By far the most viral sound bite produced during last night's presidential debate was Mitt Romney's line about cutting federal support for PBS, which was accompanied by the laugh-to-keep-from-crying line "I like PBS, I like Big Bird."

The social media world seized on the quote and exploded.

On Twitter, the phrase "Big Bird" generated over 17,000 tweets per minute and spawned not one, but two parody accounts that were themselves retweeted thousands of times.

Facebook played too, and "Big Bird" mentions increased 800,000%. On Tumblr, users responded with photoshops, macros, and animated GIFs galore.

In short, it was a Big Birdemic.

But, in all the fun and memes, a serious point was left to be made: That cutting PBS and killing Big Bird was hardly going to make a dent as far as the federal budget was concerned.

Sensing the real message was getting lost in the yellow-feathered fray, world-renowned science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson stepped in to sum up the flaw in Romney's Big Plan.

"Cutting PBS support (0.012% of the budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive," Tyson tweeted.

Boom. That's the sound of a truth-meteor hitting Uranus and snuffing out all the bullshit.

[tweet via @neiltyson via NewsHour]