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([personal profile] sunfell May. 7th, 2010 09:58 am)
I watched that gawdawful Hollywood disaster of a movie, "2012" the other night. I'll never get those two hours back, but oh, well. If there was a law of physics, of location, of practicality- and of common sense- it was violated. It should have been called "2012: Toon Universe" because even though it was live action, every law of toon physics and hollywood cliche applied. Apparently in this universe, Yellowstone Park is a day's drive from LA and limousines get hybrid-like gas mileage, cell service exists even when tidal waves wipe out the towers, and runways are immune to quake faults.

Whatever. I'm just glad I only wasted one dollar and two hours on it.

But the subject of 2012 is slowly growing in our minds- sort of like Y2K (remember that) did a decade ago. I remember all the craziness surrounding that. 2012 is no different- there's a whole industry springing up around it.

Most of it is bogus crap.

But one of my favorite sites, Disinformation, has a sub-site devoted to the subject, and has made a movie about it. I haven't watched it yet, so I can't yet comment on it, but the trailer looks interesting.

2012 and the End of the World As We Know It in Five Years

Lengthy 2007 article about the major players in the 2012 hype.

The Final Days

2007 NYT Magazine article about 'end times'.

End Times Entrepreneurialism

How Hollywood is tapping into the 2012 hysteria.
Wired magazine has an interesting and somewhat alarming article about the solar max of 2012:

The Geomantic Apocalypse- and How To Stop It

For scary speculation about the end of civilization in 2012, people usually turn to followers of cryptic Mayan prophecy, not scientists. But that’s exactly what a group of NASA-assembled researchers described in a chilling report issued earlier this year on the destructive potential of solar storms.

Entitled “Severe Space Weather Events — Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts,” it describes the consequences of solar flares unleashing waves of energy that could disrupt Earth’s magnetic field, overwhelming high-voltage transformers with vast electrical currents and short-circuiting energy grids. Such a catastrophe would cost the United States “$1 trillion to $2 trillion in the first year,” concluded the panel, and “full recovery could take four to 10 years.” That would, of course, be just a fraction of global damages.

Needless to say, shorting out the electrical grid would cause major disruptions to developed nations and their economies.

Worse yet, the next period of intense solar activity is expected in 2012, and coincides with the presence of an unusually large hole in Earth’s geomagnetic shield, meaning we’ll have less protection than usual from the solar flares.

The report received relatively little attention, perhaps because of 2012’s supernatural connotations. Mayan astronomers supposedly predicted that 2012 would mark the calamitous “birth of a new era.”

Sad that people are concentrating more on imaginary disasters then on things they could take steps to fix before they are destroyed. Like our power grid, for example: Why is [the national power grid] so vulnerable?

Joseph: Ultra-high voltage transformers become more finicky as energy demands are greater. Around 50 percent already can’t handle the current they’re designed for. A little extra current coming in at odd times can slip them over the edge.

The ultra-high voltage transformers, the 500,000- and 700,000-kilovolt transformers, are particularly vulnerable. The United States uses more of these than anyone else. China is trying to implement some million-kilovolt transformers, but I’m not sure they’re online yet.

Kappenman also points out that when the transformers blow, they can’t be fixed in the field. They often can’t be fixed at all. Right now there’s a one- to three-year lag time between placing an order and getting a new one.

Hey, President Obama- 2012 is going to be on your watch, sir. How about a little preemptive money to prevent us from being in the dark when it comes time for the election. You saw it here first.

Will we curse the darkness? Hide and watch, y'all.
Mayan Thoughts

Western pop culture is full of mis and dis-information. And one of the things on the horizon is the supposed 'end of the world' in 2012. I created this site to spread a little Light and perhaps some common sense. Of course, the noise of the End of the Worlders will probably drown out my own signal, but I'll keep trying.

