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Advertisement The Earth is flat, the moon landings fake and Congress will lower your taxes
by Dan Brawner Columnist · December 7th, 2017

Until 1900, the totality of human knowledge doubled every 100 years. Now, it doubles every 12 months. In fact, we have so many facts, statistics and such sheer volume of information literally at our fingertips, that trying to process and evaluate it all can make us feel like we don't know anything.

Take Mike Hughes, the 61-year-old former limo driver turned self-made astronaut. He built a steam-powered rocket that he plans to ride 1,800 feet into space in order to prove once and for all that the Earth is flat.

I know what you're thinking. There's no such thing as a steam-powered rocket. Oh, and the Earth isn't flat. The Ancient Greeks already figured that out. And so did the Hubble telescope and the guys who landed on the moon and took those terrific photos of our spherical blue planet. Anybody who ever flew in a commercial jet or climbed a mountain or even looked out the window of a tall building can observe the horizon and see the curvature of the Earth. You don't need to squeeze into a junkyard rocket and blast up into the sky, risking life and limb to learn the Earth is round. We know that already.

And yet, every major news organization is covering the space adventure of "Mad Mike Hughes" as if he is on the verge of making a major scientific discovery. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astro-physicist and all-around cool guy, responded by tweeting a photoshopped image of the moon with a narrow horizontal shadow across the middle. The caption reads, "A Lunar Eclipse flat-Earthers have never seen."

Also in the news this week is a breathless story about how the moon landings were faked. Apparently an amateur "researcher" was studying photos of the 1972 Apollo 17 landing and claims to see, in the reflection in an astronaut's visor, some guy in street clothes, proving the whole thing was staged and filmed on a movie set. Of course, there are the moon rocks they brought back and the photos of Earth taken from the surface of the moon and the lunar lander visible from orbiting spacecraft. But those are just facts. You can take them or leave them.

With the push of a button, we can Google the truth. But many of us hang onto old misconceptions, such as: It's dangerous to swim after eating (it's not). And bulls hate the color red (bulls are color blind). No matter what you've heard, the "three wise men" are never mentioned in the Bible. You can't actually see the Great Wall of China from space. Goldfish can remember events up to three months - not just three seconds as we were told. And flushed water does not rotate the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere.

So when Donald Trump tells us that the infamous "Access Hollywood" recording we have all heard with our own ears is fake, are we supposed to just take his word for that? And when certain members of Congress swear that their tax bill is designed to help the middle class and not the super-rich, do we have to believe it? Or can we make a little effort and find out for ourselves?

After all, it's not as if there is any truth to the urban legend that humans can use only 10 percent of our brains.
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