Yesterday, NASA hosted one of their live Hangouts on Google+ to talk about the myths surrounding 2012 and the Mayan calendar. We’ve all heard the stories about the world supposedly ending at the end of this year, and luckily we are able to laugh them off as the silly stuff of pseudoscience.
But did you know that NASA scientist David Morrison receives letters from children all over the country who are so worried about the world ending in 2012 that they are having trouble eating and sleeping, and some teenagers have even confessed to feeling suicidal? This is not good, to say the least. The myths and fears being propagated about the Mayan calendar are seemingly fed by Internet rumors, New-Age-type beliefs, and Hollywood movies.
The complete Hangout is about 52 minutes long, but I definitely recommend it if you have time. Skip ahead to the 5:30 mark to hear Mr. Morrison talking about the disturbing letters he’s received from children and teachers across the country. Here’s the full video:
For a shorter, quick-and-to-the-point video explanation of why the world won’t end in three weeks, here is Don Yeomans from NASA’s Jet Propulsion laboratory breaking down the different aspects of the myth:
For further reference:
- NASA’s FAQ page about why the world won’t end in 2012.
- Don Yeoman’s 2012 hoax page.
- Top six 2012 “end-of-the-world” myths debunked by National Geographic.
- And, for a little perspective, a list of predicted apocalyptic events throughout history. I think we can all agree on the outcomes.
And finally, I’ll leave you with a famous quote from my all-time favorite astrophysicist:
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” -Carl Sagan