ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 7th October 2019, 04:11 PM   #1
Thor 2
Philosopher
 
Thor 2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Brisbane, Aust.
Posts: 5,517
Feeling In The Physical World

I struggled a little to find a suitable title for this thread and hope my choice jells with most.

I have always had a good knowledge of where I am and which way I am going. If you were to ask me which way was North, and the direction to and how far we are from some location, I am confident I would be able to tell you with reasonable accuracy. I've been surprised to find how little of this sense some others have.

Showing a friend around on a bike ride in Thailand, I took him to a doi (small limestone mountain) that was quite spectacular, and 1 -2 weeks later another doi that was also notable. He asked: "Is this the same doi we went to the other day?"

The first doi was about 10 km SE of Chiang Rai and the second 5 km NW of Chiang Rai!

Somewhat surprised at his lack of awareness of where he was, I mentioned I sometimes get disorientated because of the Sun swinging around to the South rather than the North as it does in the Southern hemisphere where I came from. "I never thought of that." He said. "Does the Sun rise in the East and set in the West there also?"

I almost fell off my bike!
__________________
Thinking is a faith hazard.
Thor 2 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th October 2019, 04:20 PM   #2
lionking
In the Peanut Gallery
 
lionking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 44,361
I have similar experiences to you. I always seem to sense which direction I am facing, and I’m pretty good at estimating distances, and it doesn’t matter to me which hemisphere I’m in.

I suspect we have all evolved to have this ability, but it has become inactive in many people.
__________________
A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

Sir Winston Churchill
lionking is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th October 2019, 04:44 PM   #3
xterra
So far, so good...
 
xterra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: On the outskirts of Nowhere; the middle was too crowded
Posts: 3,273
My sense of direction totally failed me once several years ago. I was driving in an unfamiliar prairie area, where there were no landmarks and on a day that was totally overcast so there wasn't even a hint of brightness to mark the position of the sun.

In my car, I have a magnetic compass and also a GPS receiver. Both of them told me I was driving north.

However, I had to stop the car, get out for a few minutes to reorient (pun intended) myself before I could accept the indicators on the instrument. Actually, it wasn't reorientation so much as disconnection from my present misconception.

In a similar vein, I should report that when I am in small cities or large towns, if I ask for directions to a library, I rarely get "go north two blocks then turn east."

Instead, I get "Go up the street to the drugstore, turn right."

If I ask "Is that turn to the east or west?" the response is often "Oh, I pay no attention to that stuff." The strange part is that people are proud of their ignorance.
__________________
Over we go....
xterra is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th October 2019, 04:49 PM   #4
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Location, Location
Posts: 63,784
I generally have a good sense of direction, but there are some specific places where my sense of north gets shifted and I get it quite wrong. For example, the front door of my parent's place faces close to due north, but it always feels to me like it's facing west. It's because their street does a kink to the east halfway up that my brain somehow fails to take account of.
__________________
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him

My mom told me she tries never to make fun of people for not knowing something.
- Randall Munroe
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th October 2019, 04:51 PM   #5
casebro
Penultimate Amazing
 
casebro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 16,886
Many people are clueless about many things. What did they do in the back seat of the car on trips, play Nintendo? Or watch out the window at "nature" ? And it's only going to get worse with GPS phones in every pocket.

I went from San Diego to thechildhood home town, Waterbury Ct. after a 45 year absence, I gave directions from our house to Gramma's. Over the um 43 bumps? I remember routes after decades.
__________________
Great minds discuss ideas.
Medium minds discuss events.
Small minds spend all their time on U-Tube and Facebook.
casebro is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th October 2019, 05:25 PM   #6
Pope130
Illuminator
 
Pope130's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Oregon
Posts: 3,141
I have a quite good sense of direction in the wilderness, but get all turned around in cities. I have no trouble in the forest finding North, backtracking, or cutting across new territory to known point. In the city I'm good for about three turns, then have to go to the map.
Pope130 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th October 2019, 05:47 PM   #7
crescent
Illuminator
 
crescent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 3,151
I grew up on the "Front Range" of Colorado. The front range is the string of towns and cities on the western edge of the Great Plains, just before the Rocky Mountains. In those towns and cities, the mountains are always in the west. Go 100 miles north of Denver, and the mountains are on the west, the plains on the east. Go 100 miles south of Denver, the mountains are in the west, the plains in the east.

