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Nasa needs help with crackpots

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  1. Nov 17, 2009 #1

    mgb_phys

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    Nasa has decided to weigh in as part of Sony's publicity machine for their new movie.

    They have a page attempting to dissuade people that 2012 isn't the end of the world.
    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012.html

    Not sure if Nasa is being ironic here (now that would be a major discovery, evidence of irony at a federal agency).
    But why did 2012 need anything like the "planning and analysis of Y2K"?

    Did Nasa really spend $millions checking the facts?
    Do they intend to cut short a shuttle mission so it won't be in orbit in 2012 like they did for Y2K?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2009 #2

    russ_watters

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    Poorly written opening paragraph aside, it seems like a pretty good debunking.
     
  4. Nov 17, 2009 #3

    DavidSnider

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    Y2K wasn't 'crackpot' exactly. It was a legitimate problem and the bug did occur on lots of machines. Just not in any sort of "end of civilization" way.
     
  5. Nov 17, 2009 #4

    Evo

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    I certainly hope they are joking whenh gthey say

    The Y2K thing was a computer issue. I would be appalled to find out that our government actually spent money investigating if some ridiculous myth based on a misunderstanding of the Mayan calendar would be more than laughed at.

    This is pathetic. I understand they want to assure morons that the earth isn't ending, but pretending it was actually ever seriously considered is ridiculous. Or do I have too much faith that they wouldn't actually have spent money on this?
     
  6. Nov 17, 2009 #5

    Pengwuino

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    Wait wait, so 2012 ISNT the end of the world? Damn, why did I take out that loan and gamble it away in Vegas...
     
  7. Nov 17, 2009 #6

    turbo

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    Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, yah! My GulfStream laughs at your stupid money-market account!!!!
     
  8. Nov 18, 2009 #7
    PR is never a bad move. That is what that page is.
     
  9. Nov 18, 2009 #8

    Mech_Engineer

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    Meh, it's just a simple little Q&A page. It's obviously not NASA's job to debunk crackpot science or inaccurate movies, but they have lots of science on their site so people "trust" them (whatever that means).

    There's no way they spent millions of dollars "researching" the facts behind the 2012 myth. They probably had one of their employees spend a day or two writing the simple Q&A page. I'm fine with it, the really sad thing is if people need this webpage to reassure them the world isn't going to end in 2012.
     
  10. Nov 18, 2009 #9

    Mech_Engineer

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    The planned misssions on NASA's website only go into 2011, but I'm sure they will have ones in 2012. Comparing the 2012 scare to the Y2K scare is pointless.
     
  11. Nov 19, 2009 #10
    I think Y2K was a stupid plot to make people though scare tactics pay money for consultants to fix problems. Also - created by stupid programmers that do not have the foresight to make a "year" data field have 4 digits instead of two. As a software developer myself I laughed my arse off over all these people and the media fumbling about Y2K. Such a great ruse. To quote a favorite DJ "The masses are arses".
     
  12. Nov 19, 2009 #11
    If I remember correctly, December 21st, 2012 is not the end of the Mayan calendar. I think the only reason why people are freaking out about this is because the date is so close. During 2000, you didn't hear so much as a peep about 2012. Plus, December 21st, 2012 is the end of the 13th Baktun on the Mayan calendar. Dates on the Mayan calendar go as high as 4478 or something like that. I'm not quite sure right off the top of my head. This whole 2012 scare is just a Huge misinterperetation and misunderstanding of the Mayan culture by people who want to persuade the masses that the end is nigh. We, as human beings, have always been fascinated with the possibilities of our undoing. No doubt, after 2012 passes, self-proclaimed prophets will start searching for another Doomsday date to blow out of proportion.
     
  13. Nov 19, 2009 #12

    mgb_phys

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    You remember the days when all the arithmetic was done in BCD and 360k was a mass storage device?
     
  14. Nov 19, 2009 #13

    mgb_phys

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    Everybody knows the world will end on 13 October 4772 "1.0.0.0.0.0" in myan, because God likes round numbers and uses base 18
     
  15. Nov 19, 2009 #14
    Anyone who thinks the world is going to spontaneously end ("end" meaning blow up?), deserves to be scared.
    But as stupid as people can be, I don't think anyone really believes the world is going to end in 2012.
     
