Talk:1255: Columbus

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 16:16, 23 August 2013 by (talk)
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Megan's version of the story is one big reference to the Silmarillion, in case you're wondering. 06:00, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

I fail to see how the fact scholars and other educated people knew the Earth is round means he couldn't have difficulty getting sponsorship because of that. He wasn't asking scholars for sponsorship, did he? :-) Actually, according to wikipedia, "Columbus presented his plans to Queen Isabella, who, in turn, referred it to a committee" ... -- Hkmaly (talk) 09:14, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Because it wasn't just scholars - everyone knew that the world was a sphere. Sailors, for example, took the monumental task of noticing that when objects appeared in the distance, they seemed to "rise up" over the horizon (hence the phrase). For that to happen, the sea (and by extension the rest of the world) had to be curved. 12:08, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Farmers were famous for believing the world was flat, but it might as well just be city prejudice or jokes on farmers behalf. They would anyway be in the worst position to know any better. 12:30, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Looking at the moon and at the earth's shadow during a lunar eclipse would probably make many realize the earth is round. Ghaller825 (talk) 12:45, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Unless "round" as in "circular", rather than "spherical". A disc-like Earth could give the same effect. A non-tidally-locked moon would have been an interesting thing for early understanding of the universe, as it would have shown a clearly spherical ball rotating and let the layperson imagine sphericality under their own feet a lot easier in their own childhood, thus flat-earthing would have been culturally invalid, not just lazy/unthinking. Whether or not farmers 'knew'/cared/were-told-by-the-church that the world was flat isn't really relevent on the scale of farming where you need to worry more about localised hills on your land than global curvature on its actual order of magnitude. Of course, in the absence of any other clues you tend to think of everything as flat as your (crudely worked) kitchen tabletop by default. 16:16, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

I am not sure what people knew and what they believed in earlier times. For example: M-Theory says that the space we live in has 11 dimensions. Assuming this is correct, what will people in 500 years say about us? Did we know it or did we not? Could we have expected what will hit us in a couple of years from out of one of the dimensions that we do not visually perceive? To apply this to the quesion of whether they knew that the world was round: There is a story about Magellan (who certainly believed that the world was round because he tried to sail around it): He tried to measure the depth of the ocean with a 700m long rope. When the rope failed to reach the bottom, he concluded that the ocean was infinitely deep. Now how can a round object with a finite perimeter have and infinite radius? (I realize that wikipedia does not give any sources for the story and its origin is somewhat obscure, someone translated the story from the German wikipedia in July 2011; in the German wikipedia it had first appeared in 2006, but the story was around on German language websites since at least 2000; I have no idea where it originally comes from, but it would be interesting to have a look at Magellan's ship's log if it had such a thing.) Y4cy (talk) 13:41, 23 August 2013 (UTC)