Coping: With the “Flat Earth”

A long-time reader, who we will call Steve, sent me a note this weekend that I’d get a real kick out of looking into the flat earth theories of one Edward Hendrie.

Per his note, the author has a book on Amazon that makes a “case” for the world being flat. See The Greatest Lie on Earth: Proof That Our World Is Not a Moving Globe.

Apparently, if I follow the book comments, the idea goes that a) the earth is flat, b) here are some “proofs”, c) this means there is a huge conspiracy, and d) if you “get it” you are somehow one of the elect – which is to say, not a sheep. In Biblical terms, no less.

Fine. I poke around a bit.

Time for a little discussion, because there are a lot of math-challenged folks who have NOT lived on a sailboat for over a decade, as I have, who might be taken-in by such flat-landish claims.

Typically, people who want to “Prove” conspiracies, go to an “official” Source.

One often-cited “source” is nautical charts…which is too bad, because I have forgotten more about said charts than most people ever learn. Aeronautical charts, too.

The charts supposedly “prove” by noting the visibility of certain coastal lights may be up to 28 miles under ideal conditions. All true.

About here is when the flat-landers come out with their version of how science ought to work for people who would believe the world flat: They launch into PROOF MODE. OK, let’s…

We’ll take that light house which stands 137 feet tall, at the light, from the upper mean high water level of the ocean in that vicinity of Florida, was it? (Where is Sea Level? We don’t need to go there, but it’s a very long, ugly, and math-based discussion…which will make you need to go to the diurnal.)

There is a simple formula for figuring how far that light should be visible. The flat-landers haul out the simple formula (1.23 times the square root of the light source) as visible distance to the horizon. Gospel, they figure.

Which is fine….sort of, in a limited thinking, ignore the rest of science way.

This means that the distance in miles from the light house light to the distance sea surface would be 11.7047 times 1.23 or about 14.4 miles.

So how can said light be visible 28 miles on a chart?” they wonder.

Allow me to explain.

First off, depending on atmospheric conditions, light does strange things over water.

I have personally experienced conditions on Puget Sound, when leaving from Agate Pass (North end of Braindead Island) to head back over to the Seattle side, where optical conditions resulted in my destination looked further away after sailing toward it for 45 minutes that it did when I hoisted the mainsail 6-miles back.

Yep, that is a weird experience, no question.

But there is a real scientific explanation because when moisture and temps are just so, you can have wide variance in optics that will dramatically change how far a light may be seen.

In practice, that 1.23 multiplier may be upwards of 1.35 or higher, and so to account for general refraction, we use 1.32 as a multiplier.

Watch how this changes the flatlander math:

We still have a light 137 feet up from sea level. And the square root is still 11.7047…but when we multiply to account for refraction at 1.32, suddenly the light house is visible 15.45 miles away – another full mile.

Now let us suppose that the tide is out. It tends to do that a couple of times a day – so dial in 5 additional feet of effective height for tidal change. That’d be 142 feet.

Now we have a particularly refractive day…how about 1.35? Not unheard of…

Suddenly, the light is now visible 16 miles down to the surface.

Hop in the Whaler with me and let’s go out 28 miles and take over a large container ship. Once we subdue the crew, the OMB (one-man bridge) doesn’t really care about lights because in reality a computer is steering by GPS (whose satellites magically circle this “non-flat earth”) but whose helm station happens to be 140 feet above the water on the same actively refractive day.

From up here (plugging in the square root of 140 times the 1.35 refractive index) we can see 15.97 miles.

See what happened?

The early didn’t go flat at all. We can see the light 32 miles and say, look at those flashing blues at 18 miles out…hmmm…Homeland coming to take back the containership we just seized.

To the Whaler, maties…radar in passive mode, rig for quiet running…”

Back in the sailing pub ashore, we notice that over half the distance to the ship was made by the light itself, helped along by a highly refractive set of conditions. And from the bridge of the containership, we can see 16 miles basically, so with very good binoculars and knowing how to look for “loom” at night, you might actually be able to pick out where the light is from 33 miles out…remember, much of the ocean has 5-10 feet of swell that will change things as well.

We managed our escape to the grog grotto by running further to sea in the radar shadow of the ship and then heading south 20 miles to look less interesting when in sight of the authorities…but you knew all the small boat evasion tactics from BUD/S, right?

Years ago, I was fascinated as Carl Hansen, a Danish friend of our family (on the Jensen side) would explain what life was like aloft in the square-rigger days. Seeing exceptional distances when nearly 200 feet up t’weren’t no big deal. Doing so in a sopping fresh gale while barefoot took some skill, though.

