The Planet X Fraud

In case you haven’t heard of “Planet X,” it’s a notorious piece on Paleobabble that was derived from Zecharia Sitchin’s 12th planet Nibiru nonsense. However, Planet X has since taken on a (fake) life of its own, so that the idea cannot be equated with Sitchin’s ancient astronaut fairy tales. It’s since been married to the Mayan 2012 buffoonery and other conspiracy thinking about astronomy.

I’d encourage all readers to check out the Pseudo-Astronomy podcast for its series (now five parts) on “The Fake Story of Planet X.”  Good stuff.

More Unhinged Media and 2012

Came across this little nugget of nonsense today: “Asteroid 2012 DA14 and escalating headlines.” The brief post, courtesy of Doubtful News, concerns how the small chance (2300:1) of asteroid 2012 DA14 hitting *one* of our satellites in geosynchronous orbit is being hyped by various news outlets.  The piece concludes:

There are 401 satellites currently in geosynchronous orbit strung along a circle 265,000 kilometers in circumference. The two closest satellites are about 70 kilometers apart. There is no way it could hit two and the odds of it hitting one, even if it were to pass exactly through the ring of satellites, is about 1 out of 2300.

Yeah, sure, but you’re dismissing the Mayan prophecies, fella!  What about that! I don’t hear you talking now!

Right; only because you really can’t speak comprehensibly and yawn at the same time.

Nothing new to PaleoBabble readers.

Oldest Mayan Calendar Discovered: No Apocalypse in the Record

Pardon my yawn just now….

Anyone out there believe this primary data will stem the tide of the nonsensical hysteria?  Nope; me neither. If the heretofore known Mayan primary material (which also does not predict the end of the world) didn’t rebut the quackery, this won’t either. But I assume readers will be interested.

When Archaeologists Attack: Amateur Researcher of Maya Gets an Earful

Here’s an interesting story about an amateur researcher (an architect by profession) who suggested in a recent article that there may be ruins of a famous ancient Mayan city … in Georgia (the one famous for peaches and iced tea). Turns out an archaeologist he quoted in his book actually read his material and was pretty irked.

I’d love to see more of this (“unintentional peer review”). Other than Dan Brown in the wake of the DaVinci Code, it’s rare that scholars read any of this sort of amateur research. If they did, more of these sorts of enthusiasts would get called out. Most of the time they’d get embarrassed, but I believe that every once in a while they might get some help thinking differently about a topic (presuming the data are real). It’s even more interesting since the offended archaeologist had to read it in the Examiner (the online newspaper that sounds like the Onion at times but isn’t as funny).

Mayan Calendar 2012 Nonsense Gets Some Love from Mayan Scholars

This is a very worthwhile link on the 2012 silliness. It features an upcoming book, an interview with a Mayan specialist, and a link to an academic paper (but it isn’t free).  The book may be quite expensive, too (Equinox titles usually are). But at least you get the interview.

Despite my enthusiasm, I expect that the new-agers or ancient astronaut theorists will make sure this good scholarly deed gets punished (or ignored).

Ancient Mayan Temples Designed as Giant Loudspeakers?

I can hardly wait for the paleobabble-sphere gets hold of this one. No, archaeologists haven’t discovered ancient electronics in the Mayan temples. This article is about how the positioning and certain architectural features of Mayan temples may reflect a knowledge of good acoustics (as opposed to a good knowledge of acoustics). This shouldn’t be a surprise. Acoustics (the fact that the human voice carries better in certain places and under certain conditions) is something that can be learned by experience and experimentation.  But duplicating it takes some smarts. No aliens needed, just smart humans.

But just wait — I would bet my paleobabble library that talk shows that cater to this sort of thing will have “researchers” on that will tell us the temples were designed to communicate messages from the space gods. Or maybe they designed the temples that way so everyone could here “we’re all going to die tomorrow!” on December 20, 2012.

Crystal Skull Myth Disproven (Again)

I’m sure you’ve heard of the crystal skulls before. They are allegedly ancient Mayan artifacts capable of mysterious powers, like inspiring a terrible Indiana Jones movie.  Turns out they aren’t ancient (I know–what a shocker). But look on the bright side. Maybe George Lucas will retire from script writing now.