A certain film just lost its engineer demographic...
November 11, 2009 11:17 PM   Subscribe

NASA debunks 2012 conspiracy theories
posted by Taft (172 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is certain to change the beliefs of a lot of people.
posted by freebird at 11:19 PM on November 11, 2009 [9 favorites]


Notable because it's not too common for NASA to address silliness like this. They've never even addressed the moon landing conspiracy folks that I know of. Of course, the great thing about this type of doomsday prediction is that the date will come and go and nothing will happen. The CTs will just change the date then, why anyone would buy into such obvious hucksters is beyond me.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:21 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think we should take it as given that in any movie like 2012, the science is going to be so hokey that it really isn't science anymore. NASA needn't debunk it for me, though I appreciate them doing so.

Besides, 2012 is bad. Real bad. The IGN review pretty much summed up what I thought of it in these two paragraphs.
"You know those scenes that play out in every action movie made since 1980? The ones where the bus jumps the broken bridge? Or a man falls over the edge and everyone thinks he's dead—but it's okay because a single hand suddenly appears, clinging to the cliff? Or how about the plane that's trying to escape from an explosion and gets enveloped in smoke – only to come bursting out with impossible speed? What about the eleventh-hour miscalculation that results in the timer speeding up towards impending disaster? Then there's the grandpa with regrets, the 'ultimate sacrifice' guy, the wormy scientist who makes good, the noble daughter who outlives the father, the divorcee who falls back in love, the evil rich dude, the ethnic stereotype village, the holy man on the mountain, the beauty queen with the handbag dog, the dude with two day's pilot training who must repeatedly fly everyone to safety at street level, through a collapsing city? What about the obligatory heroic kid, or the water escape scene, the tacked-on happy Hollywood ending where it's all sunshine and laughing and nobody really feels too remiss about the death of 5.9 billion people?

And that's not even the half of it. Seriously. It goes on and on like this, piling on so much rehash that you will laugh. You can just sit there, switch off and let it wash over you like action-porn. In fact, perhaps that's exactly what 2012 is – the rebirth of action for the sake of action. To describe 2012 as the best 'rollercoaster-ride-with-a-story-attached' is about as much praise as we can muster for this production."
Or, in a word, avoid.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:24 PM on November 11, 2009 [10 favorites]


Perhaps the Mayans predicted the end of good film making...and this film is the catalyst. Dun dun dun.
posted by Taft at 11:29 PM on November 11, 2009 [17 favorites]


But come 2112 we're well and truly fucked.
posted by bardic at 11:41 PM on November 11, 2009 [8 favorites]


They've never even addressed the moon landing conspiracy folks that I know of.

It appears they have, at least a tiny bit.
posted by floam at 11:42 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think we should take it as given that in any movie like 2012, the science is going to be so hokey that it really isn't science anymore.

If 2012 is anything like the previews I've seen, the science is to action movie science as action movie science is to real science. Gandalf could jump off a giant eagle and start casting spells and it would increase the plausibility of the scene, as well as the realism of the physics involved. Hell, until the second time I saw the preview, I thought it was a parody of the movies it is clearly trying way too hard to emulate.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:51 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


It appears they have, at least a tiny bit.

Thanks for the link. I guess I just heard that they hadn't over and over from bloggers and assumed it to be true. Stupid assuming.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:52 PM on November 11, 2009


Buzz Aldrin addressed to moon landing conspiracy folks to my satisfaction.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:00 AM on November 12, 2009 [70 favorites]


How convenient that they're not saying anything about what's coming in 2011.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:04 AM on November 12, 2009


I can't believe people still believe that man-actually-walked-on-the-moon bullshit.
posted by philip-random at 12:07 AM on November 12, 2009


They've never even addressed the moon landing conspiracy folks that I know of.

It appears they have, at least a tiny bit.


Thought you were going to post this.

[On preview, Kid Charlemagne got there first]
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:07 AM on November 12, 2009


Okay okay okay. NASA won't talk about the myriad, innumerable inaccuracies (and by inaccuracies, I mean "like to choke me with rage") in Armageddon, but *this* film deserves a press release?
Really? This one doesn't even have Bruce Willis. It's got a Cusack. Spare me.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 12:11 AM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


In an interview about a completely unrelated thing, Mayan calendar expert David H. Kelley says that the whole business with 2012 is an error. Here's the relevant excerpt:
ERROL MORRIS: Did the Mayans really predict that the world would end on December 21, 2012?

DAVID HUMISTON KELLEY: No. It’s based on a false assumption.

ERROL MORRIS: Please explain.

DAVID HUMISTON KELLEY: They are 208 years too early. [The correct date is December 21, 2220 – E.M.] I wrote a long article on various ways of solving this problem. I included in a footnote that you could almost get things to matchup correctly, if you used correlation 660205, the Julian day number of the base state of the Mayan calendar. Which is also the interval between the translation of the number in the Mayan baktun, katun date, if you add that number to that date you get what we would consider to be the equivalent date. Ha! A bit complicated but I think you can follow. The colonial Mayas, most of them didn’t have any clue about this. The ones who did were the calendar specialists and they made sure to keep their mouths pretty tightly shut because the Spaniards were burning people at the stake for maintaining pagan ideas of which the calendar was a major part. The calendar determined all the ceremonies and rituals, when people were sacrificed, all the nasty things and all the good things.
Incidentally, from what I've read about Mayan beliefs, they were pretty concerned about the possibility of the world coming to an end and they had some pretty interesting apocalypse scenarios. My favorite is that the mountains of the world are hollow inside and filled with water and that when the world ends the walls of the mountains will burst and the water inside will cover all land.
posted by Kattullus at 12:13 AM on November 12, 2009 [13 favorites]


but *this* film deserves a press release?
Really? This one doesn't even have Bruce Willis. It's got a Cusack. Spare me.


The difference is that the 2012 end of the world thing is actually something people think is real, whereas no one can be sure Bruce Willis is real. The NASA release addresses the CT and not the film as far as I can see (though its use of film stills is confusing, I suppose, if you didn't read the release).
posted by IvoShandor at 12:21 AM on November 12, 2009


NASA debunks 2012 conspiracy theories

They're not exactly conspiracy theories, don't you think?
posted by knave at 12:28 AM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


In fact, perhaps that's exactly what 2012 is – the rebirth of action for the sake of action

Isn't that what Transformers was supposed to be?
posted by flabdablet at 12:29 AM on November 12, 2009


Okay, so, I'm not going to get all woo-woo about the year 2012 and predict anything truly dire happening... But I do find it interesting that the Mayan calendar runs its cycle every 500 years, and the LAST time it actually turned over, well, Columbus "discovered" the Americas.

And if there was ever anything which caused the End Of The World As They Knew It, it was Columbus coming to the New World. Totally ruined whatever may have been going on with the indigenous peoples here in the Americas.

And if we can take a step back from the predictions of actual disaster and look at it from a more metaphorical point of view... what is currently going on which is going to transform life as we've known it? Global warming? The end of easy oil? Fishing the ocean to the point where its basic biology changes?

It's an interesting lens to use to look at the world, I think. Not that it "predicts" anything, but certainly there are moments when things have simply run their course, and I can certainly see where we're reaching a point in our current cycle where things may just be hitting the tipping point in a lot of ways.
posted by hippybear at 12:59 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


What about the singularity?
posted by kuatto at 1:00 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yup. Nothing happened in 2012. Please go on with your lives

PS: Sorry about the whole bird with a piece of bread thing.
posted by Higgs Boson at 1:11 AM on November 12, 2009 [24 favorites]


Saw 2012 on a whim, knowing it was likely to be shiteous.

It was, although in a way I didn't mind watching Los Angeles slide into the ocean. Such a scenario would serve Hollywood right for creating crap like this.

And oh, it's not action porn, it's destruction porn.
posted by bwg at 1:22 AM on November 12, 2009


I think 2012 is just a postponement of 2000. There were millennial fears just before 2000; some Christians believed they were living in the "end times", some technologists believed in Y2K. The year 2000 seemed like a good time for the shit to hit the fan, since that number is divisible by a larger power of ten than usual. But nothing really happened in 2000 and this is embarrassing to anyone who invested such a high level of fear. So armageddon just got pushed back twelve years. The Mayans tell you so.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:23 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do find it interesting that the Mayan calendar runs its cycle every 500 years, and the LAST time it actually turned over, well, Columbus "discovered" the Americas.

I also find it interesting when people find prophecy where there is only coincidence.
posted by Mikey-San at 1:25 AM on November 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


NASA won't talk about the myriad, innumerable inaccuracies in Armageddon

They do talk about them among themselves in their training meetings.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 1:29 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


hippybear: I do find it interesting that the Mayan calendar runs its cycle every 500 years

Actually the Mayan calendar has a couple of cycles, the 52 year Calendar Round and the 144000 day Long Count cycle (144000 days is roughly 394 years). It's the Long Count that people are all het up about.
posted by Kattullus at 1:38 AM on November 12, 2009


But I do find it interesting that the Mayan calendar runs its cycle every 500 years, and the LAST time it actually turned over, well, Columbus "discovered" the Americas.

