back to article Flat Earther and wannabe astronaut killed in homemade rocket

The sad news that steam-rocket fan "Mad" Mike Hughes has taken his final flight reached Vulture Central over the weekend. Saturday's launch should have seen Hughes ascend to new heights atop his homebrew rocket, but judging by videos floating about on social media, a parachute deployed just after take-off, and Hughes plummeted …

  1. S4qFBxkFFg
    Unhappy

    Some commentary suggests he only claimed a belief in a flat Earth for fundraising purposes - Wikipedia puts it: "In 2016, Hughes launched a failed fundraising attempt for a rocket that earned $310. After professing his belief in a flat Earth later that year, Hughes gained support within the flat-Earth community. His post-flat-Earth fundraising campaign made its $7,875 goal."

    1. IceC0ld Silver badge

      and 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - here comes the CT nutjobs to say he was killed by NASA to stop him showing the truth .................................

      bright enough to build a 'rocket' - but steam powered ? was it launched as per the US carriers do with jet fighters ? and if he WAS that bright, and rocket science was his thing, he had to take into account the gravitational pull of the big spherical thing he was standing on to allow him to actually break free of its bonds

      yea, to my mind his particular tree didn't go all the way to the top

      and much as I would not wish death on anyone, he did seem increasingly crazy as this project progressed, and so maybe there is a death wish, and he's hoping to generate interest via that

      TL:DR

      not too sure exactly what was going on in his head, but it did him no good :o(

      1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
        Headmaster

        "...he had to take into account the gravitational pull of the big spherical thing he was standing on..."

        Wasn't the point that he wasn't standing on anything spherical at all.

        As you say, I wouldn't wish death on anyone, but unlike a Flat Earth, the Darwin Awards do exist.

      2. vtcodger Silver badge

        NASA

        "he was killed by NASA ..."

        If NASA were involved, it would be a multidecade project requiring hundreds of millions of dollars. They would still be working on the Request for Proposal. Hughes would likely die of old age before the project came to fruition.

        If Hughes was the victim of foul play, it was probably a drug deal gone bad, or some good ol' boy who was convinced that Hughes' rocket had somehow caused his chickens to stop laying.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: NASA

          "requiring hundreds of Billions of dollars"

          fixed it for ya

      3. holmegm Bronze badge

        "and 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - here comes the CT nutjobs to say he was killed by NASA to stop him showing the truth "

        (looks around) I don't see a single one ...

        1. The First Dave Silver badge

          If you're looking around for the local nutter, and can't see one, that can only mean one thing...

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            local nutter, and can't see one, that can only mean one thing..

            It's night-time in the US and they are all asleep?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "(looks around) I don't see a single one "

          They're just over the horizon!

      4. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Gravity's a myth, the earth sucks.

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          Boffin

          In this forum we obey the laws of gravity!

          And thermodynamics.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            "And thermodynamics.

            And the problems with early ejection.

            1. Loatesy

              Don't make fun of early ejection, its an embarrassing problem for men all over the world. Many a command module has spilled its load before re-entry . . .

              1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

                Can't be as bad as not ejecting at all...

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            And thermodynamics

            # You can't move heat from the cooler to the hotter,

            # You can try it if you like but you'd far better notta..

            (Flanders and Swann. What a great pairing..)

            1. jake Silver badge

              "You can't move heat from the cooler to the hotter"

              Your refrigerator and air conditioner do just that. They take excess heat from the coolness inside and dump it to the warmer outside.

              1. ILLQO

                Ish, You take the hot and compress it till its a lot of hot in a tiny spot then release it into the now cooler overall. Then move the slightly less hot and decompress it until its less hot to repeat again.

        2. Tom 35

          Don't laugh

          A lot of flatties say there is no gravity (it breaks flat earth at the edge) and the pizza earth and the dome and everything is accelerating. Don't ask them how fast we are going now.

      5. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "bright enough to build a 'rocket'"

        Mike had a bad crash before and wasn't very good with physics. I know plenty of people that could bang some metal into a rocket shape and bolt a chair in the front that I would never take a ride with. The instant deployment of the parachute and no backup was a huge problem.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          escape system

          a basic escape system where a parachute worn by him would allow him a slow descent would've been a nice "backup" system... (pop hatch, jump out, pull rip cord, swear a bit, land without injuries)

        2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          I know plenty of people that could bang some metal into a rocket shape and bolt a chair in the front that I would never take a ride with.

          Boeing engineers?

          1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

            "Boeing engineers?"

            I don't think they're up to the task.

        3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Mushroom

          If you're "not very good with physics"...should you be designing rockets in which you intend to ride?

          1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
            Mushroom

            Actually...

            Probably ONLY designing rockets in which YOU (him) intend to ride. ---->

      6. Muscleguy Silver badge

        It is a little curious that he didn't do drone launches to iron out the technology though. If you planned a new launch technology that is how you would do it. It's how Rocket Labs for eg got going. But despite their successes they are yet to seek to enter the crewed flight market. I doubt the NZ govt would let them so it would have to be from the new US facility where such things are laxer.

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      I also suspect this to be true, I seriously doubt anyone with the engineering chops to scratch build a rocket wouldn't realise that 1500m isn't going to prove anything, and that you could walk up a taller mountain and get a better view, and still not see the curvature from up there.

      Also, the cost of the rocket,... for about that amount he could have got an 'Edge of Space' flight in a MiG 29, and actually seen the curvature from the passenger seat. So again I suspect this was all about making rockets, and the flat earthers were being ridden.

      1. Wade Burchette Silver badge

        I was given a book by a flat-earther. I did a brief cursory glance at it, but didn't read it. One thing that caught my eye is the explanation they have regarding the curvature of the earth. Something about a camera lens. I don't remember much because I didn't give it any serious attention. So showing these people the curvature won't work.

        What we need to do is charter a flight that goes from west to east (following the jet stream) around the world and then north to south to north crossing both poles. If doesn't convince them, nothing will.

        1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          @Wade Burchette: "Something about a camera lens"

          Annoyingly GoPro type cameras have a wide angle lens, and this can give a bit of a 'fish eye' effect and distort the horizon, giving it a curvature, and the flat earther then throw the baby out with the bathwater.

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Bah!

            Curves inward, though. Cool the way palm trees bow to me as I drive through Florida.

            1. Sweep

              Re: Bah!

              Only because the trees are above the centre of your camera's field of view.

              Point your camera higher and they will curve outwards.

              You can use a fisheye lens to make the earth look spherical (point the camera below the horizon) or as if we're on the inside of a cylinder (point the camera above the horizon). Incidentally in all the pictures of mountaineers summiting Everest with the curvature of the Earth visible the apparent curvature is entirely due to lens distortion.

              (not a flat earther but you need to go higher than Everest to be able to see the curvature of the Earth. Apparently it was visible from Concorde which flew higher than other commercial airliners with a flat horizon visible).

        2. Tom 35

          There are LOTS of people who think the earth is 6,000 years old and the flood was a real thing. People will believe stupid stuff no mater what evidence you have.

          I'm kind of surprised he took this long to kill him self.

          1. Tinslave_the_Barelegged

            > There are LOTS of people who think the earth is 6,000 years old

            You mean people willing to spend $27million on things like this?

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_Museum

            It was founded by a guy called Ken Ham, so don't even bother to add gags about pork barrels...

            I heard about this because a relative said they'd spent a fantastic day there. Honestly, what can one say?

            1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

              I want to go out of morbid curiosity.

              1. Rich 11 Silver badge

                I want to go out of morbid curiosity.

                Apparently the queues aren't that long. I can't imagine why.

                1. Deviltoad

                  Got to love a bit of Ken Ham. Wasn't he the one who built that ark that was too small to hold all the world animals but too big to float?

                  1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                    "but too big to float?"

                    Continents "float" and they're sorta big. You just need to displace a larger mass of water than the mass of your boat so you have enough clearance to keep water from coming over the gunwales. There can be issues of seaworthiness with a very large ship is it can be damaged due to wave action.

                    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

                      Continents float because they tend to be a collection of ~1000km diameter subcontinental basalt/granite plates sitting on top of plumes of hot but high-pressure molten rock. So in other words, not your average raft.

                      1. Mike Richards Silver badge

                        Continents float in solid, plastic Mantle rather than molten rock. They float because they are less dense than the Upper Mantle. Practically none of the Mantle is molten and even Mantle plumes are effectively solid apart from at their very top where they undergo partial decompression melting.

                      2. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        what about Guam

                        Maybe continents are big, but surely Guam might capsize?

                  2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

                    Got to love a bit of Ken Ham. Wasn't he the one who built that ark that was too small to hold all the world animals but too big to float?

                    You don't need a lot of space to store them. Just digitally encode them on a gold-copper alloy wire...

                  3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

                    <Pythons>

                    "It's only a model"

                    </Pythons>

                    It won't float, no matter how much you want it to...view from the back:

                    https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/0d/42/5c/aa/back-of-the-ark-viewed.jpg

                    1. Tom 35

                      It has a concrete foundation. So not going anyplace, at least not in one piece.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                You may experience a lot of morbid obesity...

            2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

              I'm aware of this venue, and I think the word "fantastic" is correctly used. It has several distinct meanings.

              1. MrDamage

                It means the only beverage they serve is Fanta, and if you don't like it, they'll beat you with a stick.

            3. AndrueC Silver badge
              Meh

              I heard about this because a relative said they'd spent a fantastic day there. Honestly, what can one say?

              "You have my deepest sympathy"?

