Well, it seems that yet another end-of-the-world prophecy has bitten the dust. Dec. 21st, 2012 – dreaded day of “the end” as supposedly fortold by the Mayan Calendar – has come and gone just like every other doomsday. Beyond citing the obvious fact that we’re still here, I cannot help but poke fun by passing along this humorous photo of arch-skeptic James Randi while he was in Cozumel, Mexico just last week :)
Posts Tagged ‘Sun’
Posted by mattusmaximus on December 22, 2012
Posted in doomsday, humor | Tagged: 2012, alignment, apocalypse, armaggedon, baktun, calendar, cosmic, Cozumel, debunking, Dec 21, December 21, doomsday, end of the world, flare, flip, James Randi, judgement day, Long Count, magnetic, magnetism, Maya, Mayan, Mexico, NASA, New Age, Nibru, Planet X, planetary, planets, poles, reversal, solar, storm, Sun, tidal forces, tides, video | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on December 10, 2012
*Sigh* I’ve said it before, but it is worth saying again…
The World is NOT Going to End on December 21st!!!
[In case you know anyone who thinks it will, please refer them to willtheworldendin2012.com :) ]
Incidentally, if common sense isn’t enough, and you happen to have some poor deluded family member or friend convinced they cannot come out of the basement until after the planet has been turned into a mutant-populated, radioactive hell, you could consider sharing this well-written article with them:
NASA says world won’t end in 2012 despite Mayan calendar
We’re less than a month away from the so-called end of the world, but NASA says you don’t have anything to worry about.
Earlier this month, NASA posted a list of frequently asked questions about why the world won’t end in 2012, like some believe the Mayans calendar indicates.
The post explained that Earth has been getting along fine for the last 4 billion years and there is no threat to our planet this year. …
But how can those egghead geeks at NASA be so sure? Well, there are these things called “logic” and “reason” which tend to give validity to arguments such as this:
… But just as your desk calendar ends on Dec. 31 and world keeps going on, the same goes for the Mayan calendar, NASA explained. Just before you run out of pages doesn’t mean life as we know it will cease to exist. …
Personally, I cannot wait until December 22nd. Because then there are going to be a LOT of people with a LOT of egg on their faces, just like all the other times the world was predicted to end and it didn’t.
In fact, regarding all the doomsday predictions ever made in the past, there is one thing they all have in common: They were all dead wrong.
Posted in astrology, doomsday, space | Tagged: 2012, alignment, apocalypse, armaggedon, calendar, cosmic, debunking, Dec 21, December 21, doomsday, end of the world, flare, flip, judgement day, Long Count, magnetic, magnetism, Maya, Mayan, NASA, New Age, Nibru, Planet X, planetary, planets, poles, reversal, solar, storm, Sun, tidal forces, tides, video | 5 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on August 19, 2012
In a welcome development, the state of California has taken climate science deniers head on. At the website of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, there is a link titled “Climate Change: Just the Facts”. The thing which makes this such a welcome development isn’t that the California governor, Jerry Brown, is promoting the science of climate change and global warming, but this website also takes on the climate science deniers and their claims directly. Take a look and encourage your state government to act in a like manner:
Climate change poses an immediate and growing threat to California’s economy, environment, and to public health. California’s groundbreaking efforts are helping reduce greenhouse gases emissions, which are warming the planet. The state is also taking action to prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change, including the increased likelihood of both flooding and drought.
While California is taking action, some of those who oppose the move to renewable energy and cleaner transportation have mischaracterized the science of climate change in an effort to create artificial uncertainty about the existence and causes of climate change.
The fact is that on the key issues, the science is clear: climate change is real and happening now; human-made greenhouse gas emissions are affecting our planet; and we need to take action. Just as we reached a point where we stopped debating whether cigarette smoke causes cancer, we need to end the climate change debate and focus on how to solve the problem.
We have compiled the key facts about climate science, the expert consensus, and some of the common arguments from and responses to those who spread doubt and confusion to prevent action:
Posted in global warming denial, politics | Tagged: AGW, anthropogenic, California, climate change, Climategate, conspiracy, conspiracy theory, cover up, denialism, denier, Earth, global warming, governor, GW, hoax, hockey stick, Jerry Brown, policy, politics, science, skeptic, solar, Sun, temperature | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on May 18, 2012
No doubt, unless you’ve been living in a hole, you have heard about the supposed end-of-the-world coming this December 21st, 2012 – at least, that’s what some New Age whackadoodles and apocalyptic doomsayers would have you believe. Why do they believe this? Because, according to them, the Mayan calendar predicts it.
