Debunking the 'law of perspective'

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Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« on: June 07, 2007, 07:07:16 PM »
I've mentioned this a bit already, and the Waves, Crests and Sunsets thread has touched on this subject quite extensivelly, but I wanted to add a bit more to the criticism of the 'law of perspective', and I used a new thread because those other ones seem to be dead (God knows, is it because no FEer can respond to them?). In any case, I do not find Rowbotham's chapter XIV (explaining why a ship's hull dissapears before its mast-head) to be at all satisfactory. His arguments are based on the range of the eye, which he gives as 110 degrees. (All sources I've looked at state the range of binocular vision as 140 degrees, but whatever, that's not particularly important in my criticism). In any case, he clearly defines the law of perspective on page 203, building it specifically what can be distinguished by the human eye and its limitations, and proceeds to build his argument from there. However, the same effect (that of a ship dipping below the horizon) can be seen at precisely the same time with a telescope or a camera or any other apparatus that has any kind of zoom feature. These devices should not be fooled by the law of perspective, at least not at the same time that the eye is, but they are. In fact, using a camera and zooming in or using a powerful land telescope, you can clearly and distinctivelly see a ship sinking below the horizon, it is not simply a trick of perspective on the eyes. Furthermore, with modern ships, one can see smaller features on the deck of the ship quite clearly, while the massive hull becomes obscured. This may not have been the case in the days of mast-heads, since mast heads are larger than the hull, but it certainly is true now. For example the following picture:




If it is true that distinctive parts of the ship should dissapear first (which would in fact be true as a ship moved farther away on a flat surface) then those smaller more distinctive objects on the deck of the ship should dissapear before the hull, but they do not. Saying that this isn't the case, contradicts the point Rowbotham is trying to make in Fig 73. (which is in fact a valid point.. however, note that even here, if one were to use a pair of binoculars or a good telescope, one would once again see the white dot in the middle of the figure).

I also want to make specific reference to Fig 74. As the circle gets farther away, the white segment becomes undistinguishable from its surrounding background and the whole object looks like a dark circle. However, it still looks like a circle! It doesn't dip below the horizon until it looks like a semi-circle. And in fact were it to get further away, it would continue to get smaller but it would still retain its shape as a circle until it vanished due to being obscured by fog or whatever.

The rest of the diagrams and their errors were adressed with paint diagrams in previous threads so I will not spend too much time on them. I will point out that Fig. 79 is seriously incorrect. The wheels of the locomotive engine would never dissapear below the horizon like that. It would gradually get smaller but it would always remain on top of the horizon. Rowbotham makes the interesting assertion that "The error in perspective, which is almost universally committed, consists in causing lines dissimilarly distant from the eye-line to converge to one and the same vanishing point." This is where he is in fact wrong for all practical purposes, and this is what I probably should have started my argument with but anyway. What evidence does he have that this is an error? He seems to just pull this out of the air, and this is in fact the basis for why something nearer to the surface would dissapear first (according to him). I would love to see reference to any reputable work that mentions this phenomenon. But it is a simple matter of fact that all parallel lines would converge at the same vanishing point. He gives no reason for why this wouldn't be the case, just says that it is an error and lets that be that. He mentions that this is demonstrable but then doesn't demonstrate it (at least I hope his diagrams aren't attempts to demonstarte it because they're clearly inaccurate). You can demonstrate this with any 3D rendering program where you can build a virtual map and then move around in it. If the counterargument is that this is still a trick on the eyes and has to do with their limitation, I once again bring up the telescope or binoculars. There is simply no reason why you shouldn't be able to see a ship or object in its entirety through a land telescope even after 'perspective' has obscured it from the eyes. The diagrams in previous posts leave no doubt about this.

Thus, my point is, as it has always been, that the zetetic law of perspective is complete rubbish, and simply cannot explain the phenomena observed. If I wrong on any of these points, by all means correct me, and please do so in a specific manner. Tom, I don't want any 1 line answers. Cheers.

Final edit (I hope):

Alright, furthering my last argument. The following photograph helps me to illustrate my point:



The labels correspond to Rowbothams on his Fig. 76.

