Hey there! Welcome to Life Noggin.
Right now you're probably watching this video from somewhere on Earth... that big, round beautiful planet you humans call home.
But how do you know the Earth is round? Your senses would tell you that it's flat.
After all, if you stand in a large field, it actually looks pretty flat.
And if you walk through that field, it doesn't feel like you're going over a curve. Could it be that the Earth is actually flat?
Well, let's try an experiment. Say you're standing in a field outside of Chicago.
If the Earth is flat, you should be able to see southwest and see some of the tallest points in the United States, the Rocky Mountains.
But the thing is, you can't. That's because of the curvature of the Earth.
You'll notice a similar problem if you stand on a seashore and try to watch a boat sail away. After awhile, it will disappear from view.
And not only that, but the bottom of the boat will vanish before the top as it goes over what's called the horizon line — the place where the sky meets the Earth.
For someone who is six feet tall, the horizon line is only three miles away.
But the higher up you are, the farther you can see over the Earth's curve.
This is why standing on a tall mountain might allow you to see over 100 miles while standing in a field will only let you see a short distance.
It also means that taller people can see slightly farther than shorter people.
Good thing my animator can make me any height! See? I'm like one ant dude.
The thing is, none of this is new information. We've known about the planet's curvature for over 2000 years.
The Ancient Greeks figured out that the Earth is round based on several pieces of evidence, including their observations of ships going over the horizon line.
The scientist Aristotle, writing in 350 BCE, noted that during an eclipse, the Earth makes a round shadow on the moon.
He also realized that stars appear in different places depending on where you are standing.
For example, he saw stars in Egypt that weren't visible farther north.
Roughly 100 years later, humans got their first measurements of the Earth's curve from another Greek mathematician, Eratosthenes.
He had heard of a city in southern Egypt where, at noon on the summer solstice, the sun was directly overhead and the buildings cast no shadows.
But at the same time in the northern city of Alexandria, the buildings did cast shadows... meaning the sun was at a different angle in the sky.
On the day of the solstice, Eratosthenes stuck a stick in the ground in Alexandria and measured the angle of its shadow.
Using the distance between the two cities, he was able to calculate the curvature of the Earth!
You could actually perform this same experiment if you have a friend living a few miles away.
Or, if your friend is several hours west, you can get more proof that the Earth is round by calling them at sunset and asking how the sky looks.
It will still be daylight there because of the Earth's curve.
And there's one more piece of clear evidence for the planet's shape — pictures taken from space.
Maybe you're not on Earth after all and are actually watching this video from the space station… in which case, please leave a comment, because that's so cool.
If that's true, you'll have a bird's-eye view of this giant blue and green globe. What a beautiful place to live.
So what other myths about Earth do you want me to explore?
Let me know in the comment section below.
Do you love science? Do you love video games?
If so, you have to check out Play Noggin, which is an excellent combination of the two.
Julian recently explored the idea of mind control. Check it out!
If the colander our protagonist puts on his head allows him to hack into the minds of his less intellectual friends, then in theory, he could exercise control over their actions.
At a basic level, it doesn't sound too complicated. In order to control the activity in an area of the brain, you need to stimulate it with energies.
My name is Blocko. This has been Life Noggin. Don't forget to keep on thinking.