Page 1 of 1

2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:21 pm UTC
by orthogon
Image
Title text: The other great lakes are just water on the far side of Canada Island. If you drive north from the Pacific northwest you actually cross directly into Alaska, although a few officials--confused by the Mercator distortion--have put up border signs.

Almost: actually, Canada is a very large island in Lake Winnipeg. It has lots of inland seas and oceans, with other countries as enclaves within it.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:43 pm UTC
by sonar1313
Everyone's got it all wrong. Canada is to the south. It is! North is just water. A whole hell of a lot of it.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:35 pm UTC
by SuicideJunkie
Fun Fact:
The reason Canada gets all jagged and random at the top edge is because the Mercator projection makes things look so much bigger as you go north; what you're seeing up there is the Planck scale granularity of space-time itself breaking up our coastline.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:39 pm UTC
by qvxb
Where will the proposed wall between the US and Mexico actually be?

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:55 pm UTC
by keithl
Of course, Alaska is just a county in Montana, magnified by the Mercator projection. The so-called "north slope oil" is extracted from a pile of discarded oil filters behind Fred's Diner and Motorcycle Repair in Skagway, Montana. Fortunately, the Mercator projection increased the volume of oil sufficiently to fuel the United States, enough to last until the Mercator-magnified Bakken oil fields were developed.
Unfortunately, the hydrocarbon molecules of Bakken oil were also Mercator-magnified, making them more volatile. That has led to massive fires and explosions after oil trains derailed on Mercator-distorted tracks.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:27 pm UTC
by keithl
When you die, if you are bad at geometry and geography, you go to Mercatory.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:40 pm UTC
by SuicideJunkie
qvxb wrote:Where will the proposed wall between the US and Mexico actually be?

The border down south is smaller than it looks on a map. Two guys from Tijuana accidentally finished that last weekend while dumping bricks out of the back of a pickup truck.
The union is pretty upset and there's no bill to send to Mexico so Trump is covering it up.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:08 pm UTC
by sonar1313
SuicideJunkie wrote:Fun Fact:
The reason Canada gets all jagged and random at the top edge is because the Mercator projection makes things look so much bigger as you go north; what you're seeing up there is the Planck scale granularity of space-time itself breaking up our coastline.

I thought it was because nobody could really tell under all the ice and a bunch of Hudson's Bay Company employees got drunk one day and just drew a bunch of nonsense they didn't think would be taken seriously. Forensic geographers today believe "Baffin Island" is just the Titanic iceberg, knocked off course by the collision.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 5:28 am UTC
by Soupspoon
qvxb wrote:Where will the proposed wall between the US and Mexico actually be?

Berlin. They do the best walls!

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:22 pm UTC
by svenman
We Germans also have a lot of experience on how to tear down a wall. Just sayin'.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:41 pm UTC
by balthasar_s
keithl wrote:When you die, if you are bad at geometry and geography, you go to Mercatory.
The planet closest to the sun? cool! :wink:
I wonder which projection is used for maps there.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:43 pm UTC
by DavidSh
balthasar_s wrote: The planet closest to the sun? cool! :wink:
I wonder which projection is used for maps there.


NASA used a mix of Mercator for equatorial regions, Lambert Conformal for mid-latitudes, and Polar Stereographic for polar regions. Now I want a complete set of planetary and asteroidal atlases.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:11 pm UTC
by sotanaht
Soupspoon wrote:
qvxb wrote:Where will the proposed wall between the US and Mexico actually be?

Berlin. They do the best walls!

That wall didn't even last 30 years, if you want something that will last talk to the Chinese.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:00 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
sotanaht wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:
qvxb wrote:Where will the proposed wall between the US and Mexico actually be?

Berlin. They do the best walls!

That wall didn't even last 30 years, if you want something that will last talk to the Chinese.

Send in Michael Knight. It won't last much longer.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:09 am UTC
by da Doctah
sotanaht wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:
qvxb wrote:Where will the proposed wall between the US and Mexico actually be?

Berlin. They do the best walls!

That wall didn't even last 30 years, if you want something that will last talk to the Chinese.


Creepy fact on which to base your next school report: Berlin Wall, 29 years. World Trade Center, 28 years.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:28 am UTC
by WriteBrainedJR
da Doctah wrote:
sotanaht wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:
qvxb wrote:Where will the proposed wall between the US and Mexico actually be?

Berlin. They do the best walls!

That wall didn't even last 30 years, if you want something that will last talk to the Chinese.


Creepy fact on which to base your next school report: Berlin Wall, 29 years. World Trade Center, 28 years.

How is that creepy?

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:08 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
I found a Mercator Map that lets you set the poles to where ever you want! Plus, it is much longer so the magnification near the poles becomes even more apparent. It has a bunch of different layer options and some really nice preset points. My favorite combination is Google Satellite and 'African Market'. It is really weird seeing continent and humans in the same map.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:38 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
That is awesome and it reminds me of an old New Yorker magazine cover about how New Yorkers see the world, with an extremely detailed New York map in the foreground, like New Jersey in no detail behind it, the rest of the US in sparse detail behind that, and a tiny Japan on the distant horizon. I’ve often wondered what a map like that centered on my locale would look like... and now I can find out!

