wpid-wp-1446741446606.jpg(the world is flat, and unicorns prance in fields of gold)

Over on Big Footy (one of the forums I frequent), a thread started that discusses the frankly absurd idea that planet earth is flat. Not a sphere, but in fact, a giant pancake.

That’s right, in the 21st Century, there are still people who would seriously argue for a flat earth.

I’m still not sure if the thread started as part of an elaborate trolling effort, openly mocking the flat earthers, or if it was started out of a genuine belief in this notion. Quite how it can be believed in the face of all the available evidence is completely beyond me, and all I could I think as I read the thread was ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’, over and over again.

Timon7(the face I make when I realise someone is serious about a flat earth)

It’s bad enough that the idea still has support anywhere, but now, celebrities are jumping on this bandwagon. Once again, I can’t be sure if this is a clever campaign to expose people who buy into this, or if it’s actually a real belief on the part of rapper B.O.B.

Apparently NASA pictures of the earth are fake, and there are many convulated explanations to wave away little details like how we can circumnavigate the globe by boat or plane, or how we can even see the curvature of the earth in certain situations. Naturally, these details are part of a vast conspiracy to hide the truth.

The big question is, why deny something that should be blatantly obvious? If the world was indeed flat, why hide it? Indeed, what makes anyone seriously think we could hide that for any length of time? Also, what would be gained from such a lie? Who benefits from it?

I could go on at greater length, but I haven’t got the will at nearly 10pm to go deep into a topic that doesn’t deserve the attention in the first place. Granting it so much merit by discussing it will only strengthen the idea in the eyes of those who already believe it, and they will perpetuate this pseudo-scientific nonsense. Can we please come back to the 21st Century now?

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/aliens-are-not-coming-scientists-say-because-theyre-all-dead/news-story/5302e514b86ab78639e8fe1768ac1cf2

An interesting idea from the authors of the above article. Aliens wind up extinct pretty quickly.

It’s also possible they’d wipe themselves out, which is a potential danger to us too.

As I’ve mentioned in a discussion I’ve been having (one which has touched upon the importance of and uniqueness of life), regardless of whether you feel humanity is a divine creation, or whether we are a one in a million shot, we are special. There is only one planet with humans on it, and we need to look after this rock – and ourselves.

So yesterday I was coming home from work via a rail-replacement bus, which added to the journey time considerably. A long trip on a bus through tight streets and a few winding roads is not at all like a straight-forward train ride, and I dare say, combined with my early start (to catch the bus in the morning) and a busy day at work, I felt very tired and even a little rough.

So I can’t say I’m too grateful to the man sitting behind me who felt the need to spit several times, loudly and with as many theatrics as possible. The coughing is something I can tolerate, since sometimes you can’t control a cough and I understand that, but deliberately spitting, hocking up over and over again, is just disgusting.

He was crushing something metallic – possibly several somethings – too, perhaps beer cans though I didn’t turn around to look. The final leg of the journey seemed to last forever, and I found myself starting to feel quite queasy by the end. The man was muttering away as well, about what I wasn’t altogether sure, and I wasn’t about to ask, as I was too busy concentrating on keeping my lunch in my stomach.

I’m struggling to think of what could have motivated this man to carry out such a revolting course of action – the only explanation I have is that the man was indeed drunk.

So I’m having a revelation. I’ve put my writing ambitions more or less on hold over the past few months, blaming one reason or another, when really I need to stare down the most obvious and damming reason of all: laziness. I’m putting it off and I need to snap out of that. I’ve started several stories down the years without ever persevering; I will never fulfill my goals if I don’t start knuckling down and writing again. 2016 needs to be a writing year.

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So for Christmas I bought my wife the X-Files series on DVD – I’ve caught a number of episodes with her, enjoyed recalling some classic ones, and I’ve found my interest in all things paranormal reignited.

I can honestly say that the X-Files was never my favourite show when it first ran. Re-watching it, I can say it’s better than I remember it – and of particular interest to me are the episodes that deal with the existence of extraterrestrials and the conspiracy to hide their existence from the world.

The idea that aliens have been visiting earth (for various reasons) has existed in popular fiction for years. We, as a species, are in love with the idea that humanity may not be alone – even as the same idea terrifies us. Alien abduction claims stretch back decades, perhaps even longer, tantalising us with the idea that we are not alone.

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There are many, many questions that need to be asked about the motivations of hypothetical visitors to us from other worlds. What is so fascinating as to keep them coming back? Do they need humanity in some way? Is life so rare in the universe that we are in fact one of a handful of species out there, watched over for our own good? Are we a resource, being exploited for someone else’s gain?

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(the Smoking Man was involved in a cover up concerning alien visitors in The X Files)

Often found alongside ideas of abductions and aliens, is the idea that governments all around the world are suppressing the truth about their existence. This popular notion has fuelled stories and TV shows, not to mention many real conspiracy theories. As with the question of alien visitation, the question needs to be asked – why cover it all up?

The first and most obvious answer would be to prevent a mass panic. If the world learned tomorrow of the existence of extraterrestrials (and that they’ve been among us, abducting us and that our governments have been hiding all this from us) there’d be an explosion of anger and fear. People would be asking who might the aliens be, why are they experimenting on us, and why have our leaders kept the truth from us?

Let us rewind for a moment. Whilst considering hypotheticals, we actually need to take a step back. Does any of this seem likely, or even remotely plausible? What evidence – beyond the distorted memories of hypnosis – exists to truly support abduction claims?

There are sites out there that document alleged encounters, but the problem lies in verifying anything. Official investigations have turned up no evidence to support the idea that UFOs are either a threat or extraterrestrial craft – conspiracy theorists naturally dismiss these investigations as part of a cover-up.

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(Project Blue Book was a famous and lengthy study by the US Air Force into UFO sightings)

Perhaps the chief problem of believers is that they are trying to prove something virtually impossible to prove. In respect of a conspiracy, these are usually by definition very hard to prove, since the conspirators aren’t going to leave any obvious proof lying around! In regards to actual abduction events, many of these can be explained through other means (hoaxes, misinterpreted dreams, etc).

So what is the truth? If we apply the idea the simplest, most obvious answer is the best one to go with, then aliens have not been visiting earth, and there is no conspiracy to deny this. It sucks, in a way – it’s much more entertaining to believe that there really is some vast secret, hidden away from us, and that even now a real-life Mulder and Scully are trying their utmost to bring it to light.