According to Wikipedia, this current "long count" cycle began on September 18, 1618. Do you know what happened the LAST time it turned over?!

Well, nothing of note on that specific day, but 10 days later Joshua Sylvester, an English poet I've never heard of, died. Killed by Mayan prophecy? We may never know, but watch your backs, translators of heroic couplets, 2012 is fucking coming for you.
posted by cmonkey at 2:05 AM on November 12, 2009 [28 favorites]


Planes - Do they really fly?
posted by pianomover at 2:20 AM on November 12, 2009


Well, THEY would say that, wouldn't THEY?
posted by Mojojojo at 2:26 AM on November 12, 2009


Dammit, I was thinking about 500 year cycles - 1000ad - too early even for the first inklings of renaissance, but 500ad is the end of Roman empire (Eastern Empire never pulled as much weight for any significant period); 1ad is notable for beginning of christianity, 500bc is close to the beginning of ancient greek culture. If you fudge the numbers a little bit and don't remember the dates too well, it all aligns omg!
posted by rainy at 2:47 AM on November 12, 2009


If there is no truth to this, why does 2012.endtimes.nasa.gov exist, and if it doesn't, why are they hiding it?
posted by maxwelton at 2:48 AM on November 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


"Q: What is the polar shift theory? Is it true that the earth’s crust does a 180-degree rotation around the core in a matter of days if not hours?"

I also heard about the magnetic reversal of the earth's whatever taking place every 400,000 years, except that it's actually taking 400,000 years for the reversal to complete. That way the world won't just instantly switch it's poles and everybody dies. Is there any truth to that? Even a little?
posted by bam at 2:56 AM on November 12, 2009


But nothing really happened in 2000

Do you know why nothing really happened in 2000? It's because many, many thousands of people* spent long hours of overtime in the late 90s poring over old computer programs to make sure people didn't, say, get a bill for 99 years of late fees on their credit cards, or have their medical records say they were -60 years old, or any number of non-life-threatening but confusing and annoying things.

No Y2K error would have resulted in nuclear reactors going boom or planes falling out of the sky (probably), but the results would still have been incredibly messy and taken ages to clean up.

* Including me; a small part of the City of San Diego's phone system didn't start spouting nonsense dates at callers partly due to the work I put in in 1999.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:20 AM on November 12, 2009 [17 favorites]


But nothing really happened in 2000

A lot of dudes who happened to know COBOL bought their kids wicked Christmas presents in December 1999, though. Whoo, COBOLmas.
posted by atrazine at 3:33 AM on November 12, 2009 [20 favorites]


I'm actually glad that NASA did this. I swear, this country operates in two modes: apathy and hysteria. Apparently, SOMEONE realized that 2012 conspiracies could get even more out of hand then the Y2K debacle. I mean, people bought covered wagons right before 2000. Like, Oregon Trail and ish. Really?
posted by terrirodriguez at 3:38 AM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have a unique perspective on end-times prophecy -- I am descended from an 1800's end-times prophet. So my very existance is proof that "lots of times, guys like that are wrong."

So I've never set much stock in any other end-times prophecies...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:50 AM on November 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'd love to see the big extended scene of destruction up on the big screen, but I feel as though I'e seen most of it from the all previews.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:06 AM on November 12, 2009


Look, guys, London got the Olympics, not New York, OK? Just get over it, will you?
posted by Phanx at 4:49 AM on November 12, 2009


Answer (A): Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.

How do they know nothing bad will happen? This is bad science. PAST RESULTS ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS. Oh, wait, that's the stock market.

But still, it should be worded "no more likely to happen." It's possible for all kinds of bad things to happen. I'm not stocking up on gold or ammo, but to say nothing bad will happen is no more solid fact than the people who say there will. I know which side I'm placing my bets on, but it's nice they can be so definitive.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:02 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


According to Wikipedia, this current "long count" cycle began on September 18, 1618. Do you know what happened the LAST time it turned over?!


Hm, 1618 is the beginning of the Thirty Years War, the end result of which was the MeFi's own Peace of Westphalia, which basically created the sovereign nation-state (the world order still in place today).

September 19 aligns with the first major battle in that war, whose importance I will grossly exaggerate for convenience.

So... if 2012 marks the beginning of the end of the nation-state world order... Well, I better stock up on popcorn because I don't want to miss that.
posted by qvantamon at 5:12 AM on November 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


I feel as though I'e seen most of it from the all previews.

Just to provide some counterbalance to the usual MeFi snark, here's Ebert's take on the film:

This is fun. "2012" delivers what it promises, and since no sentient being will buy a ticket expecting anything else, it will be, for its audiences, one of the most satisfactory films of the year. It even has real actors in it. Like all the best disaster movies, it's funniest at its most hysterical. You think you've seen end-of-the-world movies? This one ends the world, stomps on it, grinds it up and spits it out.

He also calls it "the mother of all disaster movies (and the father, and the extended family)," and given that Ebert's more than capable of outsnarking all sentient and non-sentient MeFites combined, but also appreciates mindless fun if it's done well, I sure know who I'll trust on this one :)
posted by effbot at 5:14 AM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Perhaps the Mayans predicted the end of good film making...and this film is the catalyst. Dun dun dun.

Mayan Calendar Warns Of Cataclysmic Roland Emmerich Film On Nov. 13
posted by lukemeister at 5:18 AM on November 12, 2009


It's like someone took those guys who make GENRE MOVIE! films, brainwashed them into thinking they were real film makers, and gave them a huge budget.
posted by lucidium at 5:27 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


To paraphrase a recent Astro Zombie comment: The best way to make yourself unpopular is to take a moral an informed scientific stance that fools will never understand.
posted by aught at 5:37 AM on November 12, 2009


I'm a friend-of-a-friend-of the NASA Astrobiology Institute guy that the NASA page links to. I've seen some compilations he's put together of emails he's received asking about 2012 (identifying characteristics removed, natch). Some are the standard wingnut hilarious ones, but some are really pretty sad- there were a few "I'm thinking of putting my dog down so he doesn't have to live through this" emails, and even a few "I'm thinking of not carrying my child to term" ones. They read as legit to my eyes.

I'm usually the last guy to actually feel bad for a fellow human being (um, who believes in stuff like this, anyway), but there are folks out there who unfortunately take this sort of thing seriously. Hopefully these are also the sort of people who still believe in the infallibility of NASA, and maybe will listen to what's written here.

(or not...disaster is always more fun...)
posted by zap rowsdower at 5:38 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


NASA debunks 2012 conspiracy theories

When they first started conspiracy debunking, I figured at most they'd cover the top 50 big ones, but then they kept rolling out new ones: the conspiracy to steal all the caps from your pens, the conspiracy to make you run out of deodorant just before the big date, the conspiracy to make bananas in Wisconsin take funny. They were on a roll. Soon they'd "debunked" 100 conspiracies...200...300...400.

Honestly, even at that, I never thought they'd hit the 1000 mark, much less 2000, and now 2012. Keep up the good work, guys--you've earned your acclaim.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:47 AM on November 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


qvantamon: 1618 is the beginning of the Thirty Years War

Does that mean we're in for another round of defenestrations? Because those sound like fun.
posted by Kattullus at 5:51 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Uh-oh....
here I go....

Doesnt the new age start in 2012? Because of precession we move from Pisces to Aquarius?

Now, I'm not asigning any significance to this, but I thought this was a measureable, verifiable fact?

(There, I said 'new age' and 'fact' in the same post)...
posted by BadMiker at 5:58 AM on November 12, 2009


Not having heard of the 2012 thing, I though this was going to be a post about NASA debunking 2,012 different conspiracy theories, and that I had many hours of happy reading ahead of me.
posted by JanetLand at 6:07 AM on November 12, 2009


Does anyone else remember how, back in 1996, news shows had to have experts come on and explain how Independence Day was not realistic, and that the Earth was not threatened by alien invasion?
posted by thewittyname at 6:17 AM on November 12, 2009


debunks conspiracy theories

And how exactly does Earth/space collisions, the Mayan calender re-starting, or, well any of the other questions listed on that web page qualify as a 'conspiracy' to be 'theorizing' about? How, exactly, does Sol 'conspire' against the interests of Man and toss a giant solar storm to earth?

As for 'debunking' - I like my debunking to have actual statements.
For any claims of disaster or dramatic changes in 2012, where is the science? Where is the evidence?
These are questions. And, for something like The Sun (who conspires to roast mankind with a giant solar flare it seems) tossing a solar flare the Earth happens to catch.....errr...to answer your questions Mr. "Debunker" it would seem I'd need a time machine that can go BACK in time and then care enough to present said evidence to answer the 2 questions above.

Instead I'm stuck with this only going forward time machine. And I get to wait, just like everyone else to see if there is a repeat on big solar flares or big asteroid impacts.

