My Epitaph

If you don't question everything, you will know nothing and believe anything!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Since I've mentioned it...

Before I escaped the Black Hole to start working at sea for Clipper Cruise Lines in 1996, I remember telling my father that he may teach the shape of the earth in the Earth and Space Science classes he finished his teaching career teaching (I had him for physical education in 6th grade and helped get him into the high school with my class to have him again as my 9th grade P.E. teacher and football coach), but that I was going to be making observations of both the angles of sun and North Star every time I could make those observations from a new place (i.e. clear skies).  The questions I asked during my undergraduate years in a corporate indoctrination center (during the period of the collapse of the USSR - meaning capitalism "won") were but only a beginning of questioning.

If you don't question everything, you will know nothing and believe anything!

I once questioned if literally everything I had been taught were false to facts, and that most definitely included questioning the shape of the Earth myself.  For those who recall, there was a rather large difference in the Internet between 1996 and 1998.  Had the observations I tried to make daily between September 1996 and July 1998 indicated to me that we had indeed been conditioned into believing something that appeared false to facts, the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine would have records of me acting as town crier that the Earth's shape is not as we've been taught!  However, since there is no online trail of me screaming "The Earth is flat!" for 20 years, the observations I made every chance I could clearly indicated that the spherical shape of the Earth as taught to all seems to answer my personal observations I made from as far to the north as 82*11' to see a polar bear haul out onto the icecap at 11:45 PM in broad daylight to about 8* N in the Columbian Isthmus of Panama and also a few days up the Orinoco.

What observations you ask 
(or at least any Flat Earther that might read this)?

Even as I child playing outdoors, I learned to tell time by the sun's position in the sky.  In 1995, I did landscaping most of the year.  By my birthday on May 4th, I was back to telling the time of day by looking at the sun's position.  By the time I was actually in charge of a small landscaping crew and had to keep the paperwork that included arrival and departure times for each property we mowed, I may have had a bitching tan line under where I would wear my watch, but I would look at the sun, write down the time and then look at my watch.  I usually only had a woman on her summer break from studying landscape architecture in university on my team, and since our mothers worked together, I could probably track her down to get video confirmation that if she would ask me the time, I would look at the sun and state the time, then look at my watch and the worst off I would be would be 2 minutes off, plus or minus, from the time my watch stated.  Most often, though, I was either dead on or +/- 1 minute from the time on my watch.

Geometry was an easy class for me, and I have retained a decent eye for guessing angles since 1985/6, obviously even as a boy I was learning to read the 15* per hour the sun should move through the sky a decade before I took geometry.  I was taught while camping as a child how to find Polaris which would give a good approximation how far north of the equator you are.  Even if we were in rough seas, I could still hold one arm at where the horizon would be and the other on Polaris.  After my guestimation of the angle between my arms, I would go to the bridge to ask/look at  the GPS (and by the way, by 1996 GPS worked when there was no land in sight or on radar) I was always closer to precision the smaller the angle (i.e. +/- 2* or less) than further north (maybe 5-7* off), but I was guessing at my arms and not using even a protractor let alone a sextant for precision.

What were my observations?

The closer you get to the equator, the higher the sun gets over head and remains closer to an even amount of daylight and darkness.  Above the Arctic Circle in summer and the sun won't set for four months and the further north you go the closer to the horizon the sun remains and, if clear for 24 hours, would circle the sky a few degrees above the horizon (angle above horizon being an inverse function of the ship's position).  I saw 17 days of daylight where the "shade" from the sun wasn't nighttime, but some of the densest fog I have ever seen - and a fog I have seen completely burn off in about 10 minutes (so dense Scooby-Doo would cut and eat a fog donut).  It seemed to get fogged in around 5 AM and stay that way, usually, until about 5 PM (I had plenty of free time since I'd be in the sun all night and take three naps a day between serving meals for my sleep requirements).  After 17 days, when we were heading back south, I literally was jumping for joy yelling "Is it?  Is it going to set?" until finally the sun dipped below the horizon for about 15 minutes and I seem to recall still jumping for joy for the entire in celebration time while the sun was below the horizon.

Concerning Polaris, it's pretty much the inverse of the sun: being possibly blocked by trees when closer to the equator, or even possibly open ocean swell may block it's view close enough to the equator, and you can only get to the Arctic Circle in summer until Polaris obviously isn't visible in the Midnight Sun.  My life at sea ended when the cruise south of the Arctic ended.  If I could have one conversation over, I would likely be finishing something like my 19th season as Expedition Staff/Leader on cruises to Antarctica, and would have at least hit the goal I set for myself of all 7 continents before I tuned 40, if not the main part of that goal being able to join the Century Club meeting its criteria of 100 countries by 40.  If it were baseball, my stats would be Hall Of Fame worthy: .36 might be the all-time high if it were a batting average, and 4 for 7 of continents.

