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The Physics of a Flat Earth Wouldn’t Be Pleasant

How would gravity work? Would we still have time zones? Change of seasons? Would the conditions for life here on Earth exist at all? Most early theories on the shape of the Earth were based on religious interpretations. But what about modern day believers in a non-round Earth?

Modern Day Flat Earthers

Some belief in a hypothetical Flat Earth continues to the modern day. Samuel Shenton established the Flat Earth Society in 1956, right around the beginning of the Space Race. While this iteration was less religious than previous or succeeding flat earth groups, Shenton did believe that Earth appeared round in photographs because of wide-lens cameras.

Today’s Flat Earth Society theorizes that the Earth is shaped like a disk, with the North Pole being located at the center and Antarctica being located around its edges. This theory is primarily based on interpretations of the Christian Bible. The first to popularize these theories was the 1865 book “Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe,” by a man named Samuel Rowbotham.

Is this what the edge of a flat Earth looks like?

Modern day flat earth theorists believe that Earth’s gravity is actually an illusion driven by dark energy. They believe that day-night cycles are driven by the Sun and Moon, which they believe are 32-kilometer long spheres, rotating in circles and illuminating different parts of the planet. Flat earth theories also often overlap with other, shall we say, fringe theories, such as the theory that the moon landing was fake.

To this day, flat earthers believe that people who believe in a round Earth are the ones who are misinterpreting facts. After the solar eclipse of 2017, many flat earth adherents made videos using footage of the event to prove that the earth is flat.

Additionally, many modern day Flat Earthers believe that they have been lied to by the media on many topics, and the Earth actually being flat, rather than round, is simply a symbol of a larger issue. Flat Earthers often believe that others believe on a round Earth simply because they have not been shown the facts proving that the Earth is, in fact, flat.

The Science of a Flat Earth:

First of all, forget about walking to its edge. Gravity would simply not let you. Wait, would gravity even be possible on a flat Earth? The answer is yes, of course. The force of gravity is what keeps our planet, or any other planet, together. It’s what forms a planet in the first place.

In the case of a pancake-shaped Earth, the force of gravity would pull you to the center, and would become stronger as you tried to walk away from it, pulling the top of your body backwards. It would feel as if you were climbing a hill that was getting steeper, and steeper, and steeper… By the time you reached the edge, ‘down’ and ‘behind you’ would become the same direction. Sound weird?

Gravity would pull everything to the center of the disk.

How about water being sucked to the center of the Earth? Or diagonal trees, growing in the opposite direction of gravity’s pull? And then there’s the sun. How would a flat Earth behave in space? One flat Earth theory is that the Sun revolves around the Earth… Not the other way around.

What if the Sun orbited the Earth just like the moon does? In that case, you would never suffer jet lag, as there would be no such thing as time zones. The sun would light up both the top and bottom of the planet. This would mean constant light, no day-and-night cycle. Also no seasons. Or solar eclipses.

The sun itself would have to be much smaller. Otherwise it would burn the Earth to a crisp. It would probably fry the planet anyway, as there would be no geomagnetic field to protect the Earth from its radiation. The geomagnetic field is generated in the solid core of the Earth, and keeps our atmosphere from escaping. Without it, cosmic rays would bombard our bodies, causing everything from cancer to DNA damage.

The oceans would escape into space, and so would the air, and all our oxygen. But let’s assume that a flat Earth had an alternative to our magnetic field. This way you’d still be alive to notice some strange flat Earth-effects. Like your shadow.

Say you had a friend just as tall as you, and they lived a thousand miles away. On a sunny day, your shadows would be the very same length. Because, unlike here on a spherical Earth, the sun’s rays would hit both of you at the same angle. And if you two were to meet up, traveling would turn out very different.

A “flat-Earth” map drawn by Orlando Ferguson in 1893.

Let’s take a map introduced by the Flat Earth Society. Yes, the one that shows the Arctic at the center, and Antarctica as an “ice wall” around the edges. In such a world, it would take you 32 hours to fly from Australia to some parts of South America.

Did we mention there’d be no GPS? Satellites wouldn’t be able to orbit a flat Earth, leaving humanity with no navigation, and no synchronized time. This means no ATMs, no credit cards, and no high-speed market transactions.

On the bright side, with a good pair of binoculars you could see Dubai’s Burj Khalifa from any part of the flat world. But let’s be honest: you don’t need to build your own rocket to see the Earth is not flat.