(oh and a solar flare wouldn't have to be a strip-the-planet-of-atmosphere-mass-ejection event. A fine EMP type event would do wonders on the grid connected items, the ipods and the various fuel injection systems in cars.)
posted by rough ashlar at 6:19 AM on November 12, 2009


Just reminds me of when I was working behind an automotive parts counter during my college years. At some point in the autumn of '99, a customer bought us completely out of deep cycle marine batteries...I mean like $1200 worth of them. On his credit card. To power his house. For when Y2K killed off all of TVA's electricity...

We all had a damn good laugh over that one....and I even tried my best to talk him out of it.

posted by rhythim at 6:23 AM on November 12, 2009


Could a phenomena occur ... ?

Has "phenomena" been added to dictonaries as a singular form yet? Because if NASA is using it, maybe it's time they better.
posted by gubo at 6:23 AM on November 12, 2009


No Y2K error would have resulted in nuclear reactors going boom

Errr, most failure modes are pop-fizzle and not of the 'boom' type.

Or at least the boom like a fission bomb.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:25 AM on November 12, 2009


You know YOU KNOW that if Obama is reelected in 2012, 12/21/12 is going to be wingnutapalooza.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:27 AM on November 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


BadMiker: Doesnt the new age start in 2012? Because of precession we move from Pisces to Aquarius?

Well, not to be mister poopypants, but there is little agreement as to when the Age of Aquarius starts. Basically this zodiacal age business is a subdivision of the Great Year, i.e. the time it takes the equinox to move through a full circle. At the current speed this will take 25765 years, but the speed varies. There is no consensus on how to divide the Great Year in twelve. Some astrologers say the Age of Pisces is already over and some say that it won't end for another few hundred years. Either way, this is astrology, a discipline that pretends to chart the influence of the stars on human lives but hasn't bothered to update its charts since 2700 BC, so I wouldn't spend too much time trying to make sense of it. But then I'm a pisces so I'd say that.
posted by Kattullus at 6:27 AM on November 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


That way the world won't just instantly switch it's poles and everybody dies.
posted by bam


As far as I'm aware, even if the earth were to suddenly switch its polarity, say, instantly, it wouldn't be an "everybody dies" situation. Some people would surely get lost in the woods though. Wikipedia says (better citation needed) that homo erectus and their ancestors certainly survived previous reversals. You might be at extra risk of skin cancer though.

So buy some sunscreen and turn your compass upside down, just in case.
posted by haveanicesummer at 6:39 AM on November 12, 2009


Do you know why nothing really happened in 2000? It's because many, many thousands of people* spent long hours of overtime in the late 90s poring over old computer programs to make sure people didn't, say, get a bill for 99 years of late fees on their credit cards, or have their medical records say they were -60 years old, or any number of non-life-threatening but confusing and annoying things.

*nods* My day job is a clerical one in a financial-industry-related-business; I was there 1999 as well. And as the last three months of 1999 ticked out, we started seeing a loooooooooooooot of short notes start flying around -- between us and our clients, and between clients and each other -- which were all some variation on: "Dear [blank] For our records, kindly sign the following statement confirming that you have brought your computer system into compliance with Y2K and fixed any errors. Thank you." So many people were asking so many other people to swear to the fact that they'd fixed their own Y2K problems that I was reasonably confident that the thing was getting fixed all over.

The MegaCorp I worked for was a global one; I worked on 12/31/99, and other people were also working at MegaCorp offices around the world -- I remember all morning, every hour, as a different time zone kicked into 2000, we'd get a round of calls during the first few minutes of every hour from that time zone's offices reporting that "yep, we're still up and running. We logged off and logged back in again, and it all looks good." In fact, the one and only thing I heard that day was that some guy in Indonesia had taken a taxi to the office and the taxi meter's receipt printer went crazy and attached twelve zeroes to the end of his fare, but that was it.

So what I was more worried about was the mass panic -- the number of people who were anxiously watching the clock and bracing themselves. I was half-expecting that becasue there was so much buildup and anxiety (I subscribed to the UTNE READER at that time -- and they sent me a special issue about "preparing a community response to the potential Y2K problem") that someone somewhere would finally just snap from the pressure, and THAT would set off a wave of collective panic and THAT was what would actually hurt someone.

I'm not seeing the mass panic surrounding 2012 -- largely because I don't think many people know about the "voodoo" surrounding the date -- but if this builds to the same kind of tension we had then, I'd be more afraid of someone losing it and starting a riot than I am of Planet Nebru colliding with the sun or whatever.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:39 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Has anyone asked Sarah Palin about 2012? I really need to know her opinion on this matter.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:40 AM on November 12, 2009


That 2012 movie is probably more educational than those History Channel 2012 specials, which are unbearably awful in a local news special alert whereareyourchildren??? sort of way.
posted by haveanicesummer at 6:44 AM on November 12, 2009


According to Terence McKenna, who conceived the idea over several years in the early-mid 1970s while using psilocybin mushrooms and DMT, the universe has a teleological attractor at the end of time that increases interconnectedness, eventually reaching a singularity of infinite complexity in 2012, at which point anything and everything imaginable will occur instantaneously.

Only 1135 days until the merger of Ask Metafilter and Yahoo! Answers, people.
posted by lukemeister at 6:44 AM on November 12, 2009 [10 favorites]


r.a. As for 'debunking' - I like my debunking to have actual statements.

You mean the statements before that particular answer (in response to "How do NASA scientists feel about claims of pending doomsday?") don't count? I thought it did a fairly reasonable job explaining both that there is no evidence to support any of the claimed events predicted for 2012.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:47 AM on November 12, 2009


A very helpful, beautiful, and balanced infographic can be found here.
posted by jefficator at 6:50 AM on November 12, 2009 [9 favorites]


You people need to WAKE UP and see the hidden messages:

Remember the Y2K scare? ... Dec. 21, 2012... the end of the world as we know...

2012 has been analyzed and the science of the end of the Earth thoroughly studied.
... the world quickly unravels when pinned down to the 2012 timeline...

Q: What is the origin of the prediction that the world will end in 2012?
A: The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth.... the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012.... linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 -- hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012.

Q: Could a phenomena occur where planets align in a way that impacts Earth?
A: ... Each December the Earth and sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy...

Q: Is there a planet or brown dwarf called Nibiru or Planet X or Eris that is approaching the Earth and threatening our planet with widespread destruction?
A: ... Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012... it would be visible by now to the naked eye. Obviously, it does... exist. Eris is real... the closest it can come to Earth is about 4... miles.

Q: What is the polar shift theory? Is it true that the earth’s crust does a 180-degree rotation around the core in a matter of days if not hours?
A: ... There are... movements of the continents (for example Antarctica was near the equator hundreds of millions of years ago)... the rotation and the magnetic polarity of Earth, which does change irregularly, with a magnetic reversal taking place every 400,000 years on average...

Q: Is the Earth in danger of being hit by a meteor in 2012?
A: The Earth has always been subject to impacts by comets and asteroids... The last big impact... led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today NASA astronomers are carrying out a survey called the Spaceguard Survey to find any large near-Earth asteroids long before they hit....

Q: How do NASA scientists feel about claims of pending doomsday?
A: ... There is... credible evidence for... the assertions made in support of unusual events taking place in December 2012.

Q: Is there a danger from giant solar storms predicted for 2012?
A: Solar activity has a regular cycle, with peaks approximately every 11 years. Near these activity peaks, solar flares can cause some interruption of satellite communications... there is... special risk associated with 2012. The next solar maximum will occur in the 2012-2014 time frame and is predicted to be... different than previous cycles throughout history.


EVERYBODY PANIC!
posted by albrecht at 6:53 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do not equate 2012 with the singularity. It's like comparing the tooth fairy to Dinosaurs.
posted by autodidact at 7:01 AM on November 12, 2009


2012 is soooo 1996.

Mr. NASA shrugs off the solar flare thing as if it's no big deal, I'm not so sure about that. I think the debunkers on this topic are almost as biased as the fanatics.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:03 AM on November 12, 2009


You mean the statements before that particular answer (in response to "How do NASA scientists feel about claims of pending doomsday?") don't count?

To debunk a conspiracy theory there would have to had been actual CONSPIRACIES to be theorized about.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:06 AM on November 12, 2009


>
I think we should take it as given that in any movie like 2012 by Emmerich, the science is going to be so hokey that it really isn't science anymore.


As per usual, no need to thank me, love of the blue &c.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:07 AM on November 12, 2009


Q: Is the Earth in danger of being hit by a meteor in 2012?

yes, it's always in danger of that, and we don't know where all the rocks are - we know of no reason why one would hit in 2012 over any other year, though

(that would have been a more honest answer)
posted by pyramid termite at 7:12 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


It pisses me off that NASA is even acknowledging this thing. It's utterly ridiculous and fringe whackjob bullshit. Are they going to give reassuring press conferences every time Hollywood releases some new, dumb apocalyptic film? If anything, this just gives the loonies more press for their colossal non-event.
posted by picea at 7:19 AM on November 12, 2009


I thought it did a fairly reasonable job explaining both that there is no evidence to support any of the claimed events predicted for 2012.