So, especially with an epitaph about questioning everything, I really can't get upset with anyone questioning the shape of the Earth as taught from childhood.  However, when I was questioning if the Earth where spherical, I was living a life where most everyday was somewhere new (at most two months in one area running week long cruises) and actually making the types of observations that can provide one with an accurate answer to the question "Do we really live on a spherical planet like we've been taught since childhood?"

Although my own personal observations clearly indicate that not everything we were conditioned to believe as factual was fictitious, at least in regards to being told the globes in homes and schools being as close to visualizing where we live, that wasn't a lie, I really can't respect anyone that believes that the shape of the Earth can be accurately questioned with either old books or "internet research" seemingly limited to the echo chambers of content creators (and comment sections) on YouTube making Flat Earth Videos, and likely Facebook groups of convinced and dedicated believers.

Another observation I made at sea was our slow crawl back to Miami from the Virgin Islands about this time (end of Feb/beginning of March) in 1997.  I was getting off the ship before passengers boarded her in Miami (it was going to be a golf cruise stopping at the same courses the PGA plays going north from Miami and golfers at least have enough money, as a group, to be considered "eccentric" much like bird watchers.  Both groups are among the strangest and weirdest people I have even encountered, so I bailed a week early of my original end date just to not have to deal with golfers again), so I was definitely excited about arriving in Miami.  Therefore, after the sun went down, I would go to the darkest spot on the ship once an hour with binoculars to spy my escape from that smallest of towns (25 people including captain was her crew and she'd hold 100 passengers) as we made our way at about 6-8 knots.  The first time I looked through the glasses, we were still too far away to even see the light pollution.  An hour later and there were several spots of varied intensity of light pollution, but even those slight bubbles of light pollution barely broke the edge of the horizon.  I assumed the two most northern, and largest fingernails of light pollution were Miami and Ft Lauderdale.  The further north one might have been Palm Beach County because at least at that time there wasn't consistent light pollution north of Ft Lauderdale until Palm Beach County, at least not as much, but Miami through Ft Lauderdale was all developed and lit up.  Then I assumed that the two smaller light pollution "bubbles" to the south were probably Key Largo and Key West.  Not only were those two dimmer than the larger light pollution bubbles to the North, but especially from the furthest north sliver of light pollution above the dark horizon, the curve of the Earth was definitely observable both even through the binoculars: the sliver of light pollution above the southern: most likely Key West wasn't much below the furthest north, but there was a slightly observable curve between slivers of light pollution.

The Flat Earthers seem to claim that with a powerful enough zoom any ship can be brought back into view.  They apparently all must fear large bodies of water and have no sense of adventure, though, otherwise they might think about the opposite view: being on a ship sailing away from a land mass.  I have watched more than one mountain top of an island finally disappear from view through binoculars and I remain quite confident that I couldn't have brought it back into view had I more powerful binoculars or even a telescope because I had been watching that island slowly sinking below the horizon as we motored on to the next stop on the itinerary.

I believe I can find my posting "Math Powerland's" standup claiming he painted images for NASA from Facebook circa late 2014.  I warned people that I could never believe it because of the observations I have made in my travels proves the Earth isn't flat, but I asked them in my posting how they could/would defend against Matt's arguments in that comedy routine.  I sure hope no one who might have seen that in my Facebook feed has fallen for the Flat Earth, but I have seen at least one in my feed when I was last logged in to Facebook.  To my observations the past few years concerning the resurgence of Flat Earthers, I have been entertained at human stupidity: it's been like watching a slow moving train wreck for me, or, more likely an interstate pile up that keeps growing because the stupid aren't good drivers, either (no matter what Rainman said, he wasn't smart enough to be a good driver).  I know I shouldn't watch it because it's going to leave scars damaging those caught up in it for the rest of their lives, but that morbid human curiosity keeps me coming back.  I have yet to see any Flat Earther put forth any data that will make me disregard the observations I made when I was out questioning the shape of the Earth by trying to see as much of it as possible.  For that matter, most who put out videos or try to argue in the comments against the Flat Earth belief system can be claimed to just be parroting what they were taught: a few seem to have real world experiences, like the observations I made at sea 20 years ago.  As far as I am concerned, the only things one can learn from books to determine the shape of the earth are in high school mathematics and physics textbooks, or a history of celestial navigation, but it will be using same said mathematics and physics and celestial navigation can be used even on land as the lab/experiment confirming the book's claims.

