Sunday, February 5, 2023

That stupid balloon

Someone sees a balloon in the sky and wonders what it is. They go on social media, pick up some followers. And then start tracking it through various sites and software.

People start to get a little rambunctious and suggest that maybe it's some sort of spy thing! The horror!

The media picks up on it a bit, but they do very little in the way of fact checking, or, I dunno, actual reporting.

Instead they pick up on the social media posts, and talk to some people who are in no way experts on anything for an opinion.

The principle of blowback starts. Other news outlets pick up on the already written story. It becomes a thing, without really being a thing.

And then the real stupidity starts. Someone suggests its the Chinese spying on us. The orange menace tells us it's true. The crazy wing of the political party confirms that this must be true!

Then the Chinese government plays right into it and says it's theirs alright!

Predictably, the media, and conservatives, go nuts. And no one lives up to the principle of "do your own research"…

Then there are oddly conflicting reports about where this balloon is, exactly. Was there more than one?

But here's something for you: there's a company that claims it was theirs, and it was a weather balloon. But that gets drowned out by the breathless conspiracy-related coverage.

And the balloon had a transponder signal. That's partially how it was being tracked. If the Chinese intended to spy on us, why would they tag it with a transponder? A US one at that.

And in a more subtle thought, why would the Chinese - or any major player - use a balloon when satellites are in place and infinitely more effective?

So yeah, it just must be a Chinese spy balloon thingee. Straight out of a maxwell smart episode.

It was already out of hand. But then, our government decided to shoot it down. And China got all outraged, just to make a point.

And the Secretary of State cancelled a visit to China in order to send a message. What message? That we’re easily duped?

And now the discussion will go on for many months. The debris from the balloon is at sea, and the navy intends to recover it. Will they find anything? Will anyone believe whatever they find?

This is not where we should be, as supposedly a first world, developed nation with a high gdp, is it?

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