I found an article on the bbc recently that pushed my respect for the average citizen even lower. The article talks about how China is getting their space program in gear and discusses their plans to land people on the moon in a few years. Aside from national pride there isn't much reason to actually send people to the moon but it is an endeavour that captures the imagination of the populace and gets them interested in science at the very least. Then I read the comments and I became very sad indeed.
It turns out that some people are worried that the Chinese will start mining the moon and get ahead of all the other nations. Whether this is framed as racism or nationalism makes little difference since the proposition of profitably mining the moon is so utterly preposterous. The really sad part is that other people began to complain that mining the moon might have unforeseen consequences here on earth due to changes in the tides. You see, mining the moon makes the moon smaller, and that will change the pull of its gravity on earth! The fact that we would certainly end up putting more stuff on the moon to facilitate this mining then we would ever get off of it surely has never entered their consciousness, much less the fact that the moon is HUGE. The moon has a mass of 7*10^22 kilograms. Imagine we mined a quadrillion tonnes of random stuff out of the moon. It would still have a mass of 7*10^22 kilograms! A quadrillion tons is a truly absurd, monstrous amount and it is multiple orders of magnitude below being a measureable difference.
Then of course was a hilarious collection of ignorance surrounding people living on the moon. People seem convinced that the earth is becoming so polluted and depleted that we will soon need to live somewhere else. None of these folks notice that even if there is incredible runaway climate change and we dump nuclear waste in the oceans for funzies and we burn all the fossil fuels that all the other planets are a few hundred degrees to warm or cold. And they have no air, or the air will disintegrate us. Or they have no surface! Or they have no water! And they don't have things like fossil fuels and factories and homes. They will never, ever, until the earth is vaporized when the sun goes red giant, be a better place to live.
And all these people vote and have ideas about how we should run things. Ack.