Claimed events like solar flares are less likely to happen when the Sun is 'quiet' VS active, but 2012 otherwise would be like any other year* for a big flare to screw up what man has going on Earth.

Same basic idea for the 'unknown asteroid' slamming into the Earth. The probability exists and is 'bout the same** year to year.

The 'evidence' for a asteroid strike or solar flare would have to come from time travel backwards as there is no known way to predict either of the 2 events.

(*for years not WAY in the future where the Sun expands and swallows the Earth and assumption of a Sun that does not vary)
(**We know that the Earth passes through various bits of debris hence predictable and nameable 'meteor showers'. So some years are more likely for a collision than others)
posted by rough ashlar at 7:19 AM on November 12, 2009


Are they going to give reassuring press conferences every time Hollywood releases some new, dumb apocalyptic film? If anything, this just gives the loonies more press for their colossal non-event.

Take off your hate-goggles and put on these rose colored glasses of win-win.

If NASA is wrong and humanity is wiped out, no one will be around to blame them.

If NASA is right and nothing happens, you can enjoy the smug warmth of knowing Government can do things right and DOES work when staffed with actual rocket scientists. Thus you can sing the praises of Government - when staffed with rocket scientists and not political wingnuts.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:26 AM on November 12, 2009


That 2012 movie is probably more educational than those History Channel 2012 specials, which are unbearably awful in a local news special alert whereareyourchildren??? sort of way.

Indeed. I recently caught a bit of one that featured Richard Hoagland (former Art Bell show regular) using the tuning fork from a 1960s wristwatch connected to a laptop so he could measure the torsional wave shifts in mass (or something) of a Mayan temple. They didn't have any one offer a counter point to that.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:34 AM on November 12, 2009


Both Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich are talking about running in 2012. Under Gaia theory, the planet has an immune response to "pathogens," like idiot politicians who will destroy the environment.

Considering what's at stake, I think a few hurricanes and volcanoes seem like an appropriate response. After all, you'd get chemotherapy if you had cancer, even though it pretty much destroys your immune system in the short term. I'm disturbed NASA hasn't commented on this aspect.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:34 AM on November 12, 2009


picea: "It pisses me off that NASA is even acknowledging this thing. It's utterly ridiculous and fringe whackjob bullshit. Are they going to give reassuring press conferences every time Hollywood releases some new, dumb apocalyptic film? If anything, this just gives the loonies more press for their colossal non-event."

If NASA doesn't take on the whackjobs, who will? James Randi can't wave $1 million in the face of every idiot all day.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:35 AM on November 12, 2009



It pisses me off that NASA is even acknowledging this thing. It's utterly ridiculous and fringe whackjob bullshit. Are they going to give reassuring press conferences every time Hollywood releases some new, dumb apocalyptic film? If anything, this just gives the loonies more press for their colossal non-event.


How do you know it's "utterly ridiculous and fringe whackjob bullshit"? Do you know anything about what the it's based on? Or are you just assuming that because of your perception of the pop version of it?

Forget the movie, now that's just bullshit Holywood cash in.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:37 AM on November 12, 2009


I feel sorry for the good men and women at NASA that had to waste their time addressing these concerns.
posted by modernnomad at 7:40 AM on November 12, 2009


Like I said above, NASA is getting a TON of emails about this from the general public. Even though we're great and swell and all, we're still a government agency- responding to the taxpaying public is something we're (nominally) supposed to do.

(disclaimer: NASA employee but not involved in this, though I obviously know people who are)
posted by zap rowsdower at 7:48 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]



I feel sorry for the good men and women at NASA that had to waste their time addressing these concerns.


What else have they got to do? Develop a space program?
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:50 AM on November 12, 2009


I will be at the movie on opening day, because I expect Ebert is right, and it's nothing but things asploding, and I have terrible, terrible taste in films.

That being said, remember when John Cusack wouldn't do Apollo 13 because he was politically opposed to it, because it glorified a military agency? And then he does this movie? The best way to make yourself unpopular is to take an ethical stance that nobody understands.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:51 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh sure, like if the world were going to end NASA would tell us...

hamburger
posted by naoko at 7:54 AM on November 12, 2009


responding to the taxpaying public is something we're (nominally) supposed to do.

But they could have done it honestly. (rather than saying no proof of an asteroid hitting state that there is always a chance)

Or with links to pages with the analysis. (then shown the math of the chance. Talked about how various groups all across the planet track various asteroids.)

That would have put your group ahead of the rest of the government.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:57 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


autodidact: Do not equate 2012 with the singularity. It's like comparing the tooth fairy to Dinosaurs.

Tooth fairy to Lamarckian Evolution perhaps.

rough ashlar: Well, 2012 nuts are not talking about the low probability of events that can't be predicted. The whole premise behind 2012 is that pre-modern naked-eye astronomers predicted terrible extraordinary events that will take place within a specific time frame.

Is it possible for a massive CME or asteroid strike to happen in December 2012? Certainly, but there is no reason to believe that December 2012 is going to be more extraordinary than November 2009.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:04 AM on November 12, 2009


Liquidwolf: How do you know it's "utterly ridiculous and fringe whackjob bullshit"? Do you know anything about what the it's based on? Or are you just assuming that because of your perception of the pop version of it?

Because:
1) The presence of large and previously unknown planetary body due to swing by Earth in three years would be visible to amateur astronomers by now.
2) Claims regarding the consequences of crossing the galactic equator ignore problems understanding where the galactic equator is, and violate basic Newtonian physical laws. In general, all of the predictions center on handwaving and voodoo violations of some basic physical laws.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:10 AM on November 12, 2009


Oh, man. I remember in 1998 or 1999 reading about all the superdisasters that Y2K was certain to cause, like all the traffic lights suddenly turning green and causing massive carnage. My favorite was a guy on Usenet insisting that though the various computer chips in your car don't report the date, they still have a date function buried within them, thus they would all die on 1/1/2000. I didn't ask how these chips would know it was Y2K if there was no way to set the date.

Maybe that's why the struts on my car are bad.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:10 AM on November 12, 2009


There is no reason to believe that December 2012 is going to be more extraordinary than November 2009.

But it could be very extraordinary. A cataclysmic meteor strike would make for a huge MetaFilter discussion. Maybe even bigger than the Sarah Palin thread!

Assuming it wasn't deleted as newsfilter, of course.
posted by rokusan at 8:11 AM on November 12, 2009


The whole premise behind 2012 is that pre-modern naked-eye astronomers predicted terrible extraordinary events that will take place within a specific time frame.


Wrong. The Mayans didn't predict anything for 2012. That's the problem, everyone is basing the origins of this phenomenon on assumptions like this. It's easy to debunk end time predictions, but get your facts straight. 2012 wasn't an doomsday prediction. The calendar just simply didn't extend beyond that date, for whatever reason. The doomsday thing is a recent sensational interpretation by the History Channel and trashy writers.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:12 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


What else have they got to do? Develop a space program?

Well, I don't seem to have a jetpack yet. Not even a space elevator.

So that's two agenda items right there.
posted by rokusan at 8:12 AM on November 12, 2009


Planes - Do they really fly?

See, I get this. I have a B.S. in Biology, so I took Physics in school, and my dad worked at NASA, so I have learned about airfoils and lift and why it is that planes don't fall out of the sky -- but I kind of don't believe it. I see airplanes flying, and cognitive dissonance ensues.

Me: No, it's too big! How can it stay up!?
Me: Lift, airfoils, physics, and also -- planes do stay up, in practice, so apparently it works.
Me: No! It's too big!

On some emotional level I still don't buy it -- Flight feels untrue to me, despite the evidence. I decide to just trust the intellectual arguments for flight. I take planes to get where I'm going; I don't base any decisions on my belief that they will all fall out of the sky. I think the 2012 people, and the homeopathy people, and all these people who believe in woo, make the opposite decision. They want true things to feel true, and if they don't, they won't just decide to trust the evidence.
posted by Methylviolet at 8:13 AM on November 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


rough ashlar: In what way does this not say exactly what you want for them to say?
The Earth has always been subject to impacts by comets and asteroids, although big hits are very rare. The last big impact was 65 million years ago, and that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today NASA astronomers are carrying out a survey called the Spaceguard Survey to find any large near-Earth asteroids long before they hit. We have already determined that there are no threatening asteroids as large as the one that killed the dinosaurs. All this work is done openly with the discoveries posted every day on the NASA NEO Program Office website (link to web site), so you can see for yourself that nothing is predicted to hit in 2012.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:13 AM on November 12, 2009


I can not think of a snarky enough way to express how amused I am at all the racist xenophobes who take this shit so seriously (Not saying everyone that believes in the 2012 stuff is a racistxenophobe, just a few I've listened to)

I've met Mayans on the bus in San Francisco, they look like this, wearing jeans and baseball caps. How many twentytwelvers would take what this people have to say about cosmology seriously?

