DOOMSDAY 2012: THE TRUTH & THE LUNACY

With the Y2K non-event well behind us, there are many these days that have effectively zeroed-in on yet another upcoming date as the focus of their fear and fascination – December 21, 2012. In case you are a part of the minority who are unfamiliar with that date, it marks the end of the 13th B’ak’tun cycle in the Long Count of the ancient Mayan calendar and, more ominously, it is the date on which the calendar itself abruptly ends. Coupled with the facts that the Mayans exhibited knowledge of astronomy and mathematics far beyond that which we had previously believed them capable and that some interpreters claim to have deciphered accurate predictions of future events described within the calendar, many believe this abrupt ending is itself a foretelling – that December 21, 2012 is the date of the Apocalypse.

One can only wonder why it is that throughout history mankind has repeatedly chosen this date or that as the coming end, only to see those dates come and go uneventfully time after time. That is a question best left to others more qualified than I to examine the psychology of the phenomenon. Instead, it is my intention through this series of articles to examine a few of the more prevalent and widely-espoused theories of just what it is people expect to happen in 2012.

Perhaps the most widely-known and yet also the strangest theory is the belief in the upcoming return to our solar system of a large planet or perhaps a very small star commonly referred to as Planet X.

Planet X is supposedly in an elongated, elliptical orbit in the earth’s own solar system; this is the theory proposed by author Zecharia Sitchin. It is his belief that the human race was visited by a group of aliens in ancient times. He claims to have discovered this through affecting his own retranslations of ancient Sumerian texts (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothetical_astronomical_object_(non-scientific)#Planets_proposed_by_Zecharia_Sitchin), but these claims are universally derided by established professional scientists, historians, and archaeologists.

Sitchin proposed that the Asteroid Belt, our moon, and in fact Earth itself was formed as a result of a catastrophic collision of Nibiru (which, by many accounts, supposedly orbits Planet X as a moon) and a thriving world that once existed between Mars and Jupiter called Tiamat sometime between 65 million and 4 billion years ago. Likewise, he asserts that the body we know as Pluto began its existence as a moon of Saturn known as Gaga before being flung out to its current location by the gravitational disruptions caused by all this. Further, the author attributes the creation of the ancient Sumerian culture to the “Annunaki” (or “Nephilim”), a race of aliens who live on Nibiru.

The bones of the theory is that it is the impending approach of these celestial bodies that is the culprit behind all the weirdness we’re seeing in the solar system recently, and that as they get closer things will get even worse before climaxing in some terrible calamity around 2012.

But, like most other outlandish theories, the more independent research you do the less likely they seem. First off, the information I described above is actually a melding of two separate claims by two separate individuals that occurred over time via websites and internet bulletin boards.

Zecharia Sitchin is responsible for the creation of Nibiru, but it was years later that the concept of Planet X was presented. Planet X was “invented” by a woman named Nancy Leider who is a self-proclaimed “contactee” who says she channels messages from extra-terrestrials called Zetas via an implant in her brain. She claims she was chosen to deliver a warning to mankind that Planet X would sweep through the solar system in May 2003, resulting in a magnetic pole shift that would cause great destruction. Her vehicle to deliver this message was through her website ZetaTalk that she started in the mid-1990s (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zetatalk). And then, as I said, the two theories were nitpicked and melded together by the internet community to form this hybrid amalgamation of amateur doomsday drivel. In fact, Sitchin himself vehemently disagreed with Lieder’s claims of impending global cataclysm.

In my opinion, Nancy Leider is at best an odd duck and not someone I would personally put any faith in; and, at worst, she may very well be suffering from some form of paranoid schizophrenia complete with delusions of persecution and voices in her head. Her explanation, by the way, for why the end did not come in 2003? The aliens deliberately gave her a false date in order to confuse the “elites.” She then claimed they would give her more information after the 2008 election but quickly backtracked on that as well.

What a nut bag!

So, if you’ve been sitting up on the internet at night worrying about the approach of the dreaded Planet X or Nibiru or whatever it’s called, take a deep breath and let the crazy out. They do not exist.

For more information, see http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/planetx/index.html.

We’ll be examining our next theory of 2012 doom tomorrow in Part 2 of this series.

In the first installment of this series I examined the “Planet X Theory” that dominates a large part of the 2012 Doomer’s attentions and tried to show why I believe it is nonsense. Still, this is only one of the many differing ideas that attempt to pinpoint the nature of what form the supposedly approaching apocalypse will take. In today’s article, I will delve into another of these ideas, complete with my own research and opinions.

