I can remember the silly paranoia that swept the world about 11 years ago when the buzz was that the Y2K bug was going to bring our society crashing down around us. I saw people stockpiling food and water, buying generators, and generally preparing for the worst, based on the dire predictions of unqualified non-experts. Of course nothing much happened, as saner people had predicted, even allowing for the uncertainties of predicting the behavior of software in scenarios it had never been tested in. Nevertheless, the whole affair represented, I thought a new standard in combined ignorance and misinformation.
So, fast forward a few years, and now we have a whole new set of doomsday nonsense rearing it’s head…the 2012 phenomenon. Based in misinterpreted and misreported analysis of the Mayan Long Count calender, certain persons came to the conclusion that the calender ended December 21, 2012, and therefore that must be the end of the world as we know it. Notwithstanding that the actual date is disputed, and may actually have passed several years ago, an increasing number of people are both buying into this fallacy, or jumping on the bandwagon and figuring out how to make a buck off the silly fools who are buying into it.
Now, the Mayans may have had a relatively sophisticated culture in some ways, with a surprising amount of astronomical knowledge, but I don’t think they had a crystal ball telling them when the world would end, nor do I even think they had that idea. The end of one cycle implies the beginning of another, and that’s probably how they view it. We may never know, since relatively little of their written materials survive, and what does is not completely understood. What has happened is that a number of crackpots who were already pushing doomsday scenarios of one kind or another found a ready mechanism here to get their ideas to a wider audience, and supercharged their message by adding the elements of a conspiracy to it as well. According to these pundits of idiocy, something bad is going to happen to the Earth, probably triggered by a previously unknown planet, asteroid, or other outer space object that is heading this way even now. Of course, the government, scientists, NASA, etc., all know about it, they’re just keeping it secret from the rest of us poor fools, either because we will all panic and behave badly, or they just want us all eliminated with minimum fuss. It goes without saying, of course, that there isn’t one speck of evidence that anything out of the ordinary is happening to the Earth in 2012, or any time in the near future, that no reputable scientist has said anything of the kind will happen any time soon, and that all the theories concerning this are either completely implausible, or physically impossible. Youtube and many other web sites are full of dire predictions and purported images of huge mysterious planets called Nibiru, Nemesis, etc., hurtling towards the Earth with deadly results. Fringe authors and internet prophets alike are raking in the bucks with books and videos detailing their predictions about the terrible events that must surely happen. Shame on you all. Shame on you lying charlatans who would rather sell a hack book than get a productive occupation. Shame on you deluded fools who actually believe any of this. Shame on the woefully misinformed and undereducated public, willing to believe science fiction rather than mere science. Shame on you all. My only satisfaction, I guess, is that on December 22, 2012, you’re all going to look pretty damn stupid.
Is this the mysterious planet Nibiru, heading towards a doomed Earth? No, it’s V838 Mon, a star with an expanding gas shell passed off as “photographic evidence” of Nibiru.
A Webvex post from September 2010