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This article is from the Puzzles FAQ, by Chris Cole chris@questrel.questrel.com and Matthew Daly mwdaly@pobox.com with numerous contributions by others.

388 pickover/pickover.14.p


Title: Cliff Puzzle 14: Geography Genuflection
From: cliff@watson.ibm.com

If you respond to this puzzle, if possible please send me your name,
address, affiliation, e-mail address, so I can properly credit you if
you provide unique information. PLEASE ALSO directly mail me a copy of
your response in addition to any responding you do in the newsgroup. I
will assume it is OK to describe your answer in any article or
publication I may write in the future, with attribution to you, unless
you state otherwise. Thanks, Cliff Pickover

* * *

1. How would the world be different today, geopolitically speaking, if
the ancient land masses had never drifted apart and, therefore,
today's world consisted of a single supercontintent?

2. What would today's world be like if the land mass which formed the
Greek peninsula never existed?

3. What would today's world be like if the land bridge which joined
Alaska to Asia never existed?

4. Why do all the major peninsulas on earth point south? See for
example: Italy, Greece, Florida, and Baja, and the tips of Africa,
South America, India, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, and many other
landmasses.

pickover/pickover.14.s

-------------------------

In rec.puzzles you write:

>If you respond to this puzzle, if possible please send me your name,
>address, affiliation, e-mail address, so I can properly credit you if
>you provide unique information.
>
Mike Neergaard
University of Wisconsin
neergaar@math.wisc.edu

I'm not a professional at this sort of thing, so I just summarized my
conclusions. I'm sure they would be ripped to shreds by any competent
whatsit-type-individual-who-knows-all-about-this-kind-of-stuff.

>1. How would the world be different today, geopolitically speaking, if
>the ancient land masses had never drifted apart and, therefore,
>today's world consisted of a single supercontintent?
We would all speak German.

>2. What would today's world be like if the land mass which formed the
>Greek peninsula never existed?
>
We would know a low more about fluid dynamics.

>3. What would today's world be like if the land bridge which joined
>Alaska to Asia never existed?
Christopher Columbus would be a national hero, instead of being vulnerable
to counter-claims of genocide. America would have been settled several
decades later, due to a dearth of demonstrable natural resources.

>4. Why do all the major peninsulas on earth point south? See for
>example: Italy, Greece, Florida, and Baja, and the tips of Africa,
>South America, India, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, and many other
>landmasses.
I just work here . . .
--
I really don't make any claim at all to know what I'm talking about.
Actually, I make no claim to know what YOU'RE talking about, either.
In fact, now I've forgotten what we were talking about . . .

-------------------------

In article <1992Oct26.140330.142282@watson.ibm.com> you write:
>Title: Cliff Puzzle 14: Geography Genuflection
>From: cliff@watson.ibm.com
>
>If you respond to this puzzle, if possible please send me your name,
>address, affiliation, e-mail address, so I can properly credit you if
>you provide unique information. PLEASE ALSO directly mail me a copy of
>your response in addition to any responding you do in the newsgroup. I
>will assume it is OK to describe your answer in any article or
>publication I may write in the future, with attribution to you, unless
>you state otherwise. Thanks, Cliff Pickover
>
> * * *
>

Okay, administrative trivia first. My name is Martin Eiger, you don't
need my address (home or business?), I don't want you citing my
affiliation if you quote me, and my e-mail address is
mie@thumper.bellcore.com.

>1. How would the world be different today, geopolitically speaking, if
>the ancient land masses had never drifted apart and, therefore,
>today's world consisted of a single supercontintent?

My theory is that mankind would never have evolved. The dominant
species would still be some sort of mammal, but not us. This renders
a large number of geopolitical questions irrelevant. For example,
elephant-like creatures are unlikely to care whether there is one or
two Germanys.

>2. What would today's world be like if the land mass which formed the
>Greek peninsula never existed?

A tough one, since I'm not up on my Greek influences in the evolution
of civilization. My guess is that civilization would have evolved
anyway, probably not too differently than it did. It might not have
evolved as fast, i.e., we might now be where we were a thousand years
ago or so, but over the long haul, human history would follow a
similar course.

>3. What would today's world be like if the land bridge which joined
>Alaska to Asia never existed?

Pretty much the same, I bet. People would have colonized North
America anyway. After all, they got to Hawaii, so somebody could
probably have gotten to North America. And whether or not people
colonized North America from across the Pacific, people from Europe
would have paved the place over just the same.

>4. Why do all the major peninsulas on earth point south? See for
>example: Italy, Greece, Florida, and Baja, and the tips of Africa,
>South America, India, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, and many other
>landmasses.

First of all, you have to define what's a major peninsula. Secondly,
I don't like your list. Norway and Sweden are on the same peninsula,
and Greenland is an island, not a peninsula. And third, there are
plenty of perfectly fine peninsulas that don't point south: Alaska,
Siberia, Michigan (two peninsulas for the price of one), Yucatan,
Arabia (points kind of southeast), and Iberia, for instance. And
fourth, you missed a few good southern-pointing ones, such as Korea,
Crimea, the Sinai, and the one that kind of points from eastern
Siberia toward Japan that I'm sure has a name but I don't know it. So
while there are lots of peninsulas pointing lots of directions, a
majority of them do seem to point south, and I have no idea why.

 

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