Plotting the Globe: Stories of Meridians, Parallels, and the International Date Line

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006 - History - 235 pages
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People use concepts such as time and date to structure their lives on a daily basis. They often measure their travel by marking points arranged along great circles on the globe. Yet most do not understand the origin and history of these terms and the stories of the intrepid adventurers, scientists, and seafarers who shaped our picture of the world today. Ariel transports readers to faraway lands and ancient cultures that span more than 3500 years of exploration. Phoenicians, Spaniards, Portuguese, British, French, and many others star in an epic that stretches from Lapland to Cape Horn, via Greenwich, Paris, the Andes and the Fortunate Islands.

This book is a collection of stories and myths about geography, navigation, and geodesy-- the science that deals with the Earth's figure and the interrelationship of selected points on its surface-that reaches far beyond dry scientific texts to concentrate on the people behind the discoveries. The knowledge and understanding of abstract notions such as the Prime Meridian, the Equator, and the International Date Line is conveyed through emphasis on the human spirit that motivated the pioneer scientists and sailors. It is a tale littered with heroes and villains, battles, tragedies and international intrigue. Readers will learn of a time when nothing was certain--even the shape and size of the earth were the subjects of fierce competition, conflict, and politics.

 

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Contents

The Meridians
7
The Lemon or Orange Debate
9
Measuring a Meridian Mark I What Is the Shape of the Earth?
19
Measuring a Meridian Mark II How Long Is One Meter?
65
The Prime Meridian
79
From Hipparchus to Pulkovo
81
GreenwichThe Ultimate Prime Meridian
89
Greenwich Goes International
101
International Date Line Truth or Myth?
141
The International Date Line and the Millennium
151
The Equator
157
Crossing the Line
159
Who Did It First?
163
End of Story
187
Notes
191
Bibliography
209

1984 Beats 1884GPS
109
Time and Tide Wait for No Man Especially at Greenwich
115
The International Date Line
125
The Paradox Lost by Magellan Found by Fogg
127
Internet Sites
215
Index
217
Copyright

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Page vi - He had bought a large map representing the sea, Without the least vestige of land: And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be A map they could all understand. 'What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators, Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?

About the author (2006)

Avraham Ariel is a freelance writer who has been associated with ships and shipping all his life. A deck boy at 16, the youngest shipmaster in Israel at 25 and an academic at 55, Ariel was born in Israel and lived for twenty years in Australia. He has an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales. He is a seafarer, businessman, inventor, educator, and author of six books.

Nora Ariel Berger began her professional career as a journalist in Australia and then worked in Israel. She moved to the business side of the media after going to business school and working for the Telegraph newspaper company in the UK. After a position as Strategic Planner for an advertising agency, she is now Assistant Director of Marketing for a donor-advised fund in New York. She has a BA in Communications (Journalism) and an MBA from London Business School.

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