So thanks, Steve, for the link, but I’ve been high enough in jets (45,000 feet) to where you can begin to see curvature, and I’ve made enough cross-country fights in our old plane to trust that GPS satellites aren’t dancing around a pancake.

Is Flat Earthing appealing?

Oh, that it is. And if you want to confuse religion, science, and failing navigation all into a stew, then by all means, there are books – like that will satisfy this yearning in you for an earlier, simpler time.

We keep an open mind around here, but not so open as to allow the brain to fall out. Too much time in hard science has jaundiced me, I guess. I’ve done enough sun sights with a sextant and had too many miles pass under my keel to be so easily taken in.

Or maybe I’m just too serious to see the fun of it all. So if you see the fun of purging scientific thought and navigation, maybe flat-landing is a fine hobby to take up.

Me? I just don’t have time for another hobby…especially one that really ought to have crashed our boat or plane long before now.

More Missing Time

This is not to say that all is as it seems. Yes, there are things like demonic possessions, and yes, lots (thousands) of credible reports of alien abductions and other grist for CoastToCoast AM.

I would never argue otherwise.

Over the past two weeks (before the most recent pair of eye surgeries last week) I did have a couple of odd “missing time” experiences I meant to mention.

In one case, 15 minutes of gap between the master bedroom battery powered clock and the mains powered kitchen stove clock occurred.

And two nights before that, there was a two hour gap, which I didn’t fix by resetting clocks, but which disappeared by the time I woke up again.

Yes…this kind of thing is strange, alright.

I used to worry about it..especially when accompanied by “teaching dreams” – in which I’m in some kind of a class. Mostly, I just shrug it off and try to move on.

I did have one Friday night (*that ended at 1:01 AM) that involved a lesson about attacking people from behind rather than head-on…and there was a lecture about art in there as well: A mural of a rolling landscape on the right that morphed into a reposing female’s shoulders and head…and then into a mountain-scape. It all meant something (though it escapes me now) but I remember I the presence of hedge clippers and a shovel for grounds work. WTH? Very bizarre…been watching the headlines for whatever that was about.

The best news from Dreamland, though, has nothing to do with missing time or odd symbolic messages about (we’ll find out).

No, it’s that the directions in my dreams have straightened out!

Yes…north in dreams is now north here in Waking World…so with luck, when the precognitive backgrounds pick up again, things will not require so much work getting directions right.

New Peoplenomics Project

Elaine has volunteered to take up investing.

Which will make for an interesting series on as we track her through the process of going from happily retired to thoughtful investor.

Her first question – which we will cover Wednesday – is “How much time is this going to take?”

It seems like that ought to be a really simple one…but in fact, it’s one of the hardest investment questions there is for reasons we will explain…

Eyes Mending

Hallelujah…Friday I was told to put in five flavors of eye drops and don’t come back until tomorrow for another check-back.

Although the vision in the left eye is fuzzy as hell, that is from a bit of blood in the eye fluid that will settle out in time (a month or two) so for now we are at last on the road to recovery, or so goes the theory.

Still in the magnifier-mode on the computer, but straining less now…whew. Annual inspection of the plane will start this week, or next. (Safer than driving, lol.)

Thank you for your prayers and support during what has been one hell of a tough month and a half so far…only another month or two to plod through, but as they say, cinch by the inch but hard by the yard

There we go – another weekend in the memory bank.

Try to make as many deposits there as you can… you can’t take money with you, for sure, but the jury is out on memories.

And write when you get rich…


Coping: With the “Flat Earth” — 26 Comments

  1. From Flat Earth to Sim Cube to Zero Point


    I guess this post fits here in response to Flat Earth as well as anywhere, because I know you are going to look at this information with the same critical, skeptical eye. I have been trying to write this post for a few weeks. I choked up and couldn’t finish my reply to your post of May 2, 2016, “Coping: Losing Your Senses Gracefully.” A good place to put this would have been the recent ‘Brain Cleaning week’ as well. I’m also tying in references here to your ‘Sim Cube’ post of April, 14, 2016, “Coping: Busting the Sim.” “….the dream this morning about ‘Busting the Sim’ — which was about how Earth and all human experience is a real-life, grown-up, version of what we call VR — virtual reality.” Also in that post you commented “to practice reversing your perception as often as you can.” Hold onto that thought as you read the rest of my post here, as well as your further comment about “get to the core of the Sim-Cube operating system.”

