The last place I’d want to be in October is Vegas

Look at this rogue’s gallery of idiots:

These are the speakers at a Flat Earth Conference, which is a thing I can scarcely believe exists in the 21st century.

But then, I thought about it, and realized that from the perspective of a casino owner, these are precisely the group of people I’d want staying at my gambling establishment. Roll out the red carpet! I’d give these people all kinds of special rates, knowing that I’d be able to extract plenty of profit from some of the most confidently innumerate people on the globe.

You know, I’ve been to Vegas a couple of times, and I’ve stayed in casinos a few times, because they generally have cheap room rates…but I’ve never in my life placed a bet at one. I’m probably the antithesis of their desired clientele, while the prospect of a bunch of flat-earthers has the venue owners drooling. Unfortunately for their bottom line, I don’t think many people will show up for this specific event.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    Having taken a course in statistics, I stay away from lotteries and similar games of “chance”.

  2. kenbakermn says

    I was in Las Vegas once, a few years ago. The only gambling I did was to buy a burrito at a gas station.

  3. StevoR says

    I wonder if they are coming all corners of the Earth…

    … & also how many are travelling to this Flat Earth conference by plane and what they notice or don’t along the way..

    (Guess some of the latter eg flight paths depends how far they’re coming from but still.)

  4. Dauphni says

    According to legend this is the exact reason why the American Physical Society was banned from holding conferences in Las Vegas, after they occupied all the rooms in a casino and proceeded to not gamble, leading to the worst weekend in the casino’s history.

  5. jsonstache says

    There’s actually a pretty direct link between flat earthers and q-anoners. I highly recommend Dan Olson’s “In Search of a Flat Earth” video essay on YouTube, it’s a really enlightening peek into the connection between the two.

    For that matter, all of Dan Olson’s video essays are awesome. Highly recommend!

    I think the most interesting thing I learned from him is that everything is political, even the statement that a piece of media is not political is a political statement.

  6. Reginald Selkirk says

    These are the speakers at a Flat Earth Conference

    Come to our Flat Earth conference! We will have speakers from around the globe to discuss this exciting field.

  7. gijoel says

    “Sadly, our keynote speakers can’t be here today as the Airbus A350 had a problem with their GPS and they flew off the edge of the world. We got some fantastic cell phone pics of the turtle before their cell coverage dropped out. But on the plus side Jordan Peterson has kindly agreed to perform his ventriloquism act. So let’s hear it for Jordan and Joe.”

    Half-hearted claps rose from the audience and then tried to slip behind the convention room pillars, and sneak out the fire escape.

  8. says

    I tried to watch a documentary on these people once. I could only handle the stupid for about ten minutes.
    There was a guy who was convinced he wouldn’t be able to see the skyline of a city about five miles away because of the curvature, if, you know, the earth was round. He even drew a little picture in the dirt.
    It’s funny until you remember that these people can vote.

  9. says

    The only gamble I wouldn’t take would be going to anywhere in the US, but if somehow I ended up in Vegas I’d set a limit then enjoy some blackjack or poker.

  10. strangerinastrangeland says

    I had a quick look at the speakers to see what kind of person would go for this type of nonsense and I see a lot of “content creators, YouTubers, holistic health practitioners”, crypto-bros, etc. I am wondering how many of those really believe in the flat Earth stuff and how many just use the opportunity to add another batch of idiots to their customer base that they can fleece.

  11. says

    @stranger #13, I’m of the opinion that the FE crap is absolutely just a method for grifters to find more gullible idiots. None of them believe it. They’re either punking people for their own amusement or grabbing moron’s cash.

  12. bcw bcw says

    Who could miss speakers like this : Jason Lindgren | Secrets of Saturn: Mind Control and the EL-ite Priest Class?

  13. bcw bcw says

    @6 uh….. American Physical Society March Meeting (the big meeting) was in Las Vegas this year.

    I went to an APS March meeting there when the world was young, about 1985, and yes, there was an article in the NY Times saying that week was the lowest income week in Vegas in years. That said, there were only about 20,000 physicists.

    I do remember a confused waitress going “who are all these people with their charts?’

