Friday Favorites 12/21/2012

mayansSo, you probably know that according to certain sources, today is the latest end of the world.  The Huffington Post tells us that the Mayan apocalypse predictions arise from a misunderstanding of the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar, which wraps up a 400-year cycle called a b’ak’tun on Dec. 21, 2012, the day of the winter solstice. This just so happens to be the 13th b’ak’tun in the calendar, a benchmark the Maya would have seen as a full cycle of creation. The Post the goes on to argue that cycle is the key word … the Mayans viewed time as cyclical, so they would have not seen the end of their calendar as the end of the world.  What’s humorous is that a supposedly reputable publication feels it necessary to explain the fine points of the beliefs of a culture that no longer exists, a culture that believed in human sacrifice and what Wikipedia called a massive array of supernatural characters and Gods.  Why are we so willing to believe that ancient societies can predict the end of the world when with all our scientific knowledge, we can’t predict next week’s weather … or when the next earthquake will hit Socal?  Medium Esther Hicks, channeling the non-physical beings she collectively refers to as Abraham Hicks, argues in this video that today will bring a spiritual renewal, not apocalypse.

I certainly hope the video is correct, and the pictures are lovely, but seriously, what the hell is Esther-Abraham talking about?

Do you know that there have been hundreds of apocalyptic predictions dating back to years before the birth of Christ?  Yet here I am, posting away.  There have been some repeat losers.  Herbert W. Armstrong predicted that the world would end in 1936 (and, of course, only his followers would be saved).  When his prediction failed, he tried three more years, 1943, 1972, and 1975.  He passed away in 1986, batting .000 on the apocalyptic prediction circuit.  You probably remember that on New Years Eve of 2000, many believed the world would end because it was the end of the Second Christian Millennium (since it didn’t end with the First Christian Millennium).  Harold Camping predicted that the Rapture would occur on the day after my birthday in 2011 (no causal relationship) and that the world would end on October 21.  When he and his followers were still around on May 22, he rescheduled the Rapture for the same day as the end of the world.  We know how that turned out.  I really don’t mean to make fun of anyone’s beliefs, I’m just amused how we … and the media … continue to get caught up in this stuff.

My favorite apocalyptic prediction was one of a scientific sort, the Y2K problem, also known as the Millennium Bug.  You probably recall that since the widespread use of computers began, dates had been stored with tw0 digitsy2k indicating the year.  There was concern that the inability of computers to deal with the rollover from 1999 to 2000 would lead to massive global infrastructure failures — everything from elevators to air traffic control systems was rumored to be vulnerable.  Scientific conferences were convened and millions were spent in preparation.  Then, as COMPUTERWORLD says, on Dec. 31, 1999, the world held its breath — and nothing happened. Jan. 1, 2000 came in just like any other day.  We scientists got to have a good laugh at ourselves.

So, people, I can say this with certainty … the world will end.  Just not today.  I’ve already started my post for tomorrow.

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2 Comments on “Friday Favorites 12/21/2012”

  1. cherperz Says:

    I have been quite amused at this bruhaha about the Mayan calendar. Did you read the article about how NASA has been flooded with calls pertaining to the “end of the world”? Just checking to make sure no meteors are headed our way I guess.

    I actually had an tiff with a friend over this. She is convinced that some huge earth changing event is going to happen today. Shhheesh!!! I guess she has a few hours left to be right.


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