it up. This is from a letter on the third voyage collected in _The Four Voyages_:

"I have always read that the world comprising the land and water was spherical, and the recorded experiences of Ptolemy and all the others have proved this by the eclipses of the moon and other observations made from East to West, as well as the elevation of the Pole from North to South. But as I have already described, I have now seen so much irregularity that I have come to another conclusion respecting the Earth, namely, that it is not round, as they describe, but of the form of a pear, which is very round except where the stalk grows, at which part it is most prominent; or like a round ball, upon part of which is a prominence like a woman's nipple, this protrusion being the highest and nearest the sky, situated under the equinoctial line, and at the eastern extremity of this sea. [He is in the Gulf of Paria, to the north or the north-west of the mouth of the Orinoco.] . . . Ptolemy and the other philosophers who have written upon the globe thought that it was spherical; . . . but this western half of the world, I maintain, is like half a very round pear, having a raised projection for the stalk, as I have already described."


Seriously--nipple-shaped. He says it twice.

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby dalcde » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:08 am UTC

Ghost Story wrote:Seriously--nipple-shaped. He says it twice.


Image

EDIT: Source: http://www.sacred-texts.com/earth/boe/img/fig089.jpg

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby oelbert » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:14 am UTC

Yeah, the Greeks proved the earth was round, and people in medieval Europe knew it. The misconception that Columbus proved that the earth was round bugs the heck out of me...

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Evil Midnight Lurker » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:31 am UTC

In fact, Ferdinand and Isabella were the only monarchs uneducated enough to believe Chris's crackpot theories and fund his obviously doomed expedition.

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby CasualSax » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:36 am UTC

This reminded me so much of Pastwatch I'm surprised it wasn't referenced instead of Lord of the Rings.

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Tova » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:37 am UTC

This comic would have been sooo much better without the "*sigh* no no no" in the first panel, which pretty much telegraphed the punchline.

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby 1001usernames » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:47 am UTC

Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:In fact, Ferdinand and Isabella were the only monarchs uneducated enough to believe Chris's crackpot theories and fund his obviously doomed expedition.

But, let's be clear, the "crackpot theories" centered NOT on the roundness of the earth, but on its size; Colombus claimed that the earth was about half the size that it actually is, and still significantly smaller than the most common estimates of the day (I forget the exact sizes on those). He got lucky because there was an extra continent in the way, but anyone with any sense in a seafaring village in ANY time period could tell that the earth was, if not round, at least endowed with some similar properties; ships always go "down" the horizon, no matter the direction they sail.
Of course, here I am, ranting on this subject, when I'm sure that most of you have already read "Pastwatch" (Orson Scott Card). If you haven't, excellent book, highly recommend.
Also, GREAT segue into LOTR!
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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Angelastic » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:53 am UTC

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:58 am UTC

From what I've read, the reason everyone else was hesitant to fund Columbus was because they knew the world was round and how big it was and that no ship could survive such a long journey on the open sea as it would take to sail all the way from Europe to Asia the long way around, if it was nothing but water the whole way.

Columbus just got lucky that he ran into a continent that nobody (except the people who lived there, and the Vikings, and possibly some Polynesians and maybe a few Chinese) knew existed in the middle of it all, otherwise he and his crew would have died at sea as their supplies ran out halfway to India.
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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Klear » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:04 am UTC

It bugs me how people tend to assume flat and round are opposites. Just look at pizza!

Actually, I believe even back when people thought it was flat, they knew it was round. Round and flat.

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby dalcde » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:15 am UTC

Klear wrote:It bugs me how people tend to assume flat and round are opposites. Just look at pizza!

Actually, I believe even back when people thought it was flat, they knew it was round. Round and flat.

C'mon, "round" is just a lazy way to say "spherical"1

1Technically speaking, ball-shaped

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby JustDoug » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:10 am UTC

Ghost Story wrote:What Columbus actually thought is so unexpected and...

Seriously--nipple-shaped. He says it twice.


Well, in his defense, those usually do come in pairs.

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Armada651 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:31 am UTC

Ghost Story wrote:What Columbus actually thought is so unexpected and fantastic you couldn't make it up. This is from a letter on the third voyage collected in _The Four Voyages_:

Seriously--nipple-shaped. He says it twice.


Washington Irving's 1828 biography of Columbus popularized the idea that Columbus had difficulty obtaining support for his plan because many Catholic theologians insisted that the Earth was flat. In fact, most educated Westerners had understood that the Earth was spherical at least since the time of Aristotle, who lived in the 4th century BC and whose works were widely studied and revered in Medieval Europe.
...
The king submitted Columbus's proposal to his experts, who rejected it. It was their considered opinion that Columbus's estimation of a travel distance of 2,400 miles (3,860 km) was, in fact, far too low.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus

So the reason he was rejected funds for his voyage was not because the experts thought the world was flat, it was because they actually knew the world was round and a lot bigger than Colombus had estimated. So he could never have completed his voyage if the land mass of America wasn't in between.

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:01 pm UTC

dalcde wrote:
Klear wrote:It bugs me how people tend to assume flat and round are opposites. Just look at pizza!

Actually, I believe even back when people thought it was flat, they knew it was round. Round and flat.

C'mon, "round" is just a lazy way to say "spherical"1

1Technically speaking, ball-shaped


Oh, yeah? Tell that to the many denizens of DiscWorld.
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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Cee-Ell » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:06 pm UTC

Well, Columbus' voyage has long been fertile ground for this kind of counterfactual analysis; see R.P. McAffee's seminal 1983 paper "American Economic Growth and the Voyage of Columbus". (google-able)

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Klear » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:06 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:
dalcde wrote:
Klear wrote:It bugs me how people tend to assume flat and round are opposites. Just look at pizza!