The thing I enjoy most about Flat Earthers would be they help me personalize/humanize the students who couldn't do what I considered to be simple high school mathematics that everyone should know (to have a high school diploma) when I was working at scoring No Child Left Behind standardized tests for a few years.  I generally tried to stay in either mathematics or science for that state, as well as being in the highest grade tested and held every position: evaluator, team leader, training team leader, pulling team leader and even at least one project as supervisor.  Flat Earthers give faces and voices to the approximate 2/3rds the population that couldn't seem to successfully do what I considered simple mathematics.  The first time I trained evaluators, I had taken the hardest "rib" (each rib scored a few of the questions, no one scored a complete test) because the math was easy for me.  You were supposed to show proof of a 4 year degree to score these tests, and I was amazed at how 16 out of 20 people I was trying to train could not even solve one problem for themselves, let alone figure out by working backwards what the student had done (the problem involved the volume of a cone, so there could be an infinite number of correct answers, pending on what the student used for both pi and 1/3rd).  But, I was also being sent people who had either scored out of, say, 3rd grade reading who should never have been assigned to 10th grade math (we also took an entry exam to determine which grade levels an employee should even be assigned to score and I was being sent people I could guarantee shouldn't be trying to qualify to score 10th grade math according to the test I took at the hiring event), or the people that hadn't qualified for something else.

The office was pressuring my supervisor because you're only supposed to train once, not once a week to get 4 more evaluators.  I told him to let me go pick 20 people out of the other 10th grade math ribs and I could guarantee I could get all 20 qualified, but they can't keep sending me people that shouldn't ever be assigned to any math, let alone the highest grade being tested by the state, and the most difficult one of the four 10th grade math ribs (the math was not at all challenging to me, but finding people to score it was, and overall I learned from the challenge).  When he tried that with the office, they seemed to quit bitching about my struggle to find more than 25% to qualify to score for me out of each new group I would train.  It made me seriously question just how valuable a 4 year (Bachelor's Degree) was.  I ended up rationalizing that the 75% that couldn't even solve one problem (so how could they ever score it?) didn't have a Bachelor's of Science, like my diploma says, but had met the requirements of some liberal arts school to receive a Bachelor's of Arts degree.  I told my supervisor that I could accurately predict the 4 people who would qualify out of 20 because 16 people would get a deer in the headlights look in their eyes when they first saw this volume of a cone problem [(and I might have begged the question to him just where and what majors were these degrees in, but in his Army career he had a stint teaching at West Point after the Army sent him for a Master's in French Literature) I went looking for him one day I was on another project because it had just dawned on me why the Army was willing to pay for a master's in French literature: no matter how torturous it is the read French literature to someone, it doesn't violate the Geneva conventions defining torture!  He laughed because he knew my sense of humor, but I also knew he was born in France between the wars and I assumed from what he'd told me his birth father was killed in WW2 and his mom married a GI and moved with him to the States.]

Those seduced into believing the world to be flat appear to be the ones who were least likely to make it to trigonometry in high school mathematics, nor physics in high school science.  If anyone of above average intelligence has been seduced into believing the Earth is flat, they shouldn't ever be considered to be more than one standard deviation above the mean without any verifiable and objective evidence.

And I want to make clear that just because a person was incompetent in mathematics and/or physics doesn't necessarily mean that they are terrible people.  You might find some great souls who just happen to believe something that can easily be disproven to anyone willing to travel this world making observations.  I don't know because I haven't spent any time with a Flat Earther, let alone a large enough sample to make any statistical inferences.  Maybe there are some decent people seduced into a false belief system just like there are some decent people likely in every false belief system, but it's also far more likely their stupidity would also incite my road rage and I would quickly doubt their benefit to everything on this planet - most especially if they've procreated!

Or, maybe I should begin to really fuck with the Flat Earthers to convince them that the planet's concave because that's the "only thing" that would seem to equate the alpine tree line and the Arctic/Antarctic Circle tree lines?  If you go high enough in the mountains you can reach a tree line, just like sailing past the Arctic Circle is again "high enough" to pass another tree line.  Obviously only the same forces could create both tree lines, so therefore the Ant/Arctic Circle's tree line must be "equal" to the the alpine tree line, making both poles the same elevation above the equator as the mountains are above sea level!  This would be what we expect since we know ice cubes float in our drinks, then the polar ice cap, being just a huge ice cube, has floated to the top of the water, past the Arctic and Alpine tree lines to the highest point the water makes... maybe even taller than Everest even?

