We survived 21 December 2012

It wasn't the end of the world after all
but then why should it have been?

Here is some information on claims about the end of the world ...
and why they are utter garbage!

Listen to my interview from December 20
with Roberto Perrone on BBC 3 Counties Radio here.

 
Introduction
Current claims
Images
The real end of the World
Past claims
What did I claim?
 

Introduction

People have been predicting the end of the world for centuries, and the fact that they have all been wrong is surely a pretty good indication that the latest crop of ideas are just as likely to fail.

There have been loads of questions posted about this on Yahoo Answers, which is where anyone can post a question and others give their replies. Unfortunately a huge number of people have been posting the same kind of questions without bothering to see if they have already been posted, or looking at the answers that have already been given. I received 2 points for each answer I supplied - 4 points per answer during December - plus 10 points each time one was chosen as the best answer. As a result, during December 2012 my points total shot up from around 800 to almost 4,000 and I am now listed as a Top Contributor!

So why did 21 December, 2012 become such a focus for these claims? Well, the main reason is the Mayan calendar, so let's start with that.

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Current claims about the end of the world

Claim

True or False?
Reason

The Mayan calendar ends on 21 December, 2012.

False

Our calendar uses days, weeks, month, years, centuries and millennia. The Mayan calendar uses periods called b’ak’tuns and piktuns, among others. The periods are counted up, and, like the mileometer in a car, when one number reaches its maximum, it resets to zero and the next number along is increased.

In their calendar, the “Long Count” reached 13.0.0.0.0 on 21 December 2012, but that is NOT the end of their calendar - it resets the number of b’ak’tuns to zero and increases the number of piktuns - to 1.0.0.0.0.0! The calendar then goes to the next piktun on October 13, 4772.

So the calendar does not end. My own calendar ended on December 31. what did I do? Get another one for 2013.

The Mayans predicted that would be when the world ends.
False

The Mayans never predicted the end of the world on that date, or any other.

"We are speaking out against deceit, lies and twisting of the truth, and turning us into folklore-for-profit. They are not telling the truth about time cycles," said Felipe Gomez, leader of the Maya alliance.

The planet Nibiru will crash into the Earth on December 21 and destroy the world.

False!

False!

False!

Nibiru does not exist.

The impact of Nibiru was first announced back in 1995 by Nancy Leider, except she didn't say it would hit us in December 2012 - the date she gave was May 15, 2003! Of course nothing happened, and she later announced a new date. Nothing happened then either, and then she heard about the 2012 story of the Mayan calendar and said it would happen then. It is obvious that this is all total rubbish and she is making this up as she goes along.

Leider claimed to have this knowledge by means of an implant in her brain, which allows her to receive messages from extra-terrestrials in the Zeta-Reticuli star system, which is a double star about 39 light-years from Earth. So firstly, how was this implant installed, and by whom, and secondly, any messages that she supposedly receives are coming from a star that has a declination of -62 34', so it is about 30 south of the southern-most star that can be seen from Nancy’s home in California. So if the star is never above the horizon, how do the messages reach her through solid rock?

The Zeta Reticuli system is known by UFO buffs as the alleged origin of the aliens that were supposed to have abducted Barney and Betty Hill in the infamous case in the 1950s. For science-fiction fans, its the location of the planet in the 1979 film "Alien". Couldn't Nancy come up with anything original?

She claims to have become aware of her contactee status in 1993, and that she was selected as "a communicator of the Zeta message" and "… allowed her brain to be implanted with Zetan genetic material" several times, so that she is now able to communicate telepathically with the Zetas.
The big question is; how did she become aware of her contactee status before she received the implants? And if this happened in 1993 then the first message that was sent to her from a planet 39 light-years away must have started out in 1954, around the time that she was born. In any case, why choose one person to receive this so important information when she might have been run over by a bus before the first message even reached her. If it was that important, why not send it to hundreds, or thousands of people?

We’re also supposed to believe that the astronomers on a planet around that double-star could detect planet Nibiru going around our star 39 light-years away, and yet although we have confirmed over 500 planets orbiting other stars, including one over 21,000 light-years away, almost a quarter of the distance across the galaxy - that's around 34 million times the distance of Pluto - we haven’t seen Nibiru, which is supposed to be in our own back-yard!

