Texas’s Culture War on Clean Energy

By Lola Weber

March 8th, 2021

Texas, home to nearly 30 million Americans, has been hit by dangerous and unprecedented weather conditions, along with a brewing struggle regarding energy policy in the U.S. 

   As expected, the urgent weather crisis which  hit Texas this late winter has morphed into a cultural conflict of sorts, creating the red-blue division which frames itself in nearly every conflict across the nation. Initially, leading GOP members initiated this ‘war’ while attempting to scapegoat the calamity of the Texan energy disaster. 

   Dan Crenshaw, a Republican representative, urgently took to Twitter in the midst of the Texas emergency, stating, “with blackouts across Texas, many are wondering: what happened? Leftists are cheering a ‘red state’ having energy problems”. He then went on to blame the blackouts on “a mix of over-subsidized wind energy and under-investment in gas power”, which hastily fired off the energy hostility. 

   Tucker Carlson soon followed suit, declaring on a Fox News segment that, “the windmills failed like the silly fashion accessories they are, and people in Texas died. This is not to beat up on the state of Texas — it’s a great state, actually — but to give you some sense of what’s about to happen to you.” Liberals have begun to parallel this conservative fervor over coal energy, towards wind energy.

   Although it is undeniable that in comparison to coal energy, wind energy finds itself to be significantly more environmentally beneficial, there is a discernible failure among both resources.

   While advocates of coal energy preach the resource’s efficiency, they fail to comprehend the detriment which follows. While renewable advocates push for alternatives like wind energy, they too fail to comprehend the risk and dependency that these resources have on unforeseeable weather conditions. 

 This is not to draw an equivalence between the two, as liberal renewable energy proponents are far less destructive in their mission in comparison to that of fossil fuel proponents, but to note a common flaw amongst both sides of this energy-culture war, which is the failure of well-rounded accountability and comprehension. This large-scale investment, which was about 47 billion dollars, put up by liberals across the U.S. in efforts to produce more wind turbines, did not come from a place of real climate urgency, but instead was a large-scale capitalist venture. 

   This endeavor is essentially what led to the critical deregulation of energy in Texas which created a perpetual auction on energy. Interestingly enough, Texans don’t mirror the ‘clean energy’ hostility which is so avidly projected by Republican lawmakers. 

In a survey conducted last fall, it was found that about 65 percent (an overall majority) of voters in Texas would be likely to support candidates who pledge to achieve 100% clean energy by the year 2035. Along with this, the study also found that a large sum of Texan voters actually supported the abolition of government tax advantages for the fossil fuel industry. 

The right wing zeal for fossil fuels isn’t as popular in Texas as many would assume, with 46 percent of people in the same study being against fracking, and only 34 percent being proponents of increased fossil fuel. The political climate regarding clean energy in Texas is a lot more progressive and willing to clean energy than conservative and liberal lawmakers suggest. 

Instead of the formation of another Red V. Blue culture war on energy, this situation should strike a pursuit in a more efficient and sustainable solution as a whole. Centering the discourse around wind energy versus fossil fuel energy is futile, when it should be focused around a stronger environmental agenda, such as the Green New Deal, and the push away from complete energy deregulation within the state of Texas, and throughout the nation. 

The Texas Sitch

By Ian Klane

March 8th, 2021

A major winter storm has been battering Texas for  weeks, revealing clear signs of unpreparedness from the state that is experiencing record-breaking sub-zero temperatures.

  The frigid cold is all thanks to the polar vortex, a large area of low pressure located near the poles. Most years during the winter months, the polar vortex breaks down and spreads apart, sending cold air southward. This year, the polar vortex has weakened even more due to stratospheric warmings that occur about six times a decade. The polar vortex doesn’t just appear at random, which is why we knew from the sudden stratospheric warming on January 5, 2021, there would be a possible polar vortex approaching North America.

