21 December 2012

Mayan MaskeThis is a little early. NASA means to put out the video below on 22 December 2012. They want to be there to explain why the world did not end. Even though it has not yet not ended. If you know what I mean.

My friend Toni asked me what I was planning on doing for the end of the world. I told her I would stay in and watch some comedies. I would definitely want to to see a few films again: Animal Crackers, The In-Laws, His Girl Friday. But if I really thought the world was coming to an end: I’d be frantically looking for a painless way to kill myself. I’m assuming here that we would be killed by an asteroid and that it would result in being burned alive. I don’t want to be around for that.

Luckily, the odds are that I’m not going to burn to death. What’s more, it almost certainly won’t happen tomorrow. So part of how I am spending my day is watching this video. According to it, the Mayan calendar is supposed to be cyclical like a car’s odometer. After you get to 999, it goes back to 000. All of my cars have managed this transition without exploding or even being hit by an asteroid, much less being engulfed by a huge solar flare.

So tonight, feel free to party like it’s 1999. But remember: odds are that you will still be expected at work in the morning.

They say two thousand zero zero
Party over, oops out of time
So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999

Or 20 December 2012. Whatever.

H/T Sarah Kliff

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “21 December 2012

  1. I was wondering if you were planning on writing about this nonsense, but then again, is it really worth it to give it the time of day? I mean, all of the ludicrous theories about how the world is supposed to end on 12/21 have been disproved. Do we really have to talk about this crap? Then again, I guess we’re often forced to talk about things that we shouldn’t have to talk about. We shouldn’t have to debate the veracity of anthropogenic global warming. We shouldn’t have to debate whether or not evolution is factual. We shouldn’t have to tell politicians who are on science committees that women can get pregnant from rape, despite not enjoying it. And on and on and on…

  2. @Mack – I was explaining to a friend last night that there are two people who are interested in any particular end of the world prediction: loons and people who find very amusing. I’m afraid you can put me in that last group. It [i]is[/i] very funny, don’t you think? Of course, I know some people who take it seriously. That concerns me a bit, but it isn’t dangerous. Unlike global warming. Yikes!

    Oh my God: the sky’s on fire! Help!

  3. I do think it is amusing, but I disagree that it isn’t dangerous. That being said, I don’t think it is dangerous for [i]most[/i] people, but there are some out there that I could see this being a problem for. Imagine if you were absolutely, unequivocally positive that the world was going to end in a few days. Now, I doubt very much that you would do anything to harm anyone else in that situation, but some people might. In fact, the guy that attacked children at a school in China on the same day as the Sandy Hook shooting was apparently disturbed by the 2012 End of Days prophecies.

    Also, I think that there might be a third group of people interested in end of the world predictions (at least the 2012 one specifically): uninformed people who are on the fence. Case in point: I was in a Subway the other day and the "Sandwich Artist" working there asked me what I thought about the 2012 predictions. I told him that I wasn’t worried at all, and a friendly debate ensued. After going back and forth for a few minutes, I finally just asked "Are you working on Friday?" He replied that he was. I said, "If you were really so sure that the world was ending, would you really be going into work?" He smiled and just said that it was a good point. End of debate.

    Also, my uncle falls (fell?) into this category. Despite being an incredibly intelligent person, he believes some really stupid shit sometimes. Now, he wasn’t sure that the world was going to end on exactly December 21, 2012 (or that the world is going to "end" at all), but he thinks that "something" is coming. He is what you might call a borderline "prepper." He stockpiles food, water, guns and ammo, gasoline and things like that, but his lack of true commitment to prepping betrays the fact that he isn’t an outright believer. He talks about it a lot, but – like the guy at Subway – if he was really sure that something big was going to befall the Earth or humanity, he would be putting a lot more time and energy into preparing than he already does.

    Speaking of prepping, I’m going to write an article about it. It’s fascinated me ever since my uncle brought it to my attention. Have you heard of this? People who think that some disaster is going to happen, or that the world is going to end, spend much of their time and salaries preparing themselves for it. I couldn’t imagine living the way that these people do. All in the name of preparedness, these people obsess about and worry constantly and needlessly about things that [i]might[/i], or [i]could[/i] happen. Some of the disasters that some of the preppers prepare for are so unlikely to happen, and so unlikely that they’d survive them in the first place, that you wonder why even bother.

    There are even reality shows about people who prep for doomsday scenarios. One thing I noticed in one of these shows is that the children of the preppers are often heavily involved in prepping by their parents. I don’t think it’s a good idea to needlessly frighten children over the end of the world. My nephew heard someone say something about the 12/21 prediction and he worriedly asked me about many times throughout the day (on 12/20). It was clearly bothering him. Needlessly scaring children is one consequence of these end of the world predictions that not many people think about.

  4. @Mack – You handled the sandwich artist perfectly. But it does get to the heart of what I’m saying: mostly, people just find it interesting, cool, whatever. I think the "preppers" get into it for exactly the reason I would never be into it. I don’t want to live in a Mad Max world. But they apparently think that life would be fun as a perpetual game of castle keep.

    I know a lot of smart people who are in to this ridiculousness. To some extent, I think it helps. It is like when I was in high school, it was only the smart kids who fretted about how fast to walk in the rain.

    As for kids: I agree. When I was a kid, movies about the end of the world and such freaked me out. It must be far worse now with the History Channel running "documentaries" about the end of the world. In this way, it is certainly no joke.

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