Magnetism, Diplomacy, and Disclaimers

Ever since I was a child, I have enjoyed geography. I studied maps, learned from maps, and even drew my own maps of imaginary worlds.  Globes were another thing altogether. While a map is useful for gathering information, and figuring out how to get from point A to point B, there’s nothing like a globe to get a true picture of the shape of the world.

It might be a coincidence that my wife majored in geography at school. It probably is, in fact, but knowing that, I bought her a geography-related gift the first Christmas we were together.  It was a magnetic floating globe. It’s a globe that hangs in the air, suspended by magnetic force. A mere four inches in diameter, it’s the sort of thing that can only be a gift, because it serves no practical purpose, apart from looking nifty.

My wife was mildly amused by the globe, and as she was teaching at the time, she set it up in her classroom for the rest of the year. But before long it ended up packed away, as it doesn’t really serve much purpose, and it takes up desk space.

Right now, it spends most of its time on top of the bookshelf in my office. We take it down every so often to amuse the kids, as they are of course fascinated by something that works seemingly by magic.

We don’t take it down for geography purposes, though. While a globe is far superior than a map for looking at how the earth is actually shaped, and how the continents and oceans actually relate to each other in terms of size and position, this one is not. It’s only four inches across, and there are metal caps covering both of the poles. The scale is 1:120,000,000. It’s a novelty more than anything.

But it does feature the best disclaimer anyone has ever seen on any product.  Here is a closeup of the text in question.floating-globe-disclaimer-cThat’s right, it says “Not for Disputing the Boundaries” right under the explanation that it’s only for toy and Ornament only.  Can’t have someone showing up to the United Nations armed with a four-inch magnetic globe to argue about where Russia begins and Ukraine ends.

Of course, given some of what takes place at the UN, it would hardly be the most ridiculous speech ever delivered to the general assembly.