Thursday, December 20, 2012

NO! There’ll be NO Mayan Apocalypse Tomorrow! Nor will Aliens Rescue you!

Evidently near the village of Bugarach, France there's a mountain where some have forecast an alien space ship will burst forth tomorrow to rescue any human smart enough to be there....when the Mayan "Apocalypse" finally arrives. So many looneytunes have turned up, clogging the place with their hysteria that Jean-Pierre Delord, the mayor of Bugarach, said: "I am making an appeal to the world – do not come to Bugarach."  He added that police - from Wednesday- will block access to the southwestern village of 200 residents.

Routes will also be blocked to the nearby Pic de Bugarach, a French mountain where rumour has it the hilltop will open on the last day – December 21 – and aliens will emerge with spaceships to save nearby humans. Around 150 police officers will be on duty – with more on standby – to turn away visitors from Bugarach, which in recent weeks has seen an influx of journalists from around the world.

Why all this hysteria? Nothing is going to happen tomorrow, no sudden calamities or being struck with asteroids or whacked by the mythical planet "Niburu" - which up to now neither the best celestial mechanics or astrometry has detected. Yet this mythical planet appears to be playing a large role in the Mayan catastrophe we're supposed to experience tomorrow.

Other aspects have also come into play, based on assorted "documentaries" (such as on 'Nat Geo', or 'Discovery') shown more for the sake of amping up ratings than education. For example, because the Milky Way has a "dark rift" which the Sun will be aligned with on some occasions (about once every 100 million years) then it must follow if the Sun's light is aligned with the dark rift something awful (i.e. "dark" or foreboding) must happen. One 2010 program suggested that this will transpire Dec. 21, 2012, and so there will be no dawn and we will have the end of sunlight as we know it!


The above referenced Mayan 2012 program was clever, however, in that it really didn't expatiate or concentrate on the "dark rift" alignment and wandered off instead to considering a whole raft of disasters that Nostradamus' quatrains might foretell. Such as, accelerated global warming. Or, some disaster - like an asteroid or comet strike - which heralds a nuclear winter. (In this case, the Sun is indeed blotted out, but by the trillions of tons of dust hurled into the atmosphere following a collision with a 1-2 mile rock from space- which may last for years and result in mass starvation on account of crops dying worldwide)

In a way this is cheating, because the intro led the viewer to believe or accept a direct causal link to the Sun's alignment with the dark rift. But if global warming or an asteroid collision is responsible for our end, then clearly it has nothing to do with any alignments with a dark rift. This is simply an obfuscation. A distraction, a red herring.

Another scare tossed in for good measure (and perhaps because most laymen don't grasp basic electro-magnetic theory) was the reversal of the Earth's magnetic field, which indeed could cause a lot of consternation - given our atmosphere would then be exposed to all the Sun's radiation and energetic particles (at the midpoint of reversal when the field ceases to exist or is at a minimum). But this is a process that requires thousands of years, it's not done in 1 day!

But again, this has absolutely nothing to do with any alignment of the Milky Way's dark rift with the Sun. To suggest such a connection is to practice unwarranted extrapolation which is not based on any credible astrophysical or astronomical data. In effect, the Mayan 2012 alleged catastrophe is in the same class of pseudo-science as the 'Jupiter Effect' which was widely circulated nearly thirty years ago.

Where does it end (no pun intended)? Probably not until tomorrow is finished, and everyone on the planet finally sees they had misconstrued a basic calendrical cycle phenomenon for a real physical event.  But let's clear this up! Those who are convinced tomorrow is the last day for humans on planet Earth point to the “fact” that the 5,126 year old Mayan calendar terminates tomorrow. Since to them the Mayan calendar end equals to the end of all human time sequences, it must mean the end of the world.  But this is due to a misinterpretation!

As Rosemary Joyce, a professor of  Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley has pointed out (Denver Post, Sunday, Dec. 16, p. 13A), The Mayan calendar was based on 394-year long cycles called baktuns. The 13th of those cycles since the date of the Mayan creation story 5,126 years ago is what ends tomorrow. But as she notes, this is no more momentuous than the odometer of your car rolling over, say from 9,999 miles to 10,000. No great shock or calamity results - it is purely a numerical change.

Will this halt the nonsense and hysteria? I doubt it! Even when cold, hard facts are presented too many humans aren't willing to accept them, they'd rather retain the fictional version.

One thing we do know, is that there is a REAL ongoing calamity already in our midst and unless we somehow see it and act, we will be for the high jump - all of us sentient beings on planet Earth.  This slow-motion catastrophe is none other than climate change-global warming. It isn't taken as seriously as the Mayan baloney because, well, it only emerges in calamitous "spurts" (such as Superstorm Sandy) and then we let the notices slip from memory.

Neuroscientist Robert Ornstein attributes this phenomenon to the nature of our brains, which are quick to pick up on a perceived immediate catastrophe but which tend to ignore the slow moving ones that will have the same effect: termination of the species. Some glimpses of the future in store were given in this earlier blog:

Long before that, of course, multiple horrors will emerge, such as I noted here:

Along with heat waves that endure longer and longer, and ultimately lead to the first year with no seasons at all. As the diseases also proliferate, including dengue fever and cholera, as well as flesh-eating fungi ( Apophysomyces ) the people left on the planet will truly wish that a much more rapid end had occurred, as opposed to a slow, grinding slaughter leaving tens of millions dead each year....until the final runaway greenhouse effect kicks in.

The tragedy of humanity is that it's too fascinated with mythical catastrophes and not engaged or intelligent enough to deal with the slow-motion real ones right in front of its collective eyes!

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