The evidence is all around us.

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Planet Earth

Group of Chimps Uses Tools to Dig Holes and Find Food

In yet another example that Planet of the Apes may have been a documentary rather than fiction, a group of chimpanzees who had never seen it done before figured out how to use tools to dig up buried food. Which will be taking our ditch-digging jobs first – robots or chimps? What about fence builders? Farmers? Isn’t it enough that they’re trying to evolve past us? Is this a sign they’ll bury us in the process? Is this the real reason why Musk and Bezos want to leave the planet?

“This study aimed to explore ecological and anthropogenic factors influencing chimpanzee relative abundance across this highly degraded and human-impacted landscape.”

Ah-ha! It’s already starting! The stated purpose of this new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, is to learn more about that fateful moment in human evolution when the negative effects of climate change (you knew it was going to ultimately be about climate change) forced early humans to give up on finding low-hanging fruit and easy-to-pick vegetables and figure out a way to dig up edible roots, prehistoric potatoes and other tubers without ruining their fingernails, fingers, wrists and shoulders – in other words, when humans first learned how to use tools.

I have a taste for potatoes.  Got any ideas?

Dr. Hernandez-Aguilar from the University of Oslo led Alba Motes-Rodrigo of the Tübingen’s Institute of Prehistory and Medieval Archaeology and her colleagues in an experiment at Norway’s Kristiansand Zoo using ten chimpanzees of which eight had been born in captivity and none had ever seen another chimp using tools or indicated any inclination to use rocks or sticks for digging. To simulate the effects of climate change, the researchers buried food in an enclosed area. They then left sticks and big pieces of bark around, vacated the premises and let the chimps loose. What happened next was surprising, if not a little Planet of the Apes-ishly shocking.

“The chimpanzees spontaneously used the sticks to excavate, and performed several different behaviors like digging, shoveling, perforating and enlarging. The chimpanzees were selective in their choice of tools, preferring longer tools for excavation. They also obtained their own tools – mainly from naturally occurring vegetation – and brought them to the excavation site.”

According to the press release, not only did these chimps – who had never seen tool usage before — dig out the food, they spent time shaping the holes. When the sticks and bark weren’t sufficient, they made their own tools. To give them more of a challenge, the researchers then took the tools away and buried more food.

“In this case, the chimpanzees preferred to use their hands more often and for longer periods than tools when digging.”

Where’s the d*** sticks?

Ha, you say … this proves humans are smarter, since we’ve figured out how to make shovels when there’s no sticks or bark handy. That’s true, but the team points out that the selection of tools and varied usage shows that chimps are able to work their way through complex challenges. This is the first observation of such behavior and the researchers would like to find some wild chimps doing the same thing. It’s also an extremely limited study. On the other hand, it’s the only way we have to figure out how early humans might have started using primitive tools because of climate change without having access to a time machine.

Let’s just hope we don’t have to find out all over again. We already know chimps won’t be helpful when they’re in charge.

Source: Mysterious Universe

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Planet Earth

Melted Remains of Hiroshima Litter Japans Beaches

If you take a close look at the beaches of Motoujina Peninsula in Japan, you’ll find the sand is littered with tiny glass beads strangely shaped like teardrops as if they’ve been blasted down from the skies.

It might come as no surprise that these unusual objects are the relics of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in the dying days of World War Two. As reported in the journal Anthropocene, these pieces of debris – dubbed “Hiroshimaites” – are essentially the remains of the city that were blasted into the skies, cooked in an atomic cloud, and later rained down.

While sifting through the sands of Hiroshima Bay and Miyajima Island, geologist Mario Wannier started to notice these glassy flecks and set out on a journey to discover how exactly they were created. In the samples of sand he and his team collected, they found the spheroids and other unusual particles accounted for up to 2.5 percent of all of the grains.

This assortment of glassy particles was discovered in beach sands near Hiroshima. (c) Anthropocene, Volume 25, March 2019

This assortment of glassy particles was discovered in beach sands near Hiroshima. (c) Anthropocene, Volume 25, March 2019

Although most unusual, the teeny structures did remind Wannier of other sediment samples he had analyzed that date to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, better known as that time an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million ago. Whatever forged the structures, it must have been an unbelievably epic amount of energy – and since they were found just miles outside the epicenter of nuclear explosions that occurred just 74 years ago, the source of that energy was obvious.

