Posts Tagged “nasa”

Ancient Mayan BookIt’s the morning of December 20, 2012 as I type this. That means the end of the world is tomorrow. Just 24 hours away! … If, that is, you believe the assortment of con artists, cranks, liars, “New Agey” buffoons, suicidal lunatics and other ignorant clowns who’ve been propagating the so-called “Maya Apocalypse” garbage for the past few years. As you should know by now, I don’t buy into it; the modern Maya don’t buy into it; and neither should you.

That doesn’t mean people aren’t getting alarmed about it. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the panic is really starting to set in (locally-cached article):

If there’s one government agency really looking forward to Dec. 22, it’s NASA.

The space agency said it has been flooded with calls and emails from people asking about the purported end of the world — which, as the doomsday myth goes, is apparently set to take place on Dec. 21, 2012.

The myth might have originated with the Mayan calendar, but in the age of the Internet and social media, it proliferated online, raising questions and concerns among hundreds of people around the world who have turned to NASA for answers.

Dwayne Brown, an agency spokesman, said NASA typically receives about 90 calls or emails per week containing questions from people. In recent weeks, he said, that number has skyrocketed — from 200 to 300 people are contacting NASA per day to ask about the end of the world.

Sadly, it seems NASA’s efforts to educate the public about the fraud that is the “Maya Doomsday 2012″ just aren’t working very well — even though they’ve been trying for quite some time now.

People are still under the impression that the Maya long-count calendar will “end” tomorrow, on December 21, 2012 … despite the fact that no calendar ever “ends.” All calendars are cyclical and perpetual. The Maya calendar cannot “end,” any more than our own can. Just as our own year 2012 will end this coming December 31 and 2013 will begin the next day on January 1, what will happen tomorrow is that the Maya 13th baktun will end, and the 14th will begin.

Moreover, the idea that the Maya “prophesied” the end of the world, is ludicrous on its face. They did no such thing. But even if they had, the accuracy and credibility of their predictions are in question, when one remembers that the classic Maya had not managed to foresee the decline of their own civilization and the upheavals that accompanied it.

Oh, and to add to the confusion, it’s entirely possible the presumed date of the turn of baktun may be wrong, and it might have already occurred! But that seems beside the point.

Photo credit: Jan Vrsinsky, via Flickr.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments 2 Comments »

2008-08-29_a_Imhoff-Schokoladen-Museum-24The fraudulent “Maya Apocalypse” is just under two weeks away as I type this. As one would expect — with humanity being a collective mass of ignorance and stupidity — this lie has touched off panics in various places around the world. The (UK) Telegraph reports on several of these (WebCite cached article):

Ahead of December 21, which marks the conclusion of the 5,125-year “Long Count” Mayan calendar, panic buying of candles and essentials has been reported in China and Russia, along with an explosion in sales of survival shelters in America. In France believers were preparing to converge on a mountain where they believe aliens will rescue them.

The article cites panics in places like Russia and China. But it adds:

Meanwhile in Mexico, where the ancient Mayan civilisation flourished, the end time has been seen as an opportunity. The country has organised hundreds of Maya-themed events, and tourism is expected to have doubled this year.

I say, good for the Maya in Mexico! Go ahead and take advantage of the “Maya Doomsday” fraud, and milk the idiots who subscribe to it for all you can get. When December 22 dawns, laugh at the fools all the way to the bank!

As I always do when I blog about this, I’ll make the situation as clear as possible. The Maya “Long Count” calendar will not “end” on December 21, 2012. All calendars are cyclical and perpetual. They never “end.” The Maya calendar can no more “end” than our own can. What will happen on that date, is that we’ll go from the 13th baktun to the 14th. That’s all. As for Nibiru, it doesn’t exist, it never has, and it will never collide with the earth. It’s a fantasy spun by a crank who claims to be the world’s only expert on Sumerian and Babylonian texts, but who actually knows nothing about them. Put bluntly, it’s a lie.

