Monday, November 23, 2015

Recently Read: Sir Francis Drake by George Malcolm Thomson

I recently finished reading Sir Francis Drake by George Malcolm Thomson. The book was published in 1973. A very good read - well worth the £2 I paid for it in a local bookshop :)

Anyway I'll relay some of the interesting bits n bobs I found within its pages.

Firstly it mentioned the fabled great southern continent called Beach which earlier explorers searched for in vain. I'd heard tell of this great southern continent in other books and suchlike (more commonly known as Terra Australis), however I'd never came across the fact that it was named Beach - a name both simple and alluring. Beach was said to be rich in gold - a super-continental El Dorado of sorts. More real estate anyone?

Another snippet from the book I liked was one concerning Walter Raleigh.
'What is that island?' asked Sir Walter Raleigh of a Spanish cartographer. 'It is called the Painter's Wife's Island. Why? Because she wanted an island of her own. He put it in to oblige her.'
A tale illustrating how little people knew of the world back then, and how untrustworthy maps could be. As we know from our recent Flat Earth investigations of course all we really have are paintings ;) Are things really so different now?

Also worthy of note is the fact that the book mentions that one Spaniard, Don Miguel de Eraso, thought Drake was French! It's one of those odd little out of place bits of history that suggests our accepted historical narrative is somewhat wrong. The author simply decides that Don Miguel was misinformed, however other things in the book lend weight to Drakes apparent Frenchness. It mentions that French ambassadors would send pictures of Drake to their correspondents. There's also the fact that Drake sailed under French or Flemish colours when he "singed the King of Spain's Beard" by attacking the Spanish naval forces assembling in the Bay of Cadiz. It's said he later hoisted the Cross of St George and that the French/Flemish colours were intended to trick the Spanish. However, I guess it's possible that that could be a papering-over-the-cracks by later historians of an unwelcome fact that doesn't quite fit the narrative.

Finally one other thing that caught my eye. The book mentions that when Drake and his troops captured a Spanish palace in the Americas they found painted on the staircase a horse with one foot on the globe and the other in the air. It had upon it the motto: Non sufficit orbis - the world is not enough. A name now more familiar as the title of a Bond movie. Obviously the globe caught my eye as well xD

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Flat Earth & Fortean Times

Earlier this year I noticed a mention of the Flat Earth revival in the pages of the alternative magazine Fortean Times. That was in the September 2015 edition and it briefly noted the recent "flurry of activity on Flat Earth websites" and referenced Eric Dubay's Atlantean Conspiracy website.

The mention came in the Conspirasphere section of the magazine. For context Fortean Times is a magazine that likes to have its cake and eat it when it comes to conspiracies. Discussing them within its pages, but doing so with a healthy dose of mainstream scepticism and humour. I can't really complain about this too much, as I sometimes do it myself on these pages.
Anyway, the mention seemed like a little breakthrough for Flat Earth and I took it as a sign that the movement was indeed growing the way it seemed to be growing on YouTube. Since then I've been keeping a look out for further mentions. So far there hasn't been another direct mention of Flat Earth to my knowledge, however I do keep seeing indications that they're keeping an eye on things. For example, in the latest edition (December 2015) they mention the floating city that was seen over China. To be fair this is the sort of thing that Fortean Times would normally report on, but what was telling was its reference to claims that 'NASA' were responsible for the event - not the usual CIA/Military/HAARP bad guys that usually take the blame for such things.
The December edition also mentioned the Stephen Hawking conspiracy theories that are out there right now - the ones that point out the fact that Hawking is by far the longest living survivor of Lou Gehrig's Disease, and that suggest that the Stephen Hawking "character" has been portrayed over the years by a series of body doubles. Again this is a conspiracy theory rooted in the realms of Fake Space/Fake NASA and Fake Science. Sadly, they don't mention Math Powerland's Stephen Hawking vids though.

Deep down I'm hoping that at some point they'll do a full cover story about Flat Earth, but I think that may be a long time coming. Even if Flat Earth has aroused their curiosity, I think it still seems to be a little taboo - even for those writing from an observer, rather than a believer, perspective. I'll keep a lookout though.

I remember playing the same game with Fortean Times regarding 9/11. Wondering when they would finally start mentioning the mountains of alternative material out there about it. At first it started appearing in the magazine, but with a "how can people believe this stuff?" sense of derision. Then gradually that started morphing into a more tacit acceptance that maybe the conspiracy theorists have it right about some things.

In fact, in last months edition (November 2015) they discuss, again in the Conspirasphere section of the magazine, how the conspiracy industry has grown so big that it's started to develop a mainstream and an alternative of its own. And also how it's started to develop a "tabloid/broadsheet" divide, with sensationalist conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones on the one side and more "academic" theorists on the other. It's almost like the writers of Fortean Times are trying to justify their own obvious interest in the subject ;) ..hoping that they can somehow exist on the more respectable side of the divide without acquiring all the negative connotations of the "conspiracy theorist" label.

If any Fortean Times writers are reading this, unlikely though that is, I would say don't worry too much :) ..conspiracy theories are definitely mainstream now. A historic fashion shift has occurred and we can't go back. The only people who look like "loonies" these days are the few people who can sit through, say, September Clues and still believe they can trust their governments and media. The magic bean buying segment of the population XD

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Kshir Sagar: The Ocean of Milk

More Flat Earth musings. I recently noticed a few posts on Facebook about the Hindu festival of Diwali. Out of interest I had a look on Wikipedia and did a bit of reading up on it and other aspects of Hindu mythology. Of particular interest was Kshir Sagar; the Ocean of Milk.

