2081: Middle Latitudes
Title text: Snowy blizzards are fun, but so are warm sunny beaches, so we split the difference by having lots of icy wet slush!
Because of the Earth's axial tilt, the apparent daily path of the Sun through the sky - in particular, how long it takes and how high in the sky it gets - is different depending on how far North or South of the Equator you are (your latitude), and also changes throughout the year as the Earth revolves around the Sun. This fact yields two very important pairs of latitudes:
The latitudes that lie within these two bands are called the middle latitudes - also sometimes referred to as the North Temperate Zone and the South Temperate Zone respectively.
The Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are the latitudes beyond which, if you go any further from the Equator, it is no longer possible for the Sun to be directly overhead at any time of the year. Similarly, the Arctic and Antarctic Circles represent the latitudes beyond which it is possible for the Sun not to rise or set at all at some times of the year.
In the middle latitudes - which occur between these extremes - we instead get the rather less impressive phenomenon of daylight simply being a bit longer in summer and a bit shorter in winter.
In the comic, the middle latitudes are sarcastically proffered as a compromise between two extremes described by Cueball: day lengths that don't vary that much (as occurs in the torrid zone near the Equator), and the possibility of days with no daylight at all (as occurs in the Arctic/Antarctic zones). However, it is clear that Megan's compromise merely results in seasonal weather that has no interesting or useful features at any time of the year. In particular, winter is singled out as a season that is generally just dim and bleak in the middle latitudes, with days that don't last long and are cold and dull anyway.
The title text extends the idea with another spurious compromise, this time between snowy blizzards and warm sunny beaches - both of which are enjoyable in their own ways, but "splitting the difference" and combining the two would result in unpleasant icy slush.
There are other comics that refer to the length of the day, and how it is different each day, a recent one for example is 2050: 6/6 Time.
- [Cueball and Megan standing and talking, Megan with her arms raised.]
- Cueball: It would be nice if the sun could rise and set at normal times. But it would also be cool to experience 24-hour darkness for weeks on end.
- Megan: Well, what if we split the difference, so all winter everything was normal but slightly more dim and bleak?
- Cueball: Perfect!
- [Caption below the frame:]
- Middle latitudes are the worst.
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