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Will COVID-19 kill off flat Earthism once and for all?
One silver lining of the pandemic: The value of common sense, facts and rational decisions increases.
- The recent rise of flat-Earth theory can be explained by a certain social and political atmosphere.
- The coronavirus crisis may put an end to the flat-Earth model's already waning popularity, which has been trending down since 2017.
- Some have already argued that the coronavirus will sound the death-knell for populism. Perhaps it will prove the last straw for flat Earthism too.
Looks like a snow globe: The world according to Homer.
Image: Public domain
'It is no surprise,' writes The Economist, 'that the industry clobbered hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic is the one responsible for helping spread it to the four corners of the earth.'
Even without further context, you will have guessed the economic sector in question: the airline industry. But if you're of a particular (some would say: peculiar) mindset, another thing will have struck you about that sentence.
The four corners of the earth! Aha! How ever much they try, even the mainstream media can't completely cover up the truth: that our earth is flat, not spherical! And this in a piece about airlines!
That last bit is the icing on the cake, if you're a flat Earther. Airlines are some of the worst offenders against flat Earth truth, what with their assertions that you can fly around the world and go east by winging it west; or north, if only you keep going south long enough.
Let's not begrudge our putative flat Earthers their chuckle. For that third thing stalking the above sentence—the coronavirus—could prove more devastating for their belief system than they may yet surmise.
In the oft-quoted words of Ernest Hemingway, bankruptcies happen in two ways: "Gradually, then suddenly." That also applies to intellectual bankruptcies, and their demise too is speeded up by crises like the current one.
One silver lining of earth-shaking emergencies like these is that they tend to reaffirm the value of common sense, fact-based discourse and rational leadership. Some have already argued that the coronavirus will sound the death-knell for populism. And perhaps it will prove the last straw for flat Earthism too.
What goes up, must come down: the rise and fall of the flat-Earth trend
Image: Google Trends
As this Google Trends graph shows, flat-Earth theory had been growing in popularity since the mid-2010s—one more symptom of the generalized blurring of the line between fact and opinion. But eventually the novelty of taking 'fake news' for real starts wearing off. The popularity of 'flat Earth' as a search term peaked at the end of 2017 and has since been in decline. Two exceptions:
- The spike in March 2019 reflects media attention for a plan by flat Earthers to organize a cruise to Antarctica, which according to them is not a continent centered on the South Pole, but a giant ice wall fencing off the edges of the world. In the 'flat Earth' scenario, circling Antarctica would take more than 60,000 miles, not 14,500 miles, as in the 'Ball Earth' one. That cruise would once and for all prove the 'sun-worshippers' (i.e. proponents of scientific heliocentrism) wrong.
- A smaller spike towards the end of the graph corresponds to news about the death of 'Mad' Mike Hughes, who died this February when his homemade, steam-powered rocket crashed into the Californian desert shortly after take-off. Hughes had wanted to fly high enough above the earth to gather photographic evidence of its 'flatness'.
The cruise was scheduled for this year but may not go ahead as planned, for obvious reasons. But even if it did, and failed, that in itself wouldn't be the end of flat Earthism. Like ufology, its defeats merely enhance its belief in the vastness and intricacy of the conspiracy it seeks to unmask.
Excerpt from Tractatus de Sphaera ('On the sphere of the world'), published in 1230 AD by Johannes de Sacrobosco (a.k.a. John of Holywood), clearly showing the nautical proof for the earth's curvature. Sacrobosco's book was required reading at European universities for the next four centuries.
Image: Public domain
Flat Earthism has been endemic since the dawn of human consciousness. For indeed, our own eyes show us that our immediate surroundings are (relatively) flat. That false certainty was codified in early literature.
- In the Iliad, Homer uses the shield of Achilles as a simile for the world—a circular island under the dome of heaven (see also #288)
- Numerous references in the Bible indicate our world is flat; in Isaiah 11:12, for example, the Lord will "gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."
