1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Update since I converted my camera to Infrared.
    b. a.

    The above IR shot (the B&W one) is not necessarily ideal conditions, which is why it looks generally worse than the color shot. But, even with the limited test, I don't think IR would be a great benefit for the relatively short distance of the Wallace experiment.

    IR does cut through haze, but it does basically nothing with atmospheric turbulence (i.e. chaotic refraction from rising hot air).

    It also tends to lose contrast entirely on printed things. The red and white sign above now seems totally white. Even just that you lose color is probably enough of a downside.

    It would not hurt to have IR as well as visible observations, but I'd not make IR the primary observing mechanism.
  2. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    Nice one Lee, I'll for sure be in touch if it looks like happening. I wrote a detailed proposal linked below, and have had plenty of interest. Perhaps next time I'm in England I'll look to making it happen.

  3. Mendel

    Mendel Member

  4. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    Thanks for the head's up. On the unlikely chance I'm in the UK then I'll head down and throw a line of balloons on 13-foot strings into the canal and let them photo the curve with their P1000s. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Elb

    Elb New Member

    Hi All,

    I'm just wondering what you think about this possible location for a Bedford experiment? I probably spend too much time debating Flat Earthers on Quora and thought doing actual experiments might be a better use of my time. I live in Melbourne (Australia) so I was looking around Victoria for a good location. I found this setup at Thomson Dam. What appeals to me about this is that it's about 3 hours from my home, there appears to be roads/tracks going to the locations I need, and I shouldn't have to get wet ;)

    I'm thinking Wallace style - a long pole (>2m) at location A just in the water off that point, then a pole at location B and then a pole at location C wherever it lines up with the other 2 poles. If I'm using the curve calculators correctly, I should see the pole at location B to be 50-70cm higher (depending on refraction) than the other 2?

    I guess my initial questions are:

    1. Is there any point to doing this type of experiment? The Rowbotham technique seems suspect but the Wallace technique seems more sound.

    2. Is this location any good?

    3. Any other tips, eg. minimum height of poles, time of day, time of year (Winter here at the moment), etc?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2019
  6. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The Wallace experiment is certainly worth doing - especially if it's in a repeatable location.

    It's only 4 miles, but the center point is nicely centered. That's a lot of hiking though, and looks like steep sides. The benefit of a canal is it's a straight line, and often you can drive alongside it. I don't really see this location being that practical. How do you get from one point to another?
  7. Elb

    Elb New Member

    I was planning on driving as much as possible. Location A is reached by Cherry Tree Spur Track but even if that's too overgrown, it looks like a 2km walk from Walhalla Rd. Location B by Pipeline Track or 1.5km walk. But Location C, I might need a canoe and then there's the issue of finding an accessible launch site. Maybe this location is not so great after all ;) I was attracted by the obvious centre point (which I think is really necessary to say something useful with this experiment) but I might keep looking, or maybe go up there and have a look around first.

    As for the experiment generally, I guess my primary concern is controlling for refraction as much as possible. This site is full of such detailed information on refraction and, this might seem redundant, but I think it would be really helpful if it was collated into a sticky such as, "How to design a good curvature experiment" or "Controlling for refraction when doing curvature experiments". How does this all this theory translate into practical advice for someone like me who wants to design a valid experiment? I actually think this would be very valuable to both Flat Earthers and normal adults.

    I'm clearly not an expert in the area but if I was to attempt to make some embarrassingly uneducated guesses, I'd think we would want in these experiments:

    1. Cool/mild and stable temperatures at the time of the experiment and preceding hours. What is the ideal temperature range?
    2. Low temperature differential between air and water so we don't get a layer of air just above the water that is significantly different from those above it. If the water was significantly colder than the air, we might get a dense colder layer above the water, if warmer it might be less dense than the air above it. What is the ideal temperature differential? Should the water be slightly cooler or warmer?
    3. The higher the elevation the better for both observer and target. But if the temperature differential is not extreme, most temperature inversions would dissipate after the first few metres above the water when dealing with a small lake? This is just a guess and it seems it gets pretty complex when looking at the marine layer over the ocean. Target height is obviously a consideration too.
  8. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

  9. Laser

    Laser Member

    @ Elb - In addition to this experiment having been done 100 years ago, it, or something similar, has been done several times in the last few years. The best examples of what are effectively the same as the bedford level observations, are Soundly's pictures on lake Ponchartrain. Soundly's observations have been verified by several flat earthers, and yet they are still widely declared fake in that community. So the question is whether another demonstration like this will add enough more credibility to the other examples, or be enough fun, to be worth the investment of time. The only way I can think of another demonstration like this adding significantly more credibility, is if it is done very close to a very large metropolitan area, so that a very large number of local flat earthers can easily go see and verify it. But New Orleans is decent sized and that wasn't enough. Melbourne might be big enough, but I would think there would be many fewer flat earthers down there, and I think it needs to be much closer than a 3 hr drive. Ideally such a demonstration could be set up close enough to one or some of the most prominent flat earth people, so that they would go to verify and "debunk" the demonstration. Or maybe close to one of the flat earth conferences.
  10. Elb

    Elb New Member

    Hi Rory,

    Yes, I did and I agree with everything there, particularly striping the poles, repeated observations where possible, etc.

