Friday, July 24, 2020

When Up Became Down

Every once in a while a civic club would request that I would come and speak to them. Since I was the local newspaper editor, they must have thought I would have something enlightening to share with them.

That was not usually the case. It had been drilled into me in journalism school to give the facts, stay objective, and don't show any favoritism. So that made a pretty dull talk whenever a group asked me to share my thoughts on things going on.

There was an opportunity that arose when the local businessmen's group asked me to address them, and instead of giving them a serious talk, I thought I would give them a humorous talk, something to make them laugh and have a better day than what all the serious information would afford them.

That, as it turned out, was not a good idea. They expected a serious talk, and when I gave them my "upside down" talk, they didn't quite know what to think of it.

The "upside down talk" had two major components.

First, it was explained that the latest scientific discoveries had revealed that up is down.

Anyone knows that when a light image passes through a convex lends, it turns the image upside down. Looking through a magnifying glass at a distant view proves that. Well, if that's the case, then the image on the back of your eyeball is upside down. Scientists had always assumed that the brain always turns the images rightside up while you are looking at it, but further research could not verify that was actually the case.

So everything we are looking at is actually upside down. That makes up, down. It also makes left, right. This means that gravity makes things fall upward.

The second component was that the direction north was actually south. When we look at a compass to see what direction we are facing, the north end of the compass needle points north. But every high school science student knows that the north end of a magnet repels the north end of another magnet, and the south end of one magnet is the one that is attracted to the north end of another magnet. So every compass on Earth has a needle where the north end points..... south.

That means the north pole is actually the south pole and that North Dakota is below South Dakota. That also flips the directions of East and West. So all those cowboy movies are actually "easterns" instead of "westerns," that the northeast United States is actually the Southwest United States and the words to the song "Buttons and Bows" are really messed up ("East is East and West is West, and the wrong ones I have chose....")

Fortunately when those two components are combined, some of the inconsistencies are made right again. But not all of them. The world in many respects is indeed upside down and we don't have to look far to realize that.