But that doesn't mean that flat Earthism has been the default position throughout history, only to be 'defeated' relatively recently by modern science. Even the ancients caught on to the spherical Earth pretty quickly.
- Thousands of years ago, the earliest astronomers figured out that the data they gathered added up to the earth being round instead of flat.
- The ancient Greeks noticed that they could first see the sails and only slightly later the hulls of ships approaching their harbors. And if you're in the ship approaching a harbor, you'll see the top of its lighthouse before you see the land it stands on.
- In the 4th century BC, Aristotle pointed out that lunar eclipses always show a circular Earth shadow, and that stars appear and disappear as we move north or south.
- A century later, Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the earth to a remarkably accurate degree, using the different lengths of shadows at the same time of day in cities separated by a known north-south distance.
- The Middle Ages have a reputation for obscurantism, yet even then most educated people thought the earth was round.
- Columbus understood this, as he sailed west in his attempt to reach the East.
If flat Earthism lingered on until recent times, it's mainly because of Biblical literalists and other religious fundamentalists. They have fought a losing battle against the wealth of evidence increasing over the centuries, from science itself and—since the start of the space age—from the images and testimonials brought back by satellites and astronauts.
Flat Earthism has taken such a beating that it has become marginalized even within Christian creationism: Why would creationists bother to reject scientific astronomy too when they have trouble enough concentrating on just geology and biology?
The dying movement was 'saved' in recent decades by secular skeptics, who transformed religious dogma into anti-establishment meme. The frame of reference for Latter-Day Flat Earthers is not so much the Revelation as the Conspiracy. Their defense of the flat Earth is motivated by a big, bold rejection of modern life and all its hypocrisies, compromises and disappointments. It's no wonder that many of these modern flat Earthers also tick the box that says 'the Moon landings were faked'.
Gravity doesn't exist?
Orlando Ferguson's map of the square and stationary Earth (1893): "Four hundred passages in the Bible that condemn the Globe Theory, or the Flying Earth, and none sustain it; this map is the Bible map of the world."
Image: Library of Congress – Public domain.
However, even though the mountain of evidence against the flat Earth may be easily dismissed as part of the vast 'globularist' conspiracy, its main problem ultimately is its own internal inconsistency. Maximum points to Elon Musk for neatly summarizing that inconsistency in a simple question: "Why is there no Flat Mars Society?"
If our earth were a disc world, it would not only be uniquely different from easily observable objects in the sky, that uniqueness would also require an explanation beyond that of accepted science. In short, a flat Earth can only be explained by the existence of a divine Creator—or by powerful technology unknown to mankind.
On a flat Earth, many theories and observations that fit with the spherical Earth model no longer make sense. These include:
- The formation and movement of continents
- The existence of tides
- The change of seasons
- The phases of the Moon
- The existence of gravity
Yes, gravity. Flat Earthers who have given their model some thought (emphasis on some), often claim gravity doesn't exist. That's because equal gravitational pull only really makes sense on a globe. Towards the edges of a disc world, gravity would pull at you from an increasing angle instead of straight down. And not just dear old you. Air and water would also be pulled toward the central North Pole, leaving the edges bereft of both.
So, if gravity can't make a flat Earth model work… gravity must be wrong. The flat Earth counter-model: a disc world that is accelerating upward at a rate of 32 feet (9.8 meters) per second squared, giving the illusion of gravity.
Nor can flat Earthers explain why the shortest distance between Australia and South America isn't over the North Pole. Or why people at any edge of the disc see the same stars in the sky—yet those differ from the heavens at the centre of the disc.
Dustbin of geography
Map of the flat Earth, showing the ice wall at its outer limits.
Image: Public domain
These are just few slingshots from the vast and well-stocked arsenal of scientific arguments against the flat Earth model. But most flat Earthers are less interested in arguing with scientists than in cherry-picking half-truths that allow them to claim the title of lone wolves, fighting for truth against a vast network of conspirators.