The white lines drawn clearly show the vanishing point in the picture. The green horizontal line is for reference purposes. Rowbotham argues that point H cannot be the true vanishing point because the angle C,H,E is not equal to the angle A,H,E. Thus he argues that the angle must be the same or it is not the vanishing point. This is plainly and simply WRONG. This is the reason why the bottom half of an object would dissapear before the top half, according to him and his diagrams. But most of the lines on there reach the vanishing point at different angles than C,H,E. This is to be expected, it is simply a matter of how your brain perceives depth. Lines further away from eye level, will approach the vanishing point at a steeper angle. In other words.. his attempt to explain the sinking ship phenomenon via his 'law of perspective' DOESN'T WORK or make any sense for that matter. Neither do his diagrams. I'm ready to debate.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2007, 10:24:17 PM by slappy »
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Hmm... A good solid RE arguement and not an FE'er in sight. ::)
Oh, no...they're here. It's just that damn perspective..

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thesublime514

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Re: A longer criticism of the law of perspective
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2007, 07:43:55 PM »
To post a picture, go to http://allyoucanupload.webshots.com/.  You don't have to register or anything.  Just follow links to your picture (by clicking on it [twice, on two different pages]) and copy the url.  I just use this for one-time pictures.  For stuff I want to keep/reuse I use photobucket.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2007, 07:45:50 PM by thesublime514 »

Re: A longer criticism of the law of perspective
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2007, 07:54:14 PM »
Thanks. I decided to omit that for now though. I didn't like the way I put that part of the argument together, and I don't think I was properly adressing what I wanted to.
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Hmm... A good solid RE arguement and not an FE'er in sight. ::)
Oh, no...they're here. It's just that damn perspective..

*

thesublime514

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Re: A longer criticism of the law of perspective
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2007, 08:01:07 PM »
Thanks. I decided to omit that for now though. I didn't like the way I put that part of the argument together, and I don't think I was properly adressing what I wanted to.

Whatever floats your boat.

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Ulrichomega

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Re: A longer criticism of the law of perspective
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2007, 08:33:43 PM »
Hmm... A good solid RE arguement and not an FE'er in sight. ::)
I'm so tempted to put a scratch and sniff at the bottom of a pool and see what you do...

Avert your eyes, this is too awesome for them...

Re: A longer criticism of the law of perspective
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2007, 09:44:10 PM »
Surprise, surprise..
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Hmm... A good solid RE arguement and not an FE'er in sight. ::)
Oh, no...they're here. It's just that damn perspective..

*

thesublime514

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Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2007, 10:29:19 PM »
They're all too lazy to read it and respond.  Or maybe just incapable of it.

Re: A longer criticism of the law of perspective
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2007, 10:41:10 PM »
Hmm... A good solid RE arguement and not an FE'er in sight. ::)

Oh, no...they're here. It's just that danmn perspective....

Re: A longer criticism of the law of perspective
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2007, 10:57:04 PM »
Hmm... A good solid RE arguement and not an FE'er in sight. ::)

Oh, no...they're here. It's just that danmn perspective....
LOL

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Bushido

Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2007, 02:29:46 AM »
There is no law of perspective. There are some rules of perspective. Here's a page explaining them:


As you can see, the perspective issue involves projecting a 3D world on a plane as observed by a point in space (the eye). The projection point is in the intersection of a straight line connecting the real point in space and the observational point and the projection plane.

The hidden assumption here is that light travels in straight lines, which is one of the rules of geometric optics. However, this is only true if the speed of the light is constant at every point in space.

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2007, 02:37:27 AM »
The reason there are none here is there are very few actual REers. I mean how many are actually left that post more than once a millenium?

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James

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Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2007, 03:11:28 AM »
The rules of perspective which Rowbotham was referring to exist without a doubt (to argue that things do not appear smaller as they go further away is quite ridiculous), but cannot, on their own, explain the sinking ship phenomenom.

The reason for the bottom of the boat becoming invisible first is rather astoundingly simple. As an object goes further into the ocean and the observer remains on shore, two probabilities increase: the likelyhood that at any given moment a wave will obscure the bottom of the boat, and the likelyhood that any given wave will be higher than other, previous waves.

