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View Full Version : What's making this particular 'end of the world - 2012' scenerio so popular?



Lurky
2009-Apr-13, 04:06 PM
I remember one Christmas eve in the 70's when I was a kid...my older brother scaring me out of my wits telling me that aliens would invade the earth that night...end of the world. I hardly slept a wink as I tossed and turned...wondering if Santa was in cahoots with aliens... good grief.

Now a days... what's making this particular end of the world scenerio so popular?

I'm thinking that part of it is that the 'info age' we live in allows thoughts and ideas to zip across the earth in no time flat... like a 'radio free Europe' not much gets censored ...or thought about before it's on someone elses computer far away...alerting the masses.

Also... do you think society is getting more violent? Or do we just hear about violence more? I'm thinking that there is a certain audience for death and gore... more than we've seen in the past? So maybe some are into the 'end of the world' issue because it's entertainment?

Economic downturn... many under the age of 35 do not remember the '80's recession and are a bit depressed with current trends of jobloss and slowing down of our optimism.

And... I think Americans are a bit gun shy after 9/11... many are waiting for the other shoe to drop (or get thrown at the president)... many think now that politically anything is possible. Other countries empowering their military... but again? Is this really that different from say, the Cold War era?

What's your theory on all this 2012 chatter?

Swift
2009-Apr-13, 04:38 PM
Frankly, I'm unconvinced that the 2012 nonsense is any more popular than any of the other similar notions. Remember all the 2000 EoW (End of World) stuff, either because all the computers would all die or because of general millenium/religious stuff? What about the Planet X stuff - that had this forum hopping. I don't really think there is any more 2012 stuff than any of these other ones.

Someone always seems to think the world is about to end? I guess, someday, one of them will be right. ;)

sarongsong
2009-Apr-13, 05:21 PM
I remember one Christmas eve in the 70's when I was a kid...my older brother scaring me out of my wits telling me that aliens would invade the earth...
What's making this particular 'end of the world - 2012' scenerio so popular?I'm not seeing where "this scenario" is "so popular". Where's the evidence?

Demigrog
2009-Apr-13, 06:10 PM
Frankly, I'm unconvinced that the 2012 nonsense is any more popular than any of the other similar notions. Remember all the 2000 EoW (End of World) stuff, either because all the computers would all die or because of general millenium/religious stuff? What about the Planet X stuff - that had this forum hopping. I don't really think there is any more 2012 stuff than any of these other ones.

Someone always seems to think the world is about to end? I guess, someday, one of them will be right. ;)

Bah, 2012 hysteria is nothing compared to Y2K. Personally I think 2012 is the woo industry's answer to Hollywood sequels.

At least with Y2K there was a legitimate problem--the rollover bug really would have shut down a lot of infrastructure, had we not known it was coming and spent years preparing for it. I personally worked on two different projects to rewrite power plant software that couldn't be patched for various reasons. I was required to be at work that New Year's Eve, just in case. I didn't expect any problems, but just for the fun of it I had picked out a nice place in the hills to flee to.

2012 is complete non-event.

Y2K+38 is the next real event (32-bit Unix time-date rollover); I won't quite be retired in time for that one, so I'll be one of the old geezers who is suddenly important because they need me to fix software written in that obscure "C" language from back when computers didn't program themselves. :)

Lurky
2009-Apr-13, 06:36 PM
I'm not seeing where "this scenario" is "so popular". Where's the evidence?

That's a good point... I guess it was just a subjective observation on my part.

I didn't 'get into' the Y2K scare because I was WAY too busy ...started a new position and was swamped with work. Swift...there was 'religious stuff' associated with the Y2K EOW scare?

Demi... what is the Y2K +38?

Demigrog
2009-Apr-13, 07:01 PM
Demi... what is the Y2K +38?

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y2038) has a good summary. It may seem a long way off, but there are infrastructure components with 50 year planned lifespans that have the problem. Of course, the Woo industry prefers the disaster to be a bit shorter term--soon enough to be alarming, but not too soon to make a buck. After all, you can sell a lot more books in 5 years than you can in 1. :)

Swift
2009-Apr-13, 07:08 PM
Swift...there was 'religious stuff' associated with the Y2K EOW scare?
Yes. There were people who thought that the end of the millenium would correspond to the second coming of Christ (and beyond that, I won't go on this forum, or I'll have to ban myself).

Lurky
2009-Apr-13, 07:22 PM
I'll have to ban myself).

:cool: Lol!

Thanks for the link Demi!

Wizard From Oz
2009-Apr-13, 07:50 PM
Yes. There were people who thought that the end of the millenium would correspond to the second coming of Christ (and beyond that, I won't go on this forum, or I'll have to ban myself).

