Tag Archives | Doomsday
Good to know that we may finally have an answer on this. The BBC reports:
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Cambridge researchers at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) are to assess whether technology could end up destroying human civilisation. The scientists said that to dismiss concerns of a potential robot uprising would be “dangerous”.
Fears that machines may take over have been central to the plot of some of the most popular science fiction films. But despite being the subject of far-fetched fantasy, researchers said the concept of machines outsmarting us demanded mature attention. “The seriousness of these risks is difficult to assess, but that in itself seems a cause for concern, given how much is at stake,” the researchers write.
The CSER project has been co-founded by Cambridge philosophy professor Huw Price, cosmology and astrophysics professor Martin Rees and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn. Prof. Price said that as robots and computers become smarter than humans, we could find ourselves at the mercy of “machines that are not malicious, but machines whose interests don’t include us”.
An estimated 20,000 true believers have already flocked to a village at the base of the eerie and beautiful Pic de Bugarach in the belief that the mountain contains an alien spacecraft which will emerge on December 21 and rescue nearby humans from the end of the world.
However, your shot at extraterrestrial salvation is over, as French authorities are now blockading the area, the Daily Mail reports:
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French officials have banned access to the Pic de Bugarach to avoid a rush of New Age fanatics, sightseers and, above all, journalists [due to] the rumour that the mountain in south-west France will burst open on December 21st revealing an alien spaceship which will carry nearby humans to safety.
A hundred police and firefighters will also control approaches to the tiny village of the same name at the foot of the mountain, and if too many people turn up, they will block access there too.
The New York Times examines the booming business of selling preparedness for societal breakdown, with more and more Americans worried that civilization may be on the verge of collapse in the wake of major hurricanes, blackouts, financial crisis, Iran building the bomb, et cetera. The irony is that the movement’s proponents are so obsessed with “getting ready” for the end of everything that in a sense they have already given up on our world:
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The preparedness industry, always prosperous during hard times, is thriving again now. In Ron Douglas’s circles, people talk about “the end of the world as we know it” with such regularity that the acronym Teotwawki has come into widespread use.
The goal isn’t just to sell to the same old preparedness crowd. Red Shed wants to attract liberals and political moderates to a marketplace historically populated by conservatives and right-wing extremists. It’s about showing the gun-toting mountain man in his camouflage and the suburban soccer mom in her minivan that they want the same thing: peace of mind.
Another day, another doomsday cult:
Dominican Republic authorities are still rounding up suspects following a shoot-out between law enforcement personnel and a group of German citizens said to be members of a doomsday cult called the Academy for Future Health. The shoot-out took place in an exclusive neighborhood popular with German immigrants. One of the cult members was killed in the firefight. The cult’s leader, Peter Brunck, was taken alive. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest at the time of his arrest. A cache of weapons, including grenades, rifles and crossbows, was discovered in the house.
Brunck’s son Daniel was taken into protective custody last week. Daniel’s girlfriend Isabella Dietrich was also arrested.
The Academy for Future Health website is in German, but an admittedly poor translation to English via Google describes Brunck as a successful speaker and man who knows “the truth” about “situations”.… Read the rest
Doomsayers, including a few physicists, worry that experiments at CERN could unravel the fabric of our existence. But a German court says no, reports Phys.org:
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A German woman who feared the Earth would be sucked into oblivion in a black hole failed Tuesday in her court bid to stop the work of the world’s most powerful atom smasher.
The higher administrative court in Muenster, Germany, rejected her claims, ruling there was no evidence the work of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) posed a danger to public safety. The court noted that the CERN’s own safety reports ruled out any danger to life. “Objectively, there is no evidence to doubt the correctness of these safety reports nor was any conclusive evidence presented,” it ruled.
The woman had failed in a previous attempt to stop the work of CERN in Switzerland at the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe. Other opponents have also sought to stop the experiments, fearing either a black hole whose super gravity would swallow the Earth or a theoretical particle called a strangelet that would in turn liquidise the planet.
Soup, rather than Kool-Aid, was likely the method to be utilized. The Daily Mail reports:
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Police swooped on a Brazilian doomsday cult just 10 minutes before more than 100 followers were about to commit mass suicide by drinking poisoned soup.
Elite troops burst into a building where self-proclaimed prophet Luis Pereira dos Santos had barricaded himself in after predicting the world would end at 8pm. There was believed to be an exchange of gunfire between the group and police who used gas bombs and pepper spray during the assault. Santos was arrested as officers took away a tub containing a sweet paste made from Caju fruit which they suspected contained a toxic product.
Known to his flock as Daddy Luis, Santos had claimed an angel visited four years ago telling him the exact time the world was going to end. Last month, the 43-year-old spiritual leader instructed his 113 followers to leave their jobs, give away all their possessions and take their children out of school, police confirmed.
Recently the Mayan calendar system was found to extend far beyond 2012, perhaps giving some respite to those who feared that the world would end by next Christmas. Now a new discovery once again highlights December 21, 2012, but as the end of a political cycle, rather than doomsday. I say bring it on. Phys.Org reports:
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Archaeologists working at the site of La Corona in Guatemala have discovered a 1,300 year-old year-old Maya text that provides only the second known reference to the so-called “end date” for the Maya calendar on December 21, 2012. The discovery, one of the most significant hieroglyphic find in decades, was announced today at the National Palace in Guatemala.
“This text talks about ancient political history rather than prophecy,” says Marcello A. Canuto, Director of Tulane’s Middle American Research Institute and co-director of the excavations at the Maya ruins of La Corona. “This new evidence suggests that the 13 Bak’tun date was an important calendrical event that would have been celebrated by the ancient Maya.”
The hieroglyphs commemorated a royal visit to La Corona in AD 696 by the most powerful Maya ruler of that time, Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ of Calakmul.
After 17 years, the man thought to be the final suspect from the doomsday cult behind the 1995 nerve-gas poisoning that killed 13 people and injured thousands of others was arrested on Friday, the police said. Investigators arrested the suspect, Katsuya Takahashi, 54, near an Internet cafe in central Tokyo after receiving a tip that a man resembling the fugitive had been spotted there. The cult’s blind leader, Chizuo Matsumoto, was convicted of masterminding the attack and has been sentenced to death.
Convert you snack bar into a fallout shelter by lowering a false ceiling. Deck out your patio area with a barrier for both fallout protection and privacy for lounging and cookouts. These and more glamorous tips in a 1966 government manual life guide that combined nuclear apocalypticism with suburban living. Via They Kept Everything:
This handbook is provided to familiarize householders with the overall Civil Defense Program. Those interested in enrolling in the course, “Personal and Family Survival,” should contact their local Civil Defense Director for details.