I am a Science Guy. Have been my whole life. I’ve seen a lot, been to a lot of places and I understand more about the natural world than most people. If I see something strange or unexpected, I can put forth a reasonable and logical explanation for almost everything I see. But I saw something yesterday that I can’t figure out. I can’t get past it. It’s been bugging me and it’s just one of those things that pre-occupy you until you have an answer. Kind of like when you have a song fragment bouncing around in your head but you can’t remember what song it’s from. So I haven’t had a chance to grade any work, didn’t run off any copies and I don’t have a lesson planned for today. So please sit quietly and maybe take out some other work.
Anybody here spend any time at the shore? Maybe you can help me with my problem.
After school yesterday I headed down to the shore to unwind and get some fresh ocean air. If you remember, it was a warm afternoon. I went down to the marina and sat in my usual spot on the edge of the pier. The cares of the day faded away with the sound of the gulls, the bustle of activity and the bells of the buoys. As I watched the boats come and go, the sailors and cruisers loading and unloading coolers, fishing rods and the catch of the day, I noticed one boat in particular a few slips away. It was a gleaming white pleasure craft maybe forty-five or fifty feet long. But the thing that caught my attention was the beautiful, bikini-clad girl loading the boat- apparently for an afternoon cruise.
She was a stunning young lady, long hair, skin kissed by the sun and her curvy muscles flexed with each package she loaded into the boat. Now I wasn’t leering at her, she just caught my attention so I glanced over on occasion to see what she was doing. It appeared as if she was loading up for a party: drinks, coolers, a boom box, some food and snacks. When she was just about finished, her friends started arriving. One after the other was prettier than the last. They must have been models or something and going out together for a cruising party.
When the last girl boarded the boat, they started the motor and cranked up the tunes. The party started and they weren’t even out of the dock. The girls started dancing, drinks in hand as the boom-boom-boom of the music already started to die away. The boat sailed straight away and the sparkle in my afternoon faded away. I returned my attention to the goings-on at the marina but occasionally checked the progress of the goddess cruise. The boat got smaller and smaller as it sailed away.
The boat motored so far away that it was now just a small dot in the distance. I strained my vision but couldn’t make out any details…so I took out my binoculars. Even with my enhanced sight, I could just barely make out any details. The girls were still dancing, some were sunning themselves on deck and a few were just chatting.
Then something strange happened…the boat started to sink! I couldn’t believe my eyes. OK, OK. Maybe it’s a trick of the ocean and it just looks like it’s sinking. Maybe there’s a big wave passing between us…no. No! It’s definitely sinking! Now it wasn’t one of those Titanic sinkings where the tail tips up. I can see the boat sitting lower in the water- and the girls haven’t noticed.
I started jumping and shouting, “HEY! YOUR-BOAT-IS-SINKING!” There was no way they could hear me, and I was just a speck on the horizon. More jumping jacks. “HEY!” Nothing.
Calm down, calm down. There must have been no one down below to see the water seeping in, but they’ll notice soon enough as the boat gets lower to the water’s surface.
The water level got even with the deck surface, they were going to notice any second. But nothing! Some of the waves started cresting over the deck. Nothing. They had to know by now that they were sinking. The water was over their feet! Was this some kind of supermodel suicide cruise? Did they think that since they would never find someone as beautiful as them as a partner so what’s the point? End it now? They just kept dancing. The water kept rising. I watched through my binoculars as the water slowly rose up their bodies until all I could see were dancing heads bobbing on the water’s surface. Then they were gone. Now all I could see was the top of the cabin and the antenna. The cabin sank and I watched the antenna shorten as it sank into the ocean.
It was gone! I just watched a boatload of beautiful women perish into the ocean and there was nothing I could do about it. I was completely panicked. I guess I could have called 9-1-1. The Coast Guard. But I was in a panic. I just sat there in shock, staring at the last spot where I saw the boat sink. Not knowing what else to do, I just sat there staring.
A student’s hand rises in the class. I dismiss it with a “let me finish” kind of wave.
The tip of the antenna! The antenna grew taller. I could see the cabin roof! The dancing heads. The water level dropped to reveal their bodies. I could see dancing girls. Girls sunning themselves. The whole thing happened in reverse! The boat completely rose out of the water. Well not “rose.” It didn’t hover like a helicopter, but it sat on the surface of the water once again.
A student fidgeted uncomfortably. I saw another student whisper to her partner while making a sign like she was rubbing the back of her curved hand with the other cupped over it.
The boat got bigger and closer. Boom-boom-boom of the music got louder and the boat calmly pulled right back into the slip where it started a few hours ago. The boat was dry, the girls were dry. I didn’t know what to make of it.
Now, I don’t normally do this, but I went up to the girl and asked, “ I couldn’t help but notice… I was watching your boat…”
“You were watching us!?”
“No, it wasn’t like that.” I put the binoculars behind my back. “I saw your boat sink and come back up.”
