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marketing startups May 21, 2019
 

The map is not the territory

Between 1763 and 1767 a remarkable piece of science occurred: A surveyor named Dixon and an astronomer called Mason accurately drew the boundaries between four American states. They did this on the actual land, not on a map, because that was the problem they were asked to solve. The British King had casually drawn some lines on a map of America, but no-one really knew what this meant in the reality of the physical world. The Mason-Dixon line had to cross rivers and mountains, and even on occasion went right through the middle of houses! Every step of the way the two scientists had to check and test and calibrate, because if they were a fraction of a degree wrong at one point, a hundred miles further on, the boundary would be significantly in error.

Do you see where I’m going with this story?

Mason and Dixon faced many problems in their work, one of which was the previously unknown fact that the mass of the mountains they were in the middle of was...

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