Of course, if it did exist and was going to hit us then it would have become the most obvious thing in the sky! Assuming it is “only” the same size as the Moon, we would have been able to see it with the naked eye for ages. All around the world there are millions of amateur astronomers, and there are also huge telescopes - yet no-one has seen this thing because it isn’t there.

For more details and some fun with some simple calculations, see below.

NASA built the South Pole Telescope in order to track Nibiru as it can only bee seen from that location.

They have imaged it optically.

False

False

The South Pole Telescope is funded by the National Science Foundation, not NASA.

There is no way an approaching object could be seen only from the South Pole.

It is a radio telescope so it cannot take optical images.

The image presented is not Nibiru. It isn't even a planet. See below for more information.

The planets are all going to line up, showing that the world is abut to end.
False



(Are you noticing a trend here?)

The planets are not going to line up this month - or any other.

Look up and you can see various planets, but not all at the same time, as they are in different parts of the sky. Clearly, then, they are not going to suddenly move around so they are all lined up on December 21. Jupiter takes 12 Earth years to orbit the Sun, so it isn't going to show a noticeable shift in just a few days!

Even if that all did happen, it would not cause anything to happen on Earth. Apart from the Sun, the body with the greatest effect on the Earth is the Moon, and what does it do?

It causes the tides, just as it has for millions of years.

That's all.

Do you think that is suddenly going to result in the end of the world?

There will be a galactic alignment on December 21.
False

The closest thing to a galactic alignment occurred back in 1998. Did you notice it? No. Noticed anything remarkable taking place in the sky? No. Planets wandering off course? No. The Sun looking larger than usual? No. Pink comets? No.

That shows you how much effect these events have on us.

Some people said it would happen again in 2012 because (a) they are ignorant of the facts, or (b) they know it won't really happen, but are tying it into the next cycle of the Mayan calendar in order to sell their books which are full of rubbish about the so-called "end of the world". I believe this should be regarded as fraud and they should be prosecuted.

There will be a "pole shift" on December 21.
False

Another remarkable coincidence that this should also happen on this date, don't you think?

A person posted a question about this on Yahoo Answers, saying that he had to read up on it for school, and we're in a pole shift right now, which is why we're having all these earthquakes and people are dying from radiation from the van Allen belts as the dipole field has gone... etc, etc.

Here is what I replied:

If you had to read up for it for school, then why didn't you find some reliable information? You could have gone to your school library or public libraries and found texts written by genuine scientists who don't make things up.
There is also a huge amount of genuine knowledge on the internet, but if you look at sites with names like www.pole-shift-apocalypse.com then don't be surprised if they have lots of scary claims amongst their rubbish. By the way, don't go searching for that website, I just made that name up! There are some real websites with similar names, but I think they should leave out the "f" :)

A shift of the Earth's magnetic poles takes place every few thousand years, but it also takes a few hundred years to complete, so it won't suddenly happen on December 21.

In any case, seeing as it has happened loads of times in the past without destroying the Earth, why should the next time be any different?

The Earth will pass through a photon belt.
False

There is no such thing as a photon belt. A "belt" made of photons would simply be a beam of light, and where is it supposed to come from? Light comes from stars, like the Sun, which have been putting out light in all directions for billions of years - not just along one "beam" - and that hasn't destroyed the Earth.

In any case, if this was supposed to be coming from another star, we would have seen it approaching for several centuries.

There will be 3 days of darkness starting on December 23
False

This is interesting (sort of) because December 23 is two days AFTER the world is supposed to end on December 21 when the Mayan calendar "runs out" and we get hit by the planet Nibiru.

So the people claiming this obviously don't believe the world is going to end on December 21, or they wouldn’t be asking about something that’s supposed to happen 2 days afterwards. In that case, why would they believe this piece of rubbish either?

Why should there be 3 days of darkness? That either means
(1) there will be a huge amount of cloud cover so the light from the Sun is totally blocked
(2) the Earth will stop rotating for 3 days. Why would it do that, and why would it then start up again?
(3) The Sun will switch off for 3 days. Why would it do that, and why would it then start up again?

Are any of these even possible? Absolutely not.

