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June 10, 2004


For all your Bond villain secret fortress needs.

Express your global strategy with a massive sphere designed for public places.

Sweet. Flea Mansions could certainly use a desktop Mars globe. I wonder how tricky it would be to make an Arrakis globe prop...

Posted by Ghost of a flea at June 10, 2004 08:42 AM

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Re: Arrakis globe, the problem would be that, based on that map, you have (at best) only one hemisphere to work with. But then wasn't the entire southern hemisphere of the planet supposed to be nothing but sand dune fields anyway? That would be easy enough...

Posted by: Varenius at June 10, 2004 04:57 PM

There isn't much to Dune geography in the period of the first three books. Basically, I could make up the stuff in around the south pole. Things get tricky by the time of the God Emperor...

Posted by: Flea at June 11, 2004 06:22 PM

Having nothing better to do (Dissertation?? What dissertation??) I decided to see how much the map can tell us about global Dune geography.

According to the web page, the distance between Carthag and Arakeen is 200 km. Ignoring possible complications related to image resolution, that gives us a map scale of roughly 1 cm = 87 km.

The distance from the North Pole (90 North) to the parallel of 60 North is 10 cm, giving us a ground distance of 870 km. Since 30 is 1/12 of the global circumference, we can multiply the ground distance by 12 to get the global circumference in kilometers. That gives us a result of 10,440 km for the global circumference of Dune. That means Dune is 1/4 the size of Earth, 1/2 the size of Mars, and slightly smaller than our Moon! (Probably not what Herbert had in mind, but in fairness this map is an artistic visualization and not a formal attempt at a definitive map.)

By the way, Flea, I noticed the web page states "Open desert runs from about 60 north to about 70 south," so you would only have to come up with about 20 (on both sides of the globe) worth of geography to complete your globe.

(I knew my geography degree would be useful someday!! ;-)

Posted by: Varenius at June 11, 2004 07:52 PM

You said the D-word! Now I have to go take sedatives!

Posted by: Flea at June 12, 2004 12:23 AM

When they kick in I might have something to say about Frank Herbert being a masterful source to introduce themes in ecology. It sounds like geography was not his forte.

Posted by: Flea at June 12, 2004 12:24 AM

You said the D-word! Now I have to go take sedatives!

Oh great, so that's what I have to look forward to once I've finally finished it? A lifetime of drug-mediated trauma?

Posted by: Varenius at June 12, 2004 04:31 PM

Herbert is also not a bad gut-level, interpretive introduction to the messianic impulse in Islam. Paul has a great similarity to figures such as the Sudanese Mahdi (and even Mohammed to an extent) and it's pretty clear to me that Herbert was modeling the story on figures like him. (This despite Herbert's disingenuous claim in a TV interview that Dune was based on "the Jesus myth" -- y'know, just ignore all those uses of words like jihad, mahdi, hajj, etc...)

Posted by: Varenius at June 12, 2004 04:44 PM