Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sometimes You Just Have To Look

Last night I was coming home from my regular job, and staring back at me in the southeast, was the moon. It was nearly, but not quite, full, slightly waning. It was around 10:30 at night, And I thought: "How can anyone who looks at the moon, I mean, really looks at it, believe for a moment that we live on a flat plane?"

Flat-Earthers have lots of different explanations for how the sun and moon work on a flat Earth. But in the light of the real, and quite beautiful, observations from the ground, they don't stand up.

While I was looking at the moon, the part of the Earth that was pointing at the sun was about 142 degrees away from me, which would mean it was solar noon in northeastern Russia. And if you look at, say, Gleason's Map, it's not too big a stretch to think that, perhaps, the sun could be lighting the moon at that angle. Well, nearly that angle.

But what if I was standing in, say, Ecuador? In real life, people in Ecuador see the same phase of the moon at the same time as I do, as the rest of the world does. But in the flat-Earth world, the moon would be lit from the side from that view. It would be a half-moon.

At this, some flat-Earthers will claim that the moon is a disc, or self-illuminating, or both. But that's another case of not trusting what you see. For if the moon were a disc, It would appear round only when it was directly overhead, and ovoid at any other time. And were it self-illuminating, the features would always look the same, without crater shadows, which show up only when the sun is shining obliquely on the moon.

Neither of these excuses match anything we observe in real life, even without the aid of a telescope.

Flat-Earthers will then say that they don't know the real model, because they don't have the vast resources to research it, but they've had at least 160 years, since Rowbotham, to work it out. And they don't really have to have a lot of money.

Just eyes, And brains. And a willingness to think through what you see without prejudice.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Why Nobody Should Take the Flat Earth Seriously, Part II

I got a comment on this blog entry that I just have to share. I will be reproducing the entire comment here, with commentary, but if you want to see the original in context, head on over to the original post. It's as if this person was trying to make my point for me.

Hang on, this is a long one, but it's a pretty interesting ride.
The flat earth system is correct, and I'm sorry but you all have been indoctrinated. And it's sad that everyone is hostile to even the idea that it COULD be flat. It's what you learned in school, it's what the majority believes and it's what the government tells us, so it MUST be correct... Most of you simply have too much pride and too much comfort and happiness in your life to even go and do the research. Why would you take time away from tv? A lot of you wouldn't believe it even if you KNEW it was true because you think it would alienate you from people, even knowing it was the truth.
The whole conceit behind the "you've been indoctrinated" speech is that the writer, in his or her infinite wisdom, has been awakened from the sleep the rest of us have suffered, wherein everything we are told is wrong.

The other conceit in this paragraph is in thinking that those of us who try to head off this nonsense have never even considered the question "could the Earth actually be flat?" More to the point, though, is that most flat-Earthers have never really considered the question "what would it look like if the Earth were flat?"

This one question would lead them to explore the absolute absurdities that arise when trying to reconcile real-world observations with living on a flat plane. Instead, they look at pretty much anything they don't understand, or that seems fantastical to them, and immediately hold it up as evidence that the Earth is flat.

And, as if to illustrate that very point:
I'm sorry but the GoFast rocket is evidence. No one has yet to debunk that video. It hits something at 73 miles and stops. It would make sense that the dome is about that high, with the plane being hundreds of times wider, as the bible refers to the world as a 'disk' and also 'immovable'.
I shall probably have to do an entire blog entry on the subject of the GoFast rocket. Here I will only say how sorry I feel for the team that launched GoFast, because their amazing achievement has been abused by flat-Earthers in more than one way. But very quickly, let me address the one claim about the rocket made in this comment.

First, the GoFast did not "hit" anything. Had it hit something, it would have disintegrated. Flat-Earthers think it hit something because, after its burn, it deployed a de-spinning mechanism, which makes a clunking noise, and the spinning which is very obvious stopped.

What is not obvious is that the upward momentum of the rocket continued. Why that is not obvious is because of something perpetually misunderstood by flat-Earthers: perspective. When the ground is 73 miles away from you, you are not going to see much difference from second to second as you gain altitude.

