Archive for the ‘End of the World’ Category

English: Lunar libration. see below for more d...

Today is December 12, 2012.
It is also the 28th of Kislev, 5773 in the Jewish Calendar.
It is also the 28 of Muharram, 1434 according to Islamic Calendar.
And of course, it is 12.19.19.17.11 according to the Mayan Calendar.

People are funny animals.  We look for patterns. What looks like a pattern in on system of organization may mean absolutely nothing, in another.

Because we look for patterns, because we are biologically designed to look for patterns, we sometimes see patterns where there really isn’t anything, but randomness or an artifact of a system of organization. (more…)

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20121209-113844.jpg

I saw this post on Facebook this morning and honestly could not believe what I was reading. I am amazed at how uninformed and misinformed people truly are.

Ok, so let me run down the list and explain all of those and how wrong each actually is.

In no particular order here goes:

First up, Planet X. Planet X was at one point the designation for Pluto, since then it has been used for the dwarf planets of Quar, Xion, and 2 others. All if these dwarf planets are 30+ AUs (Astronomical Unit). There has not been anything with the designation of Planet X in the scientific community in more than 10 years. Planet X is a generic term used by astronomers over the past century for any unknown or hypothesized planets beyond Pluto. (more…)

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With all the doomsday talk, I figure its time for an alternative and slightly brighter possibility that is rarely talked about.
H stone wall at Pumka Punka
All over the world there are shining examples of great feats that were accomplished 10,000 – 20,000 years ago, presumably without anything but stone tools. A good example of this is at Pumka Punka (see image to the right). After close examination of the cuts even with the exposure to the elements all of the cuts are perfect 90 degree angles. The tools needed to create such intricate cuts would be along the lines of a laser or a high speed diamond saw. Even with these tools under a microscope the cuts are still cleaner and with no striations or whirls. Our most advanced cutting tools are not capable of making cuts this precise. 17,000 years ago the tools would not have been even a figment of someones imagination.

Ancient Egyptian Astronaut CarvingEgyptian Space Shuttle CarvingAnother curiosity point is the carvings of what appears to be astronauts found in Egypt and dated to be more than 9,000 years old more than resemble our own modern space suits. In addition models of what resembles the recently retired NASA space shuttle have been found from around the same time. Both of these indicate a level of technology or at the very least a level of understanding far beyond the technology of the time.

There are references in the Mayan culture, Egyptian culture and many others concerning “visitors from the sky”. Throughout ancient history these references occur over and over again. While there are plenty of allusions to “visitors” coming to our planet there are a handful that mention those visitors leaving and yet others that refer to their return. However all of these references stop fairly recently. If aliens do exist (the probability of us being alone in the universe is very low in all reality) and have visited us in the past why would they suddenly stop? Well here are a couple possibilities.

EarthFirst, they observed us in the past during our more primitive stages and we have now hit a point where they are no longer interested in us. If this scenario where to be correct, likely if we ever develop faster than light travel, we will see them again.

Second, they observed us in the open, and are now doing so in secret as to not hamper our natural progress (think some kind of cloak to allow them to walk amongst us while remaining undetected).

Third, our planet was a stop off point where raw materials could be gathered. Gold is universally useful in electronics including data storage, our planet and star system is also rich in many other resources that might be useful to a space fairing civilization. If they were extracting resources from other places in our solar system, our planet might have been little more than a tourist stop (a zoo if you will).

Forth, something has prevented them from returning, an interstellar war for example may have interfered with research style missions.

By now one would assume that would have overheard some kind of communication traffic at the very least right? A possible explanation could be that they may not use the kinds of communication that we understand for example, radio frequency transmissions might have been replaced for them by something faster considering that they have to travel thousands of light years, a faster form of communication would be needed. For a standard radio wave based signal to get from Mars to Earth takes around 30 minutes, and thats our closest neighboring planet. For star systems as far away as our closest neighbor (Alpha/Proxima Centauri) the signal would take almost 5 years.

Mayan CalendarThe 5,125 year-old Mayan calendar suddenly comes to an end, resetting to 0.0.0.0 on December 21, 2012. The Mayan information about this doesn’t precisely say the end of the world, it boils down to the end of an era or age, the calendar resets not really ends. If taken to be that December 21st 2012 will be the end of an age, perhaps it will be that the age that ends is us believing we are alone in the universe. The possibility that late this December we wake up to find that we are not and have never been alone is not quite as remote as we might think. Water has been found light years away, and even in our own star system on Mercury. This is just a possible scenario, one a little less doom and gloom. While this may not happen, none of it may happen, or all. No one knows and no one will until we get there. However the human capacity to always assume the worst case scenario doesn’t always serve us well.

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Active volcano Mount St. Helens shortly after ...

Today’s End-of-the-World scenario? Super volcanoes are massive and release several hundred times the energy of a nuclear bomb.

Regular volcanoes are devastating, people generally think of Mount Saint Helens or Mount Vesuvius at Pompeii. These are big and devastating events capable of wiping out everything hundreds of miles. But they are only the opening act.

Caldera volcanoes also known as super volcanoes are orders of magnitude worse. There are 3 known super volcanoes in the world. One is extinct, the others simply sleeping. Sumatra and Yellowstone (yes under the park) are sleeping giants waiting to unleash their deadly force and capable of ending life as we know it.

Volcanic Explosivity Index volume graph

Volcanic Explosivity Index volume graph (Image credit Wikipedia)

The last super volcano eruption nearly caused the extinction of the human race. Sumatra lies off the coast of Japan. When it erupted 73,000 years ago it released enough ash to cause darkness over the earth for days. With a VEI (Volcanic explosivity index) of 8 out of 8, it destroyed all life in its path. Primitive humans that survived were cut off and isolated.

Yellowstone caldera super volcano lies under Yellowstone national park. It’s energy drives the geysers and other geothermal phenomenon. It however is a ticking time bomb beneath out feet. Slightly larger than Sumatra it hasn’t erupted for more than 200,000 years. Recent ground swelling indicates that the magma chamber is growing quickly. Geologically it should be, we are over due by more than 64,000 years for an eruption.

English: A diagram of the Yellowstone Caldera

When it does erupt (and yes it’s a matter of when not if), it will blow hundreds of thousands of tons of ash into the atmosphere, pyro clastic flows will engulf the surrounding states. The energy released will vaporize anything with in a hundred mile radius, the lava will consume everything for easily 200 miles. The ash clouds however will cause the most damage. With 1-3 feet of ash falling inside a 400 mile radius and 2-8 inches of ash falling as far away as South Carolina. The dust particles will charge the atmosphere, blot out the sun for days, and alter weather across the globe. When the rains come (and they will come like no one alive has seen) all that ash and dust will basically turn into concrete, and don’t breathe the ash, the moisture in your lungs with cause the same effect, and it’s hard to breathe with your lungs full of cement. Don’t live in the US? Think you’ll be safe? Nope, the ash will make it to the upper atmosphere and ash will fall in Europe, Russia, Australia, etc. affecting the weather patters across the globe. No one will be safe from this sleeping giant.

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