Here, in the spirit of rationality, is an article about the Maya Elders and their opinion on the whole thing. I've always believed that going to the source is a good thing:

The World will Not End

Carlos Barrios was born into a Spanish family on El Altiplano, the highlands of Guatemala. His home was in Huehuetenango, also the dwelling place of the Maya Mam tribe. With other Maya and other indigenous tradition keepers, the Mam carry part of the old ways on Turtle Island (North America). They are keepers of time, authorities on remarkable calendars that are ancient, elegant and relevant.

Mr. Barrios is a historian, an anthropologist and investigator. After studying with traditional elders for 25 years since the age of 19, he has also become a Mayan Ajq'ij, a ceremonial priest and spiritual guide, Eagle Clan.

Years ago, along with his brother, Gerardo, Carlos initiated an investigation into the different Mayan calendars. He studied with many teachers. He says his brother Gerardo interviewed nearly 600 traditional Mayan elders to widen their scope of knowledge.

"Anthropologists visit the temple sites," Mr. Barrios says, "and read the stelas and inscriptions and make up stories about the Maya, but they do not read the signs correctly. It’s just their imagination...Other people write about prophecy in the name of the Maya. They say that the world will end in December 2012. The Mayan elders are angry with this. The world will not end. It will be transformed. The indigenous have the calendars, and know how to accurately interpret it, not others."
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([personal profile] sunfell Jul. 30th, 2009 08:43 pm)
Mayan Calendar spurs end of the world debate

For those people making long-term plans, note this: The end of the world as we know it will be on Dec. 21, 2012 — at least, that's if you believe the Mayan calendar.

According to the ancient Mayas, who were known for their timekeeping prowess, the end of the "long count" calendar is only 1,241 days away — and Lawrence Joseph is waiting.

"2012 is indeed considered a profoundly pivotal date in human and in terrestrial history," Joseph says.

Joseph, who authored Apocalypse 2012, says he began looking at Mayan prophecy several years ago. He noticed that the Mayas' end date coincided with peak activity of solar flares three years from now. He says those flares could fry the world's electrical systems, leaving people without electricity for months or years — affecting the distribution of water, fresh food and medication.

"I think we're looking at a nonnegligible possibility that the year 2012 can be really, unprecedentedly tumultuous, and lead to a next and scary chapter in civilization's history," Joseph says.

Joseph doesn't predict the end of the world.
Let the End Times Roll

To its adherents, collapsitarianism suggests a giddy liberation from hope, from futile shoring up of ailing economies like Detroit's and the Sunbelt's, from bailouts and stimulus plans and climate change and toxic-asset recovery. On board are said to be Luddites, anarchists, survivalists, green types who see collapse as our comeuppance, critics of American exceptionalism, and even financial-sector employees who just want it all over already.

As Muller ticked off the four sectors he expected­—no, hoped—would disintegrate, I felt drunk. Finance, insurance, manufacturing, retail: R.I.P. (What? No journalism? I took a deep breath.) Partly I was high on the mere mention of collapse, that unspeakable notion—and the tantalizing prospect that it might be advocated. I imagined Victorians felt this way hearing about psychoanalysis: Sex, the feared thing, could finally be not only spoken of, but actually embraced. "It's good news," Muller explained. "We're squeezing the industrial era out of our system. Perceived value is collapsing, leaving only real value."

Collapsitarianism- you heard it here first.
The core concept of the 2012 mythos is the Mayan Long-Count calendar. It 'ends' on December 21, 2012, although there have been some disputes about the actual date. Whatever the conclusion, the calendar and the incredible astronomical knowledge the Maya left carved on their temples and cities is one of their best known legacies.

But they also left mysteries, too. The Spanish conquistadors managed to destroy the bulk of their written material, but three of their bark books survived, as did their incredible hieroglyphs. For a long time, no one knew how to read them. But, not any more. Their system of writing has been figured out, and the writings on their temples - and a good bit of their culture, have been translated.

