How to annoy your friends with geography
You’ll want to one-up your pals with this smug collection of global oddities. They’re also great for winning bar bets in the better bars:
Fact: If you boarded an airplane at Miami, Fl., and flew 1,200 miles due south, you’d be over the Pacific Coast.
Explanation: Check it on a globe. You’d pass over the Isthmus of Panama. Next landfall: Antarctica.
Fact: The capital city of an inland U.S. state lies further west than Los Angeles.
Explanation: It’s Carson City, Nv.
Fact: The rain in Spain does not fall mainly in the plain.
Explanation: This is what happens when songwriters practice meteorology. Spain’s rainiest area is its northern Atlantic coast, the aptly named Costa Verde.
Fact: New York is the wildest state east of the Mississippi.
Explanation: New York State contains vast tracts of wilderness acreage, especially in the Adirondack region.
Fact: Adolph Hitler owned 9,000 acres of land in the American west.
Explanation: It was pastureland in the State of Colorado.
Fact: Charles Lindbergh was not the first man to fly the Atlantic.
Explanation: A number of others – mostly military men – did it prior to Lindbergh’s 1927 crossing. Lindy was the first to fly the Atlantic solo.
Fact: One of North America’s best-known natural phenomena is the result of a lake 570 feet above sea level emptying into another lake 245 feet above sea level.
Explanation: Thus producing Niagara Falls. (The Niagara River connects the two lakes.)
Fact: The easternmost, westernmost and northernmost points in the U.S. are all found in the same state.
Explanation: The state is Alaska, easternmost in that the tip of its Aleutian chain extends across the line that separates east from west.
Fact: One of the contiguous 48 states has approximately one-third of its land area separated by water from the other two-thirds.
Explanation: The state is Michigan. The water gap between the upper and lower peninsulas is bridged at the Straits of Mackinac.
Fact: The earth is not round.
Explanation: The earth is a spheroid rather than a perfect sphere. It flattens slightly at both poles and bulges slightly at the equator. (Note: This is a specious point, the recitation of which will not win you any friends.)
Fact: The world’s largest island was given its name as part of a real estate con job.
Explanation: The Danish government gave Greenland its tempting but inaccurate name in order to attract settlers.
Fact: The northernmost of the 48 adjacent states is not Maine.
Explanation: It’s Minnesota, whose northernmost point is a detached bit of land northwest of Lake of the Woods.
Fact: In 1926, it was possible to cross the Atlantic Ocean using scheduled, non-surface, commercial transportation.
Explanation: By dirigible. Though the Hindenburg disaster quashed airship travel, veterans of successful trips deemed them pleasant and relaxing.
Thanks for reading with us today. Please return your tray tables to their original upright position. This would probably entail ripping them out and taking them back to the factory, but never mind that.
See part 2 in the March 1, 2012 Pickens Progress.