Finding Nemo

I was recently watching this great movie again. I love it every time I see it. Then I just got curious if Google Map would help me find Nemo. So I did a “get direction” search from my city to Sydney Australia. Strangely, no matter which city you start in the US, google always direct you to exit the continent from Seattle. That is the case even if you start from LA, which is also by the ocean and theoretically closer to Sydney than Seattle is.

Second, instead of directing you to the nearest airport, google directs you to Seattle and then tells you to “kayak across the Pacific Ocean”! Then you enter Hawaii, and drive toward west a little bit. And then again, “kayak across the Pacific Ocean” and land on Japan. Then you drive across half of Japan, and then, you guessed it, “kayak across the Pacific Ocean” until you reach Australia. Google estimates that the trip will take you around 50 days; and don’t worry: Google map faithfully tells you every single turn you need to take during the whole trip, except the kayaking part, which is basically a straight line.

This is totally awesome. If I really want to kayak from LA to Hawaii, why would I want to drive to Seattle first and start from there? But apart from this small glitch, I love the rest part. The phrase “kayak across the Pacific Ocean” makes me realize how big yet small the world has become. Bringing Google Map to Columbus’ time would be disastrous: there would be no sense of surprise, or discovery anymore. I sometimes feel unlucky to live in today’s world because there is little new discovery to be made or uncharted seas to be conquered. There is no more need to risk your life and take home a crappily charted map, because everyone has Google map and GPS. Life is not exciting anymore in that narrow sense. Maybe Google did feel that way too, and therefore decided to use “kayak” to try to at least pretend that there is still a light scent of simplicity and innocence in this fast paced, noisy modern world.

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