Unfortunately for the doomsday prophets, the Mayan calendar predicts nothing of the sort. Take, for example, the fact that recently the discovery of the world’s oldest Mayan calendar seems to have thrown the whole “Mayan 2012” prophecy of armaggedon into serious doubt:
The oldest-known version of the ancient Maya calendar has been discovered adorning a lavishly painted wall in the ruins of a city deep in the Guatemalan rainforest.
The hieroglyphs, painted in black and red, along with a colorful mural of a king and his mysterious attendants, seem to have been a sort of handy reference chart for court scribes in A.D. 800 — the astronomers and mathematicians of their day. Contrary to popular myth, this calendar isn’t a countdown to the end of the world in December 2012, the study researchers said.
“The Mayan calendar is going to keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future,” said archaeologist David Stuart of the University of Texas, who worked to decipher the glyphs. “Numbers we can’t even wrap our heads around.” …
Oops. That’s embarrassing. So the Mayan calendary doesn’t predict the apocalypse? Why exactly is that?
… The Maya recorded time in a series of cycles, including 400-year chunks called baktuns. It’s these baktuns that have led to rumors of an end-of-the-world catastrophe on Dec. 21, 2012 — on that date, a cycle of 13 baktuns will be complete. But the idea that this means the end of the worldis a misconception, Stuart said. In fact, Maya experts have known for a long time that the calendar doesn’t end after the 13th baktun. It simply begins a new cycle. And the calendar encompasses much larger units than the baktun.
“There were 24 units of time they actually could have incorporated into their calendar,” Stuart said. “Here, we’re only seeing five units and they’re still really big.”
In one column, the ancient scribe even worked out a cycle of time recording 17 baktuns, the researchers found. In another spot, someone etched a “ring number” into the wall. These notations were used to record time in a previous cycle, thousands of years into the past. The calendar also appears to note the cycles of Mars and Venus, the researchers said. Symbols of gods head the top of each lunar cycle, suggesting that each cycle had its own patron deity.
“There was a lot more to the Maya calendar than just 13 baktuns,” Stuart said. …
Of course, another reason to doubt the claims of the doom-mongers, despite the structure of the Mayan calendar, is the fact that no matter what the source for the supposed end-of-the-world prophecy, every prophecy of this nature in the past has had one thing in common: THEY HAVE ALL FAILED SPECTACULARLY! This includes at least one high-profile prediction from last year!
It’ll be interesting to see what the doomsaying believers have to say on December 22nd, 2012 when we’re all still here :)
Posted in doomsday | Tagged: 2012, alignment, apocalypse, armaggedon, baktun, calendar, cosmic, debunking, Dec 21, December 21, doomsday, end of the world, flare, flip, judgement day, Long Count, magnetic, magnetism, Maya, Mayan, NASA, New Age, Nibru, Planet X, planetary, planets, poles, reversal, solar, storm, Sun, tidal forces, tides, video | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 14, 2012
The fine folks at NASA have put together a nice, quick video debunking the claims of doomsday related to the supposed end of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21, 2012. Check out the video over at Life’s Little Mysteries…
by Natalie Wolchover, Life’s Little Mysteries Staff Writer
Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have put out a new video to address false claims about the “Mayan apocalypse,” a non-event that some people believe will bring the world to an end on Dec. 21.