PBS' Nova has a documentary about that process. You can watch it on Hulu, or at the Nova website. While it just brushes up against their calendar and numbering system, it is a good look at this ancient culture, and the effort to help the surviving Maya reclaim their culture and writing. It's definitely worth your time as an enriching exercise.
I found this interesting article in the Huffington Post: Premonitions and Spirituality

Spirituality involves an awareness of being connected with something greater than the individual ego or self. This "something greater" has traditionally been called God, Goddess, Allah, Great Spirit, the Almighty, the Absolute, and many other names. Some consider it as the Universe, or as a sense of infinite order and beauty. Many individuals prefer to attribute no name whatever to it. But whether named or unnamed, the awareness of a connectedness with something greater than the "I" has been a source of strength and meaning for individuals throughout human history.

Individuals often find that their power of sensing and knowing expands as they mature spiritually. These expanded capacities often involve the capacity to know yet-to-be events that lie in the future, as the unbroken stream of prophets, visionaries, seers, and shamans throughout history attests. A modern analog of this ancient ability to know the future is premonitions, sometimes called intuition, gut feelings, or sixth sense.

The article goes on to talk about how love is connected to premonition- particularly where small infants are concerned. While I don't have children myself, I can understand how emotional or familial attachment will amplify sensitivity to events. This can be expanded greatly, with mindfulness and practice.

Premonition and similar 'sixth sense' things are something that I am not going to dismiss outright- simply because I have experienced them myself, and trust my own guts and hunches. In fact, I've learned the hard way not to ignore them. That awareness of Connectedness- no matter what you call it- is essential for survival, and even happiness. While it still cannot be measured in conventional ways, it is way too pervasive in human culture to be dismissed outright.

Sadly, because this particular thing cannot be rationally quantified or measured, it becomes wide open for charlatans and scammers to exploit, and they often do. There are about 1000 false prophets, seers, and psychics (people who have taken a genuine talent and have run way out on a limb with it) for every genuine one (who generally do not talk about it), and their noise, flash, come-ons and falsehoods tend to drown out the quieter dialogues of the genuine articles. One of the purposes of this community will be to differentiate between the scammers and the real ones. We'll separate the 'woo-woo' from the 'woo-hoo'.

Here's the catch, though- we all have these capabilities- of premonition, prediction, of sensing the patterns and knowing something is out of whack- and it gets better as we get older. These capabilities can be cultivated, and in my position as an occasional metaphysical teacher, I encourage my students to keep journals of dreams, hunches, premonitions, etc. to have a physical reference to the often nebulous world. This increases and reinforces both their confidence and their trust in their abilities to apprehend subtle things- especially when the 'hits' begin to out number the 'misses'.

So, I encourage the readers here to consider starting a 'hunch' journal. Keep score. Learn how to cultivate it- this talent will come in handy when the craziness is thick on the ground. It will enable you to become a Light in the darkness, a place of trust and courage.

I started this community on a hunch. I understood that there was a lot of misunderstanding about both 2012 and the world in general, and with things seeming to be retreating into darkness, I felt moved to use my particular talents to create a place of light and measured reason. "Measured reason" does not dismiss metaphysical things outright, but it subjects them to the same rigorous examination as everything else. Will it pass the 'smell' and the 'extraordinary proof' tests?

What premonitions do you have- especially about the next next 3 or 4 years? What drew you here, besides curiosity? Why not talk about your own premonitions- put them down, tag them with 'premonition' and we'll come back from time to time and comb through them. Use your own journal, too- get yourself 'fit' by exercising your mind. Perhaps you'll thank me later.
How to survive flood, famine, flu, and financial catastrophe

Neil Strauss has a tough assignment ahead of him- survive the worst:

Like any good journalist he documented his journey in The Game’s successor, Emergency. Emergency works both as a gold-standard piece of gonzo journalism, with Strauss sharing the extraordinary lives and motivations of his subjects, and as a detailed manual on how to prepare yourself before the long wild party of civilisation comes to a messy end.

