Friday, October 27, 2006

The view from above

I have, for many years, loved viewing the earth and seeing the whole planet really WHOLE, without the artificial border lines. The image of the earth from space that was on the cover of the Whole Earth Catalog was symbolic of what my generation wanted to achieve in our youth - a global village. I think the global mess - I mean, economy - that has evolved (despite that vision) is mostly due to overpopulation. But that's a topic for another day. I discovered a website where you can take a free ride on any of the multitude of satellites (funny word, isn't it? the etymology follows..).

1548, "follower or attendant of a superior person," from M.Fr. satellite (14c.), from L. satellitem (nom. satelles) "attendant," perhaps from Etruscan satnal (Klein), or a compound of roots *satro- "full, enough" + *leit- "to go" (Tucker); cf. Eng. follow, which is constructed of similar roots. Meaning "planet that revolves about a larger one" first attested 1665, in reference to the moons of Jupiter, from L. satellites, which was used in this sense 1611 by Ger. astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). Galileo, who had discovered them, called them Sidera Medic├Ža in honor of the Medici family. Meaning "man-made machinery orbiting the Earth" first recorded 1936 as theory, 1957 as fact. Meaning "country dependent and subservient to another" is recorded from 1800.

Pick a satellite at random and see what continent it puts you above. You can zoom in and out and everything.

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