Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The End of the World As We Know It

the doomsday comet To be honest, this is the Bad Astronomer’s topic, but I can’t help chiming in. It seems that this Thursday, May 25th (Skeptics’ Circle day, no less), a comet fragment is going to smack into the Earth and destroy Western civilization. The villain in question is Comet 73/P Schwassmann-Wachmann, and the warning of doom comes from Eric Julien, who says…
I have received information psychically, which is corroborated by scientific data, according to which on May 25, 2006 a giant tsunami will occur in the Atlantic Ocean, brought about by the impact of a comet fragment which will provoke the eruption of under-sea volcanoes. Waves up to 200m high will reach coastlines located above and below the Tropic of Cancer. However, all of the countries bordering the Atlantic will be affected to greater or lesser destructive and deadly levels. This site is dedicated to life, to civic responsibility and to information. There is still time to save lives. Thanks for participating in the world-wide alert!
-- http://www.savelivesinmay.com/
According to the source site, Eric is the author of The Science of Extraterrestrials, which isn’t exactly a strong recommendation for him. He thinks that space aliens aimed this comet at Earth because they consider us some kind of threat.

If you’re reading this, the crisis has probably already passed without so much as a whimper. I’m vaguely reminded of the Y2K scare of the late 1990’s, during which so many people assumed that the Y2K bug in computer software would bring modern civilization to a crashing halt when all those machines and programs with two-digit date fields flipped from 99 to 00. Phone networks, electrical grids, bank systems, and everything else ever touched by a computer was going to fail. The lights would go out all over the world; it would be a heyday for undeveloped countries, I suppose.

At the time, I tried explaining to people – as they stocked up on food, bottled water, batteries, and other apocalypse supplies – that the water was not going to stop flowing over the dam when the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2000, and sure enough, nothing significant happened. Institutions world-wide had, in fact, seen this coming years ahead and taken steps to make sure life would go on.

Institutions have been on top of the 73/P Schwassmann-Wachmann situation, too. Astronomers determined that the nearest pieces of the comet will still be millions of miles from the Earth when it passes. If there were a real threat, they would have issued a real warning.

So if you’re reading this on or after “doomsday”, you’ll no doubt see some new documents when you follow the link to the “save lives in may” site. Eric will cook up some excuse for why the space aliens decided to spare us; it’s the only way for him to save face, and he’s probably already got the explanatory document written and ready to post.

I just hope that millions of people haven’t wasted money on water wings.


Lord Runolfr said...

Hmmm... it's May 26th, now, and nothing happened yesterday. Nothing of note with regard to the comet, at least. No impact, no tidal waves, no undersea volcanic activity... zip.

I was surprised to find that Eric hadn't published an excuse on his website, yet.

You didn't go out and by water wings, did you?

Lord Runolfr said...

Hmmm... excuse number one has been published. Seems we have a reprieve until June 6th. (6/6/06)

Lord Runolfr said...

I haven't actually kept up with this story much, but one year after the fact, I did take a look to see what Eric had on his website. Sure enough, it's an excuse.

"The world-wide alert of May 25, 2006 was a complete success. On May 25th the U.S. temporarily abandoned their policy of pre-emptive nuclear war, which had been the root cause of the alert. A deadly war with atomic weapons was avoided, or rather, adjourned. This is why, although giant record-sized waves appeared, the mega-tsunami did not occur.

This date of May 25th called upon us to save lives and we courageously managed to do so thanks to each and everyone's doing. That date will thus remain a symbol of our collective consciousness having refused to accept fatality. However, the information war regarding the presence of extraterrestrials on Earth, and of our interaction with them, is only beginning. We must not let down our guard. The danger of a planet-wide "natural" catastrophe, in reaction to the threat which human nuclear weapons pose to the extraterrestrials, remains ongoing. This site invites you to prepare for this catastrophe, all while participating in the fight for truth, a fight which remains the only way to avoid the imminent catastrophe. Thanks for your tremendous participation!"

-- Eric Julien

It must be marvelous to be able to claim credit for saving the world from a disaster that was never going to happen in the first place.