What Is 'The Missile Knows Where It Is?' The Copypasta And Meme Explained
One of the oldest copypastas on the internet is resurfacing on social media in 2023, finding new ways to be shared as viral audios on TikTok and Instagram Reels. The Missile Knows Where It Is is a copypasta detailing – ambiguously – the technology behind missiles targeting system.
If you're not familiar with how missiles work, don't worry, this is the right article.
Where Does The 'The Missile Knows Where It Is' Come From?
"The Missile Knows Where It Is" copypasta can be found on the internet as early as 2003 in an archive for an obscure page on the University of Wyoming website, Titled "Missile Guidance for Dummies." The Missile meme first appeared on YouTube in 2007 in the video “The missile knows where it is (portfolio length)” by Inimicu, where a student appears to be listening to the missile meme for a school project.
What Is The Text In 'The Missile Knows Where It Is' Copypasta?
The copypasta used in "The Missile Knows Where It Is" is a passage from a pdf called “Association of Air Force Missileers," with the original text for the missile copypasta found on page 5. As well as the text, the website links to an audio recording reading the specific passage (read below).
The missile knows where it is at all times. It knows this because it knows where it isn't. By subtracting where it is from where it isn't, or where it isn't from where it is (whichever is greater), it obtains a difference, or deviation. The guidance subsystem uses deviations to generate corrective commands to drive the missile from a position where it is to a position where it isn't, and arriving at a position where it wasn't, it now is. Consequently, the position where it is, is now the position that it wasn't, and it follows that the position that it was, is now the position that it isn't.
In the event that the position that it is in is not the position that it wasn't, the system has acquired a variation, the variation being the difference between where the missile is, and where it wasn't. If variation is considered to be a significant factor, it too may be corrected by the GEA. However, the missile must also know where it was.
The missile guidance computer scenario works as follows. Because a variation has modified some of the information the missile has obtained, it is not sure just where it is. However, it is sure where it isn't, within reason, and it knows where it was. It now subtracts where it should be from where it wasn't, or vice-versa, and by differentiating this from the algebraic sum of where it shouldn't be, and where it was, it is able to obtain the deviation and its variation, which is called error.
How Is 'The Missile Knows Where It Is' Copypasta Used?
It is generally used as parody music with various remixes being created on 4chan. The most well-known version, uploaded on YouTube in 2017, uses the instrumental from Dr. Dre’s “Still D.R.E.”
The point of the copypasta is pretty clear. No matter what, the missile knows where it is. That being said, players of Flight Simulator and other aircraft games found an ironic way to use the audio in situations where the missile doesn't know where it is.
TikTokers also had an influence in the resurfacing of this copypasta back in 2022, posting videos like the NextBot Chase meme, in which the more close the missile is to the aircraft, the more clearly you can hear the copypasta.
@rome_victor The missile knows where it is #dcsworld #DCS #themissileknowswhereitisatalltimes #flihgtsim #vr ♬ original sound – Romeo Victor
Wait, What Is a Copypasta Again?
To be clear, copypasta memes can be a bit hard to explain, so if you still don't get them, worry not! Copypasta is essentially a text that you “copy” and then “paste” into a text field online. Sometimes people just repost the original content, while other times, like in this case, they adapt the material to new topics and heights, leading to many varying references also being tied into the content.
For the full history of "The missile knows where it is," be sure to check out our entry on the trend here for even more information.
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