When we talk in terms of miles, individual waves become indistinguishable, all we see is a compound effect - more of the boat is gradually obscured by higher and higher waves. This is coupled with the deceptive "shrinking" of natural perspective to make the object seem to shrink and disappear over the "horizon".
"For your own sake, as well as for that of our beloved country, be bold and firm against error and evil of every kind." - David Wardlaw Scott, Terra Firma 1901

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Bushido

Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2007, 03:55:37 AM »
...
The reason for the bottom of the boat becoming invisible first is rather astoundingly simple. As an object goes further into the ocean and the observer remains on shore, two probabilities increase: the likelyhood that at any given moment a wave will obscure the bottom of the boat, and the likelyhood that any given wave will be higher than other, previous waves.
...

The waves that appear between the observer and the boat can not obscure a large portion of the ship’s hull since they are not so high and, therefore, only the waves that are near the ship’s hull contribute to the obscuring.

Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2007, 06:32:48 AM »
...
The reason for the bottom of the boat becoming invisible first is rather astoundingly simple. As an object goes further into the ocean and the observer remains on shore, two probabilities increase: the likelyhood that at any given moment a wave will obscure the bottom of the boat, and the likelyhood that any given wave will be higher than other, previous waves.
...

The waves that appear between the observer and the boat can not obscure a large portion of the ship’s hull since they are not so high and, therefore, only the waves that are near the ship’s hull contribute to the obscuring.
Concise. Logical. Devastating. Good job.

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trig

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Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2007, 06:40:01 AM »
We should all remember that the laws of perspective and the rules of perspective relative to vanishing points are really drawing techniques!. In real life if you have very long, perfectly straight parallel lines they will not touch at the "vanishing point". Every time you think you saw the place where they join, you can take a telescope and see that they did not join there. Better resolutions let you see the apparent vanishing point farther and farther away.

The vanishing point techniques were taught to most of us in High School when not everyone had AutoCad. Its failings were quite obvious when we failed to place them in the appropriate places. For example, if you try to use the vanishing point techniques to draw a building that is supposedly less than a meter in front of you, the results are not very credible.

In general, perspective is not about how the world is, but how we perceive the world.

Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2007, 07:14:55 AM »
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with both Dogplatter and Bushido on that point (Gulliver, I think Bushido was still trying to say that the obscuring still happens by those waves near the ship's hull, which is in part what Rowbotham is saying -- Bushido, if I'm misreading your post, I apologize in advance - let me know). Before I go on, I have to say that yes, 'rules of perspective' is more a more appropriate term, but Rowbotham refers to it as the 'law of perspective' so I'm sticking to that.

First of all, I am not arguing that things don't get smaller as they get farther away - that would indeed be ridiculous. That aspect of his 'law' I completelly agree with, and I state this in my argument when referring to his fig. 73. I'm sorry if I was implying othewise. But there is more to how he uses this law of perspective than just saying things get farther away and thus smaller. He uses the vanishing point argument to argue that the same thing would happen regardless of whether it was a ship on the sea, or a train on land or whatever. I completelly disagree with that part of his argument and I would like to see someone correct me if I'm misunderstanding it. But I do not think this is the case. The fact that two parallel lines that are not equidistant have the same vanishing point is not a real brain twister, and is to be expected. It is, if you will, simply a matter of perspective (without meaning to sound ironic). As I've stated before, the line farther away from the eye line will approach the vanishing point at a steeper angle than the line closer. This projection allows you to perceive depth correctly. Rowbotham does not make a convincing argument and says that parallel lines meeting at one and the same vanishing point is an error frequently made in paintings and so on and is completelly unnatural. But I've shown that the same effect can be seen in a photograph, where nobody intentionally tried to make the lines meet (or rather, angle such that if the were to continue they would meet).

Bushido, the rules of perspective you link to are correct, and the fact that light travels in straight lines is pretty well agreed upon. As long as the medium and temperature remain the same, light travels in straight lines. Mirages are examples of when this isn't the case.