Then I moved to the Nepali Terai, the northern edge of the Gangetic Plain, just before the Himalaya start. In the Terai, the mountains are always in the north (with the exception of the "inner Terai"). Mountains in the north, plains in the south.

That really blew apart my sense of direction for while there.

There can be an unconscious grasp of some landmarks or directional features. One can't always put a finger on what change it is that triggers the disorientation - had I traveled to the Southern hemisphere, I don't know if I would have been able to realize the change in the relative direction of the sun was the thing knocking my direction off.
crescent is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th October 2019, 07:11 PM   #8
alfaniner
Penultimate Amazing
 
alfaniner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 20,595
I'm pretty good with straight streets. But walking around a newly-built, suburban neighborhood on Oahu I got totally turned around and lost. The settlement houses all looked the same, and the streets made gradual turns so I couldn't keep track. Sometimes they don't even use NSEW directions, but Koko Head, Diamond Head, Mauka, and something else. But then, you already have to know which way you're facing.

I thought I'd be able to get back easily because I knew my friend's house was on a street that started with a "K" and had a lot of letters in it. But so did every other street around there. I finally came across one of the main streets and took the long way around to get back the only way I knew.
__________________
Science is self-correcting.
Woo is self-contradicting.
alfaniner is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th October 2019, 09:03 PM   #9
Thor 2
Philosopher
 
Thor 2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Brisbane, Aust.
Posts: 5,517
It would seem that most here have a reasonable sense of direction unlike some I have come across.

A few years ago in Bangkok (Krung Thep to Thais), I came up from the underground railway onto a street that I knew ran East - West, but didn't know if I was on the South or North side and there was no Sun. I stopped a local and asked which way was which ..... no idea.

Similar experience in Melbourne (Australia) were I was told to take a tram to stop number ** and then another tram to get there. When I asked what direction to my destination (as I knew it was close and wanted to walk), I received a blank look.
__________________
Thinking is a faith hazard.
Thor 2 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 04:15 AM   #10
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 87,608
I have no sense of direction and couldn't find my way out of a 2m tunnel with only one entrance! I can travel the same route a hundred times and still need my sat nav to tell me when to turn. And this isn't anything to do with relying on sat nav, as prior to such devices I was as bad. And yes I can read a map, use a compass and so on but I'd have to do it every single time I made the same trip. It doesn't help that I don't know my left from my right (I have to quickly use the mnemonic "I write with my right hand" and go as if I'm going to pick a pen up to write something to be able to know if something is right or left.)

I suspect it has something to do with my inability to visualise anything.
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 05:27 AM   #11
Bikewer
Penultimate Amazing
 
Bikewer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: St. Louis, Mo.
Posts: 12,566
Bikewer has a birthday
You have to wonder if this ability was more prevalent in our primitive ancestors. Most all were hunter-gatherers, likely working rather large territories throughout the year.

They were no doubt highly familiar with recognizing features of terrain and such that most modern folks would not.
More amazing to me are the seafaring abilities of the peoples that populated the Pacific islands, and who routinely went out on long fishing voyages with nothing but their abilities to navigate by keen observation.
Bikewer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 06:12 AM   #12
Myriad
Hyperthetical
 
Myriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: A pocket paradise between the sewage treatment plant and the railroad
Posts: 15,446
Here in the northeastern U.S. I often use land contours to figure out directions when other directional information (sunlight, road signs, maps) is absent or confusing. "I don't remember which way we turned but the highway has to be this way." "How come?" "Because it's uphill."

Of course this wouldn't work in many places.
__________________
A zÝmbie once bit my sister...
Myriad is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 06:25 AM   #13
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 87,608
Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
You have to wonder if this ability was more prevalent in our primitive ancestors. Most all were hunter-gatherers, likely working rather large territories throughout the year.

They were no doubt highly familiar with recognizing features of terrain and such that most modern folks would not.
More amazing to me are the seafaring abilities of the peoples that populated the Pacific islands, and who routinely went out on long fishing voyages with nothing but their abilities to navigate by keen observation.
Goodness knows what my ancestors did to get fed!
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 06:38 AM   #14
theprestige
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 38,321
I thought spacial awareness and spatial reasoning was a well known human talent, and it was well known that different individuals have different amounts of it.
theprestige is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 06:40 AM   #15
alfaniner
Penultimate Amazing
 
alfaniner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 20,595
I had (have) a very difficult time reading maps on the phone when they automatically rotate around so it only shows your forward direction. It's OK to tell me to turn left or right but keep North at the top.
__________________
Science is self-correcting.
Woo is self-contradicting.
alfaniner is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 06:53 AM   #16
TragicMonkey
Poisoned Waffles
 
TragicMonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Monkey
Posts: 51,265
I'm good at direction except in certain buildings that tend to be insanely complex: specifically, hospitals. Hospitals planned and built all at one time are fine and sensible. But hospitals that are an amalgam built of several older buildings juryrigged together over decades? Those are insane. Staircases that go nowhere. Hallways that stop dead, having only had one opening to them. Turning a corner and ascending three steps to end up a floor below the floor you were just on. Places where it's shorter to exit a building and reenter it through another door than to walk the same path indoors. There's one hospital here that's at least a dozen older buildings grown together, with new ones built between and on top, with tunnels and bridges built to join them above, below, and around. The interior of that place (places?) is like a hundred TARDISes stitched into that crazy lady's Mystery House. There is even a bank of elevators which are adjacent on the ground floor but go to entirely separate buildings above, gods help you if you take the wrong one.

Bring a guide and a donkey, because 95% of the place doesn't get a cell signal.
__________________
You added nothing to that conversation, Barbara.
TragicMonkey is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 07:21 AM   #17
Myriad
Hyperthetical
 
Myriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: A pocket paradise between the sewage treatment plant and the railroad
Posts: 15,446
Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I'm good at direction except in certain buildings that tend to be insanely complex: specifically, hospitals. Hospitals planned and built all at one time are fine and sensible. But hospitals that are an amalgam built of several older buildings juryrigged together over decades? Those are insane. Staircases that go nowhere. Hallways that stop dead, having only had one opening to them. Turning a corner and ascending three steps to end up a floor below the floor you were just on. Places where it's shorter to exit a building and reenter it through another door than to walk the same path indoors. There's one hospital here that's at least a dozen older buildings grown together, with new ones built between and on top, with tunnels and bridges built to join them above, below, and around. The interior of that place (places?) is like a hundred TARDISes stitched into that crazy lady's Mystery House. There is even a bank of elevators which are adjacent on the ground floor but go to entirely separate buildings above, gods help you if you take the wrong one.

Bring a guide and a donkey, because 95% of the place doesn't get a cell signal.

Connie Willis's Passage uses the confusing architecture of an accreted hospital building as a major motif and significant metaphor.
__________________
A zÝmbie once bit my sister...
Myriad is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 07:30 AM   #18
TragicMonkey
Poisoned Waffles
 
TragicMonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Monkey
Posts: 51,265
Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Connie Willis's Passage uses the confusing architecture of an accreted hospital building as a major motif and significant metaphor.
I tried not to think about meanings when I found the back stairwell that opened onto both the kitchen and the morgue.
__________________
You added nothing to that conversation, Barbara.
TragicMonkey is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 07:41 AM   #19
crescent
Illuminator
 
crescent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 3,151
Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I tried not to think about meanings when I found the back stairwell that opened onto both the kitchen and the morgue.
Isn't that the stairwell accessed through the door that says "Recycling"?
crescent is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 07:58 AM   #20
Myriad
Hyperthetical
 
Myriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: A pocket paradise between the sewage treatment plant and the railroad
Posts: 15,446
Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I tried not to think about meanings when I found the back stairwell that opened onto both the kitchen and the morgue.

You're saying you discovered the one isolated instance of efficient design among all the chaos?
__________________
A zÝmbie once bit my sister...
Myriad is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 08:55 AM   #21
Pope130
Illuminator
 
Pope130's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Oregon
Posts: 3,141
Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I'm good at direction except in certain buildings that tend to be insanely complex: specifically, hospitals. Hospitals planned and built all at one time are fine and sensible. But hospitals that are an amalgam built of several older buildings juryrigged together over decades? Those are insane. Staircases that go nowhere. Hallways that stop dead, having only had one opening to them. Turning a corner and ascending three steps to end up a floor below the floor you were just on. Places where it's shorter to exit a building and reenter it through another door than to walk the same path indoors. There's one hospital here that's at least a dozen older buildings grown together, with new ones built between and on top, with tunnels and bridges built to join them above, below, and around. The interior of that place (places?) is like a hundred TARDISes stitched into that crazy lady's Mystery House. There is even a bank of elevators which are adjacent on the ground floor but go to entirely separate buildings above, gods help you if you take the wrong one.

Bring a guide and a donkey, because 95% of the place doesn't get a cell signal.
I've read that one of the tests that SOE used to decide what potential field agents would be good at was to take them at night in a closed van to a University or Government building that was a conglomerate structure like the hospital you describe.

The candidates would be given several hours to wonder the building, then taken back to the training center and tasked with sketching the building complex, never having seen it from the outside.

Most people did not do well.
Pope130 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 12:08 PM   #22
The Great Zaganza
Maledictorian
 
The Great Zaganza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 9,761
Some innovator a while ago came up with a belt with small cell phone vibrator units placed around. When active, the ones pointing towards North would vibrate.
In tests, people got an amazing sense of direction.
The Great Zaganza is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 02:24 PM   #23
Thor 2
Philosopher
 
Thor 2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Brisbane, Aust.
Posts: 5,517
Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
I had (have) a very difficult time reading maps on the phone when they automatically rotate around so it only shows your forward direction. It's OK to tell me to turn left or right but keep North at the top.

That's something I am particular about too - keeping North at the top.

At the nearby Griffiths University they have some idiot in charge of making maps. A map at the Northern entrance to one campus, is orientated with south at the top, and in one of the carparks has a map with West at the top.

It comes to mind that I have had two women in my life, that had to orientate a map such that the direction of their movement, coincided with that orientation. The map was held upside down or sideways at times. Reading names of streets became difficult. Is there some truth to the saying that women can't read maps?
__________________
Thinking is a faith hazard.
Thor 2 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 02:35 PM   #24
lionking
In the Peanut Gallery
 
lionking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 44,361
Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
It would seem that most here have a reasonable sense of direction unlike some I have come across.

A few years ago in Bangkok (Krung Thep to Thais), I came up from the underground railway onto a street that I knew ran East - West, but didn't know if I was on the South or North side and there was no Sun. I stopped a local and asked which way was which ..... no idea.

Similar experience in Melbourne (Australia) were I was told to take a tram to stop number ** and then another tram to get there. When I asked what direction to my destination (as I knew it was close and wanted to walk), I received a blank look.
My wife certainly doesn’t. And I must admit to having trouble in Tokyo. Railway Stations with about 200 entrances (really) do that to you.
__________________
A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

Sir Winston Churchill

Last edited by lionking; 8th October 2019 at 02:36 PM.
lionking is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 03:24 PM   #25
Pope130
Illuminator
 
Pope130's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Oregon
Posts: 3,141
Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
That's something I am particular about too - keeping North at the top.

At the nearby Griffiths University they have some idiot in charge of making maps. A map at the Northern entrance to one campus, is orientated with south at the top, and in one of the carparks has a map with West at the top.

It comes to mind that I have had two women in my life, that had to orientate a map such that the direction of their movement, coincided with that orientation. The map was held upside down or sideways at times. Reading names of streets became difficult. Is there some truth to the saying that women can't read maps?
There are "North Up" people, and "Heading Up" people. I would often have to serve as interpreter for these two types of people. Older C-130s are a four man cockpit, two pilots, navigator and flight engineer. There were two radar displays, one above the instrument panel for the pilots, the other at the navigators station. Navigators habitually set their display north up, pilots heading up. This makes sense in that navigators think in terms of map position coordinates, pilots in terms of steering directions. I sat between them and monitored both.
Pope130 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 04:33 PM   #26
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Location, Location
Posts: 63,784
Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
That's something I am particular about too - keeping North at the top.

At the nearby Griffiths University they have some idiot in charge of making maps. A map at the Northern entrance to one campus, is orientated with south at the top, and in one of the carparks has a map with West at the top.
Keeping north at the top isn't always the best policy, though. There's a map in the bus interchange where I wait for the bus to take me home. It's oriented with north at the top, so you have Benjamin Way on the left side of the map, and Chandler St on the right. But as you're looking at the map, you're facing south. Benjamin Way is physically on your left and Chandler St is on your right. The map is oriented backwards! If they'd turned that map upside-down, so that south was at the top, it would more closely represent one's physical surroundings and be easier to use.
__________________
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him

My mom told me she tries never to make fun of people for not knowing something.
- Randall Munroe
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 04:45 PM   #27
alfaniner
Penultimate Amazing
 
alfaniner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 20,595
Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Some innovator a while ago came up with a belt with small cell phone vibrator units placed around. When active, the ones pointing towards North would vibrate.

