0503: "Terminology"

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filecore
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Re: Terminology

Postby filecore » Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:49 am UTC

While I feel that I shouldn't really be shocked by pointless self-promoting spam on teh intarwebs, this one is beginning to get annoying.

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Re: Terminology

Postby thornahawk » Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:50 pm UTC

Don't worry, I forsee some text-replacing or text-deleting ninjas about to come by... ;)

Back (somewhat) on topic: you'd wonder why it's easier to buy a magnetic compass than a gyrocompass...

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Re: Terminology

Postby freewilly » Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:31 am UTC

Hey everybody, the comic is on strangemaps!

...Is anyone else excited about this besides me?

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OmegaLord
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Re: Terminology

Postby OmegaLord » Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:28 pm UTC

Posi wrote:
davieb wrote:I live in Arizona. It always annoys me when people refer to Kansas as the "Midwest." Excuse me, do you mean the "Mideast?"

I'm from British Columbia, and I have the same feeling about people calling Manitoba "Western Canada"...

Haha I thought you said western Cuba and I was pretty sure I was wrong about every geography lesson ever.
So what do you guys know about *glances down at sheet* the kingdoms of orgasms
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Jianlibao
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Re: Terminology

Postby Jianlibao » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:42 pm UTC

*reviving ancient thread*

My own situation is far worse.
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Pfhorrest
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Re: Terminology

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:42 am UTC

Somewhat tangential: I live on what people around here call the "South Coast", which is actually a south-facing portion of the west coast of the US. As such, all the highways that run through here along the coast are labelled "northbound" or "southbound"; however, following the coast as they do, around here they actually run east-west despite their names. Adding to the confusion, folks from the general west-coast area tend to think of "toward the ocean" as west and "inland" as east. Since most people have no sense of true geographic orientation and go by landmarks and such instead, the freeways and ocean confuses the hell out of half the people here, and you occasionally hear people say things like how annoying it is to be driving "north" into the sunset on their way home from work.

Back more on topic, I'd like to second both Randall's point in the comic, and the earlier comments about the "midwest" being midway east from my own personal "center of the universe" here in California. Here in the "western world" things seem to have a very pervasive Eurocentric theme to them, to the point that not only is north "up" and south "down" (a common association easy enough to understand given how we print our maps), but (here in the US at least) west is "out" and east is "back", (e.g. "heading out west" or "heading back east") reflecting the direction in which this continent was settled by the now-dominant people of European descent.

I've asked several Australian friends if there are any similar associations related to direction-of-settlement there, and the answer seems to be a "no", but I'm curious: anybody else around the world hear similar types of direction-names used in your area?
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Jianlibao
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Re: Terminology

Postby Jianlibao » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:54 am UTC

The reason why Australia does not have the same associations is probably due to the somewhat uniform nature of its colonization and expansion - the British didn't start on one side and move accross, but rather put colonies (prisons) on all corners of the continent and then pushed in from all directions.

Also, on a note semi-related to your south coast comments, I think it is worth mentioning the confusing case of Maine, where people talk about going "down east" and also make references of going "up" (south) to Boston.

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filecore
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Re: Terminology

Postby filecore » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:24 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Here in the "western world" things seem to have a very pervasive Eurocentric theme to them


Of course they do. Who do you think built the modern "western world"? It existed long before the USA. And that's perhaps the point - look at a map of the world from before the discovery of the USA. You'll find a big, long landmass, starting at the UK, with nothing else to the west of it (because of the Atlantic which, presumably, flows over the edge of the world). Therefore Europe and the UK are the westernmost point. You can continue to go east, however, through Europe to Asia (the "Middle East"), and finally as far as the eastern terminus of the landmass, and to Japan (the "Far East"). The reason it's harder for Americans to spot this - apart from a historical and cultural view which puts the USA on every map, and usually dead centre - is that in the USA map, there is more than one landmass! Therefore, absolute terms such as "the West" and "the Far East" become meaningless since, as Randall points out, it's all relative.

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Pfhorrest
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Re: Terminology

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:45 am UTC

Yes, I'm not at all complaining about the trivial vestigial Eurocentricities of the modern "western" world, just laughing at them just like the comic. If native Americans had been more technologically advanced than Europeans and they had sailed across the Atlantic to make first contact, we might call all of Eurasia & Africa "the east". But then people who live in Japan could still be laughing today that California is considered "the West" when it's to the east of them. Which I figured was the whole point of this comic: "ha ha, such quaint location-centric names for regions that don't really apply on a spherical world."

Oh, and on most maps that I've seen here in the US, the Americas are not central to them. They're usually on the left (west) edge, with Europe and Africa down the center. Honestly I kinda like maps that have the Pacific Ocean centered for some reason (with the Americas on the right/east side and Eurasia on the left/west side). I think it's just seeing the world arranged a different way than usual that catches my interest. "Upside-down" maps (north on the bottom, south on the top) are also pretty cool.
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filecore
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Re: Terminology

Postby filecore » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:15 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Oh, and on most maps that I've seen here in the US, the Americas are not central to them. They're usually on the left (west) edge, with Europe and Africa down the center.


Those are usually centred on the Prime Meridian, since even the USA still abides by being 'minus' hours from GMT. I wonder how long it'll be until we move to a new time system which makes the meridian start down the centre of the USA...

haigais
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Re: "Terminology" Discussion

Postby haigais » Sat May 29, 2010 3:21 pm UTC

I used to think you guys were smart but I suppose this is a differing perspectives thing.

It's euro-centric, like most ideas throughout history. Because Europe was the centre of history. Colonialism etc.

West (America) ---------- Europe (centre) ------ Middle East ------- Far East (Asia)

Everything 'Westernised" is American not European, we borrow from you. ;-)

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filecore
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Re: "Terminology" Discussion

Postby filecore » Sun May 30, 2010 6:03 pm UTC

You joined just to post the exact same thing that I posted? And probably several people before me? Congratulations, you win the Award of Redundancy Award for Redundancy. You also get a free foot massage for the effort of signing up just to post that.

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Re: Terminology

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:31 pm UTC

It's been said by several people already, but no-one is the centre of the universe. My point is that this is actually the only xkcd that makes randall look stupid (except for the alt text). Don't get cross - I said the only one - all the others combine humour with insight.

haigais wrote:I used to think you guys were smart but I suppose this is a differing perspectives thing.
It's euro-centric, like most ideas throughout history. Because Europe was the centre of history. Colonialism etc.
West (America) ---------- Europe (centre) ------ Middle East ------- Far East (Asia)
Everything 'Westernised" is American not European, we borrow from you. ;-)

Before you comment on other people not being smart: civilisation started in the Middle East. In present day Iraq (and ancient civilisations were carefully NOT considered or protected in the 2nd gulf war). Law, writing, professions and all that, it all started there. Just thought you should know.
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djn wrote:On a tangential note, things fit into place for me when I found out that the North sea (west of Norway, mostly) and the East sea (south of Sweden) are relative to Frisia - and there's a South and Middle sea as well, in the Netherlands.

Except that we killed the South Sea and the Middle Sea. We haven't gotten around to finishing off the North Sea yet, but it can only be a matter of time.
70% of the Earth's surface is water. One day, we Dutch will have reclaimed it all, and we will rule the world :)

You know, in the Dutch version of the Hitchhiker's Guide TTG (the radio drama), Slartibartfast informs Arthur Dent that The Netherlands will be deleted from Earth 2 as a punishment for messing with their coastline. Perhaps rightly so - you design some award winning beauties of coastlines, and then some bastard inhabitants come along and start messing things up.
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