But here's the thing. Just limiting ourselves to the personnel involved in the space race, that network numbers in the hundreds of thousands and is spread out over various competing countries and organizations. And yet, it has managed to enforce a total omertà for more than half a century.
That's testament to the power of the conspiracy. Yet at the same time, it is too weak to stop flat Earthers from spreading their message. But most importantly: That vast and costly conspiracy, both so successful and unsuccessful, serves no apparent purpose.
Except if that conspiracy is… 'Satanic'. Ultimately reintroducing religious fundamentalism into the belief system, the divine, flat Earth world view is at war with the globular view, which somehow supports the Devil's plan with the world.
Meanwhile, the real world has just received a deadly wake-up call from nature, which it is scrambling to contain. COVID-19 will leave a lasting impression on humankind, not all of it bad: The pandemic has demonstrated that our planet's problems do not stop at national borders, and how ill prepared we are to solve them country by country.
Perhaps this will finally urge us towards an era of truly global cooperation and progress. But at least it should eliminate our patience with fraud, quackery and self-indulgent wrong-headedness, delivering the flat Earth into the dustbin of geography, where it belongs… together with its pre-dustified cousin, the Hollow Earth (#85).
Strange Maps #1017
Got a strange map? Let me know at email@example.com.
- The Universe is Flat – Here's How Astrophysicists Know and Why ... ›
- Flat Earth Society ›
- Reality show about Flat Earthers - Big Think ›
How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.
- A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
- It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
- While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Tribalism and discrimination<p>One question the "Genetic Pressure" series explores: What would tribalism and discrimination look like in a world with designer babies? As designer babies grow up, they could be noticeably different from other people, potentially being smarter, more attractive and healthier. This could breed resentment between the groups—as it does in the series.</p><p>"[Designer babies] slowly find that 'everyone else,' and even their own parents, becomes less and less tolerable," author Eugene Clark told Big Think. "Meanwhile, everyone else slowly feels threatened by the designer babies."</p><p>For example, one character in the series who was born a designer baby faces discrimination and harassment from "normal people"—they call her "soulless" and say she was "made in a factory," a "consumer product." </p><p>Would such divisions emerge in the real world? The answer may depend on who's able to afford designer baby services. If it's only the ultra-wealthy, then it's easy to imagine how being a designer baby could be seen by society as a kind of hyper-privilege, which designer babies would have to reckon with. </p><p>Even if people from all socioeconomic backgrounds can someday afford designer babies, people born designer babies may struggle with tough existential questions: Can they ever take full credit for things they achieve, or were they born with an unfair advantage? To what extent should they spend their lives helping the less fortunate? </p>
Sexuality dilemmas<p>Sexuality presents another set of thorny questions. If a designer baby industry someday allows people to optimize humans for attractiveness, designer babies could grow up to find themselves surrounded by ultra-attractive people. That may not sound like a big problem.</p><p>But consider that, if designer babies someday become the standard way to have children, there'd necessarily be a years-long gap in which only some people are having designer babies. Meanwhile, the rest of society would be having children the old-fashioned way. So, in terms of attractiveness, society could see increasingly apparent disparities in physical appearances between the two groups. "Normal people" could begin to seem increasingly ugly.</p><p>But ultra-attractive people who were born designer babies could face problems, too. One could be the loss of body image. </p><p>When designer babies grow up in the "Genetic Pressure" series, men look like all the other men, and women look like all the other women. This homogeneity of physical appearance occurs because parents of designer babies start following trends, all choosing similar traits for their children: tall, athletic build, olive skin, etc. </p><p>Sure, facial traits remain relatively unique, but everyone's more or less equally attractive. And this causes strange changes to sexual preferences.</p><p>"In a society of sexual equals, they start looking for other differentiators," he said, noting that violet-colored eyes become a rare trait that genetically engineered humans find especially attractive in the series.</p><p>But what about sexual relationships between genetically engineered humans and "normal" people? In the "Genetic Pressure" series, many "normal" people want to have kids with (or at least have sex with) genetically engineered humans. But a minority of engineered humans oppose breeding with "normal" people, and this leads to an ideology that considers engineered humans to be racially supreme. </p>
