Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Do You Have Them?

Officials at NASA are a bit embarrassed right now. It's been revealed that they don't know where the original video tapes of the first landing on the Moon are. They've been hoping to use the tapes to see if they can be treated using modern technology to produce better images of the landing, but a year's worth of searching hasn't turned them up, although they are sure they're still there, someplace, in the archives.

It's screwups like this that display the silliness of government conspiracy theories. We're supposed to believe the powers that be can cover up the truth about the Kennedy assassination, or that some nefarious government plot was really behind September 11th. Yet the folks at NASA haven't been able to keep track of the tapes of their most important triumph. Indeed one might wonder why NASA still had them, and not the US National Archives or the Smithsonian. This and other similar mistakes make most folks roll their eyes and mutter about the incompetence of government. But dispite such things conspiracy theorists cling to their warped faith in the power and competence of governments to create and run elaborate schemes involving large numbers of people conducting nefarious deeds, often on very short notice, and get away with them.

There is one group that will have their beliefs strengthened by the missing tapes, the Moon landing conspiracy nuts. They'll no doubt claim the tapes are missing because they provide the "smoking gun" that proves the Moon landings were faked. Of course the obvious question for such people is why NASA is claiming to have lost the tapes when it would be far easier to simply claim the tapes had deteriorated too much to be usable, which ironically may be the case even if they are found. Unfortunately common sense tends to have little effect on the true believers.

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