North, south, east, and west. North and south refer to true north and south, not magnetic north and south. On any map (well, almost any map) you'll see these buggers nicely shown by way of a compass rose. Obviously, north and south lay one hundred and eighty degrees from one another, and east and west bisect these angles on either side, dividing the plane into quadrents.

I spent nearly an hour last night debating the epistemology of cardinal directionality -- that is, "why North is on top".

Now, it's one thing to argue that North is on top because European cartographers (who, of course, are uniformly white male imperialist aggressors) put it there to keep the little guy, quite literally, down. That's a discussion I'm not going to participate in. The person I was talking to went further, arguing that the choice of axes themselves was arbitrary. She honestly thought that at some point in history, somebody closed their eyes, spun around, and chose that way to be north. No amount of discussion of magnetic compass needles or the earth's physical rotation could dissuade her.

I think I managed, at one point, to get her to claim that the earth didn't actually spin at all, and furthermore that the concept of "distance" was also invented by white male imperialist aggressors for the purpose of keeping Africa away from Europe.

Nuke'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

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