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Test for Thinking

March 29th, 2006

Northpole Small

According to Snopes.com, this image is being circulated as a a photo of “sunset at the North Pole with the moon at its closest point.”

A little thought, using facts that pretty much everyone should know, should quickly provide you with two reasons why this photo could not possibly be real. The idea here is how uncritically we tend to accept information, without comparing the information we receive against what we know to be true. Because we don’t filter new information against known facts, we tend to accept rather obvious untruths as real.

See the two points that immediately came to me below the fold…

1. Everyone should know that a solar eclipse–like the one happening today in Africa and Western Asia–happens because the apparent size of the sun and the moon are roughly the same. Even if the moon changes apparent size “at its closest point,” the difference shown here between the discs of the sun and moon are so great that it could not possibly be real–unless you live on one of Jupiter’s moons…

2. The moon goes around the Earth close to the equator–it does not circle pole to pole, which would be necessary to produce this image from the North Pole.

Anyone see anything I missed?

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  1. March 29th, 2006 at 17:00 | #1

    To tell you the truth, the first thing I thought was “what a pretty piece of computer CG!” (before even reading the post).

    I don’t know about the other people, but the water in the picture is so CG-like that i would have to be convinced that the picture is real even if there was not the uber-moon over it.

  2. ykw
    March 30th, 2006 at 03:58 | #2

    3) no water at north pole

    4) sun needs to be 180 degrees out of phase with respect to earth to get an eclipse since the shadow against the moon is due to the earth. In other words, one wants in a line:

    sun > earth > moon

  3. mashu
    March 30th, 2006 at 22:59 | #3

    great pic. It is now my new wallpaper. Thanks!

  4. Shari
    March 31st, 2006 at 10:43 | #4

    The first thing I thought was you’ve been in Japan too long. “Test for thinking” sounds like a Japanese translation of an English concept. It comes from correcting mangled English for years and years and reaching the point where your thought patterns have been imprinted with a way of speaking that you’d never use in your native country. We all do it.

  5. Manok
    April 1st, 2006 at 01:21 | #5

    Yeah!!! You missed one!!! Or perhaps two?
    There’s no water at the North Pole, at least not for the coming 50 years. So this would be at most a picture towards the edge of the North Pole ice cap, quite a distance from what’s the real north pole.
    And, the landscape does not look like pack-ice, but more like real mountains and rock. And those are not present on the northern pole.

  6. Mark Miller
    April 4th, 2006 at 08:40 | #6

    It’s definitely pure CG…the POV (point of view) is at an impossible angle without disturbing the water. I have personally made plenty of CG images like this. Programs used>>Terragen….Bryce5.5,…Vue 5 Infinite. Check out http://www.renderosity.com and view some of the awesome galleries.

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