There are dozens of books that tell the truth about how the world will end on December 21.
False

None of the books tell the truth, and ! suspect that none of the writers believe the world will really end on that date. If they did, they'd have to explain why they have accepted payment, seeing that money won't be of any use to them after the end of the world...

They’d also have to explain why they still have insurance, a TV licence and other items that extend beyond December 2012, such as what their plans are for Christmas, where they plan to go on holiday next year, etc. These things would show that that didn’t really believe the world was going to end.

The simple fact is that they are putting out this garbage in order to make money. Unfortunately, scaremongering and making money by stating things that are untrue isn't against the law. It's possible they could be accused of fraud, but only if their books are filed under a non-fiction category.

What really annoys me is that these charlatans are probably making more money peddling their rubbish than I am in promoting genuine science.

Here's something else for good measure:

The Large Hadron Collider will create a black hole that will destroy the Earth.

False


(I bet you guessed that)

What is a black hole?

It’s a star that has used up its fuel, and without the energy from its nuclear reactions pushing outwards, gravity pulls inwards, until it’s condensed into ball with a huge pull of gravity. The bottom line is that it’s a star, and has a mass of at least 2.8*10^30 kilograms which is 500,000 times that of Earth!

And what does the LHC do? It collides sub-atomic particles together.

Sub-atomic. That means that if they collide and stick together, and for simplicity assuming 3 particles per atom, then you would need 1,500 million million million million of them to make just 1kg of matter!

To get the mass of the Earth multiply that by 5.9736*10^24, or about 6 million million million million, then multiply that value by 500,000 to get the minimum mass of a black hole.

So - does anyone really think we’re going to make one in the LHC?

Actually I've been saying for ages that when the discovery of the Higgs Boson is confirmed, they should celebrate with a cocktail . . . to be called the Large Hadron Colada

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A couple of images, some information and some simple calculations

Nibiru is supposed to take 3,600 years to complete its elongated orbit, so to arrive at Earth's position just as the Mayan calendar reaches the end of the current b'ak'tun would be an incredible coincidence!

If Nibiru was at the distance of Jupiter on January 1, 2012, and if it was traveling at Jupiter’s orbital speed, then it would take 13,350.19 hours = 556 days 6h 11m 31 seconds to reach us. That’s 1 year and 191 days, so it wouldn’t arrive until July 20 2013. It doesn’t look good to arrive for an appointment over 7 months late!

To arrive on December 21, 2012 it would have to travel at an average of 1,720,682.02 km/day or 71,695 kph = 44,559 mph.

Assuming a constant speed for simplicity, it would have been at the distance of Pluto 3,326.8 days previously. Working back from an arrival date of December 21, 2012, that would put it at the distance of Pluto on November 12, 2003.

So it would still have been at the distance of Pluto, taking 9 years to reach us, 6 months after Nancy told us it was due to arrive in May 2003.

Yet no-one, even using the Hubble Space telescope, or those on Earth with mirrors 10m in diameter - that’s almost 33 feet - has taken a single image of Nibiru - ever ... because it doesn’t exist.

 

The South Pole location was chosen due to the low-humidity environment.

The "picture of Nibiru" posted on YouTube was the one which is dated 17 December, 2002 in this montage.

It was revealed to be a Hubble image of the expanding light echo around the star V838 Monocerotis, about 20,000 light-years away.

Notice that the 4 first images were produced 10 years ago.

That is 5 years before the Souh Pole Telescope became operational in 2007.

I rest my case, m'lud.

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The real end of the world

In my replies on Yahoo Answers I have said that if anyone thinks I am wrong I am willing to place a bet of 10,000 which can be paid to me on December 22 when it's proved that I am right! Sadly, no-one took me up on that.

I made a prediction of my own: After December 21, expect to see a number of people posting "reasons" why the world didn't end on that day - mostly due to misinterpretations of the signs, "though the apocalypse is actually still coming".

As to any claims that the world will still end, well of course it will - the question is "When?"

There is some uncertainty about this. We expect that the Sun will become a red giant in about 5 billion years. As a result it will expand and swallow the inner planets, Mercury and Venus. However the Sun's expansion will also result in an expansion of the Earth's orbit, and it has not been conclusively determined if the diameter of the Sun will reached the Earth's new orbit.

Having said that, we will have still reached the end of the world with regard to its ability to sustain life.

