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Plotting the Globe


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Introduction The Meridians The Lemon or Orange Debate Measuring a Meridian Mark I: What is the Shape of the Earth? Measuring a Meridian Mark II: How Long is One Meter? The Prime Meridian From Hipparchus to Pulkovo Greenwich - The Ultimate Prime Meridian Greenwich Goes International 1984 Beats 1884 - The GPS Time and Tide Wait for No Man, Especially at Greenwich The International Date Line The Paradox: Lost by Magellan, Found by Fogg The International Date Line: Truth or Myth? The International Date Line and the Millennium The Equator Crossing the Line Who Did it First? End of Story References Internet Sites Credits and Illustrations Index

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How we came to measure time and distance due to the efforts of intrepid adventurers, scientists, and seafarers who shaped our picture of the world today.

About the Author

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.


"The individuals and their intriguing stories are woven together into a narrative that on the one hand traces the history of how these circles came into existence, and the other hand, describes how simple ideas, such as a Prime Meridian, could cause considerable international and personal turmoil....The primary strength of this text is its readability. The authors successfully take on, and add a sense of intrigue to, topics that most people would find dry....The authors are also keen to link these many historically significant events to contemporary life....For those interested be the personal dynamics of exploration, nationalistic pride, scientific pursuits, political angst, and convention in the context of geography, then this text will not disappoint." - Cartographic Perspectives
"[A] lively and idiosyncratic style blissfully uncoupled from any contemporary regimes of social history or criticism. Ariel spent decades as a mariner and sea captain and he knows his subjects expertly, but when he considers Foucault he thinks only of his pendulum. There is no larger encompassing theme here, though the reader will find a fabulous cast of very lively and peculiar characters who sacrificed much of their lives to get to some desolate peak in Greenland for the briefest transit of the sun by tiny Venus. The authors have repackaged secondary sources, but they have read the most recent and best materials and assimilated them well. If you have ever wondered why the International Date Line meanders down the vast Pacific as it does, then this book, unlike many an academic geography tome, will tell you....As long as the earth remains curved but the screens lie flat, there will be a market, and an essential one, for books like this." - Technology and Culture
"[A]n entertaining and easy read. Written by a former ship's master, who 'escaped' the seagoing life for an academic one, and with the research assistance of his daughter, it treats the development of the dimensional knowledge of the earth and the characters involved in its advancement in a light hearted, at times whimsical, manner....The narrative moves along with ease and factually reflects considerable research. This is borne out by a comprehensive bibliography, fully attributed illustrations, a list of Web site sources and 17 pages of footnotes collected together at the end of the book under chapter headings....The book includes many facts and topics of interest which may have passed by the more academic student of geodesy, in particular the stories surrounding the personal lives, travels and scientific endeavor of the explorers who undertook the assorted privations of the new world, both east and west, in their search for knowledge, territory and riches, -- often in reverse order." - Survey Review
"Ariel and Berger have collected a variety of stories and myths of navigation, geography and geodesy to describe how the Prime Meridian, the Equator, and the International Date Line work and thereby how we measure time itself. They begin by describing how the points and lines on the globe work, then move to who determined the shape of the earth and the length of one meter, what the folks of the classic age had to say about time and space, why Greenwich is the center of all time, what happened when the Global Positioning System was born, how the Date Line became the Date Line and who found the equator so very interesting." - SciTech Book News
"...this book is a unique exploration of the abstract great circles that run around the earth and how humans have created and given meaning to them." - The Historian

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