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Topics - zarg

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For starters, this:

10. Disputing Moderation and Memberating
Do not attempt to dispute (or interfere with) moderation anywhere other than Suggestions & Concerns.

needs to be changed to:

Do not attempt to dispute (or interfere with, discuss, or allude to in any way, positively or otherwise) moderation anywhere other than Suggestions & Concerns.

And this:

Q: "I have been banned for no good reason. This is unjust!"

A: If you think you were mistreated by a moderator and want to complain, post your complaint in here or contact a mod via PM.

is quite misleading as well. It should read:

If you think you were mistreated by a moderator and want to complain, you shall not. Posting your complaint in here shall immediately result in a quadrupling of the decreed punishment, no questions asked.  Contacting a mod via PM will result in threats of further punishment, so don't do that either.

Thanks! :)

Flat Earth Q&A / The source of FES's map
« on: April 26, 2012, 06:50:56 PM »

Tom Bishop claims that this, the "official" FES map depicted in the FAQ, was designed by Flat Earthers and that all maps which resemble it were stolen from the FES, and even that the geometrical transformation formulae which project the globe into this configuration were actually concocted after the fact.

Is this a prevailing view around here, or is Tom the only one making these bold claims?

Flat Earth Debate / The horizon is curved.
« on: April 26, 2012, 06:49:55 PM »
First, let's review the Tom Bishop Canned Response™ on this issue:

Here we go:

The video feed will look like this:

(Slight curvature at the edge of space occurs from the fact that the observer is looking down at a circle)

The same explanation for curvature is used for those high altitude balloons which amateurs put up. At great altitudes the observer is looking down at a circle.

Pictures like this from the edge of space are not faked or unexplainable in FET. At the edge of space the balloon is looking down at a circle, and thus would see some slight curvature to the horizon.

The proof is in the pudding. The earth is flat. The sun casts a circular area of light. Therefore from high altitudes you are looking down at a circle.

It's not possible to measure the size of the sun's spotlight in amateur edge-of-space photography.

There is some shallow curvature at the edge of the atmosphere, but only because at such great heights the observer is looking down at a circle

You will see some slight curvature to the horizon because at such great heights you are looking down at a circle.

You will see a scene similar to those high altitude balloons which touch the edge of space.

I just see a slight elliptical curve from high altitude balloons at the edge of the atmosphere. It seems as if we are looking down at a circle.

I've seen enough high altitude amateur balloon photographs to know that there is some slight curvature seen at the edge of space, enough to be ambiguous as to whether we are looking down at a globe or a disk.

See the MIT Space Camera balloon experiment, for example. Nope. No circle of darkness. It looks as if we're looking down at a circle of light.

The "circle of light" is said to be caused by the sun. Tom solves the obvious issue of pictures taken in the dark by simply denying that they exist. I kid you not:

But none of these amateurs are doing these experiments near nightfall, where the balloon can be lost in the darkness. All of the experiments are done during daylight hours so the balloon can be recovered.

First of all, this reasoning is completely absurd, as the balloons are fitted with GPS and the operators can, you know, wait until the next morning to pick them up. But, worst of all, Tom actually made this deceptive claim while he knew it was false:

That was a factual statement at the time I made that. To my knowledge no one did the balloon experiment at nightfall.

Tom Bishop caught in yet another lie. No, that was not factual to your knowledge at that time. You posted that on January 23rd. You had already posted in my thread, What causes the circle of darkness, on January 17th, in reply to a website dedicated to balloon experiments at nightfall. Nice try.

So anyway, here is the classic case in point which the TBCR™ fails to address:

(full size)

Original source:

Altitude: 50,000 to 75,000 feet

Camera used: Canon PowerShot SD870 IS

EXIF details:

So then we have to fall back on the Auxiliary Canned Response: that the photos are misleading due to the lens distortion that most cameras exhibit. Why Tom Bishop didn't use this explanation on all the daytime photos, I don't know -- does the lens-distorting bogeyman only come out at night? And even if so, why does the curvature of distortion just happen to equal the curvature of the sun's spotlight? Oh well, we can overlook that for now. Here's a diagram of the effect of the distortion in question:

Wait a minute -- so the lines in the center won't be distorted. And the photo above depicts the horizon in the center of the frame, so how can this explanation be valid? "But what if," cries the floundering FE'er, "what if it WAS at the top of the frame and the author cropped it?" Well, no. The pixel dimensions here are 2048 x 1536, which is the standard size for this camera. We are seeing a full frame.

