The Antipodes

The Antipodes are the English-speaking countries in the South Pacific Ocean: Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and associated locations.

Ironically, not a single scrap of land is actually antipodal to Australia. This is pretty surprising, considering how big Australia is; it is as if a cylindrical core of the Earth had been pushed downunderward, leaving a depression in the North Atlantic Ocean and a rise constituting Australia. Bermuda is almost antipodal, but it actually fits into the bay at Perth.

The United States similarly represents a core that has been pushed upoverward; the only land antipodal to it is a small slice of Kerguelen Island, glacial and uninhabited, which is antipodal to part of Rhode Island (which is not an island). Hawaii is an exception.

Finally, Antarctica is antipodal to the Arctic Ocean, mostly, as if its core had been pushed southward. How to visualize these three cores intersecting at the center of the Earth: Well.

These facts are recycled from W.v.O. Quine's book Quiddities. (No, he didn't write a book called Haecceities, in case you're wondering.)


Anonymous said...

With all the recent hype about podcasting, I've been thinking that a good name for an Australian podcast would be "Antipodcast".

John Cowan said...

To me, "podcasting" will always suggest the Pod People.