How can one go around the world when the blasted thing is flat?
Surely, as was once the very popular opinion, one would fall off the edge and into oblivion.
Ahh the flat earth brigade.
There was a kid at intermediate school who was resolute in his belief that the world was flat and that yep, travel too far and you'd drop off.
We got the impression that he had got this bizarre impression off his parents because he'd often remark "because dad said..."
How his dad explained who would have built what had to be a massive wall around the edge to keep all the water in is anybody's guess.
But it was amusing... even more so because I learned later in life he had taken up a job in the shipping industry aboard one of the trans-Tasman freighters so I daresay he would have been astonished to see horizons behind him disappear and three days later new ones start to appear in front of him.
Oh, his dad would have had an answer for that, for sure.
So yep, there were groups of people who declared it impossible to sail "around" the world.
Such "you won't be able to do that" factions have long been part of life's colourful landscape.
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Like building a device to make wheels go around.
Only pedals and horses could do that... until some sharp-eyed lads noticed how much power escaping steam possessed.
Harness that and..."Attention please...the 9.25 express to Glasgow is set to depart from Platform 7".
Then equally sharp-eyed folk discovered that oil could be sifted into benzine elements and that stuff was explosive.
Harness that and..."Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel has just recorded the fastest lap here at Silverstone".
Once upon a time such propulsion methods were seen as impossible.
So was powered flight for that matter.
And golly, it was fun to watch Star Trek and see Kirky's lads making calls to each other on little hand-held devices without cords... and they even showed pictures on them.
Jolly old science fiction.
Nor would little home movie screens where you could watch a sports event taking place at the very same time 20,000km away.
But hey, it's progress.
This meandering journey into the land of "it'll never happen" was sparked by a newspaper clipping a chap I know e-mailed to me.
Never happen...that's what the post is for.
So anyway...the story, from August 29, 1935, ran the headline "No Moon Flight".
"Man will never be able to fly to the moon, and ultra short waves cannot be of real use to broadcasting," was the introduction.
It then went on to state that these "facts" had emerged from "a discovery" by a chap called Professor E.V. Appleton of London University who after many months of research declared that up there was a vast layer of heat of 1000 degrees centigrade the "existence of which hitherto was not known to science".
In that sort of layer no known machinery could function, the professor said, and therefore "it constitutes an impassable barrier between the world and the space beyond".
The story added that his conclusion was confirmed by many members of the Royal Society.
They also agreed that the heat layer would make wireless and short wave and micro-waves no use for radio transmission.
Only 34 short years later a couple of lads stepped onto the surface of the moon, and their communication transmissions went pretty well really.
I love that sort of "it won't happen stuff".
I suspect Professor Appleton may have also concluded that there would never be people who would contact you by some sort of communications waves to try and sell you things you don't want, or attempt to repair your adding machine or calculus when you don't even own one.
Because your phone number belonged to you and no one else needed to know it so that was that.
And also, no way you would ever receive a phone call from some chap in Nigeria or Tajikistan because for goodness sake, it would cost them a fortune in those distant lands to put a call through... through the exchange of course, to a place like New Zealand.
Wonder what he'd make of a strange dream I had the other night, where I came across a flying machine in a great field and it had no wings.
And it hummed as it departed.
The sound of two great magnetic discs opposing each other which propelled it... because the earth has two giant magnetic factories also opposing each other which can propel and repel.
Anything is possible yeah?
I'll have it running in a fortnight.
• Roger Moroney is an award-winning journalist for Hawke's Bay Today and observer of the slightly off-centre.