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(27 Posts)
Greatnan Fri 31-May-13 06:31:55

This was a fascinating programme and it explained something that has bothered me for years. In 'Chariots of the Gods' the fraudster, Erich von Daniken, pointed out that there were long, dead straight lines on the ground in South America, which could only be seen from the air. There is something similar around Stonehenge, and it was explained that if there is a slight incline water will find its own level by the shortest route, and will travel in a straight line. So, no super aliens, just simple physics!

Aka Fri 31-May-13 07:00:12

Hardly news that water finds its own level but it doesn't travel in straight lines.

Greatnan Fri 31-May-13 08:16:37

Quite right, AKA, but in this instance a straight line was the shortest route.

Elegran Fri 31-May-13 08:48:35

Depends on the terrain. The South American lines are on a pretty even slope, not much to deflect the water sideways. same with Stonehenge. It makes more sense than alien spaceship runways.

JessM Fri 31-May-13 09:13:14

Certain geological strata can be pretty straight I guess. Seen from the air a really good earthquake fault, too, can be straight.
Someone once said there were no straight lines in nature, but this is not true. A quick visit to a geological section of a museum with a good collection of "minerals" will illustrate that - in Perth WA for instance there are some fine examples of quite large crystals that are perfect cubes etc. Not a wavy line in sight. The molecules in the crystals are lined up on a perfect mathematical grid.

Lilygran Fri 31-May-13 12:18:43

What about the Nazca lines in Peru? Or the Uffington White Horse?i have no time for explanations involving prehistoric alien spaceships, but how did the designers do it?

Elegran Fri 31-May-13 12:31:17

I have seen a TV programme that explained them perfectly reasonably, Lilygran but unfortunately I can't remember much of it. Something about the geology and the prevailing winds starting the lines off naturally, then people following them because they looked intentional. I shall google them and see whether that programme comes up.

Elegran Fri 31-May-13 12:45:44

Hundreds of links about the Nacza sites, but so far can't find any reference to the programme I half remember. did find this which says it was a ceremonial site but does not explain how the shapes originally happened. Looking at the aerial photos, I must say that it takes a fair bit of imagination to see the images as the objects they are meant to represent.

Elegran Fri 31-May-13 12:52:15

This is more down-to-earth literally Apparently the shapes can be seen from the nearby foothils - and one writer likens them to a giant Rorschach test.

Greatnan Fri 31-May-13 13:40:05

Crop circles fooled many people for a long time - it was fascinating to see how they were actually made. My default setting is scepticism - although I do sometimes find it hard to understand some facts which are counter-intuitive. I know the earth revolves around the sun, but it is certainly very easy to see why people found it hard to believe.
I wonder which scientific 'facts' will be disproved in my lifetime?

Aka Fri 31-May-13 14:16:36

I'm intrigued. The straight lines were already there for the water to follow. Straight lines as in ditches, canals, natural features?

Elegran Fri 31-May-13 14:24:10

Water was in short supply. They would have organised it so as to utilise every drop and take it wherever they wanted it. Were their fields in the shapes that later became the "drawings" ? Did the ceremonial walks along the paths regularly define the boundaries, like the annual riding the Marches did/does in the Borders? Maybe they had a tradition of "beating the Boundaries" where youngsters had the boundaries dinned into them by being thumped at each boundary stone? What a pity they did not take photos and send each other texts!

Aka Fri 31-May-13 14:26:40

I prefer to believe in aliens and that god was an astronaut smile

Aka Fri 31-May-13 14:27:19

It explains so much about Homo sapiens.

Lilygran Fri 31-May-13 14:32:46

Water courses?

Lilygran Fri 31-May-13 14:39:16

Uffington White Horse

AlieOxon Fri 31-May-13 14:39:20

Wow. Water courses? NOT.

Aka Fri 31-May-13 15:19:27

Definitely aliens Lily.

FlicketyB Fri 31-May-13 15:45:34

The Uffington White Horse is just down the road and that is on a steep hillside and can be seen clearly from quite a wide area in the Vale of White Horse. That is somewhat different to lines like the Nazca lines that are not visible from, from in their case from any high ground.

Inthis country many of the long straight lines that emanate from prehistoric monuments or just exist within the landscape ( the reeves on Dartmoor, for an example, are territorial boundaries between different groups or tribes of people.

Elegran Fri 31-May-13 16:50:21

Apparently the Nacza lines are visible from the nearby foothills. I assume no-one had checked that before.

Galen Fri 31-May-13 16:53:27

There are theories about giant kites! (Not the birds)

Lilygran Fri 31-May-13 17:04:24


Elegran Fri 31-May-13 17:24:43

If the view from the hill reminded them of a bird, say, but needed a bit of adjustment, they could go back down and adjust. The diagrams are pretty sketchy so details were not needed.

feetlebaum Fri 31-May-13 18:05:46

@Greatnan - "I wonder which scientific 'facts' will be disproved in my lifetime?" - I don't know, but that is hjow science refines itself and gets ever closer to the truth. Falsification is the main duty of scientists.

Lilygran Fri 31-May-13 18:32:54

Elegran I think the outlines are quite clear. I've seen a number of programmes on the Nazco lines, some of them quite sensible. I wonder why they decided to do them and how they co-ordinated the effort?