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NASA On Full Court Press To Deflate Doomsday Prophecies 286

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-worry dept.
coondoggie writes "Insidious unknown planets lurking behind the sun ready to slam into Earth, supernova set to engulf the planet and giant, unseen asteroids screaming toward our globe are all theories espoused across the Internet as to how we will meet our demise on 12/21/2012. Do any of these theories even remotely hold out a scintilla of evidence they could happen? Not even remotely if you look at the material NASA has put out which pretty much debunks any and all of the notions being floated in across the cybersphere."
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NASA On Full Court Press To Deflate Doomsday Prophecies

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:05PM (#42319335)

    ...we have NASA. I was really beginning to think it was The End.

    • by durrr (1316311) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:10PM (#42319381)

      The amount of stupidity will exceed the swarzchild limit, luckily nothing will escape from here after that.

      • by meglon (1001833)
        That is indeed the probably cause of our destruction.
        • by meglon (1001833) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:27PM (#42319553)
          That, and misspellings with no edti button....
          • Re:Thank God... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Cryacin (657549) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:30PM (#42319609)
            So crazy. This whole Mayan doomsday prophecy stuff all amounts to nothing more than an ancient form of the y2k bug.
            • Re:Thank God... (Score:5, Informative)

              by meglon (1001833) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:40PM (#42319697)
              Yep. But yah know, if you listen to the wind you hear the same nonsense every year, often multiple times a year, usually from religious nutcases that just have to have a screw loose (or several). Where i grew up we had a large Jehovah Witness church not too far down the road, and several times a summer a couple little old ladies would come by preaching the end of the world was coming in the next couple months.

              It seems there are a small number of people in the world who's only interest is to have the world end... i just don't get it.
              • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                by jythie (914043)
                What is frightening is how many apocalyptics hold public office....
              • by Kittenman (971447)

                Yep. But yah know, if you listen to the wind you hear the same nonsense every year, often multiple times a year, usually from religious nutcases that just have to have a screw loose (or several). Where i grew up we had a large Jehovah Witness church not too far down the road, and several times a summer a couple little old ladies would come by preaching the end of the world was coming in the next couple months. It seems there are a small number of people in the world who's only interest is to have the world end... i just don't get it.

                Atheists (somewhere) wittily offered to look after the pets of those 'raptured' with a non-refundable deposit. And return the animals should the rapture not happen. I think they coined a mint. I don't know if they kept it.

              • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:14PM (#42321585) Homepage

                Yep. But yah know, if you listen to the wind you hear the same nonsense every year, often multiple times a year....

                Yep!

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dates_predicted_for_apocalyptic_events [wikipedia.org]

            • So crazy. This whole Mayan doomsday prophecy stuff all amounts to nothing more than an ancient form of the y2k bug.

              I've often imagined getting together a crew to do a remake of Office Space [imdb.com], only where everyone would be wearing Mayan outfits [google.com], carrying chisels, and complaining about having to rework all these bloody great stone calendar wheels [google.com].

              If I only had the time, and the budget... :)

              Cheers,

            • Re:Thank God... (Score:5, Informative)

              by LifesABeach (234436) on Monday December 17, 2012 @08:17PM (#42320041)
              The Mayan's I've talked to think this is funny; they equate the calendar ending like December 31st. The cycle then repeats itself.
            • "So crazy. This whole Mayan doomsday prophecy stuff all amounts to nothing more than an ancient form of the y2k bug."

              Not even that. It amounts to looking at your wristwatch at five to twelve and saying "oh, my god, the world ends in five minutes".

      • by Fluffeh (1273756)

        The rate of accretion of the stupidity unfortunately causes some of that stupidity to radiate outwards due to conservation of angular momentum. Luckily we have the likes of NASA to try to prod it back into place.

  • by Dr_Ish (639005) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:08PM (#42319357) Homepage
    This is all disinformation. I read on the Internet that it was going to be a zombie apocalypse. Hell, even the government has plans preparing for it!
  • Additional Sources (Score:4, Informative)

    by Krazy Kanuck (1612777) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:08PM (#42319367)
    In the event the world ends or the source is /.'ed here's additional linkage Article links to a NASA video via YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QY_Gc1bF8ds [youtube.com] And NASA.gov has much the same information. http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/yoemans20091110.html [nasa.gov]
    • ...you can't fix stupid.

      At least, not yet. Science, genetics specifically, still offers us a little hope of finally leaving superstition behind us.

      But it sure is difficult to watch the deluded go about their hand waving, crystal gazing, and ancient calendar worshiping.

