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From: mark millman <millman@us.ncipher.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) The Commonwealth: North or South
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 10:19:06 

At 7:25 pm 25 October 1999, Steve (Redhaven1@aol.com) 

> I'm new to this list, so I apologize if this has already been 
> discussed.  In TBOTNS the Commonwealth is always re-
> fered to as being in the south and the Ascians are from the 
> north, giving rise to the speculations that the Common-
> wealth might be in present-day South America.  But I seem 
> to remember reading somewhere that scientists believe that 
> the Earth's magnetic poles had reversed sometime in the 
> past (perhaps more than once).  Has anyone else heard of 
> this?  In the movie 'Waterworld' the heroes finally found the 
> legendary 'Dry-land'  by realizing that when an ancient map 
> said 'North', it actually meant 'South' because the north pole 
> was now the magnetic south.  If TBOTNS is far enough in 
> the future, couldn't it be possible that this had happened in 
> its past and then the Commonwealth could possibly be in 
> the US or maybe Europe?  Again, sorry if this theory has 
> already been put forward.
> -Steve

and at 9:13 am 26 October 1999, Mitchell A. Bailey 
<MAB@lindau.net> responded:

> Since I've taken an interest in the 'magnetic' aspect of the 
> issue, I'll repeat that Urth, having been said to have solid-
> ified nearly through, is unlikely to have a significant mag-
> netic field. This is because a planetary magnetic field is 
> believed to be generated by the convection and shear of 
> a conductive more-or-less liquid core. . . .  Therefore 
> magnetic compasses and the magnetic poles, which may 
> have been utterly forgotten perhaps ages before Severian's 
> time to judge by their absence from the text, evidently are
> nonexistentent and moot. 

Welcome to the list, Steve.  You might like to know that our
esteemed alga is . . . doubtful . . . of the South American set-
ting that most of the rest of the list accepts, so you're in good
company.  That said, alga doesn't base her opinion on rever-
sal of the magnetic poles.  It's pretty clear that the sun (and 
other celestial objects) rise in the east and set in the west on
Urth, so even if there had been magnetic reversal at some 
point in the past, it would have meant that compasses pointed
south, not that the North Pole (the geographical one, at least; 
it's true that the magnetic direction labeled "north" would have
changed) had suddenly relocated to Antarctica.  

Furthermore, at 9:30 am 26 October 1999, Rostrum (Michael 
Straight) <straight@email.unc.edu> wrote:

> The ideal solution, of course, is to pass out copies 
> of PEACE to all my friends. 
> -Rostrum

Which I do.  It helps to have a lot of good used-book stores

Mark Millman

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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