  Due to the state’s incapability to handle the below-freezing temperatures, many problems arose, greatly affecting Texans. The brutal storm causing, as of now nearly 80 deaths, officials say it may take weeks or even months before the final death toll can be determined and may never be fully accurate.

 In the United States, there are three major power grids. There is one covering the entirety of the west coast, another power grid covering the entirety of the east coast, and then there’s one tiny grid in the center of the two only covering the state of Texas. Due to this isolation and poor maintenance by ERCOT, the company that controls the power grid, Texas was utterly and completely unprepared for the incoming winter storm, causing nearly 4.5 million people to be without power on February 16. Now, with power conditions returned mostly back to normal, tens of thousands of Texans are still without power due to downed lines and other issues.

  On top of the power outages in the state, many Texans had little to no access to water due to frozen or burst pipes, as well as reduced water pressure causing bacteria to accumulate in the pipes, causing 10 million Texans to be put on a boil water notice. A boil water notice means that they have to boil their water to be able to drink it safely. Many Texans as well had little access to food as most grocery stores and restaurants were shut down. The majority of roads closed also meant many could not leave their homes.

 Meanwhile, amid the power crises, Texas Senator Ted Cruz was on vacation relaxing on the warm beaches of Cancún. After news of his trip had become public, Cruz released a statement attempting to cover up his selfish wrongdoing by explaining to the press that he was merely escorting his daughters on a vacation trip with their friends. In an apparent bid for sympathy, Cruz was quoted as saying, “like millions of other Texans, our family lost heat and water.” Texas GOP Rep. Michael McCall on Sunday, February 21, delivered a pointed rebuke of Sen. Ted Cruz saying, “Look when a crisis hits my state, I’m there. I’m not going to go on some vacation,” leaving no room for another excuse from Cruz defending his actions.

  Comparatively, while an actual Texas senator provided practically zero assistance to Texans, a liberal representative with little to no stakes in Texas came to the rescue. U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in response to the disaster was able to raise nearly $5 million in Texas relief efforts. The congresswoman even flew to Houston to join Democratic Texas Rep. Sylvia Garcia to distribute supplies. During her stay, the progressive lawmaker and other Democrats visited food distribution centers, water delivery sites and toured the damage left behind from an unprecedented storm.

The Notorious Ms. Banks

By Diana Kerbeck

March 8, 2021

A rapper, a singer, a songwriter, and an internet troll. Azealia Banks’ immense talent cannot be understated. She is a highly skilled vocalist, an excellent rapper, and a captivating personality. She broke out into the scene with the hit single “212”, a critically acclaimed song that broke boundaries of what rap could be perceived as. Azealia soon became a gay icon as her unique mix of house beats, soulful singing, and rap was seemingly catered to the LGBTQ+ community. However, since then, her career has changed drastically, mostly due to her feuds with nearly every celebrity that exists including Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Lana del Rey, Iggy Azealia, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, Cardi B, Zayn Malik, and the former Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. 

 It was, at one point, a trend to google one’s birthday followed by Azealia Banks and see what ridiculous article came up. For me, I received a wonderful story about Azelia Banks calling a flight attendant the f-slur. This begins the dichotomy of Azealia, where she has at many times been a vocal supporter of the gay community, and at others offended it deeply. She is openly bisexual, yet has been known to go into homophobic or transphobic tirades. An overarching theme of Azealia’s feuds with artists is her ability to mix valid criticisms over genuine issues, with offensive and incomprehensible nonsense. Some of her more valid criticisms include calling out Eminem over his mockery of victims of domestic violence or Lana del Rey’s inconsistent feminism. Others are more humorous in nature, such as her calling Cardi B a “poor man’s Nicki Minaj” or her lawsuit with Elon Musk where he is accused of stealing her phone. This then leads to her most recent controversy involving a video posted to her Instagram account where she digs up her buried dead cat from her backyard, brings it into her kitchen, puts it into a pot, and boils it. She did eventually clarify that she didn’t eat the cat but the purpose of this endeavor remains a mystery. 

