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Why do we accept the idea that north is top, and the south is the bottom? In space, there isn't any "up" or "down!"

... maps were made, long before they understood what we know now, of our universe. Someone once said it had to do with the North Star. I am stubborn, because I am not satisfied with this answer. ( too simplistic!)

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It was based on the travel of the sun during the year. At it's peak in summer it is directly overhead, as the year moves on it "descends" to its lowest point during the winter. Hence up and down.

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So far, I like this answer, the best. It seems reasonable!
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It has always been the representation of life and death. Spring was new life, summer was life at its best, fall was old age, and winter was death. The concept of up and down not only related to life and death but also the concept of north and south. These concepts are also international and is why maps made in Europe and maps made in Asia would share the same north/south, east/west orientation.
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The sun is highest in December if you're in Chile! This answer simply adopts the convention that North is "up" without answering the question-why?
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1) The only constant everywhere on Earth is the travel, and direction of travel, of the sun. Both daily, east/west, and annually, north/south.
2) Ancient maps from Europe, China, Japan, and the Middle-east are all oriented up/north, down/south.
3) Find some ancient maps (pre-columbian) from Chile or Australia that are also up/north, down/south oriented and we'll scratch this drawing board and start over. But should you find some that are upside down, then we will have confirmed my hypothesis.
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This is a unique question...

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Lol I was thinking that once too! I have no idea, I just wanna see what other people post for their answers ha. Sorry >_<

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Because magnets point to the north pole. They had to start somewhere. Compasses point north, from there they created latitude and longitude.

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Magnets point to the South Pole, too. It's just that the part of the needle they want to emphasize is longer or a different color. Each magnet has a north and south end.
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helixaqua
This is an odd question...but the ONLY good question I've seen in hours!
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Yes, but the people created these maps were living north of the equator, so naturally north was the top of the map.
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helixaqua

We are on Earth...on Earth we accept it. It helps to guide us in everyday life. True on the fact there is NO direction in space though.

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Did ya see, they caught that jihadi PRlCK!
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helixaqua
Yeah...that jack@zz caused the Pens and Bruins to get cancelled >:O
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That's the death penalty right there!
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helixaqua
Damn right! >:O
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@tony737, exactly which jihadi mofo is this? I've actually tried to avoid the news of late.
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It's tradition. Probably the first people to make maps were from the "top" half and saw it that way naturally. You're right. It can't be the North star because not everyone can see it!

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Only one right answer besides mine! Europeans made the first globes.
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In space there isn't a north or south either

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Because, a long time ago some dudes were like "Hey, let's call that way north!"And another guy was all like, "Okay, dude, and let's call that way south. And let's make a map or something." lol it really just has some thing to do with the magnetic pull of the North and South poles I think.

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Why is an apple called an apple? You're asking the same thing pretty much. It's because once you start mapping something out it's easier to stick with it, instead of having a map that's facing any direction confusing whoever is trying to read it. The words north and south are just words, its the meaning that defines them. The north star is used to navigate, so it makes sense to be looking up at the north star, and align your map to it, which north would be on the top.

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Convention.

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only because we need an agreed upon point of reference.

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We use the term up and down, top and bottom, in relationship to our place on the planet. But in the universe, as a whole, you are right,there's no up or down, or top and bottom. Good question, it's only the 2nd time I've seen it, in 3 months.

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Look at the Earth, the north pole is the area that is at the top of the Earth, the south pole is the area that is at the bottom of the Earth, but it depends on how you look at it.

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All you did was repeat the question! Why is the North Pole "up"?
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The first globes were made by Europeans. Europe is pretty far up in the northern hemisphere, so they put their part of the world "up" because its easier to see on a globe. If the Australians had been the first to explore the Earth we'd display globes the other way up.

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Very good answer! Thank you! I agree that if the Aussies were first, our perspectives would have been based on theirs!
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Maps predate globes.
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How do you know that maps made in the 1100's showed North as "up"? They could just as easliy showed West as up.
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Usually the orientation of the names written on the map are a good indicator of which way the map should be read. The Tabula Peutingeriana is a good example, it's a Roman map from the 4th century....
www.tabula-peutingeriana.de
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Maybe the people who made the compass just needed more scientific name than up, down, left, and right. IDK maybe that could be the answer...

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