Dear Soothsayer

I try and keep my mind pretty open, however, there is a way to do that without it falling out. Our society is sick, and I say this as a mother, not an open-minded nerd girl.

English: Amateur astronomer gets ready to a ni...
English: Amateur astronomer gets ready to a night of stargazing in the Negev desert, Israel, with her mighty Dobsonian telescope (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nibiru, Ah, Nibiru

I just let my eleven year old go onto the interwebs with her friends, and she has been inundated with hoax after hoax, until I am about to go mad putting out the fires that crazies and liars recklessly start in her consciousness.

First, the reasons that Nibiru does not exist are many. The most compelling argument here is the issue of galactic escape velocity which is the minimum speed an object much be going to break free of an orbit, in this case, 25,020 mph. Meaning that if the object is as advertised, Jupiter should have thrown it out with the space trash by now. That’s the scientists talking.

My response to those now claiming that Google Earth has redacted images of a particular piece of night sky is this; Did they redact the outdoors? You have telescopes I presume. If this object were as you say, where you say, would not every amateur astronomer from LA to Boston have sounded an alarm? There are a lot of skywatchers out there. Google Earth can’t redact them.

The sky is falling

You have to wonder why hoaxers are motivated to perpetuate these blatant, impossible lies. I’m sure it’s possible I’m oversimplified in my view, but it seems as simple to me  as website hits.  Internet attention in the form of website hits can generate a sizable income and sell complete BS with little oversight. They have no motivation to tell the truth because this doomsday prophecy crap garners the attention the website needs with few consequences in the real world. They have nothing to lose.

But do we? I have two real problems with this issue. One, my daughter’s first view of technology is it’s misuse, and that concerns me. For her piece of mind, I’m having to explain science, which is good, and reveal so very young a universal truth that lots of people are just liars. That has to impact her capacity for faith, especially in humanity. Two, ever read the old fable the boy who cried wolf? Toy with the credibility of disaster preparedness agencies such as NASA, FEMA or the various and sundry academic sources that have the task of watching for and responding to threats from anywhere, and you may find yourself the maker of disaster when a very real threat becomes apparent and no one listens.

The best real defense against hysteria of this nature is education. It’s time we start educating our populous and making children recognize scientific fact early on. Our real challenge here is that we have to start from behind and debunk the junk before we can start teaching basic understanding of the Universe.

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