From anti-gravity pens to cool model kits, these space-themed gifts will make any star gazer very happy.
- Since the dawn of time humans have been fascinated with the stars and with space.
- This gift guide will help you shop for the NASA fan on your list.
- From socks to laser projectors, there is something for space fans of all ages.
Two Apollo 11 astronauts question NASA's planetary safety procedures.
- Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins revealed that there were deficiencies in NASA's safety procedures following the Apollo 11 mission.
- Moon landing astronauts were quarantined for 21 days.
- Earth could be contaminated with lunar bacteria.
7/24/1969. Pararescueman Lieutenant Clancey Hatleberg closes the Apollo 11 spacecraft hatch as astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, await helicopter pickup from their life raft. They are wearing biological isolation garments for their 21-day, quaratine period.
Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images
Apollo 11 40th Anniversary - Water Recovery System<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3d35ac2ce6c7e64568cccfbf7f98de5e"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/94AECQPxUOw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.
- Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
- Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
- All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
Moon landing conspiracy<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTA4NTE0Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzOTAyMjQyNH0.yYtb2IdKfaDmUVwHebeG8rAqNsKJRRdvIJV1VMB22i4/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C458%2C0%2C458&height=700" id="fee83" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="eb32f32ba91e8c70d31fbba964d9aa93" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Flag on the moon" />Apollo 11 moon landing
Image by NASA<p>Landing on the moon was a triumphant paean to the greatness of our human spirit and ingenuity. Between 1969 and 1971 <a href="https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/main.html" target="_blank">we landed on the moon six times.</a> Each landing carried down two astronauts, while one waited for them in lunar orbit. We brought down moon rocks, left behind many lunar modules (that can be pinged with lasers from the earth's surface) and we learned a great deal about the moon from these pioneering missions. </p><p>In recent years, talk about the moon landing being a hoax have begun to circulate and pickup more ignorant adherents. The fact that most of these deniers are not scientists or astronauts — nor have have advanced knowledge of engineering, rocketry, physics and so forth — should be telling enough. Even without going into the nitty gritty of the science, there's enough places online to find simple <a href="https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/apollo-11-hoax-photos--8-moon-landing-myths-busted/" target="_blank">arguments debunking the moon landing hoax</a>. </p><p>Mathematician David Robert Grimes approached the idea of debunking the moon landing hoax and other associated conspiracies in a novel way<a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0147905" target="_blank"> through a mathematical model.</a> The formula accounts for the amount of people involved in a supposed conspiracy and how long it would take to go on keeping the details hidden from the public.</p><p>He states: <em>"Even if there was a concerted effort, the sheer number of people required for the sheer scale of hypothetical scientific deceptions would inextricably undermine these nascent conspiracies."</em></p><p>Grimes understands that even with such a compelling and logic based understanding of the phenomenon of conspiracy, those with these beliefs will likely never shake their convictions. </p><blockquote>"The grim reality is that there appears to be a cohort so ideologically invested in a belief that for whom no reasoning will shift, their convictions impervious to the intrusions of reality. In these cases, it is highly unlikely that a simple mathematical demonstration of the untenability of their belief will change their viewpoint. However, for the less invested, such an intervention might indeed prove useful."</blockquote><p>Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt echoed this sentiment when he said: </p><blockquote>"If people decide they're going to deny the facts of history and the facts of science and technology, there's not much you can do with them. For most of them, I just feel sorry that we failed in their education."</blockquote>
Flat earth theory<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="xW7kNCru" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="75ffea4c75929656c7b76280ee67cec9"> <div id="botr_xW7kNCru_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/xW7kNCru-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/xW7kNCru-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/xW7kNCru-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>Transport yourself back to a backwoods epistemological viewpoint that was mostly considered ignorant just a few centuries ago — the earth is flat. No one in their right mind should hold this belief. Yet it still persists. In an interview with Big Think, Nasa astronomer Michelle Thaller expertly lays out a <a href="https://bigthink.com/videos/michelle-thaller-how-to-disprove-flat-earth-theory" target="_self">few ways to disprove the flat-Earth theory.</a></p><p>She states: <em>"That's a hard thing for me to even start talking about because there are so many proofs that the Earth is round, it's difficult to know where to start. And it's not okay to think that the Earth is flat. This is not a viable argument."