IRL Apocalypse

Physicist Trolls Twitter with ‘New World’ Photo That’s Actually a Piece of Sausage

It's just a chorizo

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French Physicist Étienne Klein, director of France’s Alternative Energy and Atomic Energy Commission, is apologizing this week after he played a little trick on the internet with a picture of a a chorizo that he first claimed was the Earth’s closest star, Proxima Centauri.

“Photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years from us,” Klein’s tweet read (translated from French). “She was taken by the JWST. This level of detail… A new world is revealed day after day.”


It’s just a prank, bro

Of course, to any normal human being with a sense of humor, you can tell that this was a simple joke by Klein, who later explained after carrying the prank through to one more tweet.

“Well, when it’s time for the aperitif, cognitive biases seem to have a field day… Beware, then, of them. According to contemporary cosmology, no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth.”

While he might not outright say it here, he’s telling us that it was a joke. And most of those who commented on the photo knew it was a joke. But the perpetually offended internet was having none of it.


Personally, I think it was hilarious. Not so much the original joke, but the fact that so many people got so angry about being duped by a slice of sausage.

Another interesting part of this story is the fact that this photo tweeted by Klein was not even an original creation. Jan Castenmiller first posted this photo back on July 27, 2018, and others have posted it as recently as the week before Klein’s post. So the joke’s been around a while.

Still, Klein did apologize for the prank. “I come to present my apologies to those whom my hoax, which had nothing original about it, may have shocked. He simply wanted to urge caution with images that seem eloquent on their own. A scientist’s joke.”

And now I’m hungry.

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Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at Joystiq's Massively.com, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and host of the Through the Aftermath podcast for over 11 years. He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

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