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Tribus Montibus Oceanography

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Trying to provide a sensible explanation

Having noticed that many people are willing to provide an explanation for how the ocean tides work, it was also obvious to me that most of those explanations are fundamentally wrong. Although most explainers appear to have the best of intentions, they are handicapped by the fact that they haven't yet heard the correct explanation. But, as they have often heard the popular, incorrect explanation - often from respectable sources - they have accepted it as the correct one and reproduce it. Although they cannot defend it with accepted principles, when asked.
This site is dedicated to guiding potential explainers towards the explanation which is carried by scientific consensus. As it is considerably more complicated than the popular, wrong explanation, I shall attempt to explain it in a manner which can be understood by those with a decent grasp of the involved physics.


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YouTube video:

How the moon raises ocean water

This video explains the mechanism through which the gravitational attraction by the moon can have a noticeable effect on ocean water.

It certainly isn't because it 'pulls the ocean upwards' as the common misconception proclaims.

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YouTube video:

Differential gravitational attraction

Typically the first hurdle in a failure to understand the ocean tides. The ocean tides form due to a difference in gravitational attraction between the earth and masses which are closer or further away from the moon.

Those who believe that the ocean tides form as a result of a stronger or weaker attraction shall soon stumble and fall, when trying to explain.

YouTube video:

Tides on Earth

This video is still being produced. Hopefully, it will be ready soon.

It will be the next step in understanding. After having understood the Equilibrium Tides you need to realize how these forces apply to the dynamic situation, which our rotating earth is.




How to embarrass your science teacher

Few science teachers appear to understand the ocean tides. They are typically handicapped by text books with marginal explanations and a lack of direct personal experience with the tides. Consequently most are unaware that they do not understand the tides.

This document provides an outline for students to 'stir things up'. Confronting questions for teachers are meant to either make teachers aware that they do not understand the tides or they will show - in rare cases - that the teacher does understand.

Atomic nightmare

Atomic School is a channel and website which is a nightmare to those who try to provide a correct explanation of the ocean tides. The man behind the channel has been told that his video is fundamentally wrong, yet he chooses to look away and evades responsibility for mis-educating scores of viewers. After experiencing the man's willful ignorance and unpleasant personality I feel little hesitation to expose his stupidities and flawed logic to illustrate examples of the common misconceptions which he presents in his videos.

Tidal blackboard challenge

This challenge is a way to guide a classroom discussion, which is supposed to create awareness that the popular incorrect explanation cannot possibly work. It provides an outline for students to methodically ask for a correct explanation, which should serve to make teachers and students consider the ocean tides against their knowledge of physics.

Miller's Notes - The impossible waves from the movie Interstellar

Somehow, the idea has taken root that these movie waves are physically possible on a planet like Miller's Planet in the movie 'Interstellar'. This idea is probably supported by the fact that Nobel Prize winning physicist Kip Thorne has declared that he can think of two ways in which such waves could have formed. This goes to show that Kip is human too. Both hypotheses quickly prove incorrect when tested against the movie's information. There is no mechanism known to oceanographers which would cause waves like these on a planet like Miller's Planet.

Organized Desk

"How do you explain the tides to kids?"

"You'd better not. The ocean tides are much more complicated than most people believe. Most will therefore implant mistaken notions about the tides in their kids. For most people it's better to be vague about it and leave it be.
Hopefully their kids will encounter one of the few science teachers who understand the tides."

- The Director -


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