NASA has a very useful page explaining everything you need to know about the so-called “Maya Apocalypse 2012.” There’s also an excellent compilation of “Maya Doomsday” bullshit — and a thorough refutation of it all — at 2012hoax. I suggest going to either site and being educated about this presumed doomsday.

Photo credit: pakitt, via Flickr.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments 1 Comment »

InscriptionsOver the last couple of years, I’ve blogged a few times about the so-called “Maya apocalypse.” That’s the assumption that the Maya prophesied that the planet would be destroyed — or the universe grind to a halt — on December 21, 2012 because (supposedly) that’s the day their long-count calendar will “run out.”

Since this whole pseudohistorical and pseudoscientific scenario is predicated on Maya astronomy, the folks at NASA have, over the last several years, been barraged with questions about it. In response, they’ve periodically released information intended to calm the fears of many who actually believe all of this bullshit. As December 2012 arrived, they published an article on their Web site explaining the nonsense (WebCite cached version):

Dec. 21, 2012, won’t be the end of the world as we know, however, it will be another winter solstice.

Contrary to some of the common beliefs out there, the claims behind the end of the world quickly unravel when pinned down to the 2012 timeline.

Here’s a Newsy video report on NASA’s latest debunking effort:

They address a number of claims that have been made about what will happen on December 21, 2012. Among them is the wild-eyed claim that a planet Nibiru will collide with the earth. (That particular aspect of this lunacy owes its origins more to the laughable spew of Zechariah Sitchin than to anything the Maya left behind.)

That said, I have no doubt this will not actually calm the fears of the “Maya apocalypse” true-believers. Rather, they’ll decide that NASA’s efforts to debunk their delusions and lies are merely further evidence of their veracity (for instance, they’ll ask, “Why would a federal government agency spend so much time debunking ‘nonsense,’ unless there was something to it in the first place?”). The backfire effect is a powerful psychological force and it will certainly infect many, as the next couple of weeks go by.

As I’ve done previously, I’ll point out a few simple, obvious facts that explain how this whole “Maya prophecy” is pure bullshit:

  • The Maya calendar can no more “run out” than our own can. Calendars are by nature cyclical and perpetual. You always go from the last month of one year, to the first month of the next, over and over again, without letup. The Maya calendar works no differently, in this regard. December 21, 2012 will be the transition between the 13th baktun and the 14th. That’s all.
  • The idea that the Maya had any special knowledge of the future is laughable on its face. This is especially true when one realizes they never foresaw the collapse of their own civilization, which happened back in the 10th century. The upheaval the Maya experienced in the 10th century — a time in which they did not all “disappear” or “die out” as sometimes has been alleged, although many of their city-states declined measurably and in many cases precipitously — ought to have concerned them immensely, had they seen it coming.
  • Modern Maya (yes, the Maya still exist as a people!) don’t buy any of this bilge, themselves. Since they’re in a better position than the rest of us to know what the classic Maya thought and said, it’d behoove us to pay attention to them.

The bottom line is that the so-called “Maya apocalypse 2012″ is a flat-out lie, cooked up by an assortment of New Agers and cranks who have precious little knowledge of the Maya; they’ve taken that little bit of knowledge and extrapolated it to ridiculous proportions. It’s time for them to just fucking stop their lies.

Previously, I issued a challenge to the Maya-apocalypse-promoting cranks, and I’ll repeat it here: Will you state in advance — right here, right now, without reservation — that, once December 22, 2012 arrives and there’s been no “Maya apocalypse,” you promise to issue an unqualified apology for having lied to people, and without delay or equivocation donate the proceeds of your doomsaying to charity?

My guess is, none of them are sincere enough in their (crazy) beliefs to accept this challenge and make this pledge. More’s the pity.

Photo credit: selkie30, via Flickr.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments No Comments »

Veracicat has checked your facts and is not impressed with your lies.I’ve already blogged a number of times about the lies being told about the so-called “Mayan apocalypse” that supposedly will happen when the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012. The hoopla about it continues, in spite of the fact that the Mayan calendar is not “ending” at all! Rather, the “long count” calendar is merely turning a page; the 13th baktun will end and the 14th will begin. There are also no “planetary alignments” or “rogue planets” which will destroy the Earth.