Another theory of the “2012 Apocalypse” asserts that a shifting of Earth’s magnetic poles could be triggered as a result of a reduction of Earth’s inherent magnetism. And, oddly enough, scientific findings seem to indicate that such a reduction or shrinking is actually occurring and has been for quite some time. In fact, it is accepted that the intensity of our planet’s magnetic field has been weakening for the past 2,000 years and has declined better than 10 percent over the last 150 years alone (source: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/earth_magnetic_031212.html).

One part of this theory that can be immediately discarded is the frequent mention on online sites claiming NASA sources have admitted to something of this nature being predicted to occur in 2012. Like most untruths, this one finds its basis in a kernel of fact. The shift to which NASA is referring to is in regards to the sun, which shifts its polarity about every eleven years (this occurred last in 2001 and will occur next in 2012). It is a wholly normal event that very rarely affects our lives at all, mostly being a nuisance for satellites and radio operators. Still, that small bit of debunking only removes a piece of information that proponents of this theory use to try to cement their beliefs; it does not discredit the theory itself, and so we must continue in our examination.

The Earth has an iron core that creates a magnetic effect as it spins, much like any electromagnetic motor. Believers in this theory pose the question: what happens when you switch the polarity on such a motor? The answer being that it results in a reversal of rotation. Armed with that, their theory asserts that the Earth’s metallic core would follow this same rule. I must admit that does, at the very least, sound logical to me, but I say that with the caveat that the science involved is way above my head. Next, they remind us of the fact that our planet’s iron core is surrounded by a molten liquid layer and then a hot plastic layer that moves easily under pressure. It is for these reasons that they believe that – rather than total destruction of all life – this sudden reversal would create massive coastal tsunamis, huge Earthquakes and other phenomena for a short period as the planet rights itself.

In detail, they theorize that when the inner core reverses directions the liquid mantel will act just like any other liquid in a similar situation and start to swirl, eventually causing tension in the crust and resulting in major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions all over the world. Then, cue the hurricane-like winds caused by the facts that the winds would now be blowing in an opposite direction to the earth’s spin. Then come the tsunamis as the crust and the core spin out of sink with each other, causing the oceans to buffet first the leading edge of the continents moving in new directions and then recede back into their basins and wash up over the opposite shore of each continent.

On the surface, this theory sounds not entirely outside the realm of possibility. Unlike many others, it is strengthened by seemingly accurate or at least plausible science, even though the debunking I accomplished above could be argued to remove this theory from the 2012 discussion altogether by destroying the NASA/2012 connection. Still, it seems perhaps to hold water as a generic Doomsday scenario. The problem here is that the people who espouse this theory also often try to strengthen their argument by pointing to the ancient worldwide flood myths, et al. There is where it sort of falls apart for me. Unless science is completely off its rocker and missing this call big time (which I’ll admit is possible), the last time Earth experienced a pole-shift was around 780,000 years ago (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomagnetic_reversal) long before it is commonly-accepted that man has existed upon the earth. The point being that, even if you believe in the possibility of the flood (which I do), it is a bit of a stretch to blame it on a pole-shift. Also, it is interesting that none of the major scientifically-accepted historical extinction events coincides with the times of previous pole-shifts.

In my opinion, the only way you can give credence to this theory is if you also subscribe to at least one of the many “hidden history of mankind” theories that claim previous civilizations existed and were lost to memory long before the blossoming of what we currently believe were the first great societies of man. To my mind, that would be necessary in order to explain how people were here to observe an occurrence as remote as the last pole-shift. It simply isn’t logical to believe in one and not the other. You must be willing to accept the one before you even consider the other.

With that being said, and in addition to the facts stated earlier in this article regarding the false NASA information, I don’t consider this particular theory as a viable one any more than I did all the Planet X mumbo-jumbo. Honestly, I do have to confess that I’ve been intrigued by some of the things I’ve read on the “hidden history” subject, so I won’t totally discount the possibility. For me though, any time the likelihood of an idea being proven true is dependent on so many other things also falling into place the odds are not in its favor. My advice would be to file this one away with the many other possible but unlikely doomsday scenarios, such as comet impacts, supernovas, et cetera.

In part two of this ongoing Doomsday 2012 series, I described to you the “Magnetic Pole-Shift Theory,” and explained why I do not believe it is a theory one should concern themselves overly with. I also attempted to make the argument for why I believe it doesn’t even really belong as a member of the family of theories revolving around what is going to happen to mankind in the year 2012.

Today I present a third belief held by many 2012 Doomers: Coronal Mass Ejection.

A Coronal Mass Ejection or CME is defined as an ejection of material from the solar corona (source: http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronal_mass_ejection). This material is, in fact, a huge cloud of hot plasma that may accelerate ions and electrons and is often preceded by a shock front. It is when that shock reaches Earth that a magnetic storm can result (source: arc.iki.rssi.ru/mirrors/stern/Education/wgloss.html).