Actually, I believe even back when people thought it was flat, they knew it was round. Round and flat.

C'mon, "round" is just a lazy way to say "spherical"1

1Technically speaking, ball-shaped


Oh, yeah? Tell that to the many denizens of DiscWorld.


Indeed. While "round" is just a lazy way to say "spherical", it is also a lazy way to say "disc-shaped".

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby project2051 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:23 pm UTC

Ghost Story wrote:What Columbus actually thought is so unexpected and fantastic you couldn't make it up. This is from a letter on the third voyage collected in _The Four Voyages_:


Seriously--nipple-shaped. He says it twice.



Well, he was on long sea journeys with all male crews.

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Whizbang » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:25 pm UTC

project2051 wrote:
Ghost Story wrote:What Columbus actually thought is so unexpected and fantastic you couldn't make it up. This is from a letter on the third voyage collected in _The Four Voyages_:


Seriously--nipple-shaped. He says it twice.



Well, he was on long sea journeys with all male crews.


Hopefully nobody left him alone with the pears.

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby dalcde » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:45 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
cellocgw wrote:
dalcde wrote:
Klear wrote:It bugs me how people tend to assume flat and round are opposites. Just look at pizza!

Actually, I believe even back when people thought it was flat, they knew it was round. Round and flat.

C'mon, "round" is just a lazy way to say "spherical"1

1Technically speaking, ball-shaped


Oh, yeah? Tell that to the many denizens of DiscWorld.


Indeed. While "round" is just a lazy way to say "spherical", it is also a lazy way to say "disc-shaped".


But it obviously means "ball-shaped" in our discussion (flat vs round)

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby meat.paste » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:56 pm UTC

dalcde wrote:C'mon, "round" is just a lazy way to say "spherical"1

1Technically speaking, ball-shaped


Really technically speaking, it's an oblate spheroid. With 3 nipples to rain milk down on the turtles holding the planet up. (It's turtles all the way down, you know.)
Huh? What?

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Earthling on Mars » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:05 pm UTC

It drives me crazy when I hear somebody say that Columbus proved the world was round. I mean, hello, people, you can't exactly prove that something is spherical1 by sailing partway around it!

Therefore, I consider this comic my birthday present.

1 Yes, I know the earth isn't a perfect sphere.

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby orthogon » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:29 pm UTC

Earthling on Mars wrote:It drives me crazy when I hear somebody say that Columbus proved the world was round. I mean, hello, people, you can't exactly prove that something is spherical1 by sailing partway around it!

So did his expedition make it slightly more likely that the world was flat? Or is that the ravens paradox?
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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Whizbang » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:32 pm UTC

Image

Spoiler:
1255 - Keeping it real.png

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby wumpus » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:17 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:From what I've read, the reason everyone else was hesitant to fund Columbus was because they knew the world was round and how big it was and that no ship could survive such a long journey on the open sea as it would take to sail all the way from Europe to Asia the long way around, if it was nothing but water the whole way.


The two embarrassing parts for Spain were that nobody bothered to check the distance/curvature between Madrid and Toledo (even though the Greeks who wrote about the size of the Earth describe how they figured it out) and that every Portuguese captain* (and anybody else who knew the trick of running the Latitudes) knew exactly how big the Earth was.

* wouldn't you hate to explain where all this gold was coming from when you *knew* that China and India were 10,000+ miles away (note that sailing down the horn of Africa seems to be the shorter route).

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby SlyReaper » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:18 pm UTC

dalcde wrote:
Quicksilver wrote:Reminds me of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yckqyg75oE


When I saw the Great Wall of China I thought it was the only-man-made-object-visible-from-space nonsense :)


What I love about that misconception is that there are plenty of man-made objects visible from space, and the Great Wall of China isn't one of them.

Is it bad that when I first clicked on that youtube video, I thought it was going to be one of those horrific road safety ads? Cute kid in the back seat, distracted-looking dad driving... yeah, I was sure they were going to crash and be killed in some creatively grisly manner.
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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby FrobozzWizard » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:25 pm UTC

da Doctah wrote:Everybody knows that when Columbus came to the New World, he landed in Ohio.


"It's great to be here in Plymouth [New Hampshire], where the Pilgrims landed." - Ravi Shankar (Plymouth NH is approximately 30 miles from the ocean)

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:34 pm UTC

wumpus wrote:The two embarrassing parts for Spain were that nobody bothered to check the distance/curvature between Madrid and Toledo (even though the Greeks who wrote about the size of the Earth describe how they figured it out) and that every Portuguese captain* (and anybody else who knew the trick of running the Latitudes) knew exactly how big the Earth was.

* wouldn't you hate to explain where all this gold was coming from when you *knew* that China and India were 10,000+ miles away (note that sailing down the horn of Africa seems to be the shorter route).

I wonder whether Columbus's return caused any cartographers to consider this possibility that the Earth was a different size/shape than they had previously believed, or if they all basically knew for certain that he had simply discovered a new continent.

Or if there were conspiracy theories about how he must be secretly sailing down around Africa.

SlyReaper wrote:What I love about that misconception is that there are plenty of man-made objects visible from space, and the Great Wall of China isn't one of them.

What's the smallest man-made object visible from space? We can take "visible from space" to mean "visible to the naked eye from the ISS when there aren't any clouds blocking the view". Could one of the ISS astronauts see a laser pointer at night if it was trained on the ISS?

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Postby ve_ » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:50 pm UTC

i wonder if there are any tile-shaped worlds..

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Klear » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:10 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:Could one of the ISS astronauts see a laser pointer at night if it was trained on the ISS?


I guess that would depend on what laser pointer.

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby orthogon » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:12 pm UTC

Your mom is visible from space.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1255: "Columbus"

Postby Whizbang » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:16 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:Your mom is visible from space.


I disagree.


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