Interesting Stuff: Late March 2010

Some interesting articles that I’ve found recently, followed by some personal updates and other bits & pieces.

  • Essay on the resurgence of scurvy in the early 20th century.
  • Tasmanian Devils that seem to be resistant to facial tumour disease.
  • Video of simulated flight over Martian terrain.
  • Octopuses fooled by high-definition video.
  • Find out what’s on the other side of the world. [Update: that link is dead, so try this instead.]

A little more about that last item. Some years ago I figured out that the opposite side of the world from my present location could be determined more or less as follows: take the latitude of the Straits of Gibraltar, and the longitude of the southernmost tip of Greenland, and where they intersect, there you are. But how close is that? What location in Australia is precisely opposite those coordinates? Using the online Antipodes Map above, I’ve discovered that the answer is a point off the west coast of Kangaroo Island.

How might you specify your antipode with reference to landmarks rather than distances/coordinates?

In personal news, here’s an alarm clock radio I bought recently. It has features I’ve always wanted but have never been able to find before, so I’m very pleased with it.

2 Responses to “Interesting Stuff: Late March 2010”

  1. Mark Paris Says:

    I followed the link to your website from your comment at LanguageLog. If I were to go straight through the center of the Earth to the point opposite my home, I would end up in the Indian Ocean a good swim away from Perth – in fact, about half the width of Australia away.

  2. Flesh-eating Dragon Says:

    Based on a strict interpretation of your directions, my calculations put you in western Georgia, in between the cities of Richland and Americus. I’m taking the coordinates of Perth to be (-32.0, 115.8) and the width of Australia to be 40.48 degrees.

    As a child I fantasised about creating my own island by going to the other side of the world and dropping rocks into the Atlantic Ocean. This would have taken a while.

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