I am sounding more and more like my father every day.
Moving on, I want to wish each and every one of you out there a very happy, prosperous, peaceful, and safe 2019, including the newest of commenters, Red in Alberta, Canada!
All I know about Alberta, Canada without looking anything up is that it is between British Columbia and Saskatchewan, and that two of its cities are Edmonton (home of what at one time was the world's largest shopping mall or maybe it was North America's largest shopping mall -- take that, Minneapolis) and Calgary (home of the annual Stampede rodeo and the late Winter Olympics). All I know about Red after perusing his profile and a few of his posts is that he just observed his 79th Christmas (it was my 77th), that he is a retired educator, and that he was born in Saskatchewan. Everybody say hi to Red.
Your bit of trivia for the first day of the new year follows, and after that we will speak no more of latitude or longitude henceforth, even forever.
One degree of latitude equals 60 nautical miles. A nautical mile is 6000 feet as opposed to a regular land mile of 5280 feet. The figure I keep reading on the computer is that a nautical mile is 1.15 land miles even though when I use a calculator to divide 6000 by 5280 the answer I get is 1.136363636363636 and I'm not even kidding. Nevertheless, let us proceed with 1.15 (because it produces round figures, I think). In regular land miles, then, a degree of latitude equals 69 land miles (111km). Each degree is composed of 60 minutes, indicated by a single quote or apostrophe ('), and it follows as the night the day, one minute of latitude equals one nautical mile or 6000 feet (0.71km) or 1.15 larger than a regular land mile (0.62km). Even more astonishingly or predictably (pick one), each minute is composed of 60 seconds, indicated by double quotes or apostrophes ("). When you do the math, you find that a second is equal to 100 feet (that is, 6000 feet divided by 60). Isn't math wonderful?
Degrees of longitude, to change the subject, are also 60 nautical miles apart at the equator, to which they are perpendicular, but they gradually become closer together as one progresses north or south, until all the longitudinal lines meet at the poles.
It is therefore true, as French philosopher/Jesuit priest/paleontologist/geologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881 - 1955) said, everything that rises must converge.
You heard it here first, or maybe not.
Your last item of trivia for today is that although we have used the term "oblate spheroid" in the last couple of posts, I have learned that it is an outdated term. Everyone in the know says "oblate ellipsoid" nowadays.
Here is a pretty map for you to look at and ponder over. It shows the intersection of the equator and the prime meridian, which passes through the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England. How convenient for them.
If I made New Year's resolutions, I might attempt to be less snarky in the coming twelve months, but I just can't bring myself to commit to it.
Here are some examples of red: