xkcd finds East and West confusing - what about North and South?

xkcd finds East and West confusing - what about North and South?

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Stealing from XKCD again:

Terminology

I have a similar problem with North and South.  On the globe, there's a clearly marked "North Pole" and a clearly marked "South Pole."

Fine.

Magnets also have North and South poles.  These are typically labeled N and S respectively.  Fine.

But if you consider the Earth as a large magnet (which it is), then you have to stick the N where the penguins live (Antarctica-ish) and the S where the polar bears live (Canada-ish...)

 http://blogs.msdn.com/photos/matthew_van_eerde/images/9064687/original.aspx

That bugs me.

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  • My 2 cents:

    I believe it's a question of the definition and assumption differing: magnetic north is not the earth equivalent of a magnet's N (assumption), but the end that attracts a magnet's N (definition).

    In order words, "magnetic north" is a contraction of "magnetic pole-that-attracts-a-magnet's north".

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