Spoiler alert: The Earth is not flat.
That said, the topic is certainly a fresh one for Twitter beef.
Scientists have recognized the curvature of the Earth for more than 2,000 years. But rapper B.o.B. challenged that view on Sunday when he began tweeting images and diagrams that he said were proof the Earth is as flat as a 45.
Did we mention B.o.B. is promoting a new album? Well he is.
But he insists those things are definitely not related.
No I'm not crazy , Yes I'm feeling fine, no I'm not doing anything stronger than weed, am I doing this to promote my music .. No...— B.o.B (@bobatl) January 26, 2016
So far, B.o.B. -- nee Bobby Ray Simmons -- has posted almost 50 images of the supposedly flat planet, along with quotes from the 2014 book “The Flat Earth Conspiracy” by Eric Dubay.
(Dubay is known for his series of YouTube videos, including a two-hour production that claims to offer “200 Proofs Earth is Not a Spinning Ball.” He also denies the existence of evolution, nuclear bombs, gravity and the Holocaust.)
Once you go flat, you never go back— B.o.B (@bobatl) January 26, 2016
Thousands of fans retweeted B.o.B.’s claims that “I’m going up against the greatest liars in history ... you’ve been tremendously deceived” and “I question the international laws that prevent you from exploring Antartica and the North Pole... what’s there to hide?”
Finally, mercifully, Neil deGrasse Tyson intervened.
Usually, when a prominent scientist steps forward to set the record straight, that’s the end of the conversation. But not for B.o.B. He tweeted a song he’d written, “Flatline,” in which he insists “Neil Tyson need to loosen up his vest” and ponders why NASA is part of the Department of Defense. (Actually, it’s not.)
Then, in a move B.o.B. probably didn’t see coming, Tyson dropped a diss track back at him.
The rapper Tyson was referring to was his nephew, Steve Tyson, who goes by “Tyson.” He wrote and recorded the song “Flat to Fact.”
In an interview with The Times, Tyson the rapper said he came up with the idea of writing a song in his famous uncle’s defense after texting with him Tuesday morning
“I recorded it in my living room,” Tyson said. “I wrote it in a couple hours and just hit record and started recording it as a track.” His uncle recorded himself reading some of his tweets to use in the song.
I woke up not expecting to write a track about a flat Earth. But some days are full of surprises, I guess...— ELLECT (@Ellect217) January 26, 2016
Not everyone was persuaded. Many followers seemed eager to jump on the flat Earth bandwagon, and B.o.B. was all too eager to retweet them.
Perhaps Laura Danly will be more convincing. She’s the curator of the Griffith Observatory, and she kindly agreed to address a few of the issues B.o.B. raised, including why you can’t see the curvature of the Earth.
“The Earth is just big,” she said. “You look out to the horizon and it looks flat. But if you get into space you can see the curvature.”
B.o.B. asserts that we have no photos of a curved Earth that weren’t “taken” by NASA. That’s not true either: Plenty of space-faring countries have taken pictures of the Earth, including China in 2014 and Japan just last year.
Other things that prove the Earth is round: The fact that we can observe sunrises and sunsets. The fact that people in different hemispheres see different constellations. The fact that you can fly around it in a straight line. (For more on these and other proofs, check out this video from Minute Physcis.)
So for the record, the Earth: definitely round.
Tell Jessica Roy your flat Earth conspiracy theory on Twitter @jessica_roy.
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