Saturday, July 26, 2008

JJNN Saturday: Pseudoscience - 03

Welcome again to JJNN for Saturday July 26th, 2008. Today we will be taking about belts made of photons and the end of the world.

Do any of you remember when I talked about joining that class on dowsing? Well, every so often I talk with them just for a kick. In the end it always makes me a little depressed to realize that people actually think in the way they do, but they always give me something to talk about on Saturday.

Earlier this week the leader of the dowsing group sent me an email containing a report on some wacky topic. I didn't bother to read the report, but I figured the least I could do was click the link. I was promptly greeted with this website. I thought that it didn't look that bad so I kept reading only to find out that there is a chance that all of humanity will be wiped out in 2012!

What's a man to do!? I only have just over 4 years to live! Should I be running around and panicking in the streets? Should I dress up like a superhero of some sort and try to get rid of all the evil people in the world so that the rest might be saved? Or maybe I should look into why we all might die.

I randomly decided on the last option. So, why do you think that we are all going to die? Do you think it will be a 4 horse man apocalypse? Do you think a giant comet will hit the earth? Well, apparently, this does have something to do with space. According to these people on December 23rd of the year 2012 the Earth will enter a doughnut shaped belt of photons.

Oh man! Photons! Those little buggers are deadly. I saw a man get hit in the eye with one of those one time and you do not want to know what happened to him. Wait a sec... Photon... That's light! Well, actually, more than just visible light can be made up of photons. Things such as gamma rays, microwaves and radio waves are also made up of photons.

So how are these photons suppose to wipe out humanity? Apparently, a huge belt of photons are in orbit around the Pleiades (a star cluster in the constellation of Taurus). Every 11000 years the earth enters the belt and it takes 2000 years to get to the other side. When the Earth enters the photon belt all electronic equipment will be fried and the Earth will go though a couple of days of either total darkness or total light. The energy from the photons is suppose to change our DNA and evolve us into something different (or wipe us out).

Sounds plausible, right? Not hardly. Sure photons like gamma rays have the power to mess with our DNA and cause mutations. I will give them that. But, the major problem with their argument is the fact that there is a static belt of photon energy hanging out there that the Earth rams into every so often. If we were talking space debris I would say that that is possible but we are talking about photons here.

Why can't there be a belt of photon radiation? Well, for one thing, there are photons everywhere. It would have to be more of a blanket than a belt. But, lets say that the photons in the photon belt are special somehow. They have the magic power to change humans (and I would suppose other animals and plants) every time we venture close to them. Even with that assumption (yes, I did just make an ass out of u and mption) if you look at there claims you would notice that something else is really really wrong with this. The Earth hits this belt every 11000 years. That means that those photons are motionless out there and we careen into them. Well than, it seems they have named the belt wrong because photons move at the speed of light. The speed of light is very fast. A photon can go from the Earth to the moon in about a second or from the Earth to the sun in about 7 minutes. This all means that there can not be a static belt of photons.

Let's say that instead of a static belt that the Pleiades release a burst of radiation in the form of photons every 11000 years and that lasts for 2000 years. It would take a long time for that radiation to reach the Earth (about 440 years because the Pleiades are 440 light years away). Let's say that about 440 years ago the Pleiades did release that burst of radiation and is still releasing it now. So, what happens? Well nothing. The radiation will be in the form of visible light, microwaves, radio waves and the like. Nothing that can really harm us. In fact the Pleiades have been releasing radiation in this form for the last 100 million years or so.

But, what if the Pleiades gets it into its mind to be evil for a little while and release a lot of very bad things? Well, first of all, I don't see any reason it would suddenly change the way it is releasing its photon energy. But, if it did most of the bad stuff (along with most of the visible light) will be scattered off the dust that surrounds the Pleiades and not do anything here on Earth. All in all, I think 2012 will be a normal year.

Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 星(ほし). It is pronounced hoshi and means star. I always liked looking up at the starts when I was a kid in Maine. It is really too bad that I live in a city now where I really can't do that. I have to drive out to the country to see the starts now. Maybe I will go out tonight if it is not cloudy and see what I can see up there.

That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN

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