Monday, June 15, 2009

So much for 2012!

I've been getting rather irritated by the sheer volume of nonsense being spewed all over the Internet about the coming 'catastrophe' in 2012. The expiry of the current cycle of the Mayan 'long calendar', the existence (not!) of a mythical 'Planet X' called Nibiru, the alignment of various galactic features on December 21st of that year which will 'flip the Earth off its axis' . . . all these and more are spoken of with bated breath by those who clearly lack even the most basic scientific education.

It's all bull, folks.

If you, like me, are tired of having to answer questions from the ignorant and uninformed, there are a few good resources online to which you can direct people. NASA's Astrobiology Web site is a good start. As David Morrison of its 'Ask An Astrobiologist' column explains:

Stories about the fictional planet Nibiru and predictions of doomsday in December 2012 have blossomed on the Internet. There are now (June 2009) more than 175 books listed on dealing with the 2012 doomsday. As this hoax spreads, many more disaster scenarios are being suggested. “Ask an Astrobiologist” has received nearly a thousand questions about Nibiru and 2012, with more than 200 answers posted.

He provides links to some good resources, and answers the 20 most common questions. It's worth reading the whole thing.

Another good resource is Bad Astronomy's analysis of the 'Planet X' fantasy. Recommended reading.

Finally, for a light-hearted look at this nonsense, here's Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson's take on it.

I like a scientist with a sense of humor!



Mikael said...

Even a quick check of the only thing that could potentially be an end of the earth kind of deal shows nothing on dec 21 2012(closest being dec 29 2012).

I'm talking about PHAs, celestial objects which intersect within 0.05 AU of the the earth's orbit. There's 1063 known ones, and there's at least one passing nearby almost every month. Of course NASA considers even the ones that are calculated to pass at 0.01 AU to have basically zero probability to hit the earth.

Chances are we'll be hit by one eventually(though the moon helps protect us from that), but then I'm speaking on the cosmic timescale. Something like 50%+ chance within next billion years.

Anonymous said...

Awwww, shuckins. And next you'll tell me that CERN won't let dragons through a hole in space-time when next it fires up.
Spoilsports! Thppppth.


Anonymous said...

The End of the World in 2012? I thought that was supposed to happen in 2000!

Well, at least it does have a very good chance of happening with that clown Obama in the White House. :-(