Update: People are the worst

“Only you can stop starting forest fires. Or peeing in the pool. Seriously. Stahp.”

As a species, we humans live in a constant state of denial. We’re programmed that way. For instance, an observable phenomenon known as Dunning-Kruger effect causes us to inflate how great we are to avoid depression, resulting in not understanding why we take bad pictures or sound weird in voicemail. (It’s because that’s how everyone else hears/sees us, please stop singing.)

This level of denial also applies to things that we definitely do, but would never cop to. Well, the science is in and, yep, we’re awful.

Lest anyone tries to deny peeing in the pool: we’re busted. Everyone knows now. We all thought it was the perfect crime — everyone’s wet, bathing suits don’t show pee, anything amiss is killed by chlorine … except artificial sweeteners. And they’re in everything, not just diet soda. You’re not fooling anyone, person who hasn’t left the pool for six hours except for new beers, and the chlorine smell is only getting stronger to kill your foul excretions.

Also, we’re the ones setting most forest fires. And not like just over half of them, and the other half is droughts, wind and Jerry Bruckheimer’s production logo. Five out of six forest fires — 84 percent — are started by us. We’re doing it so much that we stretched that normal 46 days per year of nature claiming California homes to 154 days, every year. Smokey’s too busy fighting the Trump administration, people. This one’s on us.

So, yeah. It’s time to face facts: people may overwhelmingly mean well, but we don’t act that way.

Did aliens set forest fire to distract us?

For a few hours on Tuesday, no one was listening.

California is suffering a serious drought and forest fires all throughout its territory, or as they call it out there, “summer.” Today, it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility that at least one of those fires was set by an alien race. The SETI Institute had to shut down its Allen Telescope Array for a matter of hours because a wildfire was sweeping ever closer. In case you’re wondering, yes, SETI is that weird group that listens for communications from outer space.

Did aliens accidentally send us a nude photo and then cover it up by forcing us to turn off our equipment when the signal reached us? If you watch the History Channel on Friday nights, you know that sounds completely plausible and believe there’s enough evidence to draw such a conclusion.

Burn, water, burn

Researchers put a bit of old folk wisdom to the test by investigating whether water droplets on the top of leaves actually can focus the sun’s rays and burn them. The result? Score one for folk wisdom, old wives and pure luck.

For years, that line of logic has been why many gardeners advise against watering plants at midday, when the sunlight is at its fiercest. And not laziest. Totally, not laziest. However, there’d never been any scientific basis for this assertion. Until now. Biophysicist Gabor Horvath and his team at Hungary’s Eotvos University have now set out to determine the validity of this notion both through direct experimentation and computer modeling.

They discovered that, depending on the type of leaf, it really was possible for water droplets to burn leaves. In particular, leaves with tiny wax hairs, like those on a fern, were able to hold the droplets just above the leaf surface. Much like a magnifying glass, the droplet focused the light directly onto the leaf, which left an unmistakable burn. On the other hand, smooth leaves, like the maple, displayed no such burn effects. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, some plants are actually emo.

So, what’s the general verdict? It’s possible, but not exactly likely. Nonetheless, that research alone should be more than good enough for Roland Emmerich to make a movie where water starts massive forest fires. Or M. Night Shyamalan. What a twist!