"Alright," sputters the FE'er, "so lens distortion may not have any noticeable effect in some cases, but there's no way to know for sure if this is one of those cases!" Having dodged a bullet, he wipes the sweat from his brow and continues, "Say, have I ever told you about the Bedford--" Hey, not so fast. There is a way to know for sure. Lens distortion is not some random, amorphous phenomenon. To believe that it is is to deny the field of optics. I think Tom Bishop trusts that field. I mean, look:

Those glasses aren't just for decoration, are they? Or perhaps they're actually advanced technology developed by moon-dwellers which allows Tom to see practically infinite distances off the coast of Monterey Bay.  But I digress.

You see, given any camera, we can know, to geometric precision, exactly how much distortion they create. In the case of this particular Canon, that value is 0.1% when zoomed in, or 1.1% when zoomed out.


This means that we can follow a specific procedure to reliably reverse the process and see what the actual undistorted image looks like. Previously, I had done this manually by referring to the camera's test image and seeing how much correction was required to make the lines appear straight, with expected results. This time, I'm going to be absolutely precise. Fortunately, there is an easy way to do this: The PTLens application carries a database of correction parameters and applies the proper variables based on an image's EXIF data:

As you can see, it automatically extracted some information from the jpeg file and is ready to reverse the barrel distortion for me. Here is the corrected output:

(full size)

As predicted, there is virtually no difference. There is still curvature. It should be clear that this is a major issue for a FET adherent, but if you're having trouble following along, consider my analogy:

The RE'ers themselves posted evidence that these images are not reliable, and feature a significant degree of distortion.

No, the distortion is not significant, and no, it does not make the images unreliable. Let me explain how I disproved Tom by way of analogy:

- Tom claims that a person is no more 3 feet tall.
- I measure the person, and they turn out to be 6 feet tall.
- Tom claims that the measurement is faulty because the person is wearing shoes.
- I measure the height of a pair of shoes identical to the one the person is wearing, and subtract it from their height.
- It's still much greater than 3 feet.
- Tom is therefore wrong.

This is what I did, except with curvature instead of height.

We're left with the inescapable fact that the horizon is indeed curved.

So, if the earth is flat, why is the horizon curved? Can anyone answer this question without making shit up?

Flat Earth General / Lunar Laser Ranging
« on: April 26, 2012, 06:47:57 PM »
Here is the main page for a Lunar Laser Ranging project. In short, it's supposed to be a method of measuring the relative movements of Earth and the moon by reflecting lasers from objects left behind by astronauts on the moon. To many Flat Earthers, space agency conspiracy theories are essential because space expeditions being reality would be too strong evidence against their FE hypotheses, and so the veracity of these projects (which would prove that man-made objects have somehow made their way to the moon) is a crucial issue.

This has been discussed before, but I feel that it was left unresolved. In particular, attempts to demonstrate that NASA sabotaged the equipment to produce false results were woefully inconclusive. It was claimed that representatives of NASA were responsible for:
  • leading the project
  • developing the software
However, both claims are patently false, as we know that all aspects of these roles were filled by members of the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Washington -- not NASA. References:
The four NASA employees who contributed to this project are: Dale Boggs, Jean Dickey, Jim Williams, and Slava Turyshev. However, none of them actually built anything. From the above pages, you can find comprehensive descriptions of the design and implementation of the software and hardware, and who was responsible for building each component. If anyone feels that any important information is missing, let me know.

If it is as obvious that the project was sabotaged as some claim, then given the full specs of everything involved as produced by the scientists who were hoodwinked, it should be all that more obvious and easy to point out specifically at which point they were made victims of NASA trickery. So far, no one has been able to do so.