    So I guess the reason for my posts were twofold. Firstly, I'm trying to approach this with a modicum of experimental rigour. That means controlling for confounding variables, and it seems clear that the hardest to control is refraction. I've read a reasonable amount of the theory but what I've never seen - which could be my own ignorance - is a description of the ideal conditions to minimise refraction, particularly temperature range, temperature differential of air and water, and minimum height above water. Of course, nothing beats repeated observations but I was thinking that the people here must have formed a general idea of the ideal conditions over time. My guess (which I was hoping to be confirmed) would be perhaps 5-15 degrees (C), temperature differential as close to zero to possible or the water slightly colder, and at least a couple of metres (for a small, shallow body of water) but more if possible. There's a temperature range of 2 to 45 degrees (C) where I live so I have lot of range to work with throughout the year ;)

    Secondly, I'm wondering if the experiment could be simpler than is often done. To be clear, my primary aim is to prove that water "curves". That is, the null hypothesis is that the tops of the three poles are level, alternate hypothesis is that the middle one is higher. For this experiment - not one where measuring the drop is the primary aim - is a 10km stretch of water really more desirable than a 6km stretch? Obviously taking a photo of a target at 10km will be more blurry/indistinct than a photo at 6km so is it worth it when the bulge should already be significant? If I'm using Walter's calculator correctly, the bulge height at 6km with a target and observer height of 2.5m and refraction of 0.2 (low end of medium) is 0.565m. Am I correct that is the height that I should expect the middle pole to be above the last pole if the tops of the first and last poles are aligned under these conditions? That seems to me to be more than enough variation in height to be significant and easily observable. It's much easier to find a 6km stretch than a 10km stretch and the photos will be better too. I'm thinking this experiment could be done pretty much anywhere with three 2.5m poles (with stakes in the bottom), a P900 mounted on a tripod on a card table. The primary issue would then be finding a location where it's simple to erect a middle pole. This assumes that I'm using Walter's calculator correctly ;)

    Here's new potential location 2 hours from me: https://goo.gl/maps/tsmSQZA8zxSKupgd7

    Attached Files:

  11. Elb

    Elb New Member

    Hi Laser,

    I agree that the chance of changing Flat Earthers' minds with this experiment will be close to zero. But I spend way too much time debating with Flat Earthers on Quora and I often find myself saying, "If you think the science is wrong, do the experiment yourself". But I rarely do this myself so I'm feeling like a bit of a hypocrite. Also, one of my best friends is a scientist (Chemistry Professor) and his son is very keen on science so I thought I might try to get them involved too. So I'm hoping this will be fun and I think my revised location (above) will be much better. I think seeing the curve of the Earth with my own eyes would be pretty cool ;)

    As an aside, while researching this I did find something that was a bit odd that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere. On Wikipedia, it says that Henry Yule Oldham recreated the experiment and found that "the middle pole was found to be almost three feet higher than the poles at each end". However, the actual (very) brief report from Oldham says "the middle mark was seen to stand up about six feet above the line of sight". The strange thing about this is not just the discrepancy with Wikipedia, but that if you put a distance of 6 miles into Walter's calculator, you get a bulge height of 6 feet but only if zero refraction is assumed. I assume that if target and observer height are the same (and also that the amount that the target and observer are "tilting" away from each other is not significant), this bulge height represents the difference in height of the middle pole? For Oldham to have just the right conditions to negate normal refraction effects is possible, but to me it is a bit suspicious that the result is mathematically correct assuming zero refraction. Fortunately Wallace had multiple witnesses and referees, but there must be some doubt about Oldham's results. The other possibilities are that my maths are wrong and/or I'm too suspicious ;)

    See pages 725-6 here: https://ia800902.us.archive.org/35/items/reportofbritisha01scie/reportofbritisha01scie_bw.pdf
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  12. DavidB66

    DavidB66 Member

    Walter Bislin's blog has a long report on a Wallace-type experiment carried out by George Hnatiuk and others on a frozen lake (Rainy Lake) on the US-Canada border, over a distance of 10 km. Two sets of markers on posts were arranged to show what would be expected to appear at eye level on a flat earth or a globe earth respectively. An autolevel and a theodolite were used for the observations. The report has an extensive discussion of refraction and other issues. There is a lot to digest, for those who want to get into the details, but there is also a short version of the report. The conclusion is: "all observations match the Globe Model predictions very well, but contradict the flat earth model".

    The report is here:


    There is also a video version on Jesse Kozlowski's YouTube channel.

    While the work looks admirable, I don't think it entirely displaces the value of simpler, rougher, observations if suitable locations can be found.
  13. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah, that's a great experiment, well documented and conclusive. But rather tricky to repeat. Also that page has a mass of information, which is great if that's what you are looking for, but increases the probability that people will just hand-wave it away as being disinformation. It's hard enough to just explain the vanilla Wallace experiment — which was famously misunderstood back in the day, by a flat-earther who had it explained to him by Wallace and actually observed it.


    Metabunk 2019-07-21 08-31-28.

    Metabunk 2019-07-21 08-32-08.

    Still, there's room for both simple and complex experiments.