0503: "Terminology"

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thornahawk
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Re: Terminology

Postby thornahawk » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:45 am UTC

Using the term "Middle East" of course implies a Eurocentric viewpoint. ;P

Oriental/Occidental or Old/New World, same banana. Somebody just says *WE* are the center and everything else is relative to us, nothing more.

For perspective, we're a mere speck in a lightyears-wide star system.

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Re: Terminology

Postby Geolophile » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:48 am UTC

I believe that Japan, New Zealand, Panama and that skank Indonesia are part of a little club called the Oceanic Island Arc Assosication.

When oceanic plates collide, the denser one will sink under the other, getting pushed down into the upper mantle where it is subjected to unimaginable amounts of pressure. There's so much pressure down there that the rock itself metamorphoses and water is literally squeezed out of it and up into the lighter oceanic plate, soaking the otherwise dry-as-bone rock there, trapping it. Adding water to rock under pressure has the curious effect of making it melt, and so vast expanses of sub-terrainian magma are formed, put under pressure, and eventually erupt to the surface, creating volcanic outpourings that can straddle the globe in an arc formation reflecting the pressure of the tectonic collision.

But then again, I think only the North Island is part of a volcanic arc. Hey don't ask me I'm just an undergrad.

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Snowdream
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Re: Terminology

Postby Snowdream » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:50 am UTC

thornahawk wrote:Using the term "Middle East" of course implies a Eurocentric viewpoint. ;P

Oriental/Occidental or Old/New World, same banana. Somebody just says *WE* are the center and everything else is relative to us, nothing more.

For perspective, we're a mere speck in a lightyears-wide star system.

~ Werner


Well, actually Middle east can't apply because its a distance thing to Europeans, its actually the 'Near East.' Middle East is actually an American thing.
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Re: Terminology

Postby Unforgiven » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:50 am UTC

It's always worked fine for me, having lived both in western Europe (the Netherlands) and east Asia (Japan).

At least the Netherlands are aptly named: you can't get any lower than that without going underground. :)
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Re: Terminology

Postby pyroman » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:53 am UTC

sje46 wrote:
pyroman wrote:I agree with randall on this one although a very wise man once said "Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view"

bonus points is you can name the quote

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Re: Terminology

Postby frezik » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:59 am UTC

thornahawk wrote:Using the term "Middle East" of course implies a Eurocentric viewpoint. ;P

Oriental/Occidental or Old/New World, same banana. Somebody just says *WE* are the center and everything else is relative to us, nothing more.


Which is why I always prefered the Dymaxian Projection. We're all just living on one big island.
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Re: Terminology

Postby ferdie » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:00 am UTC

ahaha! i know right!
where does the sun actually rise and set is what confuses me

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Re: Terminology

Postby Roiden » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:02 am UTC

macrocephalic wrote:I have to say I'm slightly offended. I thought Randall was above this. The whole problem is that he put America in the middle of his map - if he fixed that problem then it would be much easier to understand



The comic is from Randall's reference point. He lives in America. Can you really blame him for using his own geographical location as the focus point behind an issue he has with terminology, particularly because that issue stems from the fact that he lives where he lives?

The comic wouldn't make sense if America wasn't in the middle

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Re: Terminology

Postby Handie » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:03 am UTC

macrocephalic wrote:I have to say I'm slightly offended. I thought Randall was above this. The whole problem is that he put America in the middle of his map - if he fixed that problem then it would be much easier to understand


That is the worst of it i think. Yanks thinkin they are the centre of everything :P
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Re: Terminology

Postby digory » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:04 am UTC

as for the up/down terminology
i find myself using "up" to mean "toward grater population density"
and vice-versa
it makes more sense to me

Majutsukai
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Re: Terminology

Postby Majutsukai » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:05 am UTC

Image

Fixed.

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Re: Terminology

Postby SocialSceneRepairman » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:05 am UTC

My first thought seeing this comic: "when did Randall move?"

Look, you guys (starting around...say, Syracuse) are west of the part of the country where you can actually tell the states apart from each other and where cities don't have to be 400 miles apart to tell the difference. That makes you West, and that's all that matters.

(This post goes out to everyone who laughed when they saw Costello's safehouse was in Sheffield.)

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Re: Terminology

Postby Interactive Civilian » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:08 am UTC

Majutsukai wrote:Image

Fixed.

Hahahahahaha... Exactly. Center on Greenwich, and it makes much more sense.
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MeisBarry
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Re: Terminology

Postby MeisBarry » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:12 am UTC

It only really makes sense if you're on the 'other' landmass. West is Europe, east is Asia. We were mostly settled by those from the West so.....America is super-West?

The world is flat.

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Re: Terminology

Postby SocialSceneRepairman » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:13 am UTC

How about we just make it top-down and thus a moot point?

Possibly with a rotation animation.

