Here's the truth about those white streaks that criss-cross the sky

Some people believe that the white streaks that jets leave in their wake are actually chemtrails—chemical or biological substances that the government is using for undisclosed and/or nefarious purposes. These may include weather modification, population control, psychological manipulation, or even secret military testing. Apparently one "proof" point frequently cited is this fascinating paper, "Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025," published in 1996 by the US Air Force. Of course, that paper wasn't a description of reality but rather a vision for a "future weather modification system to achieve military objectives."

"As some believers told us, the power of the conspiracy is that it can be adjusted to fit any new information since the 'smoking gun' evidence never seems to come," said UC Berkeley psychologist Coye Cheshire who studied the "chemtrails" conspiracy in 2021. "For example, even if believers are not sure that the so-called chemtrails are actually being used for population control, the narrative can easily shift to weather manipulation and climate change without requiring any new information or evidence."

But if not being used to control, kill, or otherwise harm us, what the hell are those criss-cross stripes? They're just contrails, condensed water vapor or ice crystals formed in the sky behind an aircraft as a result of the water vapor produced by the aircraft's engines interacting with the cold temperatures and low humidity of the upper atmosphere.

From CNN:

The idea that the government is spraying humanity with chemicals isn't completely without base.

During the Cold War, the British government conducted more than 750 mock chemical warfare attacks on the general public, according to researchers. This subjected hundreds of thousands of people to zinc cadmium sulfide, a chemical chosen due to its small size — it's similar to that of germs — and because it glows under ultraviolet light, making it easy to trace. The chemical was thought to be nontoxic at the time, though repeated exposure could be cancerous. The US did the same in the 1950s and 1960s — using the chemical as a tracer to test the dispersion of biological weapons.

Though these tests were decades ago, the theory has flourished — so much so that in 2016, the EPA published a 14-page document explaining contrails, outlining the chemicals used by the Air Force, and attempting to dispute the conspiracy.

"The collective agreement within these communities often overpowers the rational dissent of scientists," said Sijia Xiao who led the UC Berkeley study. As a result, it's "exceedingly difficult for factual corrections to alter these deeply entrenched beliefs."