    I have had a gradually developing inner vision over the past several months that is very, very similar to your ‘Sim-Cube’. The main difference is the concept of an energy tube or pseudopod coming in through the back wall of the ‘Sim-Cube’ that enters the back of the human — such that the human can never see it. I too had thoughts of a type of ‘reversing perception’ around this image, with the concept of moving in reverse up the tube/pseudopod for a larger perception of the game.


    As this image was gelling for me in early April, gave me a reading recommendation — a book by Richard Dotts. I had never heard of him. He has about two dozen Kindle books on Amazon on the practical, rubber-meets-the-road, application of spiritual principles, mostly with regard to physical manifestation of what you want to have, and do, in this life.

    I have now read seven of his books. As far as the basic principles — I had seen it all before — many times. Yet, in EVERY short book he gives you at least one ‘tool’ that makes the application of the principle more direct in physical experience. As you read his books you collect a whole ‘toolbox’, and gradually, reflecting his name, you ‘connect the dots’ between the spiritual principles and physical expression. I know you probably think you have seen this kind of thing before. Not. Like. Dotts. Does. It.

    Years ago, decades ago, before Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia stole the juice out of my young Type A personality, and forced me into operating in constant ‘brown out’ mode, I would NEVER have looked at Dotts material. ( I subscribed to Ayn Rand’s Objectivist newsletter as a teen, for atheist’s sake! ) From a Type A, outer-directed, ‘Sim Cube’ mode IT MAKES NO SENSE. From a ‘reverse your perspective’, ‘do more with less effort’, ‘everything is connected’, mindset — Dotts’ material makes the most sense of anything I have ever seen. Hardly a day goes by here lately that Dotts’ works have not enlightened me on some incident from my past, or the REAL operating methods of some remarkable people that I have met (regardless of what they were teaching about their spiritual talents). And, my physical life is getting easier.

    Somehow, thankfully, I realized long ago that one can never fully understand something without ‘trying it on’. One can’t stand outside the door as a perpetual skeptic looking in, and really know what the experience is on the other side of the door.

    You know from experience and scientific principles and proofs that the Earth is not flat.

    You know from long experience that the only way to get ahead is by hard work, and smart use of time and resources. And yet, over and over, odd dreams and odd experiences are nibbling away at your certainty of how the world works.

    Life is giving you an opportunity ‘take a break from what you know (that ain’t so)’. The long hot Texas summer is happening, and you need to avoid heavy outdoor work to let your eyes recuperate.

    Take the next few weeks to dive into Richard Dotts’ books and ‘try on’ his methods. Here are some mind-bending titles to start:
    “Spontaneous Manifestations from Zero: Tapping into the Universal Flow”
    “Dissolve the Problem: by Shifting Physical Reality”
    “The Magic Feeling which Creates Instant Manifestations”

    You love tools. You love formula learning. If you sincerely practice Dotts’ methods, by the Autumnal equinox, the season won’t be the only thing that has shifted.


  2. Folks have forgotten that appeal to authority is a fallacy. Anyway, I wrote up a piece a while back proving “flat earth” was wrong based on years of bouncing radiation off of geosynch birds. Similar formulas give you signal degredation on the footprints. I suppose folks should get out more. A clear day in West Texas will make you feel like you are clinging desperately to a ball.

  3. Re: investing advice–

    I’ve always been partial to Mike Holland’s guidance from the late, much lamented Wall Street Week: index funds and DRIP accounts. Unfortunately, I’ve never figured out how to make them work with as little as I’d have to invest and/or without a brokerage account.

    Louis Rukeyser and Mark Haynes, you both left us way too soon. I hope you’re enjoying the show, from wherever you are.

  4. Hi, George

    Happy to hear that you are doing Okay.

    How do you tell the difference between a female or a male ant? You take one of them and cusp them in your hands.
    Then you shake your hands and listen. If you don’t
    hear anything, it’s a female. If you hear a clacking sound, it’s a male. Those are his balls knocking together.

  5. This will be really interesting, watching Elaine (and others) come along as a new investor.

    Also interesting, is the whole “flat earth” discussion was had at the office this morning before I was able to get to this post. Flavors of the universe flowing across time and space… :)


  6. I am a non investing wife as well…it will be fun watching how things go for Elaine! Meanwhile, as one of many keeping you in our prayers, it is good to know that you are ‘seeing’ progress…so to speak. Thank you for all of your thoughtful, hard work!

  7. I’m ready too. Perhaps we can have a beginners circle here or George could create an online class. Just a thought. Could this be what your teaching dream is about? I’ve been curious how to start and could use a few (or several) suggestions.

