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Flat Earth Theory / Wiki article of the day: LM Closer Look
« on: May 20, 2019, 06:46:37 PM »

Upon close inspection one might notice that the Lunar Lander, a supposed six billion dollar hallmark of American engineering, is in truth made out of cardboard paper, a few old curtain rods, a roll of roofing paper, some floodlight holders, gold foil, and lots and lots of scotch tape to hold it all together on the hostile environment of the moon's surface.
Let's run through the list.

  • Cardboard paper. I had to look this up; apparently, it's an alloy called Inconel and can resist heat quite effectively. It's expectably battered and occasionally punctured by asteroid impacts.
  • A few old curtain rods. So then, you saw a truss structure, and automatically assumed it was made of curtain rods? We call that confirmation bias.
  • A roll of roofing paper. I don't know what it actually is, but it's definitely there by design as a reflective surface.
  • Some floodlight holders. I'm not entirely sure what part of the image this refers to.
  • Gold foil. It's actually Kapton, which is weird because my first guess would have been copper.
  • Scotch tape. I don't see any of that here.

Flat Earth Projects / Wiki correction: AN/DN
« on: May 17, 2019, 03:16:19 PM »
I'd like to submit a correction to this article, in particular this image:

In this diagram, the Moon's ascending and descending nodes are incorrectly identified. The AN should be on the first quarter and the DN should be on the third quarter.

Flat Earth Theory / Airy's "failed" experiment
« on: May 09, 2019, 04:28:48 PM »

Wow, an experiment failed to show motion of the Earth through the behavior of light? You know, it's almost like they were missing an extremely important axiom regarding the physics of light that would be established a few decades later, and that the equations and properties derived from it specifically explain the results of the experiment.


Tom, I would advise caution in using the failures of 19th century experiments to measure the Earth's motion using light. Their results are almost invariably explained by special relativity.

Flat Earth Theory / The Davis Model
« on: May 03, 2019, 09:12:56 PM »
Today I found this absolute masterpiece of misuse on the wiki, trying to "prove" that an infinite plane could have finite gravity:

Let's start with statement (1). It appears to be invoking Gauss's law, but there are a lot of problems with it:

  • S is a surface, you can't do a single integral over it
  • Surface integrals are over dS, not dA
  • You don't want flux, you want a triple vector integral

Just these problems are enough to reject this proof.

Flat Earth Theory / The three-body problem wiki article
« on: April 23, 2019, 08:53:43 PM »
This is altogether a terrible article. Here's a breakdown of everything it gets wrong:

Quote from: wiki
which has its roots in the unsuccessful attempts to simulate a heliocentric Sun-Earth-Moon system.
The model isn't wrong—in fact, it actually simulates the Sun/Earth/Moon system quite well.

Quote from: wiki
Due to the nature of Newtonian Gravity, a three body system inherently prefers to be a two body orbit and will attempt to kick out the smallest body from the system—often causing the system to be destroyed altogether.
The keyword there is attempt—it's not guaranteed to break the system. The Earth and Moon have far more binding energy than can be supplied by tidal forces from the Sun.

Quote from: wiki
There are a limited range of scenarios in which three body orbits may exist. It is seen that those configurations require at least two of the three bodies to be of the same mass, can only exist with specific magnitudes in specific and sensitive configurations, … The slightest imperfection, such as with bodies of different masses, or the effect of a gravitational influence external to the system, causes a chain reaction of random chaos which compels the entire system to fall apart
The differential equation has unstable equilibria. Shocker.

Quote from: wiki
"Describing the motion of any planetary system (including purely imaginary ones that exist only on paper) is the subject of a branch of mathematics called celestial mechanics. Its problems are extremely difficult and have eluded the greatest mathematicians in history." — Paul Trow, Chaos and the Solar System (Archive)
Eluded the mathematicians, but not the physicists.

Quote from: wiki
Now add a third body, and everything falls apart. The problem goes from one that a smart undergraduate can tackle to one that has defied solution for 400 years.
An unsolvable differential equation can still describe reality. Is there a point to the quote?

