Tales Of A Flat Earth

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
28,997
Location
Out of Bounds
I understand there is a huge horizon, but if I was at the South Pole why don’t I feel like my head is pointing downward ?

Your subjective feelings of "up" and "down" are largely based on the pull of gravity. As long as your posture extends your head away from the center of the earth you're probably oriented "upright", regardless of wherever on the earth's surface you're located.
 

PeteByrdie

Privateer in the service of Princess Frideswide
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
2,978
I have often wondered why we see always level land when we know the earth is round.

How is the brain tricked into this perspective ?
If you're asking why the horizon looks flat, this is the best way I find to think about it. As a relatively small being on a great big sphere, you're surrounded my a little circle which is as far as you can see by line of sight before the surface of the Earth drops away (notwithstanding refraction). That circle is your horizon. Every part of it is as far from you as any other part of it, so from the centre of that circle you can swivel your head but the edge will always be the same distance from your eyes. Therefore, the part of the horizon you see at the edges of your vision shouldn't look different, including shouldn't look lower, than the part you see right in front of you, so you won't see curvature.
I understand there is a huge horizon, but if I was at the South Pole why don’t I feel like my head is pointing downward ?
There's no such thing as downward. There's just towards the centre of gravity and away from it. Our conventions for representing the Earth and our limited perspectives are irrelevant to the universe. The Sun doesn't 'come up' in the morning or 'go down' in the evening.
 

Trevp666

It was like that when I got here.........honest!!!
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
9,265
Location
Welwyn Garden City (but oddly, not an actual city)
The perspectives of our experience of the world around us were initially conceived and established by the scientists of the day.
Hence why our maps and geographical sciences in general are very 'euro-centric' - most of the earliest advancements in 'the sciences' were made in centres of education and research in European countries, chiefly English, German, Italian and Greek.

This led to our perception of anything in the southern hemisphere (eg Australia and New Zealand etc) being 'down' and/or 'at the bottom'.

I would hazard a guess that the first people to experience vision 'beyond the known horizon' would have been the earliest balloonists, such as the Montgolfier brothers.
It was already believed by around 500 B.C., that Earth was round, not flat. But they had no idea how big the planet is until about 240 B.C., when Eratosthenes devised a clever method of estimating its circumference.
link to description of method used
 

Sid

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Messages
1,714
Looks like the World is running 'flat out!':points:
If you're asking why the horizon looks flat, this is the best way I find to think about it. As a relatively small being on a great big sphere, you're surrounded my a little circle which is as far as you can see by line of sight before the surface of the Earth drops away (notwithstanding refraction). That circle is your horizon. Every part of it is as far from you as any other part of it, so from the centre of that circle you can swivel your head but the edge will always be the same distance from your eyes. Therefore, the part of the horizon you see at the edges of your vision shouldn't look different, including shouldn't look lower, than the part you see right in front of you, so you won't see curvature.

There's no such thing as downward. There's just towards the centre of gravity and away from it. Our conventions for representing the Earth and our limited perspectives are irrelevant to the universe. The Sun doesn't 'come up' in the morning or 'go down' in the evening.
I suppose you could say, that there is no direction in our World? "Up" is that which is above us/ or "it," and "down" is that which lies below us/ or "it". . . and that's it!:headspinner:Or. . . just to clarify the situation, "up" is equal to "down," and vice-versa.:huh:
 
Last edited:

eburacum

Papo-furado
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
4,688
In a rotating space habitat, such as the Wheel in 2001, the Naboo in The Expanse or the colony in Babylon 5, up is towards the axis of rotation.

In a constantly accelerating spacecraft, like the Rocinante in The Expanse or one of Heinlein's torchships, up is towards the front of the ship. Since acceleration = gravity according to Einstein, these examples are as real as any other kind of gravity.

So no, there is no absolute preferred direction in our universe.
 

Fluttermoth

Cult of Jari
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
1,234
Your subjective feelings of "up" and "down" are largely based on the pull of gravity. As long as your posture extends your head away from the center of the earth you're probably oriented "upright", regardless of wherever on the earth's surface you're located.
I heard a flerf the other day, apparently seriously, saying the Nile is impossible because it flows north, and water can't go uphill :chuckle:

According to my sister, who is a primary school teacher, in Australia and New Zealand, they often have maps with South at the top in classrooms.
 

Floyd1

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Apr 2, 2019
Messages
4,015
I heard a flerf the other day, apparently seriously, saying the Nile is impossible because it flows north, and water can't go uphill :chuckle:

According to my sister, who is a primary school teacher, in Australia and New Zealand, they often have maps with South at the top in classrooms.
We all know how the world really looks;
mr-cholmondeley-warner-presents.jpg
 

Trevp666

It was like that when I got here.........honest!!!
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
9,265
Location
Welwyn Garden City (but oddly, not an actual city)
As confirmed (in places) during the opening titles of the hard-hitting news program, 'The Day Today'.
 

PeteByrdie

Privateer in the service of Princess Frideswide
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
2,978
I heard a flerf the other day, apparently seriously, saying the Nile is impossible because it flows north, and water can't go uphill :chuckle:
Good grief, I remember that argument. And they're so straight faced, it makes you wonder whether any of them believe what they're saying. In the debate that made me decide I'd heard enough from the flat-earth community, one flerf had a whole presentation of several minutes, with pictures and figures, about how a particularly long canal (it may have been Suez) didn't have lock gates to account for the curvature of the Earth. It's not as though they haven't been told time and again that curvature is different from elevation. Are they just trolling? Some of them, surely, have to be.

According to my sister, who is a primary school teacher, in Australia and New Zealand, they often have maps with South at the top in classrooms.
I think that's a great idea to help shake us out of a northern hemisphere bias.
 

Trevp666

It was like that when I got here.........honest!!!
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
9,265
Location
Welwyn Garden City (but oddly, not an actual city)
Are they just trolling? Some of them, surely, have to be.
No, they're just demonstrating that it is very unwise to give an imbecile just a little bit of knowledge about something, but not the context within which to frame that knowledge.
 

Trevp666

It was like that when I got here.........honest!!!
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
9,265
Location
Welwyn Garden City (but oddly, not an actual city)
However much various populations like to place their own countries at the centre of their map though, it's a historical fact that for centuries the trade between nations globally depended on mapping for navigation so that the goods could be transported to their destinations.
The maps used were standardised long ago to use Greenwich, England as the centre.
Hence why we now have 'Greenwich Mean Time' (GMT).
https://www.rmg.co.uk/stories/topic... main reasons,Greenwich as the Prime Meridian.

Interestingly....
"As the Earth’s crust is moving very slightly all the time the exact position of the Prime Meridian is now moving very slightly too, but the original reference for the prime meridian of the world remains the Airy Transit Circle in the Royal Observatory, even if the exact location of the line may move to either side of Airy’s meridian."
 

eburacum

Papo-furado
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
4,688
Curiously, the reference meridian for the GPS system is 102 metres east of the Airy Transit Circle.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IERS_Reference_Meridian
The IERS Reference Meridian (IRM), also called the International Reference Meridian, is the prime meridian (0° longitude) maintained by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS). It passes about 5.3 arcseconds east of George Biddell Airy's 1851 transit circle which is 102 metres (335 ft) at the latitude of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.[1][2][a] Thus it differs slightly from the historical Greenwich meridian.
Unlike the Greenwich meridian, the IRM is stationary, while the European crust moves because of plate tectonics.
The IERS system is not quite fixed to any point attached to the Earth. For example, all points on the European portion of the Eurasian plate, including the Royal Observatory, are moving northeast at about 2.5 cm per year relative to it.
 
Top