Hollow Earth Conspiracy Theory Says Planet Is Filled With Aliens and Nazis—But It Isn't

Updated | On Monday, the British tabloid The Daily Mail introduced us to "hollow-Earthers," who they say may number in the thousands and believe, yes, that the Earth is empty inside. "A group of conspiracy theorists believe the Earth is hollow—and that superior 'alien' humans, Vikings and Nazis live inside. Instead of thinking that the world is flat, they are convinced that it actually contains a paradise at its core that resembles the Garden of Eden," the story reports. The garden is lit by a central sun, say the conspiracists. 

Poor geology isn't always the sexiest of sciences: It often deals with the distant past or with processes that happen slowly—until a sudden eruption, quake or other phenomenon. But that's no reason to disregard literally everything geologists and planetary scientists have taught us about the Earth and other celestial bodies for a conspiracy theory, so let's spend some quality time debunking this latest story about Earth.

The Earth is very much filled, Vikings and Nazis aren't superior "alien" humans, and there's definitely not a sun inside of Earth. Let's break this one down a bit.

A cut-away drawing of Earth showing its not-at-all hollow interior. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Earth's structure is a bit like a candy, covered by a thin outermost layer of rock called the crust. Beneath the crust comes two thick layers of molten rock called the mantle, then the liquid outer core and deepest of all the solid inner core. Of course, no one has been down to the mantle or the core—but scientists have the tools to know that they must be there.

In fact, our understanding of the core began with Isaac Newton, who realized that because of how planets move and the way gravity is tied to a body's mass, the planet can't even be solid crust: Overall, it must be twice as dense as the rock we see every day here at the surface. If Earth were truly hollow, the planet as a whole would be much lighter and gravity much weaker—perhaps so weak we would all float away.

Read more: We Asked Two Flat Earthers: What About the Other Planets?

Later scientists have built on Newton's understanding with the development of remote sensing technology. For example, they can puzzle out the mantle's density and other characteristics based on how waves travel through the material during an earthquake.

Scientists can also study how the mantle affects life here at the surface of Earth, since the mantle drives plate tectonics. Earth's surface is made up of dozens of chunks of rock called plates, which float above the mantle. As molten rock in the mantle churns, it causes these plates to drift toward and away from each other. That dynamic in turn causes volcanoes, where plates collide and older crust is recycled, and mid-ocean rift valleys where new rock is born as plates separate.

And as to that interior sun, what might be way more mind-blowing than any conspiracy theory is that a star could actually fit within our planet: Although our sun is huge, more than 850,000 miles across, not all stars are. Superdense neutron stars are less than a dozen miles across, much smaller than Earth, which is just shy of 8,000 miles across. 

Of course, there would be other consequences of being that near a neutron star. The star's surface is millions of degrees and packs billions of times more gravity than Earth, and if the star, like many neutron stars, happens to be a pulsar, it will also be producing some nice friendly deadly radiation beams.

And someone definitely would have noticed if there were giant gaping holes at the North and South poles, as the hollow Earth theory requires, considering humans have explored both poles extensively.

This article has been updated to include more information about Earth's mantle and its impact above the surface.

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Harvey Weinstein's Wife, Georgina Chapman, Shouldn't Give Up Marchesa Fashion Brand, Says Carine Roitfeld

The scandal engulfing disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein also has put considerable scrutiny on his estranged wife, Georgina Chapman, and her fashion brand, Marchesa.

According to tabloid reports, Marchesa employees are looking to leave the company, created by Chapman and Keren Craig in 2004, and the future of the luxury label is in “jeopardy.”

But Chapman has strong support from Carine Roitfeld, the former editor of French Vogue and one of the most influential women in fashion. She tells Newsweek that Chapman should not allow the actions of her husband to affect her business.

“If I was her I would not stop,” says Roitfeld. “She’s doing very well, a lot of people wear her clothes. She’s a lovely person. Why does she have to stop? She should keep on. People will be here for her, I think. You don’t have to feel guilty for something you didn’t do.”