I read Rowbotham's intepretation of perspective at sea and I once again have to disagree. He's all talk, but no evidence. The assertion that the boat is gradually obscured by higher and higher waves  near the ship's hull is simply not true. Those waves are subject to the same laws of perspective. If anything, the waves closer to the observers would be the ones that could do the most obscuring (a penny placed near your eye will obscure more of the moon than a penny placed near the moon). In any case, this part of his argument is really, for all I can see, nothing more than smoke and mirrors. The thread: Wave Crests and Sunsets, already adressed this with diagrams so I won't bother repeating the work here. If all of that is wrong, by all means PROVE it wrong. PROVE this phenomenon because Rowbotham, does not; he draws a completelly arbitrary diagram but I see no mathematical proof or anything of the sort anywhere. Regardless of what Rowbotham says, a telescope should still reveal the hull of a ship regardless of the waves on the sea. I await proof of the contrary.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2007, 10:31:43 AM by slappy »
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Hmm... A good solid RE arguement and not an FE'er in sight. ::)
Oh, no...they're here. It's just that damn perspective..

?

JackASCII

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Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2007, 07:27:47 AM »
I would like to add my eyewitness account to this phenomenon but with twist. I've seen this (as I've mentioned) from the middle of a very calm Indian Ocean. It's surreal and almost glass-like there off of monsoon season. With none of the high waves to obscure the hull of a warship, which has very high hull to waterline as compared to the superstructure, masts, rigging, etc... the "sinking effect" was quite noticible. I'm going to see if my ex-wife didn't throw out ALL my Navy pictures in her fit of ritual purging.
Yes, quite.  No one would ever claim to be someone they're not in their profile name.

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trig

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Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2007, 07:55:20 AM »
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But I've shown that you can do the same thing with a photograph, where nobody intentionally tried to make the lines meet.
While this is correct, please be careful not to extrapolate what you can see in a 20 meter corridor to what you would see in a couple of lines one meter apart and 20 kilometers long. The vanishing point is a very useful idea for drawings but its use by Rowbotham comes from his inability to understand human perception of three dimensional landscapes and objects.

Just as an example of this inability, in his experiments with theodolites he thought he could place a theodolite absolutely horizontal, to the point where he could use this to see if a bridge 3 miles away was at or below the horizontal line!

 See this experiment as an example: http://www.sacred-texts.com/earth/za/za08.htm

Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2007, 08:15:20 AM »
Thanks trig. Always good to have someone double-checking things. You are of course correct, and I don't really mean to extrapolate too much. I simply wanted to show that a) he was wrong in saying that using the vanishing point as such was an error made by artists which was unnatural, since the angles and proportions are clearly the same in a picture and that b) he was also in error when discussing angles approaching a vanishing point and such. I didn't really mean to imply anything beyond the fact that, as you say, he had an inability to understand human perception of three dimensional landsapces and objects. The theodolites are probably a better example, but my knowledge with that isn't too extensive.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2007, 08:18:03 AM by slappy »
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Hmm... A good solid RE arguement and not an FE'er in sight. ::)
Oh, no...they're here. It's just that damn perspective..

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Skeptical ATM

Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2007, 09:57:02 AM »
I have to say, an excellent thread here Slappy (great name btw). A couple of questions:

The compound effect used as a counter to your statement. While I see how it COULD work, you explained ow it doesn't work. However, if you find a large enough (calm) lake, the same effect can be seen.

Is there a reason not noted already here? Or can I take what is written later on as evidence.

NB: There are few suitable lakes around me currently, however I have observed this efffect on a lake in the south of Germany.

Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2007, 10:56:59 AM »
Thanks Skeptical. I haven't seen any specific explanation in Rowbotham's works as to why the same effect happens on a very calm lake or in very calm ocean waters, as JackASCII has already mentioned. The explanation would be that it is due to perspective (obviously), for the same reasons a simmilar phenomeon would be observed on land. However, here Rowbotham pretty much shoots himself in the foot. By his own account: "when the lower parts of the objects have entered the vanishing point, and thus disappeared to the naked eye, a telescope of considerable power will restore them to view; but in the case of a ship's hull a telescope fails to restore it, however powerful it may be." The reason the telescope would fail to restore it, according to Rowbotham, is because of that compounding wave effect. If you were to observe the sinking ship effect on calm waters, that explanation would no longer hold, and you would need an explanation for why the telescope would not be able to bring the ship back into view. An explanation which they of course don't have.
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Hmm... A good solid RE arguement and not an FE'er in sight. ::)
Oh, no...they're here. It's just that damn perspective..