Sections 2-3
The important thing to remember is that, for a long time—maybe a billion or two years—the solar system was unstable. If a body had a close encounter with a much larger mass, it had 3 possible outcomes: colliding with the larger mass, deflection into a more eccentric orbit, and acceleration into a larger orbit. Eventually most bodies either hit a planet, get too much eccentricity and falls into the Sun, or get ejected into the Kuiper Belt, resulting in the modern set of planets in orbits too far apart for any close encounters.

Also, minor gravitational interactions between planets are observed as slight orbital changes over decades or centuries. Even if a planet had enough energy to eject an adjacent planet (I haven't done the math yet but I doubt it), it would take hundreds of millions of years or more for perturbations to lead to encounters.

Quote from: wiki
The problem with the 3-body problem is that it can’t be done, except in a very small set of frankly goofy scenarios (like identical planets following identical orbits).
Again conflating unsolvable equations with bad models.

Quote from: wiki
This is precisely the issue of modeling the Heliocentric System, and why its fundamental system cannot exist.
This issue relies on the assumption that there are no setups that can last long periods of time without being the equal-mass solution that I've already dismissed as irrelevant.

Quote from: wiki
Programming students participated in the New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge to simulate the solar system and found issues with creating basic orbits:

Simulation of Planetary Bodies in the Universe (N-Body) (Archive) (Source Code)
I recognize that algorithm, having used it myself. One thing I can say is: this algorithm leaves out a key invariant, and that can cause instability in close encounters between objects, or even just over time.

Quote from: wiki
It has often been claimed that this simulation provides evidence that the Sun-Earth-Moon System and the Solar System are able to be simulated with Newtonian Gravity.
Universe Sandbox doesn't use Newtonian gravity. It uses general relativity.

Kidding. While it isn't technically using the Newtonian model, it's close enough at the scale of the solar system that it might as well be. Anyway, the quoted passage goes into how the simulation uses a set of 2-body problems between bodies and their main attractors. The bolded phrases seem to be cherrypicked to indicate that the simulation uses this alternative model because using the normal model would reveal the inherent instability of an incorrect system. This is entirely wrong, it's a problem of time complexity.

In conclusion:
Every part of this article is either wrong or irrelevant, and it should be deleted.

Flat Earth Theory / Doppler shift in stars
« on: April 22, 2019, 08:56:27 PM »
The search for exoplanets, whether you believe in them or not, uses measurements of Doppler shift (spectral lines moving) to precisely measure the radial velocity of stars. For example, I found this data for 51 Pegasi:

The line connecting them is a sinusoid model for it. I can integrate that model to get a function for how far away the star is at any given time:

If I plug the function stats in the graph into the antiderivative, I get a range of 6.5 million meters, equivalent to about sixty degrees of latitude along a meridian. This would obviously mean huge movement in the sky that isn't observed.

Quote from: Counterclaim
What if stars just normally got hotter and colder periodically? Wouldn't that shift their spectra and create the appearance of radial motion?
Sure, but it wouldn't change the spectral lines—specific wavelengths that are observed in smaller portions because they're absorbed by the atmosphere of the star.

Quote from: Counterclaim
Why can't the spectral lines also change?
Because they're determined by chemical properties, and as such only change when there's a chemical change. This also means that they can never continuously move; they can appear or disappear, but not shift.

Flat Earth Projects / Better explanation for FAQ on UA/speed of light
« on: February 05, 2019, 08:13:35 PM »
The FAQ in the wiki has the following reasoning for why the Earth will not exceed the speed of light:

Due to special relativity, this is not the case. At this point, many readers will question the validity of any answer which uses advanced, intimidating-sounding physics terms to explain a position. However, it is true. The relevant equation is v/c = tanh (at/c). One will find that in this equation, tanh(at/c) can never exceed or equal 1. This means that velocity can never reach the speed of light, regardless of how long one accelerates for and the rate of the acceleration.

While the science used here is correct, it seems like someone reading it would still have trouble grasping the argument, or why it works this way. So I wonder if we could change it to something more like this:

Unfortunately, that's only half of the truth. You're probably thinking of an object that accelerates at a constant rate, then abruptly stops accelerating when it reaches the speed of light. The problem with this idea is that it violates relativity. The real reason that we say that the speed of light can't be exceeded comes from the Lorentz factor, calculated as (1-v2/c2)-1/2. This factor is used in special relativity for many different purposes, but most notably for time dilation. Essentially, while a moving object feels the same force regardless of speed due to the principle of relativity, the rest frame will see it accelerate progressively less and less according to the Lorentz factor. Since it approaches infinity as the object approaches the speed of light, that speed is never exceeded to the rest frame.

