Monday, November 1, 2010

Mother Nature: Doctored Facts, Messages from God! and "Tell everyone you know!"

"The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper."  Eden Phillpotts .   This widely circulated  image sent to me of  a "Fire Rainbow" is not one of them.    

Every now and then well meaning readers - and mostly likley a few hoaxsters - send me pictures with accompanying text to include in my blog with that melodramatic Internet advice: "Tell everyone you know!" Some are obvious hoaxes or clever composite pictures.    And some pictures are accurate but for reasons that baffle me the accompanying text is pure fiction like a picture sent to me of  a "really big mountain lion in michigan near a friend's house". The mule deer and flora in the same picture shows it was clearly not  photographed in Michigan.  And then there are some tales with a grain of truth  but doctored to add flare with personal motivation twists.  This is one such tale: A "Fire Rainbow" that happened "just last week" and  "one of the rarest of all atomospheric phenomena" And it proclaimed it as: "A message from God!"   It took about sixty seconds of detective  work to debunk, "last week" and "rare".  The photo is real. Not last week. Idaho in 2006.  A "fire rainbow"  has nothing to do with fire and is not a rainbow and they are not the rarest of atmospheric phenomena. It's properly called a circumhorizontal arc (a ho-hum sounding name, yawn) and is formed when the sun's rays pass in just the right way through high altitude cirrus clouds.  It is a fairly common halo in Michigan and several  small patchy ones were visable in Oakland County on the afternoon of October 29th.  As for a message from God? The person who forwarded it to me did not tell me the secret Lordly message. What puzzles me is why when our Earth is full of real things in nature's way that are magical but real we must create false facts (translate that as lies)  or alter images and  tales to "improve" on the wonders of nature and the adaptations and wonders of evolution of life on Earth. Passing on or creating doctored facts do not make our wits grow sharper. 


Anonymous Pat Cheal said...

Jonathan - Sometimes you just really smack a home run with your comments. This is one of those days.

November 1, 2010 at 5:54 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am still trying to learn all the features of Photoshop. It is amazing what can be done with a photo now and it takes an expert to find the fakes.

November 2, 2010 at 10:55 AM 
Anonymous SooDuckCamp said...

Well said, Mr. Schechter.

November 3, 2010 at 10:38 AM 

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