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NASA Attempts To Assuage 2012 Fears

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the nostalgia-for-y2k dept.

Earth 881

eldavojohn writes "The apocalyptic film 2012 has dominated the box office, taking in $65 million on opening weekend. But with all those uninformed eyeballs watching the film, NASA has found itself answering so many common questions that their Ask an Astrobiologist blog offers calming, professional reassurance that there is no planet Nibiru, nor will it collide with Earth (although I do recall a massive solar storm forecast). NASA's main site even offers a FAQ answering similar questions. NPR has more on NASA scientist David Morrison and his efforts to calm the ensuing public hysteria, but survivalists are already planning for the big one. Pretty funny, right? Not according to Morrison: 'I've had three from young people saying they were contemplating committing suicide. I've had two from women contemplating killing their children and themselves. I had one last week from a person who said, "I'm so scared, my only friend is my little dog. When should I put it to sleep so it won't suffer?" And I don't know how to answer those questions.'"

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881 comments

Wow. (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131170)

Just, wow.

Re:Wow. (5, Insightful)

mofag (709856) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131214)

I think that's what the suicide offers are for - to reduce the number of stupid people. Seems like a naturally self-correcting system to me. I say let it run its course. Next thing we will have 10foot disclaimers on the entrance to cinemas telling the dumb masses that its just pretend.

Re:Wow. (4, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131538)

I think that's what the suicide offers are for - to reduce the number of stupid people.

"Ignorant" is not the same as "stupid", and can be cured by means much less dramatic than death.

The problem is that we don't train people in the fine art of bullshit detection -- mostly because doing so would challenge mainstream religions, not to mention most American's understanding of their nation's history and place in the world. When you've got a culture where many people take ancient Hebrew creation myths as true and are not laughed at, it's no surprise that belief in the imminent destruction of Earth by collision with the rogue planet Nibiru will proliferate.

Re:Wow. (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131292)

Well magical thinking is magical thinking. Makes you wonder how many people think all the shows on TV are documentaries?

Re:Wow. (4, Interesting)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131402)

You know if people are so stupid that they watch a movie and think that its, really going to happen, to the point that they are going to commit suicide, I say let them. we definitely don't need any more stupid people on this planet.

Re:Wow. (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131548)

I can't disagree, but in the case of the mother who was going to kill herself and her children, I can't help thinking that just being related to someone that stupid shouldn't be a capital offence...

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131556)

I'm a person who watches movies and think that its really going to happen, you insensitive clod!

Alt. reply:

We need to save this people so that they can continue voting!

I see potential in this (5, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131528)

Yeah, so if you run into one of these idiots, and she happens to be cute, just tell her that you are a Mao Shan master [theregister.co.uk] and you know the perfect ceremony to stop Nibiru from hitting the Earth, if you could just get a little help from her...

Re:Wow. (1)

eeth (1557089) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131530)

I'm no doomsday prophet, but I will say that when science ignores the unknown variables in any given situation, science becomes a religion. Carl Jung was hardly a crackpot, but believed in the existence of a collective unconscious as well as in synchronicity. Add to this the power of faith / placebo, and it suddenly becomes ignorant to mock nearly any belief.

Re:Wow. (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131602)

Your sig fits perfectly with this story.

Yes - there are too many stupid people. The problem is that even smart people have 'stupid moments', which contributes.

My favorite perspective on this is that if you consider the average IQ - then consider how many extremely smart people you know and know of... well, there's that many extremely dumb people too (on average).

Point proven (1)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131172)

This whole thing proves that this world is big enough for everyone. Including total retards.
I just wonder how the hell did some of these people reach adulthood. A mistery that is deemed to remain unsolved.

Re:Point proven (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131442)

mistery

Oh, the irony.

Re:Point proven (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131502)

>>>I just wonder how the hell did some of these people reach adulthood

Government took care of them. (1) School (babysitter). (2) Then the easy diploma (entrance to job). (3) And finally welfare, food stamps, and cheap housing, to add extra money on top of the job earnings.

In our society people don't have to grow-up. They can live in perpetual childhood until the day they die.

