From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
(Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)
Presently she began again. ‘I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think—’ (she was rather glad there was no one listening, this time, as it didn’t sound at all the right word) ‘—but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealand or Australia?’
These two quasi-antipodal countries bear a most startling resemblance to one another in both shape and size. Christchurch decorates the Kiwi version roughly the corresponding position of Rome on the Lateran version. New Zealanders are not forced to vote against their will, and have thus escaped the coercive cancer that is destroying Australia and Brazil.
This is the last of these images I’ll be posting. Google has changed its sign-or-swim hold-harmless agreement in such a way as to make it impossible for the antipodes-tunneling website to allow comparison of relative sizes undistorted by the Mercator projection. But to put these in perspective, I offer another shoe shape in a map of those portions of Antarctica that were 30ºC below zero in Southern Hemisphere Summer at Christmastime. That’s 22ºF below zero.
This brings to mind a translator’s temperature conversion mnemonic. You’ve seen that -22ºF is -30ºC. What is the Farenheit equivalent of a comfortable 22ºC?
Tasmania is the same Southern latitude as Omaha, Nebraska is Northern, about 41º.
The answer to the temperature question is: 72ºF. The mnemonic for this is that 72ºF is 22.22222ºC (seven twos, and add a decimal point). Interpreters figure that an ice cube and a boiling kettle are 100ºC apart but 180ºF apart, so the difference ratio is 5 to 9 or 9/5. Knowing that 16ºC is 61ºF, you can go up and down by nines and fives. Sixteen +5 is 21ºC, while 61+9 is 70ºF. This extrapolation agrees pretty closely with the equivalence at 72ºF=22.22222ºF we just saw. We could never do this in real time using that goofy formula they teach in school so we calculate and memorize a few easy examples and find the other temperatures by going up or down by nines and fives while interpreting.
The temperature in Tasmania in the Christmas to New Years’ timeframe is typically 72ºF. Imagine how difficult it is to convince Tasmanians that they’ve been broiling under steep Global Warming for the past 100 summers, all of them at 72ºF. Here’s a news clipping from Melbourne on usual (70-75ºF) and unusual temperatures in January 1857:
You can use a similar trick to work out square roots. By memorizing the roots of 2, 3 and 5, you can find roots for many non-prime numbers like, say, 12. Twelve divided by 2 is 6, and 6 divided by 2 is 3. Long story short, you factor a number into primes, and repeated ones yield themselves while leftover singles are square roots. In the case of 12, the square root is √2 times √2 times √3, which is 2√3. If you forget that √16 is 4, by this same trick you divide it by 2 four times which yields two paired multiples of 2, which is two fours. There is also a trick for using the square root of 5 for converting kilometers to miles and vice-versa, but that’s another story.
If ever in need of a Portuguese interpreter with portable simultaneous gear for ingredient supplier audits, rolling mill or refinery tours, look me up in Brazil or Texas. We also do certified translations.