</em></p><p>One example she gives is of the Greek scientist named Eratosthenes, who figured out that the difference of the sun's angle hitting a town called Syene and the far-off city of Alexandria on the same day didn't strike down the same way. Eventually his experiments would lead him to accurately measure the circumference of the Earth some 2,000 years ago. </p><p>Although old Eratosthenes and countless others led us out of this swamp many years ago, the idea won't die. Educational researcher Harry Dyer<a href="https://qz.com/1268605/what-its-like-to-attend-a-flat-earth-convention/" target="_blank"> finds this troubling </a>as he recently visited a flat-Earth convention and reported his experiences to Quartz. <br><br><em>"The idea of trusting your gut or trusting your feelings came up a lot at the conference. I think it is indicative of [a form of] populism where people want to move away from statistics and create an environment that engages more in emotions," </em>he said.</p>While this remains on the fringes for now, there's no telling <a href="https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/do-people-really-think-earth-might-be-flat/" target="_blank">how much this poisonous idea may continue to grow.</a>
Vaccinations and autism linked myth<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="bARtxDqZ" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="a6d3daed1119480be549a1410b39a973"> <div id="botr_bARtxDqZ_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/bARtxDqZ-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/bARtxDqZ-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/bARtxDqZ-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>A recent report points to some 160 people in New York state being diagnosed with measles. This comes just a few years after a large outbreak of measles at Disney World in 2015. Anti-vaccinators and their coterie of misinformed supporters just might take the blame for this entirely preventable disease.</p><p>There has been absolutely no link between vaccines and autism. The idea stems from a discredited paper written by disgraced British doctor named Andrew Wakefield who intentionally published a fraudulent paper linking the two. What could be the continuation of this discredited belief? <a href="https://bigthink.com/hysteresis-society-resistance-to-vaccines" target="_self">Hysteresis</a>.</p>The findings of a recent study suggess that vaccines and the previous public perception of them sometimes causes a phenomenon that's known as hysteresis, which creates a holdover negative perception of the process. Basically, because the public was originally exposed to this faulty information, their resolve against vaccination is strong even in the face of the overwhelming amount of evidence available. The full details of the study can be found <a href="https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2018.2406" target="_blank">from the Royal Society Publishing.</a>
Climate change denial<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="n1Jdn8jY" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="c92c24fcdf3ec805af3ad60f606635d7"> <div id="botr_n1Jdn8jY_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/n1Jdn8jY-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/n1Jdn8jY-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/n1Jdn8jY-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>Conspiracy theory and its associated cognitive dissonance, and other laundry list of cognitive defects, is most dangerous when applied to denying climate change. A <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886915005024" target="_blank">study written in 2015 </a>explored the consequences of being exposed to a popular conspiracy theory. They found that it can make you less socially-minded and less likely to accept already established scientific fact and laws. </p><p>In the experiment, subjects were sat down and instructed to watch a quick two-minute clip from a global-warming conspiracy movie. They were divided into three groups: conspiracy (who watched the clip), a group that watched a United Nations video talking about global warming and a neutral group. </p><p>The results showed that subjects exposed to the conspiracy video were significantly less likely to believe that there is a<a href="https://skepticalscience.com/97-percent-consensus-cook-et-al-2013.html" target="_blank"> 97 percent consensus agreement </a>between climate scientists about the phenomenon and far less likely to do anything about the problem. These varied anti-scientific ways of thinking can cause <a href="https://bigthink.com/think-tank/bill-nye-to-climate-change-deniers-you-cant-ignore-facts-forever" target="_self">a lot of real world damage</a>, from leaving children vulnerable to viruses to accelerating the effects of pollution. </p><p>Dr. Sander van der Linden calls this the conspiracy effect and warns people to be aware of it:</p><blockquote>My advice: Misinformation spreads quickly and can do much more harm than you think. The next time someone tries to convince you of a popular conspiracy theory, beware of the conspiracy effect.</blockquote>
In the summer of 1969, America did the extraordinary. Let’s do it again.
Optimism, as defined by economist Jeffrey Sachs, is more than just a translucent, faraway wish. It means having bold goals and acting on them—even if you have no plan or existing knowledge of how you'll get there. The US was once good at this: In May 1961, President Kennedy stood before Congress and announced that the US would land a man on the moon and bring him back safely before the decade was out. In the summer of 1969, that mission was achieved. If American politicians, scientists, engineers and the public could unite for the space race, then the same is unquestionably possible for the urgent humanistic causes of poverty, inequality, and curbing global warming, which will create millions of climate refugees this century. Optimism doesn't just require vision and determination—it needs a deadline, as JFK showed. By 2030, let's mobilize our optimism to cut poverty in half in America, and make a decisive move to renewable energy.