Re:Point proven (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131516)

"A mistery that is deemed to remain unsolved".

Excuse me, sir. You seem to have dropped some irony.

Let them kill themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131522)

And remove themselves from the gene pool.

We do our children a service by building a future for them that includes viable mates with high-quality DNA that excludes any "very gullible, superstitious, and just plain stupid" genes.

Do it now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131178)

Tell them to off themselves now. More food for the rest of us when it does hit!

It's easy (5, Insightful)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131180)

You respond with, "It's only a movie. The world isn't ending. Don't kill your children, your pets, or yourself."

Re:It's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131392)

How could you, Dan? How could you?

Re:It's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131592)

Didn't these people learn from all the millenium bs?

Re:It's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131610)

No, you don't. The case with children is difficult to handle, but for the pets, tell them to put it down now. Anyone this dumb is likely to cause the poor animal quite a bit of suffering through sheer stupidity sooner or later. For the an hero types, by all means let them.

The children are also in trouble if they are raised by these morons, but killing the children is hardly the solution. Maybe you should recommend that they name their children (assuming boys) Sue and turn them loose, so that they'll be tough enough to survive the end of the world in three years (what you tell them), or at least to beat up their old man when nothing happens (what you're thinking).

How this scam works (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131182)

1. First buy a lots of call options of thinly traded mundane non volatile stock of canned goods and survival/camping gear purveyors.

2. Create a hysteria and panic about the world ending due to Y2K or Planet Nibiru or Mayan Calender cycle ending or Banks collapsing or Obama winning the elections.

3. ...

4. Stock of survivalgears_are_us.com zooms up and ..... profit!

Re:How this scam works (5, Interesting)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131364)

Or just do what Penn & Teller did. Offer "2012 Reverse Mortgages". To paraphrase, "We'll give you a bunch of money to spend on whatever hedonism you like for the next 2 years, and in 2013, in the infinitesimal chance that it's still standing and we're still alive to claim it, we take your house!"

In other news (4, Funny)

syrinx (106469) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131184)

NASA reports that giant alien spaceships have not in fact destroyed the White House and Empire State Building.

Reports of time-traveling robots looking for John Connor are unsubstantiated at this time.

Re:In other news (4, Funny)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131394)

My God! If the robots aren't looking for John Conner, that must mean they've already found him! WE'RE DOOMED!

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131466)

http://www.xkcd.com/652/

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131514)

"Reports of time-traveling robots looking for John Connor are unsubstantiated at this time."

Only because the people of CA elected him governor

Easy strawmen to knock off?.. (0, Flamebait)

mi (197448) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131186)

Why is the taxpayer's money being spent on this nonsense? What's next? Scientific evidence, that there is no Santa Claus? That black cats crossing your path do not cause "bad luck" (whatever that is)?

Re:Easy strawmen to knock off?.. (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131242)

Doesn't NASA have a page on Christmas Eve that shows Santa's journey, and where he is at any given time?

Re:Easy strawmen to knock off?.. (4, Informative)

Computer_kid (996105) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131360)

It is actually done by NORAD. It started in 1955 when a Sears had an advertisement encouraging children to call Santa Claus, but gave the phone number for NORAD.

Re:Easy strawmen to knock off?.. (3, Insightful)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131282)

Why is the taxpayer's money being spent on this nonsense?

It's one way of doing science PR these days, I guess.

Re:Easy strawmen to knock off?.. (1)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131312)

You got it. Santa Claus questions would probably be referred to the TSA. The black cat questions might be referred to the Corps of Engineers.

I could be wrong though, so you may want to check http://www.whitehouse.gov/open/ [slashdot.org]

Re:Easy strawmen to knock off?.. (4, Insightful)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131340)

Because taxpayers are contemplating suicide over this 2012 nonsense?

Re:Easy strawmen to knock off?.. (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131404)

From the feds' perspective, that's not really so much of a problem as long as they do it after April 15, 2012 and are paid up.

Re:Easy strawmen to knock off?.. (2, Insightful)

thewils (463314) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131432)

Taxpayers' money is spent on religion all the time. I don't see why this is any different. It's all fiction.

