[ weird things ] | conspiracy theorists go after the james webb space telescope

conspiracy theorists go after the james webb space telescope

Proving that we can’t just have nice things in the age of social media, the conspiracy theory industry jumped on the first images from JWST.
jwst construction nasa

While the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s most expensive and complicated origami project parked a million miles from Earth, were generally met with awe and comparisons to Hubble’s greatest hits, conspiracy theorists were on standby to do what they do best. Although, perhaps worst is more appropriate because a fairly anodyne mission to observe the cosmos was suddenly turned into either fakes, a spy satellite, or an orbital cannon designed as an upgrade to the current Jewish Orbital Space Laser complex.

Now, of course, we have to step in and note that if an orbital laser would require ten times the energy of the most powerful lasers in existence being fired a billion billion times longer than it’s currently able to cause any damage from a few hundred miles overhead, the requirements for a laser that can cohere, much less deliver any impact on Earth from a million miles away would be downright farcical. If we could produce that much energy in a device we could launch into space, we’d have miniature fusion reactors powering the world and be experimenting with warp drives.

We should also ask the simple question of why lie about pictures of stars and planets. What’s the point of spending billions to deceive the public about what a nebula most people don’t even think about in their entire lives looks like? Why create false data and images for a public that’s not even the primary audience for them? We’re being asked to believe that NASA is lying to us about things we don’t care about for the sake of justifying a budget that’s a rounding error of a rounding error compared to healthcare, military, and interest payments on debt?

If it seems pretty stupid to inject magic and pseudoscience and doubt into a big, complicated mirror and wi-fi camera floating in space, that’s because it is. So why are all these people doing such stupid things? Well, the two simplest answers are to feel smart, and to get attention. In the world of social media, all attention is good if it leads to views because views lead to ad revenue and followers, even if you attract only one in a thousand people, people whose paranoia and need to be “in the know unlike gullible normies” you’re validating.

Today, people are often overburdened with work they hate, bored, and in search of purpose and identity, so they’re ready to latch onto any conspiracy or alternative view and make them feel like members of an exclusive club, or on a secret mission. If they also tend to feel like they have little control of their lives, are argumentative, and love to argue, they’re much more likely to buy into a conspiracy theory. And the fact that even JWST is not safe from conspiracy theorists just shows us how big of an industry catering to the disillusioned and bored has become.

# oddities // astronomy / conspiracy theorists / social media

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