Regulating designer babies<p>On a policy level, there are many open questions about how governments might legislate a world with designer babies. But it's not totally new territory, considering the West's dark history of eugenics experiments.</p><p>In the 20th century, the U.S. conducted multiple eugenics programs, including immigration restrictions based on genetic inferiority and forced sterilizations. In 1927, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that forcibly sterilizing the mentally handicapped didn't violate the Constitution. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote, "… three generations of imbeciles are enough." </p><p>After the Holocaust, eugenics programs became increasingly taboo and regulated in the U.S. (though some states continued forced sterilizations <a href="https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/" target="_blank">into the 1970s</a>). In recent years, some policymakers and scientists have expressed concerns about how gene-editing technologies could reanimate the eugenics nightmares of the 20th century. </p><p>Currently, the U.S. doesn't explicitly ban human germline genetic editing on the federal level, but a combination of laws effectively render it <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">illegal to implant a genetically modified embryo</a>. Part of the reason is that scientists still aren't sure of the unintended consequences of new gene-editing technologies. </p><p>But there are also concerns that these technologies could usher in a new era of eugenics. After all, the function of a designer baby industry, like the one in the "Genetic Pressure" series, wouldn't necessarily be limited to eliminating genetic diseases; it could also work to increase the occurrence of "desirable" traits. </p><p>If the industry did that, it'd effectively signal that the <em>opposites of those traits are undesirable. </em>As the International Bioethics Committee <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote</a>, this would "jeopardize the inherent and therefore equal dignity of all human beings and renew eugenics, disguised as the fulfillment of the wish for a better, improved life."</p><p><em>"Genetic Pressure Volume I: Baby Steps"</em><em> by Eugene Clark is <a href="http://bigth.ink/38VhJn3" target="_blank">available now.</a></em></p>
Astronomers find these five chapters to be a handy way of conceiving the universe's incredibly long lifespan.
- We're in the middle, or thereabouts, of the universe's Stelliferous era.
- If you think there's a lot going on out there now, the first era's drama makes things these days look pretty calm.
- Scientists attempt to understand the past and present by bringing together the last couple of centuries' major schools of thought.
The 5 eras of the universe<p>There are many ways to consider and discuss the past, present, and future of the universe, but one in particular has caught the fancy of many astronomers. First published in 1999 in their book <a href="https://amzn.to/2wFQLiL" target="_blank"><em>The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity</em></a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Adams" target="_blank">Fred Adams</a> and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_P._Laughlin" target="_blank">Gregory Laughlin</a> divided the universe's life story into five eras:</p><ul><li>Primordial era</li><li>Stellferous era</li><li>Degenerate era</li><li>Black Hole Era</li><li>Dark era</li></ul><p>The book was last updated according to current scientific understandings in 2013.</p><p>It's worth noting that not everyone is a subscriber to the book's structure. Popular astrophysics writer <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/ethansiegel/#30921c93683e" target="_blank">Ethan C. Siegel</a>, for example, published an article on <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2019/07/26/we-have-already-entered-the-sixth-and-final-era-of-our-universe/#7072d52d4e5d" target="_blank"><em>Medium</em></a> last June called "We Have Already Entered The Sixth And Final Era Of Our Universe." Nonetheless, many astronomers find the quintet a useful way of discuss such an extraordinarily vast amount of time.</p>
