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Earth Science

Flat-Earth Argument Results in Rap Battle (npr.org) 235

New submitter mjjochen writes: A little something to make you smile (or cry). NPR reports on astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson calling out rapper B.o.B. in a Twitter (& rap) argument over the status of the earth (are we round or flat?). Rapper B.o.B. references the usual conspiracy theories to support his case in his throwdown (music). Neil deGrasse Tyson responds (actually, his nephew does), on why B.o.B.'s points are not very well-informed (music). As Tyson puts it, "Duude — to be clear: Being five centuries regressed in your reasoning doesn't mean we all can't still like your music." Shall we start leeching the four humors from the body again to achieve balance? Hrm.
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Flat-Earth Argument Results in Rap Battle

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  • Time Cube (Score:4, Informative)

    by Major Blud ( 789630 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @09:01AM (#51380905) Homepage

    This rapper is in on the conspiracy himself and doesn't know it. Help spread the word!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] /s

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @09:03AM (#51380911)

    Holy shit. I think that Slashdot may have hit a new all-time low with this submission. Everything about this submission is dumb and irrelevant.

    Come on! Can't we get some relevant submissions onto the front page, rather than total shit like this submission? It's not like they don't exist. They're sitting there in the goddamn queue, while donkey shit like this submission ends up on the front page.

    Seriously, why the fuck is Slashdot reporting about a flat-earth argument of all things? Why the fuck is Slashdot reporting about a goddamn rap battle over some flat-earth argument? The people involved aren't even remotely important in any way.

    What a fucking stupid submission! It's utterly stupid in every single way!

  • Why is anyone paying attention to that goofball B.o.B. anyway? He's a boring rapper with weak rhymes as well as weak science. I mean, his stage name is an initialism for Battery Operated Boyfriend (i.e. a vibrating dildo). All this does is draw more attention to him and his shitty rap. No-one could possibly believe the flat earth theory these days anyway when you can easily fly or sail around the world.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gtall ( 79522 )

      Errr...there is good rap?

      • I'm sure there is. I don't know what it is, though, I mostly just listen to a little Twenty-One Pilots [youtube.com] for the lulz.
    • Re:B.o.B. WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @09:39AM (#51381057) Homepage

      No-one could possibly believe the flat earth theory these days anyway when you can easily fly or sail around the world.

      I have long since given up on making statements about the stupid shit people can or will believe.

      I've met more than enough people who insist on believing the most outrageous things ... and even if they're doing it as an act, any sufficiently advanced attention seeking/denial of reality is indistinguishable from actually being an idiot.

      I no longer differentiate between those who are idiots, and those who merely want to seem like idiots.

      • I no longer differentiate between those who are idiots, and those who merely want to seem like idiots.

        Who wants to seem like an idiot? Most of the time you can tell the idiots because they want to seem smart.

        • If for some reason you find a post that is well thought out, could probably fool someone of less than average intelligence, and has no basis in fact what so ever. It was probably my brother who likes to troll the people that believe in this stuff. He may have also messed up a few wiki articles so that the facts are only slightly incorrect.

    • It's cheap and easy publicity...

    • Why is anyone paying attention to that goofball B.o.B. anyway?

      No one is. Tyson is being his usual annoying attention whore self - he's just mixing it up a bit by introducing one of his relatives into the mix.

  • Sometimes.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @09:17AM (#51380965)

    I love a good conspiracy theory, I really do. I'm a big fan of the X-files... but... and I think this is a big reason why I only engage in them for entertainment purposes:

    The Government cannot simultaneously be incompetent and engage in these "vast conspiracies", as the people who engage in the latter are always complaining about the former so often do. Just because a villain in a Bond flick can ensure the loyalty of silence of the hundreds or thousands of workers from Blofeld to the lowliest janitor in the underground complex does not mean that this is how the real world works. Even the Mafia can't (and isn't able to) do that.

    • The Government cannot simultaneously be incompetent and engage in these "vast conspiracies"

      That's what always gets me about these conspiracy theorists. They claim that the government is incredibly competent at keeping a secret (most times across multiple administrations/Congresses). Yet, this same "incredibly competent at keeping secrets" government messes up in such a way that is obvious to your average conspiracy theorist of modest means. With a computer and some old news footage, they are able to "see

    • That's what they want you to think so you wouldn't recognize the truth when you see it.

      Most government conspiracies are rooted in misdirection and trying to keep something else secret or to trick certain actors into taking certain actions. In other words, they start at the government or an enemy of the government trying to get the government to divulge information in response.

    • But that's the staple of conspiracy theories. Whoever is the conspirator is at the same time a scheming mastermind with infinite resources because they can pull off insane feats to bring on the end of humanity, and at the same time bumbling fools because even harebrained idiots like the average conspiracy nut can see through their plans.