Feel free to share with any Flat Earther you might "know".  If they want to convert me to the Flat Earth belief system, someone has to repeat the measurements I took 20 years ago across the Northern Hemisphere, but from more places and with a possible explanation as to how the sun and Polaris indicate the world's flat because my observations confirmed the "globe model" we've been taught since childhood.  If Flat Earthers were better at mathematics, they wouldn't bitch about the history of NASA's budget, but would actually talk about "defense spending" which remains many multiples of NASA's budget for the same period - maybe they feel our endless wars are worth the taxes, but the meager fraction in comparison to the defense budget is what's got their panties in a bunch...

Maybe every Flat Earther complaining about NASA's budget is paid by the Pentagon to distract from the real "theft" of taxes by what Ike warned as the Military-Industrial Complex: their bosses.  Maybe "Pentagon shill" should be the phrase to best expose these shills trying to make you upset about NASA's budget because they either aren't intelligent enough to comprehend the federal budget, or they must be paid by the Pentagon (out of our taxes!) to shill for the Military-Industrial Complex.  (And, in case an Flatard has read this far, I really don't see anything as being completely either/or, but most Flat Earthers seem to from a few years of comments and videos that I've seen.)

Thank you Flat Earthers and Hockneyites, both groups have helped put faces and voices to the majority of students who failed to demonstrate minimal merit in easy high school mathematics I witnessed for the few years I scored No Child Left Behind standardized tests!

If you don't question everything, you will know nothing and believe anything.

Flat Earthers seem to have failed in questioning their methods for questioning if absolutely everything they've been taught to believe as true to be false, at least in what methods would effectively resolve the shape of the planet we inhabit, as many of them have failed to question the biases of belief they already had before become Flat Earthers.  I knew, beyond all matter of questioning, that the true shape of the earth is as we were conditioned by the "globe model" to believe.  I know this because of observations I took over an almost two year period where I was wandering the planet like a migratory animal; observations that could easily be repeated by anyone unafraid of leaving their comfort zone and exploring the world we actually inhabit.  To believe old books or "internet research" can disprove the accepted shape of the Earth instead of traveling as much as you can while making observations as often as you can (or learning the requisite math and physics to answer the questions) seems to scream as to the caliber and quality of "research" capable by these believers.

Two Types of Conspiracies

In my estimation, there are really only two major types of conspiracies.  First we have actual conspiracies where two or more people agree to do committing some action that benefits them.  The LIBOR gold scandals, let alone my favorite nomenclature for an umbrella terminology to label a real conspiracy that was global in scope: "Iran-Contra" would exemplify a real conspiracy enacted by a few upon the masses.  However, neither of these conspiracies would have been successful had it not been for the far larger and more common "conspiracy": that of the stupid being stupid and ignorant together.  Had it not been for this "conspiracy of the stupid," maybe we would have gotten to the bottom of "Iran-Contra" when I was a teenager (and I include the Savings and Loan scandal, BCCI, BCI, Vatican Bank/P-2, the October Surprise, the introduction of crack cocaine, Mena, Whitewater, etc... as all belonging under the term "Iran-Contra") because it seems the gullibility of the stupid to believe the corporate media into failing to remember that the same names keep recycling among these major government and corporate scandals.

The best way for a few to conspire against the masses would be to use the ignorance and stupidity of the masses (and their apparent inability to recall a news story a week after it's been on TV) against them as the ideal cover to get away with something (the more people believe that no one could ever even think of something they can't fathom, the easier it easy to get away with it).  Another effective tool is to make the conspiracy too complicated for most people to follow like a typical money laundering scheme: if they aren't smart enough to follow the connections, they sure won't likely see the connections and will likely forget about it after their team plays their next televised game and no media follows up on the story.

Maybe some people who knew better conspired to revitalize the belief in a Flat Earth, but I think it's most likely a natural "conspiracy of the stupid" that's grown because of social media allowing the stupid to voice their beliefs and refuse to recognize any serious dissent to their belief system via online echo chambers.

Again, I don't mind anyone questioning the shape of the Earth because I did 20 years ago; however, I questioned the shape of the Earth by trying to see as much of the planet as possible, and in doing so fell in agreement with the uncounted millions who have seen this world as she really appears: at sea without any land in sight, and I doubt any seasoned sailor has believed the world to be flat for a very long time (thousands of years).

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