Longer chapters detailing his quest to transform himself from an effete, deskbound writer to a self-reliant woodsman are interpolated with short two-page comic strip ‘how to’ segments on everything from evasive driving to sawing through plastic handcuffs with a pair of shoelaces.

I’m here today, at a self-sufficient farm outside Guildford, to get a small flavour of Neil’s research. Despite the jeremiads you might see in some of the more excitable newspapers, the chance that ours will be generation that sees a colossal social collapse like the Fall of the Roman Empire or a pandemic on the scale of the Black Death is still reassuringly slim.

How Neil Strauss became Mr. Doom

10 End of the World Survival Essentials
Today's Salon magazine (daypass or subscription required) has a pair of articles that address pandemics and 'killer plague movies'.

Pandemic Pandemonium

The word "pandemic" comes from the Greek "pandemos," meaning, "of all the people." It may not simply be coincidence that the word "pandemonium"-- uproar and noise -- comes right after it in the dictionary. Pandemonium was actually a literary location, chosen by Milton as the capital of hell in "Paradise Lost." Combine "of all the people" with the Greek "daemon" and you've got a chaotic situation instigated by evil spirits.

And how about the word "panic"? There's that "pan" again, although in this instance, it refers to that rambunctious Greek god Pan, whose chief talent seemed to be for creating fear and terror in lonely, isolated places. But while the word "pandemic" tends to push the panic button in most of us, it doesn't have to. At face value, a pandemic is only an epidemic over a large area. Not to be flippant with that "only," but as many medical experts have stressed in the past few weeks, a "pandemic" refers to the scope of a disease and not necessarily its severity.

If we look at what is actually happening, at this very moment, with H1N1, we have to admit not only that things are not all that bad, but also that they have, in many instances, been blown totally out of proportion. Just today, the Mexican government reported that the suspected confirmed cases of deaths in that country due to the disease are half of what the world had been led to believe and that the spread within the country has stabilized. So far, no one anywhere else has died, with the exception of the poor Houston toddler who contracted the virus in Mexico, and not everyone who is in close proximity to an infected person gets sick. And, those who do contract H1N1 tend to have mild symptoms that resolve themselves without prescription medications.

Attack of the Killer Plague Movies

The recent swine-flu headlines have done a number on many of us, playing upon our greatest fears and apprehensions. For years, scientists have been warning us that it's only a matter of time before a vaccine-resistant, untreatable virus wills itself into existence and kills -- or transforms into zombies -- almost everyone on the planet except one or ten or a hundred hardy souls. Those survivors will be forced to retreat to remote, boarded-up shacks, where they'll have to ponder the biggest moral quandaries of mankind: For example, if your mom turns into a zombie, how do you kill her?

The scientists haven't, of course, put their warnings in exactly those terms. It's their job to outline the all-too-believable possibilities, although we also have a calm president who's more interested in keeping us rational than in stirring up our worst nightmares. But there is one place to turn to for images of desolate landscapes nearly wiped clean of freethinking creatures, of feverish, suffering people who suddenly turn into something not quite human, of rational people reduced to scrabbling for survival instead of just going to Target to pick up whatever they need: the movies, capable of feeding and intensifying our worst anxieties.

We don't know if this iteration of influenza is going to do the 'zombie' thing on us or not, but we have a whole summer to stock up on supplies and movies before that happens. Of course, for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, the season is just starting. Stamp it out, will you?
I see that the population of this community has climbed a bit since the gates of Dreamwidth opened last night.

Welcome! Feel free to have a look around, get a feel for this community, and introduce yourselves. It's still early days for 2012, but my goal- our goal, since this is a communal thing- is to make this place a go-to spot for levelheaded discourse about 2102 and related subjects. So, if you run across an interesting article- whether it's a New Age or scientific, skeptical, or hysterical, come post a link, and let's talk about it.