      • While I have make plans for the weekend, I do believe that a small measure of such paranoia might be an evolutionary adaptation. While any particular doomsday scenario seems unlikely - our species and life at large has faced many in its history. Perhaps this paranoia has dispersed and thus saved some humans or their ancestors from localized natural disasters.
        • by icebike (68054)

          I fail to see how there is any particular adaptive advantage in preparing for "the end of the world".
          Seems like a gene not likely to be passed on to one's offspring.

      • Science, genetics specifically, still offers us a little hope of finally leaving superstition behind us.

        Have you not seen idiocracy?
        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808/ [imdb.com]
        It seems much more likely, to me, that the future depicted in that film is our future.

        • by fyngyrz (762201)

          Yes, I've seen Idiocracy. In fact, I keep the intro on my iPad. :)

          But I rather expect that when you can specify you want a smart child, you're going to want to, and then you're going to get one with critical thinking abilities, a decent grasp on reality, and superstition will die out within a few generations.

          I think the way it'll most likely go is that if you don't see to it that your child is well gifted intellectually, society will treat you (and probably your kid) as a pariah.

          Just as those who don't see

          • by shaitand (626655)

            "But I rather expect that when you can specify you want a smart child"

            Since this is almost entirely dictated by the result of experience and self programming rather than nature I doubt there ever will be such a button. Not that we are anywhere near far enough along in our understanding of genetics to screen embryos. The result is essentially genocide and we don't know what other things could be affected by the removal of "unwanted" genes.

      • ...you can't fix stupid.

        At least, not yet. Science, genetics specifically, still offers us a little hope of finally leaving superstition behind us.

        But it sure is difficult to watch the deluded go about their hand waving, crystal gazing, and ancient calendar worshiping.

        That's just the sort of thing a Capricorn would say!

      • by icebike (68054) on Monday December 17, 2012 @09:40PM (#42320923)

        ...you can't fix stupid.

        At least, not yet.

        Unforgettably, NASA is wasting our tax dollars trying. If 6 to 12 years of public school education couldn't give them enough reasoning power, why would they believe anything NASA had to say? We've spent enough money on these idiots.

        Personally I have no problem with the incredibly gullible running for the hills, committing suicide, or what ever it is that one does in preparation for the end of the world. As long as they do it to themselves. I see no upside of trying to convince them of their folly.

  • by datsa (1951424)
    NASA already released a statement saying that they don't know of any significant astronomical events on Friday, and as far as they know, there's nothing to worry about. Beyond that, people are going to believe what they want to believe, and a "full court press" is not going to change that. Either that or they're in cahoots with Quetzlcoatl.
  • by SpankyDaMonkey (1692874) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:15PM (#42319429)

    There's 2 options here:

    1. Everything is fine, no gobal apocalypse

    2. There's something on the way that's going to kill us all, but if we tell you about it the whole world will panic and riots will stop the government getting itself to safety along with a handpicked few 'key' people

    Either way - they'll say it's safe

    And on that note, I'm going to hang up my tin foil hat

    • by plover (150551)

      3. The 'Pockyclipse is really on the way, but the NASA engineers are lying because they don't want to give up any precious engineer slots to save some useless politicians. Remember, NASA has all the keys to the escape rockets.

    • Actually, in some ways, we do that all the time.

      If one of the active volcanoes go (e.g. Portland, Seattle), most people would die anyway, so no sense freaking them out.

      Most people would just get on the highways, gridlock, and never have a chance to escape. Hot mud flows faster than you can drive, so you can't outrace it, or the ash scurf that would cover all the former flood plains, only way would be to drive on side streets up to the top of a ridge, and virtually nobody will do that, so what's the point?

  • by jfengel (409917) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:18PM (#42319447) Homepage Journal

    This hardly seems like it's worth NASA's effort. You already know that the loons won't be convinced by it. A press release consisting of the single word "NO" is all it should really take.

    But it's also a great opportunity. Not on the 20th, but on the 22nd. When everybody wakes up, they say, "Wow, NASA got it right, and the kooks were kooks. Score one for science." It's nice to see science be able to just slam-dunk something without it getting balled up in revisionism, hedging, and accusations of malfeasance.

    And if people learn just a little bit more about gravity, seasons, the solar system, and the galaxy, so much the better.

    So kudos to NASA for seizing the day. "Proving that the world isn't ending" isn't really one of NASA's missions, but if it results in better support for NASA's real missions (both financially and in terms of having their results taken seriously), then I want to say "Good job" to their PR department. (Cheap, too!)