On the morning of August 6, 1945, the US dropped “Little Boy” on the city of Hiroshima, marking just the second ever detonation of an A-bomb and the first nuclear weapon ever used in warfare. Over 70 percent of the city was destroyed in the blink of an eye, along with at least 70,000 people who died instantly. An estimated 200,000+ more died in the following years due to injuries and radiation.

“This was the worst manmade event ever, by far,” Wannier said in a statement. “In the surprise of finding these particles, the big question for me was: You have a city, and a minute later you have no city. There was the question of: ‘Where is the city ­­– where is the material?’ It is a trove to have discovered these particles. It is an incredible story.”

The wrecked framework of the Museum of Science and Industry in Hiroshima, Japan. Everett Historical/Shutterstock

The wrecked framework of the Museum of Science and Industry in Hiroshima, Japan. Everett Historical/Shutterstock

A deeper analysis of the Hiroshimaites showed a wide variety in the chemical composition, including concentrations of aluminum, silicon, and calcium. However, some were composed purely of just iron and steel, or even concrete, marble, stainless steel, and rubber.

“Some of these look similar to what we have from meteorite impacts, but the composition is quite different,” explained co-author Rudy Wenk, a professor of mineralogy at UC Berkeley. “There were quite unusual shapes. There was some pure iron and steel. Some of these had the composition of building materials.”

Understandably, the research team concluded that only an atomic explosion could have kicked up such a strange composition.

Next, the team hopes their research will encourage further tests on the samples to see if any samples carry radioactive elements. They’d also like to travel to Nagasaki, the Japanese city hit by the US’s Fat Man atomic bomb three days later, to see if similar structures can be found.

Tom Hale
IFLScience

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Planet Earth

Despite International Ban, Iceland Plans to Kill 2,000 Whales by 2023

Mandy Froelich, Truth Theory
Waking Times

In February 2019, Icelandic authorities announced their plan to kill more than 2,000 whales over a five-year period. Because the global demand for whale meat is declining, the trade is considered to be inhumane, and the conservation argument has flaws, environmentalists are enraged by the development.

Every year until the year 2023, whalers will be authorized to harpoon 209 fin whales and 217 minke whales in Icelandic waters. The move was approved, despite falling public support for whaling in Iceland.

The nation’s fisheries minister, Kristjan Thor Juliusson, claims the numbers are sustainable and based on “the latest scientific research.” In a statement, the government cited the economic benefits of whaling, as well as official figures revealing how populations of the once endangered fin whale are reviving. “During the most recent count in 2015, their population in the central North Atlantic was estimated at 37,000, or triple the number from 1987,” the statement reads.

But activists and conservationists disagree. The Icelandic Environmental Association, specifically, criticized the research on which the Fisheries Ministry based its quotas. And, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), an organization dedicated to protecting whales around the world, said whaling is no longer beneficial to the country’s economy.

“This is a country that’s embraced whale watching and has a different relationship with whales now,” said WDC spokesman Chris Butler-Stroud. “The reality is, the whale meat that’s being consumed there is mostly by tourists, unfortunately. … If it was down to local consumption, this probably would be dead in the water.”

Last year, Iceland was the center of a controversy after two rare blue/fin whale hybrids and at least a dozen pregnant females were killed in its waters. Activists believed change would finally occur, as a result. But, no such luck. “The Icelandic government’s decision to continue to kill whales – amongst the most peaceful and intelligent beings on the planet – is morally repugnant as well as economically bankrupt,” said Vanessa Williams-Grey, a campaigner for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

In 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) placed a ban on commercial whaling. Despite being a member of the IWC, Iceland has continued to hunt whales with its own quotas. Japan also a loophole that allows killing whales for scientific purposes to bypass the International Whaling Commission ban.

“It is well known that overexploitation by the whaling industry led toserious declines in many of the world’s populations of whales. … Many are now in the process of recovering, although not all,” says the IWC website.

About the Author

Mandy Froelich is an RHN, plant-based chef, freelance writer with 6+ years of experience, Reiki master therapist, world traveler and enthusiast of everything to do with animal rights, sustainability, cannabis and conscious living. I share healthy recipes at Bloom for Life and cannabis-infused treats at My Stoned Kitchen.Read More stories by Amanda Froelich

**This article (Despite International Ban, Iceland Plans to Kill 2,000 Whales by 2023) was originally featured at Truth Theory and is re-posted here with permission.**

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