The Primordial era<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkwMTEyMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjEzMjY1OX0.PRpvAoa99qwsDNprDme9tBWDim6mS7Mjx6IwF60fSN8/img.jpg?width=980" id="db4eb" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0e568b0cc12ed624bb8d7e5ff45882bd" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="1049" />
Image source: Sagittarius Production/Shutterstock<p> This is where the universe begins, though what came before it and where it came from are certainly still up for discussion. It begins at the Big Bang about 13.8 billion years ago. </p><p> For the first little, and we mean <em>very</em> little, bit of time, spacetime and the laws of physics are thought not yet to have existed. That weird, unknowable interval is the <a href="https://www.universeadventure.org/eras/era1-plankepoch.htm" target="_blank">Planck Epoch</a> that lasted for 10<sup>-44</sup> seconds, or 10 million of a trillion of a trillion of a trillionth of a second. Much of what we currently believe about the Planck Epoch eras is theoretical, based largely on a hybrid of general-relativity and quantum theories called quantum gravity. And it's all subject to revision. </p><p> That having been said, within a second after the Big Bang finished Big Banging, inflation began, a sudden ballooning of the universe into 100 trillion trillion times its original size. </p><p> Within minutes, the plasma began cooling, and subatomic particles began to form and stick together. In the 20 minutes after the Big Bang, atoms started forming in the super-hot, fusion-fired universe. Cooling proceeded apace, leaving us with a universe containing mostly 75% hydrogen and 25% helium, similar to that we see in the Sun today. Electrons gobbled up photons, leaving the universe opaque. </p><p> About 380,000 years after the Big Bang, the universe had cooled enough that the first stable atoms capable of surviving began forming. With electrons thus occupied in atoms, photons were released as the background glow that astronomers detect today as cosmic background radiation. </p><p> Inflation is believed to have happened due to the remarkable overall consistency astronomers measure in cosmic background radiation. Astronomer <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGCVTSQw7WU" target="_blank">Phil Plait</a> suggests that inflation was like pulling on a bedsheet, suddenly pulling the universe's energy smooth. The smaller irregularities that survived eventually enlarged, pooling in denser areas of energy that served as seeds for star formation—their gravity pulled in dark matter and matter that eventually coalesced into the first stars. </p>
The Stelliferous era<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkwMTEzNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMjA0OTcwMn0.GVCCFbBSsPdA1kciHivFfWlegOfKfXUfEtFKEF3otQg/img.jpg?width=980" id="bc650" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c8f86bf160ecdea6b330f818447393cd" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="481" data-height="720" />
Image source: Casey Horner/unsplash<p>The era we know, the age of stars, in which most matter existing in the universe takes the form of stars and galaxies during this active period. </p><p>A star is formed when a gas pocket becomes denser and denser until it, and matter nearby, collapse in on itself, producing enough heat to trigger nuclear fusion in its core, the source of most of the universe's energy now. The first stars were immense, eventually exploding as supernovas, forming many more, smaller stars. These coalesced, thanks to gravity, into galaxies.</p><p>One axiom of the Stelliferous era is that the bigger the star, the more quickly it burns through its energy, and then dies, typically in just a couple of million years. Smaller stars that consume energy more slowly stay active longer. In any event, stars — and galaxies — are coming and going all the time in this era, burning out and colliding.</p><p>Scientists predict that our Milky Way galaxy, for example, will crash into and combine with the neighboring Andromeda galaxy in about 4 billion years to form a new one astronomers are calling the Milkomeda galaxy.</p><p>Our solar system may actually survive that merger, amazingly, but don't get too complacent. About a billion years later, the Sun will start running out of hydrogen and begin enlarging into its red giant phase, eventually subsuming Earth and its companions, before shrining down to a white dwarf star.</p>
The Degenerate era<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkwMTE1MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTk3NDQyN30.gy4__ALBQrdbdm-byW5gQoaGNvFTuxP5KLYxEMBImNc/img.jpg?width=980" id="77f72" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="08bb56ea9fde2cee02d63ed472d79ca3" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="810" />