    • What's really sad about all of this is that on Dec 22 all of those kooks will just scream about how they misinterpreted the information and they date is actually X years off or something about how their prayers to [insert deity here] were answered and the fact we are all alive is proof of his/her/its existence. Science might shine for a bit but it won't take long before everyone starts up with a new nutjob inspired notion of doom and gloom that science is again going to have to spend time showing wont actua
      • by jfengel (409917) on Monday December 17, 2012 @08:50PM (#42320405) Homepage Journal

        You'll never fix the kooks, but it's nice to score points with people who aren't yet kooks but seem more willing to give them the benefit of the doubt than you or I would.

        In this case, I'm sure the kooks will find something to move on to, but with luck they'll move on to different things rather than all to the same thing. That's what's giving them so much media play.

        • I've got my fingers crossed they do all move around to different things so they can spend more time trying to drown each other out with who's "This is how the world will end" scenario they each discover next.
    • by the gnat (153162)

      This hardly seems like it's worth NASA's effort. You already know that the loons won't be convinced by it.

      Stupid question: how many of these loons actually exist? Maybe I'm an out-of-touch elitist or don't visit the right websites, but the only discussion of the apocalypse that I recall seeing is in news articles about the phenomenon and/or debunking it. Which leads me to believe that it's at least 90% a media-created phenomenon, with only a mere handful of nutjobs actually believing this stuff. (A more

      • by jfengel (409917)

        I can tell you that I encountered a fair number of them online, about a year ago. I expected it to ramp up, but at least in my experience, it actually largely evaporated.

    • This hardly seems like it's worth NASA's effort. You already know that the loons won't be convinced by it. A press release consisting of the single word "NO" is all it should really take.

      Where were you on 12/12/12? I'm not a "loon", but you're fucking retarded if you don't think we're practically blind to space. We get really detailed images of very small pieces of the sky, or very low res images of the big picture, but no where near the resolution we need to be able to say nothing's going to hit us within the next few weeks. NASA and the US Armed Forces need to swap budgets before I even consider your statements as partially knowledgeable. Back to 12/12/12... This is actually what ha

  • Idiots (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mr2cents (323101) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:18PM (#42319455)

    I'm postponing my doomsday-device test until December 22, just so I can laugh at those idiots who believe all that nonsense.

    • by Macrat (638047)

      They are hiding in their apocolypse shelters watching The 12 Disasters of Christmas.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2325993/

  • I guess they think that if they don't try to debunk something that is important to only a very small percentage of the public, that that group will then assume NASA's silence is "proof" that Nibiru is on its way to smash into us.

    Hey, I'm all for a good conspiracy theory but this is utter horseshit.

    Humanity has so many things on its plate that coming up with a contrived pseudo-history doomsday event is just ridiculous. Hey, Nibiru nuts,I've got some brand new black-and-white Nike Decades athletic shoe [wikipedia.org]
  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:19PM (#42319471)

    They wouldn't deny it unless it were true!

  • by sconeu (64226) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:20PM (#42319487) Homepage Journal

    <PARANOID-CONSPIRACY-THEORY>
    It's the supernova, because there's no way that NASA could know about it in advance!
    </PARANOID-CONSPIRACY-THEORY>

    • by Fluffeh (1273756)

      Actually, there is a way to know courtesy of Neutrino spikes caught via the detectors in the SNEWS [wikipedia.org]. Only gives a few hours warning though.

    • Re:Or... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Immerman (2627577) on Monday December 17, 2012 @08:24PM (#42320123)

      Except that they could. Obviously they wouldn't have any warning before the energy front hit, but assuming they correctly understand the physics behind supernovae they can make a pretty solid prediction as to which stars are capable of going supernovae, as well as how close the resulting explosion would have to be to cause damage to the Earth. And none of the stars close enough to cause damage if they exploded is capable of doing so.

      Yeah, yeah, I know. Whoosh.

    • by mark-t (151149)

      There's no danger of a supernova either.

      To pose even the slightest threat, a star would have to go supernova within about 50 light years of our star system. All the stars that close to ours are known and cataloged, and not one of them is massive enough to be capable of going supernova in its lifetime. The nearest star capable of going supernova is IK Pegasi, which is about 150 ly away.

    • by dido (9125)

      To cause significant danger to earth's biosphere, a supernova would have to occur within about 100 light years in order to cause any kind of significant harm to the biosphere, and there isn't any supernova progenitor object within that distance at this time. Supernova progenitors are not that hard to find: you'd need either a very heavy white dwarf orbiting a more massive companion star that is gaining a lot of mass from accretion (to produce a Type Ia supernova), or a massive star nearing the end of its li

      • by sconeu (64226)

        Obviously, everyone in this subthread missed the PARANOID-CONSPIRACY-THEORY tags.