 This has become what Azealia is known for, her music rarely receives the attention it once did, yet she remains in the news due to her inability to stay off Twitter. Ms. Banks may still have once been able to stage a comeback, but after alienating so much of her fanbase, it is far less likely. Just a few days ago she announced that she was engaged and this might help her career return, but likely she has already done far too much harm. In fact, the mere announcement of this engagement has already created a new controversy after Azealia proclaimed herself to be jewish and calling transgender women “men in wigs”. Whether her constant internet drama is a conscious attempt to stay relevant, a symptom of an underlying condition, or a genuine expression of hate, is unknown. Lastly, after her comments have hurt and offended so many people, many believe it’s finally time to remove her platform.

A Synthesized Illusion

By Isabella Howe

March 8th, 2021

Sleep is a fascinating phenomenon. According to sleepfoundation.org, as human beings, it is required that the body obtains at least 7-9 hours of sleep if over the age of 18, and 8-11 if one is under the age of 18, with an increase in the amount the younger a person is.

When calculated, the average person spends a total of 26 years sleeping and seven years attempting to fall asleep (dreams.co.uk). Sleep is essential as it permits the body to accomplish a set array of tasks that the organ system would not be able to complete in any other state. 

In a state of sleep, the brain interchanges between REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. In most cases, the body begins the process of sleep in a non-REM state. The brain starts to lose its responsiveness to the outside world as bodily processes begin to slow; this is a transition from the stage of sleep known as N1 to the stage of sleep known as N2. The N2 stage is the phase that the brain spends the majority of a night’s sleep in as it lasts about 30-60 minutes which is the longest phase in the cycle. During the N2 phase, the body decreases its overall temperature and begins to form what are known as “sleep spindles” which are “bursts of coherent brain activity” (sciencedirect.com). 

  The body eventually transitions to the N3 stage, which is a “deep sleep” that only lasts from 20-40 minutes. During this stage of sleep, the brain is characterized by its production of delta wave signals. If one is to be awoken at this stage,  it is common to experience a mental fog known as “sleep inertia” (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). During the N3, the body performs the most crucial and essential task of sleep: it enacts a series of tissue, bone, and muscle regrowth as well as immune system strengthening. 

 Finally, the brain will enter REM sleep characterized by its erratic eye movement as well as fast tempo breathing. Only at this stage does a person experience what most would believe to be the only purpose of sleep, dreaming. The brain achieves this phase about 90 minutes into rest. The first REM period may only last about ten minutes, but during its last periods, it has the potential to last up to a full hour according to ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.

  During the sleep stage REM, in which the body actively dreams, it is possible to experience an occurrence known as “Lucid Dreaming”. Lucid dreaming was recognized and named by a Dutch psychiatrist named Frederik van Eeden in the early 1900s. Eeden is also responsible for recognizing the nine types of dreams that naturally take place (science.howstuffworks.com). Lucid dreaming is a term assigned to a form of sleep in which the dreamer is actively aware they are dreaming, which can then allow such dreamer to enact control over their dream. While lucid dreaming, the sleeper’s consciousness of the fact that they are in a dream does not take away or diminish the vivid experience dreams are characterized by. Some may not be able to control their actions while others may. As stated by webmd.com, lucid dreaming is a rare marvel that only occurs a handful of times in a year by around half the population. 

  Through a study looking into the science of lucid dreaming, researchers arrived to the conclusion that there is a bias in which people are more likely to observe a lucid dream. It was concluded that those with a more highly developed prefrontal cortex are shown to have a greater chance. The prefrontal cortex is a part of the human brain developed through evolution that allowed prehistoric humans to excel and reach a state of brain development that diverged from any other species (Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari). It is here where the cognitive ability to make decisions and recall memories occurs. Those who spend time contemplating decisions and deep thought evidently have a higher chance of lucid dreaming. It has also been discovered that lucid dreaming can not be distinguished as being either asleep or awake but rather in an in-between state. 

