Bleats

This Doomsday Airline Napkin Is The Black Vs Gold Dress All Over Again

Destination aviophobia.

Many an illusion has captured the attention of the internet over the years, from The Dress to Yanny/Laurel, but none are quite so terrifying as what this Delta Airlines napkin implies at first glance.

Twitter: @nwalks

Though the text actually reads “The world is better with you out in it”, as in ‘travel is good so do it’, but many a stray observer will mistake it for “The world is better without you in it”, as in… well. Not the kind of thing you like an airline carrier to tell you. Especially at 30,000 ft.

Imagine you’re just minding your business, munching away on one of those frozen bread rolls, and you whip this out to dust off your crumbs. Tell me you wouldn’t read that as a threat. I’d be desperately scrambling to find my row-mate’s napkin to make sure I wasn’t being singled out for some kind of mafia-style takedown. Excuse me flight attendant, can I please speak to the pilot?! I need to confirm they’re not intent on bringing the plane down with us in it.

The internet reactions to the napkin were golden. Many leaped to point out that it barely makes sense when read as intended, and that there are an infinite number of better ways to communicate that message that avoid a brutally macabre insinuation.

The graphic designers in the thread were more than a little salty, while others replied with similar examples of thoughtless typography.

Twitter: @FreshTP91

Delta have been the butt of many a joke, primarily due to infamously terrible customer service (although that’s not unusual when it comes to regional American airlines), and cutting corners wherever possible.

This isn’t even the first time they’ve goofed up on their napkins this year. In February, Delta copped a roasting from passengers who received branded napkins that encouraged the somewhat skin-crawling practice of sending unsolicited contact details to strangers. Doubly gross when you consider that someone probably attempted to send a used one.

So are all the dark and creepy hidden messages in Delta’s passenger necessities pointing to a secret, fear-mongering agenda? Maybe if you can’t convince a customer to get back on one of your flights, you could scare them into never getting on any flight ever again. What’s next, plastic knives with ‘You’re next’ carved into the surface?

Perhaps it’s just a PR stunt – all press is good press after all. I’m just excited to see what kind of nonsense turns up next!

50 Years On From The Moon Landing, These Conspiracy Theories Are Still Kicking Around

When the Moon hits your eye like a big hoax and lie, that's amore.

It’s been half a century since Neil Armstrong said those famous words, but there’s still a shockingly large number of people who think that giant leap for mankind was a Hollywood fabrication. Estimates go as high as 20% among the US population, that’s not even including the tinfoil hat-wearing critics of the American government around the world.

There’s a whole bunch of interesting psychological phenomena behind conspiracy theories. Despite the enormous amount of evidence disproving them, moon landing truthers are locked into their beliefs by confirmation bias – basically, it’s a hell of a lot easier to be convinced by the ‘proof’ if you already suspect that something suss is going on. Plus, when believers are confronted by the facts, they’ll do anything to avoid the cognitive dissonance of changing their minds.

This is what y’all sound like.

It must be frustrating for the heroes of the Apollo 11 mission to have to defend their careers from armchair expert skeptics all the time. In fact, Buzz Aldrin eventually got sick enough of the harassment to punch a very confrontational conspiracy theorist in the face in 2002. NASA itself has to repeatedly issue a fact sheet in the moon landing’s defense.

So as a homage to Buzz, Neil, and Michael, and all the other astronauts who followed in their footsteps, here’s a brief debunking of some of the most ridiculous theories about the moon landings.

The Crosshairs

When scientists take photos from space they use reticules to provide a point of reference for distance, which comes in handy if the images get distorted. That’s why most of the photos from the Apollo missions had ‘crosshairs’ all over them. Theorists have pointed out that some of the crosshairs appear to be behind pieces of equipment, as if the pictures had been later edited. But there’s a simple reason for it- the camera technology being used to project the reticules onto the image was very susceptible to exposure issues, and as a result sometimes they aren’t fully visible.

The ‘Props’

Continuing with the theme of photographic over-analysis, theorists have drawn a tonne of red circles around suspicious objects in the pictures from the moon’s surface. One of them is the ‘C-rock‘, allegedly a set designer’s mistake (or alien trolling). Then there’s the apparent reflection of a stage light in the visor of Apollo 12’s Pete Conrad. The explanation for the crosshairs works here too- it’s probably nothing more than a photo development flaw, or a helmet scratch in the case of the visor.

The Missing Impact Crater

It seems obvious that the jet propulsion of a landing spacecraft would create a crater in the ground, or at least a huge dust cloud- especially on a gritty surface like the moon’s. But this falsehood comes out of several very obvious scientific misconceptions. For one, the atmosphere is a vacuum, plus the lunar soil is way denser than it looks. Then there’s the weight of the module itself- on the moon, it weighs about one-tenth of a car tyre.

The Van Allen Belt

The boldest claim of them all is that no astronaut could even survive the trip to the moon. This was the logic that inspired Bill Kaysing to start the conspiracy theory in the first place, and it argues that the radiation-filled field around the Earth known as the Van Allen Belt was a deadly force that NASA had no clue how to overcome. There’s only one problem with that. Astronauts would only be exposed to a sixth of the lethal dose of radiation on a four hour trip- and that’s if they were floating around outside of their spacecraft, a la Sandra Bullock.

Who better to film the fake landing than celebrated film director Stanley Kubrick? After all, his masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey would more than qualify him for the role.

The US government certainly did a good job of keeping him quiet if he was involved in such a secret project, but artists are brilliant at finding creative loopholes. People who believe the moon landing was a hoax think that Kubrick left easter eggs in his later films, and that The Shining was an extended metaphor for Stanley suffering in silence with the secret. It’s actually kind of compelling.

Kubrick’s Clues

A documentary maker named Jay Weidner pieced it all together. The twins in The Shining represent Apollo’s predecessor, Project Gemini. The haunted room is number 237, and the Moon is 237 000 miles from Earth (only it’s not, it’s actually 238 855 miles but don’t let that stop you, Weidner). And of course, the centerpiece of the theory: Danny is wearing a sweater with Apollo 11 knitted on it. Seems a little on the nose for a creative genius like Kubrick.

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