the center of the world (was Re: Check out O'Reilly's Open Source Convention Highlights)

John J. Lee phrxy at
Fri Jun 29 22:00:58 CEST 2001

On Fri, 29 Jun 2001, Alex Martelli wrote:

> "Grant Griffin" <not.this at> wrote in message
> news:3B3B2DED.5303198A at
>     ...
> > But now that you mention it, the US Midwest *is* pretty centrally
> > located on a "world" basis.
> An interesting exercise might be to define a *meaningful*
> "central location" -- one based on population distribution
> Hmmm, if the coordinates were on a plane, finding the weighed
> center would be trivial, but offhand I can't think of how to
> do it on a sphere's surface -- I guess there must be some way
> more suitable than just solving a generalized extremization
> problem -- can anybody suggest one...?

I remember noticing a book on the subject a while back, 'Circular
Statistics', or something similar.  Don't have the reference, though.
All kinds of peculiar-looking expressions for means, moments, ANOVA, etc.
on circles.  Don't remember if it went into spherical coordinates or not.


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