In the video, which was posted online Wednesday (Mar. 7), Don Yeomans, head of the Near-Earth Objects Program Office at NASA/JPL, explains away many of the most frequently cited doomsday scenarios. [See video]
Addressing the belief that the calendar used by the ancient Mayan civilization comes to a sudden end in December 2012, and that this will coincide with a cataclysmic, world-ending event, Yeomans said: “Their calendar does not end on December 21, 2012; it’s just the end of the cycle and the beginning of a new one. It’s just like on December 31, our calendar comes to an end, but a new calendar begins on January 1.” …
Posted in astrology, doomsday, space | Tagged: 2012, alignment, apocalypse, armaggedon, calendar, cosmic, debunking, Dec 21, December 21, doomsday, end of the world, flare, flip, judgement day, Long Count, magnetic, magnetism, Maya, Mayan, NASA, New Age, Nibru, Planet X, planetary, planets, poles, reversal, solar, storm, Sun, tidal forces, tides, video | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on October 24, 2011
[**Update (10-30-11): It seems the deniers have already started to respond to this news. One interesting response is apparently to accuse Prof Richard Muller, the skeptical physicist behind the Berkeley Earth Project, of a Climategate-like scandal (I guess the deniers now view him as a “traitor”): http://news.yahoo.com/skeptic-finds-now-agrees-global-warming-real-142616605.html ]
In a bit of news which kind of goes into the “truth is stranger than fiction” category, I wanted to share with you all the latest in the ongoing drama that is the “Climategate” fiasco. (If you need to get up to speed on the whole “Climategate” thing, just see some of my earlier blog posts here, here, and here)
To date, there have been multiple investigations into the allegations that the worldwide community of climate scientists is somehow conspiring to cover up “the truth” that global warming is really just a hoax, and all of these investigations have shown the exact opposite. However, in true conspiracy theorist fashion, many ideologically-driven climate change deniers (I refuse to call them “skeptics”, because they are not skeptical in the positive sense of that word) have clung to the idea that somehow there is a vast plan on the part of scientists all over the planet to deceive the rest of us into believing that the Earth is warming and that humans are contributing significantly to it.
As such, it seems that there was an effort by many of these deniers to prop up their conspiracy theory by performing their own independent analysis of the climate data. However, in an interesting twist, it seems that upon completing their analysis, the researchers tapped by the deniers actually concluded the opposite of what they had hoped: global warming is indeed real! It’s all outlined in this recent BBC article…
The Earth’s surface really is getting warmer, a new analysis by a US scientific group set up in the wake of the “Climategate” affair has concluded.
The Berkeley Earth Project has used new methods and some new data, but finds the same warming trend seen by groups such as the UK Met Office and Nasa.
The project received funds from sources that back organisations lobbying against action on climate change. …
That’s kind of interesting, isn’t it? The climate change deniers decide that all the science on the topic isn’t trustworthy, so they hire a group of their own investigators to look at the data, and they end up getting exactly the same conclusions as has been stated for years by the international climate science community. It gets better…
… The project was established by University of California physics professor Richard Muller, who was concerned by claims that established teams of climate researchers had not been entirely open with their data.
He gathered a team of 10 scientists, mostly physicists, including such luminaries as Saul Perlmutter, winner of this year’s Nobel Physics Prize for research showing the Universe’s expansion is accelerating.
Funding came from a number of sources, including charitable foundations maintained by the Koch brothers, the billionaire US industrialists, who have also donated large sums to organisations lobbying against acceptance of man-made global warming.
“I was deeply concerned that the group [at UEA] had concealed discordant data,” Prof Muller told BBC News.
“Science is best done when the problems with the analysis are candidly shared.”
The group’s work also examined claims from “sceptical” bloggers that temperature data from weather stations did not show a true global warming trend.
The claim was that many stations have registered warming because they are located in or near cities, and those cities have been growing – the urban heat island effect.
The Berkeley group found about 40,000 weather stations around the world whose output has been recorded and stored in digital form.
It developed a new way of analysing the data to plot the global temperature trend over land since 1800.
What came out was a graph remarkably similar to those produced by the world’s three most important and established groups, whose work had been decried as unreliable and shoddy in climate sceptic circles. [emphasis added]
In fact, below is a copy of that graph: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in global warming denial | Tagged: AGW, anthropogenic, Berkeley Earth Project, Britain, climate change, Climate Research Institute, Climategate, conspiracy, conspiracy theory, cover up, CRU, denialism, denier, Earth, emails, global warming, GW, hacked, hacking, hide the decline, hoax, hockey stick, House of Commons, investigation, Koch, Koch brothers, Muller, Phil Jones, Prof Muller, Richard Muller, science, skeptic, solar, Sun, temperature, trick, UK, United Kingdom, University of East Anglia | 3 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on September 22, 2011
Tomorrow, September 23rd, is the autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere, and it is on this occasion that I like to inject a little skeptical and critical thinking fun into my physics classes. Most of us have heard of the urban legend about balancing an egg on its end during the equinox – the thing is, this is true! The myth is the implication that one can only do this on the equinox, when – in fact – you can balance an egg on end pretty much any time you want.
