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Old 31st March 2018, 09:02 PM   #1
Wowbagger
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Lightbulb One of the Most Common Flaws in All Earth Science Books

On a recent flight to Los Angeles, I was able to take the nice photo of the world outside the window, as attached. Notice that, even from this high up, the land does NOT appear to be curved? Well, I got to thinking that this OBVIOUS lack of curvature is a signature problem in all photos taken from the sky, and those with curvature of the atmosphere are often due more to lens distortion, than to the actual shape of the Earth.

Now, I am NOT suggesting that the Earth is entirely flat, of course. It could be a sort-of lumpy, semi-curved type of disc, because of all of its mountains and stuff. But, the mainstream idea that it is "almost perfectly spherical" is obviously seriously flawed!! And yet, even today, as we enter the second quarter of 2018, we still see plenty of books that try to explain the older view, from back in the Galilean era. Also attached is a photo of a small pile of such science books in my own collection.

This is probably one of the most common flaws found in a LOT of so-called "science" books about the planet Earth. Perhaps the authors are often sincere in wanted to portray this belief, and don't know any better: I DOUBT it is all a vast conspiracy from some central cabal of nefarious rulers, or anything like that. But, perhaps we can discuss ways to communicate alternative, better, and more obviously correct models of the planet, to more of these folks.
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Old 31st March 2018, 10:50 PM   #2
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I'm not sure what you are getting at.
Most science books I've read acknowledge that the earth is an obloid shape.
As for it's lumpyness, the Radius of earth is about 6000 km, Mt everest is about 11km, which is a distortion of less than 1 precent for the highest mountain range. All others are therefore less. That's pretty smooth.
And yes, the curvature is hard to see because earth is quite big, so up close, even in an airplane, this is difficult. Not impossible though.

What model would you suggest in books then?
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Old 31st March 2018, 10:56 PM   #3
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From the moo, it looks darn round.
The molten iron core is almost perfectly round.
Who cares about the shape of the frothy stony bits on the thin top layer?
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Old 31st March 2018, 11:10 PM   #4
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So if the Earth is a semi curved lumpy disk, does that mean it's spinning like a coin on it's edge?
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Old 1st April 2018, 12:15 AM   #5
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All proof I reckon would be difficult for you to provide. Is the lens distortion due to it being 1:4?
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Old 1st April 2018, 12:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
............perhaps we can discuss ways to communicate alternative, better, and more obviously correct models of the planet, to more of these folks.
And what, pray tell, may those be?
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Old 1st April 2018, 12:34 AM   #7
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One of these?

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Old 1st April 2018, 01:03 AM   #8
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I think it is the specific nature of the Gregorian system that we see today that causes this strange effect to occur. I fail to see how others don't get it.
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Old 1st April 2018, 01:06 AM   #9
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I'm in my 60s.

I learned that the Earth was NOT perfectly spherical in science class; that its diameter is slightly greater at the equator than at the poles, i.e. an oblate spheroid.... we learned that at Intermediate School in Form 1 (what Americans would call 6th grade).
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Old 1st April 2018, 01:20 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by sphenisc View Post
Is the lens distortion due to it being 1:4?
I'm guessing our infinitely prolonged OP did have something like that in mind.
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Old 1st April 2018, 02:39 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
On a recent flight to Los Angeles, I was able to take the nice photo of the world outside the window, as attached. Notice that, even from this high up, the land does NOT appear to be curved? Well, I got to thinking that this OBVIOUS lack of curvature is a signature problem in all photos taken from the sky, and those with curvature of the atmosphere are often due more to lens distortion, than to the actual shape of the Earth.

Now, I am NOT suggesting that the Earth is entirely flat, of course. It could be a sort-of lumpy, semi-curved type of disc, because of all of its mountains and stuff. But, the mainstream idea that it is "almost perfectly spherical" is obviously seriously flawed!! And yet, even today, as we enter the second quarter of 2018, we still see plenty of books that try to explain the older view, from back in the Galilean era. Also attached is a photo of a small pile of such science books in my own collection.

This is probably one of the most common flaws found in a LOT of so-called "science" books about the planet Earth. Perhaps the authors are often sincere in wanted to portray this belief, and don't know any better: I DOUBT it is all a vast conspiracy from some central cabal of nefarious rulers, or anything like that. But, perhaps we can discuss ways to communicate alternative, better, and more obviously correct models of the planet, to more of these folks.
I will assume you are just joking/trolling, but on the shape of Earth:

If we must absolutely nitpick, Earth is a knobby oblate shape, but let's have some perspective:

If you were to construct a perfect scale model of Earth the size of a snooker ball, it would be both rounder and smoother than a competition-class snooker ball.

So apart from those inclined to compulsive hair-splitting, the rest of us can safely refer to the shape of the Earth as 'a sphere'.

Hans
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Old 1st April 2018, 03:29 AM   #12
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Erm, check the date guys and gals!
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Old 1st April 2018, 04:24 AM   #13
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Wowbagger bags another one.
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Old 1st April 2018, 05:00 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
From the moo, it looks darn round.
That's what the cow said.
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Old 1st April 2018, 06:39 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
Most science books I've read acknowledge that the earth is an obloid shape.
They will say it is an "oblate spheroid", but that it is also very close to being a perfect sphere. The oblateness isn't very much.

Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
And yes, the curvature is hard to see because earth is quite big, so up close, even in an airplane, this is difficult. Not impossible though.
You can see curvature in anything, if you try hard enough. Last night, I saw the matzos in a stack were slightly curved, even though we know they are supposed to be flat. That doesn't mean they are obolid!