This was of particular interest to me as I'd already mentioned milk in connection with Flat Earth elsewhere, pointing out the possible etymological links between the Milky Way and Antarctica. The term Milky Way derives from the Hellenistic Greek term galaxías kýklos meaning "milky circle" - Antarctica, on a Flat Earth map of course looks very much like a milky circle. Likewise in Swedish the Milky Way is called Vintergatan meaning "winter road" - linking the two themes even more so.

The Ocean of Milk in Hindu mythology seemingly weaves these themes even further. It's said that in the Hindu (and also Buddhist and Jainist) view of the universe there are seven oceans that separate loka (directional space) from aloka (non-directional space). The Ocean of Milk is said to be the fifth or sixth (accounts seem to vary) from the centre.

According to one source the Seven Seas going outwards from the centre are; the Salt Ocean (our ocean), the Sugarcane Juice Ocean, the Ocean of Wine, the Ghee (butter) Ocean, the Curd Ocean, the Ocean of Milk, and the Water or Sweet Water Ocean.

It reminds me of playing Super Mario World with levels like Donut Plains and Chocolate Island xD.

Regarding the Ocean of Milk the story goes that at the suggestion of Vishnu the gods and demons churned the ocean to obtain Amrita, the nectar of immortal life. They used the Serpent King Vasuki for a churning string, and for the churning pole they used Mount Mandara placed on the back of a giant tortoise (very FE !). The tale is said to be an allegory for the Milky Way as it turns in the sky above us.

The most interesting thing I found regarding all this however came on the Wikipedia page for the Ocean of Milk.

When discussing the Hindu cosmos it stated the following;
Cosmologically the Dvipas and Sagaras depict the entire Cosmos, though in Cartiography (or Cosmography), all the Dvipas and Sagaras are shown to lie in the Southern Hemisphere.
Dvipas are islands or continents, Sagaras are oceans. The fact that they're all shown to lie in the Southern Hemisphere really is the clincher that this is a Flat Earth world view. If you read the full page you'll notice the writer(s) trying to present it all as akin to our modern (planet n stars) thinking, they even mention Black Holes in the last paragraph xD, but I think they're projecting their own wishes onto something very much out of step with their own version of reality.

I'll happily steal this image from the Wikipedia page though :p said to show the churning of the ocean of milk.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Martian Moon-days and Planetary Pairs

Okay, back to flat ..well, back to flatish. I've been attempting over the last few months to understand the paths of the Sun and the Moon from a first person perspective. It's a fascinating thing to do, and one of the most noticeable things is the way the Moon lags behind the Sun in its motion through the sky.

The Sun goes past, of course, once every 24 hrs, the Moon once every 24 hrs and 50 minutes. Quite curious.

By the way, on a side note, I should first mention that by contemplating the Flat Earth model I feel I now understand the Ball Earth model much better than people who simply believe it's a ball. People who denigrate others for asking "Is the Earth flat?" are kind of ignorant by default in my opinion. They learn by rote, but fail to gain any true understanding of the processes involved, as they never attempt to build and test systems for themselves. This is why with all our "knowledge" people are still generally baffled by the sky above them - they know it's a ball, yet have no idea where the moon is, or where it's going. Or even which direction is East and which is West. They claim that the Earth is self-evidently round, yet laud Copernicus & Co as geniuses for figuring this stuff out. Is it hard or is it easy to figure out? - it can't be both. If you laugh at someone for asking if the Earth is flat maybe it's you that's failing to understand the complexity of the world we're living in.
It's very hard to visualise the apparent motions of the planets - especially when you have to consider that you yourself are moving and spinning. However, it's much easier when you start by considering things from a fixed position. After all Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler all started out with a fixed view of Earth. And they no doubt built things up gradually beginning with that premise. It's like learning how to do maths and physics problems - when we're asked at school to calculate the speed of a car travelling from A to B we're allowed to pretend that A and B are fixed positions. It would be far too difficult if we didn't. You need to start somewhere simple, grasp that concept, then build complexity from there. It's a process. Likewise it's easier to start by thinking that your position is fixed when considering the motions of the stars and the planets. After all, how can you build a true understanding of the world without looking through your own eyes? Knowledge without context is simply useless.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the Moon passing across our sky every 24 hrs and 50 minutes. I found this fascinating. In fact, I can't believe it's took me this long to notice it. For the first time ever in my life I now know (vaguely) where I'll find the Moon in the sky each day. I still have no idea regarding the overall model, but I feel I have a much, much better grounding on which to build my future opinions and theories.

When considering the Moon I was also reminded of the length of the day on Mars. The Martian day is apparently 24 hrs and 40 minutes long. I've always found it interesting how close an approximation the Martian day is to the Earth day. To find it's an even closer approximation to the Moon "day" is particularly interesting.

When looking at the day lengths of all the other planets I came across something maybe even odder still. The day lengths appear to be paired into groups as we move out from the Sun.
Mercury and Venus both have a very long day (1,408 hrs and 5,832 hrs respectively). Then Earth and Mars have days that are less than an hour different (24 and 25 hrs). Next up we have Jupiter and Saturn, again with just an hour difference (10 and 11 hrs). Then finally Uranus and Neptune, yet again with days of just an hour in difference (17 and 16 hrs).

This seems like something a little more than random. Anomalies are always an interesting window into other places. So this is definitely something worth looking into further.

It would maybe be interesting to check the day lengths of the moons of all the planets too - just in case the pattern continues. I think that'll be my next step actually.