Believing that the Earth is Round When it Matters

A world map. Canada seems much bigger than Israel. Note, however, that in the map countries near the equator looks smaller than they are. Update: The round-earth hypothesis is clearer to the people of New Zealand; see the comments section.

One difficult aspect of the academic life is the requirement to fly to conferences and other academic activities all over the world. Strangely, speaking about this hardship to non- academic friends does not always elicit the sympathy we deserve.

Last month, I had to be on duty in two places outside Jerusalem. The first was  a conference in Beijing and the second was a conference and a visit in the the Los Angeles area. My solution was to make a round trip to Beijing and another round trip to LA. (I am simplifying matters since there was some interference due to additional travels, visa matters, etc..)

I discovered the following flaws I make in planning my trips:

1) I am (somewhat) biased toward round trips.

More seriously…

2) I dont take into account that the earth is round.

The book solution to this travel was to go from Jerusalem to Beijing and then from Beijing to Los Angeles and from LA to Jerusalem. I completely ignored this possibility. When I realized it, it made me wonder what this reveals about my true beliefs regarding the round earth hypothesis.

Believing that this coffee cup is a realistic model of the world suffices to prefer the Beijing-LA solution over two round-trips solution!

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