      • Re:Or... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mfnickster (182520) on Monday December 17, 2012 @09:30PM (#42320823)

        We may not have to worry about supernovae, but a gamma ray burst [discovermagazine.com] is quite another thing.

        As Phil Plait points out, we're practically staring down the barrel of WR-104!

      • To cause significant danger to earth's biosphere, a supernova would have to occur within about 100 light years in order to cause any kind of significant harm to the biosphere, and there isn't any supernova progenitor object within that distance at this time. Supernova progenitors are not that hard to find: you'd need either a very heavy white dwarf orbiting a more massive companion star that is gaining a lot of mass from accretion (to produce a Type Ia supernova), or a massive star nearing the end of its life cycle (Type Ib/Ic or Type II supernova).

        ... or an alien species capable of connecting the stars together via wormholes.

  • by MaerD (954222) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:21PM (#42319495)

    The truth is that Desmond Miles saved us all at the last minute. Otherwise it would have been much worse. However, he let out some sort of demi-god thing that's going to make ubisoft lots of money for the next few years.

  • Good thing there are only 12 months in a year then!

  • These crackpots do have some entertainment value though, my employer is throwing a party as a result on that day. But other than that, the usual: Stupidity, self-aggrandizement,... . Human scum at work. I think if the right 5% died, this planet could be a peaceful paradise.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      These crackpots do have some entertainment value though, my employer is throwing a party as a result on that day. But other than that, the usual: Stupidity, self-aggrandizement,... . Human scum at work. I think if the right 5% died, this planet could be a peaceful paradise.

      ya, if the top 1% was in the 5%.

  • ...I'm going to laugh my ass off if the apocalypse DOES happen on Friday. I mean, I'll laugh as long as I'm able to...probably with quite a few swearwords and an "about damn time"
    • You're going to laugh at all those rational folk who correctly based their plans on available evidence?
      That makes sense.

  • The more of you believe there is no Mayan Apocolypse, the fewer people crowding me from pole position when I catch the wave after the Mayan Apocolypse and surf safely to land.

    Oh, and if you could keep it down when you're dying, I'd appreciate it, cause screams really harsh my mellow.

  • No offense intended to Mayans. I am sure they were very smart relative to other primitive people, and are probably not more stupid than a lot of people living today (i.e. the people that defer to Mayans for modern doomsday predictions). The fact remains that science is by far the best tool available for explaining the universe and making predictions about future events. The Mayans and a lot of other ancient civilizations did a lot of things that could be considered scientific (like noticing patterns in m
    • by Georules (655379)
      The Mayans did not predict a doomsday. This is simply the reset of their calendar. Of course: intelligence is relative. I'm not really sure what the point of asserting that an ancient civilization knew less then a modern one would be.
  • I hope the weather's nice so I can get in a skydive before or better yet during the apocalypse. I bet it'd be quite a sight to see from 12,000 feet. I guess I'll just have to keep skydiving all that day in the hopes that I can catch it at exactly the right time!

    Anyone want to freak out some poor grocery store clerk by buying like 40 pounds of kool aid and rat poison? A couple of those simpletons have already mentioned the impending doomsday to me, so I'm sure they'd know what they thought you were up to!

  • The university I went to put something on this nonsense in one of their mailings to shill for donations. (Something about how one of their archeology professors looked into this and proved it wasn't going to happen.) My reaction? If you've got enough money to blow on this horseshit you obviously don't need a donation from me and would probably blow it on something just as rediculous if I did give it to you. (Yes, this is at a legit university that is normally well respected.)
  • Epoch Fail (Score:4, Funny)

    by guttentag (313541) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:52PM (#42319831) Journal
    Eschatology [wikipedia.org] is simply a matter of your particular brand of religion.

    Every Unix user knows [wikipedia.org] the world doesn't end until January 18th or 19th, 2038.
    Mac users know [forensicswiki.org] the world doesn't end until February 6, 2040, at 6:25:15 a.m.
    Windows users know that the world ended at the dawn of the Ballmerzoic Epoch in January 2000.

