Bullock and Clooney Have Nothing on Me: Blog-a-thon Day 4

It seems that the Internet has become a breeding ground for rumors and hoaxes. I guess that really shouldn’t be all that surprising. I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that early newspapers were probably trying to figure out which Founding Father was cheating on their wife or which French governess had had implants (or whatever the Antionette-ian equivalent was… and yes I did just make up that word). Sometimes these moments have rather terrible results. We only have to look back a month or so and remember the death rumors surrounding Paul Walker. However then there are moments where Internet hoaxes are just hysterical. Those are the ones I want to focus on (good job me… only 4 days into the month and you’ve already mentioned death).

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Early last week talks of a rare cosmological event began to spread around the Internet. Basically a British scientist was saying that because of the alignment of all of the planets their collective gravitational pull would diminish the effects of Earth’s gravity. At 9:47 am you would be able to jump and float for approximately 3 seconds due to this diminished gravity. Now his first flaw was thinking that’s what happens when the planets align. I saw Hercules. I know that when the planets align the Titans can be released. So I will be taking points off for him not doing adequate fact checking. No. 2, apparently Jupiter and Pluto (the two planets that we were waiting on to line up… just like that one friend who decides to change outfits mere moments before you are set to leave the house) are on opposite sides of the Sun. For those of you who don’t recall what you learned in 7th grade science, that’s a really long way away. For those who are curious, there are plenty of articles online that do all the fancy pants math explaining how this wouldn’t work. Letters are used for variables. At one point the article mentions Newton’s law of something or another. It was all over my head.

But the fallacies at the core of this event (which has been coined #ZeroGDay) are not what I find so fascinating. What I am truly interested in is how many people will set up their Canon cameras on a tripod and at 9:46 press record only to record a 2 minute video of them waiting… and jumping. I was curious so I counted. Today alone I had 9 different friends post articles about this with statuses like “Can’t wait until the 4th” or “I’m going to make sure and set my alarm”. It’s such a testament to people being fed information that they have no desire to look into. I think that’s the interesting thing about this for me. I looked up the logical flaws in this because I was curious and it didn’t seem right. But clearly based on the popularity of the topic, there are very few curious thinkers.

This is my plea to the American public… or at least the small percentage of the American public who will read this… question things! Just because it is in front of your face doesn’t mean it is right. I mean sure, certain things aren’t super in need of further inquiry. If you hear that a Kardashian is getting a divorce… that’s probably true. If a former Disney channel star is either naked, in rehab, of a combination of the two… par for the course. But if you read about a magical serum that will rid the world of Hepatitis, AIDS, and the common cold… that might be something to plug into Google. I have most certainly spent my evenings doing a bit of a Wikipedia scavenger hunt (stay tuned to for a blog post about that next week).

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So I hope that, if you’re reading this after 9:47, you haven’t floated off the planet. If you have “floated off the planet” than you either need to put down the crack pipe, step away from the Oxy, or just get a bit more sleep. For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy the 4th and stay firmly planted on the ground, capable of researching some of the ridiculous things you read on the Internet. And if you absolutely need to feel connected to this astrological preposterousness, just sit back, relax, and visualize yourself as this puppy. Make sure to comment below with any other ridiculous current events you’ve heard about recently.

Make sure to subscribe to my blog for more musings that are both informative and sleep-deprived. Also stay tuned for the rest of Blog-a-thon. I feel pretty good about this ridiculousness.

…gm

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