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

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2005 M12 30 - 248 pages
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

Introduction
1
The Meridians
7
The Prime Meridian
79
The International Date Line
125
The Equator
157
End of Story
187
Notes
191
Bibliography
209
Internet Sites
215
Index
217
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

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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