With Storm Area 51 and all other kinds of odd things going on, it's been a while since flat-Earthers have made the headlines. Finally, we had a chance to see whether letting them quietly get on with it would make the problem go away, and it turns out no, it does not. The flat Earth movement chugs on regardless, like a round Earth rotating around the Sun.
The belief that the Earth isn't a sphere (even though it is) is still on the rise in various hotspots around the globe, it's not just the US and the UK. In Brazil, a survey has found that a whopping 7 percent of people believe the Earth is flat – translating into around 11 million people. Perhaps unsurprisingly, beliefs about the Earth's shape was linked to levels of education. People who left education after elementary school were more likely to believe the Earth was flat (around 10 percent) compared to those who finished high school (6 percent) or higher (3 percent).
The problem goes right to the top, however, as one of President Bolsonaro's inner circle was recently mocked for tweeting "I did not study the subject of flat earth. I just watched a few videos of experiments that show the flatness of the aquatic surfaces, and so far couldn't find anything to refute them." He should probably check out this article to see why that is.
Now, government advisors and regular flat-Earthers alike have a chance to come together and discuss just how flat the Earth is and why they don't believe photographic evidence or any of the ways you can prove for yourself that it isn't flat. For just 110 Brazilian reals ($27 USD) you can listen to several people who haven't understood the evidence "prove" that we don't live on a globe.
"Flat Earth is a very hot topic and is on the media agenda around the world," the conference organizers write. "Treated as a 'conspiracy theory' by many, this science is studied by many professors and scholars who show, through empirical evidence, that we do not live on a globe but in a flat, stationary world.
"It is not a fad, much less a passing phenomenon. This global wave started strong in 2015 and brought people together with one common goal: to prove that we don't live on a globe like we were told at school, that NASA and other agencies lie."
So what goes down at flat Earth conferences?
If previous ones are anything to go by, it'll be just as ridiculous as you're picturing. At one conference last year, attendees were told about how gravity doesn't exist and we're all held in place by electromagnetism, whilst another speaker informed everybody that nobody falls off the edge of the world due to the "Pac-Man effect".
"We know that continuous east-west travel is a reality," flat-Earther Darren Nesbit said, The Age reports. "One logical possibility for those who are truly free thinkers is that space-time wraps around and we get a Pac-Man effect."
Basically, at the end of the Earth, space-time ends. Rather than falling off the edge of the world, you are placed at the opposite end of the map just like Pac-Man or Pac-Man's ghosts.
Amongst the speakers at the conference in São Paolo, The Guardian reports, are several YouTubers (of course) who publish videos such as 25 examples that prove NASA is a fraud and gravity doesn’t exist. So it looks like this conference could go down in a similarly absurd fashion.