The world ended yesterday

| 29 Comments

For reasons completely unknown to me, people who know nothing whatsoever about the ancient Mayans and, indeed, could not care less about the ancient Mayans think that the world ended yesterday. I had serious doubts, so I pinched myself and listened to the weather forecast before deciding that the world had not ended yesterday. My wife told me to shut up and go to sleep.

But when will the world end? That depends, of course, on what you mean by the world ending. If you mean when will Earth itself be destroyed, then that will happen roughly 5 billion years from now, when the sun becomes a red giant. Notice that I said 5 billion years, with a B, not, thank God*, a mere 5 million years, with an M.

If you mean, when will life on Earth be obliterated, that will happen in a more disquieting 1 billion years.

More practically, Science Illustrated magazine, on whose arrival I reported here, ran an amusing piece in the January-February, 2013, issue: the 10 greatest threats to humanity. Among those threats, several could presumably wipe out humans entirely: a massive comet (every 32 million years) or an asteroid (every 500 thousand years) hits Earth, a supervolcano (could be any day now) such as that buried under Yellowstone National Park explodes, Mars crashes into Earth (because the planetary orbits are not truly stable), or – here is a really good one – a 10-second burst of gamma rays from a hypernova (whatever that is) burns off the ozone layer and destroys the food chain. Fortunately, a hypernova seems to be only slightly more likely than the Mayan prediction. (Incidentally, an asteroid will pass inside the orbit of a geostationary satellite in 2013 but will not hit Earth – this time.)

That’s 5, provided that you count comets and asteroids separately. The remaining threats are a massive pandemic due to natural or synthetic diseases (that’s 2), robots and nanorobots (that’s 2) do us in, and, finally, nuclear war does us in. I was somewhat surprised that they did not mention anthropogenic global warming, which, along with nuclear war, is my candidate.

I count 5 bangs and 6 whimpers – for whatever that is worth.

* Figuratively speaking, that is.

29 Comments

While anthropogenic global warming may be a dire threat, it probably isn’t an human extinction causing event. Actually, the supervolcano probably isn’t either.

Nothing to worry about until a gamma burst overlaps an asteroid impact triggering a supervulcano…

Since no one has yet to provide me evidence to the contrary, I must conclude that the world did end yesterday. It also ended in Oct. 2011, as Harold Camping predicted. Now you may ask, “How can it end twice, and when did it re-start in between?” To which I contend that such questions are unimportant, like the age of the earth, and which “kinds” do and don’t share common ancestors. What is important is that you “Darwinists” have been unable to answer my questions, because of your liberal, atheist bias. So I must be right, and if that’s not taught in schools at taxpayer expense, you are engaging in censorship.

I challenge anyone to show me how the above paragraph is any more absurd than what the “big tent” scammers and trolls say.

You mean that I have to pay the bills for my no-expenses-spared end-of-the-world party?

Well, it’s the end of my world.

Glen Davidson

The world ended yesterday and we are all now in a new astral plane that is identical to the previous one. Prove I’m wrong. (See “Last Thursdayism.”)

Paul Burnett said:

The world ended yesterday and we are all now in a new astral plane(See “Last Thursdayism.”)

I’ve been doing a project in San Francisco for the last year and they have me in temporary housing in the Lower Height.

Consequently, It’s pretty tough for me to tell if the world actually ended and if some sort of zombie apocalypse has begun, or if it’s just Saturday morning in the Height.

Haight

Paul Burnett said:

The world ended yesterday and we are all now in a new astral plane that is identical to the previous one. Prove I’m wrong. (See “Last Thursdayism.”)

Given that Friday will have been the last working day before Christmas for many people, it’s a fair bet that some of those people will have woken up after the previous night’s party feeling that the world *has* ended.…..

BobbyEarle said:

Haight

Yeah, sure, just go around Haighting on people.

While anthropogenic global warming may be a dire threat, it probably isn’t an human extinction causing event. Actually, the supervolcano probably isn’t either.

Sure, and a collision with an asteroid might not wipe out humanity either. But any of those, including global warming or a global-warming–induced nuclear war, could destroy civilization, which is what we often mean when we say wiping us out.

If the Mayans were wrong about this, do we really have any reason to believe them when they tell us that human sacrifice brings good weather?

I mean, is nothing sacred any more, including human sacrifice?

Glen Davidson

Do you get an advance copy of this magazine? Because I really want to find out more about that Mars bit, but their website has nothing on it, and a web search only pulls up PT.

If you mean, when will life on Earth be obliterated, that will happen in a more disquieting 1 billion years.

What happens then? Is that when the Andromeda galaxy collides with our galaxy, or something else?

Henry

Henry J said:

If you mean, when will life on Earth be obliterated, that will happen in a more disquieting 1 billion years.

What happens then? Is that when the Andromeda galaxy collides with our galaxy, or something else?

Henry

When the sun–which has been getting hotter since near its beginning to shine–makes the world too warm for life to survive.

Glen Davidson

Do you get an advance copy of this magazine? Because I really want to find out more about that Mars bit, but their website has nothing on it, and a web search only pulls up PT.

I have a subscription, and the magazine came about a week ago. Like a lot of magazines, it appears well before the nominal publication date, so I would expect to see it on the newsstand. I have not looked closely at the Website, but the crosscorrelation with the magazine does not seem to be high.

What happens then? Is that when the Andromeda galaxy collides with our galaxy, or something else?