Case in point, here’s a couple of photos of me balancing eggs on their ends during the time of year exactly opposite to the equinoxes…
During the summer solstice…
And during the winter solstice…
In addition, here’s a nice Youtube video showing some tips on how to accomplish this trick:
The reason why this trick works boils down to simple physics: it’s called unstable equilibrium. If you have a flat and level surface on which to perform this trick, and there aren’t a lot of vibrations around, then chances are you can balance a number of eggs in a standard dozen pack. As long as the eggs are relatively smooth on their ends (look closely and you’ll see some bumps on some of them) and you are very patient, then with some practice pretty much anyone can perform this trick. The Bad Astronomy blog has a pretty good rundown on the physics as well.
So the next time you hear someone pass along the “eggs can be balanced only on the equinox” myth, whip out some eggs and balance away. It’s a quick, easy, and fun way to advocate for skepticism and science :)
Posted in astrology, magic tricks, physics denial/woo | Tagged: astrology, astronomy, autumnal, Bad Astronomy, balance, balancing eggs on end, cosmic, critical thinking, debunking, egg, eggs, equilibrium, equinox, magic, myth, physics, pseudoscience, skepticism, solstice, stable, summer, Sun, trick, urban legend, vernal, winter | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on May 28, 2011
You may know that one of the most common arguments used by creationists as they attempt to push their fundamentalist religious beliefs in the public schools is the “teach the controversy” strategy. In this argument, creationists claim there is some kind of scientific “controversy” about the theory of evolution, as if scientists are in disagreement about the theory when in fact quite the opposite is true – there is broad acceptance of evolution among biologists. This style of argumentation is widely recognized for what it is: an attempt to delegitimize science in the public schools because of a rigidly held ideology.
Now it seems that recently there is another kind of anti-scientific ideology rearing its ugly head which is trying to use the same kind of “teach the controversy” approach: climate change denial. And the use of “teach the controversy” in regards to climate change and global warming has now gone beyond mere rhetoric, because the climate change denialists are now pushing this tactic in public schools in the United States…
A school board in California has attracted headlines over the past few days for voting unanimously that a new environmental science class starting this autumn must include “multiple perspectives” on the science of global warming.
Four board members of the Los Alamitos Unified School District voted to list the class – which was taught to 15,000 public school students across California in 2008-09 (pdf of class description) – as a “controversial topic”, meaning the teacher must explain to the board annually how opposing views are to be taught.
Echoing similar efforts at school boards in other US states, the move has been criticised by some commentators. One parent of a pupil at Los Alamitos Unified School told the Orange County Register: “There is consensus in the field that we have global warming happening, it is getting warmer and it is related to what we are doing to the planet. That is not in dispute in the scientific community. It is in dispute in the political community. This is a science class. Teach science.” …
The writer of this article sat down to interview the architect of this anti-scientific move, Dr. Jeffrey Barke, and the conversation is very revealing. I’ll include key excerpts below (the interviewer’s questions & comments are bolded and Dr. Barke’s follow) and follow them up with my comments.
What’s been the feedback since this news was first reported?
The feedback has been primarily from left-wing blogs and zealots who believe that to suggest there is a point of view to be discussed that is different to the dogma of global warming is, in and of itself, controversial. Our perspective simply was we had asked the teachers to present a balanced perspective to the children as it relates to a new course that we brought forward called Advanced Placement in Environmental Science. And this class is one that is most commonly offered at the universities, but some high schools offer it as well.
So, after reviewing the syllabus, we found a lot of information about global warming and man-caused effects on the environment etc. Our worry was the kids would be presented simply with one perspective and we wanted to make sure they had a balanced view so we simply updated a policy we already have on the books regarding controversial issues. It simply asks that when a class is taught containing potentially controversial issues that we ask the teacher not to get the kids to believe in a particular perspective or point of view, but simply that the teachers present both sides of the equation in a fair-and-balanced manner.
Ah, the “teach all views” argument. The problem is that, in science, not all views are equal. Science is not a process driven by simply expressing your point of view and then arguing over it, like in a high school debate. In science, the most accepted views are those which are supported by experimental and observational evidence which can be explained by well-understood theories. The opinion of the scientist (or in this case, the school board member) doesn’t really matter. For example, read more here about how the climate science community is strongly in support of the consensus that global warming is happening and is heavily influenced by human activity. When so many climate science experts are in such strong agreement, then it is a pretty fair bet the science is settled and there is no “alternate viewpoint” with any validity to present.