            4. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Boffin

              creation museums are actually fun. Often they have actual science in them. Sure there's _NO_ way I'd accept a 6,000 year old earth unless I worshipped at the alter of Bishop Usher and his dating method based on the old testament, and simultaneously believed that the book of Genesis [most likely an oral account penned to papyrus by Moses or one of his scribes] was somehow an infallible hyper-accurate record of human history via a long list of begats and begets...

              That being said, 'Creation Science' has a lot of good points to make. A pure-random-evolution model doesn't make a lot of sense. A "guided evolution" model [whether the guidance is gods, aliens, cosmic consciousness of a species, or who-knows-what] seems to make more sense. Catastrophes (as a stresser) might actually trigger evolution for a species to survive. Not random, but perhaps a species-wide choice of sorts? It's worth pondering for a few minutes, at any rate. Epigenetics as a part of that method.

              So I'd point out that Creationists (at the least) have a point to make, i.e. 'Intelligent design', and they're "not wrong" about a lot of the stuff they're saying. So maybe "their science" and "mainstream science" can contribute to a more accurate origin model? I think human+dino footprints in the same mud is interesting. It may simply suggest that what we see in the rocks is NOT the "entire picture".

              But yeah, 6,000 year old earth, HIGHLY unlikely. Even though modern dating methods make a LOT of assumptions, there are some things that are VERY hard to "fake up" into 6,000 years. Light from distant stars is one of them. [ HOW far away is Andromeda Galaxy again? ]

              (not on the same level as 'Flat Earth' believers, who have to literally DENY SCIENCE to believe the earth is flat)

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                "there's _NO_ way I'd accept a 6,000 year old earth"

                I wish Alan Harper, one of his successors, had issued an ex cathedra statement about that.

              2. Rich 11 Silver badge

                Jesus monkeyfucking Christ! How wrong can you be while claiming to be right?

                [most likely an oral account penned to papyrus by Moses or one of his scribes]

                First, show that Moses existed. Second, demonstrate that there were ever hundreds of thousands of Hebrews for Moses to free from slavery in Egypt. Third, now that you've potentially established the importance of a historical Moses who founded Judaism, tell us how an oral account of Genesis could in any way be comprised more of truth than mythology.

                That being said, 'Creation Science' has a lot of good points to make.

                Creation Science (later to be renamed Intelligent Design, while retaining its salient feature of being complete utter bollocks only now pseudoscientific complete utter bollocks) is just a window-dressing 1990s version of biblical creationism. It has nothing to say about reality beyond being an example that some people who hold that the greatest quality of humanity is faith are desperate to show that their faith has scientific support. It's almost like they know that faith alone is a poor means of investigating reality, yet apparently the salvation of their eternal souls rests upon them having faith.

                I think human+dino footprints in the same mud is interesting.

                Paluxy River? Even most creationists now realise that they're on a hiding to nothing with that one.

                Bob, I'd like to thank you for spending the last three or four years on here showing the rest of the world just how ignorant and arrogant some American Republicans have become. God bless America! Hail to the Chief! Semper fidelis! Bow down before Fox News!

              3. AndrueC Silver badge
                Meh

                A pure-random-evolution model doesn't make a lot of sense. A "guided evolution" model [whether the guidance is gods, aliens, cosmic consciousness of a species, or who-knows-what] seems to make more sense.

                That's just anthropomorphic confirmation bias: We exist therefore some(one/thing) encouraged that to happen. Random evolution is only difficult to accept if you think that human beings are somehow important and desirable. The problem with that (aside from an obvious psychological bias on the subject) is that we have no evidence of any external entity that could judge our merits.

                Occam's Razor suggests that we shouldn't try to explain things by making stuff up so without evidence we shouldn't posit such an entity (this is the main reason I'm an atheist). We're therefore left with no good reason to assume that our existence is the result of guidance.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  > Occam's Razor suggests that we shouldn't try to explain things by making stuff up so without evidence we shouldn't posit such an entity (this is the main reason I'm an atheist). We're therefore left with no good reason to assume that our existence is the result of guidance.

                  As opposed to the abundance of documented science showing example of new species coming about before our eyes? Hmmm...

                  Natural selection resulting in specialization and adaptation is very easy to observe, even quickly with short-life-span creature like fruit flies, but the result is not a new species, where new species is defined as something that cannot cross breed with the old and produce fertile offspring. (That last condition deals with oddities like mules.) Science is rather lacking in observations of new species arising. The existence of lots of species if not evidence of the process of evolution, except as a matter of faith :).

                  1. Yes Me Silver badge

                    Speciation observed

                    Speciation has been observed. Obviously it's a work in progress even if you happen to notice it, but it is definitely not a matter of faith. Here's one writeup; there are certainly others at your googletips:

                    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

              4. Brangdon

                A pure-random-evolution model doesn't make a lot of sense

                If it helps, the conventional model is not purely random. The full title is "evolution by natural selection", and natural selection is not random. It has a bias towards survival of the fittest, which is consistent over time because the environment changes slowly.

                1. Tom 7 Silver badge

                  Re: A pure-random-evolution model doesn't make a lot of sense

                  Unless you drop a big rock in Mexico!

                  Or humans evolve.

              5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                alter of Bishop Usher and his dating method

                It often amuses me to point out to rabid young-earthers (most of whom are Protestant) that ther foundation lies on the words of a 16th century Irish Catholic archbishop..

                It's a shock to most of them. As is the news that, prior to Usher, most denominations had no problem at all with and old Earth. And some of us still don't..

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  "Bishop Usher"

                  Sorry to break it to you, but Archbishop James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625 and 1656, was a member of the Church of Ireland, not the Roman Catholic Church.

                  Which would make him "Protestant".

              6. Lotaresco Silver badge

                "A pure-random-evolution model doesn't make a lot of sense. A "guided evolution" model [whether the guidance is gods, aliens, cosmic consciousness of a species, or who-knows-what] seems to make more sense."

                No one ever proposed a "random evolution model" the title of Darwin's book is "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life". Evolution *is* selection. For evolution to occur there must be inheritance, mutability and selection. Genes (inheritance) are arranged in groups (chromosomes) and shuffled during reproduction. There are also random errors arising from mistakes in reproducing genes and from damage to genes (mutability). As in poker organisms are dealt a hand, if it's a poor hand they die and don't pass on their genes, hence favourable genes tend to dominate in a population.

                Except it's all much more complicated than this.

                Try reading "Chance and Necessity" by Jacques Monod for some detail about how random events + selection pressure = evolution.

              7. Richard Plinston

                > [most likely an oral account penned to papyrus by Moses or one of his scribes]

                it is unlikely that _anything_ in the bible was written down before 'fist temple' around 10C BCE. The main reason for this is that before then there was no written form of Hebrew. This is several centuries after the alleged time of Moses. Most of the stories in Genesis are retellings of older stories taken from other tribal groups, and are just stories (and not 'accounts').

                Around 3C BCE the various different collections of stories and other writings were combined with some being discarded to arrive at what later became the OT.

              8. jake Silver badge

                No, bob.

                So-called "creation science" is not even wrong, and you know it.

                1. Terry 6 Silver badge
                  Pint

                  Re: No, bob.

                  I'd not come across that one before, thank you.

              9. TurtleFace
                Stop

                > Often they have actual science in them.

                No, not actual science but pseudoscience. They are proof that if you litter bullshit with enough fancy and scientific sounding words there will be people who believe that there’s something to it.

                > That being said, 'Creation Science' has a lot of good points to make. A pure-random-evolution model doesn't make a lot of sense.

                It only doesn’t make sense if you don’t understand what it means. Evolution isn’t purely random, the mutations are random and are then acted upon by various environmental pressures, resulting in natural selection, and these pressures are extremely environmental in most cases. One problem is that creation science attempts to nail evolution down to bigger, faster, smarter, stronger. This is so unbelievably flawed that if you do believe this is what evolution is, the best thing you could possibly with your life is to go and take a course on evolution aimed at 11 year olds.

                > A "guided evolution" model [whether the guidance is gods, aliens, cosmic consciousness of a species, or who-knows-what] seems to make more sense.

                Only if you believe that humanity is some kind of end goal. It’s not. We might have reached a point where, given universal healthcare and basic empathy, we can forego the efforts of nature to improve our species, and it might be the case that because of this we have effectively put the brakes on when it comes natural selection, but evolution hasn’t stopped and this can be seen in the likes of sickle-cell anaemia. Sure you’ll die if you so much as require any kind of oxygen transfer in your blood, but you’re now immune to malaria, guided? My arse!

                > Catastrophes (as a stresser) might actually trigger evolution for a species to survive. Not random, but perhaps a species-wide choice of sorts?

                Extinction level events don’t trigger evolution any more than relegation from a higher league triggers better sportsball players. The skill of your players rises and falls naturally as players join and leave the team, relegation simply cuts that team from the pool. The disappearance of the non-avian dinosaurs wasn’t because they all evolved, no they all died out. <insert dead parrot sketch>

                > So I'd point out that Creationists (at the least) have a point to make, i.e. 'Intelligent design', and they're "not wrong" about a lot of the stuff they're saying.

                No, they are wrong about a lot of the stuff they’re saying, and the only parts they aren’t getting wrong aren’t right, they are just word salad.

                > So maybe "their science" and "mainstream science" can contribute to a more accurate origin model? I think human+dino footprints in the same mud is interesting. It may simply suggest that what we see in the rocks is NOT the "entire picture".

                The human and dinosaur footprints were debunked well before it became an on-line argument, and no, there’s no value in ‘their science’. What we see ‘in the rocks’ isn’t the entire picture, but then nobody is actually claiming that it is. Palaeontology is just one of several lines of study that agree with each other over these facts, so it’s not just ‘HIGHLY unlikely’ but it is impossible.

