One doesn't need to be a political junkie to know that GOP Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and Science are no longer on speaking terms. She further assured that Science wouldn't be sending her a Christmas card this year with yet another dubious claim, this time that China was using lasers to blind American satellites, which not only didn't happen, but is not currently scientifically possible.
The claim was made, according to the Washington Post, on Laura Ingraham's show on September 30. The paper reports that during that interview, Bachmann made the following statement,
And don't forget I sit on the Intelligence Committee. We deal with the nation's classified secrets. This is an open-source document. I'm not sharing something I shouldn't, but China has blinded United States satellites with their lasers.
At this point, reading the transcript of a Bachmann interview conducted by a conservative is sort of like reading an epic poem constructed using the "Paranoid Conspiracy Theorist" magnetic poetry set, but the Washington Post investigated its validity all the same.
The report Bachmann cited was a "thinly sourced" 2008 document claiming that China might have been using lasers to track US satellites, which, for those of you who aren't well-versed in space laser technology, is not the same as "blinding." As more information came to light, it became unclear that China was doing anything to anyone's satellites, be it with lasers or light sabers or The Force or Chinamagic or whatever it is that Bachmann thinks they're doing over there.
Further, even if they had intended to damage satellites in space using lasers, concentrated beams of light are generally "an ineffective anti-satellite weapon," according to a scientific consultant to the Federation of American Scientists. In fact, no country has ever blinded another's satellites.
Would anyone be surprised if it turns out Bachmann's hair is disguising a tin foil hat?
Image via AP