Weinstein, facing dozens of allegations of sexual misconduct, including rape, also has been accused of using his influence to ensure top Hollywood actors seen in his movies wore Marchesa designs on the red carpet.

Carine Roitfeld at the Veuve Clicquot Widow Series. Dave Benett

Chapman announced her intention to leave Weinstein on October 11, after exposés on her husband were published by The New York Times and The New Yorker.

“It’s a very old story,” Roitfeld says. “It’s not just Hollywood, I’m sure. It must happen in music, fashion, everywhere...but now women are strong [and will speak out].”

Since leaving the French edition of Vogue, Roitfeld, 63, has set up her own luxury fashion magazine, CR Fashion Book, which has featured the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West and Gigi Hadid on its cover.

Roitfeld, 63, tells Newsweek that it’s important that her own publication is empowering for women of all shapes, sizes, races and creeds.

“All my girls are very strong. They’re never submissive. They always decide what they want to do—if they want to be naked, it’s, ‘I want to be naked. No one asked me to be naked.’

“Beauty can be everywhere. I put a Muslim woman in a scarf on the cover,” Roitfeld points out, referring to the model Halima Aden.

Roitfeld also curated the third annual Veuve Clicquot Widow Series, a pop-up art installation in London that visually interprets the seven deadly sins in a series of immersive exhibitions.

The Veuve Clicquot Widow Series is open to the public Friday, October 20, through Saturday, October 21.

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Zoo Animal Little Mama, World's Oldest Known Chimpanzee, Dies at 79 Years Old

Little Mama, the oldest known chimpanzee on record, died on Tuesday in her late 70s, according to The Palm Beach Post

Born before the end of World War II, Little Mama lived into her 70s until Tuesday, when she died in the company of eight other chimpanzees and employees at the Lion Country Safari park in Loxahatchee, Florida. Although not yet confirmed, the cause of death is suspected to be kidney failure. According to the Post, a necroscopy will be carried out.  

As South Florida's Sun Sentinel reports, chimpanzees in captivity typically live to between 50 and 60, and their counterparts in the wild are expected to live to between 40 and 50. 

Referred to as "Mama" by her caretakers, the chimp was described as "the kindest soul I've ever known, chimpanzee, human or otherwise," by Tina Cloutier Barbour, one of Lion Country Safari's primate curators. 

Believed to be born in the late 1930s (the zoo where she lived has pegged her age at 79), Mama came to Florida in the 1960s. It is believed that between her birth and her arrival at the zoo, she was featured in an Ice Capades show. She was visited by Jane Goodall in 1972 and then again in 2015. The reunion was reported to be "as cute as one could imagine," with staff at the zoo moved to tears at the signs of recognition Mama showed toward Goodall. 

Little Mama, whose loss seems to have evoked a great deal of emotion from those who cared for her and visited her at the zoo, was also a major center of attention regularly. Her annual birthday celebration was something of an event that the staff celebrated each Valentine's Day. 

Public grief for animals can be strange and intense. In the case of Cecil the Lion, it was unexpectedly acute and then the subject of much controversy. The departure of the National Zoo's Bao Bao the panda, who did not die but was sent from the U.S. to China, was felt as something of a public loss in Washington, D.C. The death of Little Mama, whom caretakers spoke of lovingly, appears, even at that small level, to be no exception. 

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Weird Cyanide Ice Clouds Explained on Saturn’s Moon, Titan

There's a giant icy cloud of, among other chemicals, cyanide looming high above the south pole of Saturn's largest moon, Titan. And if that's not bad enough, the cloud's birth caused a cold snap that lasted four long years, according to a new paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

"This effect is so far unique in the solar system and is only possible because of Titan's exotic atmospheric chemistry," lead author Nick Teanby, a planetary scientist at Britain's University of Bristol, said in a press release. However, just because it's the first time we've seen the phenomenon doesn't mean it will be the last. A similar process could play out on exoplanets beyond our solar system, according to Teanby.