The current H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic scare is a great starting point- how much nonsense is there, and how much fact? Is the signal getting lost in the noise? Who do we listen to, and who do we ignore? Does social media make things like this better or worse? Let's talk and learn.

And again, welcome!
It's official- we're having a genuine health emergency. Yes, only a handful of cases have popped up in the US, but the rapidity and off-season spread of this flu strain is a cause for concern, as are its victims- young, healthy people. Not babies and older people. That, and the fact that this strain was not one identified by the WHO and CDC as part of the usual human flu virus mutation, makes its potential to reach pandemic proportions even more likely.

But... It has NOT yet reached that level of infection yet. Yes, it is an epidemic in Mexico City, and yes, it's 'out of the bag' as it were. It's popping up in California, Texas, New York, Kansas, New Zealand, and the UK. Containment is now just a wishful desire on the part of the authorities. Science Blogs goes further:

Now for the zombie idea (promoted to some extent by WHO) that we could ever bottle up an incipient flu pandemic by containing it at the source. As we have pointed out here too many times to count, that never was in the cards for a disease that hides itself in the background noise of prevalent respiratory disease, is difficult to diagnose, and for which there is little good surveillance in most countries. But because it was held out as a possibility, there is a faint whiff of recrimination in current news accounts. First, the premise as seen in a piece from Bloomberg:

The virus has already evaded the first line of defense that health officials had hoped to use against a pandemic. International flu experts preparing for a pandemic had planned to contain the initial outbreak of a new, lethal strain of flu. The swine flu virus has already spread so far in Mexico and the U.S. that the containment strategy is out of the question, said Anne Schuchat, interim deputy director for science and public health programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Atlanta-based U.S. agency.

“We don’t think we can contain the spread of this virus,” she said yesterday in a conference call with reporters. (John Lauerman, Jason Gale, Bloomberg)

Hey, it's sneezin' season around our part of the world, so this flu could easily hide in the population.

The Internet can be a two-edged sword, and often what the authorities say is different than what the people on the scene are experiencing. Take these comments to the BBC from people in Mexico. Some of them are pretty scary, and I am willing to bet the the majority are factual. Still, there is no real way to verify the veracity of the commenters- and unmoderated, unverified comments like these are what can crank an incident totally out of proportion. But they can also become a resource- a well of unfiltered information.

In this situation, what do you do? Find that third way. Find that verifiable resource. Go to people and places you trust, and use your judgment. Educate yourself. Knowledge always trumps fear, but make sure what you learn and know is sound.

It will always boil down to the individual and small group in situations like this. Hopefully, you have a network of family and friends and colleagues you can trust to get you through these times. Be it a pandemic, social or economic problems, natural disaster or something totally out of the blue, preparedness is key to getting through it.

Here is the Get Pandemic Ready page. There is a lot of good information here. Use it, and share it.

But the concept of preparedness goes deeper than having the right stuff on hand for an emergency situation. Are you mentally prepared? Are you reseliant and strong enough to weather whatever comes your way? Mental preparedness is as vital, if not moreso, than physical preparedness. A tornado could come along and blow your stuff away, or a flood could wash it away. Or someone could steal it, or you could find yourself in a place outside your normal area when something hits. Are you prepared? Are you mentally agile enough to adapt to changing conditions? It's like driving- if someone's lawn chair comes flying off the back of the pickup in front of you, what will you do?

Always be situationally aware. So many of us- including me- can drift through a day in a half dreaming state, and not notice when something is out of whack. Start practicing awareness, learn what is normal and what is not. I walked through a meeting of EMTs and LE people yesterday, and the slide on the wall got my attention. It asked, "What is different? Sound? Smell? Attitude of people- Tense, scared, angry? Number of people? Are they all looking at something? What?"