Flat Earth Theory / Production of solar panels near sunset
« on: January 04, 2019, 09:18:37 PM »
So I came up with this experiment today involving the change in distance to the sun, as well as the sunset in general. Basically, even if the sun appears larger from magnification, the outflow with respect to area to any point needs to remain proportional in order to conserve energy. This outflow, and therefore changes in distance, can be measured easily with a solar panel.

Therefore, I propose the following set of hypotheses:

Round Earth: The power generation for a near-ideal sun-tracking solar panel on a sunny day will rise sharply at sunrise; remain constant within a 20% margin throughout the day; and fall sharply at sunset.
Flat Earth: The power generation for a near-ideal sun-tracking solar panel on a sunny day will continuously increase between sunrise and solar noon; continuously decrease between solar noon and sunset; and have 2 points of inflection.
Null Hypothesis: The power generation for a near-ideal sun-tracking solar panel on a sunny day will not match either of the above models.

Before I go collect data for this, I'd like each side to confirm their hypotheses.

Flat Earth Theory / Illumination of clouds' undersides at sunrise
« on: December 11, 2018, 06:44:05 PM »
This morning I caught a photo of some beautifully-lit clouds:

Those clouds are lit from the bottom, and in fact appear brighter than the white things in the image. The lit sides face the sunrise, which suggests that they are being lit by the sun.

I don't think that a sun that's thousands of miles high can light clouds that are less than 10 miles high, but I'm curious to hear what that the FE side makes of this.

Flat Earth Theory / Other confirmations of general relativity
« on: September 05, 2018, 02:50:23 PM »
Over on another thread I saw most of a page of arguing over the credibility of the solar eclipse experiments to confirm general relativity. The problem that I see with that, is that the math has been confirmed in many other ways, including:

  • Observation of gravitational waves by LIGO (Did nobody think to mention this? 'Twas all over the news a while back.)
  • Experimental confirmation of special relativity (Since general relativity is a requirement for special relativity when in an accelerating reference frame.)
  • Astronomical observation of gravitational redshift (Someone found a bright star in an eccentric orbit around Saggitarius A* and observed its spectrum as it went around periapsis, accounting for Doppler shift and time dilation from velocity.)
  • Earthbound observation of gravitational redshift (Someone shot a laser up a long pole and recorded measurable differences in wavelength between the top and bottom.)

All these will need to be rejected if GR should be overturned.

Flat Earth Theory / Wu Experiment vs. Bedford Level Experiment
« on: May 23, 2018, 04:56:26 PM »
It was usually assumed that a perfect reflection of a system would have the same outcome. It's called P-symmetry, and it was accepted as fact for a while.

In 1956, the Wu experiment overturned this notion. Despite its near-maximal rejection of P-symmetry, the results were heavily doubted and it wasn't until a year later when it was repeated many times by many others that it was actually accepted.

And yet the Bedford level experiment, which has been criticized for not accounting for a well-understood effect, has been reproduced with contradictory results, and has only been reproduced affirmatively by one other, is supposed to irrefutably prove the world is flat? I think not.

Flat Earth Theory / Testable hypothesis for FET perspective model
« on: May 22, 2018, 04:49:49 PM »
Dr. Rowbotham postulates that disappearing due to perspective occurs at "the angular limits of the eye", asserting that the angular limit is around 1 arcminute.

I disagree with Round Earthers that disappearing from perspective is completely ridiculous. I can actually name the Airy disk as a mechanism for it.

The Airy disk is a pattern of rings created by diffraction. For the human eye in bright light, the limit is about 1 arcminute. Additionally, multiple point sources of light can appear to merge like so:

Given this mechanism, I can hypothesize the following:

  • An object close to disappearing due to perspective should be significantly blurred.
  • There should be a pattern of rings, if it is indeed blurred from the Airy disk.

tl;dr: NASA would not be able to classify information concerning faking a Moon landing.