*

James

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Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2007, 12:09:59 PM »
The waves that appear between the observer and the boat can not obscure a large portion of the ship’s hull since they are not so high and, therefore, only the waves that are near the ship’s hull contribute to the obscuring.

But they're closer to the observer and thus obscure more of his/her vision of the boat.
"For your own sake, as well as for that of our beloved country, be bold and firm against error and evil of every kind." - David Wardlaw Scott, Terra Firma 1901

Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2007, 12:12:41 PM »
The waves that appear between the observer and the boat can not obscure a large portion of the ship’s hull since they are not so high and, therefore, only the waves that are near the ship’s hull contribute to the obscuring.

But they're closer to the observer and thus obscure more of his/her vision of the boat.
Evidence? Diagram? Reasoning?

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JackASCII

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Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2007, 12:39:54 PM »
The waves that appear between the observer and the boat can not obscure a large portion of the ship’s hull since they are not so high and, therefore, only the waves that are near the ship’s hull contribute to the obscuring.

But they're closer to the observer and thus obscure more of his/her vision of the boat.

Nope. What if there is little or no wave activity?
Yes, quite.  No one would ever claim to be someone they're not in their profile name.

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∂G/∂x

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Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2007, 02:12:50 AM »
As slappy so kindly pointed out, I covered the whole waves issue in 'Wave Crests an Sunsets'. As long as you are standing on an object that is taller than the waves no amount of perspective will help you obscure a ship that is also taller (and many, if not most, modern tankers/navy cruisers are far taller than any wave on an average day in the ocean).
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James

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Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2007, 10:58:08 AM »
The waves that appear between the observer and the boat can not obscure a large portion of the ship’s hull since they are not so high and, therefore, only the waves that are near the ship’s hull contribute to the obscuring.

But they're closer to the observer and thus obscure more of his/her vision of the boat.
Evidence? Diagram? Reasoning?

You're asking for evidence that waves which are closer to the observer are... closer to the observer?

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Nope. What if there is little or no wave activity?

In practice it's essentially impossible to find a large body of water which has no wave activity (or other disturbance). If you do observe the sinking ship phenomenom on a stormy day and then on a quiet, calm day, I guarantee the effect will be more acute during the former.

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As long as you are standing on an object that is taller than the waves no amount of perspective will help you obscure a ship that is also taller (and many, if not most, modern tankers/navy cruisers are far taller than any wave on an average day in the ocean).

This isn't true - the sinking ship effect still works given the criteria you have provided. In this image, both the observer and the boat are taller than the wave, yet the observer is unable to see the bottom of the boat.



"For your own sake, as well as for that of our beloved country, be bold and firm against error and evil of every kind." - David Wardlaw Scott, Terra Firma 1901

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Bushido

Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2007, 11:57:43 AM »

BTW, your wave is higher than the ship's hull. It's a tsunami.

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thesublime514

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Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2007, 12:06:28 PM »

BTW, your wave is higher than the ship's hull. It's a tsunami.

Agreed. Your wave would have to be amazingly tall and constantly aligned.  This doesn't happen every time you view a ship.  It's not reliable.

Here's some pictures:



Verdict: Implausible.

Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2007, 12:22:04 PM »

BTW, your wave is higher than the ship's hull. It's a tsunami.

Agreed. Your wave would have to be amazingly tall and constantly aligned.  This doesn't happen every time you view a ship.  It's not reliable.

Here's some pictures:
...
Verdict: Implausible.
That first picture is especially insightful. Thanks for posting!
« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 12:36:02 PM by Gulliver »

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Skeptical ATM

Re: Debunking the 'law of perspective'
« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2007, 12:26:31 PM »
Well ok, so the diagram provided has a tsumani in it. However the effect could be observed with normal waves, but there would have to be a constant wall of water (ie compounded waves) at all times. Obviously, while possible, this is avoidable.

The perspective law obviously doesn't work here, I think this is another piece of FE that, while a good attempt, is better explained by the fact that the Earth is a sphere.