By Joshua A. Krisch via Popular Mechanics
Poisonous Government Snow
Georgia isn’t good at snow. Two inches fell in Atlanta last month and, amidst car crashes and television parodies, snow skepticism was born. Georgians bravely took to YouTube, determined to demonstrate that neither matches nor lighters nor blowtorches (a disproportionate number of Georgians seem to own blowtorches) could melt that strange, white stuff that the government insisted was just frozen water. On film, the snow blackens, twists like plastic, and stubbornly refuses to melt.Although entire Web pages are dedicated to debunking the chemical snow theory, the simplest way to deal with snow skeptics is to put the stuff in a microwave or on the stove. Spoiler: It melts. The blackened snow was caused by soot from the lighter, because butane burns inefficiently, and as snow turns into slush under a blowtorch, it only appears not to melt. Bad Astronomy blogger Phil Plait explains how the snow is, in fact, slowly melting.
The entire episode, however, brings up a good question: Who was the first Georgian to decide to burn the snow, just to see what would happen?
Invasion of the Lizard People
Look around you. If you’re in a room with 25 other people, odds are at least one of them believes the world is run by lizard people, according to a recent poll. Conspiracy junkies are well aware of the theory that cleverly disguised reptilian aliens traveled to Earth thousands of years ago to infiltrate our highest echelons of government. Proof exists in the form of terrifying YouTube videos revealing news anchors with reptilian eyes, and lack of any better explanation for Rob Ford.You can dispatch the reptilian eye claim with relative ease, but only if you’re willing to suffer through 3 minutes of this awful techno music. The quick version: If a video file is compressed, sped up, and zoomed in, a clever video editor can transform any human eye into a menacing reptilian slit. But if you insist on clinging to the lizard government theory, at least be prepared.
What is July 27, 2014? Check your calendar, and you’ll notice that it’s a Sunday. But ask Siri, and you might discover that the 27th is the appointed time for the Opening of the Gates of Hades. Several shocked iPhone users reported last month that Siri had officially scheduled the apocalypse for this summer, in an odd move that the usual suspects took quite seriously.This particular trick didn’t work when when we tried it, but we can’t promise it never happened. Apple developers are strange birds, and iPhone users are still discovering odd pearls of wisdom and other Easter eggs coded into Siri. Various sources attribute the arbitrary doomsday date in this conspiracy theory to a Chinese ghost month or the end of Ramadan, when Muslims believe that the gates of hell reopen. But a few weird programmers do not an apocalypse make, and we are fairly confident that Siri has no idea when the world will end.
Adam and Eve? Superintelligent Beings From Outer Space
Now that even Bill Nye has weighed in on the debate about creationism and evolution, some of us would welcome any sort of common ground between science and religion. The ancient alien theory may offer a solution: Adam and Eve were extraterrestrials who traveled to Earth aboard a space ark piloted by—you guessed it—Noah. Predictably, the conspiracy theorists say, proof of this story abounds—but the government insists on keeping it all under lock and key. Several “scholars” now claim that, through the Freedom of Information Act, they were finally able to access piles of declassified documents. Official reports, they say, prove that a flying saucer once crashed into Mt. Ararat in Turkey, where it is traditionally believed that Noah’s ark came to rest after the great Flood.
Anyway, it just doesn’t seem likely that Noah’s intergalactic starship, after tumbling through space and dodging meteor showers, finally ran aground in Turkey. But forgetting this silly story for a second, there is the real scientific idea of panspermia, which raises the possibility that our planet’s first single-celled organisms have extraterrestrial origins.