I love to listen to the radio or music while driving, but sometimes I'll turn it off and listen to the car. Are there any noises that are different? Vibrations? Engine sounds? I never walk and talk while on the phone unless I am in my home. In a store, I'll stop and stand, because I know my attention is diluted. And I never wear earphones anyplace but in an aircraft or some other relatively safe place, because I want to hear the 'tone' of the place I am in.

I've drifted a bit, but my hope is to help equip you with some things to think about and do if this situation does break out into a pandemic, rather than burn out in isolated communities. One of my own colleagues is ill at home with what we thought were just allergies- but his allergy meds didn't touch them. Is it flu? We don't know. I've been experiencing swollen glands and spiked a fever last night. I'm OK now, but what is my body fighting?

Pay attention to your health, and that of family and friends. This flu is scary because it does not target the usual flu victims- babies and elderly people- it's taking down healthy adults. That alone is why this is so alarming. And it's been hiding in plain sight for over a month, long enough to create long lines of transmission.

Keep your eyes open and yourself informed. And stay well.
As 2012 edges into our collective world, more and more alarming items will accompany it- books, documentaries, movies, talk, cults, news reports, etc. The stress levels we're already undergoing with the current economy will pale in comparison, and if our economy is still in crisis (and reliable sources say that this is a distinct possibility), the additional fear-pressure of 2012 will add that much more gasoline to the fire.

The bombardment of memes will be hard and fast. There will be facts mixed in with the nonsense, and cons, predators, and cults of every conceivable sort will take advantage of the craziness.

How can you cope? How can you counter all the stuff that is going to be flying at you? What is real, and what is nonsense? Can you sucker-proof yourself and your family and friends?

It is possible, but it takes persistence and knowledge. Both are major aids in coping with the madness and getting through the storm with your sanity relatively intact.

Knowledge is power. I'm going to say that a lot, but it is something I not only believe in, but understand for a fact. If fear is the mind-killer, knowledge is the antidote, the fear-killer. The more you know, the less you'll be afraid- or, if you are afraid, it will be of realistic things, like tornadoes, floods, and solar storms. Those things can be prepared for- mentally, as well as physically.

But man-made disasters often outnumber natural ones, and those are the real boogieman you have to be ready for. I'm not talking only about famine and riots, but the more subtle and dangerous events- like mass movements and the like. In normal times, most of these are harmless, sweeping as fads across countries and cultures. They grow, max out, and fade. So do the more virulent ones, like political and religious movements and personality cults- but they leave far more damage in their wake than a few dusty Hula Hoops or pet rocks. One does not need to rewind history too far to run into what happened to Germany prior to World War II- and that is only one of many toxic events in human history. But it is an example of how a toxic meme can take over and destroy a country and culture.

How are these memes created and spread? Mostly through deliberate programming- using techniques garnered from Neuro-linguistic programming and good old-fashioned mental manipulation. It isn't as obvious as being tied to a chair with a strong light trained on you- no, you are softened up for it, and actually end up craving the experience:

So, to begin, I want to share a basic fact about brainwashing: IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF MAN, NO ONE HAS EVER BEEN BRAINWASHED AND REALIZED, OR BELIEVED, THAT HE HAD BEEN BRAINWASHED. Those who have been brainwashed will usually passionately defend their manipulators, claiming they have simply been "shown the light" ... or have been transformed in miraculous ways.

Think about that carefully. Then, make sure that you read The Battle For Your Mind in its entirety.

No one is immune to these things. Not even me- and I've been studying this for years. Yet, I can still fall for it- as I did not too many weeks ago when a telemarketer convinced me to add three years to my Herb Quarterly subscription. I nodded along and agreed to do it, then realized that I'd been had after I'd hung up. He started off with a 'yes series' of questions, and I was on the hook. I did cancel the order later, but I was furious at myself for falling for it. I was home resting while on some heavy meds- but that isn't an excuse. Just don't answer the phone if you're on major painkillers! They say that you should not sign any documents or make any decisions within three days of having anesthesia- and they mean it!

