6 Idiotic Stories About Aliens The News Keeps Regurgitating
In the latest installment of our never-ending quest to keep you safe from the Internet's tidal waves of bullshit, we'd like to focus on alien life. Not content with invading our planet in movies, aliens are now invading our news sites, using their advanced technology to warp them into total nonsense. You'd think we wouldn't have to write this article, considering the only valid news headline about aliens right now would read "Aliens: Still Not A Thing." And yet ...
Scientists Didn't Say That Octopuses Are Aliens
This explains why they look like they were designed by HR Giger.
So shit, they're the descendants of Cthulhu? Should we be building shrines and working on a communication device so octopuses can guide us to their planet, where we'll serve as their slaves? All hail our new octopus overlo-- oh, it was a joke.
You're not allowed to be an overlord when your underlings regularly grill you up and serve you with butter.
Nature. That's probably why no one reads you but, you know, thanks. The scientist who conducted the DNA study used the alien comment to jokingly compare octopuses to other earthbound marine life, because that's how far apart they are. Some of the publications got the joke but rolled with the alien analogy anyway because fuck the facts, while others genuinely seemed to think that scientists had concluded that some sort of octopus meteor slammed into the ocean a million years ago. We're honestly not sure which is worse, but "blatant lies" and "staggering ignorance" are both poor reporting strategies.
The only alien that Captain Kirk wouldn't bone.
We know this doesn't sound like a big deal (very few people vote for a president based on their stance in the great "Octopi: Aliens Or Just Ugly?" debate), but as Quarks to Quasars points out, most people shared this article because of the alien claim. At least one person was using this to disprove the existence of evolution, adding further layers to the stupidity. That will teach those scientists to try to make their work more relatable to laymen!
You'd Have To Be Seriously Dumb To Think NASA Is Covering Up Evidence
When NASA released a photo of Mars with a weird, blurry object in the middle, there was only one logical explanation: Somebody get the FBI's top porn addict on the case, because there's clearly a conspiracy going on here!
Or it's a McDonald's, and they can't show the logo for licensing reasons.
According to a YouTube video deemed newsworthy by the Houston Chronicle, NASA definitely blurred out a large metal object in a Mars photo -- possibly a downed UFO, or a huge cosmic orgy that we weren't invited to. The actual explanation is that NASA made a boo-boo while stitching together a panorama shot. Here's a crazy idea: If they wanted to censor information, then they could have simply not released the photo.
"Let's see, we have a photo of rocks, more rocks, Lord Xylor's Mega-Fortress, even more rocks ... which one do we post?"
To be fair, the Chronicle dismissed the theory as nonsense ... but only after tricking people into clicking. Meanwhile, Fox News has branched to posting misleading stories about other parts of the solar system, not just Earth:
"Can we get away with saying any ridiculous bullshit as long as there's a question mark at the end? Yep."
"Is it a large rock? Or an otherworldly pyramid? You decide." Goddammit Fox, that's not how news works. You don't let viewers make up their own facts about a fucking four-inch-tall rock. Yeah, that's what the Dailies Mirror, Express and Mail are writing hundreds of words about. NASA had to clarify that the rock was indeed nothing but a rock, which led to accusations that they were parroting the official government story ... as opposed to the accusations they would have received about staying suspiciously silent if they said nothing. They can't win, because we love to accuse NASA of covering shit up. Case in point:
This one's about how NASA interrupting a video feed due to technical difficulties proves that Mork is real. Yeah, because can you imagine how disastrous it would be for an agency that has lost hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to reveal that they've found alien life? What would they do with all that extra coverage, money, and science groupies throwing their panties at them? That's probably why NASA's chief scientist said that she thinks/hopes we'll find evidence of alien life by 2025: She wants some extra time to brace herself for the pantypocalypse.
Stop Saying Every Ancient Artifact We Find Was Made By Aliens
A 10,000-year-old monolith was recently discovered underwater, which is proof that even the earliest humans had a spark of ingenuity. Unless you ask the media, in which case it's proof that 2001 was a documentary. The usual process with these types of articles goes like this: First, find some complicated discovery we can't immediately explain and call it "mysterious."
"Giant space fetus imminent."
Never mind that the article itself goes on to suggest several plausible theories -- it's a mystery! Next step: Call in the crazies.
"My journalism teacher from college says I'm not welcome at his house anymore."
The sentence quoted on the headline comes from a "UFO enthusiast" who thinks the pillar may have been part of the alien city of Atlantis. "Scientists beg to differ, of course" the article disclaims, before launching into the explanation that scientists beg to differ with. The piece concludes with what the researchers "believe," but only after the insinuation that the professionals and some blogger wearing tinfoil should be considered equal authorities.
UFO enthusiasts of 12,000 AD will be spewing this exact same bullshit about Los Angeles.
This is a common technique. While it's still frowned upon to publish the incomprehensible ramblings of a crackpot as fact, as soon as said crackpot gets an Internet connection, they're considered a credible source for publications like the Mirror and Inquisitr.
Note: They're talking about a big, non-flying stone nipple.
In other breaking news, Elvis teamed up with Tupac to assassinate JFK, and the government is trying to steal your pee. Writing the news is easy when you copy whatever insane strangers say. But wait, it gets worse:
He was given the Nobel Prize a few seconds later.
Yeah, end the article on a quote from OliPokro20, one of the leading scientific authorities of our age. Look, media folks, it's fine to get Joe Blow's opinion on the community center's decision to start a basketball program, but the whole point of interviewing scientists for a science article is that they actually know what they're talking about. And if they say "We dunno yet, check back later," you don't ask some random schmuck for the thoughts that emerged when two stray brain cells drifted together -- you just say that no one knows yet. It's like writing "The American Film Institute Names Citizen Kane The Most Influential Movie Ever Made, But Our Friend Steve Says It's 'Boring and Dumb' And Also Entourage Rules."