“What are you talking about, creep?” She said.
“Is this some kind of submarine boat?”
“Listen, if you don’t get away from me, I’m gonna call the cops.”
That was the end of our conversation. I got no more information and I can’t figure out how I could see what I just saw. So I’m freaking out and just can’t think straight until I get this straightened out. Any ideas?
The student that raised his hand first raised it again.
“The boat sailed over the horizon.”
The horizon is as far out as you can see- where the sky and ocean appear to meet. Right?
No, they didn’t sail over the horizon. They were right on it when they sank.
Another hand from the whispering girl with the hand signs.
“They sailed over the curve of the Earth.”
No, it was flat ocean, there weren’t any big waves.
She persisted, “the Earth is round and they went over the curve.” She repeated the sign from before now for all to see.
I stared at her for a moment, then looked around the class for support. No help there. What do you mean the Earth is round?
“The-Earth-is-round.” She repeats slowly.
What are you talking about? The world is flat. Where did you get this idea that the world is round?
Hands shoot up. A few protests erupt.
Wait, wait, I’ve heard this round Earth nonsense before. I have been all around this world. I have been in airplanes thirty-five thousand feet high. I’ve been to the tops of tall mountains. I have been to the middle of the ocean. In all these places all you can see is a flat Earth. No curvature. If you are to be a true scientist, you must be able to make observations and make your conclusions based on those observations.
“What about pictures from space?”
Pictures from space! You are going to believe pictures from space? You see this picture here? FLAT! It has a round edge but it is flat. Look at this picture from NASA (1). Do you see anything wrong with it…
No clouds! Have you ever heard of a day where there was no weather ANYWERE? This picture (and if you look closely you can see that it is a picture (2.)) is FAKE! Are you really going to believe NASA? NASA is a multibillion dollar corporation that budgets things like $300 hammers and produces nothing. They have to justify their enormous budget by churning out things like fake pictures to make people happy. Look at this:
I excitedly run to my back room, grab a video tape of Star Wars and quickly throw it in the machine. Coincidentally, it is cued to just the right spot where you see space ships flying past a round planet. I pause the video at just the right spot.
Does anyone recognize this movie? It was made in 1977. George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars publicly admits, and is quite proud of the fact, that THIS IS ALL FAKE. The planet is drawn. The ships are toys. The pilots in the ships are puppets so the heads move. FAKE! He was able to make this video in 1977 without a computer more powerful than a calculator and only a few million dollars. And this is a movie. Much harder to fake than a still picture. NASA has a budget of BILLIONS!
You cannot believe anything from NASA. Pictures from space!
“We landed on the moon,” a student objects.
That was faked. It was all a publicity stunt in order to boost the American moral after the Russians beat us to space with Sputnik. OK. Look at this.
I go to my computer and call up a vintage video clip. As the clip plays, I ask the students if anyone recognizes the historical event.
“That’s Neil Armstrong landing on the moon.”
Very good. This is Neil Armstrong, the very first human to set foot on another world. Probably the biggest honor any human will ever have. He will be remembered a thousand years from now for this moment.
I let the video play a little longer, then pause it. Who shot the video?
Uncomfortable silence. The video clearly shows that the camera is outside the ship. It can also be seen that the camera is shaking as if it is being held (3).
Do you really think that the camera man will be the first man on the moon and let Neil Armstrong take all the credit for the simple reason that camera men are there to capture the moment and not be part of it. Really! He’ll give up that big of an honor? NASA faked the moon landing. (4)
A student gets up and points to one of the globes in my class. “What about that?” The formality of raising hands has been abandoned in the heat of the argument.
That is a model. I use it to show certain things about the Earth when I don’t feel like getting into this argument. A round Earth is handy to have because so many people think the world is really like that. It’s a model. It doesn’t prove anything. What about this flat map on my wall. Does that prove the world is flat? No. It’s a model. A more accurate model, but it’s a model.
“If the world is flat, how did Magellan sail around it?”
How, did, Magellan, sail, around, the, would? I repeat slowly, pensively as I pace around the classroom. When I’m done, I am standing where I was when I started the question.
I just walked around the room. Does that mean the room is round. Magellan followed a very long twisty path, losing sight of land for most of the trip. If you draw a circle large enough, you will see that the curves start to appear to be a straight line. Magellan made a very large circle around the flat Earth and thought he was going straight. To prove the point, I take out a laser pointer and trace a path around the world on the flat wall map never touching land and return to my starting point.
“If the Earth is flat, what’s under it?”
“How do you know?”
It makes perfect sense. You hear all the stories of Hell below us. What happens to the temperature as you dig deeper? It gets hotter. What comes out of volcanoes? Fire.
“Where’s the edge?”
No one knows for sure. If you get too close to the edge you get sucked off. There is a tremendous waterfall at the edge. If you even get close enough to see it, you are too close and you get pulled down in the currents. That’s where stories of ships that mysteriously disappear never to be heard from again.