      • The harebrained conspiracy nuts don't consider themselves idiots...quite the contrary, they consider their belief in conspiracies to be evidence that they're more clever than the scheming masterminds (not to mention the rest of humanity, hence the word "sheeple").

        Dunning-Krugery at its finest.

  • by alzoron ( 210577 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @09:22AM (#51380987) Journal

    I did some intertube searches for this guy and 95% of the results have to do with this rap battle thinger. Why is this guy getting attention?

  • Maybe he should change his name to B Square B :)

  • by azcoyote ( 1101073 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @09:45AM (#51381093)
    Without reading TFA, I have to point out that if Tyson tweeted that the rapper was "five centuries regressed in your reasoning" in order to indicate that five centuries ago people all thought that the earth was flat, then Tyson's statement is ironically also uninformed. There's a common myth that Columbus "discovered" that the earth was round. In fact people had believed that the earth was round for centuries before Columbus, but nobody had ever demonstrated this fact to mainland Europe by means of sailing. I'm not talking about the ancient Greeks, either. Even Dante (13th c.) believed that the earth was round, but he thought that the other side was just filled with empty water--apart from Purgatory, which was on an island there. I believe I've even seen references to the earth being round in Christian writings from the first millennium AD. The past is not so simple as people often paint it. It's not as though people were all stupid before until the glorious age of Enlightenment. Hence the kind of fallacy that causes someone to deny the roundness of the earth today is of an entirely different character and magnitude compared to the innocent ignorance of those who imagined the earth as flat in the past.
    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      Without reading TFA, I have to point out that if Tyson tweeted that the rapper was "five centuries regressed in your reasoning" in order to indicate that five centuries ago people all thought that the earth was flat, then Tyson's statement is ironically also uninformed. There's a common myth that Columbus "discovered" that the earth was round. In fact people had believed that the earth was round for centuries before Columbus, but nobody had ever demonstrated this fact to mainland Europe by means of sailing.

      I thought that it was now believed that even in Columbus' time many people believed the Earth was round, they just thought it was a lot smaller or, like you said, just contained water. Remember, he wasn't looking to prove the Earth was round, he was looking for a quicker trading route to Asia.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @10:05AM (#51381215)

        many people believed the Earth was round, they just thought it was a lot smaller

        Both that the Earth is round and a very good approximation of the size were known for centuries before Columbus. *Columbus* underestimated the size of the Earth and thought he could make it; other people refused to support him because they knew that he could not load his ships with enough provisions to survive the trip.

      • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @12:53PM (#51382601)

        many people believed the Earth was round, they just thought it was a lot smaller

        Nope; it was Columbus who thought it was smaller, and was wrong. The Earth's size was first accurately estimated by Eratosthenes around 200 BC by using the shadows cast by the sun in different locations, and his figure (which was in fact only 0.16% off from the true figure) has been the generally accepted one ever since.

    • There is also Christian artwork from a variety of places from the first millennium showing a round earth.
    • It seems incredibly likely the great thinkers of many eras privately challenged the reigning dogma,

      but much of the time, it would've been detrimental to mention those alternative theories publicly.

      Even today, you probably can't get elected president of the US if you're an avowed atheist.

      • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:13AM (#51381719) Homepage
        The christian churches never proclaimed officially that the Earth was flat. Only some quite obscure mysticists from the 3th and 4th century AD did, but they never got much attention. To most people, it didn't matter what size or shape the Earth had, as they never moved around very much, and for those, who did, they knew the Earth was round, and the more astute ones even knew the estimated size. Henry the Navigator, Infante of Portugal in the first half of the 15th century, organized many explorative expeditions around Africa and the Atlantic, which then mounted in a quite correct map of the coasts of Africa, the discovery of Madeira and the Azores, and during the time of Columbus, the discovery of the sea route to India around the Cape of Good Hope. The Portuguese of the 15th century definitely knew decades before Columbus that the Earth is round, and that its circumfence is about 26,000 mls. And there was no religious dogma hindering them to state so.
        • Maybe not, but their book does. And last time I checked they think that bronze age tome is infallible and right and holy and shit.

          Let's take a look, shall we?

          1 Chronicles 16:30:
          Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established;
          it cannot be moved.

          Psalm 93:1:
          The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
          the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
          indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.

          Daniel 4:10-11:
          These are the visions I saw while lying in bed: I looked, and there before me st

          • by tibit ( 1762298 )

            Given that all motion is relative, the statement that something cannot be moved is nonsense. It has no meaning. It's like saying "The world is firmly established; it wakalixes."

