# Mumsnet Talk

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## Why aren't Australians upside down?

(61 Posts)
buffythebarbieslayer Fri 18-Jul-14 21:41:51

I still, at the grand old age of 35, don't understand why the people in Australia aren't standing upside down

As you might have guessed, Science/spatial awareness isn't my strong point.

Anyone got the time to explain?

FuckTheseSixFishInParticular Sat 19-Jul-14 14:08:04

Gravity will always pull you towards the centre of mass of an object, so 'Down' when standing on Earth it's always in the direction of the centre of the planet.

'Up' is therefore opposite direction, away from the centre of mass.

Because Earth is so big in comparison to us, we don't notice the curvature so wherever you stand on Earth you always feel the 'right' way up.

The Sun and Moon also exert a mild gravitational pull on us, but we don't feel it because of the centripetal force from the Earth's rotation. We do, however, notice it in the tides (because water is much less dense than us or the rock of the Earth).

I think, anyway!

Sat 19-Jul-14 13:15:59

Where's Isaac Newton when you need him?

I bet Brian Cox could explain

Sat 19-Jul-14 13:00:31

any one person's 'down' is relative to that same person's 'up'

'up' is towards the sky
'down' is towards the ground
doesn't matter then at what point on the globe you are

ICanSeeTheSun Sat 19-Jul-14 12:53:15

Think I may have confused myself now.

ICanSeeTheSun Sat 19-Jul-14 12:51:39

Get a ball some mini figures and glue them onto the ball. The mini figures will still be feet on the ball and when you rotate the ball the figures will still be there.

Sat 19-Jul-14 12:17:21

If you are in the space station, there is no up and down. Just relative positions. That must be weird.

WandaFuca Sat 19-Jul-14 12:15:38

Comparative sizes of continents is mind-boggling.

Sat 19-Jul-14 11:56:19

Or even a globe

Sat 19-Jul-14 11:55:07

The proportions of countries thing is what happens when you take a glob and stretch it to be a flat

Op did you know Portsmouth is on an island?

BridgettRousselot Sat 19-Jul-14 10:16:05

What the hell is harlequin colour change?( daren't google cos I'm a bit squeamish)

Sat 19-Jul-14 08:57:46
whereisshe Sat 19-Jul-14 08:56:29

I'm sure the Mercator projection (the map you usually see) is responsible for enthusiastic young Swedes turning up in Darwin and announcing they're going to hike to Adelaide. Because the map makes Sweden look about the same length as Australia. Which it really isn't!

Factoid: the Mercator projection became popular in the age of sea exploration, as it accurately shows sea distances (by stretching the land).

Sat 19-Jul-14 01:59:53

...and my tired little brain just exploded!

BridgettRousselot Sat 19-Jul-14 01:03:39

I don't watch the West Wing, Mavis.

Yes that is it 7Days.

7Days Fri 18-Jul-14 23:44:55

That's called the Peters Projection

Highly political, as maps often are - and very illuminating. We in the West think we own the world, don't we

GreeboOgg Fri 18-Jul-14 23:41:39

They are upside down OP. They dangle on the bottom of the world like spiders on the ceiling.

They can't be trusted.

MavisGrind Fri 18-Jul-14 23:39:18

Wasn't that on The West Wing Bridgett? Was only thinking about that the other day.

BridgettRousselot Fri 18-Jul-14 23:31:23

My dd had Harlequin colour change, it didn't really properly ever go, it just changed to being blotchy, she also had Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. The Dr's don't know enough about it to say if it is all related, they are all dysfunciton of the autonomic system that can't cope very well with gravity.

Anyway back to science and geography, did you know most maps are not accurately showing the correct proportions of the southern hemesphere, and that south America, Africa and Australia are far bigger than they are shown in our maps?

ExcuseTypos Fri 18-Jul-14 23:26:46

Kim147 that map has saeriously messed with my mind.

buffythebarbieslayer Fri 18-Jul-14 23:14:49

Stokes I think I might be getting it (despite a few wines!)

Love you!

Stokes Fri 18-Jul-14 23:05:21

Does this illustration help?

www.clker.com/cliparts/t/a/C/n/w/j/people-holding-hands-around-the-world-md.png

"Up" and "down" as we think of them aren't defined as the top and bottom of this picture - as others have said, it's all about the centre of the earth. The centre of the earth is "down" and the outside, where we live, is "up".

Think about the graphic I posted the link to above. It's not that people in the north pole are straight, and then add you go round the world we're a bit tilted in Europe and then Australians are upside down. Imagine waking around the earth - your feet are always glued to the earth because of gravity. Your head is always above them (depending, of course, on how many gins have been consumed on this long walk). The ground is always down.

Does that make any sense?

buffythebarbieslayer Fri 18-Jul-14 23:04:39

Absolutely no offense meant to Australians by the way! Just my thick brain!

MooseBeTimeForSpring Fri 18-Jul-14 23:04:33

And we're orbiting the sun at about 67,000 mph

Fri 18-Jul-14 22:52:17

Does this help?

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