“Can’t you just see the edge from a plane or helicopter?”
How many of you have ever been near a big waterfall like Niagra? There’s a lot of wind, right? Well this is the biggest waterfall in the world. Even if you fly near the edge, you get sucked over.
One smug student calls out: “ok. If all the water is spilling over the edge, how come the oceans aren’t empty?” He triumphantly sits back in his chair confident of the checkmate.
Are you guys thinking at all? The water spills over the side, hits the fires of Hell and makes…
“Steam.” A few chime in.
The steam rises, condenses into clouds above the Earth and rains down. It’s the Water Cycle that you learned about last year. Come on guys, you’re not even thinking this through.
“How do you have seasons?”
Easy, the Sun is a small ball of fire that goes around the flat Earth once a day as does the Moon and stars.
You can SEE the Sun and Moon move across the sky. First it is here, a few hours later it is there. You can see it moving. Do you feel the Earth moving? Do you hang upside down at night? No. So as I was saying, the Sun moves around the Earth once a day. In the Spring time the Sun is directly over the equator- the middle line of out flat world. In the summer time the Sun migrates northward. You can actually observe this easily. I have verified this myself. When the Sun is over the northern hemisphere it is hotter there. The southern hemisphere is further away so it gets less sunlight and they have winter the same time we have summer.
“If the Sun goes around the Earth shouldn’t it pass through the waterfall?”
It does. That’s why it gets dark. Every night, the sun sets into the waterfall which puts out the fire. The Sun then passes through the fires of Hell, drying off, then eventually re-igniting in the morning as it emerges from the other side.
“What about gravity?”
What about it?
“Gravity pulls to the center of the Earth.”
Nobody really understands gravity all that well. It is a mysterious force that you can’t see or feel or measure all that easily. But one thing is known very well about gravity: gravity pulls down. I don’t know where you got this notion that gravity pulls one way over here and another way over there. Do people in Australia stand on their heads, walk on the ceilings and drop things towards their heads? No. GRAVITY PULLS DOWN! Ask anyone in the world which way things fall, they will all tell you “down.” One hundred percent of them. Where do you even get these ideas? ‘Gravity pulls one way for some people and another way for others.’ GRAVITY PULLS DOWN! Next question.
“What about time zones?”
What do you mean?
“Well how can it be one time here and another time somewhere else?”
Have you ever been in two places at one? No, I think not! You travel to other time zones and it takes you a long time to get there. When you finally get there, what’s the first thing you do? You change your watch. That’s all it is. Just a bunch of people agreeing to have all their watches set to a different time than yours.
“You should be able to see China through a telescope if the world was flat.”
“Well how come you can’t?”
There are some days when I look out the window here and I can’t see the trees on the other side of the football field depending on the weather. Do you think there has ever been a day when there was no weather between here and China? Smoke? Pollution? You also have to look across the Pacific Ocean. There’s all sort of sea mist and fog. You’ll never be able to see China.
Well you guys are holding onto this round Earth pretty stubbornly. Let me put it to you this way. You are here telling me that the world is round. Why? Because your fourth grade teacher told you so. AND YOU NEVER BOTHERED TO ASK HER HOW SHE KNEW! You never asked for proof or evidence. Me, on the other hand, I have a stack of proof. Observations I can make myself and you can make yourself. Observations that if you put them all together they would lead you to the logical and objective conclusion that the world is flat.
All these other ideas: that people stand upside down in Australia; this Earth is floating in space with nothing holding it up, the Earth spins at dizzying speeds and we don’t feel it and we don’t get dizzy… all these ideas do not make sense. Now one day you might cross paths with another Flat Word Believer like myself and you get into a debate. All that you have on your side is the unsupported word of your fourth grade teacher. The other person, on the other hand will know darn well what he is talking about. If you want to change someone’s mind about something as basic as how the world is arranged, you had better be prepared. Because today, in 2010 right here in the United States, there are people who firmly believe that the world is flat. And for many of these people it comes right down to how they believe the world was created and the heart of their religion. You had better know what you are talking about!
Your homework for tonight is to find me ONE proof, just one, that the world is round.
Here’s the long debunking version of two of the main “proofs” that the Moon Landing was faked.
2) No stars are visible in the pictures of the astronauts. This is an extremely basic rule of photography called exposure. The surface of the Moon during the lunar day is very bright. There is no blue sky but the Sun still shines brightly. The astronauts wore white space suits, stood on light grey soil, stood next to a gleaming gold space ship. In the background were thousands of faint stars- more clear and brilliant than on Earth through our dirty, humid, turbulent atmosphere but still faint compared to the brightness of the sun and objects around the astronauts. You cannot effectively capture bright and dim objects in one picture. If you expose the astronauts correctly, the camera cannot pick up the faint stars. If you want to capture the faint stars, you must crank up the sensitivity of the camera (by various methods). This would over-expose the astronauts into featureless glowing white energy beings.