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Steam Rocket Builder "Mad Mike" Hughes dead in failed launch

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Brightdreamer

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Introversion

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I view both his ambition and death with a kind of horrified bemusement. I wonder if he refused to use GPS, or believe that it worked? What did he (or other Flat Earthers) think causes lunar eclipses? How did he think modern weather forecasting works? Why did he (or any Flat Earther) think that anyone would go to the trouble of faking orbital photos of Earth? What’s the motivation to spend money to do that?

When I think of some goatherd 10,000 years ago believing the planet is flat, that makes sense. Today, with all the history and science of the world literally in his pocket (cell phone, meet Google), it’s just sad that anyone believes in a flat Earth. Just weird and sad.
 

Albedo

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I'm still not convinced the flat Earth movement isn't 99.7% chan trolls. I'd find them kind of adorable, if their memes weren't all so mean-spirited. I mean, you have to be so wrong about everything. That takes incredible commitment.
 

Brightdreamer

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The Space.com article seems to hint that, as many suspected, he more committed to the funding they threw his way than to their version of reality... though I suspect the Flat Earthers will insist he didn't mean it.
 

Albedo

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The Flat Earthers are going to insist that Big Globe had this guy snuffed for coming too close to the truth.
 

Kjbartolotta

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I have a friend who worked in a design studio, she told me flat earth conspiracies were all the dudes in the warehouse ever talked about. From what I gathered these were regular-ass LA Basin dudes, nice guys and not weird except that they were all flat earthers.

I dunno, there's just something so attractive about the conspiratorial mindset. It's fun to imagine you know something other people don't, and always a level of imaginative play in putting together the pieces. And at some point, you make the conscious choice to reject something that's obviously true, because we all know there's the truth but also the real truth that's being kept from you. And the standard for veracity shifts.

But aliens are real and Atlantis existed. These I know are facts, even if everything else is crazy.
 
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Albedo

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There's something just charming about a room full of bros who bro broishly, but they're also way into Zetetic Astronomy. Flat Earthism doesn't seem to dovetail with racism, nationalism, or other horrors like a lot of other conspiracy theories do. Maybe it's the conspiracy theory we need, if The Algorithm is going to push conspiracies anyway.
 

cmhbob

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I saw the news and was saddened, as much for the way I knew he'd be mocked as for his actual death.

He had, in essence, the same dream as anyone ever did in the space race of the 60s and 70s and beyond: He wanted to see what was up there.

Would that we all die so boldly pursuing a dream.
 

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I remember hearing about this guy a while back, and I knew then he was almost certainly going to kill himself doing this. It's sad no one could talk him out of it. That's the thing that gets me about this story: Where were the people (friends, family, the fucking FAA or whatever) who maybe could have stepped in and didn't? Like, maybe a bunch of folks could have pitched in and bought him a ticket on a plane that would take him up to the stratosphere (I say that kind of jokingly, I'm sure that's not easy to arrange for regular folks) or taken him out to a NASA facility to learn all about space and explain how we know what we know (which is a lot of the basic tourist experience last time I went through Cape Canaveral) or just.. I dunno, anything other than stand back while he gleefully went about this idiotic mission.
 

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I 100% thought flat earthers were trolls or making a sideways point, like the Satanists... then I saw a documentary about them. Urk.
 

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Where were the people (friends, family, the fucking FAA or whatever) who maybe could have stepped in and didn't? Like, maybe a bunch of folks could have pitched in and bought him a ticket on a plane that would take him up to the stratosphere (I say that kind of jokingly, I'm sure that's not easy to arrange for regular folks) or taken him out to a NASA facility to learn all about space and explain how we know what we know (which is a lot of the basic tourist experience last time I went through Cape Canaveral).

Oh sure, like you can trust Deep State players like NASA or the FAA and their high-tech fakes. Don’t you see, the only way to be sure is to fly on water you pumped up yourself... /s

I guess I feel like at some point, the best course for someone on a quixotic mission like his is to just stand back, try to limit his chances of taking anyone else down with him, and letting his inevitable crater speak for itself? I mean, the fact that he died is just the sadness cherry on top of the sadness sundae of this quest. I feel bad for his friends and family, but him? He died doing what he loved, as pointless as it was.
 