  Even though lucid dreaming is shown to be a more likely occurrence for those with highly developed prefrontal cortexes, ultimately, there are ways to manipulate and artificially cause the brain to produce a lucid dream. There are a selection of methods to do so. Keeping a journal in which you record any memory of a dream you had has shown to increase the chances of having lucid dreams as it allows the mind to focus on the process of dreaming and fundamentally become more aware of it. Another method is to wake up, after a suggested five hours of sleep, stay awake for a short period of time, attempting to hold on to the drowsiness, and then allow your body to fall back asleep and reenter the REM stage. This creates a passageway into the state of neither sleep nor consciousness where the lucid dreaming is suspended. Another method is to simply repeat to yourself in a series of repetitions that “I am going to lucid dream”. This creates a mentality focused and determined on the concept of lucid dreaming that can then translate into your rest. Lastly, it has been shown that drugs can also induce lucid dreaming yet this is the method least recommended as the repercussions and ramifications are at times drastic (webmd.com).

 The complete complexities and abilities of the human body and mind can leave one in awe. The ability to now direct and control one’s dreams is quite a discovery. The number of creative experiences that one might design through the process of rest are endless. Sleep does not have to be looked at as something to dread, as proven through factual evidence, it is possible to be highly productive in a state of physical idleness. 

The Frozen Dragon of the North Wind

Jacqueline Pernice

February 23, 2021

Within the vast terrain of Canada’s badlands, all your Game of Thrones dreams will come true. The new species of pterosaur, a flying reptile, had been discovered. Its name, Cryodrakon Boreas, is Greek for ‘Frozen dragon of the North Wind’. 

     Despite the intimidating name, scientists say that the Cryodrakon Boreas looked less like a fire-breathing dragon and more like a giraffe-sized, reptilian type stork. The Cryodrakon, at its time, lived in what we currently know as Alberta, Canada. 

     Over 77 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, this reptile thrived. The species could grow up to 13 feet tall with a bewildering wingspan of 30 feet. It is now considered one of the largest flying animals known. It had a long neck, monstrous wings, and a thin head that was predicted to be about 3.5 times the length of its body. 

     As big as the reptile’s head was, it had no chewing apparatus. Meaning, it had no teeth or structure to chew with. Instead, it would consume whatever was small enough to fit down its gullet. Lizards, mammals, and small dinosaurs would most likely be the Cryodrakon’s main food choices.

     François Therrien is a curator at Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology. He explained that even though the current environment of Alberta is quite harsh and frigid, the landscape that the Cryodrakon would have soared over would have looked more like a tropical paradise near a large inland sea.

     The fossils of this reptile were found over 30 years ago in Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park. However, scientists believed that the fossils were a part of a known species of pterosaur, the Quetzalcoatlus. According to The Washington Posts, a scientist named Irfan Habib, along with a taxonomy specialist, David Home, made the astounding discovery that the skeleton didn’t belong to the Quetzalcoatlus but to a new species, the ‘Frozen dragon of the North Wind’. 

     The Cryodrakon belonged to the azhdarchids, a type of pterosaurs (or pterodactyls), which are known for their distinctive long necks. The fossils that were discovered had belonged to a younger Cryodrakon, with its wingspan “only about 16.4 feet when it died… researchers studied the giant neck bone from an adult to determine that the wingspan of a fully grown Cryodrakon likely reached 32.8 ft.” (CNN World). 

     Researcher’s compare the size of the Cryodrakon to the Cessna airplane, according to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. The Museum also released more information about the Cryodrakon, stating that it has enough wing capacity to fly across oceans. 

     As for the benefits to the scientific community, David Hone expressed his opinion and thoughts on the discover, stating that, “It is great that we can identify Cryodrakon as being distinct to Quetzalcoatlus as it means we have a better picture of the diversity and evolution of predatory pterosaurs in North America.” The plan is to study how the muscles worked within the species, hopefully discovering how the Cryodrakon took off, flew, and walked. 