People who believe that this is what we have in store for us in 2012 point to evidence of huge conflagrations caused by some atmospheric event in Earth’s distant past (source: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11909). Current scientific theory suggests that the event described in the source article was caused by an exploding comet, but these people assert that the same affect could occur from a very large CME.

Author and researcher Dr. Paul LaViolette points to odd areas on the surface of the moon that have been turned into glass, which is obviously a result of the application of an extreme source of heat. This phenomenon was documented first by other scientists and it is accepted as fact that they do not correspond to meteor strikes[1]. LaViolette believes that when the sun is super-energized and at the peak of its cycle it is capable of producing CMEs that are more intense than any ever witnessed by the modern world. If such a blast was aimed directly at Earth, he theorizes, it could take as little as a few hours to get here and could become trapped magnetically against the atmosphere of the planet[2].

Were this to occur, proponents of this theory claim, it would manifest itself as a massive reddish-orange form with streaks of dark material and swirling eddies of flame or energy and it would lay against the upper atmosphere, while tongues of flame spread downward so far that they actually touch the ground in some areas and scorch the Earth’s surface. They point to ancient Hindu scriptures that describe the god Shiva as having multiple appendages and applying to him the titles of “The Destroyer” and “The Transformer” of the world in order to strengthen their case. They also point out the puzzling archeological evidence that has unearthed some mammoths that died so suddenly they still had the unswallowed food in their mouths that they were chewing when they died and theorize that this is due to the fact they suffocated when one of the huge flaming tendrils got too close and sucked all the oxygen out of the surrounding area. And, going even further, they use the Bible to make their case as well: Mal. chapter 4 “the day cometh that shall burn as an oven;” Rev. chapter 8 “there followed hail and fire mingled with blood and they were cast upon the Earth and the third part of trees was burnt up and all green grass was burnt up” and chapter 16 “angel poured out his vial upon the sun and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire and men were scorched with great heat.”

The fact is that there are strange things going on in our little corner of the universe these days. It is a fact, though not widely spoken of outside scientific circles, that other planets are experiencing warming, not just Earth (source: http://www.livescience.com/environment/070312_solarsys_warming.html). Now, I’m sure our behavior as a species hasn’t done much to help the situation, but you’re going to have to work pretty hard to convince me that driving an SUV on Earth is causing Global Warming on other planets. And, as if that weren’t enough, apparently the Heliosphere, a sort of egg-shaped bubble that surrounds our solar system and protects us from cosmic radiation is mysteriously disappearing and NASA has launched a probe to try and learn more (source: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/23sep_solarwind.htm). There is interesting research that I believe might explain some of this. It suggests that everything we are seeing is cyclical and that Earth experiences various different affects based on the relative location of the Milky Way Galaxy as it travels through the universe (source: http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/sep252008/714.pdf). In my opinion, this may be an explanation for everything from past ice ages to mass extinctions in the fossil record to the current warming we are experiencing.

Another intriguing thing about the CME theory or, more accurately, Dr. LaViolette’s theory that it has happened before is that I was able to find very little evidence online of major criticism from other scientists. Now, that could mean that he isn’t considered important enough to warrant such criticism or it could be a sign that no one has been able to refute his work.

Either way though, it seems to me that the only thing really tying any of this specifically to the year 2012 is a desire to do so on the part of believers. Yes, the sun will be at the peak of its cycle in 2012, but it was at that same peak in 2001 and 1990 and further, because it happens every 11 years. Yes, there are odd things going on, and we do not yet have any explanation for some of it, but none of it points to 2012 with any specificity whatsoever. This is a doomsday scenario that could possibly happen, but it could possibly happen in 2020, the year 3000, or quite possibly never.

In many ways, this article may seem a continuation of the last installment in this series because– like part three– it will deal quite a bit with the subject of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs for short) as well as other solar phenomena. I would ask, though, that you indulge me as I attempt to present another of the many theories held to by those who believe the year 2012 will spell mankind’s doom… and explain why this is one theory perhaps we should all take a long look at before we dismiss it.

Just exactly what a CME is and how they occur was covered fairly well in the previous installment of this series, so it would be pointless to repeat that information here. What you do need to understand, however, is that CMEs are the product of solar flares. A solar flare is a massive, violent explosion that occurs in the atmosphere of a star, heating plasma to temperatures measured in the millions of degrees on the Kelvin scale and accelerating electrons, protons, and ions to velocities approaching the speed of light. Further, they are producers of all different kinds of radiation and mostly occur in the vicinity of sunspots (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_flare).