So sad to see the modern day Mayas getting shafted in so many ways while others milk their inheritance for all it is worth.
posted by dirty lies at 8:15 AM on November 12, 2009


> I have a unique perspective on end-times prophecy -- I am descended from an 1800's end-times prophet.

I don't mean to cast aspersions on anybody's ancestry, but I want to know how a person can think, "The world will end in my lifetime! WHEE I'M GONNA HAVE A BABY!"
posted by ardgedee at 8:16 AM on November 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


How do you know it's "utterly ridiculous and fringe whackjob bullshit"?

Are you referring to the utterly ridiculous and fringe whackjob bullshit involving Mayan calendars, mysterious planets, and planetary catastrophe in the year 2012 or some other, different, utterly ridiculous and fringe whackjob bullshit?
posted by octobersurprise at 8:18 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Liquidwolf: Sure, and it's the doomsday predictions that are relevant in this discussion. No one particularly cares about the difficulties in interpreting the theological implications of a calendar from a culture that no longer exists in the "classic" form that developed it.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:20 AM on November 12, 2009


Honestly I'll let you all in our a secret...

All this 2012 Hoopla is viral marketing for the movie and dvd/blue ray sales.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:30 AM on November 12, 2009


on = our makes more sense that way.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:31 AM on November 12, 2009


Not by much.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:35 AM on November 12, 2009


Mastercheddar: It's a feedback mechanism IMO. I remember similar urban legends getting kicked around in the 80s and 90s, long before this film was fast-tracked into development.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:39 AM on November 12, 2009


What else have they got to do? Develop a space program?

Read metafilter. Duh. It's the government, people!
posted by zap rowsdower at 8:44 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I get it now. Emmerich is a fan of Coast to Coast AM. The Day After Tomorrow was based on The Coming Global Superstorm by Whitley Streiber and Art Bell. 2012 has been a regular topic over the last few years on Coast to Coast, from Zecharia Sitchin's Nibiru non-sense, to McKenna's Timewave Zero, and the Mayan 2012 "prophecy." Maybe Uwe Boll can jump in and direct a movie about 2012 and the Akashic records being found under the foot of the Great Sphinx.

(Of course John Titor didn't mention anything about 2012, so I doubt anything will happen)
posted by ryoshu at 8:55 AM on November 12, 2009


Oh sweet merciful fuck, I am sick and tired of the 2012 shit. I have coworkers who, by all appearances are intelligent people with the ability use critical thinking skills, and are talking about this as if it were fact. Some of them are even showing signs of connecting it to some sort of Christian-Rapture event.

More and more, I find myself blocking out the sound of their voices with headphones, because I really don't want to get pulled into that conversation. But I will say this; on January 1, 2013, I'm going to be expecting a formal apology from every fucking person who wasted my time explaining how we were "all gonna die because the ancient Mayans said so".

I'm actually hoping that the awfulness of the movie will embarrass people into shutting up about this.
posted by quin at 8:56 AM on November 12, 2009


I expect Ebert is right, and it's nothing but things asploding

That's what I was hoping for when I first heard of this movie, but the trailers are so relentlessly earnest, so absolutely serious and solemn, it looks like it goes beyond silly, past boring, all the way to tedious.

Let me know if I'm wrong.
posted by straight at 8:58 AM on November 12, 2009


What else have they got to do? Develop a space program?

Public relations and education were functions of NASA defined at its creation in 1958. Which we don't really mind when they bring us pretty pictures from Hubble and the planetary missions.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:04 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm waiting for the sequels.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:05 AM on November 12, 2009


MeFi's own Peace of Westphalia

I adore this site, some days.
posted by everichon at 9:10 AM on November 12, 2009


To hell with the Mayan calendar, I just checked my calendar here at work, a regular scientifically based calendar based on SCIENCE!, not new-agey woo-hoo, and guess what?
IT ENDS ON DECEMBER 31st!!!
The end is a whole lot nearer than you think, sheeple!
posted by Floydd at 9:14 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


How do you know it's "utterly ridiculous and fringe whackjob bullshit"? Do you know anything about what the it's based on? Or are you just assuming that because of your perception of the pop version of it?

Wrong. The Mayans didn't predict anything for 2012. That's the problem, everyone is basing the origins of this phenomenon on assumptions like this. It's easy to debunk end time predictions, but get your facts straight. 2012 wasn't an doomsday prediction. The calendar just simply didn't extend beyond that date, for whatever reason. The doomsday thing is a recent sensational interpretation by the History Channel and trashy writers.

Just... what exactly are you objecting to?
posted by kmz at 9:21 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I just checked my calendar here at work, a regular scientifically based calendar based on SCIENCE!, not new-agey woo-hoo

Didn't you mean to say, "a calendar based on the pre-historical writings of a Semitic desert tribe which was then revised in order to create a consistent day of celebration of a newer religion's observance of the resurrection of their main teacher"?
posted by hippybear at 9:29 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually 2012 is when I usher this world into several aeons of unspeakable horror.

I'd fill you guys in, but the horror is kind of indescribable and if I tried you'd just go insane anyway.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 9:29 AM on November 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


Actually 2012 is when I usher this world into several aeons of unspeakable horror.

I'd fill you guys in, but the horror is kind of indescribable and if I tried you'd just go insane anyway.


You're releasing a Perez Hilton sex tape? You evil, evil bastard.
posted by ryoshu at 9:35 AM on November 12, 2009


> Actually 2012 is when I usher this world into several aeons of unspeakable horror.

You're working on Palin's presidential planning committee?
posted by ardgedee at 9:40 AM on November 12, 2009


Actually 2012 is when I usher this world into several aeons of unspeakable horror.

You're working on the remake of Goodfellas?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:46 AM on November 12, 2009


hippybear: Didn't you mean to say, "a calendar based on the pre-historical writings of a Semitic desert tribe which was then revised in order to create a consistent day of celebration of a newer religion's observance of the resurrection of their main teacher"?

Not to be Mr. Pedantic Calendar Guy (though I believe I crossed that particular bridge 3 or 4 pedantic calendar comments ago) but the calendar we know and love originates with the Romans. The current iteration of it, the Gregorian Calendar is merely a refinement of the Julian Calendar which came into effect 45 BC (the Roman year 709) which itself was a reform of the old Roman system. If I remember correctly there's pretty good evidence that the Julian Calendar was based heavily on Egyptian astronomy and therefore a kind of Romanized version of the traditional Egyptian calendar.
posted by Kattullus at 9:49 AM on November 12, 2009


Kattullus: yes, except the whole "seven days in a week" thing was NOT from the Egyptians at all but has its foundation in the creation story of Genesis, and the Gregorian is a refinement of the Julian, yes, but the refinement was done in order to make sure all Christians were celebrating Easter on the same day.
posted by hippybear at 10:04 AM on November 12, 2009


You know, I'm 34 years old and since the age of reason, let's say 12 years old (for values of reason that equal not being scared of ghosts or witches or whatever) what if I just flat out fucking open hand slapped (with the full windup, I'm a big guy, 6'1", 220 pounds, you can see my biceps under the beer fat) every single person that -with wide earnest eyes - stood in front of me and declared some stupid fucking thing that they heard somewhere about space aliens or if you go out with wet hair you'll get a cold or how sneakers thrown over the phone lines mean there are drug dealers on the corner or how homeopathy could possibly work or auras or the Mayan calendar predicts that the world will end in 2012? I think there would be upwards of 200,000 slapped motherfuckers out there, big red marks on their stupid faces. I'm only just one man, how many people can I slap? Maybe if I got that Tommy John surgery that pitchers get, so I have a wider range of motion. Maybe human growth hormone?

Why does everyone have to be fucking stupid all the time. Shit.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:21 AM on November 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


Kattullus: yes, except the whole "seven days in a week" thing was NOT from the Egyptians at all but has its foundation in the creation story of Genesis, and the Gregorian is a refinement of the Julian, yes, but the refinement was done in order to make sure all Christians were celebrating Easter on the same day.

However, that refers only to the seven-week day structure. The 365-day YEAR structure predates Christianity, and I believe that the days-in-a-year trope is what Kattullus was speaking of -- and since the yearly shift is what Kattalus is referring to, I'd concur.

In short: Judeo-Christianity gave us the week, but the Egyptians gave us the year.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:24 AM on November 12, 2009


Well, the seven-day week goes back to Sumerian times, way before Yahweh was but a glimmer in a prophet's eye. The 7-day Genesis creation myth probably comes from there already being a 7-day week with the seventh day being a holy day rather than vice versa.
posted by Kattullus at 10:25 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Houston Museum of Natural Science's curator of Anthropology, Dirk Van Tuerenhout has an excellent blog entry about this. [via]
posted by IanMorr at 10:31 AM on November 12, 2009


Ah, very good. ...Except now I'm all curious whether the Sumerians had any concept of a year, in that case. I know the prime reason the Egyptians started keeping track of the year as a period of time was mainly because of the cycles of the Nile's floods, and in the abscence of any similar activity in Sumeria (assuming there was an absence of similar activity?), did they record the year as a period of time? Or did they just track the turnover of each month?