                > Even though modern dating methods make a LOT of assumptions, there are some things that are VERY hard to "fake up" into 6,000 years. Light from distant stars is one of them.

                Modern dating methods make only one assumption, and that is that reality is measurable, if you delete that assumption then all you are left with is hard solipsism, and you’re left denying that even you might exist yourself. We have a world, and the assumption that it’s measurable is given even more verifiability by the fact that everyone measuring it is getting the same answers. Dating methods can be used to verify each other, not just radiometric dating but other dating data such as dendrochronology or ice core dating, they all tie in together and match what we observe today. Next you’ll be claiming that dating is circular because the rocks date fossils and fossils date rocks.

                > (not on the same level as 'Flat Earth' believers, who have to literally DENY SCIENCE to believe the earth is flat)

                Denying science like modern radiometric dating? Intelligent design makes the exact same denial of science that flerfers do.

            5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              "It was founded by a guy called Ken Ham"

              I don't know about Ken Ham but South Ken has quite a good museum dealing with creation amongst other things.

            6. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Honestly, what can one say?

              "Get yourself a good study Bible, a good concordance and something like Strongs[1]. And discard all you have been told in preference for doing your own study[2]. Oh - and don't bother looking at the Internet"

              [1] A literal translation that also gives the original Hebrew/Greek/Aramaic words.

              [2] One intereesting thought is that the 6 'days'[3] mentioned in Genesis refer to mass extinctions.

              [3] Word used also means 'times'. Just like the word translated as 'morning' literally means "starting" and "evening" is "ending".

              1. ZanzibarRastapopulous

                > Just like the word translated as 'morning' literally means "starting" and "evening" is "ending".Just like the word translated as 'morning' literally means "starting" and "evening" is "ending".

                No it doesn't. Morning comes from one of several possible germanic sources meaning morning possibly related to the Greek to sparkle, but that sounds a bit of a stretch.

                Unsurprisingly "morning" is an old word and the root is unclear.

                Similarly evening isn't from "ending" of any source either.

                Morning:-

                https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/An_Etymological_Dictionary_of_the_German_Language/Annotated/Morgen

                It's worth noting that the German "morgen" also means "tomorrow" in a similar way to Spanish.

                Evening:-

                https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/An_Etymological_Dictionary_of_the_German_Language/Annotated/Abend

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  >> Just like the word translated as 'morning' literally means "starting" and "evening" is "ending".Just like the word translated as 'morning' literally means "starting" and "evening" is "ending".

                  >No it doesn't. Morning comes from one of several possible germanic sources meaning morning possibly related to the Greek to sparkle, but that sounds a bit of a stretch.

                  I believe the poster was referring to the original Hebrew words being translated into English "morning" and "evening", not the Germanic origins.

              2. Rich 11 Silver badge

                One intereesting thought is that the 6 'days'[3] mentioned in Genesis refer to mass extinctions.

                Another interesting thought is that the 6 'days' mentioned in Genesis refer to the number of grey hairs on my left testicle.

                If you're going to swap unrelated words to make some point about God being able to rest after humanity has killed the oceans (or whatever), at least pick amusing ones. That or stick to a literal interpretation of the bible and learn to live with a slightly different form of mockery.

            7. Bernard M. Orwell

              There's even worse that the Creation Museum...

              https://www.icr.org/who-we-are/

          2. YourNameHere

            2012

            Think back to how many people lost fortunes, racked up huge credit card bills because of the world was going to end 2012

            1. veti Silver badge

              Re: 2012

              How many? You have any stats?

              Anecdotes, even?

              1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

                Re: 2012

                I bid "2011 and counting". https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2016/05/23/five-years-later-harold-campings-followers-are-still-predicting-the-end-of-the-world/

                "The Bible Guarantees It" (sic)

            2. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Meh

              Re: 2012

              This has been done more than once, losing fortunes to a cultic belief in an 'end of the world' and then it never happened. In the late 80's or early 90's Rosh Hashanah was supposed to be the end of the world. People sold property and gave it to this one group to pass out pamphlets, warning everyone.

              In the case of the 'Heaven's Gate' cult (a few years later), they committed suicide wearing a particular type of black running shoes, and as a result, NIke stopped selling them. [I liked those shoes. That's ok I buy Reeboks now]. I think they had some bizarre belief about the Hale-Bopp comet.

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: 2012

                The Great Disappointment is a more impressive example. According to Schultz in Being Wrong, the Millerite believers probably numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Many disposed of all their worldly goods before the expected Second Coming. The repercussions of the Disappointment continue to this day - some of the post-Millerite sects are still going strong.

          3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            LOTS of people who think the earth is 6,000 years old and the flood was a real thing

            Said people are not theologists and pretty much believe anyting they are told without bothering to think..

            Hint: Genesis was not written in English..

          4. ZanzibarRastapopulous

            > "There are LOTS of people who think the earth is 6,000 years old and the flood was a real thing."

            You mean the Beeb is lying about Shrewsbury?!?

          5. ThadiasVonBasterd

            I work with one of those people.. i used to try and talk sense into him but you can't rid someone of irrationality with rational arguments...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I have it on sound belief that if you travel east far enough, and return to where you started, you have in fact travelled to an alternate timeline version of the world where even though everything looks familiar, is in fact different in subtle ways, mainly that they're a day ahead of you. a similar thing happens when travelling west, though takes a lot longer and you end up finding everyone is still on the same day as you. so that's obviously chronological nonense and proof that time is not linear but curved. unlike the earth which is not curved by flat.

          faith is bulletproof.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: not linear but curved

            Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: not linear but curved

              Probable-possible, my black hen...

          2. Inspector71

            No, ideas are bulletproof. (as per your icon)

          3. katrinab Silver badge
            Boffin

            No you have in fact flown in a very large circle around the Antarctic Ice Wall, or something like that.

            The UN flag shows it that way, so it must be, or something.

            I don't know. See icon, I don't have the necessary skills to understand it.

          4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            I waver on whether people who produce anti-factual gibberish on the internet should be simply made to stop, or should be allowed to run free on arbitrary and settled topics, so that voters are exposed to public nonsense and know what it looks or sounds like before the television debates happen.

            In this case, "possible routes by which the Covid-19 virus will arrive in your neighbourhood" which depend on the actual shape of the globe, although this has been found to be mainly a chart of public passenger aeroplane routes, anyway. (And this does NOT mean "chemtrails". Do not... oh, never mind, I can't stop you. At least it'll counter-act the "Chinese biological weapon" meme.)

            1. veti Silver badge

              Don't be ridiculous, why would the Chinese unleash a biological weapon in their own country? It's clearly an American biological weapon.

            2. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Devil

              "should be allowed to run free on arbitrary and settled topics, so that voters are exposed to public nonsense and know what it looks or sounds like before the television debates happen."

              Yes. Trying to "Protect" people from info-scammers and ridiculous notions by NOT exposing them (i.e. censoring it all) is like what happens to an overly sheltered child the moment he starts living in a college dorm room... or joins the military.

              Anyone who's known someone who was raised in such a family (i.e. "the proverbial preacher's kid") knows EXACTLY what happens. This one guy I knew when I was in the Navy quickly became a porn addict - no self-discipline at all, He usually spent his entire paycheck on porn and strippers within a few days after payday, then went around trying to borrow money from people until the next payday - the stereotypical "preacher's kid" yeah - and I suggest that if he'd been allowed to make his own decisions when he was younger, he would have at least been responsible about it, instead of diving in head first into grossly addictive behavior when nobody was there to say "no" for him.

              (as another example, I read playboy magazines when I was 10, and do NOT have obsessive tendencies with porn)

              Similarly, "teh intarwebs". The 'sheltered kid' example is a HUGE reason why censorship on 'teh intarwebs' is BAD (other than freedom, and WHO gets to censor... shudder).

              You can't control other people, nor "shelter them" because YOU are smart[er] and THEY are [implied] NOT as smart [yeah, arrogant isn't it?]. But you _CAN_ influence people and convince them to control themselves (or at least look at the 'stupid things' with an eye of skepticism and some "street smarts").

              In any case, let the flat-earth crowd say what they want, and even people who do dumb things with rockets without knowing physics well enough (etc.) to do what they want, as long as they're not harming others. We can all choose to laugh at them or not visit their web sites. Works for me.

              1. Richard Plinston

                > let the flat-earth crowd say what they want,

                Unfortunately some of these people get into government or on school boards and then try to make their ideas compulsory.

                1. batfink Silver badge

                  As Bob said: "as long as they're not harming others". IMO letting the nutters onto the school boards is a form of harm.

            3. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

              Obligatory xkcd is obligatory.

              1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
                Pint

                Obligatory obligation.

                Much obliged.

            4. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge
              Holmes

              At least it'll counter-act the "Chinese biological weapon" meme.

              Interestingly, just about everything about that theory is an independent quantity: if it escaped from the lab, then it could have been something they found, made or stole. If it was artificially engineered, they could have stolen it, made it as a bioweapon or were pursuing research in the area for other reasons. And, of course, if it is a bioweapon, it could have escaped from the lab or have been deliberately loosed in the area to make it look like it had.

              Given how a la carte it is, there's a halfway decent chance some combination is correct.

              1. Schultz Silver badge
                Devil

                It's a bioweapon allright...

                engineered by those devious bats. Or was it pandas? Whichever it was, they are out to kill us. Good thing that we have a head start on them.

        4. Symon Silver badge
          Coat

          Topology.

          Re:- East to west, north to south. Yeah, that might show that it's not flat, but the world could be a toroid, you doughnut... >

          1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

            Re: Topology.

            Or in shape of a Klein bottle...

            1. Tom 7 Silver badge

              Re: Topology.

