Thursday, January 28, 2016

Consider the Flat Earth Theory -- Following: How We Live Online

So, here is what appears to be our first whack job story of the year.  As you will see, it hasn't taken long for it to make even bigger headlines.
The Flat Earth movement — by which I mean the evergreen alternate scientific/conspiracy theory that posits that the earth is a flat disc — has been around since the late 19th century. (A few ancient cultures did indeed assume the world was flat, though it was never as widely held a belief as some later historians would claim.) The first Flat Earthers, and most of their descendants, tended to push the theory as a confirmation of the Bible's truth; early texts include The Inconsistency of Modern Astronomy and Its Opposition to the Scripture and the proto-listicle One Hundred Proofs That the Earth Is Not a Globe.

The evidence against the flat earth? Physics, photographs from space, the experience of watching a ship meet the horizon. Evidence for a flat earth? Well, you know, everything looks pretty flat. Allow Tila Tequila, the most "friended" person on Myspace v1.0, to explain:
The theory has had a resurgence in recent months. In a petition on, the society wrote, “We ask Google to recognise this movement, which has trended over 600% in just the past 12 months, by marking 01/01/2016 as the anniversary of the Flat Earth Movement and changing the Google Doodle image appropriately.” (Their emphasis.)

It’s tough to gauge quite how serious individual Flat Earth believers are about the movement (this post, for example, is not serious). The Twitter account @FlatEarthToday is one of the more active accounts and claims to represent the Flat Earth Society at Another account, @FlatEarthOrg, also claims to be the Flat Earth Society, located at Their account only consists of tweets to YouTube videos from conspiracy theorists, and retweets that clearly vary in seriousness, but their site contains a well-maintained explanatory wiki. The line between actually believing the theory and enthusiastically entertaining is unclear.

Consider the Flat Earth Theory -- Following: How We Live Online

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