Because if you think about it, historically and geographically people only start keeping track of time so they can keep track of when some event happens -- "when's the next full moon/rainy season/flood/cold season/wolf mating season/etc.?" So geographically different calendar systems must have sprung up early on depending on what you were watching. And everywhere in the world gets a full moon, but not everywhere gets a winter, yes?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:35 AM on November 12, 2009


remember when John Cusack wouldn't do Apollo 13 because he was politically opposed to it, because it glorified a military agency?

What? NASA is a civilian agency. Whadda maroon.
posted by InfidelZombie at 10:42 AM on November 12, 2009


You all are missing the IMPORTANT thing aboiut 2012; namely, that there are going to be a lot of suckers willing to part with huge amounts of money based on their belief in and fears about 2012. Whether its forming a new-agey 2012 cult, or selling "2012 Survival Shelters" there's gold in them thar gullible fools. The 2012 hype is enough to make P.T. Barnam orgasm in the grave.
posted by happyroach at 10:44 AM on November 12, 2009


In short: Judeo-Christianity gave us the week, but the Egyptians gave us the year.

So it wasn't the Unions who brought us the weekend!
posted by Pollomacho at 10:45 AM on November 12, 2009


I think its worth noting that this end-of-the-world-meme is at least slightly different from others in that it purports to be hard-evidenced-based.

Usually when someone claims the world will end, they do so by affirming special, usually divine-revelation. They make a point of generously offering this special information to the rest of the world. If they leader is charismatic enough and a few followers are desperate enough, a small movement can ensue. There is usually also a built-in explanation for why the impending disaster didn't take place. Rarely are these end-of-the-world scenarios "natural." Rather, they involve a divine figure of some kind coming to exact judgment on Creation. When the figure doesn't show up as promised, the "prophet" can claim the figure's anger was placated or the figure's mercy has permitted more time for human penance.

Usually the dates associated are largely mystical or arbitrary. The year two-thousand frightened many people because of a technological bug, but most people recognized that "two thousand" is largely an arbitrary date. Even some Christians acknowledge that Jesus was probably born in 4 B.C., meaning the date lacks cosmic significance even for one group that could lay claim to it.

The December 12, 2012 date may seem arbitrary. But the fact that proponents are coupling it with data about galactic events is what is frightening people. The year 2000 is an arbitrary time that may or may not be two-thousand years after the birth of someone whom some people belief was God. But the 2012 bit asserts that the ancient Mayan calendar was based on repeating heavenly patterns that remain observable. Anyone with a telescope could confirm the stellar and planetary movements that figure into the "alignment"--and that's what scares people.

The bit about the planets of overlords coming back is not something I hear anyone discuss. Sure you read about it, but I don't think it phases otherwise rationale people.

But the idea that the universe could line up in a certain discernible pattern and effect gravity sufficiently to alter life on earth? That sound not-arbitrary and plausible enough to make some people interested. There's no capricious deity afoot--just the movement of the heavenly spheres.

I think this one warranted reassurance from a publicly-funded organization charged with observing the heavens. I don't think this one sets a precedent for responding to every whackjob with a sheet of carboard and enough marker to scribble "The End is Near"
posted by jefficator at 10:53 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


So... if 2012 marks the beginning of the end of the nation-state world order...

I think this is it.

Honestly, even at that, I never thought they'd hit the 1000 mark, much less 2000, and now 2012.

I, too, was expecting a shitload of debunking. I was disappointed.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:07 AM on November 12, 2009


For those of you questioning why people would take seriously a doomsday policy which is purportedly from an ancient civilization's calendar, I invite you to keep something in mind.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:07 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Except now I'm all curious whether the Sumerians had any concept of a year

Offhand, I remember that the Sumerians celebrated the New Year from at least the third millennium. As I recall, that festival--a very important one in the Sumerian calendar--was keyed to the seasons, in this case, the shift from hot to rainy; but I imagine that the start of the new year was celestially determined from a pretty early point.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:11 AM on November 12, 2009


EmpressCallipgos: However, that refers only to the seven-week day structure. The 365-day YEAR structure predates Christianity, and I believe that the days-in-a-year trope is what Kattullus was speaking of -- and since the yearly shift is what Kattalus is referring to, I'd concur.

Kattallus: Well, the seven-day week goes back to Sumerian times, way before Yahweh was but a glimmer in a prophet's eye. The 7-day Genesis creation myth probably comes from there already being a 7-day week with the seventh day being a holy day rather than vice versa.

Okay, fair enough. All of which goes to my original point, which was that our modern calendar isn't "a regular scientifically based calendar based on SCIENCE!, not new-agey woo-hoo". Heck, even the Mayan calendar is based on the exact same astronomical observations which underscores all these other calendars we're talking about. It's all new-agey woo-hoo when you go back more than a few hundred years.
posted by hippybear at 11:15 AM on November 12, 2009


In short: Judeo-Christianity gave us the week, but the Egyptians gave us the year.

So it wasn't the Unions who brought us the weekend!


But it was the Aztecs who invented the vacation.
posted by grubi at 11:19 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Okay, fair enough. All of which goes to my original point, which was that our modern calendar isn't "a regular scientifically based calendar based on SCIENCE!, not new-agey woo-hoo".

....Nnnnnot as such. Because the Egyptian basis for the annual calendar is, "huh, that river over there floods now and then....I wonder if there's some way we could come up with keeping track of WHEN it does, so then when it's coming around to being time for the next flood we could get everything out of the way.

It was based on the observation of a natural pheonomena -- which means it IS "a regular scientifically based calendar based on SCIENCE!, not new-agey woo-hoo."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:28 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't believe people still believe that man-actually-walked-on-the-moon bullshit.

Amen.
posted by GrooveJedi at 11:43 AM on November 12, 2009


Well, why don't we just ask the Mayans themselves, huh? What's that? 2012 Is Not The End of the World, Mayan Elder Insists? Huh. Well, let's not let that get in the way of a good panic, shall we? Apolinario Chile Pixtun is tired of being bombarded with frantic questions about the end of the world. "I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff," he said. What a killjoy.
posted by jokeefe at 11:54 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


jefficator: But the 2012 bit asserts that the ancient Mayan calendar was based on repeating heavenly patterns that remain observable.

The problem is that it took Galileo and a telescope to determine that the Milky Way was made of individual stars, and the shape and center of the Milky Way Galaxy wasn't determined until 1930 after two centuries of rigorous cataloging of individual stars and globular clusters. Neither naked-eye astronomy nor optical telescopes are sufficient to identify the galactic core. The best you can say is that the sun passes through some arbitrary point against the visible Milky Way once a year and it does that every year. Naked eye astronomers plugging the data into star charts find little unusual about December 2012.

So not only is the whole thing based on bad astronomy it's based on bad astrology.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:04 PM on November 12, 2009


Image of crescent Earth taken today by the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft
posted by lukemeister at 12:25 PM on November 12, 2009


I remember reading in one of William S. Burroughs' books a theory that the entire creation of the Mayan calendar was a tool for the priest class to keep the populace in line, and that 2012 didn't indicate the end of the world, but rather the need to come up with a new calendar. In other words, 2012 is when the proles would "wise up" to how the priest class was using the calendar as a tool of oppression. As a theory, it's only marginally less crazy than the "OMG WORLD IS ENDING" scenario, but personally I find it a lot more appealing.

In mostly unrelated news, I'd be mighty irritable if I was a Mayan right now.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:28 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


It was based on the observation of a natural pheonomena -- which means it IS "a regular scientifically based calendar based on SCIENCE!, not new-agey woo-hoo."

See!!! So I'm pretty sure we've established that the year as we know it will end right around midnight local time December 31st, 2009. Might want to start your preparations now.

(boy, take a 2 margarita lunch and look what I miss.)
posted by Floydd at 12:48 PM on November 12, 2009


> So it wasn't the Unions who brought us the weekend!

I thought it was LoverBoy
posted by mrzarquon at 1:07 PM on November 12, 2009


Better not tell the loonies about Apophis, an asteroid that NASA has calculated will come within about 30,000 km of the Earth in April 2029 on Friday the 13th! This is inside the orbit of geosynchronous satellites (although Apophis not expected to smash any of them because of the tilt of its orbital plane). Not apocalyptic but close enough to be exciting, plus it's, y'know, real.

Any apocalyptic action will play out here on Earth as the loonies go batshitinsane.
posted by Quietgal at 1:27 PM on November 12, 2009


FYI, the "conspiracy" part of the "conspiracy theory" comes from the fact that these nutjobs not only believe the world will end in 2012, but that the government is actively suppressing the "facts". They believe that NASA already knows that an earth-destroying Planet X is heading for us, but refuses to inform the public to avoid panic.

