The Internet is Stupid

I’m not normally one to rant incessantly about the wide selection of outrageous things I find on the Interwebs these days. Today, I’ll make an exception, and rather than sugar-coat it, I’m just going to come right out and say it. The Internet is to stupid ideas what an incubated petri dish is to virulent bacteria:

I’m talking about the movement that just won’t stop. Nope, not dysentery (that comes close), but the UFO-proctowtfologists. Under ordinary circumstances, these fruitcakes wouldn’t bother me, but when I noticed that they started coming out en masse following a Slashdot article on Thursday’s meteor show I was pretty annoyed. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

Yeah, that’s right. A bright, flashy light in the sky that left a vapor trail, reportedly resulted in a few sonic booms, and just freaking looked awesome couldn’t possibly be natural. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that there’s nothing in nature that comes close to being a spectacular light in the sky. Ergo, anything streaking across the wild blue yonder is obviously not a giant rock burning in the hellacious temperatures of reentry.

What really irked me was that another poster made a similar point to the one I raised above and was promptly attacked by rabid lunatics. Indeed, the passionate response he received was that of someone who, attempting to say something grossly insightful, turned out to look like an obese man in a speedo riding a unicycle around Times Square. That is to say he looked pretty damn ridiculous. The individual in question was a particular poster named “Fantabulous Lad” (not his real name) and stated:

[I’m] just pointing out that this exists, with the one simple proviso that it is not being placed conveniently in your lap for review with the shining stamp of social approval. Do you always let other people’s fear levels determine what is “real” for you? If so, then that’s actually quite normal. I just find it limiting, and prefer to think for myself since most people are frightened, delicate creatures all too ready to behave in a manner rationally counter to the demands of reality in order to stay in the good books with the herd.

(Emphasis mine, because that statement was stupider than the others.)

No. Just no. I’m not even going to bother saying anything about this (I already posted on Slashdot anyway). However, I think FDR put it best, and I quote:


It entertains me that the proof offered by our poster in this particular case was a book written by none other than Richard M. Dolan, a man credited for his whacked-out television personality. He’s also a whacked-out author who seems to believe that the government is a massive conspiracy. (Maybe he’s right but not in the way he thinks.) I think it’s great to cite a source that uses shaky evidence, anecdotes, and divining rods to find UFOs. Okay, so I made that last bit up. I think.

While Ridiculous Lad may have had a monopoly on appealing his burden of proof to whacked out whackjob whackos, there was one other post that drove me absolutely insane. This guy is really vying for first place in the annual Idiot Land Raceway races with his claims that a certain video posted on Youtube (another factually accurate site) “may be ‘sun pillars’ a [sic] phenomenon that appears right before a major seismic event.” Never mind that sun pillars are caused by certain light sources (like the sun) and are a classification of things we see known as optical phenomenon. It has nothing to do with earthquakes. Don’t bother watching the videos, either. One of them showed the devastation of an earthquake and people talking about it, and that somehow implies HAARP is to blame. Maybe it’s responsible for poor news coverage.

Just remember this the next time the sky looks funny:

I always knew rainbows were the sinister excrement of angry leprechauns.

What’s more, the videos Mr. unityeleventyone linked to all sorts of things like sun dogs, rainbows, pillars of smoke (from a fire), and the likes as “evidence” that the sky changes color immediately before an earthquake and everyone gets their medicine shaken whether they politely asked for it or not. I wonder what the heck happens to these people during a sunset when the sky changes color?


I have little faith in certain aspects of humanity. Especially with this Interwebs business. Never before have we had the capacity to freely share stupid ideas at the speed of light.

Stay tuned for next week’s installment of The Internet is Stupid Part Two where I discuss a little bit about UFO history, conspiracies, and what you can do to piss off your own species of nutjob.

No comments.

Top 10 Stupid-in-Tech: Things that Shouldn’t Be but Are


Seriously, how the hell can anyone read that?


Text messages.
Okay, text messages aren’t all that stupid. Their excessive use, however, is. What’s worse is that young people–sitting next to each other on a train–are increasingly more likely to text each other than to simply turn their heads and talk.


Text messages part two
The rates are absurd. Providers charge in upwards of $0.20 per text message for standard plans. Considering each text message can only contain a maximum of 140-160 characters, it’s about 0.125 cents per character. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but if e-mails were charged at this rate with about 1.5KiB per message (1,500 characters), you’re looking at about $1.88 per e-mail or $812,500 for a single CDROM ISO. Transmitting a DVD ISO would cost a little over $5 million.

But hey, who’s counting?


Twitter Social Networking Sites
Useful, but I’m afraid people obsess just a little too much over them. On the other hand, it’s a great way for companies to advertise, bring in revenue, and make grossly obscene profits, which is awesome. Okay, so it’s not really the fault of the social networking sites. It just annoys me every time I hear from someone “Hey, do you have a ${currently_popular_site_of_the_moment} account?” Bonus points if that same person asks me about a new service once a month.


Wireless Speakers
I’m not going to say anything else. I don’t need to.


Windows Powershell
Seriously, Microsoft, there are plenty of good shells available. The verbose horror that PS is should never have been born into the world.

That’s okay, though–I usually just install Cygwin.

(Okay, I confess that being able to query things like WMI from PowerShell is really useful. I hate the syntax, though.)


I hate Flash. The only good use of Flash is for video sites like Youtube (with one exception, see #1). Purely Flash driven sites are and have always been a disgrace to web designers world wide. Please, learn how to use HTML and (maybe) CSS. There are even applications that will do it for you. It’s not hard.

Thankfully, there’s only one thing worse than Flash-driven sites. Unfortunately, that one thing happens to be broken Flash-driven sites.


Electronic Arts
Your site sucks. Thanks to #4, I can’t even navigate it unless I have Flash installed. I was browsing it about a month ago so I could look up information on a game you published. I finally gave up and went to Wikipedia.


I’m only posting this to insight and inflame my beloved Mac users. I’m not worried, either. Since you guys still can’t right-click out of the box, I’d imagine you probably can’t carry a pitchfork in one hand and a torch in the other when you come to lynch me.

He who cannot right click cannot dual wield; see but cannot stab, stab but cannot see. ‘Tis a disastrous predicament, is it not?


How-to Videos–for Programmers
I’ve never understood this one. Don’t believe me? Do a search on Youtube. You’ll find how to videos for just about every language out there. Oh, and good luck reading the text. It’s like posting a “how to drive a car” video taken of only the vehicle’s exterior. Given the screen capture and compression quality imposed by Youtube, you can imagine then that this video might be taken of a car while it maneuvers in a region occluded by trees and from an altitude of 3 miles. You can’t see the car. You can’t really even see the road. Heck, it might even look a little like what you ate this morning as it greeted you on the way back up because the bus driver for your Big City Transportation Company happens to believe that his multi-ton monstrosity was just entered into the Indianapolis 500 the moment you stepped on board. It doesn’t work.

How to videos have their place in life (Blender comes to mind), but for the love of all that is holy please, please, please don’t post “how to program in $lang” videos on Youtube. You can achieve the same thing with about 10-20 kilobytes of text on a hosting provider elsewhere. Best of all, you can copy text tutorials and their example code!