Something else. I have not heard this before, but they claim that, in 600 million years, as the sun gets more radiant, the earth will get hotter and moister; more carbon will be sequestered in rocks, and plants will die out. You know the rest. Later on, in 1 billion years, Earth will become so hot that the oceans will evaporate.

The argument that hot + moist → more carbon sequestration is interesting. Perhaps some reader can relate it to the present global warming: Why is carbon not sequestered now as the planet warms? Or is it just not keeping up?

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said:

Henry J said:

If you mean, when will life on Earth be obliterated, that will happen in a more disquieting 1 billion years.

What happens then? Is that when the Andromeda galaxy collides with our galaxy, or something else?

Henry

When the sun–which has been getting hotter since near its beginning to shine–makes the world too warm for life to survive.

Glen Davidson

Well, dang!

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said:

If the Mayans were wrong about this, do we really have any reason to believe them when they tell us that human sacrifice brings good weather?

I mean, is nothing sacred any more, including human sacrifice?

Glen Davidson

Considering they didn’t forsee the conquistadores… leaves a lot left to be desired with respect to their vaunted ability to see into the future..

Why is carbon not sequestered now as the planet warms? Or is it just not keeping up?

Not keeping up. The thought is that on geologic scales CO2 tends to balance out, as hotter means more–and more intense (erosional)–rain erodes igneous rocks, the CO2 combines with positive ions from those rocks (calcium being the obvious one), as well as another oxygen, and is sequestered. There’s also more photosynthesis leading–other things being equal–to more fixed carbon being sequestered.

But this is a balance over tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years, not over a couple hundred years of heavy input of carbon into the world’s atmosphere. Even the oceans can’t come near to equilibrium with the atmosphere at the rates we’re inputting carbon.

Glen Davidson

bigdakine said:

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said:

If the Mayans were wrong about this, do we really have any reason to believe them when they tell us that human sacrifice brings good weather?

I mean, is nothing sacred any more, including human sacrifice?

Glen Davidson

Considering they didn’t forsee the conquistadores… leaves a lot left to be desired with respect to their vaunted ability to see into the future..

Modern Maya people do mainly live in countries that were Spanish colonies, but classical Mayan civilization had mainly disappeared before the Spanish got there. (There were and still are many, many ethnically Mayan people, but the classical civilization had disappeared.)

The Maya plausibly used human sacrifice in an effort to influence the weather, but the well-documented instance of that in an Amerindian civilization is the Aztec.

Greeks and Norwegians. They’re both mainly European, but they’re still products of different cultures. Vietnam and Mongolia. Both in Asia, still different countries. Maya and Aztec. Both Amerindian. Both from what is now Latin America. Still different.

harold said:

Greeks and Norwegians. They’re both mainly European, but they’re still products of different cultures. Vietnam and Mongolia. Both in Asia, still different countries. Maya and Aztec. Both Amerindian. Both from what is now Latin America. Still different.

YECs and rationalists. Both from 21st Century America. WAY different.

I think that the current status of the Mayan use of human sacrifice has gone from “plausible” to “established”.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said:

Henry J said:

If you mean, when will life on Earth be obliterated, that will happen in a more disquieting 1 billion years.

What happens then? Is that when the Andromeda galaxy collides with our galaxy, or something else?

Henry

When the sun–which has been getting hotter since near its beginning to shine–makes the world too warm for life to survive.

Glen Davidson

Wait - that assumes that Earth is still in roughly the same orbit as now, so there’s a possible loophole! ;)

Dave Luckett said:

I think that the current status of the Mayan use of human sacrifice has gone from “plausible” to “established”.

Yes, and it’s highly plausible that it was related to prayers for good weather, but we don’t know for certain that it was related to prayers for good weather, because we don’t know enough about classical Maya religion. Aztec sacrifice rituals for weather are much better documented.

harold said:

Dave Luckett said:

I think that the current status of the Mayan use of human sacrifice has gone from “plausible” to “established”.

Yes, and it’s highly plausible that it was related to prayers for good weather, but we don’t know for certain that it was related to prayers for good weather, because we don’t know enough about classical Maya religion. Aztec sacrifice rituals for weather are much better documented.

Were you there? :):):)

Henry J said: Wait - that assumes that Earth is still in roughly the same orbit as now, so there’s a possible loophole! ;)

Are you inferring we will be able to make like the Puppeteers* or the Hevians** and take our planet out of its solar system?

*Obscure literary reference to Niven’s Known Space stories

**Even more obscure literary reference to James Blish’s Cities in Flight stories.

What’s obscure about Ringworld or spindizzies, I’d like to know?

harold said:

Dave Luckett said:

I think that the current status of the Mayan use of human sacrifice has gone from “plausible” to “established”.

Yes, and it’s highly plausible that it was related to prayers for good weather, but we don’t know for certain that it was related to prayers for good weather, because we don’t know enough about classical Maya religion. Aztec sacrifice rituals for weather are much better documented.

The Mayans made use of human sacrifice, though, they were no where near as prolific as the Aztecs. Generally, the Mayans sacrificed humans in times of crisis, i.e., during plagues, drought or famine, or on special occassions, such as to commemorate the dedication of a new temple, tomb, or the coronation of a new ruler, or to propituate certain gods as thanks for victory in battle. In such cases, most sacrifices were made by tossing the victim into a cenote well, sometimes after strangling and or bludgeoning.

Most of the time, the Mayans sacrificed animals, or had the nobility make offerings of their own blood.

Isn’t it obvious? The Doctor saved us all!

xubist said:

Isn’t it obvious? The Doctor saved us all!

Who? How?

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on December 22, 2012 6:00 AM.

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