Politics - News Analysis
Newest Right-Wing Conspiracy: Bill Gates Conspired with Biden to Make ‘Synthetic Snow’ to Make Texas Look Bad
One will feel the strong pull to laugh to the point that the dog gets scared. Get it out now.
This is actually pretty sick once the laughter subsides.
The Texas snowstorm has been at the center of several poo-flinging monkey insane conspiracy theories generated the moment the ice melted (or not, see below). This weekend we covered two – two (!) – significant right wing conspiracy theories, promulgated by some usual suspects, which then went viral to millions of views, asserting that the U.S. Government has the ability to create and steer storms right on the top of fat red states with good AC and bad heat.
Now we’re dealing with a conspiracy theory that could easily be seen as a component of the above conspiracy theory. (It is hard to keep track.) The federal government created the storm and steered it, but once in place, it needed some snow because it’s better for the cameras. The snow was “synthetic” and created by Bill Gates working with Joe Biden. From the Independent:
But one of the stranger responses to the disaster was the spread of viral conspiracy theory videos on TikTok, Facebook and Twitter claiming that the severe snow was actually “fake” and “government-generated” as part of a sinister plot instigated by shadowy “elites”, presumably intentionally plunging Texas into its present state of chaos.
Did anyone pick up the snow? Did it melt in someone’s hands? (Okay, nothing melted). Did it melt when the cold subsided? Because it kind of sounds like “real snow.” We are glad we asked. This is the theory. From the Independent:
“This goes out to our government and Bill Gates. Thank you Bill Gates for trying to f***ing trick us that this is real snow,” a woman says in one video as she holds a cigarette lighter to a snowball over her bathroom basin.
“You’ll see it’s not melting and it’s going to burn. Snow don’t burn. Snow f***ing melts. No water, no dripping, no nothing. If I put this s*** in the microwave, it’s going to start sparking because there’s metal mixed in it.”
Hold up. Did she put it in the microwave? Had she put it in Tupperware and had the contents melted, we could call it the scientific method. But the story seems to leave a part out. The woman probably did, too.
In another clip, a girl gathers a snowball from her lawn and holds it over a tea light candle observing the same phenomenon – that it doesn’t appear to melt but is charred black by the flame.
I weep for the education system in the state of Texas. pic.twitter.com/lq45woWGrx
— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) February 21, 2021
Well, the temperatures in Houston and across the south are near 70 today, the snow is gone, we worry that they will say that the sun burned it off. It would be “kind of” true?
We don’t need to fact-check this for several hundred reasons, we’re sure you’ll agree. Here is one we didn’t know (this is factual).
As for the charring, Mr Plait wrote: “The black scorch marks are actually from the lighters themselves. Butane is a hydrocarbon, a molecule made up of carbon and hydrogen. When you burn it, the molecule reacts with oxygen in the air, breaking the bonds between atoms, and reforming new molecules. If the burning were perfect, all you’d have left is carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H20).
“But the burning is never completely perfect, and you get other stuff too. One thing that happens is that some of the carbon molecules reform into long chains, creating what we call soot. It’s that stuff that’s collecting on the snowball, not material from the snow itself!”
We understand. We have experience with things that do not burn perfectly.
Of course, all of this is evidence that a segment of society is growing increasingly detached from reality. As we said last night – addressing the storm-steering conspiracy – propaganda isn’t used to get society to believe one lie or disbelieve one person. A government generates propaganda in order to lead society to give up on finding the truth. People are not stupid, they just genuinely believe that all facts are manipulated. These segments then find their own truth, one that they desperately want to believe anyway.
The same doubts have actually arisen before when snow unexpectedly blanketed Atlanta, Georgia, in February 2014, prompting science writer Phil Plait of Slate to debunk them.
While this might be a reasonably harmless example of an absurd conspiracy theory gaining traction online, the spread of misinformation-as-entertainment has had worrying consequences in recent years, from people being dissuaded from taking coronavirus vaccines over fears of mind control to believers in QAnon and its Pizzagate precursor engaging in acts of domestic terrorism, notably last month’s siege of the US Capitol, itself inspired by an untruth from Donald Trump.
Conman Trump didn’t need much help in selling the con. He may have gotten help in how to create the conspiracy, which conspiracies would be helpful and how to put himself in a position to sell it. He seems to love Russia – for whatever reason, we’re not feeding our own conspiracy theory – and the Russians turned propaganda into an art in the last 75 years. Maybe he had help. Maybe not.
When Trump tells his followers that the election was “stolen,” this is a conspiracy they want to believe anyway. Having been divorced from the truth for at least four years, there was no need to actually explore the truth. They already heard it from the guy who is “out there for the little guy and will tell the truth.”
Months later they believe the story put forth in an anonymous website that says prominent Democrats are trafficking children and worshipping the devil. These things start to sell themselves. The politicians only need to get out of the way.
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