Incredibly, there are still people who profess to believe that the earth is flat. I say ‘profess’, personally I just think that they are attention seekers. After all, it beggars belief that anyone could fly in the face of established facts and genuinely believe such arrant nonsense. Yet, only recently, some moronic flat earther freak in the US launched a steam powered rocket of his own construction, with himself on board (allegedly), in an attempt to ‘prove’ that the earth really is flat. Whilst he supposedly survived the flight, (I say ‘supposedly’ because I doubt that he actually was on that rocket), I notice that he hasn’t been forthcoming on whether or not his alleged journey has confirmed his crazy world view, or not. Which isn’t surprising: as we’ve already established, the world is not flat. The fact that it is round (and it is a fact) was established centuries ago – the idea that it is flat has never been a widespread belief. Damn it, the ancient Greeks believed the words was round and came pretty close to correctly calculating its size and mass. Their belief was based upon simple observation that didn’t need a rocket to carry out: the fact that earth’s surface is curved is obvious if you watch a ship come over the horizon when looking out to sea – you will see the uppermost parts of the vessel (masts, funnels, etc), appear first as it ‘climbs’ the curve of the earth’s surface. Moreover, if you can manage to look at a wide enough maritime horizon, it is possible to see a small degree of curvature with the naked eye.

Now, I know that the flat earther idiots will just say that the earth is actually frisbee shaped to explain that curvature, but if you fly at high enough an altitude you can observe a far greater degree of curvature. More than that, the bloody earth has been photographed from space, from the moon even, by both satellites and real live people. Guess what? It’s round. But, of course, all of that has been faked, the morons tell us. I find it profoundly depressing that, in the twenty first century, after man has ventured into space and walked on the moon, that it still seems necessary to have these discussions: the shape of the earth is well established. Those who argue otherwise are contrarian idiots who fly in the face of observable fact. I remember when, not so long ago, they were considered cranks and generally dismissed as a joke, but the advent of the web has given them new impetus, a platform through which to spread their idiocy. It doesn’t help that, increasingly, the mainstream press give them air time, fuelled by their need to fill column inches in as sensational a manner as possible. They shouldn’t. These are people who reject rationality and science, (the idiot with the rocket, for instance, proudly declares that he doesn’t believe in science, despite his alleged mode of transport being possible only due to established scientific principles), and parade their ignorance as a badge of honour. Really, we have stop encouraging these delusional idiots before they take us back to the Dark Ages.

But it seems that there is no real news to report any more. At least, that’s what you might be forgiven for thinking based on the number of ‘headlines’ on news aggregators for newspaper stories concerning so called ‘time travellers’, crashed UFOs, supposed ghosts caught on camera and the like. I know that British tabloids have always had a fixation on the paranormal, but they used to be content to confine such ‘stories’ to the ‘silly season’ in late Summer. Aside from scheduling, the other new thing about this rash of so called stories are their source. Increasingly, it seems, the tabloids are mining the web for this material, rather than waiting for the nutters to come to them, as was traditionally the case. It’s certainly cheaper as they don’t have to bung some lunatic a few quid for their fantasies and accompanying blurred and indistinct photos. For a lot of the ‘crashed UFO’ stories they just refer to those supposed anomalies you can find on Google Maps which some fruitcake has highlighted on their crackpot website – which means that the newspaper can just reproduce the same snapshot from Google Earth.

The ‘time travel’ stories, by contrast, all seem to emanate from You Tube, which seems to have become home to a plethora of videos featuring sad bastards who claim to come from the year 2525, 6022, 2118 or Year Million. Except, of course, that none of them do: they are from right here, right now. Despite all their dire warnings of how we face disaster if we do or don’t do this, that or the other, none of them seem to be able to produce any proof that they come from the future. Surely it would be pretty straightforward for them to be able to predict a string of upcoming events, (sports scores, election outcomes, celebrity deaths, Oscars results, for instance), with such accuracy and quantity that couldn’t be explained by mere chance? Yet they don’t. If I were a time traveller going back in time and wanting to be taken seriously, I’d make out sure that I’d armed myself with plenty of such facts concerning the era I was going back to. Obviously, these guys (for they all seem to be male), would claim that revealing such details could undermine the integrity of the space-time continuum and possibly change history. To which I would reply that this isn’t an episode of Doctor Who. Correctly predicting some sports scores or the like isn’t going to alter future history.

These people are clearly not time travellers. Rather, they are hoaxers, attention seekers, exhibitionists and plain old crackpots. Perhaps some of them really do believe that they come from the future. In which case they are delusional, mentally ill. In any case, we really should not be encouraging them by printing their made up stories in newspapers. In fact, You Tube shouldn’t be allowing these videos stay up. They seem to be keen to take stuff down for all sorts of reasons, ranging from politics to copyright infringement, yet are happy to allow the mentally ill to be exploited by the press. So, really, stop encouraging these nutters – it isn’t fair on them, it certainly isn’t fair on readers to continually be served up their fantasies rather than real news. Remember, just as the earth is not flat, they are not from the future – they are just fruit cakes. But I keep writing this stuff with monotonous regularity – there are times I fear that we are slipping further and further into a new dark age of ignorance and unreason. A situation seemingly being encouraged by our media, which daily celebrates ignorance, intolerance and irrationality. God, I’m so weary of it all! Stop the world, folks! I want to get off! Failing that, just keep it sleazy until the next rant!

Doc Sleaze