Can You Spread COVID-19 After Being Vaccinated?

Davis Newman

February 23, 2021

Early  this year, the first vaccines have started rolling out, and people are wondering how effective it is at stopping the spread from person to person. More importantly, can a person spread COVID-19 after being vaccinated? 

     The answer to this question is not as simple as it seems. According to Stanley H. Weiss, M.D., an epidemiology professor, the vaccine will highly diminish the spread, but it is unknown by how much. Clinical trials for the vaccine were based on preventing symptomatic cases and not asymptomatic cases, which are still infectious. Furthermore, more trials would have to be taken to find out if the vaccine prevents asymptomatic cases. Up to 20% of Covid cases are asymptomatic, so it is very important to find out if vaccines are effective at halting the spread of asymptomatic cases.

     To further complicate the situation, vaccines are not 100% effective, and patients can still become infected with the virus, although asymptomatic or with less severe symptoms. Even in a patient with a strong response to a vaccine, a virus can still do some replication and shed while the patient is shortly infected. Along with that, according to the CDC, the COVID-19 vaccine takes a few weeks to kick in, and a person with the vaccine can still catch it before the vaccine’s incubation period. 

     To conclude, you can spread and contract COVID-19 after receiving both doses of the vaccine. However, it does greatly reduce the symptoms and transmission rate compared to a non-vaccinated individual. The CDC still emphasizes protective measures even if you get the virus due to these factors. Continuing to take protective measures like wearing a mask waiting your turn for the vaccine is still the most important measure you can take to end this pandemic lockdown sooner rather than later.

Who is the GOAT of Sports

By Luis Berg

February 23, 2021

Since the beginning of sports, the debate of who is the best in their given experts, Who is the greatest of all time who is the GOAT of sports. Tom Brady has been called the GOAT  of football for the last couple of years and many would say he solidified his legacy with his 7th Super Bowl win last Sunday. This is more wins than any other player in the history of the NFL. Tom turned 43 last year but he looks better than ever. In his 20 seasons in the NFL, he has won 3 MVPs and 4 Super Bowl MVPs also throwing nearly 600 touchdowns in his career. 

     In basketball, the younger generation would say Lebron James,  but most adults and basketball players agree that Michael Jordan is the best. With six NBA championships, two more than Lebron, and he won three of them in a row, also winning 5 MVPs, one more than Lebron. 

     In hockey, it must be Wayne Gretzky. Nicknamed “The Great One’’, the NHL itself said he was the greatest hockey player of all time. Winning a total of four Stanley Cups and nine MVPs during his 20 seasons in the NHL. 

     In soccer, it’s a 4-way tie between Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pele, and Diego Maradona. With so many different trophies to win from the World Cup to Winning the league they played in and many other tournaments, it’s very difficult to rank them. Also, the game has evolved a lot over the years each player has played. Soccer in the 40s when Pele played was a much different sport to what soccer is today. Maradona played in the ’60s, a very physical era of soccer compared to the modern game where fouls are regularly called. 

     If we look just at who has the most trophies, Lionel Messi would win,  but there weren’t even that many trophies to compete for back when Pele and Maradona played. Ronaldo has won fewer trophies than Messi, but one could argue that he has won more important trophies. 

     For the sake of finding out who is the GOAT of all sports, no one soccer player has been dominant enough to separate himself from being named the GOAT  of soccer, let alone the GOAT of sports as a whole. In tennis, the GOAT is Roger Federer with 20 grand slam titles more than any other person in the history of tennis. 

     In the solo sport of swimming, it isn’t even an argument, Michael Phelps has won more Olympic gold medals than anyone else. Not only in swimming, but more than any other sport. With a total of 28 medals and 23 of them being gold, Michael Phelps is far ahead of anyone else not only in his own sport but any Olympic competition. It is an individual sport that speaks even more to his individual greatness and I think that’s the true meaning of the GOAT of sport. No other person is as good at winning as he is. That’s why I believe that Michael Phelps is the GOAT of sports.

