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(XKCD)   What if our land masses were rotated 90 degrees?   (what-if.xkcd.com) divider line 74
    More: Cool, South Pole, landmass, biosphere, jet streams, monsoons, surfaces, permafrost, rain forests  
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11365 clicks; posted to Geek » on 07 Sep 2012 at 9:31 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-09-07 08:46:28 AM  
I love XKCD. It beats the hell ouf of Dennis the Menace.
Frankly, anything that beats the hell out of Dennis the Menace is OK with me.
Heck, I'ld love to see someone give that spoiled little rat a beatdown.
 
2012-09-07 09:20:28 AM  
All this talk about Antarctic ice melting would be over with at least.
 
2012-09-07 09:33:42 AM  
Antarctica is a clear winner.

And as New Zealand is a dagger pointed at the heart of Antarctica, I call dibs.
 
2012-09-07 09:41:47 AM  
It would devastate ecosystems.

And bunnies.
 
2012-09-07 09:43:37 AM  
If the moon was made of spare ribs, would ya eat it?
 
2012-09-07 09:45:38 AM  
A lot of people would puke while it was happening.
 
2012-09-07 09:47:16 AM  
I believe I'll use these graphics in one of my lectures later on in the term. Or make students answer a similar question on an exam.
 
2012-09-07 09:48:33 AM  
This will be the next climatologists rouse to get into your wallet: global 90 degree rotation OMG we're all doomed! pay up now! single global governemnt!
 
2012-09-07 09:54:07 AM  
That projection looks wildly inaccurate to me. North America doesn't look rotated, and the same for Australia and the Asian islands (along with needing repositioning).

I'd be interested to see how the tides and ocean currents would be altered. I wouldn't be surprised to see a strong equatorial current running around the Earth with no obstructions. Exploration of new continents may have happened millenia before they did on our Earth as a result.
 
2012-09-07 09:55:50 AM  

hogans: That projection looks wildly inaccurate to me. North America doesn't look rotated, and the same for Australia and the Asian islands (along with needing repositioning).

I'd be interested to see how the tides and ocean currents would be altered. I wouldn't be surprised to see a strong equatorial current running around the Earth with no obstructions. Exploration of new continents may have happened millenia before they did on our Earth as a result.


This
 
2012-09-07 09:55:56 AM  
I want to be around when this happens, it could be fun.
 
2012-09-07 10:06:40 AM  
So as best I can tell, my home state of Iowa will wind up about the same distance from the equator and pole as it is now, still between mountain ranges. So no major change at all.

/then again, Iowa's not one for big changes
 
2012-09-07 10:08:40 AM  
My elder grandson and I played an even more intersting geography game a few years ago when he was in primary school, and first being exposed to the shape and size of our planet. Using paper we traced and cut out outlines of the continents from a globe, then reoriented them so they could fit onto the surface of the globe between about 50 N and S. It was very interesting. You end up with large polar oceans and narrow seas between the continents, but it can readily be done. TFA makes me wonder again what the environmental impact would be.
 
2012-09-07 10:13:31 AM  
I'd like to thank XKCD for illustrating so very well what other scientists do for a living.
I love his mapporn. Here's something similar, hanging on my wall.

i.imgur.com
 
2012-09-07 10:14:06 AM  
The Arctic Canadian provinces?
 
2012-09-07 10:15:23 AM  

WhiskeySticks: If the moon was made of spare ribs, would ya eat it?


Beef or pork ribs?
 
2012-09-07 10:16:01 AM  

WhiskeySticks: If the moon was made of spare ribs, would ya eat it?


I know I would. Heck, I'd have seconds. Then polish it off with a tall, cool Budweiser. I would do it.
 
2012-09-07 10:20:48 AM  
I can't help but notice that every what-if question xkcd tackles always ends up redirected to a scenario that causes maximum calamity.
 
2012-09-07 10:26:26 AM  
It would get quite chilly in Chile
 
2012-09-07 10:26:33 AM  
What if seals were just dog mermaids?
 
2012-09-07 10:27:13 AM  

Lone Stranger: WhiskeySticks: If the moon was made of spare ribs, would ya eat it?

Beef or pork ribs?


Aren't all spare ribs pork?
 
2012-09-07 10:27:40 AM  

Handsome B. Wonderful: The Arctic Canadian provinces?


You know, Canada.

/Too obvious?
 
2012-09-07 10:29:55 AM  

THE GREAT NAME: This will be the next climatologists rouse to get into your wallet!



Well that certainly does explain all the fabulously wealthy and famous climatologists we see on TV all the time.

/ eyeroll
 
2012-09-07 10:32:03 AM  

StrikitRich: Lone Stranger: WhiskeySticks: If the moon was made of spare ribs, would ya eat it?

Beef or pork ribs?

Aren't all spare ribs pork?


