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!
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by WINTER WHILE GETTING A SUNTAN. Need much more details on why it's bleak in the Winter in the middle. Also explain the title text Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
Middle latitudes are latitudes between the Arctic or Antarctic Circle (66 degrees North/South of the equator, respectively) and the Tropic of Cancer/Capricorn (23 degrees North/South of the Equator), two important latitudes on the globe that delineates some features of how the Sun rises and sets during the day.
In the Northern hemisphere North of the Arctic Circle there is at least one day in the year when the sun doesn't set (in Summer) or doesn't rise (in Winter), below that latitude the sun will rise and set every day - even for a short time. Also in the North Hemisphere at any latitudes South of the Tropic of Cancer there is one day of the year where the sun will shine directly from above, while North of these latitudes there will be no such days, as the sun will always shine from an angle. The length of the day South of the Tropic of Cancer will also be close to 12 hours a day regardless of whether it is Summer or Winter. The length of the day in the middle latitudes will vary however, in the Winter time days are shorter, while in the Summer time days are longer. These are more visible the more one goes North, as close to the Arctic the sun will only rise for a few hours in the Winter, and similarly will only set for a few hours in the Summer.
In the Southern hemisphere the situation is similar - any latitude South of the Antarctic Circle will have a day where there's no sun, and North of the Tropic of Capricorn there will be a time when the sun shines from directly above, and the length of the days are close to 12 hours the whole year. Between the two none of these will happen at any time of the year. Also days will be longer or shorter dependent on the season with Winter (centered around June in the Southern Hemisphere) having shorter days and Summer (centered around December) having longer (the opposite of how it is in the Northern hemisphere)
The comic refers to these facts that inside the middle latitudes there are simply no interesting features at any time of the year, however in Winter (in the Northern Latitudes) the sun will set earlier, and generally because of the lower temperatures and shorter days it has a bleak feeling.
The comic also plays on the idiom "split the difference" by applying it to the length of day vs. night. To split the difference is to agree (or settle) on an amount of something, such as money, that is halfway between two others. This can sometimes be characterized as a compromise where nobody gets what they want.
Cueball starts by wishing to experience two extremes: normal sunrise and sunset, vs. weeks of 24-hour darkness. Satisfying one or the other condition requires locating either to the Equator or to one of the poles. Megan proposes a "split the difference" compromise, which turns out to involve dim, bleak winters. Satisfying the compromise would mean locating in the "middle latitudes". Thus the bottom caption, "middle latitudes are the worst."
The title text extends the idea. Splitting the difference between "fun" snowy blizzards and "fun" warm sunny beaches would mean having neither, but instead icy wet 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: 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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