This morning I was confronted with a Twitter poll about which date was the worst in American history. The choices were: the Kennedy assassination, September 11th 2001, Pearl Harbor, and January 6th of this year.
Now, I won’t say any of these days was a particularly good one. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 were especially bad. But let’s keep some perspective here; on August 24, 1814, an invading army actually burned down both the White House and the Capitol after inflicting a pitiful defeat on American defenders at the Battle of Bladensburg — and even that, while a bad day for America, wasn’t our worst.
Yes, this is about the 9/11 attacks. Yes, I firmly believe nineteen hijackers drove four planes into three buildings and a field in Pennsylvania. No, I don’t think that’s the whole truth.
Half the people reading left after the first sentence; most of the rest left after the second. Even my saintly mother left after reading the third. If you’re still here, you’re either very intelligent or very bored.
An offbeat news story broke not long ago about a connection between the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil and a recent release of genetically modified mosquitoes. Folks picked up on it, and now it’s becoming a common theme on the internet. Best as I can tell, there’s zero truth to the rumor, but it got me thinking: Why is this sort of thing so easy for us to believe?
Not too long ago, a good friend of mine was looking at Facebook when he suddenly exclaimed, “Good God! Don’t tell me people still believe that $#!+!”
Because we’re talking Facebook, I had to ask for a bit of clarification. I mean, really — there’s a lot of $#!+ out there, after all. And so I asked, “To which particular bit of $#!+ do you refer?” (more…)