              If it was I'd have drunk it by now.

        5. JohnFen Silver badge

          > If doesn't convince them, nothing will.

          Even that wouldn't convince them. As near as I can tell, for the majority of the ardent flat-earthers this is literally a religious belief connected to biblical literalism.

          Considering that the utterly overwhelming evidence and easy-to-test-yourself demonstrations that the Earth is spheroid, combined with the ridiculousness of every flat-earth "proof" I've ever seen hasn't already done so, I think it's safe to say that nothing will.

          1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            I'm fairly confident that just about all adults at this end of the twenty-first century who are not actually mentally ill or mentally handicapped or living undiscovered deep in the Amazon jungle, or on notorious North Sentinel Island, do not really believe that the world is flat. Some just have fun pretending to believe that it is, even to the point of really upsetting people who want to straighten them out... that may be the wrong expression.

            However, there was a nutty church cult in the U.S. in the 19th century who may have been sincere (although getting to America from the sort of place that they came from implicitly requires accepting that you are traversing the surface of a globe), and I think I read a BBC News web site report which claimed that the founder of the violent "Islamist" sect "Boko Haram", who is no longer with us, believed that the world isn't a globe on the specific grounds that modern Christians accept that it is. So do a lot of Muslims but presumably that just went to show. I also am not counting on the allegation as, er, gospel.

            Happily, nowadays you only have to watch ’"The Clangers" to have a visual although rather fanciful demonstration of life on a globe, quite a small one in their case. The children run laps of it for fun. And they don't have television although they are on it.

          2. Richard Plinston

            > a religious belief connected to biblical literalism.

            As one flat earther put it: "If we are monkeys on a spinning ball then there is no god."

            They want to have been created as the centre of the universe. Being on an insignificant rock around a mediocre sun on the edge of one of millions of galaxies just doesn't make them feel important enough to overcome the failure that they were told they were all through school.

            1. veti Silver badge

              As one flat earther put it: "If we are monkeys on a spinning ball then there is no god."

              That's not bad science, that's bad theology. That FE needs to modify their definition of "god".

              1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                That's not bad science, that's bad theology

                And, what's more, theology that denies the power of God. Which is not only bad theology, it's terrible theology.

        6. Mark 85 Silver badge

          What we need to do is charter a flight that goes from west to east (following the jet stream) around the world and then north to south to north crossing both poles. If doesn't convince them, nothing will.

          Nothing ever will convince them. When someone believes something is true, trying to convince them otherwise is a hard proposition. And, let's not forget that there's probably more than a few who are in this for money or FB "likes" and "follows".

        7. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          If doesn't convince them, nothing will.

          Are flat-earthers actually SERIOUS or is it just a bunch of snarky "skeptics" having fun?

        8. Jimbobalero

          Obviously the issue is that camera lenses are round but you get a rectangular picture. What you would need for a flat earth is a rectangular lens and a a round picture!

        9. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          What we need to do is charter a flight that goes from west to east (following the jet stream) around the world and then north to south to north crossing both poles. If doesn't convince them, nothing will.

          I can't see why that would be convincing to a Flat Earther. Hell, I believe the earth is a spheroid,1 but if you told me I was on a charter flight that was going to circle the globe twice, following orthogonal routes, I'd think it more likely it was faked. What am I going to do, stare out the window and look for the latitude and longitude lines? "Oh, it looks like we're over the ocean. Oh, now it looks white - maybe we're over a polar ice cap?" Not wildly convincing.

          We know from any number of psychological studies that firmly-held beliefs are rarely amenable to evidential challenge. Even beliefs in which people have little investment are hard to dislodge.

          1Or more precisely, in attempting to base my model of the world on Perfect Bayesian Reasoning, even while acknowledging the many limitations of the human faculty for reason, I view this postulate about the shape of the earth as the most probable, by a large margin. Indeed, the second most probable would seem to be the solipsistic reduction (there is no world, it's all in my mind).

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        you could walk up a taller mountain and get a better view

        Save yourself the walk. There are any number of ski resorts with lifts above 3000m. Choose from cable-car, underground funicular, bubble-car or, for the truly dedicated, T-bar.

        1. KBeee Bronze badge

          Blimey, driving over the Great St. Bernard Pass got me to about 2500m. No rocket involved.

          Or shoot your rocket from a high place like Breckenridge Colorado - that'd give you around a 3km head start on your above sea level height.

          1. Lotaresco Silver badge

            There's a 2.900m mountain that dominates the view to the south from our home. I can drive up it in less than an hour. I can also drive back home without suffering an unexpected disassembly event.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          There are any number of ski resorts with lifts above 3000m.

          Indeed. There's one that starts above 3000m only a short drive (or even a bike ride, if you're fit enough and acclimated to the altitude) of me here at the Mountain Fastness. Even here in the house I'm at about 2300m above sea level. (Earth does not look flat from here. Earth looks bumpy.)

      3. katrinab Silver badge

        "you could walk up a taller mountain and get a better view"

        Ben Nevis is 1345m. A little shorter than the target, but you can drive up to the top of it.

        1. Symon Silver badge
          Coat

          Snowden is only 1,085m but you can drive up it twice to make up for that.

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-21087633

          1. jake Silver badge

            Snowdon's an interesting walk. Recommended. Just don't confuse it with an actual mountain. And you can even get a cuppa at the summit, and take the train down if you're tired from the walk! Very civilized. Unfortunately.

            1. Symon Silver badge
              Coat

              A bit like Kilimanjaro which you can cycle up, and then cross the bridge between the twin peaks.

              p.s. Thanks for not pointing out my crappy spelling. One's not a mountain, the other's a whistleblower...

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          You can drive up Mount Washington. I've done that (well, ridden in the car of a friend who decided to do it; I'd rather walk, personally). It's a little shy of 2000m above sea level, and also features some of the most exciting weather in the US. Or, indeed, anywhere. Most places don't see straight-line winds of 230 mph (370 km/h).

          You can drive up to about 3000m on Wheeler Peak, and then if you're in the mood walk up another km or so. It's mostly a pretty nice stroll, except for the scree fields near the peak - if you're not careful it'd be easy to twist an ankle there. But on most nice days in the summer you'll probably find a couple dozen people up there.

          Observation Point in Zion National Park is nearly 2000m above sea level, and that's a doddle. I have a friend who's done the hike with his kids when the younger was 6 years old. Personally, taking a 6-year-old up that trail would make me nervous - it's not like there are guard rails or anything, and much of the time the drop is precipitous; but go there on a holiday weekend in the warmer months and there will be hundreds of people on the trail.

        3. jake Silver badge

          Ben Nevis is nobut an 'ill, lass.

          Tioga Pass in California is over twice that height at 3,031m ... and that's a pass, not a peak. Tioga Road, aka Highway 120, is a very a pretty drive, being the Eastern entrance to Yosemite. Recommended. (Note that it's currently closed for winter. Check CalTrans for road conditions before setting out.)

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        flight in a MiG 29, and actually seen the curvature from the passenger seat.

        sorry to say that, but you're either very naive, or trying very hard to fool EVERYBODY. It is a well-established fact that EVERY window in EVERY plane built on this flat planet is in fact a special lcd screen that simulates a view from the window and displays a curvature to prove earth is round. And if you don't believe me, anybody can look it up on the internets, the proof is out there! I didn't know, but when I found out, it suddenly all made sense to me! Likewise, my kids didn't realize it, but when I told them, they immediately thought it's a fantastic idea! We all head a smirk when we flew back home last night, when they said "please pull down the window blinds as we're preparing to land. Window blinks, yeah, right!

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: flight in a MiG 29, and actually seen the curvature from the passenger seat.

          a) purchase weather balloon and associated launch gear

          b) put stereoscopic HD camera on it [with enough separation to make long distances measurable]

          c) use photos to measure the earth's curvature (or lack thereof)

          It _WOULD_ make a good public 'crowd funded' experiment project, though. Have some university science department do it, maybe. Invite one or two flat-earthers as neutral observers.

        2. Big_Boomer Silver badge

          Re: flight in a MiG 29, and actually seen the curvature from the passenger seat.

          I would like to invite all Flat-Earthers to take that flight in the MIG to 60,000 feet altitude and then open the canopy and open their helmet visor just to make certain that what they are seeing is not a projection of any kind. There is more than one way to chlorinate the gene pool. :-)

      5. Wibble

        FFS you can see the curvature of the earth standing on a beach. Watch a ship disappear over the horizon. Preferably whilst quaffing a G&T.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          When I'm at the beach, I pretend the ocean is the G&T and I pretend to be a lemon as I jump in and out of it.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Yes, and this is a fine example of why there's no point in trying to disabuse Flat Earthers of their beliefs by offering demonstrations and evidence. They're not interested.

        3. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

          Alfred Russel Wallace won a bet with a Flat Earther...

          Copied from Wackypedia: "In 1870, a flat-Earth proponent named John Hampden offered a £500 wager (equivalent to about £48,000 in present-day terms[157]) in a magazine advertisement to anyone who could demonstrate a convex curvature in a body of water such as a river, canal, or lake. Wallace, intrigued by the challenge and short of money at the time, designed an experiment in which he set up two objects along a six-mile (10 km) stretch of canal. Both objects were at the same height above the water, and he mounted a telescope on a bridge at the same height above the water as well. When seen through the telescope, one object appeared higher than the other, showing the curvature of the earth.

          The judge for the wager, the editor of Field magazine, declared Wallace the winner, but Hampden refused to accept the result. He sued Wallace and launched a campaign, which persisted for several years, of writing letters to various publications and to organisations of which Wallace was a member denouncing him as a swindler and a thief. Wallace won multiple libel suits against Hampden, but the resulting litigation cost Wallace more than the amount of the wager, and the controversy frustrated him for years"

          So the lesson here is ignore Flat Earthers if possible. No good comes of trying to educate them...

