Conspiracy Theories

Woman doesn’t understand how light refraction works so a conspiracy theory ensues

A tragically hilarious video from the early days of YouTube is a reminder that conspiracy thinking has been around long before the Facebook fake news crisis.

Image via screen grab

If you have a flicker of hope left for humanity, this article will extinguish it.

A video taken in 2007 features a woman looking at a mini rainbow emanating from her sprinklers — a pleasant scene that’s reminiscent of summers in the backyard. But she sees something different. She sees a government conspiracy.

“I’m just wondering what the heck is in our water supply? What the heck is in our oxygen supply?” the woman says while filming the sun’s reflection off water droplets.

“What is oozing out of our ground that allows this type of effect to happen?”

It’s called refraction.

The fundamental process at work in a rainbow is refraction — the “bending” of light. Light bends — or more accurately, changes directions — when it travels from one medium to another. This happens because light travels at different speeds in different mediums.

Not much is known about the woman who took the video. But hopefully now she’s been dissuaded from her confusion of light refraction in water droplets with a secret government water-poisoning campaign. Unfortunately, the track record of people who believe silly things they found on the internet suggests that it’s not likely.

The video is also a good example of how pseudoscience causes people to waste their energy (that could otherwise be spent improving life in a civil society) on non-existent problems, while real issues pertaining to public health and the environment are right in front of them.

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