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Re: Terminology

Postby cephalopod9 » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:15 am UTC

For a comic that usually puts some thought into drawing things to scale, why is Greenand the same size and Africa?!

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?"

Is that where that is? I'm from Arizona too, and I guess I don't here people talk about Kansas much.
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Re: Terminology

Postby BwaHaHa » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:16 am UTC

Snowdream wrote:
thornahawk wrote:Using the term "Middle East" of course implies a Eurocentric viewpoint. ;P

Oriental/Occidental or Old/New World, same banana. Somebody just says *WE* are the center and everything else is relative to us, nothing more.

For perspective, we're a mere speck in a lightyears-wide star system.

~ Werner


Well, actually Middle east can't apply because its a distance thing to Europeans, its actually the 'Near East.' Middle East is actually an American thing.


I thought the Middle East and Near East referred to different places...who knew?
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Re: Terminology

Postby sje46 » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:17 am UTC

SocialSceneRepairman wrote:My first thought seeing this comic: "when did Randall move?"

Look, you guys (starting around...say, Syracuse) are west of the part of the country where you can actually tell the states apart from each other and where cities don't have to be 400 miles apart to tell the difference. That makes you West, and that's all that matters.

(This post goes out to everyone who laughed when they saw Costello's safehouse was in Sheffield.)

Why is this comment so confusing?
Who the heck is Costello? What state is Sheffeild? What correlation does the distance between cities have with the ability to tell the difference between them?
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Re: Terminology

Postby standinginherfield » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:18 am UTC

OH MY GOD YES!

that's all.
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MrBawn
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Re: Terminology

Postby MrBawn » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:22 am UTC

The line between "West" and "East" goes through Greece. Hence the terms "Western Europe" and "Eastern Europe." Also, the words "occidental" and "oriental" derive from the Greek words for "West" and "East."

Why the Prime Meridian goes through England is a mystery to me though. I suppose putting the Prime Meridian in England puts the international dateline between Russia and Alaska.

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Re: Terminology

Postby zanoii » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:23 am UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:For a comic that usually puts some thought into drawing things to scale, why is Greenand the same size and Africa?!


It's all about projection.

(first post, yay!)

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Re: Terminology

Postby randomusername » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:25 am UTC

"The East" and "The West" terminology started in medieval mapmaking, where *Jerusalem* was considered to be the centre of the universe. Flat earth, heavens in spheres circling the earth, and all that.

"The East" is everything East of Jerusalem. "The West" is everything West of Jerusalem. The Americas, once discovered, were considered part of "The West" after people stopped thinking they'd made it to India, realized that there was this new landmass in the way, and then went back to assuming the Earth was flat (until Magellan proved it wasn't).

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Re: Terminology

Postby firinne » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:27 am UTC

MrBawn wrote:Also, the words "occidental" and "oriental" derive from the Greek words for "West" and "East."


Latin.

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Re: Terminology

Postby vodka.cobra » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:28 am UTC

Man, that is SO fucking annoying.
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Re: Terminology

Postby foodeater184 » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:30 am UTC

Image

There we go! And all it took was a little bit of imagination.

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Re: Terminology

Postby Magilla » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:32 am UTC

cwoodin wrote:I always run into trouble with "upper" and "lower" Egypt - upper is the southern region, while lower is the north.


This was for a good reason though. Equating "North" to "Up" and "South" to "Down" is more or less arbitrary, as wherever you are on a globe, relative to you, everything is down.

The Nile was very nearly life itself in Ancient Egypt. The reason that the southern kingdom was the "upper" kingdom is because it was up river, compared to the north, and the northern kingdom was the "lower" kingdom because it was down river from the south.

Very logical.
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Re: Terminology

Postby Interactive Civilian » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:35 am UTC

zanoii wrote:
cephalopod9 wrote:For a comic that usually puts some thought into drawing things to scale, why is Greenand the same size and Africa?!


It's all about projection.

(first post, yay!)

Yup. zanoii, you can blame Gerardus Mercator for the distortion of Greenland. When you project a sphere on a cylinder and then roll it out flat to make a map, the poles will be distorted.
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Re: Terminology

Postby redfive86 » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:38 am UTC

NEW ZEALAND (Aotearoa). It's that country that IS NOT part of Australia, kthxbi.

Personally, I don't see the similarity- maybs it's just the differences in island size ratios?

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Re: Terminology

Postby scarletmanuka » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:38 am UTC

I have to say I thought that this one was fairly weak. The terminology shouldn't be a problem unless you assume that it has been defined in reference to you. I'd have thought most people in this day and age would be able to accept the idea that their location is not necessarily The Exact Centre Of The Entire UniverseTM[*]. Even Americans, who are probably more prone to making this assumption than others because it is often effectively true for them.

[*](Which in any case is on the planet Eternium. So there.)