How a goddamn Hollywood blockbuster managed to slip through this all-powerful governmental censorship conspiracy is still left unanswered.
posted by ymgve at 1:42 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


...what if I just flat out fucking open hand slapped every single person that... stood in front of me and declared some stupid fucking thing that they heard somewhere?

"I’m gonna reach back here like so, and if you say something ignorant, I’m gonna smack you real, real hard." - Huey
posted by Evilspork at 2:16 PM on November 12, 2009


> How a goddamn Hollywood blockbuster managed to slip through this all-powerful governmental censorship conspiracy is still left unanswered.

See, that's part of the conspiracy: The feds secretly funded a massive, bombastic movie that's impossible to take seriously, to make the 2012 believers sound ridiculous to the general public! Wake up sheeple etc. bla bla and so on.

I'm not quite clear on what any government gets out of being annihilated along with everybody else, but that's hardly the only thing to confuse me about truthers and conspiracy theorists.
posted by ardgedee at 2:28 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


This goofy stuff aside, I'm curious how NASA, or anyone really, would react to an actual, known, scientifically provable impending disaster. Say a meteor 3000 feet across, not one of those 120-odd mile across planet killers we see in the Chiron comets, but just big enough to end human civilization, 12 mile crater, tidal waves, global winter, all that (and those hit us, what, every quarter million years?)
So we've got one headed at us, let's say we get extraordinarily lucky and see it coming, depending on the lead time (we'd be lucky if it were a few days depending on how small it was, but lets say a year), NASA's going to say, what, exactly?

Question (Q):Are there any threats to the Earth next year? My buddy is an amateur astronomer and he says he sees a pretty big fast moving asteroid coming that could end civilization next year?
Answer (A): Yes, NASA scientists have been observing this asteroid and say it will impact the Earth within the year, most likely on June 4th at 3:23 p.m. In fact it's not the only meteor, there are a string of them which will strike with about 1000 gigatons of force total, which will more than just end civilization, it will rain molten rock over the globe vaporizing thousands of cubic miles of water, the seismic shockwaves alone breaking the Earth's crust, causing massive volcanic eruptions, burning all the forests and all vegetation in general, covering the atmosphere with toxic gases and smoke, raining sulfuric and acid nitrogen oxides dissolving the shells of shell-dwelling creatures (coccolithophores and molluscs) and limestone, pouring even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere along with the stratospheric dust and cutting off all sunlight for years, ending photosynthesis, destroying phytoplankton and choking off the broad source of the food chain.

Question (Q): ... uh...*choke*
Answer (A): This should go on for about 10 years, after the freezing dust and sulfuric aerosols settle, the gases in the atmosphere should trigger a runaway greenhouse effect drying and burning most of the remaining life that had not been frozen by the 70 degree (F) temperature drop.

Question (Q): Wha... uh...
Answer: About 90 percent of all life, not just all human life, should go extinct, much like the Permian–Triassic extinction event. Although it's debatable whether an impact was a catalyst for a chain of extinction events like the release of methane hydrates from the sea floor, there won't be *chuckles* much debate as to what the major catalyst for this extinction event will be. Although to be fair our epoch does have the ongoing Holocene extinction. Of course, it's not quite as dramatic. And life will go on. As bacteria mostly for at least a few million years.

Question (Q): Do you have any cool deep field pictures of the Ring Nebula?
Answer: Sure kid, here.
--------

I dunno if it's a good idea to tell or not tell people the straight truth. I'd lean towards it and take steps to at least try and survive it. Even if there were no chance. But there might be a lot of chaos, mass hysteria, suicides, that would add to the suffering. Not to mention the nihilism.
Maybe fudge saying ok, yeah, it's going to hit us, but we can survive.

But that's kind of what's screwy here. It's a dumb idea, the 2012 thing. And not worth really addressing. But I don't know that they wouldn't take a serious threat, with genuine scientific evidence, in the same manner, saying that no, there isn't a threat.
Really - if a planet killer is going to hit us, boil off the oceans, not much you can do either way. What, you're going to stock a bug-out vehicle? Better have rockets on it.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:30 PM on November 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


(goes without saying that the goal of the conspiracy theorists is completely unfathomable even if (or especially if) you (generously) grant legitimacy. Like waking up a guy in a deep drug induced sleep on a plane that's going down - so what's he, or anyone, supposed to do about it if he knows about it? Magically do what the trained pilots can't pull off? Worlds going to end in 2012, eh? Ok, so...what? There's something productive I can do? Colonize Mars?)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:41 PM on November 12, 2009


I think its worth noting that this end-of-the-world-meme is at least slightly different from others in that it purports to be hard-evidenced-based.

Usually when someone claims the world will end, they do so by affirming special, usually divine-revelation.


Very true. It is still worth noting that there have been a large number of prior end of the world predictions, though, whether well supported by evidence or not.
posted by bearwife at 2:49 PM on November 12, 2009


I'm curious how NASA, or anyone really, would react to an actual, known, scientifically provable impending disaster

I would like to be informed. Maybe I can't plan to survive (who would want to anyway?) but my ration to time spent on metafilter to time spent having sex would hopefully be changed dramatically in the face of global destruction.
posted by jefficator at 2:58 PM on November 12, 2009


Screw it. I'm posting the whole thing again.

I'm curious how NASA, or anyone really, would react to an actual, known, scientifically provable impending disaster

I would like to be informed. Maybe I can't plan to survive (who would want to anyway?) but my ratio of time spent on metafilter to time spent having sex would hopefully be changed dramatically in the face of global destruction.
posted by jefficator at 2:58 PM on November 12, 2009


jefficator: you could ration your MetaFilter time starting right now if you need more time for having sex. ;)

No, don't go away, it was a joke! Hey! Come back!
posted by hippybear at 3:04 PM on November 12, 2009


NASA debunks 2012 conspiracy theories

At first, I was like damn, that's a lot of conspiracy theories to debunk.
posted by saul wright at 3:10 PM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


To debunk a conspiracy theory there would have to had been actual CONSPIRACIES to be theorized about.

Yeah, that bugs me too: the connotations and denotations of the phrase "conspiracy theory" have drifted so far apart that they don't even write to each other much any more. If you want to start a lively discussion, observe to someone that a theory about nineteen people acting together to bring down four airliners is a literal conspiracy theory.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:47 PM on November 12, 2009


2-0-1-2, party over, no time to delve
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's two thousand and twelve
Yeah-heaah!
posted by bwg at 4:30 PM on November 12, 2009


Smedleyman, a few approaches have been proposed for an asteroid deemed likely to hit Earth: blowing it into small pieces that will burn up in the Earth's atmosphere, or nudging it out of the way. Wikipedia gives the gist of asteroid deflection strategies. Apparently blowing an asteroid to smithereens is not the favorite idea at the moment, since it's hard to make sure the all the chunks will be small enough to burn up.

Deflecting an asteroid seems to be the better approach, since Earth moves so fast in its orbit: at 30 km/sec, it only takes about 7 minutes for Earth to move the distance of its own diameter, so if you could delay an asteroid's arrival by 7 minutes you'd be in the clear. You could slam a spacecraft into the asteroid or light off some nukes nearby to deflect it (see that Wiki link for details).

Another approach, if you have enough time, is to let the Sun do the work. The Yarkovsky effect postulates that differential heating and cooling of a rotating asteroid's surfaces will affect its orbit, as infrared photons leaving the warmer surface give a little "kick" as they leave, resulting in an infinitesimally higher pressure on the warm side. Over the long term, the orbital deflection can add up.

Asteroid 1950 DA currently has about a 1 in 300 chance of hitting the Earth in March 2880 - plenty of warning. From that link: "If it is eventually decided 1950 DA needs to be diverted, the hundreds of years of warning could allow a method as simple as dusting the surface of the asteroid with chalk or charcoal, or perhaps white glass beads, or sending a solar sail spacecraft that ends by collapsing its reflective sail around the asteroid. These things would change the asteroids reflectivity and allow sunlight to do the work of pushing the asteroid out of the way." Maybe we could sprinkle a ton of sugar on it. Sweet!
posted by Quietgal at 4:30 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


People are idiots.

Climatologist: The CO2 gas we've released into the atmosphere has already raised the planetary temperature over two degrees! It's only going to continue into the future! We're making massive, unprecedented changes into core climatological processes we all rely on to survive!
People: Bo-ring!

Ecologist: The excesses of modern civilization have started a mass extinction! Biodiversity is crashing worldwide, harmful invasive species are being introduced all over, and ecological webs are being disrupted. We can't predict how this is going to affect life on earth, including agriculture!
People: *yawn*

Marine Biologist: You know, we're killing the oceans. There's a huge dead zone in the gulf of Mexico. Whole fisheries have been exterminated through overfishing. There's an island of trash in the Pacific the size of Texas.
People: What's on TV?

Physicist: Nuclear war remains a real possibility! Russia continues to destabilize! Numerous unstable countries continue to seek nuclear weapons, and it's only a matter of time before they get them!
People: Eh.