Re:Easy strawmen to knock off?.. (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131468)

Why is the taxpayer's money being spent on this nonsense? What's next? Scientific evidence, that there is no Santa Claus? That black cats crossing your path do not cause "bad luck" (whatever that is)?

It's a blog post and a FAQ. That's it. No probe to prove there is no planet Nibiru, no expensive mission. Are you really worried that one man probably spent a few days writing this up?

Frankly, I thought it was nice to hear that a NASA scientist is working to take the time to respond to a worried public and trying to minimize that time by having an informative page. When I was a kid, I wrote to NASA from Minnesota all the time. Every single time they responded. I still have fact sheets on all of their shuttle craft in my parent's closet. I read those things over and over trying to imagine how someone could come up with such amazing machines. Go ahead, spend a few minutes to hand write them a letter, you might be surprised with the response:

Ask NASA

Public Communications Office
NASA Headquarters
Suite 5K39
Washington, DC 20546-0001
(202) 358-0001 (Office)
(202) 358-4338 (Fax)

And if you came here to complain that NASA wastes tax payer money, you're in the wrong place. NASA's budget is about half of one percent of the Federal budget [wikipedia.org]--don't even get me started on what our defense budget comes out to be. That's a ridiculously low amount of money for an agency that's charged with a major component of our future and probably the whole future of the Earth and its inhabitants.

Your subject confuses me further ... what exactly are you implying these questions and blog are strawmen for?

Re:Easy strawmen to knock off?.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131626)

Why is the taxpayer's money being spent on this nonsense?

Because this non-sense originates from the taxpayer?

Why spend tax-payer money on law enforcement ...

In related news (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131202)

Nasa tries to convince people that the moon is also not made of cheese, despite what cartoons clearly depict.

Morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131210)

I guess it's best for everyone if they kill themselves...

How Histery Repeats .... (5, Interesting)

foobsr (693224) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131218)

The War of the Worlds (radio)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_War_of_the_Worlds_(radio) [wikipedia.org]

Quote: "Some listeners heard only a portion of the broadcast, and in the atmosphere of tension and anxiety leading to World War II, took it to be a news broadcast. Newspapers reported that panic ensued, people fleeing the area, others thinking they could smell poison gas or could see flashes of lightning in the distance."

CC.

Re:How Histery Repeats .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131288)

Except people know going into a movie about an event that hasn't happened yet that is is fiction. There is no mistake to be made, no half-movie to tune into to confuse. Not even if you sneak out of your theater into a showing of "2012."

You can forgive people for not getting the radio broadcast, especially in that day and age. There is absolutely NO excuse in today's era of instant media and infinite information at your fingertips.

Alternate title (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131228)

NASA Attempts To Reason With Idiots, Lunatics

Re:Alternate title (1)

CatsupBoy (825578) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131412)

NASA Attempts To Reason With Idiots, Lunatics

Right there is the problem, you cant reason with lunatics!

Re:Alternate title (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131536)

You can however get them to sign contracts giving you all of their worldly possessions in 2013.

Re:Alternate title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131578)

NASA Attempts To Reason With Idiots, Lunatics

Woah woah woah!!! How does the moon figure into all this now?

welcome to the web (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131230)

Welcome to the internet, David Morrison.
I too bought over 9000 pills to commit suicide.
Do you believe me too?

Let them do it. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131238)

Let them off themselves. We don't need these fuckwits around when some bastard decides it's time to remake The Secret of Nym thinking that the rats have gained sentience...

Re:Let them do it. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131330)

Offing themselves is one thing, offing their children is quite another.

Re:Let them do it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131558)

not "nym." NIMH [nih.gov].

I wonder... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131244)

How many of those sending their questions to NASA are part of the 2012 movie marketing campaign?

Lemmings! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131248)

Why must the pulse of social consciousness behave like that of lemmings?

Thought experiment: if the 'Mayan, ancient, or whatever' calendars that the 2012 'disaster' scenario reference were lost many moons ago, would all this F.U.D. still exist? /"Been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding..."