At the risk of joining you - Apparently the last time the millenium rolled over. The year 1000 didn't have them scared it was 1033 - which would have been the anniversary of his death

But back to the topic - It is a shame how this has all been twisted. Because the Mayans did make a prediction, and a very clever one from their point of view, and one that doesn't come along all that often

tofu
2009-Apr-13, 08:35 PM
Also... do you think society is getting more violent?

Oh no. We are incredibly lucky to be living in the era of lowest human/human violence.

Here's a TED talk by Stephen Pinker (http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence.html) on the subject. To summarize a couple of his points:
1. On the large scale (a thousand years) the world is significantly less violent now than it has ever been. Even our most bloody wars result in lower fatality rates than what is common among hunter-gatherers. He cites a study of some modern hunter-gatherers that found males in some tribes had a greater than 50% chance of death at the hands of another male. Daily life for them is more violent than anyone involved in the Iraq war for example.

2. Around the 1960's there was a reversal in the trend of violent crime in the US, and it continues to fall to this day. I think it's funny, in the video he thanks Bill Clinton for this. It makes much more sense, I believe, to thank the clean air act (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/21/magazine/21wwln-idealab-t.html?ref=science) for abolishing lead additives in gasoline.

KaiYeves
2009-Apr-13, 09:02 PM
My guess would be that some people who grew up in the Cold War period who can't adjust to the idea of the possibility of doomsday NOT being ever-present.

Ara Pacis
2009-Apr-14, 04:48 AM
Because the Mayans did make a prediction, and a very clever one from their point of view, and one that doesn't come along all that often

It was more of a calendar than a prediction, wasn't it?

gzhpcu
2009-Apr-14, 05:21 AM
My guess is that it due to the internet. Crank sites proliferate.

Jay200MPH
2009-Apr-14, 08:09 AM
My guess is that it due to the internet. Crank sites proliferate.

Agreed. The internet makes it really easy to find like minded thinkers.

Look at it this way... Say you examined the contents of any random person's head, and found on average maybe 5~10% of their ideas belong in the loonie bin. Most people file these aside and never really act on them. Twenty years ago if someone had a loonie-bin idea surface in their brain they'd blab it to their friends (usually at the pub) and get told they were nuts. The friends would hold some crazy-zone thoughts themselves but they wouldn't be the same ones. In that way a sort of consensus could emerge that fit pretty well with the real world.

These days our random sample person would think, "hey, I wonder if anyone else has the same nutjob idea?" and go on the internet, where he'd invariably find a whole online forum devoted to discussing it. Now suddenly "I wonder if this is true..." becomes "holy crap, look at all these people who agree with me! This must be true." It's like constructive interference.

It's not necessarily a bad thing, but you can find followers of just about any wrongheaded idea, so that's what you get.

- J

HenrikOlsen
2009-Apr-14, 09:34 AM
My guess is that it due to the internet. Crank sites proliferate.

And 2012 is such a simple search phrase to remember.

Wizard From Oz
2009-Apr-14, 12:28 PM
It was more of a calendar than a prediction, wasn't it?

True, I guess it is a loose use of the word prediction. But if my reading of what the calendar says is correct, the sun will actually cut through the galactic plane on that day.

The only problem is, the woo forget, the Mayans were talking about what they would see the sun do from Earth's perspective, as in super imposed against the constellations, rather than any real physical manifestation

some dumb kid
2009-Apr-14, 01:51 PM
why is it so popular? well simply because it has a date,it gives peapole something to fear in the future and its likely to sell alot of books to worried/ curious peapole

Noclevername
2009-Apr-16, 11:17 PM
My guess would be that some people who grew up in the Cold War period who can't adjust to the idea of the possibility of doomsday NOT being ever-present.

Nope. Even before the Berlin Wall fell, there were cranks trying to make a buck of Doomssay promotions. There was some 80's book called "The Late Planet Earth" that claimed to use Biblical prophecies to show that the Soviet Union would cause the Apocalypse. Oooh, good call.

Gillianren
2009-Apr-16, 11:51 PM
True, I guess it is a loose use of the word prediction. But if my reading of what the calendar says is correct, the sun will actually cut through the galactic plane on that day.

It is incorrect, I'm afraid. As I recall, it's not even close.

Clev, the book you're thinking of is The Late, Great Planet Earth. Published 1970.

Noclevername
2009-Apr-17, 01:43 AM
Clev, the book you're thinking of is The Late, Great Planet Earth. Published 1970.

Thanks, I knew it was something like that.

OK, looked it up. The authors still publish Doom Is Nigh books. One was called The 1980s, Countdown To Armageddon. That must not be base-ten counting...