Should Lawmakers Raise Minimum Wage?

By Kirstyn Hill

February 23, 2021

With the current minimum wage standing at $7.25 since 2009 regardless of the impact of inflation, it is about time Americans are due for a wage increase. With wealth inequality at an all-time high and the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly destabilizing the financial security of Americans nationwide, the need to raise the minimum wage is increasing. President Joe Biden’s 1.9 trillion dollars “economic rescue” package calls for gradually increasing the hourly wage in increments until it hits $15 in 2025. Additionally, it would be designed so the minimum wage is indexed to median wage growth, a move meant to guarantee wages keep up with inflation without needing new legislation. 

     It is believed that by gradually raising the minimum wage, incomes can keep pace with the increasing cost of living as well as, potentially lift millions of Americans out of poverty. A 2019 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report projected a significant improvement in the standard of living for at least 17 million people, assuming a minimum hourly wage of $15 by 2025, including an estimated 900,000 million people being elevated above the poverty line. An additional benefit from lifting so many people from poverty would be the projected reduction in federal and state government subsidies and expenditures for low-income individuals. The Economic Policy Institute found that increasing the federal minimum wage to $15/hour and eliminating the tipped minimum wage by 2025 would free up $13 billion to $30 billion in taxpayer revenue annually. 

     The downsides to raising the minimum wage are not to go unrecognized regardless of the potential advantages. Opponents argue raising the minimum wage could fuel inflation due to the probable consequence of businesses increasing their prices. By increasing the price of general goods, the cost of living increases, potentially negating any advantage to wage increase. The other projected problem is job loss among Americans. The 2019 CBO report estimates that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would result in the loss of approximately 1.4 million jobs.  Additionally, it is argued that by raising the minimum wage, Americans incentive to strive for better opportunities may be diminished through the ability to maintain a comfortable lifestyle off of an entry-level position.

 Raising the minimum wage in the US from $7.25 to $15 over the next four years does not come without its potential negative outcomes. Regardless, raising the minimum wage and allowing it to be coordinated with current inflation is a policy that many lawmakers are set on passing. IN the U.S. from 1978 through 2015, they found that a 10% increase in minimum wage only accounts for around a 0.36% increase in prices, which somewhat disproves the fact that wage increase will have any huge impact on the price increase. However other downsides of raising the minimum wage do not go unnoticed, but the overall current consensus is that this could be the economic rescue the US needs following the pandemic. 

The Secret (and Not So Secret) Anti-Semitism Behind Conspiracy Theories

By Taylor Tomlinson

February 23, 2021

People often have a fascination with the unknown. We love science fiction, space travel, mystery novels; we’re obsessed with things we want to understand. The alluring pull for answers leads us on a quest for “the truth”, which can lead to falling down a rabbit hole on the internet. Our searches can lead us somewhere dangerous, in the hands of conspiracy theorists. In a country where the truth can become distorted in layers of bias, hearsay, and increasingly distanced from fact, it’s no surprise that conspiracy theories seem to be making their way into the mainstream.

  Conspiracy theorists have a different way of operating as opposed to the scientific method the public has known to trust. To them, you start with the conclusion you want and then look for evidence to support it, not the other way around. This biased researching process often leads to the finger being pointed at one group, in particular, the Jewish population. Anti-Semitism isn’t new, and neither is using Jewish people as a scapegoat for the world’s problems, but the internet and social media have allowed it to manifest itself in new ways. Lying underneath the surface of many conspiracy theories, Anti-Semitism festers and acts as fuel in the war against truth. 