Guess not
 
2012-09-07 10:33:18 AM  

WhiskeySticks: If the moon was made of spare ribs, would ya eat it?


I know I sure would. I'd have seconds!

Anyways, I love how much effort he puts into these things while not sounding like he knows everything and that he can't be right by sighting examples.
 
2012-09-07 10:33:54 AM  

thecpt: sighting


citing...ugh
 
2012-09-07 10:34:36 AM  
Minnesotans would wake up to the sight of floating rafts of fire ants, followed by five million lost, hungry alligators ...

Hahahaha...suck it, Minnesota!
 
2012-09-07 10:45:50 AM  
Those maps look like Pern!
 
2012-09-07 10:49:06 AM  

WhiskeySticks: If the moon was made of spare ribs, would ya eat it?


He actually did one more or less like this, except for "moon" substitute "moon-sized ball" and for "spare ribs" substitute "small burrowing rodents."
 
2012-09-07 10:52:18 AM  
Who cares?
 
2012-09-07 10:52:54 AM  

hogans: That projection looks wildly inaccurate to me. North America doesn't look rotated, and the same for Australia and the Asian islands (along with needing repositioning).


It's a Cassini projection, and the reason it looks funny is because you're taking a 3D spherical object and mapping it onto a 2D rectangle in strange and wonderful ways. This type of projection does a good job of preserving angles and distances along the central axis, but a really bad job away from the central axis. XKCD chose the Greenwhich meridian as it's central axis, which means that the US is going to be very distorted.

Here's a Cassini projection of our current Earth, also centered along the Greenwich meridian. North America is in the top left. The light blue lines are actual meridians (longitude) lines, so you can see how distorted the angles and distances get (in reality, every light blue line is the same length and has the same curve).

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-09-07 11:02:24 AM  
There's a guy who's been doing this kind of thing for a while. I stumbled upon this a while ago, it's like geography porn gone super-ultra-meta. Going through his site, you get the feeling he's a very weird bird, with references to otherkin and strange obsessions and stuff, but his analysis looks pretty solid and he's done a shiatload of work in fleshing out these speculations. I mean, he decided to see if he could find a world with the largest amount of easily traversable climactic zones, based on a concept in Guns, Germs and Steel. I'd thought the same thing myself, but he went and started playing with the idea.

I dunno, maybe professional geographers would scoff at his stuff, but, for me, that's the beauty of the Internet: you get a guy who thinks he's a cat and is basically a shut-in, but he makes alternate geographies in his spare time and actually makes plaster sculptures of his creations.
 
2012-09-07 11:14:12 AM  
I knew the land could tip over! I knew it, I knew it!

disinfo.s3.amazonaws.com
 
2012-09-07 11:21:46 AM  
This makes me want to grab a climate model and rotate the land mass topographic boundary conditions to see what happens.

Aside from paleoclimate and exoplanet studies, there have been other "what-if" studies, like what happens to the climate if you flatten the mountains, spin the Earth backwards, or turn off the Sun.
 
2012-09-07 11:25:06 AM  
God, I'm sorry this has taken 35 posts to get to, but I'm just having the hardest time waking up this morning.

Ahem. *taps mic*

What if your mom was rotated 90 degrees? Oh wait, we just tried that last night.

Thank you. Again, sorry for the delay.
 
2012-09-07 11:36:47 AM  

StinkyFiddlewinks: Who cares?


People with imaginations and people who are curious about the world around them. Nerds who find thought exercise far more entertaining than celebrities. Maybe you can wander back to the entertainment tab about now, no?
 
2012-09-07 11:39:22 AM  

Fubini: hogans: That projection looks wildly inaccurate to me. North America doesn't look rotated, and the same for Australia and the Asian islands (along with needing repositioning).

It's a Cassini projection, and the reason it looks funny is because you're taking a 3D spherical object and mapping it onto a 2D rectangle in strange and wonderful ways. This type of projection does a good job of preserving angles and distances along the central axis, but a really bad job away from the central axis. XKCD chose the Greenwhich meridian as it's central axis, which means that the US is going to be very distorted.

Here's a Cassini projection of our current Earth, also centered along the Greenwich meridian. North America is in the top left. The light blue lines are actual meridians (longitude) lines, so you can see how distorted the angles and distances get (in reality, every light blue line is the same length and has the same curve).

[upload.wikimedia.org image 241x479]


Well that clears things up nicely for those of us who had not yet sought out a Cassini projection example...
 
2012-09-07 11:40:13 AM  

Ambitwistor: This makes me want to grab a climate model and rotate the land mass topographic boundary conditions to see what happens.

Aside from paleoclimate and exoplanet studies, there have been other "what-if" studies, like what happens to the climate if you flatten the mountains, spin the Earth backwards, or turn off the Sun.


