Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Coming Storm....Of Stupidity.

Condolences to the people of Chile.  Hopefully any visitors here who have relatives there aren't facing the lose of loved ones.

The Chilean earthquake wasn't the strongest on record, merely the 8th strongest on record at 8.8 on the moment magnitude scale.  In fact the strongest recorded earthquake ever occured in Chile on May 22nd, 1960 at Valdivia, measuring 9.5 on the scale.  But the occurance of such a strong earthquake so soon after the Haitian earthquake is sure to feed into the increasing amount of nonsense being spewed about the supposed end of the world in 2012.  As we get closer to that date every disaster, no matter how slight, will feed the frenzy.  Unfortunately people have short memories and are ignorant of history, so they will fall for claims that contemporary disasters are the most terrible of all time and that they are more frequent than ever before.  Most folks probably don't remember even the 1976 Tangshan earthquake in China that killed hundreds of thousands, and they aren't likely to know of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 that destroyed much of Tokyo and the surrounding region.  So it will be quite easy for the words of the scare mongers to take hold.  Hopefully we won't see real craziness take off in the next couple of years, but you can be sure a lot of people will worry needlessly, while others will end up being fleeced by the con men that always seem to ride on these waves of paranoia.

The 2012 silliness is based on the ending of a 5000 some year cycle on the Mayan Long Count Calender.  What is especially unfortuate for the sane and non-guillible is that the calender supposedly ends just before Christmas of 2012, meaning we'll have to put up with a whole year of this crap.  But don't blame the Mayans.  Mainstream Mayan scholars say there is no evidence that the consensus amongst the Mayans was that end of the world, a cosmic transformation, or other gigantic event would coincide with the end of the calender.  The modern day descendants of the Maya don't see this as the end of the world either.  In fact most of them don't use the long count calender.  Frankly the whole thing seems like a great big act of cultural appropriation, or perhaps cultural misppropriation.  Not that those behind it will ever admit this, to the world or themselves.

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