...Unless they are matzoh balls, then they would be, I guess.

Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
What model would you suggest in books then?
Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
And what, pray tell, may those be?
I happen to like animals. Perhaps we should find out if the Earth is sitting on top of any of them, such as elephants and turtles. Or maybe rabbit rabbits!

Just kidding!

We should have the books be open to changing ideas about the nature of Earth, is all.

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
From the moo, it looks darn round.
Did you mean "moon", or perhaps the cow that was jumping over it?

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
The molten iron core is almost perfectly round.
Who cares about the shape of the frothy stony bits on the thin top layer?
I think that is a bad attitude. Book authors SHOULD care!

I am TIRED of all of these people getting tricked by this!

Originally Posted by rdaneel View Post
So if the Earth is a semi curved lumpy disk, does that mean it's spinning like a coin on it's edge?
Could be spinning like that in space, yes. Perhaps God flipped the Earth like a coin, Himself. And, the planet is falling towards the Universal Floor*, which we will eventually hit. And, whichever side is on top determines which team will receive the kickoff in the Universal Super Bowl!

*There has to be one! If gravity is a Universal Force, and it is the force that pulls things to the ground, then that implies that there MUST be a Universal Ground that everything in the Universe is falling towards.

Originally Posted by sphenisc View Post
All proof I reckon would be difficult for you to provide. Is the lens distortion due to it being 1:4?
Ah, yes! That could be it! 1:4 or 4:1 (in the U.S.) distortion seems to effect a LOT of things, today! I think that if we look at the media through such a lens, a LOT of things tend to make much less sense.

Originally Posted by Lothian View Post
I think it is the specific nature of the Gregorian system that we see today that causes this strange effect to occur. I fail to see how others don't get it.
The Gregorian calendar system was built with certain assumptions about the shape of the Earth, that might have changed a bit over time, but we still use it today. Though, we have added certain features to it, to accommodate certain cultural phenomena. So, yes, that could be it, as well!

Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I learned that the Earth was NOT perfectly spherical in science class; that its diameter is slightly greater at the equator than at the poles, i.e. an oblate spheroid.... we learned that at Intermediate School in Form 1 (what Americans would call 6th grade).
Well, that's a start!

Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
So apart from those inclined to compulsive hair-splitting, the rest of us can safely refer to the shape of the Earth as 'a sphere'.
You seem awfully confident about that one.

Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Wowbagger bags another one.
All I want is to keep people skeptical!
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Old 1st April 2018, 08:46 AM   #16
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No worries. We will always be skeptical of you.

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Old 1st April 2018, 03:04 PM   #17
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APRIL FOOLS!!

For the record, I do accept that the Earth is an oblate spheroid.

Did anyone spot the Dan Brown novel hidden among the science books? Because that was supposed to be part of the joke.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
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Old 1st April 2018, 03:10 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
That's what the cow said....
... as she jumped over it?
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Old 2nd April 2018, 04:46 PM   #19
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The Earth may not be a perfect sphere any more, but it's not her fault. It's middle aged spread. The metabolism slows down, you know. It's not that she isn't trying! And she's still pretty, right? As attractive as when you evolved? You're not answering! Why did you hesitate? OH MY GOD, THERE'S A SPACE PROGRAM! You're thinking of leaving Earth!!! Well, go ahead then, go! You'll never find as good out there, no way. No other planet would put up with you, you big jerks! Earth will be just fine without you!!
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Old 2nd April 2018, 07:56 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
From the moo, it looks darn round.
The molten iron core is almost perfectly round.
Who cares about the shape of the frothy stony bits on the thin top layer?
Those of us who live there, mostly.
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Old 2nd April 2018, 10:04 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
The Earth may not be a perfect sphere any more, but it's not her fault. It's middle aged spread. The metabolism slows down, you know. It's not that she isn't trying! And she's still pretty, right? As attractive as when you evolved? You're not answering! Why did you hesitate? OH MY GOD, THERE'S A SPACE PROGRAM! You're thinking of leaving Earth!!! Well, go ahead then, go! You'll never find as good out there, no way. No other planet would put up with you, you big jerks! Earth will be just fine without you!!
Do my oceans look big in these jeans???

LOL that actually did make me LOL TragicMonkey

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Old 2nd April 2018, 10:17 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
The Earth may not be a perfect sphere any more, but it's not her fault. It's middle aged spread. The metabolism slows down, you know. It's not that she isn't trying! And she's still pretty, right? As attractive as when you evolved? You're not answering! Why did you hesitate? OH MY GOD, THERE'S A SPACE PROGRAM! You're thinking of leaving Earth!!! Well, go ahead then, go! You'll never find as good out there, no way. No other planet would put up with you, you big jerks! Earth will be just fine without you!!
So, the Earth is going through menopause, and climate change is just hot flashes? From experience, maybe we should leave her alone.
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Old 6th April 2018, 08:20 AM   #23
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I knew it was a joke because he didn't include a link to a 45-minute youtube power point slide video.
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Old 6th April 2018, 01:50 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I'm in my 60s.

I learned that the Earth was NOT perfectly spherical in science class; that its diameter is slightly greater at the equator than at the poles, i.e. an oblate spheroid.... we learned that at Intermediate School in Form 1 (what Americans would call 6th grade).
Wrong


But nice. 1st April 2018, 08:06 PM

I think that I inherited the auditor gene. On which note could people please stop rendering the singular possesive pronoun "its" as it's. It is very irritating(and makes the perp appear incurious*).

ETA * Or blindish, as am I.

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