Exposing PseudoAstronomy

October 4, 2016

Podcast Episode 149: Modern Flat-Earth Thought, Part 2 (U.N. Flag and Airplane Flights)

“Modern Flat Earth Thought”
On maps, flags, and airplane flights …
Does it make sense? No.

Back to the flat Earth, this time discussing map projections and the United Nations flag, and then how some flat Earth proponents use and abuse airplane flight paths to argue that the planet is flat and looks just like the United Nations flag. I want to thank Michael R. (@SkepticalBelg on Twitter) for for reviewing and making several corrections to my text on how the airline industry works.

This was a particularly long episode, nearly a full hour. I also recorded this in a hotel room, and it sounds like I was too close to the microphone and at an angle at times and the room echoed, so my apologies for the audio quality in this episode. It was still better than the audio in the last episode, which was recorded on a phone outside, but it’s not perfect.

There are three additional short segments in this episode, the first being logical fallacies (detailing the argument against antiquity), second being feedback (the correction(s) from Episode 147), and the announcement to thank Michael.

Flat Earth Graphic

Flat Earth Graphic



  1. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

    Comment by Vincent S Artale Jr — October 4, 2016 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

  2. Stuart, this is the first time I’ve ever had to write someting like this but the line “…even if some in power in Europe during the medieval period thought Earth was flat…” needed some clarification.

    If the Wikipedia ‘Flat Earth’ page is to be believed many of the learned of Europe, even in the Catholic Church believed that the Earth was spherical. The most noteable (eg surviving) outlier was a book written in the 540s called ‘Christian Topography’ by the author Cosmas Indicopleustes and argued that the universe was shaped like a box with the (flat) Earth making up the bottom and the sky was the curved lid. The text even includes a chapter railing against those who cling to ‘pagan’ notions that the Earth is spherical (The more things change…).

    As to what Europeans though the Earth looked like in the late 1400s, the best example is the Erdapfel, which is the oldest surviving globe (Completed 1492), which was made to impress the town council of Nuremberg. It covers the entire world as known to Europe at that point (eg before Columbus returned.)


    Comment by Graham — October 4, 2016 @ 11:45 pm | Reply

    • Stuart,

      You might be interested to know that the League of Nerds podcast covered an (apparently incoherent) film entitled “The Lies of the Sun” which claimed that (a. The Earth is flat. (b. The Sun has been replaced by a ‘Black Sun’ covered by a hologram (c. The whole sky is a hologram (d. The flat Earth has fallen of a giant orrery or (e. The flat Earth is part of a giant orrery (I know the last two contradict each other, but as I said the film is apparently incoherent.)

      For anyone who is interested the episode is linked to below.


      Comment by Graham — October 31, 2016 @ 3:30 am | Reply

  3. Interestingly, al-Biruni is also known for his method of determining the size of the earth by determining the height of an observing position, then measuring the declination to a sea-level horizon. He reasoned that the sight line would be tangent to the globe, so deriving the radius of the earth would be a (relatively) simple matter of trig (tangents to get elevation of the observing point from sea level, cosine to determine the radius from the declination). That method eliminated the error-prone need to determine the distance between two distantly-spaced locations on the ground that forms the basis of Eritosthenes’ method – something you explored in podcast episode 94.

    Comment by Stan Rogers — May 12, 2018 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

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