Flat Earth General / FET-based hard SF story ideas
« on: January 13, 2012, 07:10:25 PM »
For those who don't know, hard science fiction is a subgenre that strictly focuses on scientific accuracy.  Nonetheless, these stories consistently include outrageous concepts like stars that are enormous and spherical planets that support life, which really stretches their plausibility.

I know that certain liberties must be taken in all fiction, but I believe it would be possible to write a good story while still adhering to the Truth.

Would any members of these most excellent fora be interested in helping me brainstorm for a hard SF novel with a firm Flat Earth foundation?  I plan to have a book published in August.

Flat Earth Q&A / What causes the circle of darkness?
« on: January 11, 2012, 07:16:24 AM »
Alright, so I've looked through every thread about high-altitude photography I could find, and the FE explanation for the obvious curvature is always the same: it's the spot of light from the sun. As you can see from the Project Soar website, that supposed circle of light gradually turns into a circle of darkness daily. As the sun leaves, the curvature remains. This has never been explained from the FE perspective. Anyone?

Oh, and for those eccentric few (even by FE'er standards) who would attempt to dodge the issue by claiming airplane windows and cameras distort the pictures, I should warn you that that won't work here. There are no windows, and the still camera they use is a regular consumer Canon. Be sure to look over these specs and explain how they can support your argument, otherwise please don't bother.

Those of you who have yet to test your theories by travelling the world might be interested to know that you have access to a very fast worldwide transportation network at no extra charge, and your own computer is a capable measuring instrument.

I am of course talking about the Internet. Your measurements can be performed with traceroute:

The document above goes on to talk about estimating the circumference of Earth by applying your results to a globe, but you can ignore that part since you obviously don't believe in the accuracy of globes. The important part is that you can calculate the lengths of cables using the round-trip time divided by 2 and the propagation speed for the type of cable used (and if you don't believe in the speed you can even buy your own cable of the same type and test it across a short distance).

In the FE model, the southern lines of latitude are much longer. The calculated cable distances don't agree with this, however. Aside from the obvious conclusion that FET is wrong, I can think of two possibilities:

  • The cables take a proportionately less direct route depending on how far north they are
  • The speed of light gets proportionately faster depending on how far south of the equator it is

Neither of these make sense. There is no reason degrees latitude should have an effect on either of these, not to mention number 1 seems like a pointless waste of money.

Searching the forums, I have found very few other discussions of these oceanic cables. In the one thread I did find, the general FE consensus seemed to be that the government deliberately bottlenecks the connections based on their location to keep the Round Earth Myth alive, and the Tom Bishop answer was predictably "Who measured the cables? The Conspiracy? ;D"

But you can measure the cables yourself, so Tom's question is irrelevant. And the government conspiracy angle is incompatible with the popular claim that they aren't trying to fool anyone that the Earth is round because they actually believe it is themselves. Not to mention there is no unified jurisdiction over the Internet.

So we're down to one question: Why is the speed of light slower in the north?

Attention FE'ers who wish to debate their views -- From now on, please be sure to respect Dr. Bishop's new vetting process:

RE'rs regularly claim that they've observed communication satellites with the naked eye, that they are NASA astronauts, or otherwise a pilot or a surveyor for the purpose of the discussion. We have multiple Neil Armstrongs, several administrator's of NASA, rocket scientists, dozens of professional astronomers, and a large number of pilots/navigators.

RE'ers who reply and claim "I did that" are not trustworthy sources. Referencing a third party study would be far more credible.

Please submit your study for peer review.

FE'ers regularly claim that they've observed the entire Earth "rising" with the naked eye when they step off of a chair, and that they have conducted experiments with contrary results to those conducted by countless thousands of astronauts, pilots/navigators, surveyors, rocket scientists, professional astronomers, and so on. Some FE'ers have even been known to claim that they are "accomplished magicians".

The people making these claims represent a miniscule fraction of one percent of the population. Referencing a third party study would be far more credible.

Please submit your studies for peer review.

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