If you hear things repeated enough and from different sources, they grow into self truths, and next thing you know you help to spread them. In a week it is an Urban Legend. It’s interesting to see how some new tools can help poke holes in folk tales.
Have you ever repeated the old adage that “the Great Wall in China is the only man made object visible from space”? Since something like 0.000005% of the world’s population has actually been in space, we have little to test our “truths”, but Dan Hersam took a spin on Google Maps to show that the Great Wall is not visible from space:
I’ve heard from several different people that the Great Wall of China was the only man-made object visible from space. I heard it so many times that I became convinced of its veracity, and having not had the opportunity to take a jaunt into space, I had no way of verifying it.
I had never questioned the truthfulness of the claim when I thought it would be fun to see it on one of the many map sites or applications. I did searches for it using the applications, but they couldn’t find it, so I just looked at China, thinking it would be easy to pick out. I didn’t know where it was, so I had a hard time with that…
So now, if you ever hear anyone say the Great Wall of China can be seen from the moon (or space), you’ll know it’s not true, and you can prove it. If you can’t see it from a satellite, you’re not going to be able to see it from the Moon.
These are the kinds of things our students hopefully will/should do to test some of the ***** we lay on them or as a reflex to use the tools available to test assumptions.
Thankfully the Google Moon Map clearly does prove the old cheese structure theory.