    3. macjules Silver badge
      Coat

      That would be the "Flat-Earth community - a global community of believers"?

  2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
    FAIL

    Stupid is as Stupid does

    It was as predictable as the sunrise that his so-called rocket was never going to end well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

      "It was as predictable as the sunrise that his so-called rocket was never going to end well."

      Yeah, and this is even before taking into account the SOOOOO many ways to prove earth is round, without trying to lift off in an aircraft that would have ashamed the masters of Cricket's first ship.

      What an incredibly stupid way to die.

      Welcome to the Darwin Awards !

      1. iron Silver badge

        Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

        You need to die without reproducing for the Darwin Awards. Based on the guy's age I'm guessing he had kids.

        1. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

          You don't need to die to win a Darwin Award. Surviving with loss of reproductive functions is sufficient - though a rarer outcome. As long as you remove yourself from the gene pool, it counts.

          1. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

            "You don't need to die to win a Darwin Award. Surviving with loss of reproductive functions is sufficient - though a rarer outcome. As long as you remove yourself from the gene pool, it counts."

            As long as you haven't already reproduced. He had two estranged sons, according to the Amazon Prime documentary "Rocketman: Mad Mike's Mission to Prove the Flat Earth". Well worth a watch because well, 'mostly harmless'.

            I'd rather Mike's fate than this guy from Haddington who survived but certainly qualifies for a Darwin award:

            Unfortunately for the young man, his organs couldn’t be reattached as the Old English bulldog had eaten them, The Times reports. A police source revealed that ‘peanut butter, or another food spread’ had been applied to the man’s ‘crotch area’ before the dog attacked. The dog, who has been named as Biggie Smalls, was put down after the owner gave their consent.

            That story always made me scared of Mr Peanutbutter in Bojack Horseman.

        2. ratfox Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

          He is survived by two children.

          What a shame, what a shame...

      2. vonBureck
        Headmaster

        Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

        It's Krikkit. Just sayin'...

      3. JDX Gold badge

        Re: What an incredibly stupid way to die.

        While his goals were laughable I can't say that being killed in a rocket you built yourself is "stupid". He died in pursuit of his passion doing something that drove him and that he loved.

        Doesn't seem a bad way to go to me.

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: What an incredibly stupid way to die.

          JDX, I couldn't agree more.

        2. The First Dave Silver badge

          Re: What an incredibly stupid way to die.

          By the sounds of it, he wasn't _in_ the rocket when he died, though that is a mere technicality.

        3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: What an incredibly stupid way to die.

          Apparently the landing parachute came out on the way up instead of the way down. I'm prepared to call that stupid.

        4. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: What an incredibly stupid way to die.

          Positively splendid comment.

          This was about as 1930s space-nut approved as is possible to get. Dead EE Doc Smithy.

          Positively Brabury-esque until the bit where it ploughed into the empty sea.

        5. rcxb Silver badge

          Re: What an incredibly stupid way to die.

          Reminds me of:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Reichelt#Eiffel_Tower_jump

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

        "ashamed the masters of Cricket's first ship."

        I say old chap, that's just NOT cricket. It's Krikkit.

      5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

        account the SOOOOO many ways to prove earth is round

        Even the ancient Greeks (who didn't believe in the scientific method particularly) were able to prove that theworld was round - and, by using fairly simple geometry, work out a pretty close estimate for the size.

        It's coming to somthing when a modern, educated person has regressed to position less rational than the ancient Greeks.

    2. KarMann Bronze badge
      Coat

      Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

      Appropriate username is appropriate.

    3. GBE

      Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

      his so-called rocket

      Purely out of curiosity — why the "so-called" crack? The guy was crazy, but what he built definitly _was_ a rocket. It got him 500+ meters off the ground. Nobody seriously disputes that. What's "so-called" about it?

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

        Did it actually have a rocket engine in it, or was it a glorified "bottle-rocket"?

        Whilst technically, this could be considered a rocket, more usually, you wouldn't call something a rocket unless it carried its own fuel / propellant. As far as I am aware, what he was launching was basically a tank full of live steam with some fins attached.

        As for getting 500 feet off the ground, there are many, many ways you can manage that, without the means being a rocket in any way, such as using a balloon, or a helicopter, or jumping out of a window 2/3 of the way up the Burj Khalifa

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

          > what he was launching was basically a tank full of live steam with some fins attached.

          Would that not qualify as carrying it's own propellant? I mean, a water rocket is a rocket, and a steam-powered rocket is essentially a high-performance version of that.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

            This is true, which is why you might technically call it a rocket. To be what most would consider a "proper" rocket, you'd want fuel and an engine to burn that fuel, and control and direct the propellant...

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

              "To be what most would consider a "proper" rocket, you'd want fuel and an engine to burn that fuel, and control and direct the propellant."

              What do you call things like this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_%28spacecraft%29

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

                "What do you call things like this?"

                That would be a retired space probe. What do I win?

            2. Julz Silver badge

              Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

              A rocket throws stuff (fuel) out the back to cause the remaining bits to accelerate in the opposite direction. I don't see why it makes much difference what stuff you fling out the back.

            3. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge
              Headmaster

              Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

              What you call a "proper rocket" is properly called a "chemical rocket"(or "chemical booster", etc). These are the main design in use because of their high thrust:weight ratio; ion thrusters use non-chemical means to accelerate their propellant and are favored due to their high specific impulse(ie, they're highly fuel), but they're rather weak(and thus have only narrow applications). There are also nuclear rocket designs that have even reached the ground test stage, though none have flown.

              So is a steam rocket a rocket? Yes, yes it is.

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

        Powered using a steam engine. Not sure that counts as a rocket.

        1. Richard Plinston

          Re: Stupid is as Stupid does

          > Powered using a steam engine. Not sure that counts as a rocket.

          Stephenson thought it counted.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephenson%27s_Rocket

  3. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Sad

    but not unexpected: an amateur who keeps attempting to launch himself in a homemade rocket will get killed, sooner or later. It's rocket science, after all.

  4. Alan Bourke

    I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

    yet dumb enough to actually *be* a Flat Earther.

    1. Stumpy Silver badge

      Re: Seems a bit cheap

      ... or as folks have commented elsewhere, he didn't manage to prove whether the Earth was flat or not, but he did manage to prove that it is very, very hard.

      RIP Mr Hughes. Whilst I might not agree with your Flat Earth exposition, the world needs more contrary nutjobs that are prepared to push the boundaries, if only to get the rest of us thinking.

      1. Roger Greenwood

        Re: Seems a bit cheap

        Condolences to friends and family, I feel sure with an imagination like that he will be missed (as we still miss Lester). He got much higher than Vulture2/LOHAN, sadly he ended up rather flatter upon the earth, the good earth.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems a bit cheap

        He disproved that the earth was flat....there's a dent in it now.

      3. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Seems a bit cheap

        the world needs more contrary nutjobs that are prepared to push the boundaries, if only to get the rest of us thinking.

        And I'm thinking, "No fucking way would I do that!"

    2. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

      As has been mentioned above, I think that he was at least smart enough at least to pretend to be a Flat Earther to get them to fund him....

      1. batfink Silver badge

        Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

        Agreed. It strikes me that the whole point of this was to bring in money from the flat-earth nutjobs, to fund this guy's hobby of building (and riding) his own rockets.

    3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

      yet dumb enough to actually *be* a Flat Earther.

      There are no flat earthers , just a bunch of attention seekers, none of them *really* believe the flat bit

      least of all this guy , whose not in really in that club

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

        I'm pretty sure some of them do - but they are not the "big names" but instead the followers on.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

        It'd a bold claim "none of them really believe it". People genuinely believe in fairies in their garden, and all kinds of things weird and wonderfully silly.

        Arrogant really, or at least very lacking in empathy that you genuinely don't believe people believe something just because you find it stupid. A sign you've not been exposed to a wide cross-section of the world... get outside more.

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

          Too true JDX. In the documentary about him he quotes scripture to explain why the world is flat.

          In the past decade Inverness has had a tourist boom in evangelical US Christians, who for some reason believe the Loch Ness monster is proof that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

          1. batfink Silver badge

            Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

            So does the fact the Loch Ness Monster doesn't really exist therefore prove that the earth is, in fact, more than 6,000 years old?

            1. The First Dave Silver badge

              Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

              Nessie is perfectly real, just rather shy, unlike a certain long-dead carpenter.

            2. albaleo

              Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

              Another denier not prepared to accept the evidence of 97% of hotel owners, tour operators, and souvenir shop managers.

          2. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

            Couple of years back did some supply teaching in a church primary LA school. Head did an assembly where he demonstrated the 6000 or so year history of the world to the kids on the whiteboard using a timeline with | Creation------------|-4000 years to birth of JC|------------ etc.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

              LA = Local Authority, not Los Angeles. I'm not good at mornings.

        2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

          "Arrogant really, or at least very lacking in empathy that you genuinely don't believe people believe something just because you find it stupid. A sign you've not been exposed to a wide cross-section of the world... get outside more."

          sorry , no

          I'll happily accept there are people who believe in all kinds of bullshit, the biggest being GOD,

          then going down the scale you've got UFOs , ghosts , faires , goblins , whatever.

          (also fake moon landings , cia caused 911 , FINE) BUT ....

          Flat Earth is so far down that scale that anyone that believes it has to be so batshit crazy that they cant be let outdoors on their own , let alone build rockets.

