by Cecil Adams
The lines aren't always nice and even. Study a U.S. atlas and you'll find many supposedly straight boundaries with slants and zigzags in them, the work of surveyors who were, and it pains me to say this, borderline incompetent. Still, the remarkable thing isn't how often the surveyors screwed up but how often they didn't. You never know when we might be called on to lay out another virgin continent, and Lord knows you can't always count on modern technology. So here's a primer on the old-fashioned way to draw a straight line on a bumpy planet.
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