Even the chemical makeup of the rocks that are being eroded can influence the climate.
The carbonate nature of some of the Himalayan mountains has been the subject of much speculation and attempts at analysis for current and past climate patterns.

Here's but one paper addressing the issue

Silicate versus carbonate weathering in the Himalaya:a comparison of the Arun and Seti River watersheds
 

Meaning, it's not just putting mountains up where there were plains, but also what gets eroded and how does that eroded material affect local and regional climate.

I'll sum up something not in the above paper, but related:
15 million years ago, Antarctica acquired an permanent ice cap.
4 million years ago, Earth started having ice ages.
Could it be that the uplift of the Himalayan mountains changed things to the extent this cooling down of Earth was caused in part by the chemical nature of uplifted rocks in the Himalayas? Both by the physical uplift itself, and the massive amounts of dissolved carbonates from the eroded rocks?

Very cool stuff.

// now I'll go back to the other side of the global warming debate and throw rocks at you again.
 
2012-09-07 11:45:49 AM  
Would have like to see 90 degrees around x, y and z.
 
2012-09-07 11:46:12 AM  

hogans: I'd be interested to see how the tides and ocean currents would be altered. I wouldn't be surprised to see a strong equatorial current running around the Earth with no obstructions. Exploration of new continents may have happened millenia before they did on our Earth as a result.


The old world and the new would never have become isolated like they did in reality. You could circle the world in temperate seas and never be more than a few hundred miles from shore. The biggest crossing of open water would be Australia to Antarctica.
 
2012-09-07 11:52:38 AM  
Now somebody with some serious programming and simulation/modeling chops needs to write a sandbox game along the lines of the old Sim-Earth wherein one can play with these sorts of alternate geographies, or design your own.

If something like this already exists, I'd pay x dollars, where x is a non-zero number less than 50.

Somebody needs to combine Minecraft, SimEarth/Life, and Civilizations for the ultimate sandbox god game.
 
2012-09-07 11:55:29 AM  

PirateKing: Now somebody with some serious programming and simulation/modeling chops needs to write a sandbox game along the lines of the old Sim-Earth wherein one can play with these sorts of alternate geographies, or design your own.

If something like this already exists, I'd pay x dollars, where x is a non-zero number less than 50.

Somebody needs to combine Minecraft, SimEarth/Life, and Civilizations for the ultimate sandbox god game.


You mean like Spore was supposed to be before they decided it was the Sims but with aliens?
 
2012-09-07 11:56:11 AM  

Handsome B. Wonderful: The Arctic Canadian provinces?


Close enough. Nobody cares about the distinction between a province and a territory.
 
2012-09-07 11:57:12 AM  

SVenus: 15 million years ago, Antarctica acquired an permanent ice cap.
4 million years ago, Earth started having ice ages.


Add:

13 million years ago, the straits of Panama closed.
 
2012-09-07 12:01:53 PM  

Ambitwistor: spin the Earth backwards


That's a fun link.
 
2012-09-07 12:07:23 PM  

theorellior: 13 million years ago, the straits of Panama closed.


Which caused the carbonate platform of the Bahamas to significantly erode. It's not just the water movement, but apparently what is dissolved in the ocean currents that might influence climate on a geological scale.
 
2012-09-07 12:10:19 PM  

To The Escape Zeppelin!: PirateKing: Now somebody with some serious programming and simulation/modeling chops needs to write a sandbox game along the lines of the old Sim-Earth wherein one can play with these sorts of alternate geographies, or design your own.

If something like this already exists, I'd pay x dollars, where x is a non-zero number less than 50.

Somebody needs to combine Minecraft, SimEarth/Life, and Civilizations for the ultimate sandbox god game.

You mean like Spore was supposed to be before they decided it was the Sims but with aliens?


You mean before they EAfied it? Something like that.

I've always loved the Sim- series, ever since the original Sim City. I wanted to be able to start up Sim Earth, and then zoom in to Sim life -> Sim City -> Sim Farm/Sim Tower -> Sims -> Sim Ant, and note every sparrow's fall interact with any level of the simulated world.
 
2012-09-07 12:17:13 PM  

SVenus: Which caused the carbonate platform of the Bahamas to significantly erode. It's not just the water movement, but apparently what is dissolved in the ocean currents that might influence climate on a geological scale.


What I find pretty awesome is that the Himalayas keep rising as India pushes under Asia, which sets up massive rains as the monsoon flows over the increased altitude, which erodes the peaks as fast as they form, and deposits megatons of silt throughout the subcontinent's watersheds and out into the continental shelf. If the Bay of Bengal is ever uplifted above sea level, it'll be a breadbasket akin to the Great Plains or the pampas.
 
2012-09-07 12:20:04 PM  
West Korea - Best Korea
 
2012-09-07 12:20:47 PM  
He didn't take much of Antarctica into account. It's not really a single land mass under the ice, but an archipelago.

here: Geology of Antarctica
 
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