I’ve talked to a few people who are really concerned about the world ending in 2012. Much like those who were sure that the world would crash when the year 1999 rolled over to the year 2000. They were totally convinced that that all the computers on Earth would stop working because the computers were not programmed to use any date beyond 1999.
I remember people hoarding food, selling their homes and moving deep into the mountains, sure that marauding bands of starving people would be out doing whatever it took to keep alive. Well, 1999 flowed quite smoothly into 2000. Now we have the latest and greatest scare which of course is the end of the world in 2012.
Feeding this fear factor, Sony Pictures, in order to promote an upcoming disaster movie called 2012, has set up a website for an organization called the Institute for Human Continuity which predicts a cataclysmic denouement for Earth three years from now. How sleazy can you get to promote a picture?
It suggests that “after two decades of rigorous research from the world’s top astronomers, mathematicians, geologists, physicists, engineers, futurists, we know that in 2012 a series of cataclysmic forces will wreak havoc on our planet”.
It even details how elections have begun for the leader of the post-2012 world, offers survival kits and asks people to sign up to a lottery to be saved.
All this hype is based on the assumption that Mayan calendar ends on 2012, which in fact does not. Apolinario Chile Pixtun, a Mayan elder, notes there are other inscriptions at Mayan sites for dates far beyond 2012 – including one that roughly translates into the year 4772.
A significant time period for the Mayans does end on the date, and enthusiasts have found a series of astronomical alignments they say coincide in 2012, including one that happens roughly only once every 25,800 years.
Along with the sleaze factor there is a website that states scientists are supposed to be tracking an unknown Planet X which is on the edge of the solar system, and yes, you guessed it, is on a collision course with Earth. The site is so successful that hundreds of people are now convinced something terrible is about to befall the planet.
Dr. David Morrison, a senior scientist at Nasa’s Astrobiology Institute, said he had received more than 1,000 inquiries from worried members of the public.
That included teenagers saying they would rather commit suicide than witness the world end. Dr. Morrison said the website was “ethically wrong”. But Vikki Luya, Sony’s publicity director said: “It is very clear that this site is connected to a fictional movie. This can readily be seen in the logos on the site.” Yep, but some people don’t read the details that Sony tries to hide.