Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Flattening the Earth

and elevating the horizon
  [vote for,

A gust of the seaward wind caught the sunbathing family unawares when it blew their air mattress into the Aegean. The inflated plastic was repeatedly tossed and rolled into the air over the waves, as it receded from the beach faster than the father could swim. I watched the bouncing, yellow spot until it seemed to disappear under the horizon toward Turkey.

That evening at the shore restaurant, the patrons were in awe as the full moon, dark red as a grilled tomato, rose out of the sea and became a glowing orange and then turn pale yellow as a large drop of béarnaise. Its height and intensity then caused a wide, shimmering path of light to shine from the beach until its abrupt termination at the junction of sky and ocean.

Now if a section of the sea were flat for a great distance, the horizon would be elevated towards the moon, providing an even more spectacular light show and illustrating the curvature of the earth. This straight plane, reaching a height of one mile at a distance of 84, could be fed with water, creating a lazy river, water slide, or it could be built from “flat” Kansas to the Rocky Mountains.

Such an engineering feat, if not returning wayward air mattresses, might give clues to what happens to them.

FarmerJohn, Aug 15 2003

(?) Great British Dawdle Ramp http://www.halfbake...ish_20Dawdle_20Ramp
transport ramp [FarmerJohn, Oct 05 2004]


       Stop the drinking, and stop the drugs.
sild, Aug 15 2003

       Whatchoo talkin' bout, Willis? +
thumbwax, Aug 15 2003

       <Dr. Evil>Roooight</Dr Evil> Explain?
silverstormer, Aug 15 2003

       We already have a spherical earth that behaves locally as if it's flat. Now we add a big flat plate to the side that behaves like it's a shallow bowl. I like it.   

       You could walk to the edge feeling like you're going uphill, but look back and find that it's flat. The curve of the horizon would be subtly different, too. Might take a few hours to get used to being there.   

       You have a strange mind, John... and I mean that in a good way.
st3f, Aug 15 2003

       Interesting point [st3f], but I have to say I didn't get that from the Farmer's words.
sild, Aug 15 2003

       sild: The key, for me, is in the second sentence of paragraph 3 ('This straight plane...'). I needed quite a few reads to get a picture. Making it a plate rather than a strip is from my brain, though. I liked the idea of seeing what the horizon on a flat planet would be like.
st3f, Aug 15 2003

       So ... yer saying ... the sun revolves around the mattress, right?
k_sra, Aug 15 2003

       We would probably have to hock Queen Isabella's jewels to finance the project.   

       Cool, a plane tangent to the earth. I've always wondered what that'd be like. Could do a quick small scale version with a good laser in the fog or or on a dusty road in the desert somewhere (would show about a foot and a half rise in half a mile).
oxen crossing, Aug 15 2003

       wouldnt that mess with the whole spinning earth thing? and the equator?
crispee, Aug 15 2003

       Just spin earth up to, let's say 2 hour days. At the poles it will be nearly flat. At the equator you can jump really high to see the moon above the clouds, that's spectacular too.
kbecker, Aug 15 2003

       "I watched the bouncing, yellow spot until it seemed to disappear under the horizon toward Turkey." This idea may be only half as baked as the dinner rolls at the shore restaurant, but it sure aint no turkey. It's more like a shaved orangutan sipping lemonade. Flat earth people unite!
LabRat, Aug 15 2003

       (puts fingers in ears) "... la la la la the earth is flat, the earth is flat la la la la la....."
Cedar Park, Aug 16 2003

       If we followed kbecker's deformed-earth proposal, space travel would become ridiculously cheap, since from such an equator, we could slingshot even the largest craft into Outer Space pretty much by hand.
friendlyfire, Aug 16 2003

       (sees [friendlyfire] pushing deperately on a cruise ship, trying to get it airborne. shakes head)
Worldgineer, Aug 16 2003

       Perhaps, "ridiculously cheap," largest craft," and, "by hand," were a wee bit over enthusiastic on my part.   



       I may be wrong (and spectacularly so), but since
V = (2GM/R)^0.5
(where V = escape velocity, M = mass of the planet, G = gravitational constant, R = radius of the planet),
the impressive equatorial bulge of the 2-hour-day Earth (a greatly increased R) would mean a useful reduction in V.

       We would have to wait thousands, nay, millions of years for the Earth to deform thus, even if we could spin it up tomorrow. And we would have to endure millennia of quite brutal earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, storms and other such acts of an understandably aggrieved God.
friendlyfire, Aug 16 2003

       Splendid! Now, here did I put my cruise ship...?
friendlyfire, Aug 16 2003

       (Psst. FF) You wanna borrow my spare W? I think you lost yours.   

       No, no, you misunderstand - I was having a Shakespearean moment:   

       "Now, here did I put my cruise ship,
Wat'ry home for my journey 'neath the stars,
But first must I make a booze trip,
Sampling delights of many bars."
friendlyfire, Aug 16 2003

       <sniff> That's F**king Beautiful FF!</sniff>
gnomethang, Aug 16 2003

       Essentially it would not be flat. More like an inverted parabola(very shallow) with the tips geometrically increasing in height from the normal surface of the earth. If you were to stand in the middle of this plane it would appear as though you were in a very large volcano, not unlike pavonis mons on mars, which is actually flattish. Now to fill it up with water, and to find a way to stop it freezing. Time to terraform.
Trodden, Aug 22 2003

       <You could walk to the edge feeling like you're going uphill, but look back and find that it's flat.>   

       Wow, just like climbing a sheer cliff. Sorry, but you -are- going uphill. So I just don't get the big deal, seeing as earth's surface isn't spherical at small scales anyway.
n-pearson, Aug 22 2003

       + I ordered a flat croissant with moon butter.
xandram, Jul 13 2006


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