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 7:55 pm UTC
by da Doctah
WriteBrainedJR wrote:
da Doctah wrote:Creepy fact on which to base your next school report: Berlin Wall, 29 years. World Trade Center, 28 years.

How is that creepy?

Coupla things for next year's Beloit Mindset List: The WTC has always been a memorial, and incumbent political parties have never nominated the sitting vice president as their candidate (my entire lifetime up until 2000, every election saw either the sitting prez or sitting veep at the head of the ticket; the last time it *hadn't* happened that way was 1952).

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:56 am UTC
by FOARP
Is it just me or is "everyone's been brain-washed by Mercator" thing really just the assumption that other people don't know about map projections? I was taught about map projections in primary school, and hasn't everyone looked at a globe at least once?

Worse is the idea that any other map projection is really all that much "better" than Mercator - each has its benefits and drawbacks.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:39 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
I can't remember when I first learnt "angles, areas, distances - pick no more than two of these to be consistent" for planar plans of spherical surfaces.

(I'm a big fan of gnomonic projections, to a limit. But you also can't beat a good rhumb line.)

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:42 pm UTC
by doogly
FOARP wrote:Is it just me or is "everyone's been brain-washed by Mercator" thing really just the assumption that other people don't know about map projections? I was taught about map projections in primary school, and hasn't everyone looked at a globe at least once?

Worse is the idea that any other map projection is really all that much "better" than Mercator - each has its benefits and drawbacks.

Right, that's the idea. There is a half-informed section of the populace (which may include more than a few xkcd readers, so a good population to poke at!) that participates in an anti-Mercator sentiment to such a degree that the actual use cases for Mercator are forgotten. It is understood just to be "the bad projection." So, the comic makes fun of them.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:09 pm UTC
by ijuin
Yes, the Mercator projection is useful because any conpass heading is a straight line, which can be more valuable than having distances to scale for navigation. The distortion of the polar regions is less important since the poles are usually icelocked, and we use polar projections for navigating near them anyway.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:52 pm UTC
by Locoluis
A watermelon is best cut with a knife and eaten with a spoon, not the other way around.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:38 pm UTC
by Heimhenge
FOARP wrote:Is it just me or is "everyone's been brain-washed by Mercator" thing really just the assumption that other people don't know about map projections? I was taught about map projections in primary school, and hasn't everyone looked at a globe at least once? ...


When I was growing up we had this Mercator world map on the wall of our family room. Didn't realize the true size of Greenland till I saw a globe at school. Asked the teacher why Greenland was so small. She tried to explain why but I was too young to understand projections. Maybe 3rd grade.

Some time later I was looking at a magazine and saw how flights from Chicago to London took a route that "curved north" and damn near passed over Greenland. I asked my dad about that, and he said something about it being safer to stay near land than fly over open ocean. Always wondered if he was just BSing me or really didn't understand himself.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:49 pm UTC
by Unclevertitle
Heimhenge wrote:Some time later I was looking at a magazine and saw how flights from Chicago to London took a route that "curved north" and damn near passed over Greenland. I asked my dad about that, and he said something about it being safer to stay near land than fly over open ocean. Always wondered if he was just BSing me or really didn't understand himself.


It's a plausible reason at least. It would be preferable to crash land on land than out in the middle of open ocean. Rescue is much faster and easier the closer you are to civilization after all.

Though this source says it's usually because of wind conditions.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/c ... e/2449729/

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:53 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
Unclevertitle wrote:It's a plausible reason at least. It would be preferable to crash land on land than out in the middle of open ocean. Rescue is much faster and easier the closer you are to civilization after all.

One could argue that the Greenland ice-cap is only a slight improvement over open ocean. Especially if you're only there because a crucial radar altimeter is more tuned to see through ice than otherwise and you had something of a CFIT landing.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:22 pm UTC
by Opus_723
FOARP wrote:Is it just me or is "everyone's been brain-washed by Mercator" thing really just the assumption that other people don't know about map projections? I was taught about map projections in primary school, and hasn't everyone looked at a globe at least once?

Worse is the idea that any other map projection is really all that much "better" than Mercator - each has its benefits and drawbacks.


I mean, I've known about the issues with the Mercator projection for forever, and know the math behind them, but I still don't have a good intuition for, say, how much bigger Africa is than Russia (a lot). I still have some trouble wrapping my head around the fact that the Sahara is about as big as the U.S. INCLUDING ALASKA.

And yeah, I've seen globes, obviously, but you honestly don't see them all that often, so they don't help as much with those "gut-level" comparisons.

In that sense, I'd say I've been effectively brainwashed despite being very well-informed.

And as for the Mercator having it's own benefits... Sure, if you're a seafaring navigator. But in a high school classroom (or 99.9% of the other use cases), there isn't really any justifying ease of compass-use over providing a reasonable sense of scale.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:52 am UTC
by Steve the Pocket
I was going to say that Mercator would make for an easy UV map if you're making a CG model of a globe, so long as you remember to scale the text up accordingly. But then I remembered the unavoidable distortion you get when you map trapezoids to squares and then try to split them into triangles.

Re: 2082: "Mercator Projection"

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:14 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
Locoluis wrote:A watermelon is best cut with a knife and eaten with a spoon, not the other way around.

Are you sure about that? Learn to cut watermelon with a knife, and you have a meal; learn to cut watermelon with a spoon, and you have a career in Las Vegas.