Everyone In The Vatican Isn't A Crazy Alien Nut
As the spiritual HQ of a good chunk of the human population, the Vatican has had to offer its thoughts on pretty much every topic imaginable at one point or another. From climate change to touching yourself, it's all been covered. Whenever the possibility of life on other planets comes up, though, the media loses its collective shit.
"Let's ease them in with stuff like free bread and wine before getting around to circumcision, OK?"
Pope Francis already has a reputation for being offbeat. Now he wants to baptize little green men? How wacky can he get? But as you've probably guessed, F-Dawg's comment was taken more out of context than the time we were told to "tap that ass" at a donkey ranch. Time got it right by noting that Francis was making a point about how the Church needs to be open to everyone, and can't dismiss foreign people and ideas. But who wants to read about a spiritual leader preaching open-mindedness in a time of religious tension, when we could giggle at the mental image of the Pope dunking ALF's head in a bowl of holy water?
It wouldn't be the first time Popes and Melmacians acknowledged one another.
More recently, news sites went to town on Vatican Observatory director Jose Funes' comments that Space Jesus doesn't exist:
There goes our Broadway musical idea.
That was a lone comment in a wide-ranging conversation on astronomy. Funes was asked what the discovery of alien life would mean for the Church, and his response was basically "not much." The prospect of aliens is cool with Catholics, with Funes merely noting that Jesus was a once-in-a-universe event. Naturally, the media took this as a proclamation of official doctrine, as if the Vatican was dying to let the world know their thoughts on Space Jesus instead of politely responding to weird interview questions.
"Ye shall be my next probe."
Even the idea of Catholics accepting alien life isn't breaking news. Funes himself has talked about the subject before, and he's hardly the only high-ranking Catholic to say "Yeah, aliens are cool, whatevs." And while we're on the subject of asking non-scientists about alien life and then treating their answers as shocking news ...
Stop Making It Sound Like "Experts" Are Confirming Alien Life
There's no proof that alien life exists, but it's also not much of a stretch to imagine that it does somewhere out there in the vast cosmos. But if you take the latter and combine it with the off-the-cuff thoughts of anyone even remotely associated with space, you get headlines that read like the ramblings of a crazy man who keeps ordering you not to eat his kidneys:
There's no way aliens witnessed the '70s, because we've yet to be Death Star'd.
Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell may have been to the moon, but his ideas have about as much factual basis as those of the guy who runs your local Whole Foods. Mitchell's theory comes from growing up near Area 51 and speaking with unnamed but totally real military officials. Naturally, the media took this as Mitchell speaking authoritatively, based on his time at NASA, even though he's clearly a bit of a loon and is even the first to admit that it's entirely speculation. Plus, you know, astronauts are human; they can be wrong, or be full of shit, or go insane and believe their nipples are antennas controlled by space Nazis.
Would you trust anyone who needed a map to make it from one rock to the next?
Then there's Professor Conway Morris, a Cambridge academic who wrote a book on evolution. Among many other topics, he speculated on how alien life might have evolved similarly to us, a subject he freely admits is extremely theoretical and intended to challenge readers about their understanding of evolution. Guess how the media reported his idea:
"Not only that, but they speak perfect English, if movies are to be believed."
That's not what this "top scientist" claimed at all, but "claims aliens might be real and might look like humans" is a headline that could start with either "top scientist" or "first-grader" and who's going to click on the latter? At this point, the media's "confirmed" alien life so many times that we're surprised every bar doesn't look like the Star Wars cantina.
Endless arguments would erupt over who bought a round of shots first.
The Philae Comet Isn't Even Close To Having Microscopic Life On It
This is a story even the most skeptical amongst you might have bought. We recently landed a probe on a comet, some cool and complicated science-y stuff was found, and the headlines are tame with their "mays" and their "coulds." Seems responsible, right?
"Alien Smurfs confirmed."
Oh, but what's this story the Guardian links to right after their headline?
"Damn you, Gargamel!"
It turns out that the vast majority of relevant scientists disagree that life on the comet is a possibility, and the equipment from the lander -- which could easily pick up life if it was present -- backs their opinion. Furthermore, the main proponent of claims to life, Chandra Wickramasinghe, apparently uses his incredibly-smart-person name to hide the fact that two other claims of extraterrestrial life he's made in the past are widely regarded to be utter nonsense. One scientist commented that the publications that broke this story "disgraced themselves today with the 'top scientists' argue case for life on comet' piece," which is the academic equivalent of "Y'all are some dumbass motherfuckers."
One scientist took the comet landing as an opportunity to espouse his pet theory, and the media rolled with it even though every other relevant academic disagreed, because the media thinks the word "scientist" means "we can print whatever the hell he says without double-checking." It's the same logic your uncle uses to "disprove" climate change by repeating the claims of the single fringe scientist who doesn't believe in it.
"It's not possible to cover the entire world with farms and ... oh, warming."
Look, Discovery, we get it. You're already trying to educate the world on mermaids and megalodons, because the allure of tricking readers with nonsense is tempting. But repeating some bullshit claims about how life might exist on a comet ignores the fact that we landed a probe on a goddamn comet that's hurtling through the depths of space at an incomprehensible speed. Let's try to celebrate incredible accomplishments, instead of ruin them with nonsense, OK? We promise we won't make fun of your next mermaid show if you can stick to that.
You can read more from Mark at his website, which may have been visited by aliens.
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