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May 11th, 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?