WikiWhat? The Earth is Flat? Australia is NOT Down Under?

WikiWhatHere at Georgetown, we love to create clubs. We’ve got clubs for creative writers, aspiring political leaders, aca-tastic a cappella-ers, dancers, and a crap load of other people. But there’s one thing we don’t have: a club for flat-earthers. That’s right 4E lovers, this week’s WikiWhat? article is on the Flat Earth Society.

We often associate the “flat earth” idea with pre-classical Greece but, today, the Flat Earth Society is dedicated to furthering the belief that the earth is flat instead of being an ‘oblate spheroid.’ The society, established in 1956 by Samuel Shenton, exists in its modern form thanks to Daniel Shenton (no relation) who resurrected the organization in 2004. At its peak, during previous administration, it had about 3,000 due-paying members, but today holds a modest (but dedicated) 420 people.

Here’s some questions that come to mind:

Q: Couldn’t you fall off of the Earth if it were were flat?

A: Most recently, the FES has advocated that humanity lives on a disc with the North Pole at its center and a 150 ft. (45 m.) wall of ice at its outer edge. Some members, however, believe that the Earth is an infinite plane.

Q: How do you explain how gravity works, then?

A: Some say that gravity doesn’t exist. Others say that the earth is a finite plane accelerating upwards at 9.8 m/s2. (Makes sense…)

Q: How did Ferdinand Magellan, and countless others after him, circumnavigate the world?

A: There’s no information on an explanation for this, but let’s just assume that they’ve found a way to debunk circumnavigators’ claims.

Q:Why has the society (aka Daniel Shenton) been tweeting for the past two years with only 2 subscribers (one of which is me)?

A: We’ll let you speculate on that one…

Q: And, finally, why am I a subscriber of their twitter?

A: I’m an intellectually risky person and proud of it. (Felt bad for the guy…)

You SFS-ers might want to rethink your Map of the Modern World classes.

WikiWhat? Oxytocin? LOVE IS A LIE?

WikiWhatPicture this: a frantic biology student searches through Wikipedia for better explanations of the concepts sure to be on Wednesday’s midterm. Of course, Wikipedia is already a questionable method of studying … both for its spotty information and because we all know that one thing leads to another and we somehow end up checking celebrities’ pages for their birthdays and discographies. This time around, I came across something that could debunk love as we know it: oxytocin.

Sure, you might be claiming that love is in the air this Valentine’s Day. I am, however, quite excited to burst your bubble of happiness in telling you that it’s not your heart telling you that you’re in love — it’s your brain. Oxytocin is a hormone secreted from the pituitary gland that serves various purposes in your body. In several scenarios, oxytocin is found at high levels during sexual activity, breastfeeding, and right before birth in the mother’s body. What’s more interesting is that oxytocin induces feelings of security and calmness around your significant other. It reduces fear, and there also exists a positive correlation between oxytocin levels and measuring romantic attachment. A study even showed that when couples are separated, oxytocin comes to the rescue by alleviating sentiments of anxiety. It even allegedly keeps men faithful!

Yes, yes, I know that just because there exists a strong correlation between romance and oxytocin, that does not imply that oxytocin causes romance, when it could very much be the opposite. However, given that Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I will take any opportunity I can to rain on that parade.

So, the next time your special person tells you they have “love” for you in their heart, know this: That ain’t love — that’s oxytocin!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!