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“Space Karen” Trends as Elon Musk Gets Owned for Bad Science

Also: Space Karen probably has COVID

Elon Musk speaks and gestures in front of a black background

Some Mondays you wake up and Twitter is there with a gift. And today it was opening the bird app to see that “Space Karen” was trending. I was both terrified and intrigued by this? Was some woman mad that the moon wasn’t showing up this weekend? Did she want to speak to Jupiter’s manager? But no. It was even better than that. It was Elon “The coronavirus panic is dumb” Musk getting thoroughly owned on COVID testing.

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This is just great on its own. Musk being called out for bad science and being an insufferable git is pretty standard, yet also fun. But this one is extra great because Emma Bell is a scientist who knows what they’re talking about, and explained in more detail how wrong Musk is and how silly it is for him to be spreading this kind of thinking to his followers. In a much longer post on Medium, Bell lays out really well why these rapid tests are prone to false negatives:

The greater the number of virus particles in your body, the more likely you are to detect it. The number of virus particles peaks as symptoms appear. In the days, even hours, either side of peak viral load, the likelihood of a false negative increases. COVID-19 is most contagious 2 days before symptoms emerge.

Bell goes on to systematically and scientifically take down all the BS Musk has spewed about these tests. But of course the real gift here was “Space Karen.” Because Musk is being a Karen and having a fit about a test because he doesn’t like the results or that it doesn’t work as well as he wants it to, the same way a Karen would get mad at McDonald’s for giving her pickles on her cheeseburger.

Twitter had a field day with it all.

And finally … Twitter may have peaked with this:

At least Elon Musk can feel better knowing that his COVID is temporary … but calling him Space Karen will go on forever.

(image: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason
Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.

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