It’s not going to happen. And I repeat: It. Is. Not. Going. To. Happen. Period.

The good folks at NASA have been trying to debunk all the lies, but to little effect. As Scientific American reports, they just released a video which they think will help (WebCite cached article):

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have put out a new video to address false claims about the “Mayan apocalypse,” a non-event that some people believe will bring the world to an end on Dec. 21.

In the video, which was posted online Wednesday (Mar. 7), Don Yeomans, head of the Near-Earth Objects Program Office at NASA/JPL, explains away many of the most frequently cited doomsday scenarios. [See video]

Addressing the belief that the calendar used by the ancient Mayan civilization comes to a sudden end in December 2012, and that this will coincide with a cataclysmic, world-ending event, Yeomans said: “Their calendar does not end on December 21, 2012; it’s just the end of the cycle and the beginning of a new one. It’s just like on December 31, our calendar comes to an end, but a new calendar begins on January 1.”

In case you’re curious, here’s the video in question:

As it turns out, this is not the first video NASA has released along these lines. Here’s one they did a while ago:

I have no doubt that neither of these videos will accomplish anything. All the “true believers” in the “Maya 2012 apocalypse” are going to continue to believe in it, regardless of anything NASA says about it … and in fact a lot of them will believe in it even more fiercely than they did before (due to the backfire effect, which coincidentally also figured into my previous blog post). They’re just too irrational — and too childish — to face the fact that their belief in the “Mayan doomsday” is a lie.

Update: Unfortunately I was right when I said NASA’s effort would be fruitless. The agency has had to continue its debunking efforts in the face of all the “Maya doomsday” lies.

Photo credit: PsiCop, based on original from quitor.com.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments 5 Comments »

Gravity Probe confirms Einstein (NASA graphic via NatGeo)For decades now, Einstein’s theories have consistently held up under scrutiny. The first observation that supported relativity occurred in 1919, when Sir Arthur Eddington noted a certain amount of light deflection — predicted by the theory — during a solar eclipse. Since then, other observations and experiments have fallen in line with this result and bolstered Einstein’s theories. But some aspects of his theories remained untested, until just recently. National Geographic reports that a special gravity probe sent up by NASA has, in fact, provided additional confirmation (WebCite cached article):

Two key predictions of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity have been confirmed by NASA’s Gravity Probe B mission, scientists announced this week.

“We’ve completed this landmark experiment testing Einstein’s universe, and Einstein survives,” principal investigator Francis Everitt, of Stanford University in California, said during a press briefing.

I’ll leave the scientific details of this to the article itself. What’s remarkable about this is that Einstein himself had presumed these particular aspects of his theories (i.e. the geodetic effect and frame-dragging) might never be testable, since they involved such minuscule measurements:

In his 1953 book The Meaning of Relativity, Einstein wrote that frame-dragging effects “are actually present according to our theory, although their magnitude is so small that confirmation of them by laboratory experiments is not to be thought of.”

Congratulations are in order for the brilliant minds of NASA, for coming up with ways to measure the immeasurable.

I have to wonder what the hyperreligious nutjobs at Conservapedia will make of this confirmation. They have, you see, a problem with Einstein’s relativity. They conflate it with “moral relativity” — which, really, is totally unrelated — and scream and rail against it. Rational Wiki provides details of their juvenile antics and relativity-denialism, if you care to know more about it.

Just goes to show the colossal lengths of irrationality people will go to, in order to hold onto their metaphysics. Even in the face of objective, verifiable facts to the contrary. It really is childish … but it seems to be human nature.

Photo credit: NASA via National Geographic.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comments No Comments »

No sooner did I publish my last blog post on irrational and erroneous beliefs, especially about Obama’s citizenship and the putative “moon-landing hoax,” than I noticed that the “moon-landing hoax” theory has a public proponent, and that is Whoopi Goldberg. This report comes via Real Clear Politics (video available there):

Whoopi Goldberg questioned the original moon landing on today’s edition of “The View.” Goldberg, a co-host, wondered who shot the footage and why the flag was “rippling” if there was no wind.