Re:Lemmings! (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131512)

FUD? Is the Microsoft sales staff rhetorically asking people how they can be completely sure that their open source operating system will survive 2012? Those bastards! Still...maybe I should switch to Windows 7...Ya know, just to be safe.

doobel yoo tee eff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131250)

There aren't words to describe how I feel about an ignorant mother killing her kids over a movie. Is the public at large really so ignorant that they cannot discern movie "facts" from real life?

Jebus (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131276)

Methinks its quite idiotic to worry about something that, if it actually hits hard, we wont be able to survive no matter what we do. No, we really can't survive a hit like the one that created the Gulf of Mexico (if indeed the big hole came from an asteroid). Why worry so much about it? I have no idea.

"when should I kill my children" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131280)

Never.

Good friggin grief.

Never.

Anyone asking this question needs to be kept under watch, that's just sick.

oh, please! (5, Insightful)

macbeth66 (204889) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131296)

I've had two from women contemplating killing their children and themselves

You tell them to come in, explaining that you have a secret rocket that will take some of us off of this planet. When they arrive, you have social services take the kids away and the police can take her to the nearest asylum for the criminally insane.

Re:oh, please! (1)

CatsupBoy (825578) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131458)

You tell them to come in, explaining that you have a secret rocket that will take some of us off of this planet. When they arrive, you have social services take the kids away and the police can take her to the nearest asylum for the criminally insane.

I think it would cost less taxpayer money to just convince them they are wrong.

Re:oh, please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131580)

don't forget to include the cost of convincing her after the next movie she sees..... and the one after that...... which will probably be enough, she'll catch on by then.

Re:oh, please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131594)

You're clearly not familiar with the type of person that can hold these kinds of beliefs and fears.

Re:oh, please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131554)

You could mock up a fake 'rocket' out of an old Disney ride and see how long you could keep them believing they were in a space ship.

Proper responses: (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131302)

Unhelpful Truth: "Please do so, and take yourself out of the gene pool."

Helpful Truth: "I completely understand your position. Make an appointment with your doctor and just say you have some health concerns (no need for the staff to get into your business.) Then explain the situation to the doctor, and he can help you take the appropriate steps."

Commit suicide if you fear planet Nibiru? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131318)

Yes, do us all a favor.
Tnxbai

Some people are too stupid. (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131358)

Some people are too stupid. But that is okay -- there's more then enough intelligence left for the rest of us ;)

Flattering, I guess... (5, Interesting)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131390)

This is the first film I've worked on that caused actual general panic. Grudge 2 scared people, but it's actually a little gratifying to think that work I did is scaring people even AFTER they walked out of the theater. At the time we were making it I knew the whole black president/conspiracy thing was definitely going to push a lot of buttons, just considering the way things are right now, but to be honest, the whole scientific backstory of the film is so thin I never actually considered that people would genuinely fear a cataclysm as depicted in the movie. "Mutating neutrinos"... really?

ps. I was the lead sound effects editor on the show. Along with blowing up Yellowstone and other sundry destructions, I personally cut about 80% of the computer screen beeps. And I cut every one of them just for you guys, because I know you love them so much :D

Re:Flattering, I guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131570)

thank you!

Re:Flattering, I guess... (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131620)

It's not the beeps that get us... we can live with that... it's...

ENHANCE

For the love of God, if I see that again... the Earth *will* end. BTW, anyone have an earliest reference for this atrocious meme? So far, my brother and I have identified Patriot Games as the earliest reference we could find...

Re:Flattering, I guess... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131622)

Thats because this movie isn't terrifying anybody, its a marketing campaign. If 20 people are genuinely frightened out of the millions who may see it, big friggin deal. On that scale, 20 people will also be frightened to eat the popcorn, or that they caught pig flu from the guy next to them, or that aliens abducted them the night before. Its noise.

Its no more earth shattering or scary than Independence Day.

Some people like to believe movies and books, hence the whole Dan Brown thing. Does it matter? No, lots of stupid people out there. Its a non issue.