Posted in education, global warming denial | Tagged: AGW, anthropogenic, Bjorn Lomborg, California, climate change, Climategate, conspiracy, conspiracy theory, cover up, creationism, denialism, denier, Dr Jeffrey Barke, Earth, education, global warming, GW, Ian Plimer, International Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, school board, schools, science, skeptic, solar, Sun, teach all views, teach the controversy, temperature, United States | 5 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 5, 2011
In the latest update from the Climate Science Wars, it has been shown – once again and for the fourth time – through an independent investigation that climate scientists did NOT manipulate data on global warming, as some global warming denialists & conspiracy theorists have claimed.
In the now infamous Climategate fiasco, it was claimed that scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit had manipulated and even fabricated data to make human-caused global warming seem real or worse than it really was. Of course, we now know that such claims on the part of the deniers & conspiracy mongers are nothing more than so much hot air. However, what many people don’t know is that these anti-science ideologues did not just level their charges at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit; they also attempted to smear climate scientists working for the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
But now, just as with Climategate, a detailed, independent investigation has shown that there is no evidence of scientific fraud, manipulation, or fabrication regarding the climate data…
An inquiry by a federal watchdog agency found no evidence that scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration manipulated climate data to buttress the evidence in support of global warming, officials said on Thursday.
The inquiry, by the Commerce Department’s inspector general, focused on e-mail messages between climate scientists that were stolen and circulated on the Internet in late 2009 (NOAA is part of the Commerce Department). Some of the e-mails involved scientists from NOAA.
Climate change skeptics contended that the correspondence showed that scientists were manipulating or withholding information to advance the theory that the earth is warming as a result of human activity.
In a report dated Feb. 18 and circulated by the Obama administration on Thursday, the inspector general said, “We did not find any evidence that NOAA inappropriately manipulated data.”
Nor did the report fault Jane Lubchenco, NOAA’s top official, for testifying to Congress that the correspondence did not undermine climate science. …
Of course, that won’t stop the ideologues from pursuing their politically or ideologically-driven agenda to misrepresent the science…
… The inquiry into NOAA’s conduct was requested last May by Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, who has challenged the science underlying human-induced climate change. Mr. Inhofe was acting in response to the controversy over the e-mail messages, which were stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England, a major hub of climate research.
Mr. Inhofe asked the inspector general of the Commerce Department to investigate how NOAA scientists responded internally to the leaked e-mails. Of 1,073 messages, 289 were exchanges with NOAA scientists. …
… NOAA welcomed the report, saying that it emphasized the soundness of its scientific procedures and the peer review process. “None of the investigations have found any evidence to question the ethics of our scientists or raise doubts about NOAA’s understanding of climate change science,” Mary Glackin, the agency’s deputy undersecretary for operations, said in a statement.
But Mr. Inhofe said the report was far from a clean bill of health for the agency and that contrary to its executive summary, showed that the scientists “engaged in data manipulation.” [emphasis added]
So, because the independent investigation showed that there was NO EVIDENCE of inappropriate data manipulation, Senator Inhofe says that it showed there WAS evidence of such manipulation. Excuse me?!! What’s next, Senator: Are you going to claim day is night or that up is down? What kind of Bizzarro World is this guy living in?
The reaction of Senator Inhofe and other climate change deniers clearly shows the frustration in dealing with people who do not allow evidence & the scientific process to guide their thinking. They come up with a conclusion first, and then disregard any evidence to the contrary – even going so far as to publicly state the exact opposite of what the evidence actually shows, as the Senator so stupidly did above. They, sadly, have deluded themselves into thinking that the universe will somehow – magically – change itself to adhere to what they think it should be like, instead of see the world as it really is on its own terms. These people revel in their ignorance, it seems.
The irony here is that the people claiming that the climate science data are manipulated are themselves the ones guilty of manipulation. It would be a pretty good joke if it weren’t so true & if the potential consequences weren’t so serious.
Posted in global warming denial | Tagged: AGW, anthropogenic, Britain, climate change, Climate Research Institute, Climategate, conspiracy, conspiracy theory, cover up, CRU, denialism, denier, Earth, emails, global warming, GW, hacked, hacking, hide the decline, hoax, hockey stick, House of Commons, Inhofe, International Panel on Climate Change, investigation, IPCC, London, Michael Mann, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, Oklahoma, Phil Jones, Republicans, Royal Society, science, Senator, skeptic, solar, Sun, temperature, trick, UK, United Kingdom, United States, University of East Anglia | Leave a Comment »