  QAnon has been a buzzing news topic for the past couple of weeks after many claim that theory fanned the flames for the insurrection at the Capitol. For those who don’t know, QAnon is a far-right conspiracy that champions former president Donald Trump as a savior facing off against, as defined by the New York Times,  a “cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who are plotting against Mr. Trump while operating a global child sex-trafficking ring.” Before this year, QAnon has lived in the shadows and could be easily ignored. Once insurgents donning QAnon gear stormed the Capitol last month, QAnon posed itself as more than just a foggy theory spouted by lowlifes on a few dark corners of the internet. When alleged former QAnon believer Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia’s 14th District was sworn into office as a House of Representative member, the theory proved it had more of an influence on legislation than ever thought possible. 

  It’s no surprise that a conspiracy based on a group of people controlling the government and media would have anti-Semitic roots. While QAnon is not explicitly Anti-Semitic in its stated beliefs, the tropes it’s founded on have been used to cause Jewish people harm for centuries. The discourse of a secret community of left-leaning, non-Christians conspiring  against a white Protestant isn’t exactly fresh material. Its members have also been known to encrypt anti-Jewish rhetoric in its secret messages. According to Insider, “many Jewish figures, including (George) Soros, have been met with anti-Semitic attacks from the community.” While QAnon, a conspiracy that fosters racist, xenophobic, and anti-truth discussions, having anti-Jewish biases shouldn’t be a shock, it may be a surprise to learn that most Global conspiracy theories have some anti-Semitic roots. 

  Flat-Earth had a reinvigoration over the past five years. Popularized by internet discourse and social media, “Flat-earthers” believe the Earth is not a spinning ball orbiting the sun, but a stationary surface with the atmosphere hovering above it. This conspiracy has based itself in a primarily Christian support group, with claims of a fixed Earth throughout the Bible. Demonstrated by Psalm 93:1, the Bible states “Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm …” which some Flat-Earthers use to disprove a globed Earth. Flat-Earth also accompanies theories of the space exploration organization NASA coordinating to hoodwink the public about the shape of the Earth. While many consider this theory silly and baseless, few regard this theory as being anti-Semitic. It appears the venn diagram of QAnon supporters and Flat Earthers are closer than many realize.

  While the theory of a Flat Earth has inherently nothing to do inherently with anti-Semitic finger-pointing itself, it’s easy to identify similar tropes that run within certain conspiracies. For flat Earth to be even remotely conceivable, it needs to be understood that NASA required thousands of their employees spanning decades to be committed to one lie. During times of political uncertainty, some grow distrustful of government organizations. This sentiment can be felt within the Flat Earth community. When journalist Kelly Weill of the Daily Beast went to the Flat Earth Conference in 2018, she observed a pattern of anti-Semitism among the convention. According to Weil, she noticed “Two tables over, vendors are selling a weighty book on Flat Earth. “Zionist Jews control the educational system,” begins Chapter 33 (“Mind Control”). The second paragraph is a block-quote from the wildly anti-Semitic and fabricated conspiracy text ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, which the Flat Earth author concludes is proof that Jews are trying to hide the Flat Earth, in order to undermine God and control the world.” As Weill points out, religious conspiracies thrive under political chaos, and this pattern can be seen way back during World War I. As people grow fearful of government, and accompanying organizations, such as NASA and the FBI, anti-Jewish fervor can spread as well. The Jewish community is not a new culprit, so it’s no surprise that when Christain ideologies are questioned and political tensions are rising, people find no trouble refusing the scapegoats of the past.. 

  Living in an echo-chamber can have its consequences, and the internet’s “dark alleys” almost always have hidden agendas and are simply trying to push their own narrative. Internet discourse can have real-world effects. According to PR Newswire, “the new FBI Hate Crimes Statistics report found that more than 60% of religious-based hate crimes in 2019 targeted Jews, an increase of 14% over 2018.” Falling down an internet rabbit hole can be exciting, but it’s important to be mindful about where your information comes from. The social media landscape is as dangerous as ever, and in the age of misinformation, personal bias almost always affects the truth. The urge to question the world around us is a good one that can push human progress. However, the rise of conspiracy asks how much questioning can be done until we have to wonder the very basis of fact versus fiction?