In Brief

Rapper BoB claims Earth is flat and a conspiracy is hiding the truth

US hip-hop star takes to Twitter to defend his views, but gets a lesson in geometry from Neil deGrasse Tyson

US hip-hop artist Bobby Ray Simmons Jr, better known as BoB, has provoked amusement and ire on Twitter with his claim that the Earth is flat and that there is a conspiracy to deny the "truth". 

"A lot of people are turned off by the phrase 'flat earth' ... but there's no way u can see all the evidence and not know... grow up," he wrote.

He has also posted a variety of "evidence" for his claims, ranging from spurious geometry to photos of horizons with no visible curvature. 

Asked why no edge of the Earth had ever been discovered, he replied: "Have u been to the edge? or is that what your science book told you?"

Among those answering his claims is astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who corrected the rapper's geometry.

In his argument, BoB said the world must be flat because otherwise it would be impossible to see Manhattan from Bear Mountain, 60 miles away, as the curvature of the Earth's surface "should" hide 170ft of the city, measuring from the ground up.

In response, Tyson explained that the curvature, in fact, blocks 150ft of the view, not 170, but that most buildings in Manhattan were far taller than 170ft and hence visible from the hill.

However, he added some words of comfort for the rapper. "Being five centuries regressed in your reasoning doesn't mean we all can't still like your music," he wrote.

BoB is not alone in his beliefs: according to The Guardian, he is "following in the footsteps of the recent flat-Earthers trend" which has "been gaining ground in the US as of late", alongside creationism.

Last February, a Saudi Arabian cleric, Sheikh Bandar al-Khaibari, also achieved notoriety on the internet after a video of him telling students the Earth was stationary and orbited by the sun went viral.

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