          I was discounting this kind of proper nuthouse kerplunk-wheres-my-thriblle nutjobs OBVIOUSLY

          My point is that a group of people organised enough to form a society cannot possible believe that shit , or that black is white etc.

          Get out more??

          What I *have* seen , are trolls and attention seekers who will spout any shit to get a rise.

          Flat Earthers just enjoy the apopoplectic rage people get into when they willingly and knowingly refuse to see blindingly obvious facts that are satring them in the face.

          1. Richard Plinston

            Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

            > anyone that believes it has to be so batshit crazy

            Not any more so than your average fundamentalist christian bible believer. Most of those seem to function OK in normal society, most of the time. Geocentralism is the next stage because why would their god create earth in a backwater of a massive galaxy among millions. They want to feel that they personally are the centre of the universe and the reason for everything.

            Yea, OK, they are batshit crazy.

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

        > none of them *really* believe the flat bit

        Really? You've submitted all of them to some sort of effective lie-detector test?

        This argument depends not only on knowing something that you cannot possibly know, but it's basically calling everyone who holds an belief you don't share a liar based on that thing you cannot possibly know.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

          Careful now, that's how religions get started...

          1. Denarius Silver badge

            Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

            @Loyal Commenter

            Other way round. On recent historical basis, usually required above average IQ people with a lack of skepticism. No surprise California is hot bed of cults.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

              To be fair, California has by far the largest population of any state in the Union with about 40 million people. The second most (Texas, with about 75% of Califonia's population) also is a hot-bed of nutters. As is the third (Florida, with about half). And the fourth and fifth (New York and New Jersey, with just under half and under a third, respectively).

              Large populations equal a large number of stark raving loonies, at least in a fairly free society. Only stands to reason; it's the ol' bell shaped curve, innit. Try to remember, the mundane lives of the vast majority of us don't make the news in your tiny little corner of this dampish rock that we live on ... you just hear about the statistically meaningless ones that are out of the ordinary (or "newsworthy" if you prefer).

        2. Dinanziame Bronze badge
          Meh

          Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

          Paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson: "I would sooner believe flat-earthers are attention-seeking trolls than they would truly believe the Earth is flat."

          Or, to somewhat adapt Russel's chocolate teapot, the claim that somebody who is intelligent enough to drive a car and who has lived all his life in an industrialized country would really believe that the Earth is flat is so extraordinary that it can be discounted without evidence.

          For the record, I also call liars people who claim to have seen a bigfoot, without feeling any need to provide a proof.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

            Thankyou! the voice of reason at last

          2. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

            > the claim that somebody who is intelligent enough to drive a car and who has lived all his life in an industrialized country would really believe that the Earth is flat is so extraordinary that it can be discounted without evidence.

            Except that it's not extraordinary at all. Intelligent people believe all sorts of bizarre and irrational things. This is not so very different.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

              indeed , like ghosts and stuff , usually stuff where there isnt tons and tons of easily accessible evidence directly proving them wrong

          3. Denarius Silver badge

            Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

            Also, not trying to prove Earth is flat, just testing rocket.

            https://www.space.com/mad-mike-fatal-homemade-rocket-launch-flat-earth-theory.html

        3. Criggie

          Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

          Lie detectors could only indicate on known lies... it will never show factual errors if the test subject truely believes them to be true.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

            I'm not arguing that these people are stating truth. I'm arguing that some of these people truly believe what they're saying.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: I doubt he was bright enough to build a rocket

      yet dumb enough to actually *be* a Flat Earther

      There's a difference between INT and WIS y'know..

  5. aregross

    ..."a parachute deployed just after take-off..."

    Where have I heard this before... Oh Yea!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evel_Knievel

    "The drogue parachute prematurely deployed as the Skycycle left the launching rail and induced significant drag."

    1. Baldrickk Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Where have I heard this before... Oh Yea!

      Honestly, this is what came to mind as soon as I heard about this / saw the footage.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoBIaM-nBeI

      Check check check, Scott Manley.

      1. KarMann Bronze badge
        Pint

        Re: Where have I heard this before... Oh Yea!

        Yes, I have Scott's* 'check yo' staging' T-shirt, and when I saw that premature parachute deployment was involved, immediately had to message my wife (who got me the T-shirt) that Hughes had not, in fact, checked his staging.

        * Well, not his personal T-shirt ripped off his body, but you know what I mean.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      There is footage out there if you really want to watch. What seems to have happened is that the main parachute deployed right after launch, and appeared to detach (or get ripped off) straight away. Then the rocket continues up quite a way, before falling back to Earth without slowing.

      It must have been horrible for the people on the ground, knowing that his chute was gone and that the higher he went, the less the chance of him surviving.

      Still, there's worse ways to go.

      1. keithpeter
        Unhappy

        Only one parachute?

        Why not a last chance personal pack?

        Why not 3 parachutes deployed in various locations and under control of the rocketeer?

        Hope the dependents are looked after

        1. Richard Plinston

          > Why not 3 parachutes

          Because once you have increased the weight of the craft to greater than the thrust of the rocket the parachutes will no longer be required.

        2. Don Jefe

          Redundant systems quickly become big liabilities if not handled with great care. Guys in steam powered rockets are not known for their great care.

        3. phuzz Silver badge

          Why not a last chance personal pack?

          Because he wouldn't have been able to get out of the seat in time to use it.

  6. Ochib

    Just goes to prove that Sir Isaac Newton is the deadliest son-of-a-bitch in space (or anywhere else)!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Spaghettification?

      Or Einstein.

    2. BigSLitleP

      That is why, Ensign, we do not eye ball it.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    You don't need to get more than a few feet off the ground to determine whether or not the Earth is curved. Just go to the sea-side where there's shipping and watch the way they way they appear and disappear hull-down. Then work out how that happens.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Facepalm

      That's what they WANT you to think :-)

      I once talked to a flat earther about this. They have some crazy "perspective plane" argument that "explains" this.

      They have no explanation for why geosynchronous satellites and GPS work, nor can they explain why the spherical trig used to reduce sextant observations works when the earth is flat.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Since Eratosthenes of Cyrene first came up with a measurement for the Earths circumference more than 2200 years ago I personally consider them to be just a little bit out of date.

        I'm sure that if you did a venn diagram of Flat Earthers & Moon Landing conspirators that you'd find a HUGE overlap.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          >Eratosthenes of Cyrene

          I think we've all had enough of experts - and european ones at that

          1. Symon Silver badge
            Headmaster

            "european" [sic]

            The clue is in the name. Although Greek, he was born in Cyrene in Africa.

            Anyway, pedantry aside, here's your man Sagan explaining what a clever bloke he was...

            https://youtu.be/G8cbIWMv0rI

          2. RandomPedant

            Which species of swallow?

            Not even European. Cyrene is in Libya. Probably supports quite the wrong cricket team.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Which species of swallow?

              Bloody immigrants coming over here teaching our philosophers.....

        2. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Believing that the moon landing is fake is a pre-requisite for believing in the flat earth - flat earth just doesn't support the idea of a moon orbiting the earth. Instead, they claim it's a light source circling around the north pole, opposite the sun.

        3. keithpeter
          Pint

          Just ask a Bristol fishing boat skipper. They had all of this crap sorted around 1100 or so (grand banks cod)

          Icon: welcome back to port

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "welcome back to port"

            That's not port, it's beer.

            1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

              What, don't you have your white port in a pint glass?

            2. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
              Pint

              Any beer in a storm.

        4. Terry 6 Silver badge

          The Venn diagram of conspiracy theory nut jobs is by and large a circle. As anyone who has ever delved into the sewer that is Social Media would easily see. The Flat Earthers have to be part of that paranoia fest to protect their pet belief. But the "Moon landings were a hoax", chem trail, Jewish Conspiracy anti-vaxxers and the like all share their beliefs in online forums.(Or fora if you must). And happily shae all of them.

          One of the really fascinating, from a Psychological view point, aspects, is how they reconcile the effort these conspiracies would require to make them operate with the gains to be had from them.

          1. KarMann Bronze badge
            Headmaster

            (Or fora if you must.)

            Yes, I must. But thanks for at least acknowledging my viewpoint.

          2. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
            Black Helicopters

            Slightly OT but last year I was recovering from pneumonia and a collapsed lung so decided to spend a couple of days simply resting in bed and going down the rabbit hole known as youtube chasing up (down? Across?) flat earthers, moon landing deniers, anti-vaxxers and their ilk.

            It was an amazing journey into the minds of some really paranoid crazies!

            What amazed me was how many of them could not be convinced of scientific proofs and truths. They always had the strangest explanations for the 'discrepancies' that intelligent folk seemed to raise.

            Simple lighting tricks, photoshopping (years before PS was invented), giant cover ups by govmint agencies ("that's what 'they' want you to think") and so much more.

            Just about any sane proof could be countered by an (often) totally insane counter proof.

            Nearly had to buy myself a tin foil hat.

            1. jake Silver badge

              You don't buy tin foil hats, silly. You have to make them for yourself ... the purchased ones are all bugged by the government. Everybody knows that.

      2. devTrail

        "I once talked to a flat earther about this. They have some crazy "perspective plane" argument that "explains" this."

        You could have simply replied them to rent a boat to go from Patagonia East or West, always straight. Either they fall off the edge of the Earth or they go back to the starting point. Well, leaving from Patagonia they might find rough seas, but no land blocking their voyage. The only problem is that nobody would do this because there's no point. It has already been done a lot of times since the 16th century. But on the other hand I also suspect that there is no point in proposing such a simple experiment because your flat earther friend does not exist.

        1. Richard Plinston

          > your flat earther friend does not exist.

          He didn't say he was a friend. Flat earthers do exist but are best avoided.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Joke

            Flat earthers do exist but are best avoided.