Epidemiologist: Humanity is more vulnerable to emergent diseases than ever! Observe how unstoppable the H1N1 virus was! If a new disease like the Spanish Flu emerged, billions could die!
People: Why should I care?

Archaeologist: Well, this is kind of interesting. Apparently the Mayans, a civilization dead for around half a millenium, had a calender based on astronomical events! And, they only bothered to plot it out through 2012, five hundred years out past the end of their civilization! I wonder if they thought something might happen in 2012?
People: OMG WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:45 PM on November 12, 2009 [18 favorites]


The sun has intense solar storms every twenty years or so, and the last one blacked out Toronto back in 1989. Scientists say that solar activity has been unusually quiet for the past few decades, which may mean that the next solar storm may be indeed intense.

On the ground, we are fairly well-shielded from solar storms and power station engineers can negate the effects of a flare if there is adequate planning. But if a storm is strong enough, it can knock out a big chunk of technology that is absolutely essential to our everyday lives.

Satellites.

If a storm were successful in knocking those out, it really would be a disaster movie. We'd all be instantly rocked back to, say 1960s America and the technology that existed then. Bye bye cell phones. Bye bye (to a lot of) the Internet. Undersea cables would be our link to the rest of the world, until we got around to replacing the satellites. But that likely wouldn't happen for years and decades because the economic and political ramifications of all that would be tremendous. Wars, famine, you name it, it could happen, even in the U.S.

Ok, that's as dramatic as I'm gonna get. Maybe it'll be the same old solar storm as usual. But I'm just sayin'...

I don't believe in the 2012 prophecy because, really, there's nothing to believe. But as far as disasters happening in 2012, I'd put my money on what the actual scientists are saying.
posted by zardoz at 5:06 PM on November 12, 2009


Ok, this almost makes me want to see the movie. Almost.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:21 PM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ok, this almost makes me want to see the movie. Almost.

Hell, that sold me. It turns out that mega disaster pr0n is good medicine!
posted by Burhanistan at 5:30 PM on November 12, 2009


"Apocalypse bukkake"? Now that's a review!
posted by jokeefe at 6:58 AM on November 13, 2009


Back to the title, are you certain engineers wouldn't be frantically scribbling on a napkin how much lateral force is necessary to make the dome of St. Peter's roll like a marble?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:33 AM on November 13, 2009


Actually, the use of Mayan calender systems among the various groups of Maya has been out of synch for several hundred years. The Yucatec Maya long count is not at all in synch with the Quiche Maya calendar, which is different from the Cakchikel calendar and so on. All of these groups use the calendar for essential divination purposes, all of them have complete faith in its efficiency within their cultural context.

I studied Quiche Maya at University years ago, and our teacher was a Quiche divining priest brought in from Guatamala by the anthro dept. If he had any concerns about an upcoming apocalypse he sure did not ever mention it - he was really looking forward to buying a pickup truck.
posted by zaelic at 7:43 AM on November 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


I didn't believe in 2012 end o' the world before this thread but now, I dunno. It was tl;dr, but I skimmed something about Maya Angelou's calendar and how Pluto was pissed at NASA for downgrading it so it's been preparing to attack?

Seems plausible.
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:24 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Two more thoughts:

I wonder if disaster porn like this helps to validate the 9-11 deniers lament that buildings should fall over sideways in the absence of a designed demolition.

And it's pretty funny when the trailer calls something that existed roughly over the same period as the Holy Roman Empire the "oldest civilization." Because treating Native Americans as uniquely spiritually gifted never gets old.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:46 AM on November 13, 2009


A friend posted this on another 2012 link:

"It will be worth noting when both sides of the Y12 dialogue stop slinging mud at each other and awake to the reality of intuition as the change agent itself of civilization. That is, we feel our way into expanded states of consciousness not think our way into them."
posted by shii at 6:16 PM on November 16, 2009


Your buddy could stand to lay off the sinsemilla for a bit.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:19 PM on November 16, 2009


Apropos of very little...

Sinsemilia, a French reggae group, are one of those bands that are so profoundly unhip that they somehow come out the other side into cool. Anyway, I always get one of their songs stuck in my head whenever I hear or see the word sinsemilla.
posted by Kattullus at 6:47 PM on November 16, 2009


and our teacher was a Quiche divining priest brought in from Guatamala

I thought Canadians were the only ones who were religious about quiche.
posted by qvantamon at 6:54 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I tried to post this in the deleted thread with the 2012 skeptics vs believers graphic, but the hand of cortex descended before I could post. So here's my contribution on the topic of the 2012 phenomenon:

I used to think all of this was just harmless - a bunch of psuedoscience LOLIDIOTS amplified by all of the cable media who can sell lots of ads because people love disaster porn.

But now in my teaching I've encountered a couple of kids who are absolutely scared out of their fucking minds, particularly because the same cable channels that are showing them things that other reputable sources tell them are true (such as the extinction of the dinosaurs or plate tectonics) are telling them the world might end in 2012.

These kids aren't idiots - in fact, quite the contrary: they're the ones watching the Discovery Channel and such because they're curious about the world they live in. But they're young - in the 10 - 13 range - and don't yet have enough experience to be able to tell the real science from the pseudoscience on TV, and don't have well-developed skepticism muscles yet.

So, yeah, I explain it to them and help calm them down. And this graphic might actually help me do that, so I like it. But I wish that folks who know better would tone it down. The true believers of this crap don't bother me - I just feel sorry for them. And of course there was going to be a movie like 2012. But for the Science Channel and Discovery Channel and the like, I wish they'd realize that they made a couple of science-geeks-in-waiting genuinely worry they'd never live to see adulthood.
posted by Chanther at 7:44 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


But now in my teaching I've encountered a couple of kids who are absolutely scared out of their fucking minds, particularly because the same cable channels that are showing them things that other reputable sources tell them are true (such as the extinction of the dinosaurs or plate tectonics) are telling them the world might end in 2012.

my daughter's one of those kids - she's 13 and has been convinced by those cable channels that 2012 is THE END

i took her to a local used bookshop and happened to run across a book that predicted that trillions of tons of ice were going to slide over the planet when the planets all lined up and the poles shifted - after reading her the scare blurbs on the back cover, i showed her the title

5/5/2000

so what does that mean?

it never happened, she replied

and THAT'S why i don't believe the world is ending in 2012

well, i can only hope it got through to her

But for the Science Channel and Discovery Channel and the like, I wish they'd realize that they made a couple of science-geeks-in-waiting genuinely worry they'd never live to see adulthood.

you should have been a kid back in 1962-1985 when damn near everyone was convinced they were going to die in a massive nuclear flameout
posted by pyramid termite at 9:45 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm hoping that 2012 will signal a new day of calm, when the right-wing, second-coming wingnuts end up in the same bunkers as the left-wing, new-age dips.

Then both groups can finally realize they aren't so different after all leave the rest of us in peace.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:30 PM on November 16, 2009


But they're young - in the 10 - 13 range - and don't yet have enough experience to be able to tell the real science from the pseudoscience on TV, and don't have well-developed skepticism muscles yet.

10-13, Hell, 5-6, is not too young to start thinking about...
Consider the source
If this were true, what else would be true
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof
Correlation is not causation


I am sorry that any kid has an anxious moment over all this. But then, I remember thinking, as did several of my friends, that Jaws was going to attack me in the public pool. There is always something to stress kids out... and maybe sharpen their critical thinking skills.
posted by Methylviolet at 11:34 PM on November 16, 2009


I'm actually wondering if the profound silliness of 2012 the movie will undermine the ideas it uses. After all, you don't hear much about the Coming Global Superstorm after Emmerich got his hands on Streiber's climate theories delivered via alien-as-god.

And it's a profoundly silly movie that combines all the moralism of Towering Inferno with vertigo-inducing spaceflight effects of Phantom Menace.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:37 AM on November 17, 2009


Personally, I'm going to hope the release of the film is the end of John Cusack's "snarky action hero guy" phase.

(Seriously. John. From BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and CRADLE WILL ROCK to this?)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:54 AM on November 17, 2009


Well, Tim Robbins made a cheesy science fiction flick just to give his kids an action figure. (Although the cash probably was another incentive.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:44 AM on November 17, 2009


John doesn't HAVE kids, though!.....

because he hasn't met me yet.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:46 AM on November 17, 2009


To be fair, Cusack *was* in Con Air, so this... eh.
posted by grubi at 6:02 AM on November 20, 2009


To be fair, Cusack *was* in Con Air....

I remain firmly convinced that that was intended as a contractural obligation thing. You know - "oh, okay, I'll do this crappy little action film thing and make my manager happy, so then I can go do the stuff I really want." And it looks like that may have been part of it -- he followed that up Being John Malkovich and then with executive producing the indie film Chicago Cab. But then suddenly he went through this weird rom-com phase, and...

...Um. Sorry. I'll mop up.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:16 AM on November 20, 2009


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