As far as no one having debunked this video? Everyone with any physics knowledge, or who has played with model rockets and dreamed of someday doing something as amazing as the GoFast, has debunked this video. Next.
You people talk about physics and gravity like you understand what they are. They're just theories in your head. 
I understand what physics is: it's the science of the physical Universe. That was easy. As to gravity, I'm not sure I really understand what it is. But I know what it does. Not is great detail because I'm not a physicist, but I certainly understand it much better than the writer of this comment. To wit:
Can anyone explain to me how the earth is spinning many thousands of miles per hour, while at the same time it is orbiting around the sun? At the same time our entire solar system is moving in another direction at an incredibly high speed? Yet we don't feel anything and water stays perfectly still. If the earth were spinning it would have a centrifugal effect and all the water would gather at the equator.
Yes, rather a lot of people can explain this. They are called physicists. The difference between a physicist and you is that they studied the natural world, and you didn't.
Can anyone explain curvature, and how we can zoom in and below the supposed curve with high mag telescopes? More solid proof. Read about the tests done with people holding up flags, going over the horizon, and they should not be visible based on supposed curvature, but they are.
I don't even have to be a physicist to explain this. It's bad math and bad experimental procedure. Come back to me when you can get a photo of Mt. Whitney taken from Mauna Kea. Oh dear, that's probably another blog post altogether. I should be writing these down.
Most of you just can't conceive of the fact that we are being lied to. That our government and our media LIES to us. And they brainwash people into thinking there are no conspiracies. Some of you people may as well have been born yesterday. You don't know anything about history, you don't know what's been going on in this world. You are asleep, and you don't want to believe anything that would make you uncomfortable, even if it was true.
I can conceive of being lied to. For one thing, I'm quite sure I'm being lied to by Eric Dubay, Mark Sargent, Rob Skiba, Jeran Campbell, and several dozen other pushers of the flat Earth. Not just because I don't trust them, but because they can't verify anything they say, and I can personally verify that a lot of it is untrue.

I can also conceive of being lied to by my government, or at least by the people who run it, and a lot of powerful people in the world that I do not trust any further than I can throw their Rolls Royces. But I don't need any of them to tell me what the shape of the Earth is. I (and you) can do real experiments, with real controls and real math, and find out for yourself.

As to the scientists in the world? I'm sure there are some liars among them, but in general scientists have done so much to make our lives better, in ways large and small, and there are so many people who can verify or falsify their conclusions, that I would certainly rather trust them them some raving lunatic with a YouTube channel and an agenda.
As for people saying you can go to Antarctica, maybe they will let you go a little ways in but after that the military is going to grab you.

Just another unsupported claim. As should surprise no one, flat-Earthers make a lot of those.
Of course there are no flights over the south pole. Why? And why are flights paths in the southern hemisphere all screwed up in general? Look into it, the course of these flights don't add up. None of it adds up.
Some commercial flights have flown over the South Pole, mostly as tourist attractions, though more regular flights may be coming soon. It's important to note that the populated areas of the Southern Hemisphere are not as far south as the populated areas of the Northern Hemisphere are north. It's just an accident of the geography, but it means that south transpolar flights are longer than north transpolar flights.

Add to that the fact that Antarctica, being a frozen land mass surrounded by ocean, has a harsher climate the the Arctic, which is an ocean surrounded by land masses. Look up ETOPS regulations and you will, if you are being honest, understand why commercial flights don't go there.

Now, to be fair, a lot of the flight paths in the Southern Hemisphere don't make sense at first look, if you only consider the fastest way to get from point A to point B. But if you are flying fuel-hungry jets, your first consideration is getting the plane full of people who are paying for the fuel.

That doesn't mean that there are no direct flights in the Southern Hemisphere. They just don't run as often because of demand. The fact that they exist at all, and due consideration of the flight times on these runs, puts the common disc-world version of the flat Earth to rest.

Which is why all flat-Earthers who support that model have to claim that all of those flights don't actually exists, making liars of anyone who has actually (and sometimes regularly) taken them.

And, of course, there are supply and other research-support flights that cross the continent on a regular basis. Those people must all be liars, too.

And now we move on to the final tirade:
Is it harder to believe the earth is flat, or that the entire universe exploded from nothing, matter and lifeforms just created themselves in this perfect harmony? And we are on a tiny little ball flying through space which stretches out to infinity? WAKE UP. Get out of your manufactured culture and maybe start reading the bible. Just read history and try and understand the world is thousands of years old. People have been around for a LONG TIME. You think nothing has been going on in the last thousand years, and we just arrived here and everything is what it seems, nothin goin on? There ARE conspiracies. We ARE being lied to. But people aren't going to see that unless they actually start doing the research, and like I said people are just too comfortable. Maybe when you all start to starve to death like in the soviet union, you're going to see maybe our rulers have their own agenda.
Lots of word salad here, and the effort to unpack it all is just not worth it, because there isn't anything in the way of evidence in it. But I will say that I encourage people to do their own research, out in the world, by observing and measuring things, even if you have no interest in the flat Earth. It's just good exercise for the brain.

And when you want to learn about science, talk to some real working scientists. They are cool people (I have to say that, because I have scientists in my family) and they got to work every day, as most of us do, trying to make the world a better place to live in.

And that might be yet another blog post.

Yes, there are people in power with an agenda (pretty much all of them, but they don't all have the same agenda). But there are also people in the flat-Earth world (and the bizarre world of some other conspiracies) who also have an agenda. So, to believe some maniac on YouTube that tells you everything is a lie is probably an even bigger mistake than doubting everything you were taught in school.

Especially when the very tools the maniac on YouTube uses to spread his agenda were made possible by working scientists, theoretical physicists at Bell Labs, who were just trying to make the world a little better, and ended up changing it forever.