            Luckily that's quite easy - just stand on the opposite side of the disc from them :)

          2. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
            Pint

            Everybody needs to know a flat earther so they can have something funny in their life to laugh at.

      3. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: That's what they WANT you to think

        Like Globebusters saying they could prove a flat earth with a laser gyro, being given one, and then having to come up with a Flat Earth compliant explanation for why it kept showing them a 15 degree per hour drift!

        You couldn't make this shit up.

        1. Baldrickk Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: That's what they WANT you to think

          ... Interesting...

          Sorry, I had to quote Jeranism here too, for his experiments as well.

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Trollface

      Just go to the sea-side where there's shipping and watch the way they way they appear and disappear hull-down

      Stupid. That, of course, is because the light is bent slightly while travelling close to the sea surface. And photos from great height showing curvature? It's only the lenses that distort the picture, as every one knows who's ever used a wide-angle lens.

      Anyway, going up in a balloon is no option either: it's another big lie that balloons are round. They are flat in fact.

      /flat_earth_mode

      1. Munkeh
        Boffin

        Balloons do not, in fact, go up anywhere. They just repel the ground which itself moves away from the balloon as it serenely floats in the same position. It's not common knowledge but I suspect this is due to the elephants, propping up the ground, bending their knees in anticipation of the balloon bursting.

        You can amplify this effect if you add a wicker basket containing mice to the balloon.

        1. Mike 137 Silver badge

          "bending their knees in anticipation"

          But that's just due to nervousness. They aren't standing on anything because their legs go "all the way down". So it makes no difference whether they bend their knees or not.

          1. Kernel

            Re: "bending their knees in anticipation"

            "They aren't standing on anything because their legs go "all the way down"."

            No, the elephants are standing on the turtle - everyone should know that.

            1. Bernard M. Orwell
              Happy

              Re: "bending their knees in anticipation"

              You won't get me like that! It's turtles all the way down, Mr Fry!

      2. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        The weird thing is that the light from the sun is bent near the horizon, but such that when we see the sun touch the horizon it is actually 'below' the horizon already.

        About a third of the way down:

        https://medium.com/starts-with-a-bang/throwback-thursday-the-green-flash-14b4c5e2e6

        1. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Been a while since I last encountered the green flash being talked about. Not something I've ever experienced myself.

          1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

            Happened to watch PotC: At World's End just the other day, where the green flash is used as a plot point.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            ... since I last encountered the green flash

            That'll be quite enough for today about your dodgy superhero slash fiction, thank you. :-)

          3. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

            IIRC, to experience it you need meteorological conditions that are about as likely to happen as an alignment of all 9 planets of the solar system.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              nah , its not that rare , looks nothing like the POTC version though.

              EPOD website has many pix of it , and other cool atmos effects

          4. arctic_haze

            I have seen the green flash many times in California and twice in Europe.

      3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Stupid. That, of course, is because the light is bent slightly while travelling close to the sea surface. And photos from great height showing curvature? It's only the lenses that distort the picture, as every one knows who's ever used a wide-angle lens.

        Netflix had a doc about the flat earthers. One group got funds to buy a fairly decent lasers, so set out to find.. err.. a flat bit of ground. Laser at set height, target some distance away, and thus dot from laser should appear at the same height. Ergo, Earth is flat!

        Program ended with the motley crew trying to figure out why it was higher on the target, in line with the conspiracy theory involving a non-flat Earth.

        Shame someone had to die to try and prove their theory, but the 'accident' was probably sabotage, and if he'd achieved his goal, would have crashed into the hard ceiling above the flat Earth anyway. All the world's a (sound) stage.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          There are bunches of this sort of thing happening. One of my favorites is a group of flat-earthers who raised enough money to buy a very expensive and accurate laser gyroscope -- the idea was to test for actual rotational movement on the earth's surface. They expected to find none, but in fact found that the gyro indicated a ~15 degree drift -- exactly as the standard globe model predicts.

          1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
            Joke

            Clearly, they had bought a dud one. ----->

          2. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: a 15 degree per hour drift

            Bob Knodel's “What we found is, is when we turned on that gyroscope we found that we were picking up a drift. A 15 degree per hour drift” has become a popular meme for FE debunkers (yes, it's a thing) and is generally played on their videos any time Globebusters is mentioned.

            But what's funnier is their attempts to come up with a flattard compliant "theory" to explain it - everything from "it was precalibrated to show a drift" to "It's measuring the heavenly harmonics in the aether"

            Proof? they've heard of it

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          hard ceiling above the flat Earth anyway

          Do they also believe in celestial spheres then?

        3. Baldrickk Silver badge

          "interesting... "

          Actually, the laser diverged too much - so they resorted to shining a light through some boards instead, which while also a flawed experiment was good enough to show evidence of curvature.

          I should probably get around to watching that documentary at some point.

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "And photos from great height showing curvature?"

        If you want to tst things out for yourself you don't rely on optical instruments when the Mk 1 eyeball suffices.

        1. Richard Plinston

          > If you want to tst things out for yourself you don't rely on optical instruments when the Mk 1 eyeball suffices.

          Mk 1 eyeballs are completely unreliable in so many ways. They are also only backed up by human memory which is even more unreliable. If you have two observers of an event you are likely to get three or more incompatible descriptions of what happened.

          Optical instruments can be calibrated and corrections applied. They can also record so that comparisons can be made.

    3. Annihilator Silver badge

      You could also just watch the sun disappear below the horizon while in the UK, then Skype your friend in LA and ponder why it's still visible in the sky where they are. If I hold a light over a dinner plate, there's no way I make it only visible on one part of the plate. If I make it a beam of light and move it around the plate, I can't make it seem to disappear over the horizon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes, but that's not actually your friend in LA, that's "them" pretending to be your friend. Obviously.

        /s

        Some of these people are just trolls, but some of them have real mental heath issues so you should be careful how much you wind them up. If they decide that you're one of 'them', and part of the conspiracy, rather than just a dupe, there's no telling how they might react.

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Light on a flat plate

        I can't make it seem to disappear over the horizon

        Ah, but you see, it doesn't disappear over the horizon, you see. It moves away from you and, due to the Laws Of Perspective(TM), we can only see about 300km (I guess that should be in miles, since flattards don't seem too at home with the metric system) or so through the atmosphere, cos of the vanishing point thingie.

        And the sun is only between 3 and 6 thousand miles away, not millions of billions.

        Of course, that doesn't explain we can see the sun overhead when it's 6,000 miles away, but not when it's on our left 100 miles away. Maybe the vanishing point thingie only works horizontally. That would explain why planes don't get any smaller when they gain altitude, but stay the same apparent size. Oh, wait ..

        JERAAAN!!!

    4. Persona Silver badge

      "Then work out how that happens." …….

      Easy. Tides and waves.

  8. DrXym Silver badge

    Messages of condolence...

    ... flooded in from all 4 corners of the Earth.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If he only planned to go 1,500 feet why not just walk up a mountain.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      He was planning to go 60 miles up, by launching his craft from a balloon. This was just a test flight to get the craft ready.

      1. devTrail

        I agree thet this was just a test flight, but are you sure he was planning to use a balloon? The rocket I see in the picture does not have control surfaces, only fixed fins. A lunch from a balloon without control surfaces might be tricky.

        1. Mystic Megabyte
          Happy

          @devTrail

          "A lunch from a balloon without control surfaces might be tricky."

          I imagine lunch would be quails eggs and "gentleman's relish" washed down by the finest claret.

          So no problems there :)

        2. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Hiya devTrail,

          Mike didn't explain in depth how he was planning to launch the craft from a balloon in the documentary, just that he planned to launch it from a balloon to get to 63 miles high. I know for a fact that could never work, at least not with his resources, but I also know the Earth isn't flat.

          I tried to launch two 6' inflatable whales covered with rape alarms once as part of a war protest. They didn't fly, not with all the helium in all the balloon shops in Glasgow. That was as crazy and experimental as I ever got.

          Mind you, Lawnchair Larry took off and survived so what do I know.

          .

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        Too bad he couldn't attach a camera to a balloon.

      3. AndrueC Silver badge
        Meh

        This was just a test flight to get the craft ready.

        Apparently the craft was not ready.

  10. WonkoTheSane
    Trollface

    Round Earth proved rocketeer flat.

    See title.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Round Earth proved rocketeer flat.

      Did he build the rocket from parts supplied by Acme Co

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Round Earth proved rocketeer flat.

        I did have a pic of WileECoyote on it . seriously

  11. devTrail

    How on earth can someone be so stupid to believe this BS?

    If you think you got the meaning of my post by reading the title you are wrong. I am wondering how can people believe that the Flath Earthers exist. They are clearly a fake publicised by big media to let people believe there can be BS that is even worse than what they feed to the public.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: How on earth can someone be so stupid to believe this BS?

      Never doubt how stupid people can be. Just think how dumb the average man in the street is, and then consider, that by definition, half of all people are dumber...

      Just as there are individuals who reach the zenith of human intellect, there are their counterparts who reach the nadir.

      1. Daedalus Silver badge

        Re: How on earth can someone be so stupid to believe this BS?

        Zenith and nadir are concepts pushed by the roundworlders, and are therefore disregarded by flatlanders.

      2. joeW Silver badge

        Re: How on earth can someone be so stupid to believe this BS?

        And some individuals reach both, sometimes on the same day. Even the smartest among us will have a few intellectual blind spots.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How on earth can someone be so stupid to believe this BS?

        Why, I hear tell that there are even some amongst us who don't know the difference between a median and a mean, and that an unqualified 'average' generally refers to the latter, if not 'by definition'.

