Rapper B.O.B., most famously known for his track "Airplanes," found his way back into headlines yesterday after embarking on a Twitter tirade claiming the earth was flat. The musician posted a significant number of pseudo-scientific memes and theories. This led to a Twitter argument with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and eventually a diss track aimed at Tyson and all those who believe in the earth's curves.
While this may seem like an isolated event, save the recent social media ramblings of fellow flat-earther Tila Tequila, it wasn't very long ago that the International Flat Earth Society was formally established (its origins date back to 19th century England, according to founder Samuel Shenton) and its former president, Charles K. Johnson, recruited somewhere around 3,000 believers. As i09 reports, Johnson pursued a life of flat-earth activism from his abode in the Mojave Desert, eventually becoming the society's leader in 1972:
That Johnson’s desert abode was so close to Edwards Air Force Base, home of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, only made it more curious how strongly Johnson stuck to his beliefs. He believed the space program was a full-on hoax. In 1980, he gave an interview to Science Digest in which he opined “You can’t orbit a flat earth. The Space Shuttle is a joke—and a very ludicrous joke.” Though he hadn’t achieved more than a high-school education, Johnson was a well-spoken, passionate advocate whose fame even landed him an ice cream commercial. Thanks to his promotional efforts through regular newsletters (tagline: “Restoring the World to Sanity”) on topics such as “Charles Lindbergh Proved Earth Flat,” he grew the Society’s membership from a handful of believers to some 3,000 strong.
Feature image via International Flat Earth Society