Crazy proof image: The Earth is (not) flat! | Knowledge and the environment | DW

The sad truth is that there is a lot of nonsense and fraud on social media. But some of the stories are so crazy that it’s worth looking into it again: On Telegram and other social media platforms, there’s a picture currently circulating among conspiracy theorists that is supposed to prove that the Earth is flat after all. Flat Earthers around the world are happy to finally find the ultimate guide.

One might think it’s good, nice to a few eccentrics. But there are a surprising number of interest groups with a large following who are passionate about flat Earth theory. The Flat Earth Society alone has around 250,000 followers on Facebook (although not all of them believe in this theory).

The now-promoted image and ten others are leaked images of the SpaceX satellite of American entrepreneur Elon Musk. It was also posted by conspiracy theorists from the far-right QAnon movement: “Data leak at Elon Musk and NASA – This and eleven other images are said to come from one of Elon Musk’s Space X satellites,” one wrote on Twitter. “These images were not encrypted during transmission. They could have been intercepted by NASA hackers.”

And user ancronat enthuses on Twitter: “That’s cool (!!!) Do you understand the scope of this post? The end of pool balls revolving around the sun has been announced…”

Confused Theory Story

Well, in the mythical imagination of many early cultures, the Earth was flat. But in the last antiquity, knowledge of the spherical shape of our planet prevailed. In the 3rd century AD, Eratosthenes was already able to accurately calculate the circumference of the Earth.

Even in the supposedly dark Middle Ages, no one believed that the Earth was flat, although this myth persisted until the 19th century.

That medieval people saw the earth flat is a legend from the nineteenth century.

In that nineteenth century, British inventor and author Samuel Robotham (1816-1884), among other things, published that the Earth was flat and noted corresponding passages in the Bible.

According to Robotham, the Earth was flat with the North Pole in the center and an impassable ice wall around the edge. The sun is less than 4,000 miles away from London. A hemisphere with stars is placed above the ground. It is not the Earth that rotates, but the Sun and Moon fly in circular orbits over the flat Earth.

Draw the world as a flat disk

What if the earth was as flat as a pie…

Robotham’s ideas were adopted in the United States by the Christian Catholic Apostolic Church. Founded in 1956 International Flat Earth Society Initially meaningless, the numerous images of the globe from space evaluated “flat earth” simply as a plot.

It was only at the beginning of the 21st century that the new president of the International Flat Earth Society sparked a renewed interest in the theory — and thanks to social media, belief in a flat Earth is experiencing a resurgence.

Photographic Evidence Verification

And the picture? Is this finally the ultimate guide? In the photo, the spent continents can be seen. The sun and moon can be seen from the side. Something white all over, reminiscent of ice.

This reminds us of… Some conspiracy theorists might discover something, but the photo isn’t evidence, it’s a clumsy fake. This is also shown by fact-checking by Minikama, a “platform for investigating online fraud and fake news” in German.

Fact-checkers reveal “obvious inconsistencies,” such as that the SpaceX Starlink satellites don’t even have cameras that photograph the Earth. The image “is by no means a new ‘leaked’ image, but it has been circulating all over the internet as a meme for more than 3 years,” according to Minikama.

According to fact-checkers, an image is a stereo projection, which can be used, for example, to drop a ball on a plane in geometry. This video explains the technique:

As spheres and planes appear in many areas of mathematics and its applications, holographic projection is also used in complex analysis, cartography, geology, and photography.

But these facts likely won’t convince conspiracy theorists and “flat earth” either. The majority of them will continue to believe in “alternative facts”.

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