It is interesting to note that solar physicists are predicting a peak in the sunspot cycle some time around 2011 or 2012 that could produce larger than normal solar flares and CMEs. It has been theorized that some of these may carry with them the capacity to interfere with power grids and satellites in orbit (including military equipment). In fact, it has long been known that solar flares and CMEs were a hazard to not only our technology but to us as well. The radiation risks posed by these phenomena are among the major concerns in discussions of manned missions outside near-earth orbit. These phenomena release a cascade of high energy particles that can pass through the human body, resulting in serious biochemical damage to our cells (source:
http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/pubaf/pr/PR_display.asp?prID=06-10).

Despite the fact that there is a global warning system in place to attempt to mitigate any potential damage that could occur from such phenomena, very strong ejections can cover the distance from the sun to earth in a surprisingly short span; as little as a few minutes. That does not leave much room for error in a situation where the only real way to avoid the powerful surges that can overload transformers and integrated circuits is to shut down the electricity prior to the CME reaching earth.[1]

On March 13, 1989, a flare hit the North American continent and fried electric lines causing the failure of the Hydro-Quebec (Canada) power grid, effectively turning out the lights on more than six million people for several hours (source:
http://www.windows.ucar.edu/spaceweather/blackout.html). As if that weren’t bad enough, many experts believe that this outage only remained within provincial borders because it did not occur during what would be considered a peak load time for the grid. Had this happened during the summer or winter’s peak usage times, it could have spread across the northeastern United States possibly as far south as the Washington, D.C. area (source: http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/eiskappenman.html).

And then, in the latter part of 2003, a series of powerful flares fell upon northern Europe, resulting in vivid auroras and severely inhibiting both satellite technology and radio transmissions (source: ttp://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/power_outage_031031.html). A second series followed Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005 (source: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/050909_solar_flares.html).

But, neither of those examples even begins to approach the severity of an event that has come to be known as the “Solar Superstorm of 1859.” For several days leading up to September 1st of that year, numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed; the largest of these was witnessed by the British astronomer Richard Carrington and caused a massive CME to be hurled toward our planet. The result was the most powerful solar geomagnetic storm in recorded history that lasted for more than a day and caused telegraph systems all over Europe and North America to short-out, resulting in many fires (source: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/mystery_monday_031027.html). Auroras, typically thought of as being associated with the far north Arctic regions, were seen as far south as Italy and the Caribbean. In fact, the lights that appeared in the skies over the Rocky Mountains were so bright that they awoke gold miners, who began to prepare breakfast because they thought it was morning (source: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=bracing-for-a-solar-superstorm). Scientists today have been able to study the severity of this occurrence due to the fact that it left traces in the ice of Greenland (source: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7142).

The nightmare scenario with regards to all of this is to imagine what would happen if another solar storm with the ferocity of the one in 1859 were to hit us today. At the time that storm hit, the telegraph was a little over a decade old and was a technological marvel that had changed the world. Then this storm came along and brought it to its proverbial knees. Can you even imagine the level at which we– with virtually every aspect of our daily lives wrapped-up in our tech-nology– would be affected if a superstorm like the one in 1859 were to occur now? Let me tell you, it would be catastrophic.

Rolling blackouts would begin as they did in 1989, but they would not be limited to just one specific region. Without going into a great deal of technical detail, it is my understanding that the surges created would cause permanent damage to vital components such as transformers and even possibly the power generation apparatuses themselves, causing billions if not trillions of dollars in damages. But the real problem, as I understand it, is that the resources, parts, et cetera, needed to effect repairs on the fried components simply do not yet exist in the quantity required to affect such extensive repairs everywhere and at the same time. Quite simply, the lights would go out and they would stay out for a long, long time. Areas would have to be fixed and brought back online one-at-a-time over a period of not days, weeks, or months but instead years.

Imagine winters with no electric heating; no electrical appliances; running water being un-available in most areas due to no electricity to run the pumps; no way to preserve the food in your refrigerator and/or freezer or at the grocery stores either; no air conditioning in the summers – all of that and having to go to bed every night with the knowledge that it could be years before things are back to normal. The sad truth, I believe, is that the very threads of society would more than likely unravel themselves after just the first few weeks.

In closing, I should say that even though this scenario is by far the most plausible to me, I still struggle with it even being considered as a “Doomsday 2012” theory. The only thing linking the two is the forecast of the time around 2011 and 2012 representing the peak of the current sunspot cycle and even that prediction is not related to a specific date in any way. I suppose that if I had to lend credence to any of these theories, though, it would be this one as I believe it does represent a serious threat, 2012 or no 2012.

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