A social experiment

It’s been just over one year since I started my @sciencegecko twitter account, and I’ve barely contributed a thing to this blog.

My post-event reasoning would be that I wanted to get a feel for the flat earth crowd and their arguments before sitting down and writing stuff. Realistically, I got busy and twitter was a fun distraction on my phone.

It’s fruitless, however. Though I believe I saw one guy change his tune and actually listen to the facts presented. And that’s the thing, the same arguments, the same memes, the same one-way street for from a bunch of people that certainly don’t understand the heliocentric model, let alone what their flat earth model supposedly represents.

So now that I’ve reached 5000 tweets far quicker than  I did for my work account, I think it’s time to refocus some thoughts from 140 characters (minus the twitter canoe) to a longer lasting blog post. I have plenty of ideas, and if I ever struggle for concepts, a Twitter full of stupid is not far away.

So I’m going to try to take a leaf out of Gordon’s book (so to speak) and minimise debate on Twitter with those unwilling to learn how to assess actual evidence and write off the bullshit.
“What I don’t debate Flat Earthers – Gordon”

A nice follow-up article is “Why nobody should take Flat Earth Seriously”, and he also has a brief catalogue of Flat Earth tests. I think he wrote an article that particularly summarised my conclusions after using Twitter for a while.

If you want a fairly comprehensive list of the common refutations, check out Dark Star’s “Flat Earth Insanity”. His breakdown of Mt Rainier is particularly compelling, complete with math.

I hope to bring my own set of skills, style and perspective to this topic, but to do so I need to break from Twitter for a while. I’m not sure how successful this will be, but here we go.

Wherever you are on the spectrum of belief vs reality, have a look at this almost 3 minute video comparing the night sky in various levels of light pollution.

Lost in Light from Sriram Murali on Vimeo.

Not only is it beautiful and will make you feel sad for not being able to see it much anymore, I also don’t understand how people could watch the sky move like this and think it’s a dome.

Lunar Libration

Hold up a soccer ball in front of you. It’s a spherical object that you could perceive as a flat, circular plane. You could just as well be holding up a plate.

How do you tell it’s a sphere? One thing you might do is just rotate it a little in your hands. No spinning, just rotate your wrist a little while the ball sits on your hand.

It will look a little like this, a sequence of photos during a 29ish day lunation.

lunation_cidadao_300
APOD

This is lunar libration. Objects in orbit are rarely perfect nor circular. This shows how we can see a little more than 50% of the moon each month.

This can be observed by anybody. No NASA conspiracy required.

 

Why?

I like writing, I like science, and I also have an urge to write small posts describing why the planet we live in is a globe, not a flat earth.

I do plan to tackle the 100/200 truths those who believe in a flat earth posit as their reasons for doing so, but I will also address observations we can make ourselves, responses to meme’d images and whatever else disturbs my pseudo-science organ.

I tweet at @sciencegecko and have another technical blog elsewhere, but I wanted to keep the riff-raff over here.