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A politically correct Globe

On our way south trough the Pan-American Highway,  few kilometres Northeast from Quito we visited the museum of La Mitad del Mundo.

We stop approximatively one hour and the visit to the museum was really worth. 

The Middle of the World or the Equator line is known as the line equidistant from the Poles, South and North. 

Ecuador is also the name of a country and the region of the Equatorial Andes is also known as “The Middle of the World”.

One of the more relevant attraction of the museum is the Ecuador Solar Clock the Reloj Solar.

Exactly at latitude 0°0´0´, with the precision of a millimetre, the Ecuador Solar Clock comprises a 54-meter circular platform in diameter, which forms a large mosaic of river stones, in light and dark tones that draw the eight-pointed star also known as the compass rose. 

In the center of this platform is a cylindrical pole ten meters high that serves as a gnomon or shadow marker, which will indicate the corresponding hours and months according to the apparent transit of the Sun.

The Ecuador Solar Clock not only marks the true hours trough the shadows projected by the gnomon and the apparent position of the Sun, during the hours of sunlight, but also marks the months of the year. 

The design, based on light and dark tones, makes this Solar Clock the first monument in the world that has been designed with the purpose of being observed and copied from satellites, thanks to the different temperatures radiated by the light stones, with a lower temperature than the background consisting of dark-colored stones. 

Another interesting attraction of the Museum is the The Oriens project, a cultural proposal for an alternative "Orientation" of the humans on the planet.

Oriens suggests “a more natural way” of orienting the globe, with a direction towards the East, which is the place where humans observe the sunrise. 

So according the explanation was given to us, the traditional North/South way to orient the world map or the globe is basically a “political” way to define the powerful North against the submissive South.

Orient suggests a more “politically correct” East/West orientation.

Our guide however was not able to provide us with scientific support to this new politically correct orientation of the world Map.

I’m well aware that the North/South is a conventional way to orient the map. 

However there are scientific reasons behind this convention.

This convention has historical roots, stemming from the use of the North Star (Polaris) as a navigational reference point in the Northern Hemisphere.

Besides, geographically, the two poles are the locations where the axis of our planet's rotation intersects the surface of the Earth itself. 

They are the only points at which, were you to stand on them, you would remain at the same location relative to Earth's center even as the planet rotates.

Anyway we greatly appreciated the time spent visiting this unique museum.

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