However, the Andromeda Galaxy is expected to collide with ours in "only" about 4.5 billion years, although again, there is some uncertainty about the date. This event could also cause some serious problems for the Earth.

Hopefully, we will have funded a decent space program long before either of these scenarios come to pass.

The great science-fiction author Larry Niven once said:

"The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program. If we become extinct because we don't have a space program it will serve us right!

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Past claims

Here are some other predictions from the past about the end of the world. The fact that every single one has failed to come true should give you a good indication that the latest claims are all hogwash as well.

These have been taken from the excellent website which has been put together by Chris Nelson at http://www.abhota.info/end1.htm where you can find more.

The Assyrians
About 2,800 BCE

An Assyrian tablet was inscribed; "Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common."

If you didn't know the date, you might have thought that this had been written today!

Pierre Turrel
1537, 1544, 1801 and 1814

This French astrologer announced four different possible dates for the end of the world, using four different calculation methods.

They were all wrong.

William Bell
April 5, 1761
This religious extremist claimed the world would be destroyed by earthquakes on this day. Since there had been an earthquake on February 8 and another on March 8, he reasoned that the world must end in another 28 days' time! Londoners gathered in boats on the Thames or headed for the hills. When his prediction didn't come true, he was promptly thrown into Bedlam, London's notorious place for the insane.
Michael Paget Baxter
1861 - 1869
An Anglican minister who was an ardent date setter. In one of his earliest publications he predicted the End for 1861-1867. In another publication he claimed the Battle of Armageddon would take place in 1868 and then selected 1869. They were all wrong.
Joseph Smith
1891
In 1835 the founder of Mormonism foresaw the Second Coming taking place in 56 years' time, or about 1891.
John Gribbin and Stephen Plagemann
March 10, 1982
When the planets lined up, their combined gravitational forces were supposed to bring the end of the world. A book called The Jupiter Effect helped to spread these irrational fears.
Sister Marie Gabriel Paprocski
July 25, 1994

On July 19, 1993, Sister Marie announced to the world her prophecy that a comet would hit Jupiter on or before July 25, 1994, causing the "biggest cosmic explosion in the history of mankind" and bringing on the end of the world.

Indeed, a comet did hit Jupiter on July 16, 1994. However, it is important to note that her announcement was made nearly two months after astronomer Brian Marsden discovered that Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 would hit Jupiter.

Heavens Gate Cult
March 26, 1997
The Heaven's Gate suicides. The suicides occurred between March 24 and March 26, during a window of time that the cultists had predicted a UFO trailing behind Comet Hale-Bopp would pick up their souls and save them from the imminent Apocalypse. Perhaps the biggest group to be eligible for a Darwin Award.
Various quacks
May 5, 1997

On this date, the solar system was supposed to enter the Photon Belt, a mystical energy field floating through space. Once we enter the Photon Belt, something unusual is supposed to occur.

Depending on the source, the world will end, aliens will land, mankind will be enlightened or achieve super powers, electrical equipment will fail . . . you get the picture.

Nothing happened, but that hasn't stopped people from thinking we're still going to enter the Photon Belt SOON!

See above.

Perhaps the greatest doomsayers are the Jehovah's Witnesses. They have come up with a collection of dates, though it should be noted that not all are dates for the end of the world, but include other prophecies such as the resurrection of the prophets in 1925.

Jehovah's Witnesses 1874, 1881, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1994

Every time the world has failed to end, they have given some explanation and then recalculated a new date.

After getting it wrong so many times, can anyone really believe what they tell us? Perhaps this is something to discuss the next time they knock on your door.

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What did I claim would really happen?

December 21 was the Winter Solstice, the day with the shortest amount of daylight. Apart from that, nothing special would happen and we'd all go on as we did before.

Hopefully some people might acknowledge all the hype for the absolute load of garbage that it really was, that the charlatans were talking nonsense and that people like me were telling the truth all along, but I didn't plan to be holding my breath for that.

The only other thing to mention is that a while ago a group of us booked places at a restaurant to hold a 2012 Apocalypse Survivors' Dinner !

Happy 2013!

 

If you are interested in arranging a presentation on genuine science,
or booking an exciting and inspiring day of space activities

contact me at jstone@spaceflight-uk.com
 

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