So, you may not be immune to these things, but if you are aware that they are being used, you can at least stand up to them, of find some sort of diversion. The major signs to look for are media saturation, aggressive promotion, outrageous claims, huge crowds and continuous reinforcement. You can implement some personal coping rules to keep you away from the worst of it. Here are some of mine:

-If it's seems too good to be true, it probably is.

-Do your homework- learn all you can, especially early on, before any revisions are made.

-If they are pursuing you- either by phone, email, mail, or otherwise, they may not have your best interests in mind. Don't be afraid to say 'no', and more than once.

-Do not forget that legitimate entities (like the government) sometimes use these tactics to spread information or gather it. Don't let hysteria make you do something really rude to the census takers. (Yes, there is a US Census coming next year. Learn what their badges look like, and watch out for their forms- as well as the fakers.) If in doubt, call the authorities- city, state, government- they'll know. Become familiar with your State Attorney General's consumer hotlines, and those of the federal government.

-It's sad to say this, but if you are poor, live in a poor neighborhood or in a zip code that is considered 'poor', you will be more heavily targeted by predators out to steal your money or identity. (Predators believe that poor= stupid, uneducated and/or desperate, so they prey heavily upon them.) Be aware of this, and let your neighbors know, too. I've received nearly a dozen solicitations- some very cleverly crafted to reel in vulnerable and desperate people- from a certain 'church' in Oklahoma. All of my neighbors reported the same thing. Our neighborhood was being targeted and saturated by this fake church, simply because it was considered a 'poor' neighborhood.

If you empower yourself with knowledge, you can dispel fear and 'sucker-proof both yourself and your family, friends, and neighbors.
The whole 2012 phenomenon may have a relatively singular source, but it has spun off many related elements. In fact, 2012 itself is an element of eschatological behavior- the latest in a long series probably dating from the dawn of humanity.

Still, there are commmunities and forces that require a closer examination, because their activities will color things as the year approaches and the accompanying hysteria grows. And no one is better capable of generating mass hysteria than certain newer sects of Christianity- the Neo-Pentacostal and New Apostalic Reformation, especially. Some are calling this 'Third Wave' Christianity- but it bears very little resemblance to old-line Christianity. Their services are dramatic and emotional, full of sound, fury, light and noise, deliberately designed to knock a person out of their rational minds, and keep them coming back for more. Their numbers are rapidly growing around the world.

This article goes into more depth about these sects, and their behavior and impact:

Fighting demons, raising the dead, taking over the world?

I believe that if fear is the mind-killer, knowledge is the antidote- bringing both power and killing fear. Getting to know who the fear-generators are will do a lot to dilute their influence as things progress.
Live Science has a scientific take on all the things that are happening to this planet. They even have a "Strange News" with a "Bad Scientist" column that I am sure will provide both humor and levelheadedness as 2012 grows in our awareness.

World to end in 2012- (Check back for updates)

It seems quaint now, but as the last century came to a close, there was fear of the "Y2K bug," the computer programming glitch that supposedly was going to bring the world to its knees as the millennium turned. The news media ran alarmist stories of possible consequences, ranging from the timing on your coffeemaker being off to a global nuclear war started by mistakenly-launched missiles.

While most people were only mildly concerned, many stocked up on survival gear, and some even headed to remote areas to wait out the impending holocaust.

And it wasn't just the Y2K bug; there were dozens of predictions that the world would end in 2000 (just as there had been a century earlier — some things never change). For example, author Richard Noone decided that the planets would align catastrophically almost exactly eight years ago, on May 5, 2000. The result would be the end of civilization through the melting and shifting of the polar icecaps.

Noone was so concerned about it he wrote a book titled "5/5/2000: Ice, The Ultimate Disaster." (About 18 months before doomsday, I interviewed Mr. Noone about his book and prophecy; when we concluded, I asked if we could arrange a follow-up interview on May 6, 2000, just in case the world didn't end. He declined. Noone's book is currently for sale on for 1 cent.)

