Flat earther dies trying to prove it

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Tessa K
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Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Tessa K » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:47 pm

Darwinian selection in action here.
A US daredevil pilot has been killed during an attempted launch of a homemade rocket in the Californian desert.

"Mad" Mike Hughes, 64, crash-landed his steam-powered rocket shortly after take-off near Barstow on Saturday.

A video on social media shows a rocket being fired into the sky before plummeting to the ground nearby.

Hughes was well-known for his belief that the Earth was flat. He hoped to prove his theory by going to space.
We had a good talk at London Skeptics not long ago about flat earth beliefs. They are depressingly common and not just reserved to low intelligence conspiracy theorists.

Even if his flight was successful, he wouldn't have been up long enough to see the earth rotate although he would no doubt have had a reason for why only part of the land masses were visible.

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Boustrophedon » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:54 pm

...zoologically improbable and/or terrifying to small children.

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Tessa K
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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Tessa K » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:08 pm

More fun to have a separate thread to discuss this nonsense - which is surprisingly prevalent.

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Boustrophedon » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:15 pm

I saw him on the internets over a year ago when he first proposed his rocket. I guessed the likely outcome at the time. One who plays so fast and loose with scientific concepts like well roundness are not best placed to design engineery things like rockets.

I am interested by what exactly is meant by a "Steam powered rocket".
Last edited by Boustrophedon on Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
...zoologically improbable and/or terrifying to small children.

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Boustrophedon » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:16 pm

.
Last edited by Boustrophedon on Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
...zoologically improbable and/or terrifying to small children.

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Boustrophedon » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:17 pm

.
...zoologically improbable and/or terrifying to small children.

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Gfamily » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:25 pm

Boustrophedon wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:15 pm
I saw him on the internets over a year ago when he first proposed his rocket. I guessed the likely outcome at the time. One who plays so fast and loose with scientific concepts like well roundness are not best placed to design engineery things like rockets.

I am interested by what exactly is meant by a "Steam powered rocket".
The flat earther had used one to lift himself 570 metres a couple of years ago

And one was used by Evel Knievel in his (failed) Snake River jump - which appears to have failed for the same reason (premature pararchute deployment)
My avatar was a scientific result that was later found to be 'mistaken' - I rarely claim to be 100% correct

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Martin Y
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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Martin Y » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:33 pm

Opinion over on not-JREF-any-more was that he was an eccentric daredevil whose embracing of flat earth beliefs was mostly to do with encouraging flatties to fund his hobby.

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by murmur » Sun Feb 23, 2020 2:13 pm

Barstow?

It was the bats wot foiled him...
It's so much more attractive inside the moral kiosk

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by basementer » Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:20 pm

Boustrophedon wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:15 pm
I am interested by what exactly is meant by a "Steam powered rocket".
Seems to be: confine a mass of water, superheat it, open an orifice and off you go.
I'll think of something.

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Little waster » Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:32 pm

If only there was someway an average person could get high up in the air without needing to strap themselves to some homemade death-trap?

Just spit-balling here but perhaps they could:-

a) stand on top of some tall building.
b) stand on top of some tall bit of landscape.
c) design some sort of wicker basket dangling under a large balloon-like structure filled with hot air.
d) pay to climb inside a metal tube with wings and engines and get someone to fly you up there
e) obtain some sort of handheld camera type device and attach it to a droning children's toy readily available in most shopping malls

Of course I'm just a dreamer and until my wild flights of fantasy are realised the only way to take on Big Globe will be for brave mavericks to enter themselves for the Darwin Awards.
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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Vertigowooyay » Sun Feb 23, 2020 7:53 pm

Can we briefly hold our heads in despair to acknowledge that this doomed jaunt was bankrolled not by flat earthers but rather by an organisation calling itself “The Science Channel”. Like History, but with different flavoured b.llsh.t, and added fatalities.
Calm yourself Doctor NotTheNineO’ClockNews. We’re men of science. We fear no worldly terrors.

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Pucksoppet » Sun Feb 23, 2020 9:47 pm

Little waster wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:32 pm
If only there was someway an average person could get high up in the air without needing to strap themselves to some homemade death-trap?

Just spit-balling here but perhaps they could:-

a) stand on top of some tall building.
b) stand on top of some tall bit of landscape.
c) design some sort of wicker basket dangling under a large balloon-like structure filled with hot air.
d) pay to climb inside a metal tube with wings and engines and get someone to fly you up there
e) obtain some sort of handheld camera type device and attach it to a droning children's toy readily available in most shopping malls

Of course I'm just a dreamer and until my wild flights of fantasy are realised the only way to take on Big Globe will be for brave mavericks to enter themselves for the Darwin Awards.
There is some merit in 'seeing for oneself', and not relying on other people's (possibly biased) efforts, although the benefit of a home-built steam rocket over a home-built balloon is not clear to me.