In tests, people got an amazing sense of direction.
Considering you wrote about a vibrator placed at belt level, I totally misread that last sentence.
__________________
Science is self-correcting.
Woo is self-contradicting.
alfaniner is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 04:59 PM   #28
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 26,715
Mythbusters did a test on keeping in one direction when nearly blind (to replicate conditions in a snowstorm). Adam wandered in a circle, as most people will do. Jamie picked out a single spot in the distance, walked there, and then picked another spot. This got him going in sort of a straight line. In any case, neither showed any inherent directional ability.



Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I'm good at direction except in certain buildings that tend to be insanely complex: specifically, hospitals. Hospitals planned and built all at one time are fine and sensible. But hospitals that are an amalgam built of several older buildings juryrigged together over decades? Those are insane. Staircases that go nowhere. Hallways that stop dead, having only had one opening to them. Turning a corner and ascending three steps to end up a floor below the floor you were just on. Places where it's shorter to exit a building and reenter it through another door than to walk the same path indoors.

You've been to New York Presbyterian?
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 05:11 PM   #29
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Location, Location
Posts: 63,784
Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I'm good at direction except in certain buildings that tend to be insanely complex: specifically, hospitals. Hospitals planned and built all at one time are fine and sensible. But hospitals that are an amalgam built of several older buildings juryrigged together over decades? Those are insane. Staircases that go nowhere. Hallways that stop dead, having only had one opening to them. Turning a corner and ascending three steps to end up a floor below the floor you were just on. Places where it's shorter to exit a building and reenter it through another door than to walk the same path indoors. There's one hospital here that's at least a dozen older buildings grown together, with new ones built between and on top, with tunnels and bridges built to join them above, below, and around. The interior of that place (places?) is like a hundred TARDISes stitched into that crazy lady's Mystery House. There is even a bank of elevators which are adjacent on the ground floor but go to entirely separate buildings above, gods help you if you take the wrong one.

Bring a guide and a donkey, because 95% of the place doesn't get a cell signal.
If you can find me some floorplans I'd love to use them for my next D&D game.
__________________
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him

My mom told me she tries never to make fun of people for not knowing something.
- Randall Munroe
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 05:23 PM   #30
alfaniner
Penultimate Amazing
 
alfaniner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 20,595
I remember an episode of Home Improvement where neighbor Wilson opined about the magic of man's iron boogers in his nose. Supposedly it's what gifts us with a magnetic sense of direction.
__________________
Science is self-correcting.
Woo is self-contradicting.
alfaniner is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 06:35 PM   #31
Apathia
Philosopher
 
Apathia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 5,345
My mental map tends to straighten out curved roads. I wind up losing orientation and coming to a road I didn't expect I'd intersect.

Around here I use the Superstition Mountains to keep me oriented to which way is East.
__________________
"At the Supreme Court level where we work, 90 percent of any decision is emotional. The rational part of us supplies the reasons for supporting our predilections."
Justice William O. Douglas

"Humans aren't rational creatures but rationalizing creatures."
Author Unknown
Apathia is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2019, 06:38 PM   #32
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Location, Location
Posts: 63,784
Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
My mental map tends to straighten out curved roads. I wind up losing orientation and coming to a road I didn't expect I'd intersect.

Around here I use the Superstition Mountains to keep me oriented to which way is East.
Right, we have the Brindabellas in the west too, but they're not always visible from all locations.
__________________
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him

My mom told me she tries never to make fun of people for not knowing something.
- Randall Munroe
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 9th October 2019, 01:40 PM   #33
Thor 2
Philosopher
 
Thor 2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Brisbane, Aust.
Posts: 5,517
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Keeping north at the top isn't always the best policy, though. There's a map in the bus interchange where I wait for the bus to take me home. It's oriented with north at the top, so you have Benjamin Way on the left side of the map, and Chandler St on the right. But as you're looking at the map, you're facing south. Benjamin Way is physically on your left and Chandler St is on your right. The map is oriented backwards! If they'd turned that map upside-down, so that south was at the top, it would more closely represent one's physical surroundings and be easier to use.

