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The true dangers of December 21, 2012

18 Dec 2012, 19:34 UTC
The true dangers of December 21, 2012
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

December 21, 2012. The end of the world. Mayan calendars. Rogue planets. Asteroids. Pole shifts. Magnetic madness. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling.
Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave.
Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria! (Venkmann et al, 1984)

As a scientist, it is very tempting to dismiss these ideas out of hand and without a word (or with a few humorous statements before moving on to real science). There is absolutely no scientific basis to any of the over-the-top scenarios being touted as certain to happen this Friday. Granted, a few of the scenarios (like asteroid impacts or solar flares) have a needle or two of science deep in the hyperbolic haystack, but that science has been distorted and twisted to serve utterly non-scientific ends. The sun will rise on December 22, and no creature on this planet besides a few humans will be surprised by that development.

No, the true dangers of this Friday lie with us humans. NASA scientists have been getting emails and calls from genuinely worried children and teachers of those children. Many of us adults are comfortable ...

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