Remember The War of The Worlds? (1)

Enleth (947766) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131428)

I mean, the original radio broadcast [americanrhetoric.com] - it was suggestive enough to cause moderate and short-termed, but state-wide panic during the middle of the actual broadcast. People fleeing their homes, calling for emergency services and so on.

Stop listening to Hollywood! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131444)

Anyone who fears the end of the world because of a stupid Hollywood movie. May I recommend self reduction. Avoid the rush.

please, do kill yourself (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131446)

if you think that is an appropriate response to a fucking movie about a half-assed myth, then by all means, do the world a favor

Why is NASA answering Hollywood Questions? (1)

Sleen (73855) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131448)

Why is NASA answering these questions some of which surely are just jokes? Can't they tell the difference? Why is it NASAs' job to handle this? They must have better things to do and obviously whatever they thought they were doing trying to educate people HAS NOT WORKED. Not that educating isn't important, but instead of the symptom, go for the cure? NASA is not it...

I've said it before but not here, there should be laws called crimes against reality and the movie should have a disclaimer stating that as entertainment it has no bearing other than appearance to the planet earth and the world we call home.

When really bad weather happens governors can declare state of emergency to get money. Old buildings fall down, things must get rebuilt, but what about damage to minds? Isn't there some sort of rational response that should be made when we become aware of a vast swath of ignorant people? I think the responses to this movie are quite scary, in fact terrifying. And if this isn't proof that the US education system only produces reliable tax payers, what else is?

NASA get back to work! Your friends in the government are producing meat to pay taxes and won't stop until individuals become property again. Do your jobs which is managing space and research, not the stupidity of people who eat popcorn.

Oblig Movie Quote (3, Funny)

Croakus (663556) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131450)

There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they Do... Not... Know about it!

OMG! (2, Funny)

jack_n_jill (642554) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131454)

OMG the calendar on my wall, (ON MY WALL!), ends on December 31 2009!
WE WON'T MAKE IT TO 2012!

Ps; Since you won't need your money any more please send it to me. Hurry; there are only 6 weeks left!

More Popularity? (1)

Silpher (1379267) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131488)

Actually this could make NASA more popular or interesting because if they debunk this 2012 crap like a dad explains his boy, woman aren't flesh eating medusas people might feel some more respect?

This is part of NASA's purvey. (4, Insightful)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131492)

Ignorance is not stupidity. NASA has addressed the ignorance. Good for them.

Send those questions to me (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131500)

I'll answer the questions and I won't feel bad about the answers I give to stupid people.

In a few years, the rest of you will notice there's a lot fewer stupid people around, and you'll thank me.

You're welcome.

It's easy, I'd have no problem with it at all ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30131518)

And I don't know how to answer those questions.

Let me help you out on this one: "It's a fucking movie you FUCKING IDIOT! Fiction, make-believe, pretend. You know what fiction is, right? YOU FUCKING IDIOT!"

You may laugh, but I really do think that in most cases that would reassure the person asking the question!

This is sad (1)

XSpud (801834) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131560)

I find it difficult to believe that people can take something like this so seriously to the point they will end their lives. If these people do exist it's very sad that there are people out there who have no way of evaluating information to decide what's real or not. It must make their lives very difficult.

Buy your insurance now (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131568)

I'm selling insurance for 2012. You can get it now for the limited low fee of $1,000 a year. When the world ends in 2012 you'll receive $10,000,000. Buy now, before it's too late.

I don't get "It" (1)

Zygamorph (917923) | more than 3 years ago | (#30131628)

Every year I see hundreds of calenders that stop after anywhere from 12 to 18 months and no one gets upset. Why does anyone get upset just because the Mayan calender ends at a certain date? It was probably one of two things
  1. 1. Hey George, is that the biggest rock you have in the yard, I'll only be able to carve up to 2012? Yah that's it I won't get another shipment for another 6 months, but hey I've got a good deal on these pocket rocks, I'll throw in a dozen for only ....; or
  2. 2. You want how much for over weight shipping!!! That's crazy, I'm going to get a smaller rock, so what if it only goes out to 2012, we can carve a new one a couple of centuries before this one runs out.
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