Stytch

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Oh sure, like you can trust Deep State players like NASA or the FAA and their high-tech fakes. Don’t you see, the only way to be sure is to fly on water you pumped up yourself... /s

I guess I feel like at some point, the best course for someone on a quixotic mission like his is to just stand back, try to limit his chances of taking anyone else down with him, and letting his inevitable crater speak for itself? I mean, the fact that he died is just the sadness cherry on top of the sadness sundae of this quest. I feel bad for his friends and family, but him? He died doing what he loved, as pointless as it was.

I guess. I mean, he's a grown-ass man and all, but... yes, the sadness sundae. That's what it is.

Also, do they still do the Darwin Awards? Because it occurs to me that's one other way for him to be a lesson to others. Beyond the crater.
 

Laer Carroll

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I'd imagine it'd be better if that happened after you caught them.

It takes EFFORT. Just when you think you've got them, they tip over the glass of Coke & race off in opposite directions. Forcing a trilemma: chase one of the two or grab the beverage glass.
 

Roxxsmom

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With all the years I've been teaching college biology classes, I've yet to have a flat earther come forward. I've never met one. If only all the other wacky, anti-science conspiracists were as rare and retiring.

Seems odd that a rocket launch that would climb only to 5000 feet would be seen as evidence of anything, when flying in an airplane takes one much higher--high enough to see the curved horizon (though of course a turtle's back would be curved--so maybe that's how they explain it). I don't wish death on anyone, but seriously, how stupid can someone be? I've no idea what percentage of these people are attention-seeking trolls versus true believers, but they do seem to be rarer, or more universally mocked, than purveyors of other anti science nonsense. One thing they all share is an unwillingness to submit their hypotheses to true falsification, when they are even falsifiable, or to accept falsification when it occurs.

Next up, the Antarctic cruise to see the great ice wall that encircles the globe. Funny how that "ice wall" is only visible in the southern part of the planet. Hopefully no one will die this time.

https://www.livescience.com/65053-flat-earther-cruise-antarctica-ice-wall.html
 

Thomas Vail

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With all the years I've been teaching college biology classes, I've yet to have a flat earther come forward.
In biology, I'd imagine anti-evolutionists would be more topical.

Seems odd that a rocket launch that would climb only to 5000 feet would be seen as evidence of anything
Fact is, Mad Mike wasn't a flat earther. He was a daredevil who wanted to do spectacular and dangerous things in home made rockets, and linking up with flat earthers gave him the signal boost to get notoriety, attention, and donations to fund his project.
 

Friendly Frog

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Fact is, Mad Mike wasn't a flat earther. He was a daredevil who wanted to do spectacular and dangerous things in home made rockets, and linking up with flat earthers gave him the signal boost to get notoriety, attention, and donations to fund his project.
If that's true, it would make his death less sad and pointless IMO. All that drive and enthousiasm (heck, he did just build his own rocket), then just wasted on a debunked case like the flat earth delusion...

Too bad then, that he'll be mostly remembered as a failed flatearther, instead of a daredevil who died while practising something he loved.
 

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There is a much cheaper and much less dangerous way to get to high altitudes, but one has to do so indirectly. One can send a video camera up to high altitudes with a weather balloon, the video camera being a GoPro or a smartphone camera or a similar sort of camera. Many people have done that, and one can find lots of video in online video sites like YouTube.

The 1st GoPro in Near Space (80,000ft)! - YouTube
LAUNCH | GOPRO INTO SPACE - YouTube

GoPro Awards: On a Rocket Launch to Space - YouTube - a small rocket, and it went up without trying to get into orbit.


Once you see stuff like this, you can understand why remote-controlled spacecraft have gone MUCH farther than human space travelers.
 

Vincent

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He was only aiming to go 5,000 feet up.
 

lpetrich

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He was only aiming to go 5,000 feet up.
True, but that was from how high he could go in his rocket.

Sending a video camera up with a balloon could have gotten him a much better view.
 

Brightdreamer

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True, but that was from how high he could go in his rocket.

Sending a video camera up with a balloon could have gotten him a much better view.

That was not the point, though.

For him, the point was the stunt, and building his own steam-powered rocket, using Flat Earther money to do it (and helping legitimize a truly harmful rejection of facts and science in the process.)

For true-believer Flat Earthers, any camera is suspect: it's a "fisheye lens", an optical illusion, or black ops hack the feed and overwrite the image, or the mad scientist who has their brains in a jar simulating reality presses a few buttons and generates a false optical impression...
 

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