  14. says

    Let’s see if even one of those clowns proposes hiring a plane to fly toward the edge of the Earth and take pictures. If no one even mentions this option, or brags of having already done it, then it’s a pretty safe bet they all know they’re part of a scam.

    Hell, do they even agree on a flat-earth map?

  15. gleigh says

    I live in Nevada — northern Nevada. I think I have been to Las Vegas once. It is just too hot down there. I also noticed the FE conference is not in what most people think of as Las Vegas so I hope the attendees are not disappointed finding out they are at a dinky roadside place several miles east of the casino strip. Like most Nevadans, I don’t gamble. I rarely go to any of the casinos.

    As to a flat earth, I remember seeing a Stephen Hawking program where he demonstrated the curvature of the earth out at Pyramid Lake (located north of Reno/Sparks NV and definitely worth a visit). I doubt his demonstration would convince anyone who thinks the earth is flat, but it is strange to realize that large bodies of water are not flat.

  16. says

    @gleah, #19; And that’s the gist of most of the “believers”. They can’t wrap their head around it, so there must be a conspiracy. One of the YT FE debunking channels’ favorite saying is that “your personal incredulity doesn’t negate facts” or something to that effect.

  17. inflection says

    I also regard casinos and lotteries as a tax on bad math skills.

    Which is why I find it rather amusing that I have a perhaps peculiar distinction among people who do not make it a career: I am in the black on casinos for my life! I took advantage of a casino promotion that paid you $100 to walk in the door on the condition that you gamble at least $100, did so, took my (less than $100 in) winnings, left, and have never pulled another lever there.

  18. says

    Those silly people. Don’t they realize thr earth is not flat, it is round like a pizza. (I know that because of circular reasoning and spherical intellect)

  19. nomaduk says

    I just find it strangely satisfying that so many casinos in the US are located on tribal lands and are owned and run by indigenous peoples, who are busy hoovering up vast quantities of wealth from the White Man. Just deserts, indeed.

  20. says

    @ 8 Reginald Selkirk had some fun with it: Come to our Flat Earth conference! We will have speakers from around the globe to discuss this exciting field.
    I reply: So, could we also mention that speakers will be coming from the four corners of the earth?

  21. says

    Sam’s Town? To quote Bette Davis, “What a dump!” Third rate locals casino, festooned with cigarette butts. I live not too far from Vegas, and when I fly I usually leave from there. Stayed a lot of places there. Yes, I do gamble a little, even though I used to teach some probability. Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

  22. says

    I dunno, I find FE to be kind of entertaining. It just shows how far out some people can be, and helps explain things like the Trump Cult. They are impervious to logic and rational argument. They believe that they are serious researchers and like to pretend that they’re doing REAL SCIENCE ™, but they’re so far from it.

    Even very basic, simple questions are ignored; for example, if the Earth is flat, why are there time zones? Nowadays, anyone can pick up a phone, call someone thousands of miles away, and ask “Is it day or night?” I honestly wonder how many of them are true believers and how many are in it just for the contrarian image. I hope it’s mostly the latter because if it’s mostly the former, that’s downright depressing. The presenters and speakers, of course, could just be in it for the bucks and yucks.

  23. says

    I’m sure nearly all of them are in it for the “contrarian image,” and the feeling of (relative) power they get from saying whatever stupid shit they want and smugly brushing off all attempts at reason and pretending they’ve “confuted the Pharisees” or whatever.

    The rest are in it for the bucks and yucks. Idiots who cling to alternative realities to pretend they’re smart make the easiest marks.

  24. birgerjohansson says

    Jsonstache @ 7

    Anecdote by Michael Marshall , a skeptic in Britain.
    One of the more prominent local Flat-Earthers came to one of Marshall’s events and asked him “how long have you been a Master Mason?”.

    So, yes, the conspiracy theories overlap.

  25. weylguy says

    When I first heard about the Flat Earth Society years ago, I thought it was an intentional joke, like something from The Onion. Then I realized its idiotic believers were serious. They’re likely all Trump supporters to boot. God help the human race.

  26. says

    About 25 years ago I encountered a flat earther at a street fair. He had a sign and literature. Other people were arguing with him. I listened long enough to realize that the guy actually believed the earth was flat. Until that moment, in my ignorance, I thought that belief in a flat earth had vanished centuries ago.