If you look at the Bedford Level experiment, even seeing should not necessarily be believing unless you know enough to take atmospheric refraction into account. The account published below (linked to from the Wiki article) includes photographs that demonstrate no obstruction to light travelling 6 miles along a canal - "I am prepared to maintain that (unless rays of light will travel in a curved path) these six miles of water present a level surface." - I think E. Clifton speaking for J.H Dallmeyer Ltd presented carefully chosen words.

https://web.archive.org/web/20170115222 ... 049-50.pdf

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Tessa K » Mon Feb 24, 2020 1:39 pm

Vertigowooyay wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 7:53 pm
Can we briefly hold our heads in despair to acknowledge that this doomed jaunt was bankrolled not by flat earthers but rather by an organisation calling itself “The Science Channel”. Like History, but with different flavoured b.llsh.t, and added fatalities.
To be exact, they were filming him for part of a new series so yes, they probably did pay him something but that's not the same as bankrolling the whole project.

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Rich Scopie » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:48 pm

From the BBC article:

"When God made Mike he broke the mould."

One would hope he beat the sh.t out of the mouldmaker too.
It first was a rumour dismissed as a lie, but then came the evidence none could deny:
a double page spread in the Sunday Express — the Russians are running the DHSS!

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Iron Magpie » Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:32 pm

I was really hoping to read that he'd died by falling off the edge... :lol: :roll: :twisted:

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Tessa K
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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Tessa K » Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:54 am

Iron Magpie wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:32 pm
I was really hoping to read that he'd died by falling off the edge... :lol: :roll: :twisted:
Perhaps he was trying to see Great A'Tuin.

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by dyqik » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:21 am

Tessa K wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:54 am
Iron Magpie wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:32 pm
I was really hoping to read that he'd died by falling off the edge... :lol: :roll: :twisted:
Perhaps he was trying to see Great A'Tuin.
"Died trying to fly under a turtle"

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by rockdoctor » Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:01 pm

Little waster wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:32 pm
d) pay to climb inside a metal tube with wings and engines and get someone to fly you up there
I remember reading about a guy who took a commercial flight with a spirit level, which he used to 'prove' that the earth was not curved.

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Grumble » Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:08 pm

rockdoctor wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:01 pm
Little waster wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:32 pm
d) pay to climb inside a metal tube with wings and engines and get someone to fly you up there
I remember reading about a guy who took a commercial flight with a spirit level, which he used to 'prove' that the earth was not curved.
Wot
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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:41 pm

Grumble wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:08 pm
rockdoctor wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:01 pm
Little waster wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:32 pm
d) pay to climb inside a metal tube with wings and engines and get someone to fly you up there
I remember reading about a guy who took a commercial flight with a spirit level, which he used to 'prove' that the earth was not curved.
Wot
See it here: https://youtu.be/6nNUEU8gnf4

tl;dr he doesn’t understand how gravity works.

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by AMS » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:09 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:41 pm
Grumble wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:08 pm
rockdoctor wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:01 pm


I remember reading about a guy who took a commercial flight with a spirit level, which he used to 'prove' that the earth was not curved.
Wot
See it here: https://youtu.be/6nNUEU8gnf4

tl;dr he doesn’t understand how gravity works.
Isn't that the wider point about flat earthers, that they don't understand how gravity works?

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by Allo V Psycho » Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:30 am

AMS wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:09 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:41 pm
Grumble wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:08 pm

Wot
See it here: https://youtu.be/6nNUEU8gnf4

tl;dr he doesn’t understand how gravity works.
Isn't that the wider point about flat earthers, that they don't understand how gravity works?
That's interesting, I hadn't thought about how gravity impacts on this. What would the gravitational field of a massive disc be like? WOuld it fall off towards the edges? If the Earth is just a disc, wouldn't the gravitational field be much less than it is?
(might be best in Nerd Lab: on the other hand, Weighty Matters also seems good...)

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by dyqik » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:45 pm

That's a standard physics question (calculating the gravitational attraction of an infinite flat plate is mentioned in the book of 2001). and it'll be the same as the electrical attraction to a charged flat disc.

One particularly easy to detect effect is that there would be a traverse force, pulling you to the center of the disc.

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Re: Flat earther dies trying to prove it

Post by shpalman » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:59 pm

An infinite flat plate is easy (the field is constant), and the field along the axis of a circular disc is also doable (I do it for the electric field in my first year lecture course). Very close to the disc the field is constant like an infinite plane, very far from the disc the field is 1/r^2 like a point source.

The field of a circular disc off-axis for intermediate distances would be a whole lot more difficult.
molto tricky

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