The Sciences

Facebook's probing inanity

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitOct 23, 2009 4:00 PM


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I am of two minds about Facebook. It has its uses and can be fun, and I know a lot of people use it as their primary means of keeping track of friends, but I find the interface and messaging system clunky, and the constant barrage of app invites makes me stabby. But the sponsored ads are über irritating (and I don't mean just the blatantly sexist ones). I saw a Facebook ad today for the upcoming movie "The Fourth Kind", about aliens coming to Earth to um, probe humans (and I mean, seriously? If we finally develop warp drive and travel to other planets, will we get all hot and bothered by the indigenous six-legged slimy malodorous gelatin bags that live there?*). Here's the ad:

See the poll? It asks, "Do you believe in alien encounters?", and the answer choices are "Yes, I believe", "I have seen one", and "Not sure". Um, Facebook/Universal Pictures, how about a more realistic choice, like one that says:

After years of seeing UFOlogists collecting nothing but anecdotal evidence without a single shred of actual y'know, tangible evidence, there is no reason to think this is anything but a psychological phenomenon and not a physical one, and should be treated that way.

Or better yet, how about simply: No. I usually enjoy movies about aliens, monsters, flying saucers, and the like, but this kind of advertising leaves me cold, and plays into the public's misconceptions about the UFO phenomenon. So I'll probably skip this movie and take a nap instead. Someone please wake me up when we have real evidence.

^* I suppose the aliens could be coming here for medical testing and such, but really, estimates are that given the number of "sightings", they'd have to be abducting upwards of a million people per year. A million. Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking that if that many people were being whisked away, we'd get more evidence then hazy dreams that seem to change over the years to follow media trends in what aliens look like and how they behave.

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