Lost online

Jan. 4th, 2006 02:14 pm
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Apparently, Dr. Candle posted some directions to the Island. I'm not playing the game, but it popped into my mind that you can't really solve that with a ruler and a map.

First of all, most map projections are flat (Mercator excepted, but it ain't perfect), but the shortest difference between two points on a sphere is an arc, not a straight line. It's one of the reasons you go over Greenland and Iceland on your way from New York to London. So, just drawing a line from Sydney to LA and going 6x570 miles from Sydney before turning toward Fiji won't net you the right answer. You were on the wrong course to start with.

Second, even if you do find the proper course, you have to take into account the Earth's rotation under the plane while it's in the air when you calculate the distance travelled. When you make that course correction to Fiji, the island is not in the same place it was when you left Sydney. It's in the same place in relation to Sydney, but not in relation to your course.

Which is why air navigation is a bitch and a half. I'll stick with steering boats, thanks. I bet the Lost writers are peeing themselves laughing at everyone going "OMG, they're on Raritan!"
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