News & Politics

Red State Freak Out: Wingnuts Think Southern Snow Is Faked By the Government

YouTube videos have cropped up showing people unsuccesfully trying to melt their snow with lighters.

Photo Credit: Steve Webster/Flickr

Some wacky conservatives are pushing a conspiracy theory that the snow that's falling in recent weeks is not real--and is being engineered by the Federal Government. Fueling the theory is the presence of snow in normally-warmer states in the South.

YouTube videos have cropped up in recent days showing people trying to melt their snow with lighters. But the snow doesn’t melt.  It lets off a toxic smell and produces black marks on the snow.  It’s proof that the snow is chemical, not real and being geo-engineered by the government, says the video bloggers.

Except that it’s not. As New York-based media outlet PIX 11 notes, meteorologist Mike Stone, who works for CBS affiliate WTVR, explains that “when you heat something like this, it goes from a solid to a gas.  It’s called sublimation.  It doesn’t go from a solid to a liquid, i.e. melting.”

That’s not to say that the concept of geo-engineering itself is not real.  In fact, as Naomi Klein wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed in 2012, there is “a growing number of would-be geoengineers who advocate high-risk, large-scale technical interventions that would fundamentally change the oceans and skies in order to reduce the effects of global warming.”  

Other YouTube users have posted their own videos claiming to debunk the fake snow reports.

“Bottom line, if you don’t want to waste 5 minutes watching this video, butane burns dirty. The smell is not from the snow, the black on the snow is not because its plastic; it’s because of the butane,” said one such user.

The back-and-forth in the comments accompanying the YouTube videos are no less than hilarious, with some users directly blaming the government for creating fake snow events, while others take it as an opportunity to mock the videos and discuss the sciences.

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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