    (I couldn't remember when the Ballmer Epoch began, so I asked Google and somehow got "Did you mean: when did batman take over Microsoft?")
  • Vogons (Score:5, Funny)

    by DaveAtFraud (460127) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:52PM (#42319835) Homepage Journal

    Of course NASA doesn't know that the Vogons will destroy the Earth on 22 December 2012 to make way for an intergalactic bypass. They missed the notification. The Vogons will miss their originally scheduled date of the 21st because, as usual, the construction project is behind schedule. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    Cheers,
    Dave

    • The Vogons did give us notice, 5,000 years of notice. That should have been enough time for any civilisation to develop space travel if they really wanted to. We all saw how the Jatravartids invented the aerosol before the wheel, because of their great need.

      The fact that given this stupendous length of time, we still failed to work together to get off this rock, just shows that we have nothing to offer the rest of the galaxy.
  • "The world isn't going to end because the Mayan Calendar says so."

    Science cannot predict world ending/mass extinction asteroid strikes much in advance.

    Science cannot predict catastrophic earthquakes or volcanic eruptions.

    The world is going to end when the world is going to end. We simply don't have technology to predict when really bad things are going to happen.

    "As of the end of 2004, astronomers had discovered more than two thirds of the larger Near Earth Asteroids (diameter greater than 1 km). None of t

  • The W3C announced a finalized HTML5 Spec. Yep it's the end of the world.

    • by sconeu (64226)

      And I know that DNF was released, but have they announced the release of Daikatana 2?

  • Judging from NASA, you would have to think we are quite doomed.

    The fact is NASA is trying WAY too hard for what should be a non-event. If they really believed what they say, they would not produce a long video then release it early, nor would they go through so much effort to keep everyone calm when no-one was really panicking.

    At this point they look to be calming the masses while the elite are shipped to secret off-planet doomsday shelters on the moon. Nuts of course but they are making it look that way.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      On NPR a while back there was an interview with a NASA scientist about the doomsday predictions. He runs the Q/A column "Ask an Astrobiologist" responsible for answering questions posed to NASA, which as of late have mostly centered around Dec 21st. He was incredulous that anyone would believe these stories, but as the same time took it very seriously; he mentioned that many of the people writing to him were of the younger generations (i.e. schoolkids) genuinely concerned about whether the world was going t
  • by gatfirls (1315141) on Monday December 17, 2012 @08:08PM (#42319979)
    Is going to break some intergalactic 'no fly' zone. The council will be held and they will be shown grainy black and white pictures of our Weapons of Galactic Destruction manufacturing facilities. We're screwed.
  • According to their list of Mission Directorates [nasa.gov]

    1. Enable a safer, more secure, efficient, and environmentally friendly air transportation system.
    2. Operate the International Space Station and prepare for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.
    3. Exploring the Earth-Sun system, our own solar system, and the universe beyond.

    They should now add:
    4. Protection of Humanity from hysteria due to mythical threats said to originate from space.
  • NASA will fake it just like they did the moon landings. That's the real secret behind Area 51 - it's a giant sound stage.
  • Have y'all seen the French Psychic from 1980 with 85% prediction accuracy confirmed for us we'd have an Alien Invasion before 2013!? He predicted 9/11, war on terror, chernobyl, Obama, and end of the Soviet Union. With over 1 million views (when you add up all the copy cat videos), it must be true! Nobody has been able to credibly debunk this guy... yet, although there's been several debunking theories, all of which have thus far been debunked.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAIQJmE75vg [youtube.com]

    PS. Try not to lose to

  • It is going to be a rebellion by bipedal cats with opposable thumbs. I give you...Felis Catus Erectus [imgur.com]

  • But I'm taking bets.
  • you insensative clod! (21/12/2012)

  • by vell0cet (1055494) on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:50PM (#42321437)
    If people are going to call Dec 21 the "Mayan Apocalypse," I'm going to start calling Dec 31 the "Gregorian Apocalypse" ... every year.
  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @01:23AM (#42322243)
    . . . the world will end . . . for someone.
  • by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @06:01AM (#42323547)
    Let's guess what excuses the nuts will use on 22 Dec when the event conspicuously fails to happen:
    1. "We all suffered a spiritual death, not a physical one"
    2. "The space aliens decided to give us one more chance"
    3. "The calculations were wrong, it's going to happen in 2020 / 2021 / some other date I pulled out of my numerlogical ass."
    4. "The prophecy was actually referring to (insert-some-news-of-the-day-here)"
    5. "The end of the world has started but it doesn't happen overnight, it might take years, decades, centuries, enough time to write a series of books about it."
    6. "I never meant the prediction to be taken literally"
    7. "My positive mind beams averted the disaster"

    What you won't hear:

    1. "What a fucking ass I was to have believed this nonsense and promoted fear and possibly a few deaths through my ignorance."

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