Monday, February 09, 2015

Musings... How Far Apart Are Continents? Oh.

I never owned a globe as a kid. There was probably a map or two of the world, but no big ball to rotate on an axis or two. From what I can remember, the only time I spent much of any time looking at the world, as in where all countries were in relation to others, was in fifth grade. We spent a few weeks learning countries and their capitals. Think my C+ was one of the higher grades for that test.

Then Google Earth happened and I stayed away from it for years. It took having to work with the program at a job to get me well acquainted with it. Even then, I mostly stuck with locations in my city and maybe the next town over. Deciding to use the measurement tools for distances greater than a hundred miles or so turned into the worst idea ever.

Intercontinental travel isn't really something I do often -- last plane ride was over a decade back. A major reason for that is the amount of time required to be spent on a vehicle for hours at a time. Another reason is that the places that interest me the most involve flights across the International Date Line. Yep, North America all the way to Asia. Add in the fact that I'm closer to the east coast than the west and that's another land mass I would have to traverse. I checked some flight times on airline websites recently and they were well over a dozen hours to get where I wanted. That gave me the idea to take a closer look at why these flight times were so long.

All the maps I usually saw of the world started near the International Date Line and headed east before being cut off around the same point. The distance between the North America, Asia, and Australia continents wasn't completely clear to me -- the maps were also very flat on paper or screens. The distance between North America and Europe didn't seem that long, and the tip of Russia and Alaska seemed so close. Bering Strait was walkable at one time? Therefore, the distance between North America and the mainland of Asia or Australia couldn't be that long, I thought.

First words when I looked closer and did some measurements, "that's lot of effing water."

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