Earlier this week, rapper B.o.B attempted to prove the earth is flat by using a South Jersey landmark - Apple Pie Hill in the Pinelands - as a key example. The assertion caused not only Neil deGrasse Tyson to publicly denounce the claim, but now, even Derrick Pitts, the Franklin Institute's chief astronomer is labeling B.o.B's statement 'idiotic.'
Because, not only is the rapper wrong on so many levels but it turns out the photo he used attempting to prove his point wasn't even really taken from Apple Pie Hill, according to the man who snapped it.
But, Bradley Maule, who took the picture, disputes that it was taken from the hill.
Maule estimates that that photo was actually taken about 75 miles northeast of Philadelphia, not the 40 miles provided in the example.
It should, however, be noted that the Philadelphia skyline is still viewable from the real Apple Pie Hill, though it is much less clear than B.o.B.'s example lets on.
Apple Pie Hill or not, just the absurd claim the earth was flat caused Neil deGrasse Tyson to lambaste B.o.B.
Even Franklin Institute's chief astronomer, Derrick Pitts, has chimed in, saying even if the picture were of Apple Pie Hill, math otherwise proves the earth is a sphere.
"For real? We're really going to bother to talk about this?" Pitts said of B.o.B.'s statement. "There's plenty of room on the planet for idiots also."
Not only was this pic below showing the Apple Pie Hill view with Philly in background wrong, but so is the math cited, according to Pitts:
The Earth's surface curves about 8 inches in one mile, meaning that the purported "335 feet of curvature" over the 40-mile distance between Apple Pie Hill and Philadelphia touted in the tweet is actually somewhat underestimated. The overall curvature is about 1,067 feet:
8 inches per mile x 40 miles^2 = 12,800 inches/12 inches per foot = 1066.67 feet
The target hidden height, or the height hidden by the horizon, stands at about 336.6 feet using the numbers provided, including Apple Pie Hill's elevation. Couple that with the makeup of Philadelphia's skyline — which includes about 30 buildings standing taller than 400 feet, including the 975-foot Comcast Center and 945-foot One Liberty Place — and it becomes a little more clear why Philadelphia is visible from the New Jersey Pine Barrens.
"If I go to the top of the Comcast Center, the horizon appears really far away," Pitts said. "Much farther than it appears at sea level, because your elevation allows you to see much farther out. At 205 feet above sea level, that disappearing point will be much farther away."
Despite the amount of evidence working against B.o.B. here, Pitts doesn't expect deGrasse Tyson to walk away from this battle with a solid win. In fact, he said, it might be better if we just ignored the whole thing altogether.
"It's an unfair fight because people who don't understand physics and science are much better equipped to fight these nonsensical arguments than scientists," Pitts said. "Scientists don't live in a nonsensical world. These folks are more experienced at being idiots, so I give [B.o.B.] props for what the rap says, but I have no desire to engage him."