Image source: Diego Barucco/Shutterstock/Big Think<p>Next up is the Degenerate era, which will begin about 1 quintillion years after the Big Bang, and last until 1 duodecillion after it. This is the period during which the remains of stars we see today will dominate the universe. Were we to look up — we'll assuredly be outta here long before then — we'd see a much darker sky with just a handful of dim pinpoints of light remaining: <a href="https://earthsky.org/space/evaporating-giant-exoplanet-white-dwarf-star" target="_blank">white dwarfs</a>, <a href="https://earthsky.org/space/new-observations-where-stars-end-and-brown-dwarfs-begin" target="_blank">brown dwarfs</a>, and <a href="https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/definition-what-is-a-neutron-star" target="_blank">neutron stars</a>. These"degenerate stars" are much cooler and less light-emitting than what we see up there now. Occasionally, star corpses will pair off into orbital death spirals that result in a brief flash of energy as they collide, and their combined mass may become low-wattage stars that will last for a little while in cosmic-timescale terms. But mostly the skies will be be bereft of light in the visible spectrum.</p><p>During this era, small brown dwarfs will wind up holding most of the available hydrogen, and black holes will grow and grow and grow, fed on stellar remains. With so little hydrogen around for the formation of new stars, the universe will grow duller and duller, colder and colder.</p><p>And then the protons, having been around since the beginning of the universe will start dying off, dissolving matter, leaving behind a universe of subatomic particles, unclaimed radiation…and black holes.</p>
The Black Hole era<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkwMTE2MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMjE0OTQ2MX0.ifwOQJgU0uItiSRg9z8IxFD9jmfXlfrw6Jc1y-22FuQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="103ea" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f0e6a71dacf95ee780dd7a1eadde288d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1400" data-height="787" />
Image source: Vadim Sadovski/Shutterstock/Big Think<p> For a considerable length of time, black holes will dominate the universe, pulling in what mass and energy still remain. </p><p> Eventually, though, black holes evaporate, albeit super-slowly, leaking small bits of their contents as they do. Plait estimates that a small black hole 50 times the mass of the sun would take about 10<sup>68</sup> years to dissipate. A massive one? A 1 followed by 92 zeros. </p><p> When a black hole finally drips to its last drop, a small pop of light occurs letting out some of the only remaining energy in the universe. At that point, at 10<sup>92</sup>, the universe will be pretty much history, containing only low-energy, very weak subatomic particles and photons. </p>
The Dark Era<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkwMTE5NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0Mzg5OTEyMH0.AwiPRGJlGIcQjjSoRLi6V3g5klRYtxQJIpHFgZdZkuo/img.jpg?width=980" id="60c77" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7a857fb7f0d85cf4a248dbb3350a6e1c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="810" />
Image source: Big Think<p>We can sum this up pretty easily. Lights out. Forever.</p>
A unique exoplanet without clouds or haze was found by astrophysicists from Harvard and Smithsonian.
- Astronomers from Harvard and Smithsonian find a very rare "hot Jupiter" exoplanet without clouds or haze.
- Such planets were formed differently from others and offer unique research opportunities.
- Only one other such exoplanet was found previously.
Munazza Alam – a graduate student at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian.
Credit: Jackie Faherty
Jupiter's Colorful Cloud Bands Studied by Spacecraft<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8a72dfe5b407b584cf867852c36211dc"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GzUzCesfVuw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Scientists discover burrows of giant predator worms that lived on the seafloor 20 million years ago.
- Scientists in Taiwan find the lair of giant predator worms that inhabited the seafloor 20 million years ago.
- The worm is possibly related to the modern bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois).
- The creatures can reach several meters in length and famously ambush their pray.
A three-dimensional model of the feeding behavior of Bobbit worms and the proposed formation of Pennichnus formosae.
Credit: Scientific Reports
Beware the Bobbit Worm!<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1f9918e77851242c91382369581d3aac"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_As1pHhyDHY?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The idea behind the law was simple: make it more difficult for online sex traffickers to find victims.