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The Problem with B.o.B. – Science and the flat earth

10 Feb 2016, 08:35 UTC
The Problem with B.o.B. – Science and the flat earth
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Rap musician, B.o.B. (Image: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for BMI)
Is the world flat?
That question was posed by popular rap musician B.o.B. on his Twitter account this past week, prompting angry, but comical video and rap responses by popular science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson and his musician nephew.
What do we really know?
A few thousand years ago, Greek philosophers and Phoenician explorers began to cast doubt on the flat-earth model. They noted differences in star visibility and the sun’s trajectory that depended on the observer’s location, leading them to propose the earth was a sphere. Convinced by this data, as well as the roundness of earth’s shadow cast on the moon during a lunar eclipse, the Greek astronomer Eratosthenes went a step further to estimate the earth’s circumference in 240 BCE. Using trigonometry and shadows cast during the solstice, he came to within a few percent of the actual value. Not bad.
Image: National Geodetic Survey NOAA, Public Domain.
Evidence backing the round-earth model grew through time and was sufficient five centuries ago to convince sailors they would not fall off earth’s edges. Magellan was the first we know of to circumnavigate the globe and to live to tell ...

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