On the other hand, it shows that citizens of these United States can be clueless idiots. (Of course, we already knew that. Witness the outcome of the 2008 presidential election.)
So what happened?
In May the Discovery Channel broadcast a show about mermaids. The show, although somewhat tongue-in-cheek, was a fictional program about mythical creatures. Apparently, however, some viewers thought it was a scientific educational show. Somewhat confused, a number of people turned to the government for help.
(I'll let pass the opportunity to make a snide remark about that course of action, other than to say that (1) when I'm confused it's usually because of something the government has said or done, and (2) going to the government for help is definitely not the first thing that springs to mind when I have a question or problem. In fact, it ranks right down there near the bottom of the list. Anyway...)
There is no evidence that mermaids exist, a US government scientific agency has said.Now that the question of mermaid existence has been settled, can we move on to finding out what's really going on in Area 51?
The National Ocean Service made the unusual declaration in response to public inquiries following a TV show on the mythical creatures.
It is thought some viewers may have mistaken the programme for a documentary.
"No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found," the service wrote in an online post.
The National Ocean Service - a division of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) - posted an article last week on its educational website, Ocean Facts.
The article was written from publicly available sources because "we don't have a mermaid science programme", National Ocean Service spokeswoman Carol Kavanagh told the BBC.
Sorry, fellows, she's just a figment of your imagination.