  8. As a microwave engineer during my life having a flat earth sure would have made the job easy and kept costs down. Instead of repeaters say every 20 miles I could just up antenna size and maybe a little more transmit power and make a 100 mile path before the path loss became too high. Sadly that curve of the earth always came into play and no matter how hard I would try I could never make the terrain profile work to put in less repeaters and save the customer (mainly your tax dollars) money.

  9. George,
    Big fan of your work. I wondered how long it would be before you posted something regarding “Flat Earth.” I started following this about a year ago and what I have found the most fascinating are subject matter experts like yourself from various fields including aviation, navy, a career surveyor etc.. A pilot who has not gone officially public yet is claiming the gyros are rigged and has an interesting short story. Listen to minutes 7-15 to jump right to it. Being a pilot, you should find it interesting to say the least.

    • Flights from Santiago, Chile to Sydney, Australia make a stop in either Houston, Texas or Atlanta, Georgia. The FLIGHT PATHS of real airplane flights only make sense using a Flat Earth map. Curiously, the UN LOGO depicts the Flat Earth.

      I will watch that YouTube video now, thanks!

      Post more of your research!

  10. British astronaut Tim Peake traveled to the ISS 6 months ago and took his GoPro with him. He has some brilliant videos of his shuttle journey and the ISS docking process. I’m amazed at our technology attained in such a short time. He’ll be returning to our spinning globe in a few, can’t wait to see his new videos of his approach to a round planet Earth.

    You should link to his videos… Proof for all to see!

    • Penelope,
      I can certainly appreciate where you are coming from. Since you mentioned Tim Peake, you will most certainly appreciate what is shown in this video in from 0:10 through 1:09 in the very beginning.
      It’s very short, but very revealing. Bottom line: we can’t assume that what we are ultimately shown to be real. If you haven’t watched it yet, check out the film “Gravity.” The video technology in that film is astounding and so is the ability to deceive many. I will end with my favorite quote by Mark Twain — ‘It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.’ Best wishes to you on your quest for truth.

  11. Maybe the shape of the earth in this holographic reality is like light, sometimes a wave, and sometimes a particle.

    If time can distort, sometimes the earth could be flat, and sometimes round. If time is a line, fold the line and take a big step into the future.

    As Seth told Jane Roberts, you tell me, it’s your dream.

    I have seen cataracts removed by a psychic surgeon using a rusty pocket knife and no anesthesia. In 24 hours, the vision was 20/20.

    That’s not a business model, by the way!

  12. I am SO looking forward to reading about Elaine’s Investing Adventures. Although schooled in Business, and spent 25 years in business (towards the end running $10million retail stores), the world of investing is a very scary place for me-one that I read about, think about, and put my little toe in occasionally, but one or two bad decisions timed incorrectly can wipe out a heck of alot of dollars that don’t return quickly. At almost 65yo, am not in a age position to wait for recouping.

  13. “lots (thousands) of credible reports of alien abductions”….. and so George believes in Aliens and a ‘Breakaway Civilization’ because the bible says so …….or at least he ‘wants’ to believe.

    Thanks for the huge chuckle this beautiful morning!

  14. But, but , butt ..there is a Youtube saying that the earth is flat…………….
    You have just FLATTENED my flat earth, thanks, bro !

  15. Glad to “see” good news on the eye front! Thanks for your determination to keep us informed/enlightened/amused during the ordeal.

  16. Flast earth, round earth. Does it relly matter? Some will tell you that its all an ill(de)lusion anyays?

  17. If Elaine is going for investing,I am willing to go for it! How about some suggestions for what to do with $80/ month which is all I can afford?

    • I’ll second that! I’ve done OK with non-traditional investments, but never really got into the more liquid types, such as stocks. I suppose I think too concretely, and paper is just paper. With the coming wave 4, it’s about time I polished my understanding of Elliot and how to deal with traditional stock/bond paper things.

      Some of us don’t think in pictures, so numbers and words will have to suffice.

      Good luck with continuing progress on the eyes.

    • +1 on that idea. Suggestions in investing $75-$100 per month would be huge.

    • At the risk of being snarky – how about making sure that ’emergency supplies’ are up to date or maybe some good reading material to start? :)

      • I trust that most readers here who would actually invest real money are smart enough to read the archives and have their ducks in a row. I personally feel that dealing with paper markets is for play money(beyond essentials and reserves), and should get seriously funded only after the returns are consistent and the reasons why are understood.