Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Meteor Reveals YouTubers' Ignorance of Astronomy

This is just one of many copies of a cool, but not too unusual, meteor fireball filmed in Edmonton. What is annoying is the amount of extreme scientific ignorance demonstrated by YouTube comments.

In most of the comment sections, the non-exclamatory comments ("Cool!" "Wow!", etc.) break down into three categories.

3. Denial "Fake. Those are Space Shuttles returning to Earth. This happens all the time." Countless comments like this one and the guy who claims to see hands and wires in the video. Apparently Shuttles land all the time in Edmonton.

2. Religious and conspiracy theories. "its not a meteor. god just took a huge **** on earth. j/k. i wonder if this has anything to do with the year 2012. if u dont know wats so special about 2012 look it up on google." I'll spare you the religious ones; they're worse.

and the number 1 response - Blame NASA. Many were the mild - "It's the lost NASA Tool bag." others accused NASA of not doing their job. Apparently it's NASA's job to track the countless pebbles in space.

For the record the CBC interviewd University of Calgary planetary scientist Alan Hildebrand who said "You are talking about something, say, the size of a chair or a desk that entered the atmosphere." not the twenty ton to dinosaur killer sized asteroids many seemed to think.

So if you want to feel sad about the state of science education in the world (YouTube is popular everywhere) just search for Meteor over Edmonton at YouTube and read the comments on a random video. In most cases "wow!" will be the most intelligent, and only accurate, comment.

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