Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Earth - "Un-Flattened"

There is a hefty price to pay for, *profound*, scientific illiteracy, as is demonstrated here, by the person who contrived the 'info'-graphic below....

In attempting to 'prove' that the Earth is flat, the creator of this image doesn't seem to know that the Sun's apparent movement across the sky, due to the rotation of a round, roughly, spherical Earth, is from East to West and NOT from North to South. Two people making observations, from two different points along a line of longitude (in this case, early in the morning, separated by a few thousand miles), are not going to see the Sun in the sky in the same position in latitude; in fact--they're within, only one, time zone from each other! They will, however, see it at approximately at the same elevation from the horizon--and in the case of the graphic, are, in fact, within a one-time zone from each other!

Here is a simple way to demonstrate that the Earth is a globe--or, at least, that it is NOT a flat, linear field.

Take, a sheet of cardboard, or poster board--or, even an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper--outside, when the sun is low in the sky at, or very near, the eastern horizon, just after sunrise. I should mention, that, you need to know a person who is well West of you, preferably on the West Coast, but any place, considerably West of you, will do. (This person should also be of a pleasant demeanor, and not mind being awakened in the "middle of the night"!)

Now, holding the sheet in your hands, level with the ground, in front of you and facing the sun, imagine the sheet to be the flat Earth, and imagine that, a tiny you is standing on the end of the sheet nearest the Sun (farthest from your body) and, your, also tiny, friend on the west coast, is standing at the end of the sheet farthest from the Sun--the end closest to your body.

Note that the sheet is evenly illuminated by sunlight when it is level with the ground and, that, both you and your friend are standing in daylight--both of you can see the sun in the sky, at the same time, and at the same elevation. You have just created a scale model of a flat Earth, and the sun's position relative to it.

Okay--now, with one hand holding the end of the sheet farthest from you, take the end of the sheet closest to you, and bend it slowly downwards toward the ground with your other hand until you have formed, roughly, a 90° arc. Note that the sun is now shining only on the segment of the arc farthest from you (our "East Coast", in this demonstration). The segment of the arc curved downwards, away from the Sun--the West Coast, is now in shadow. You have just created a scale model of the curved surface of the Earth, and the Sun's position relative to it.

Which scenario works best in explaining why it is daylight at some points on Earth, while, at the same time, it is dark at other points--the 'flat-Earth' model or the 'curved-Earth' model?

OK--now, if you thought that was tricky--let's test this hypothesis by getting some data from your friend to the west.

Give your friend a call on the phone, apologizing and explaining that you are on an important mission of, "scientific discovery", to prove the non-linear, non-flat-field properties of the Earth as an oblate spheroid!.... [yeah, you just go ahead and try that!]

When all the yelling, rage, accusations, and humiliation (the latter, on your part) have subsided, ask him, or her, this: "Where is the sun, in the sky, right at this moment?"

After another, hopefully brief, round of biting, acerbic, accusatory statements regarding the level of your sanity, he or she, will tell you that, it is dark--the sun has not yet risen, and, that you should go back to bed! This scenario is, of course, best explained because of the curved surface of the Earth, and your friend's perspective (of both the Earth and of you), relative to the Sun, and it corresponds exactly to the cardboard curvature demonstration.
You have proven the surface of the Earth to be a curve, rather than a plane.
The demonstration works just as well, at or near sunset, where you will get the opposite result, with your friend out west this time, in daylight, while you are at dusk.

But, to get back to the price, paid: it is, in the self-betrayal--in front of the entire, civilized, online world--that you don't know what you're talking about.

A little common sense--and a demonstration--go a long way, folks!

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