  12. Daedalus Silver badge

    Don't underestimate steam

    Technically the jet pack of James Bond fame was propelled by steam, for that is what you get from the catalytic breakdown of hydrogen peroxide. It's the temperature that matters: Bond's jet exhaust was at about 750 deg C. Not the best stuff to be blasting within inches of the glutes.

    1. devTrail

      Re: Don't underestimate steam

      There are a lot of people willing to take this kind of risk. If you survive you are a daredevil, otherwise all the options are open, they might describe you as an idiot or a hero, but that says nothing about whether the fun was worth or not the risk.

      1. Daedalus Silver badge

        Re: Don't underestimate steam

        The particular risk in question involved the stunt guy wearing flameproof insulation under the Bond tuxedo.

        Of course, now we have a new jet-pack guy with his little jet-lets fastened to various parts of his body. He looks great in flight, but I have to wonder what will happen when (not if) he experiences a hard landing.

        Whenever there's one of these great ideas for getting around without a vehicle, you have to consider that the vehicle is at least partly there to make sure you come out alive and uninjured every time.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't underestimate steam

          Thete's only one thing you can do after he experiences a hard landing.

          "What's that?"

          Go through his pockets and look for loose change.

        2. Richard Plinston

          Re: Don't underestimate steam

          > partly there to make sure you come out alive and uninjured every time

          A good landing is where you can walk out. A great landing is where the vehicle can be used again after landing.

        3. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Re: Don't underestimate steam

          The "jet pack guy" (pr guys – I believe there's more than one now) lands by parachute so if he experiences a hard landing* he might end up with a sprained ankle.

          *As opposed to a "really hard landing" but the latter is a risk every flyer takes.

    2. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Don't underestimate steam

      Come to think of it the exhaust of the Space Shuttle Main Engine, and indeed any LH2/LOX rocket, is basically steam.

      Very very very hot steam.

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Once again proving that

        Spike Milligan was a visionary.

  13. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
    FAIL

    Er ...

    "Hughes had received a substantial chunk of funding from Flat Earthers, who believe the Earth is a flat disk rather than spherical."

    Allegedly as the rocket took off, a voice could be heard saying:

    "IT'S A BIT CRAMPED IN HERE".

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    They were right all along...

    I imagine Mike is now looking down from upon his heavenly cloud muttering "they were right all along..."

  15. renniks

    So he died a 'flat Flat - Earther' I guess...

  16. batfink Silver badge

    That wasn't a drogue deploying...

    In my official capacity as Reverend Fink, I believe that was a brief glimpse of one of the Noodly Appendages of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, making sure that Hughes didn't get high enough to risk catching a clear view of the FSM, thereby undoing all those centuries of subtle meddling with the fossil record.

  17. OssianScotland Silver badge

    <HHGTG>

    "Oh no, not again!"

    </HHGTG>

  18. BGatez Bronze badge

    I guess being a flat earther he had nowhere to go but up

  19. BGatez Bronze badge

    Donny is down one vote

  20. Dwarf Silver badge

    Altitude

    If he just wanted some altitude to look at the earth from and to find out that it is indeed curved, then why didn't he just get on any commercial plane trip and look out of the window.

  21. pakman
    WTF?

    Why do you flat earthers stop half way?

    Take your convictions to their logical conclusion: if you're going to bend the surface of the Earth from convex to flat, keep going and make it concave. As we all should know, the earth is hollow, and we live on the inside[1][2]. Lots of people have believed this, including in the 20th century a Nazi-era Luftwaffe pilot and general all-round nutter called Peter Bender. Bender's theories inspired one Rudolf Nebel (a predecessor of Mike Hughes) to propose a project to to prove this by firing a rocket from Magdeburg in Germany to a point just south of New Zealand[3]. No-one lost their life in the attempts to test the prototypes, but Nebel's attempts came to an end when the Nazis pulled the plug on DIY rocketry.

    [1] https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4343

    [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollow_Earth

    [3] http://www.astronautix.com/m/magdeburg.html

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Why do you flat earthers stop half way?

      I have had discussions with people who believed in a concave earth. They consider themselves a variant of flat earther, and I had lots of fun arguing that they couldn't be flat-earthers because flat != concave.

  22. SVV Silver badge

    Saturday's launch should have seen Hughes ascend to new heights atop his homebrew rocket

    He should have used water to power it, rather than wasting good beer.

  23. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    a parachute deployed just after take-off

    Is this a repeat of Evel Knievel attempting to jump Snake River Canyon?

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: a parachute deployed just after take-off

      Personally I think this might be a Reggie Perrin.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RIP Michael Hughes.

    am I the only one to think there's something VEEEERY suspicious about his death? You know he got death threats from FBI?! (it was actually CIA agents posing to be from FBI!!!) And we all know for a fact that CIA is sponsored by this round earth conspiracy, right?! And they cut his parachute, man...

  25. Palpy

    Dave Fischer and FELFAT.

    "The original flat earth was confined, restricted, and twisted into a perverse spherical shape by a conspiracy of TELEVISION BROADCASTERS in an attempt to realize their dream of TOTAL HUMAN MIND CONTROL through subserviant captive homogenized market share. ... Before the Earth was enspherized, people could escape television broadcast beams by direct linear travel. This is no longer the case, as television broadcast transmissions encircle the finite globe. The goal was not spherization, but limitation. The most obvious solution, to cut off the remainder of the planet beyond a small fixed inner area, giving a flat, bounded earth with the traditional falling-off-the-edge-of-the-world, would have been too obvious, and would have left too much evidence of the deed."

    From Dave Fischer's "Flat Earth Liberation Front Against Television". Been around for ages. Dave is an artist with an obviously quirky sense of humor.

  26. tekHedd

    Fine style

    Anyone with beautifully sculpted Star Trek concave sideburns like his is a winner in my book.

    (note: no sarcasm here at all, legit respect)

  27. Eric Kimminau TREG

    "Mad" Mike Hughes to be commended

    "Mad" Mike Hughes is to be commended for the successful launch of his steam powered vehicle which successfully carried him to the location of his death. He should be a primary candidate for the 2020 Darwin awards.

    As for "going atop a mountain", There are multiple ski resorts with lifts that will take you above 13,000 feet. Even more above 12,000'.

    https://www.tripsavvy.com/highest-ski-mountains-in-the-united-states-4132322

    Chacaltaya, Bolivia has a lift over 17,785' (5241M).

    http://verticalfeet.com/highest-lifts.html

    However, According to most high-altitude pilots, the curvature of Earth’s horizon becomes obvious at an altitude of about 50,000 feet (15.24 kilometers) and is prominent by the time you reach 60,000 feet (18.29 kilometers). Until they can get a rocket above 50,000 feet the earth will still be flat.

  28. Anonymous John

    Of course it's not flat. I can see hills or mountains in the first photo.

  29. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Well, the Earth may not be flat but Mad Mi ...

    What? Too soon?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He may have not have proved the Earth was flat but he certainly proved Newton right.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mobius Strip

    Isn't it obvious that the Earth is a Mobius Strip? If you go high enough, you end up under it.

  32. Drew 11

    "Science" channel issuing "thoughts and prayers". Where's that dumptruck jpg when you need it?

  33. Dropper

    Steam Powered Rocket

    Mad Mike: The Earth is flat.

    Earth: No.. you're flat.

  34. Chozo
    Pirate

    We who are about to play Kerbal salute you!

    and wish we were as mad

  35. JimPoak

    I once met..

    A person that thought firing rockets into space left holes in the atmosphere and we would all suffocate. More recently a person didn't understand how rockets worked in the vacuum of space (Every action as an equal and opposite reaction). These incidents were separated by many decades apart.

    Sigh.....

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: I once met..

      Not too far from those Americans who opposed solar power because it might use up the sun.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I once met..

        "opposed solar power because it might use up the sun."

        Not just the odd Yank. Odd Brits, too. I first heard that proposed at York Uni in 1978 or thereabouts.

    2. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Re: I once met..

      I once knew a young girl who had been taken into care at the age of six. When she was seventeen, she once asked me "You know - when the sun sets, where does it go?" I was flabbergasted. She had had virtually no education during the eleven years she was in care, she was not stupid, just uneducated. I showed her a globe and asked her what it represented. She said that she had seen one before, and thought that it was just a pretty desk lamp. I had to explain to her that it was a scale model of the Earth, and show her how day and night are caused by the rotation of the planet.

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        Re: I once met..

        How did she take it? I guess it was a significant change to any preconceived notions - as I would expect that here knowledge of the world was pretty much limited to her immediate environment, given the lack of recognition of the continents?

        1. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge

          Re: I once met..

          As you say, her outlook was extremely parochial. The shenanigans in Albert Square and Coronation Street were considerably more important to her daily life than any activity on the world stage.

    3. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
      FAIL

      Re: I once met..

      Let's not forget the current US president who believes windmills cause cancer, so these folk certainly do walk amongst us.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last time I saw the curvature of the Earth....

    ...I was at 40,000 Ft enjoying a single malt in business class.

    No parachute required.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flat Moon Society

    You are all wrong! It's the moon that is flat, not the earth. Like a big cookie in the sky. That's why we only ever see one view of it.

  38. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    So...

    The poor guy died and, no doubt, condolences were sent by his fellow flat-earthers from all around the globe.

    Oh, wait.

    No, it's not rocket surgery.

    Maybe a balloon and go-pro would have been a better option.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: So...

      "Maybe a balloon and go-pro would have been a better option."

      I don't think that would have done it. I could have easily sent him a whole wodge of photos from 36km that I got from the last high altitude balloon flight I helped with some years ago. The Earth looked roundy from that altitude.

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