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May, 2009:

Digging to Australia

Growing up in the UK, I was always told that if you had a big hole in the ground that you were “digging to Australia”. Fair enough, that kind of made sense to me, it was about half a world away, and everything should be upside down.  Surely they don’t call it “Down Under” for nothing.

Confusion set in when we moved to Australia though. Logic would dictate that if you are in Australia and digging a hole surely you are digging your way to England. Apparently not. Australians think that you are going to China!

At long last the conundrum has been solved. Ze Frank has created a Google Maps mash-up that shows opposite points on the globe – if the world were a sandwich [^].

world sandwich

The answer is neither country is exactly right. Great Britain’s closest landfall on the opposite side of the world is the south coast of New Zealand.  While Australia’s opposite is the mid north Atlantic, coming very close to Puerto Rico.

The Americans with the China Syndrome [^] have a belief that they are on the opposite side of the world to China. A quick check reveals that they are not! That’s almost as bad a guess as the Aussies.

Do any other countries have such a poor understanding of geography, or find it too hard to look at a good old-fashioned (analogue) globe?

Love/Hate Relationship with Social Networking

Steven Levy in “The Burden of Twitter” on Wired has this to say about social networking [^]:

Because of time constraints and just plain reticence, I worry that I’m snatching morsels from the information food bank without making any donations. Instead of healthy, reciprocal participation, I’m flirting with parasitic voyeurism. . .
Steven Levy – Wired [^]

This is one article that does not decry social networking as the ultimate invasion of privacy – no-one is forced to FaceBook , Twitter or blog. We choose what we share and who we share with. Just make sure that you check your account settings in FaceBook.


Do we all go through bouts of lurking, followed by big blurts of self-confession? How many other people feel remorse at going to the all you can eat gossip bar, and leaving nothing in return? Or is it worse to show up only occasionally to hang-out with your friends?