Titan, as Saturn's largest moon, has fascinated scientists ever since Cassini, the spacecraft that recently met its end in Saturn's atmosphere, plopped a lander named Huygens onto the moon in January 2005. That mission let scientists see underneath the moon's thick, planet-like atmosphere, a feature no other moon in our solar system can boast of.

A view of hydrocarbon lakes on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, through its thick atmosphere. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

But wanting to peek below an atmosphere doesn't negate scientists' interest in studying the atmosphere itself, and particularly not when they started seeing something very strange in 2012: a sharp cooling at the moon's south pole where they had expected to see a hot spot forming.

The plot thickened when they realized that high-altitude clouds above the pole were full of hydrogen cyanide and benzene, neither of which you want to encounter. Hydrogen cyanide "can be rapidly fatal," the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, and has been used as a chemical weapon. Benzene is only slightly less nasty: It's flammable and can cause cancer.

Related: New Horizons: Pluto is way colder than it should be, and scientists now know why

Scientists couldn't figure out how those toxic clouds formed, particularly in a place where there should have been a heat wave. In the new paper, Teanby and his colleagues calculate that they could have been formed by a combination of long-wave radiative cooling and seasonally reduced exposure to sunlight forming a special type of atmospheric system called a polar vortex. Once gases are trapped in that vortex, it's easier for them to stay isolated and therefore stay cold.

The temperatures at Titan's south pole have since rebounded, with the winter fading away last year after the vortex fell apart. But without the trusty Cassini spacecraft taking measurements, scientists may not be able to determine whether the phenomenon returns.

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hat Happened to Buddy Bell? Whitney Way Thore Talks About Friend’s Mysterious Disappearance

On Tuesday night's episode of My Big Fat Fabulous Life, fans get a peek at what’s happening with Whitney Way Thore’s roommate, Buddy Bell. Earlier in Season 4, Bell broke up with girlfriend Heather Sykes and didn’t say why. Later, after acting strange for months, he went missing.

“There were a lot of things Buddy was doing and saying that were uncharacteristic for months and months,” Thore, 33, told Newsweek. “We were searching for a long time to figure it out. There was something really, really wrong with Buddy. And you will see that really quickly... It’s something I’ve never been through and [it was] devastating for a lot of us.”

At the time, Thore didn't pick up on the changes happening to her friend, but looking back, it was obvious something was seriously wrong. “Buddy literally turned into a different person. I used to sit around with Heather and be like who is he?” she remembered. “His appearance changed, his personality changed and he became a stranger.”

Something was wrong with Buddy Bell during Season 4 of "My Big Fat Fabulous Life." Above, reality TV star Whitney Way Thore and Bell are pictured. TLC

Thore, who lived with Bell since 2015, said one of his changes was documented by TLC cameras when he stormed off the stage at the April 2017 reunion special. Back then, Bell wasn’t paying Thore rent and refused to sign a lease. When host Shaun Robinson asked him to explain the current state of his finances, he became irate. “This is fucking ridiculous,” he said during the April episode. “Honestly, I’m going to plead the fifth on this. This is obnoxious.”

My Big Fat Fabulous Life cameras caught Bell acting out of character again when he responded Thore’s painful breakup with ex-boyfriend Avi Lang, who cheated on her with multiple women. Thore watched Bell call her “pathetic” over the split. Bell apologized after watching the episode when it aired in January, even though he didn't remember calling Thore pathetic. 

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Walter Munk: Inventor of Surf Forecast and 'Einstein of the Ocean' Turns 100

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

As dawn washes over Bondi Beach, you can see the surfers beyond the break, gently rising and falling on their boards. They gather like this when the surf forecast tells them a big swell is rolling in, carrying energy from a ferocious Antarctic storm thousands of kilometres away.

From Bondi to Bundoran, Pipeline to Mavericks, surfers around the world depend on the surf forecast to catch the perfect wave. Its inventor, Walter Munk, is 100 today – yet few surfers know his name, despite the debt of gratitude they owe him.