            • Well, 5000 years ago people didn't know that, so they wrote something that we know today is not true, but to them it was pretty much the state of their knowledge.

              Why this should be in any way relevant today or even "holy" is beyond me, though.

    • "Without reading TFA, I have to point out that if Tyson tweeted that the rapper was "five centuries regressed in your reasoning" in order to indicate that five centuries ago people all thought that the earth was flat, then Tyson's statement is ironically also uninformed. There's a common myth that Columbus "discovered" that the earth was round."

      Maybe Tyson was not referring to Columbus but Elcano, you know, the first guy that factually rounded the Earth about five centuries ago (1522), setting forever the q

    • Magellan (well, some of his men, technically) completed his circumnavigation in 1522, a few decades after Columbus, who didn't circumnavigate shit. He went out and came back. I would guess that Tyson meant, "it wasn't proven experimentally that the earth was round until 500 years ago" (494 to be exact).

      The first person known to have proposed a heliocentric [wikipedia.org] system, however, was Aristarchus of Samos (c. 270 BC).

  • This would be a much better story if this had been a proper rap battle and Neil deGrasse Tyson had dropped a real rap joint and done a video with girls with big round butts and guns and low-rider cars with hydraulics.

    https://youtu.be/fJuapp9SORA [youtu.be]

  • As a submariner, one of the most important thing you can do is get ranges to other vessels. You do this by using their visible height and your height of eye, allowing you to calculate how much is hidden by the horizon. As the range decreases, you can watch the visible height increase, something you wouldn't see with a flat earth. This happens until the vessel is at the horizon, and you can see the entire thing (which happens at roughly 5100m for a 2 meter tall person, or 5600yd/3.16 miles for a 6 foot ta

    • Perhaps flat-earthers just need to spend some time on a boat to get the real picture.

      Only if you use your ranging skills to sink it.

  • Has Jenny McCarthy been approached about endorsing this? I would love to see a floor fight at the Philadelphia convention this year as McCarthy, with whoever Baldwins and Kardashians she can bring along as co-protesters, noisily accuses the party front-runners of being pawns of Big Astronomy. With some native Hawaiian anti-astronomy protesters for ethnic color, this could become one of the coolest viral videos of all time.

    • by tibit ( 1762298 )

      That... that guy has some good ideas. Where do I subscribe to your pamphlets?

      Comedy gold, right here.

  • Actually, I'd be delighted hear that we are going to start leeching all of the fluids out of the bodies of rap so-called musicians...
  • This is not someone who actually believes what he is shit posting. B.o.B was relatively unknown in mainstream media, that is until he started posting crackpot memes and videos on twitter. Now he is a trending topic. Do you see how this works? Tila Tequila did the EXACT SAME THING last week. She fucking trolled all of her followers, and her name climbed up the trending list. It gets you publicity to do and say outlandish things. This is the new marketing.
  • It's essentially an elaborate troll by anti-intellectuals.

    It can be solved, simply, by taking someone up high enough that they can actually see the curvature of the planet in no unambiguous terms.

    And all these purported flat-earthers have is "Nuh uh!".

    So, again, that's not an argument.

  • Kansas (Score:4, Funny)

    by Cro Magnon ( 467622 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @10:50AM (#51381533) Homepage Journal

    I live in Kansas. All you have to do is look around and you can see the earth is flat.

  • The earth is neither flat nor round. It is spherical, however.

  • B.o.B. stands for "Brainless, obtuse bonehead".

    I just love these jackass geocentrists, so smug and self-assured, convinced that they and they alone know "the truth" while every scientist in the world is wrong.

    This clown couldn't tell a Bunsen burner from a baseball bat, but somehow he's managed to suss it all out...uncover the hidden truth...and with a single stroke of his drippy dick, negate centuries of careful scientific research.

    Never mind the fact that all modern physics contradicts him, and that time

  • Rappers haven't solved the magnets thing yet.

  • We've known for three thousand years that the earth is round (no, Columbus's detractors didn't think the earth was flat. They thought is was bigger than Columbus did--and they were right.).

  • "Shall we start leeching the four humors from the body again to achieve balance?"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    actually... leeches have started to be used again in the western medical world because the removal of blood - especially blood which has heavy toxins or other dangerous pollutants - can have a beneficial effect (obviously), and leaches automatically inject anti-coagulants.

    just because they didn't necessarily understand the exact science *doesn't* mean that over centuries of empirical observation

  • Not 5 centuries ...

    The earth has been known to be round for at least 22 centuries.

    Eratosthenes, proved it by measuring the circumference of the earth around 240 BC.

    Actually, Neil DeGrasse Tyson's predecessor, Carl Sagan explains it very well in this Cosmos video [youtube.com] .

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