Penny for your thoughts?

Here are some other good articles from Live Science:

Ten Ways to destroy the Earth

And to remind us that we really need to get out more: People need to play more- adults, not just kids!

Top Ten Unexplained Phenomena

And to keep your feet (and mind) firmly grounded, visit A Brief History of the Apocalypse, so you can see how many times they've gotten it wrong.
Here's the New Scientist article that the Daily Mail riffed upon in the post below. Only the location has been changed...

Space Storm Alert: 90 seconds to Catastrophe

It goes into even more depth and detail than the Mail article does- citing why it might take years to recover from a major solar storm- things like the innards of large transformers are not simple to make or replace, and there are not many laying around as spares.
From the Daily Mail (UK): Meltdown! A solar superstorm could send us back into the dark ages- and one is due in just THREE years!
[Headline copied verbatim! --ed]

Oh, my fuzzy ears and whiskers- what a headline! Have a taste of the article:

The catastrophe, when it comes, will be beautiful at first. It is a balmy evening in late September 2012. Ever since the sun set, the dimming skies over London have been alive with fire.

Pillars of incandescent green writhe like gigantic serpents across the skies.

Sheets of orange race across the horizon during the most spectacular display of the aurora borealis seen in southern England for 153 years.

And then, 90 seconds later, the lights start to go out. Not the lights in the sky - they will dazzle until dawn - but the lights on the ground.

Within an hour, large parts of Britain are without power.

By midnight, every mobile network is down and the internet is dying. Television - terrestrial and satellite - blinks off the air.

Radio is reduced to a burst of static.

By noon the following day, it is clear something terrible has happened and the civilised world has plunged into chaos.

A year later, Britain, most of Europe plus North America is in the grip of the deepest economic catastrophe in history.

By the end of 2013, 100,000 Europeans have died of starvation.

The dead go unburied, the sick untreated.

It will take two decades or more for the first green shoots of recovery to appear - recovery from the first solar superstorm in modern history.

This catastrophe is not some academic one-in-a-million chance scenario.

It is a very real threat which, according to a report in the latest issue of New Scientist, remains one of the most potent, yet least recognised, threats to the future of human civilisation.

Moreover, it is something that has happened before - not that long ago - and indeed has the potential to arrive every 11 years.

So what actually is it?

Solar storms do not normally cause much concern. Swarms of electrically charged subatomic particles from the Sun periodically buffet the Earth and its surroundings, causing health worries for astronauts and the owners of satellites, whose delicate electronics can be fried.

But down on the surface, cocooned under an ocean of air, we rarely notice more than the pretty lights in the sky, created as the electrically charged particles from the Sun sweep into the Earth's own magnetic field to generate the Northern and Southern Lights.

But every now and then, the Sun is convulsed by a gigantic tempest: 50,000-mile-wide eddies of boiling hydrogen plasma on its surface ejecting a billion-tonne, malevolent blob of crackling-charged gas into space at a million miles an hour.

And, very occasionally, one of these mighty coronal mass ejections, as they are called, smacks into the Earth head-on.

This last happened on the morning of September 1, 1859.

In spite of the unfortunately lurid headline, this is actually a pretty good, and yes, factual article. There's more to it, and it's definitely worth taking the time to read in its entirety, and if you keep archives, to archive [note to self- start 2012 article archive collection]. I don't know how long the Daily Mail keeps its articles available, but there is plenty to read about solar storms, the solar cycle, and the upcoming Solar Max, which is what is being described in this article. And yes, we'll be reaching Solar Max in 2012.

Most people don't realize that the Sun is such an active component to our lives- but it is. If it chooses to spit out a coronal mass discharge in our direction, there's not a damn thing we can do about it. Considering that the protective magnetic field around our planet, which acts as a blast shield for such things- is rapidly weakening, this is going to be an interesting time.


2012: (Default)
2012: Investigating the Possibilities

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