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Re: Terminology

Postby lorenith » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:39 am UTC

I always took the terminology as relative to the landmass rather than my current location, which makes the terminology actually make sense.

Then the "East" really is the "East" cause its on the Eastern side of Eurasia, the west coast of America is still the west coast even if I happen to be in Japan, just because it's oriented east of my location doesn't change the fact that the West coast of America happens to be on the western side of America.

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Re: Terminology

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:42 am UTC

This is much easier where I live. Every place except the Arctic and Canadian territories is simply South. :P
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Roiden wrote:
macrocephalic wrote:I have to say I'm slightly offended. I thought Randall was above this. The whole problem is that he put America in the middle of his map - if he fixed that problem then it would be much easier to understand



The comic is from Randall's reference point. He lives in America. Can you really blame him for using his own geographical location as the focus point behind an issue he has with terminology, particularly because that issue stems from the fact that he lives where he lives?

The comic wouldn't make sense if America wasn't in the middle
People seem to be misunderstanding. The question isn't "why is it called the East when it's in the West half of the world" (which doesn't make sense with the world being round), it's "why do Americans call it the East when it's West of them?" (Well, it's East too, but it's a lot farther that way.)

I prefer to just say which continent or country I'm talking about.
I bet there are many words in this post that are capitalized but shouldn't be...
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Re: Terminology

Postby maddeningsilence » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:44 am UTC

I think it has to do with the prime meridian.

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

All the stuff 'west' of 0 degrees is west and all the stuff 'east' is the east. Which also explains why the 'middle east' is named as such.

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Re: Terminology

Postby Rofler » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:45 am UTC

Wow, he really drew Australia badly.

I must say, i do struggle myself, but he got the hard parts right, and the easy part wrong.

The north-east (north-west?) coast of Australia does not look like that.

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Re: Terminology

Postby phlip » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:54 am UTC

Snowdream wrote:Well, actually Middle east can't apply because its a distance thing to Europeans, its actually the 'Near East.' Middle East is actually an American thing.

Really? I always thought the "Near East" was eastern Europe (Ukraine, western parts of Russia etc), the Middle East is East of that (Iran, Iraq, (.*)stan, etc), and the Far East at the end (China, India, etc). With the "West" being western Europe, England, and places like that. I'm sure it all made much more sense when the world was just Eurasia and Africa, and Nothing Else.

If you want to be properly bugged about this sort of thing, look at what we do what we call "North-West" in NSW.
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Re: Terminology

Postby Xiroth » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:59 am UTC

maddeningsilence wrote:I think it has to do with the prime meridian.

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

All the stuff 'west' of 0 degrees is west and all the stuff 'east' is the east. Which also explains why the 'middle east' is named as such.

--Summer Glau

Are you drunk? France is not an Eastern nation.

Turns out this kind of confusion can apply to just about everywhere...except Turkey. Yup, the damn Turks are the centre of the world. Figures why we could never beat them - they're the damn protagonists! Stupid stormtrooper effect.

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Re: Terminology

Postby Chevron » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:00 am UTC

TheHand wrote:Well of course position is all relative.

If the Earth were flat then we wouldn't really have this issue. But then our compasses wouldn't work, haha.

(emphasis mine)

I think that I'm good with this tradeoff.
Image

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Re: Terminology

Postby Sana » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:01 am UTC

Someone's never seen a map.

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Re: Terminology

Postby mosc » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:01 am UTC

Image
It's a cold war reference IMHO. "The West" is everything west of East/West Germany line (1945-1990). The East is everything East.

Since 1990, the line has moved slightly to include East Germany since it was essentially annexed by West Germany. Otherwise, I think it is still largely the same.

The center of the world, so to speak, for political references is Germany due to it's central focus in both world wars.
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Re: Terminology

Postby MikeTrev » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:12 am UTC

Greetings fellow XKCD fans! This is my first post.
I find the terms 'the East', 'the West', 'Occident' and 'Orient' all less than desirable. They all originated, as has been mentioned before, from a Eurocentric mindset. Terms like these are used to draw arbitrary lines around groups of people, often to 'other' people in those places. These terms, like '1st World' and '3rd World', are not useful to today's society in my opinion. I would recommend having a look at the Fuller Projection also know as the Dymaxion Map, it shows the world in two dimensions with limited amounts of size and shape distortion and doesn't promote any orientation over another. I think Buckminster Fuller was onto something when decided to represent the world without showing national boundaries, but instead showing how closely linked the continents all are. I wish more publishers would use his projection for textbooks etc.

I'm posting from N.Z. and I think it and Japan have similar shapes. Also I haven't seen a sheep in months =P

Mike

P.S. I didn't post a link to the Dymaxion map, because I'm not allowed to, I suggest you run a search for it.

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Re: Terminology

Postby helluin » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:18 am UTC

I'd rather think of earth as the complex sphere and me being in infinity, makes things a lot more intresting


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