Monday, October 30, 2006

journey through the center of the earth

Our son is now in southeast Baghdad. I was just thinking that he is halfway around the world. Wait a minute. Since he is eight hours ahead, that would mean he is a third of the way around the world. Or does it? All this raises three interrelated questions.

Question #1: Where is halfway around the world? Since I am in the northern and western hemispheres of the earth, it must be somewhere in the southern and eastern hemispheres. To be more precise, if my current latitude and longitude is 44o35’42”N and 75o09’53”W, and if I were to journey through the exact center of the earth, then I would resurface at 44o35’42"S and 104o50’07”E (i.e., 180o - current longitude).

I would not want to do this. The shortest route, through the center of the earth, would be about 7,900 miles. However, the molten magma would make the Lake of Fire seem like a vacation resort by comparison.

Suppose I flew there as the crow flies? It would be about 12,450 miles to other side of the earth. Although the journey would be less unpleasant, I would still not enjoy the destination. It is in the southern Indian Ocean, about 900 miles southwest of the most southwest corner of Australia. It is in the part of the world called the Roaring Forties, a very cold place with very boisterous winds and very rough seas. I have seen videos of sailing ships traversing this area. It did not look like fun.

Question #2: How far around the world is my son? My son is about 5,380 miles away, only about two-ninths or 22% of the way around the world.

Being less than a quarter of the way around the world makes him seem a lot closer, doesn’t it? Two-ninths of the way around the world sounds even better.

Question #3: Why did I bother with this? Well, this sort of post happens when I bring my laptop to class while students are taking a test. Although not quite as bad as watching paint dry, watching students taking a test is still pretty boring. Random thoughts happen and I had time on my hands to explore them.

Be blessed!


Darlene Sinclair said...

Cool. And good Goethe quote -- I think... :)

RB said...

I just checked and it is a Victor Hugo quote. Sorry.