  16. Dec 6, 2009 #15
    All you need to do is find out what the word Maya means. (Where this 2012 theory originates)
    The Mayans did not call themselves Mayans, it was placed on them later.
    Maya means Illusion.
    Which is what the whole 2012 thing is.
    None the less the calender is quite interesting and there knowledge of celestial bodies outside of our solar system was quite staggering.
     
  17. Dec 7, 2009 #16
    Not sure if I go that far back but I used a Commodore 64 as a kid. Sprite graphics took forever! (Especially if your using graph-paper.)
     
  18. Dec 7, 2009 #17

    DaveC426913

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    Oh the memories...

    I POKEd and PEEKed my youth away...
     
  19. Dec 7, 2009 #18

    DaveC426913

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    Yep. Lemmee guess Noja, you're - what - in your 30s? You weren't programming back then were you?
     
  20. Dec 8, 2009 #19
    Yeps, early 30's. Started programming when I was about 11-12. I opened the "Basic" programming manual that came with the computer out of boredom and started teaching myself. Its a serious hobby I have always kept up with - I am a CNC engineer by day so I get to actually use it now and then for more than video games. Also along the way I have picked up how to program Ladder Logic. Currently I am a year into developing my first CAM system. Also getting ready to jump into Microsnoffs' .Net platform so I can take full advantage of this new .net framework - seems very cool and usefull - I just have to figure out how to use correctly!:smile:
     
  21. Dec 8, 2009 #20
    The first personal computer I remember was the Altair 8800. I never built one, but I remember reading about it. My first was actually the Radio Shack Model I. It was my first introduction to BASIC and I eventually learned assembly for the Z80. I wrote a program for my families business that ran on the Model I and later the Model III. And I was one of those stupid programmers who used two digits for the year. So I had to modify the program for Y2K. I don't remember why I originally did it for only two digits. I guess I never expected the thing to be used that long. Believe it or not, the same Model III computer, and program, was used by the business for over 10 years.
     
  22. Dec 8, 2009 #21

    DaveC426913

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    Right. So don't be slammin' programmers from a different era when you don't know what they were dealing with.
     
  23. Dec 11, 2009 #22
    Aye, my apologies to anyone that used 2-digits for a year data field. I do not want to offend anyone. Back then memory requirements may have made a cut like that (4 to 2 digits) a viable reason to do so. My snubness is really directed to people who tried to cash in on the Y2K propaganda. Like the media that caused a scare to the ignorant and hardware sales teams that put "Y2K compliant" on their products - playing into peoples fear to make a buck is something I will not tolerate and in the long run is bad for the buisness. Some of my not-so-computer savvy co-workers were nervous about their bank accounts disappearing and all sorts of silly things - streetlights to nukes - it was ridiculous.
     
  24. Dec 11, 2009 #23

    DaveC426913

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    Sure, in retrospect it's easy to say ridiculous. But uless you are actually psychic, the only thing that made you sure you were right was the overconfidence of youth.

    The problem was pervasive and unprecedented in human history. We just did not know how it would play out.
     
  25. Dec 11, 2009 #24
    I was not offended. I actually agree with you. It was stupid of me to use only two digits. :) Although it was a long time ago, I can think of no reason why I could not have used four digits. The TRS-80 was limited in RAM, I think it was 4k for the model I, so I guess that could have been a reason. That combined with me not believing the program would still be in use after the year 1999.
     
  26. Dec 15, 2009 #25
    I actually would like to argue the point that
    "Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not cease to exist after December 31, the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012."

    According to my tour guide visiting Mayan ruins in Mexico a number of years back, the calendar does actually end in 2012. The reasoning is that the Mayans recognized that the position of the sun does actually move in relation to the stars over long periods of time. Not that the sun is in different constellations throughout the year, but that over many of years, it "drifts" against the background stars. The Mayan calculated that the sun would drift into a "hole" in the Milky Way in 2012. They believed that when the sun hit this hole, it would fall into oblivion, thus ending any type of life on earth as we know it.

    anyone else hear of a story like this?
     
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