Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Hey Bill Nye! How Do We Know the Earth Is Round?

Modern "theories" suggesting the Earth is flat are ignorant of basic experiential data, historical scientific findings, and how technologies like smartphone functions, says Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Matt Harden: Hey Bill, can you prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the earth is a sphere and not flat? I have a lot of Facebook friends who say that it's an act. Thank you.

Bill Nye: Is the earth flat or round? It's round. Now, let's see, how do we go about proving that? Go to the seashore. Go to the seashore and figure out why you can't, if you live on the East Coast figure out why you can't see Spain from the East Coast or North America? It looks like you might have a St. Louis hat on. I'm not sure. Just go to the middle of the Mississippi River and look south. Why can't you see Louisiana? Why can't you see New Orleans? What's the problem there? Then climb a tower or go to the top of a hill or a mountain and you'll see a little farther, but you will not see to the other side of the earth, places we know to exist. For example, I've been to London. I can tell you other people have. I've been to Vancouver British Columbia and you cannot see Vancouver British Columbia from Boise Idaho, let alone from New York City Or Toronto or what have you. Just start there then if you'd like look at pictures from space where you see the earth as a sphere. Those pictures are not faked. And I'll tell you if nothing else here is why you can tell they're not faked. Just to create the paperwork that NASA has created, NASA in this one case, just the paperwork to send anything out in space, to send people into orbit or to send them to the moon, that amount of paperwork would make faking it prohibitively expensive. No one could afford to generate that much documentation.

Then the other thing if you want to get into this, if your friends are really serious, have them get on a boat or a ship and go out at sea and you'll noticed you can't see infinitely far. Furthermore, if you get into it enough pick up a book about navigation or go online and learn about navigation. A very, very Important thing you have to take into account when you try to navigate the ocean from a ship or a boat is how high you are off the sea surface. The higher you are off the sea surface the farther you can see, the farther away the horizon is. Now, this discovery that the world is round was made - I'm going to say it was published in 1540. Now, I concerned - it was Copernicus, I'm concerned it might have been 1530, but it was about then. It was in the 16th century that the earth was shown to be a ball. But it was known to be a ball by a lot of other people before Copernicus in the Western World, what we now call the Western World the western hemisphere. The ancient Greeks noticed that from time to time the earth casts a shadow on the moon. This is a lunar eclipse's where the moon gets in the shadow of the earth, the sunlight is being blocked by the earth, the moon is on the far side of the earth. And that shadow is always curved. And the only shape that always produces a curve, no matter what the orientation, that is to say whether you're standing in Greece at night or if you're standing then 12 hours later in Buenos Aries at night, the shadow is always curved. So the ancient Greeks knew that the earth was a ball. They didn't know the size of it to the degree of precision we know now.

And you guys, come on, everybody watches newscasts. You all use mobile phones. You all see airplanes fly around. You all go to see Ed Sheeran in concert one day in London, another day in the Melbourne Australia. This all depends of our fundamental understanding of the size of the earth and its shape with extraordinary precision. And if you want to get into it the earth isn't quite a sphere, it's a little it's, its spin is stretched, it made it slightly oblate as the saying goes. This is all susceptible to analysis, but spend some time learning about navigation. Tell your friends to spend some time learning about navigation. Navigation has change the world, by the way. What are you wearing? You're wearing stuff that came from another part of the world on a ship. It didn't get here by magic, it got here through science.

Modern "theories" suggesting the Earth is flat are ignorant of basic experiential data, historical scientific findings, and how technologies like smartphone functions, says Bill Nye the Science Guy.

LIVE EVENT | Radical innovation: Unlocking the future of human invention

Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

Navy SEALs: How to build a warrior mindset

SEAL training is the ultimate test of both mental and physical strength.

Videos
  • The fact that U.S. Navy SEALs endure very rigorous training before entering the field is common knowledge, but just what happens at those facilities is less often discussed. In this video, former SEALs Brent Gleeson, David Goggins, and Eric Greitens (as well as authors Jesse Itzler and Jamie Wheal) talk about how the 18-month program is designed to build elite, disciplined operatives with immense mental toughness and resilience.
  • Wheal dives into the cutting-edge technology and science that the navy uses to prepare these individuals. Itzler shares his experience meeting and briefly living with Goggins (who was also an Army Ranger) and the things he learned about pushing past perceived limits.
  • Goggins dives into why you should leave your comfort zone, introduces the 40 percent rule, and explains why the biggest battle we all face is the one in our own minds. "Usually whatever's in front of you isn't as big as you make it out to be," says the SEAL turned motivational speaker. "We start to make these very small things enormous because we allow our minds to take control and go away from us. We have to regain control of our mind."
Keep reading Show less

New guidelines redefine 'obesity' to curb fat shaming

Is focusing solely on body mass index the best way for doctor to frame obesity?

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • New guidelines published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal argue that obesity should be defined as a condition that involves high body mass index along with a corresponding physical or mental health condition.
  • The guidelines note that classifying obesity by body mass index alone may lead to fat shaming or non-optimal treatments.
  • The guidelines offer five steps for reframing the way doctors treat obesity.
Keep reading Show less

NASA's idea for making food from thin air just became a reality — it could feed billions

Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.

Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
  • Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
  • The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Keep reading Show less

How COVID-19 will change the way we design our homes

Pandemic-inspired housing innovation will collide with techno-acceleration.

Maja Hitij/Getty Images
Coronavirus
COVID-19 is confounding planning for basic human needs, including shelter.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast