The Internet is a tool that allows us limitless access to information -- most of which is apparently created by bored assholes committed to making our species stupider. This applies to both fan-fiction forums and the biggest news websites in the world.
#4. China Doesn't Fight Smog With Televised Sunrises
Here's another shocking picture you probably saw on Facebook that made you think, "What's this world coming to?" Then you resumed stalking your ex.
Ironically, all that smog is produced by giant screens showing sunsets.
How delightfully dystopian! According to numerous news sites, Chinese officials are "televising virtual sunrises on massive TV screens" so that citizens won't forget what daylight looks like. This has been reported by CBS, Time, Business Insider, and of course The Daily Mail, where the story first dropped. And we mean "dropped" in the digestive sense, because it's all crap.
Tech in Asia points out that the photo, which came from Getty Images, features China's tourism logo in the bottom right corner of the sunset -- because it's actually a 10-second shot from a promotional video. Here's another one:
Feng Li/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Not to mention that the quotes from the Daily Mail article came from a totally unrelated AP story the day before. In other words, the proper headline above should be something like this:
#3. The U.S. Wasn't Colder Than Mars During the Polar Vortex
The "cold snap"/"polar vortex"/"indisputable proof that global warming was a hoax created by Obama and Al Gore" froze our asses off so badly that, apparently, even planets in the opposite direction of the sun had it better than we did. ABC put it this way:
"And some just reach for lies."
Or, if you don't do headlines, you may have seen this in meme form:
However, the source of all this is a joke by the Facebook account of the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg, which stated that the Curiosity Rover had recorded -29 on Winnipeg's -31 day. While those numbers are technically correct, the thing that everyone conveniently forgot is that one was recorded on Earth, and the other on an endless desert-scape with the atmospheric volatility and variance of a strip club cocaine backroom.
In other words, while it was -29 on the specific spot where the Rover's equipment was, it may have been as low as -90 just a few feet away. The day we really are colder than Mars, you won't have fingers to complain about it.
#2. That Picture of the Syrian Boy Sleeping on His Parents' Grave Was Staged
Supernatural came back from winter break that week, so Tumblr was busy making GIFs.
It's a very sad and iconic image, marred only by the small detail that it's 100 percent staged.
Abdul Aziz al Otaibi
Either that, or this kid is a real prick.
While there are no doubt countless actual instances of children being orphaned by war in Syria, this is not one of them. In fact, it's not even Syria, and those are just rocks. What you're looking at is an art project in Saudi Arabia involving piles of mock graves and the photographer's nephew. The guy seemed pretty pissed off that someone misrepresented his picture, totally missing the fact that at least he allowed thousands of strangers to feel better about themselves without moving from the toilet.
#1. Hitler Wasn't an eBook Bestseller (Until Everyone Said He Was)
"MINECRAFT! I said MINECRAFT! This is the worst Christmas ever!"
How in the world did this happen? Short answer: It didn't. The false story started when a single blogger noticed that Hitler's biography/hate manifesto was a "Top Book" for both Apple and Amazon, which clearly meant masses of people were secretly reading it in their tablets like it's Fifty Shades of Grey.
But rather than hiding your boner, you have to resist the impulse to do a heil Hitler.
This evolved into a shitstorm of speculation for Hitler's comeback success, with some suggesting it was all "neo-Nazis and skinheads." What everyone was forgetting was that those "Top Books" lists are specifically made to get you to see random shit that no one is buying -- when the story broke, Mein Kampf was actually ranking between 7,000 and 9,000 on Amazon, which means about 10 books sold per day.
... and we say "when the story broke" because all this Hitler talk actually shot the Fuhrer up to No. 2 and No. 4:
Yay! Nice teamwork, America!