So about those flat earthers….

This video is actually pretty great, and zeros in on an aspect of the modern flat earth “movement” that I think lots of folks miss. It boils down to a sort of scientific solipsism, wherein the adherents distrust anything and everything they cannot explain or experience with their own senses.

Modern science stands on the shoulders of giants. Probably no one understands it ALL, but we trust the scientific method, peer review, etc., to lead us towards the light. Flat Earthers see the implications of modern science, find it at odds with their lived experience, and choose their own naive POV over that of the scientific community.

In the 1800s, there was a similar problem; a man named Samuel Rowbotham pushed a school of thought he deemed “zetetic inquiry.”

In the Flat Earth sense, the term refers to flipping the scientific method on its head and deriving one’s observations from testing, with no regards to any hypothesis. Of course, if you did scientific inquiry this way, you’d end up with stating that a sphere is flat just because it looks flat to a relatively minuscule observer on its surface.

It’s weird to me that the answer isn’t obviously “the gallows.”

What Do the Hohenzollerns Deserve?

Apparently, the German royal family — deposed since 1918 — are trying to rewrite history, and perhaps regain a place of honor on Germany, including compensation for land and palaces in Berlin taken from them after abdication (which would come in addition to the dynastic wealth they retained even after 1918).

This is ridiculous, and would be ridiculous even without clear evidence of his family’s collaboration with and support of Hitler.

Monarchies are all based on murder, mayhem, and corruption. Monarchal wealth that persists past the end of the governing monarchy ought to have been subject to state confiscation. It’s ridiculous that the Hohenzollern descendants are still wealthy layabouts and not normal citizens with a historical footnote in their family tree.

Fortunately, it appears most Germans agree:

Many Germans are bewildered by their former royal family‚Äôs demands. “This country does not owe a single coffee cup to the next-born of a luckily long-vanquished undemocratic regime, let alone art treasures or real estate,” wrote Stefan Kuzmany, a columnist for Der Spiegel. “Even the request is an insult to the Republic.” The Hohenzollern wealth, he argued, was the product of historical injustice: “The aristocracy in general, [and] the Hohenzollerns in particular, have always been a plague on the country and the people. Like all so-called noblemen, they have snatched their fortune through the oppression of the population.” As Clark noted in his interview, “There seems to be a strong animus against the nobility within parts of the German public.”

Emphasis added.

This Gear Will Never Turn

Well, for certain values of “never;” the device in question includes a Googol-to-one gear ratio. It’s a sequence of 100 gears, each with a 10:1 ratio to its neighbor.

In the “similar prior art” department, turns out this guy was inspired by a Arthur Ganson’s sculpture “Machine with Concrete,” which includes a sequence of gears and a drive shaft, with the gearing such that the final step is literally embedded in concrete — which is fine, because that particular part turns 1 time every 2 trillion years.

Both links feature video fo the machines in question.

The Importance of Relative Velocity in Military Aviation

Recently, a Dutch F-16 managed to shoot itself with its own gun during maneuvers.

The rounds have a muzzle velocity of 3,450 feet per second (1050 meters per second). That is speed boosted initially by the aircraft itself, but atmospheric drag slows the shells down eventually. And if a pilot accelerates and maneuvers in the wrong way after firing the cannon, the aircraft could be unexpectedly reunited with its recently departed rounds.

Click through; this is also not the first time something like this has happened. In fact, the first time was in 1956.

Also hilarious: the gun in question, a 20mm Vulcan cannon, can fire 6,000 rounds a minute — but the F-16 only carries 511 rounds, or about 5 seconds of fire.