These are the current rules for classification of information. §3.3(a) states that all documents from more than 25 years ago are automatically declassified, with nine exceptions outlined in §3.3(b):

  • Information identifying a key intelligence source or weaken intelligence gathering.
  • Information regarding WMDs.
  • Codebooks.
  • Information that would weaken a state-of-the-art weapons system.
  • War plans that are still in effect.
  • Information that would greatly weaken diplomatic relations.
  • Presidential security detail or its vulnerabilities.
  • Weaknesses in national security emergency preparations.
  • Information whose declassification would violate a treaty or act of Congress.

I must ask, which of these would faking the Moon landings fall under?

Flat Earth Theory / Foucault Pendulum
« on: April 30, 2018, 04:56:42 PM »

I checked that chapter of EnaG, and it completely passes over the fact that the plane of vibration will consistently precess with a period predicted as the rotational period divided by the sine of the latitude of the pendulum.

In fact, I'll do this experiment myself (once I'm home), and invite people at other latitudes to do the same: this is practically zero cost, since you only need a weight and a piece of string.

Since I'm about 10 km south of the 45th parallel, the period should be 33.9 hours, or one day, nine hours, and 54 minutes. It will precess a quarter circle in about 8 hours and 28 minutes.

Flat Earth Theory / The Milky Way
« on: April 25, 2018, 10:02:47 PM »
In a flat Earth, would the Milky Way be billions of discrete points of light (like in Round Earth) or would it be a continuous, luminous gas?

Flat Earth Theory / Pangea and continental drift
« on: April 24, 2018, 07:40:14 PM »
300 million years ago, Antarctica was not at the South Pole. It was not frozen, either; it was actually more like tropics.

So clearly not a gigantic ice wall.

Flat Earth Theory / On circumnavigation.
« on: April 24, 2018, 06:22:30 PM »
Earth not a Globe asserts that circumnavigation is possible on a flat Earth, saying that if one keeps going west, they can return from the east. I won't debate the validity of the experiment Rowbotham gives to prove this; I can prove that the results will be consistent.

As usual, however, the proof here is being gravely misunderstood. The proof is not that you can leave to the west and return from the east. The proof is that a ship can leave in a straight line and return in the complete opposite direction.

So tell me once more, how can the earth be circumnavigated if it's flat?

Flat Earth Theory / Atmolayer lip hypothesis and its incorrectness
« on: April 21, 2018, 07:36:35 PM »

While Amonton's law makes clear the relation between temperature and pressure, a lack of pressure also can't keep in the normal atmosphere against diffusion. So how exactly does this "lip" hypothesis work?

Simple: it doesn't. There is no way for a finite flat Earth to contain an atmosphere that's 100 miles high without a physical barrier that's also 100 miles high. The nature of gases doesn't allow it.

Flat Earth Theory / Refraction and the Bedford Canal
« on: April 20, 2018, 06:38:56 PM »
Quote from: Sun Tzu's Art of War, chapter 6
For should the enemy strengthen his van, he will weaken his rear; should he strengthen his rear, he will weaken his van; should he strengthen his left, he will weaken his right; should he strengthen his right, he will weaken his left. If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak.

Flat Earthers claim that refraction makes the sun set, curving light upwards something like this:

Hold on… optical systems are reversible. Let's try this one out with the Bedford level experiment. According to Dr. Rowbotham's observations, light passes through all three poles:

Now let's go to Round Earth. Under Round Earth's refraction model, a simple temperature inversion might give this path for light:

Flat Earthers, I have just taken your flagship proof, and shown that, by your own model, it actually proves the Earth's convexity. The ball is now very definitely in your court.

Flat Earth Theory / The "Google Maps background"
« on: April 17, 2018, 08:24:50 PM »

I tracked down the original image, which I have attached.

It's a wide-angle shot of the entire station, and there is no obvious way that the shot could have been taken with a camera. This makes me think that it's an artist's conception of the station. For those who doubt that an artist could make it, see this image of ʻOumuamua and this animation of a Falcon Heavy launch.

Actually, what's the original source of it? All I can find from Google's reverse image search are conspiracy sites and a few more that are just selling posters.

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