If you were a pilot flying from Tokyo, Japan, to Vancouver, B.C., what would you do to minimize the time required to complete the flight?

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The Earth is approximately a sphere, and the way to minimize distance (and thus, travel time, all other things equal) is to travel along a great circle, a circle that covers the full circumference of the sphere. Any other path along the surface of the sphere that travels between those two points will necessarily be longer.

Where this becomes counter-intuitive is that you will, in general, not stay at the same latitude, nor simply interpolate between the two latitudes. (If you are traveling...

(The entire section contains 260 words.)

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