The flag rippling has been explained — by Mythbusters and others — and the lander had external cameras requiring no one to hold them.

Not that these facts are likely to sway Whoopi or any other moon-hoaxer. It would be nice if people like Ms Goldberg weren’t so gullible or ignorant … but they are.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments No Comments »

Americans are not only among the most religious people in the occidental world, they’re also among the most paranoid and conspiracy-minded. Perhaps the two tendencies are psychologically linked … I tend to think so, especially since perhaps the most common paranoid-conspiracy theory currently in circulation — i.e. the claim that President Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen — is mostly being propagated by Christian fundamentalists. That Obama is, indeed, a citizen — as explained by numerous sources, ranging from fact-verifying groups like FactCheck, to major media outlets like the Los Angeles Times, to Web sites such as Snopes — has had absolutely no measurable effect on this belief among fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. Facts do not matter to them, not when there’s a paranoid conspiracy they can cling to instead.

The 40th anniversary of the first Moon landing has also pushed into the open yet another conspiracy theory, which likewise appears never to die. CNN reports on this persistent controversy:

It captivated millions of people around the world for eight days in the summer of 1969. It brought glory to the embattled U.S. space program and inspired beliefs that anything was possible.

It’s arguably the greatest technological feat of the 20th century.

And to some, it was all a lie.

Forty years after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon, a small cult of conspiracy theorists maintains the historic event — and the five subsequent Apollo moon landings — were staged. These people believe NASA fabricated the landings to trump their Soviet rivals and fulfill President Kennedy’s goal of ferrying humans safely to and from the moon by the end of the 1960s. …

Conspiracy theories about the Apollo missions began not long after the last astronaut returned from the moon in 1972. Bill Kaysing, a technical writer for Rocketdyne, which built rocket engines for NASA’s Apollo program, published a 1974 book, “We Never Went to the Moon: America’s Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle.” …

Decades later, Kaysing’s beliefs formed the foundation for “Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?” a sensational 2001 Fox TV documentary that spotted eerie “inconsistencies” in NASA’s Apollo images and TV footage.

Is there a connection between the same Fox News channel, which is currently fueling the “Obama-is-not-a-citizen” mantra, and the Fox Entertainment division that aired this documentary? I doubt it. They’re part of the same media empire, yes, but are separately run. Fox Entertainment has given us many things that the religionazis at Fox News would never have approved of, e.g. Married With Children.

But I digress.

That the moon landings were hoaxed is, of course, nonsense. At least one of the reasons is one that CNN cites:

Critics of moon-landing hoax theorists, and there are many, say it would be impossible for tens of thousands of NASA employees and Apollo contractors to keep such a whopping secret for almost four decades.

Not to mention an even more obvious objection: Had NASA “hoaxed” the Apollo 11 moon landing, why would they have gone to the expense of faking several more? If the point was to make people think astronauts had landed on the moon, that would have been accomplished by just the first “hoax.” What need would there be to orchestrate any more?

What’s more, there’ve also been several attempts to show that the moon hoaxer’s claims are untrue … most recently this was done by the TV show Mythbusters, just under a year ago, in one of their more famous episodes. Also, astronomer Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy has an extensive, point-by-point rebuttal of the Fox network so-called “documentary,” along with a list of other moon-hoax-related resources for your perusal. [Just added: The Skeptic's Dictionary has a new entry on the moon-landing hoax, too.]

But as it turns out, none of this really helps alleviate the controversy. The people who subscribe to it are impervious to insignificant little things like “facts” and “verification.” Those don’t matter … the only thing that does matter, is one’s emotional attachment to the conspiracy theory. Of course, that’s what conspiracy theories and religious fundamentalism have in common — that underlying appeal to emotion and sentimentality. Ultimately that’s all they have going for them … but given how susceptible human beings are to emotion and sentiment, that’s more than enough. People usually choose wishful thinking over verifiable fact.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments 27 Comments »