Floating City DEBUNK

Floating City DEBUNK

August 7, 2019 100 By William Hollis


Greetings children,
Captain Disillusion here and uh… …well… …I’m out of ideas. I’ve sat here and debunked just about every type of fake viral video there is. And I need new challenges… So bring it on! Post requests on my Facebook,
tweet links at my Twitter… …lay qwertys on my slackwave– Ah! Here we go! Just do me a favor: keep it interesting. Don’t ask for the really obvious videos… Like that “mysterious” floating city over China one, okay? Could you debunk that
mysterious floating city over China video? Okay – what did I just say? Mysterious floating city over China, please. Damn it! The floating city– [increasingly urgent chorus of voices
requesting the floating city] Argh! Fine! I can’t believe you’re making me do this. A video surfaced last month showing… …what appears to be… …giant futuristic buildings floating in the clouds… …above the city of Foshan
in the Guangdong province of China. Spoiler alert: it’s not real. Blogs and news reports said… …it’s an example of a rare,
naturally occurring optical illusion. But I say it was a deliberate fake. So who’s right, the media or a guy in a tracksuit? Well, let’s start our investigation by consulting
an expert on all things optical. Mr. Flare: Man she told me she was 16–wha? D: Mr. Flare. Uh, what’s your take on the floating city in China? Mr. Flare: Ah, that?
*clears throat* That was nothing more… …than a type of atmospheric mirage
called Fata Morgana. D: Really? And uh… what is that exactly? Mr. Flare [uncertainly]: Well… it’s a… …sort of like optical illusion, you know? It makes you see things that aren’t there. Like cities. D: Uh-huh. You just saw the term “Fata Morgana”
in a post by IFL Science… …and you’re repeating it, aren’t you? Mr. Flare: Noo! I saw it in a post by The Independent!
…and I’m repeating it. D: So you don’t really know
what the hell you’re talking about, do you? Mr. Flare: Nope! D: Thanks a lot. Mr Flare: You’re welc– D: I’d like to take a moment to talk
about lazy journalism. It’s more common online
than abbreviations of branded website names. Whoever originally broke the story
about the floating city video… …had their heart in the right place. They probably wondered if there was
a natural explanation for the event… …and googled the word “mirage”. After enjoying the various enticing offers
from a hotel in Las Vegas… …they saw basic information about how mirages work… …and that one rare type is called Fata Morgana. They must have liked its evocative name
and immediately picked it for their story. And then a great game of
journalistic hot potato began… …as the claim bounced from blog to blog
without any examination. Reporter: This is a type of superior mirage
called a “Fata Morgana”. It can make objects appear
like a city floating in the clouds. The same phenomenon happens
when you’re driving in your car on a hot day… …and you see what appears to be water or something liquid on the road in the distance. D: Wrong! She didn’t even read four lines down on Wikipedia. So maybe instead of trusting her… …we should check
what Fata Morgana actually is ourselves. Mirages happen when light is bent by layers of different temperature air along the Earth’s surface. There are two types of mirages: inferior and superior. An inferior mirage is when stuff from above the horizon appears under the horizon line. A superior Mirage is when stuff from below
the horizon line appears above it. Fata Morgana is an extra shimmery… …multi-layered type of superior mirage
that occurs in rare atmospheric conditions. But mirages are not hallucinations. All they do is displace the view of things that are actually there to begin with they can make patches of the sky Appear as lakes on the desert floor or make distant boats seem to hover above the ocean surface But they can’t make a futuristic metropolis… …manifest out of nowhere
in a modestly developed area. And by the way all mirages – including Fata Morgana – can only appear very close to the horizon line… …because that’s the view… …at which the refractive properties
of the different layers of air are most pronounced. No mirage can extend thousands of feet up
as in this video. So if the floating city wasn’t a Fata Morgana mirage, what was it? Well, either it was a real paranormal thing
that appeared in the sky… …or someone faked a video of it. What do you think, Paranormal Crucible? This mysterious apparition was possibly
the result of a project blue beam test… …or perhaps was a temporal vortex… …a possible parallel universe… … materializing briefly into our own reality. Uh… that sounds bat-[beep] crazy. Say something a little less crazy. It is possible,
considering China’s technological achievements… …that a top-secret holographic technology… …was tested over a heavily populated city… …in an effort to gauge the general public’s reaction. Oookay… So the government did a secret test
that they wanted the whole city to see? Initial reports did claim that this apparition
was witnessed by thousands. Something so huge would have to be. But… where are all these people? No eyewitnesses have been interviewed
or quoted in any of the articles. No report can even specify exactly when this took place. Nowadays when people mistake
ordinary rocket launches for UFOs – which is kind of sad – we end up with tons of witness videos… …taken from different vantage points
on YouTube within hours. But all images of the floating city… …come from a single, short, low-quality video clip. Where have I seen that before? That leaves us with the least unlikely possibility… … the video was faked using
the dark art of visual effects… …which happens to be my specialty. Creating this short effect shot is so easy… …you won’t even feel bad… …when Ang Lee doesn’t thank you for it
in his Oscar acceptance speech. Thank you Movie God! We need to accomplish three things… Film a skyline… …match an image of buildings
to the exact motion of the camera… …and place the image behind
some of the real features in the shot. As with any view of a stationary landscape
shot from a single vantage point… …the motion in this video can be tracked… …using just… two points. One measures the change in position… …the other the change in rotation. We apply that information
to the item we want to put in the scene… …and it instantly tracks into place in a realistic way. To put it behind real objects in the video… …we can do some manual rotoscoping… …or as in the case of this video… …use the luminance difference in the clouds… …to automatically generate a mask… …hiding part of our fake item. All that’s left to do is
replace the item with a futuristic cityscape. Now where could we possibly
get our hands on something like that? *furious google searching* There! Why, that looks real enough to be explained
as a mirage on CNN. Oh wait… It WAS. Over 93,000 reports and no one got it right. Maybe that’s okay when it comes to a floating city in China. The world never actually believed
that could be real and… …a proxy explanation of “mirage” was good enough. But what about other news stories
where the details matter? Where political nuances and scientific accuracy can shape public opinion about important issues. How many journalists don’t read past four lines
on Wikipedia before writing those reports? And how many click hungry bloggers
repost them without checking? I’m afraid it’s time for me to go kids! A gardener in Albuquerque is about to
purchase a DIY acupuncture kit. Remember… Love with your heart…
use your head for everything else! Captain Disillusion! What the- No, no. I-I don’t want this.
I’m not doing this thing. What’s with the annoying video thumbnails? Why does every video have to have these?! “Please subscribe”?
Pleeeease subscribe. If they liked what they saw they’ll subscribe. This is so ridiculous! You think I have enough social links? Type Captain Disillusion into Google.
I think you’ll find me.