Can you guess what the image is to the left?
Wrong! It’s not Colorado. It is:
…the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03’W to 109°03’W longitude…
Geoellipsoidal? Geoellipsoidal? No where in my brain does this word register. Since I don’t understand it, I shall laugh at it. And I did. Quite hardily. This hilarious description of Colorado is within the Wikipedia listing for the state and you would be correct in presuming that “geoellipsoidal” is a word that doesn’t exist… until now. Really. I did an exhaustive look for it and when I got to the second Google page of sites quoting the Wikipedia article, I gave up.
Oh, the word sounds fancy enough and at first thought sounds cool enough to actually work. At second thought, it doesn’t, but then as you take in the big picture, it does. Technically. But by then you’re so bored thinking so deeply you’d rather watch Whitney be the first “plus size” model to win “America’s Next Top Model” again. OMG! Can you believe it? So cool! She’s so pretty. I wish she was my sister.
-ellipsoid: a surface all plane sections of which are ellipses or circles
This is where your inner sophomore cheerleader should be saying, “Uh, nooooo. Colorado is a rectangle. Duh. A quadrilateral. Dur-hoy. Take a geology lesson, dufus.”
“Actually,” your inner geography teacher says, “Earth is spherical and basically made up of many ellipsoidal planes on which Colorado rests making the quadrilateral bend along the z-axis giving it a third dimension, so the term ‘geoellipsoidal’ works in this instance. You see, if we apply the Cartesian coordinate system to our map of Colora…”
“Oh, my gawd, look! It’s Whitney!”