Something to think about

We’re studying Antarctica.  The kids are doing some mapping, and it had never occurred to me that mapping the bottom of the world is a little different than most places.  For instance, the compass rose.Compass_rose 

As my son said, all the points need to say North, don’t they?    And how do compasses work in Antarctica, anyway?   (Thanks, Jean, for an answer to that!  )

Edited to add:  and who decided which edge of Antarctica to put at the top of the map?  Most (though not all) of the ones I’ve seen show Queen Maud Land (the Atlantic side) at the top, but why?

Another interesting thought:  The International Date Line technically runs from the Pacific Coast to the center of the continent, so if you travel around central Antarctica, wouldn’t the date become a little confusing?  Not that anyone traveling around central Antarctica is really going to care much about the date (I imagine they would have much bigger things on their minds) but it’s still sort of fascinating to ponder.



About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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11 Responses to Something to think about

  1. Anonymous says:

    I love little tidbits of information like that!!  And you are right, they would all have to point north!!

  2. If you sailed near the south pole, what direction would your compass point?   Even as far south as Antarctica-the continent that surrounds the south pole-compasses point to magnetic north. But at the magnetic south pole itself, a compass might spin freely. Or the needle might be so out of balance that it wouldn’t even spin-it might get stuck up against the top of the case. The same thing would probably happen at the magnetic north pole, because, at the poles, a compass needle wants to point in a very specific direction-not north or south, but straight up and down-orienting itself along magnetic lines of force. The exact locations of the north and south magnetic pole move continually. The pole can move-hour-to-hour and day-to-day-by hundreds of meters. There are also larger, gradual changes in the Earth’s magnetic field -Ð so you can’t accurately correct compass headings or bearings using hundred-year-old navigation charts. Scientists have spent decades recording these variations-but as to why it happens. . . well, that question still hasn’t been answered in detail. Don’t you love Google?

  3. fwren says:

    Hilarious!  Never thought of that!

  4. homefire says:

    Jean, that is fascinating!  I never knew that the magnetic poles varied that much.  It makes those Antarctic expeditions all the more amazing!  Something else to share with the kiddoes! 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Another amazing aspect of GOD and his greatness!!!

  6. msmarie0106 says:

    Sounds as if your schooling got more detailed than ours used to…  Maybe I have just forgotten a lot from when we did studies like this!  But isn’t it fun learning new facts with your kids?

  7. homefire says:

    @msmarie0106 – Oh, believe me, our schooling is WAY more in-depth than mine was!  That’s one reason I enjoy teaching my kids so much.    I’m learning almost as much as they are when it comes to history and geography!  I am amazed at how little I was offered, let alone retained, in public school.

  8. homefire says:

    Thinking some more…  Even if your compass does register N-E-S-W when traveling in Antarctica, it wouldn’t be nearly as helpful.  A “North” reading wouldn’t tell you whether you were heading for the Pacific or for the Indian Ocean.  It would only tell you that you were going away from the magnetic south pole, without specifying which direction.  So if you got disoriented, how would you ever get your bearings again?  I guess it’s a good thing they invented GPS, huh?    This whole thing is putting me in awe of the South Pole expeditions.  What incredible bravery!

  9. msmarie0106 says:

    @homefire – How many children do you have?  I have only one son;  we homeschooled him  until he started college.  It was an experience that I will always treasure.  I can’t say that I enjoyed everyday of it, but on the whole, it was great!  My son has just graduated with a BS in Political Science and is planning on working on his Master’s this fall … so, we’ve been out of it a while, but I sure enjoyed it and think it is the best way to educate your children.Sounds as if you agree!

  10. homefire says:

    @msmarie0106 – We have four children.  One has graduated from homeschool, and the others are 16, 13, and 11.  I defiitely think that homeschool is a great thing, though I would probably change a few things if I were to begin again.  It has its days, when I am tearing my hair out and saying I can’t do this   but I do think overall that it has been best for our children.  They have all learned at very different paces in different subjects, and homeschooling has allowed for that, which is a great blessing. 

  11. bafocus_2 says:

    I would like to comment on the homeschool/public school thing. We have always public schooled, and have been well blessed with a wonderful supportive school system to do it in. I am sure that many others have struggles that we don’t have in their PS systems. All children are different and what works well for one wouldn’t necessarily work well for another and visa versa. Our children have always been at home in PS and have done very well in the academic side of school. I can not imagine them doing any better in their studies than they have in the PS system. Especially if I was their teacher. And they have made many marvelous friends in their journey. And hopefully shown the love of Christ to those who have crossed their path. I know for a fact that they have shown a light sometimes that can only come from God. I think that one of the things that would definitely be better in the HS setting would be the setting/enviroment. However we have always tried to teach our children that we can live in but not have to be a 100% part of the enviroment that we are exposed to. I have always thought that it is an injustice to children to shelter them too much and then after they leave the nest (so to speak) they find out a lot of things that maybe it would have been good to know before. So for us the decision to PS has been a fairly easy one.  I don’t really buy into the fact that HS/Private School children have a better education just because of their location of school, teachers, enviroment, etc. I do agree that to get a great education in PS you must apply yourself and have self discipline. And you have supportive parents. I can not begin to count the hours my companion (myself too, though not as much) has spent with the children doing school work. However, all this applies to homeschool as well. As many of you can no doubt attest to. Probably too many people think that if you send your children to PS that it will somehow, magically??, do all the heavy work for you. It will not, I can guarantee that. Any schooling, if carried out without parental involvement, will fail to produce solid results. I do not want to diminish anyones accomplishments in the HS arena, however I did want to share a little of our experiences in the PS side of the equation. In the end I think that it is the amount of effort that is input that will determine what you get out of it. And, again I want to stress that all are not/will not be blessed with a PS system like we have. Gods Blessings!!

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