    The experience cured me of arguing with conspiracy buffs. If there is not enough evidence to convince you that the earth is not flat, what hope is there of convincing any other buff that their claims are bogus?

  27. rockwhisperer says

    Several years ago, the GSA (Geological Society of America) Cordilleran Section was holding its annual conference in Las Vegas, organized by UNLV. I almost went, but had a serious conflict. I did notice that the hotels offering blocks of rooms with conference rates were NOT on the strip. (University geology/earth science departments are often major organizers of these conferences, and my MS department at San José State University in California, had done the same a few years previously. My own thesis advisor handled the money management, and I was a little astonished that he still had hair at the end. Not that he ever griped much, but the expression on his face…)

  28. Chris Whitehouse says

    That guy pictured at the top center is a well-known piss drinker. And I can assure you that his drink trickles down onto all the rest.

  29. expat says

    According to their site, you can buy a ticket for the low, early-bird price of only $225! Which is better spent putting it all on red at the roulette table.

  30. Rich Woods says

    @Raging Bee #18:

    Hell, do they even agree on a flat-earth map?

    Many of them do agree on a map (the Gleason map), but not a single one of them can produce an orbital path for the sun and/or the moon which produces accurate days and nights, seasonal variations, lunar/solar eclipses and phases of the moon. Some of them have managed to persuade others that their idea of how these phenomena might work with a Flat Earth is correct, but only by painting a word picture or by sketching a simple diagram that is acceptable to uninquisitive and unimaginative minds, not by producing an actual scale model that demonstrates more than one of these features at once.

    The broad consensus amongst interested sceptics (which excludes me; I’m not a huge follower of the antics of flerfers) seems to be that half of the so-called true believers are grifters and the other half their marks. There’s money to be raked in via YouTube, Patreon, Etsy et al if you don’t have a conscience. There also seems to be a sector whom you might describe as the Silent Majority, who have come to Flat Earth because of their Creationist background, so on the hopefully-rare occasion they contribute they’re being fleeced twice.

  31. says

    To be fair, a lot of math guys like me DO go to casinos; for us it’s more of a fascination of watching random processes in action.

    We KNOW if we play long enough we’ll lose, but watching the random processes go down is inherently interesting.

  32. drken says

    The physicists conference being such a loser for Vegas is generally mentioned with the usual gloating about how they’re too smart to fall for casino gambling (of course, Ed Toombs and Claude Shannon might feel differently). But, I’m sure you’d get a different answer if you asked the local strip clubs how they did that week.

  33. martin50 says

    A year ago, I took the Badger ferry across Lake Michigan and saw a guy with a camera sporting an unusually large telephoto lens. I asked him what he did with it. “I’m going to prove the Earth is flat.” “Good luck with THAT,” was my smart-ass reply.
    However, the guy was one of those super-sincere types for whom I hold a lot of sympathy and so when I saw him later, I asked him how he was going to do it. He explained how he would take pictures showing that, independent of the distance from which they were taken, he’d be able to see the entire vertical extent of an object like a lighthouse. We talked a bit about how atmospheric refraction might work in his favor–he was aware of that–and I mentioned the Bedford Level experiment (which he’d never heard of). I also suggested that he’d need to be able to measure objects in his images accurately and suggested that he download FIJI (ImageJ) to do so.. I tried to subvert him into thinking like a scientist, hoping that the data might convince him.
    –Yeah, I know: “Good luck with THAT!”

  34. says

    larpar @37: I love the bit where one wag tweets: “I wanna know when @Ryanair @SpiritAirlines are going to hurry up and offer a route to Geminia [a place on that flat-earther’s map allegedly just past the Ice Wall]. I’ve heard it’s lovely this time of year”

    And Spirit Airlines almost immediately (and probably automatically) responded: “Spirit Airlines @SpiritAirlines 15h
    Our flights are based on market demand. We’re always considering adding more cities. Please check our website for the latest updates to our route maps and schedules. Here’s a link to our current Route Map and TimeTable: DM us you have any other questions.”

    No response from Ryanair so far…