So you are one of those that have a problem with this then arth. Do you turn a map around so its orientation matches your direction of travel also?
__________________
Thinking is a faith hazard.
Thor 2 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 9th October 2019, 02:46 PM   #34
JeanTate
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 2,768
Iím usually very good in the sense described in the OP. But New York City underground/Metro? Regardless of knowing very well the direction the train I was on was heading, after several sets of stairs, ramps, etc, I emerge at street level ... and confidently head the wrong way! At some stations anyway.

Among those who I know, some men are hopeless, ditto some women, and vv.

Somewhat OT: spatial perception at smaller scales? You reach for something at the back of a cupboard, without concentrating, and skin a knuckle by barking on a shelf! Something youíd never do while concentrating (consuming an excessive amount of alcohol aside).
JeanTate is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 9th October 2019, 04:32 PM   #35
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Location, Location
Posts: 63,784
Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
So you are one of those that have a problem with this then arth. Do you turn a map around so its orientation matches your direction of travel also?
Me? No. I can read a map very well. But I know lots of people who would be completely confused by that map. It's just poor design.
__________________
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him

My mom told me she tries never to make fun of people for not knowing something.
- Randall Munroe
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 9th October 2019, 06:40 PM   #36
casebro
Penultimate Amazing
 
casebro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 16,886
I remember a delivery trip that a customer had given directions to her house. All the streets were in the right order, but all the turns were wrong way. I got there OK once I broke the code. I asked her, she said "Oh, I gave you directions as if I was driving outwards." Huh? Ah, it just now hit me, she turned the schedule of streets up side down, but forgot to reverse the direction of the turns. I don't know whether she thinks in words or in pictures, but with way she was messed up.
__________________
Great minds discuss ideas.
Medium minds discuss events.
Small minds spend all their time on U-Tube and Facebook.
casebro is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th October 2019, 02:55 AM   #37
3point14
Pi
 
3point14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 18,368
Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I struggled a little to find a suitable title for this thread and hope my choice jells with most.

I have always had a good knowledge of where I am and which way I am going. If you were to ask me which way was North, and the direction to and how far we are from some location, I am confident I would be able to tell you with reasonable accuracy. I've been surprised to find how little of this sense some others have.

Showing a friend around on a bike ride in Thailand, I took him to a doi (small limestone mountain) that was quite spectacular, and 1 -2 weeks later another doi that was also notable. He asked: "Is this the same doi we went to the other day?"

The first doi was about 10 km SE of Chiang Rai and the second 5 km NW of Chiang Rai!

Somewhat surprised at his lack of awareness of where he was, I mentioned I sometimes get disorientated because of the Sun swinging around to the South rather than the North as it does in the Southern hemisphere where I came from. "I never thought of that." He said. "Does the Sun rise in the East and set in the West there also?"

I almost fell off my bike!


I have a terrible sense of direction, but I live by the sea, so which way is north is something I can do now. When I lived in London, not a chance, not instinctively. I could work it out with, okay, if that's over there and that's over there, then this way is North. Or if the sun was in the sky (which is rare)



Tangentally, the Guugu Yimithirr language has some interesting properties in this regard:


"The language is notable for its use of pure geographic directions (north, south, east, west) rather than egocentric directions (left, right, forward, backward),[6] though such "purity" is disputed.[7] Still, it has given them a remarkable sense of direction. "
__________________
Up the River!

Anyone that wraps themselves in the Union Flag and also lives in tax exile is a [redacted]
3point14 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th October 2019, 03:11 PM   #38
Thor 2
Philosopher
 
Thor 2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Brisbane, Aust.
Posts: 5,517
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Me? No. I can read a map very well. But I know lots of people who would be completely confused by that map. It's just poor design.

I'm confused why you have difficulty with the North at the top map at your bus stop then.
__________________
Thinking is a faith hazard.
Thor 2 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th October 2019, 03:26 PM   #39
TragicMonkey
Poisoned Waffles
 
TragicMonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Monkey
Posts: 51,265
Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I'm confused why you have difficulty with the North at the top map at your bus stop then.
Because it's Oliver North and he just keeps claiming he doesn't recall.
__________________
You added nothing to that conversation, Barbara.
TragicMonkey is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 10th October 2019, 06:13 PM   #40
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Location, Location
Posts: 63,784
Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I'm confused why you have difficulty with the North at the top map at your bus stop then.
I have difficulty with it because it's a stupid design choice that will inconvenience a lot of people.
__________________
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him

My mom told me she tries never to make fun of people for not knowing something.
- Randall Munroe
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:17 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.