Walter Munk: the father of surf forecasting. Holger Motzkau/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA
‘Einstein of the ocean’

Munk might be under-appreciated in surfing circles, but he’s a big deal in ocean science. He has been described as the “greatest living oceanographer” and the “Einstein of the ocean”.

His list of accolades is astounding. There is a unit of measurement named after him: the “Munk unit”. There’s a species of ray called Mobula munkiana. There’s even a Walter Munk Award for outstanding contributions to oceanography, which of course he has won.

Munk has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of ocean circulation, geology and climate change. But perhaps his most influential work is the science of wave prediction, which he developed while still a doctoral student in California.

Wartime expertise

After graduating from Caltech in 1938, Munk began a PhD with renowned Norwegian oceanographer Harald Sverdrup in the sleepy seaside town of La Jolla. Distressed by Germany’s annexation of his native Austria, Munk became a US citizen and joined the war effort, first as an army private and later with the US Navy Radio and Sound Laboratory.

While observing Allied troops training for an amphibious invasion of Northwest Africa, Munk noticed that waves were pummelling the landing craft as they approached the beach. He immediately called Sverdrup, and together they developed techniques for predicting ocean waves and surf conditions for amphibious warfare.

Their methods were so successful that the Allied forces used these to predict wave conditions for the D-Day landings at Normandy. Based on those predictions, General Eisenhower delayed the operation, the largest naval invasion in history, until June 6, 1944. Undoubtedly, Munk’s research saved thousands of Allied lives and helped bring about the end of World War II.

Waves across the Pacific

Thus began a lifelong fascination with ocean waves. In 1963 Munk, then a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, led a team of scientist studying how swells generated by Antarctic storms travel more than 16,000km across the Pacific Ocean.

The team set up stations to measure the waves as they travelled in a great circle from New Zealand to Alaska. Munk and his family spent more than a month in American Samoa for the experiment, monitoring pressure sensors mounted on the ocean floor and recording data on paper tape punched with holes.

The experiment yielded a surprising discovery. The waves showed very little decay in energy on their journey across the Pacific. The biggest change was a shift in the observed period of the wave—that is, the time between passing crests. Munk’s team found that the period increased as the waves moved northwards.

This happens because ocean waves are dispersive, meaning that the speed of the wave depends on the period. Long-period waves move more rapidly, so they run to the front of the pack, while shorter-period waves lag behind. The phenomenon is well known to surfers, who experience this dispersive ordering as a gradual shortening of the time between sets of waves.

Order from ‘lovely confusion’

In a 1967 documentary that Munk made with his wife Judith about the experiment in the Pacific, he describes how an orderly ocean swell can emerge from the chaos of an Antarctic storm. Using the analogy of tossing a handful of pebbles into a pond, Munk describes how the water surface is initially broken up in “lovely confusion”. But eventually a steady procession of ripples can be seen spreading outwards from the point of impact—regular and predictable.

Munk’s Pacific documentary.

Munk’s pioneering work on ocean swells, together with his wartime research on wave prediction, gave birth to the science of surf forecasting. In 2007 his contribution to surfing was formally recognised by the Groundswell Society, a surfing advocacy group. Munk later recalled:

I have been fortunate in receiving the recognitions that are traditional in a scientific career. But none gave me as much unexpected pleasure as this recognition by the Groundswell Society. I was utterly delighted.

After more than eight decades of ocean science, Munk shows no signs of slowing down. He is still hard at work, researching and speaking at international conferences. As the worldwide oceanographic community prepares to celebrate his centenary, Munk’s enthusiasm for discovery has not dimmed.

In an interview this month, Munk revealed what keeps him going. “More enthusiasm than knowledge. That’s been the key of my career—to get excited before I understand it.”

Hang loose, Walter.

Paul Spence is Senior Lecturer at Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW and Shane Keating is Senior Lecturer in Mathematics and Oceanography at UNSW, Australia


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