Last day of this year and time for my recollections of 2014’s main events.
As always this is by no means meant to be a complete coverage of all the events that happened during 2014, just a personal blog post about some of the things I remember, and a few that I had forgotten until I started to compile this list.
I hope you enjoy.
We will start off with the weather since so many of us seem to be obsessed with it.
In the United States there were weather extremes. In California, for example, January was the warmest and driest on record in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. Only four other Januaries since 1878 had been completely dry in Los Angeles until January 2014. Alaskans experienced their third warmest January in 96 years of record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.
In many parts of the Midwest, on the other hand, 2014 was the coldest winter since the late 1970s or early 1980s. And some southern states of the US became the victims of, firstly, winter storm Kronos which brought a rare blanket of snow as far south as Louisiana, and sleet as far south as Harlingen, Texas and Pensacola, Fla. in late January, and then, just days later, a second winter storm, Leon, hit many of the same areas causing commuter chaos in both Birmingham, Ala. and Atlanta. Leon also spread ice and sleet to the Gulf Coast, including the Florida Panhandle, and the Low country of South Carolina.
And worse was on the way. Winter Storm Pax deposited an inch or more of ice in a swath from east-central Georgia into South Carolina, including Augusta, Ga. and Aiken, S.C. Pax was the second heaviest ice storm dating to 1947 in Wilmington, N.C. The accumulation of ice from Pax claimed the famed “Eisenhower tree” at the Augusta National Golf Club. Pax marked the first time since January 1940 that Columbia, S.C. saw snowfall for three straight days.
In complete contrast, the week after Pax, Columbia, S.C. tied its all-time February high of 84 degrees. Augusta, Ga. warmed into the 80s two straight days on Feb. 19-20.
Elsewhere in the world, severe Atlantic winter storms took their toll on many parts of England which in 2014 experienced storms and rain not seen since the late 19th century.
In Tokyo, Japan, which usually averages only about 4 inches of snow each year, there were also severe snow storms. In February, snow blanketed the city with 11 inches of snow in less than a week, the heaviest snowfall in 45 years for Tokyo and in 60 years for the city of Kumagaya, northwest of Tokyo. The following weekend, parts of eastern Japan, including parts of the Tokyo metro area, received another round of snow. Some smaller communities were isolated by more than 3 feet of snow.
And in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reported that more than 10 percent of Queensland and almost 15 percent of New South Wales experienced their record hottest day on Jan. 3. A second heat wave hit parts of southern Australia in mid-January, with temperatures peaking above 41 degrees Celsius (just under 106 degrees Fahrenheit) for four straight days from Jan. 14-17, and reaching a sizzling 43.9 degrees C (111 degrees F) on both Jan. 16 and 17.
Business and Technology
In the world of business and technology 2014 was the year the Obama administration decided to stop inversion deals, where US companies bought foreign domiciled businesses and moved their profit centers to a much more tax friendly location.
In technology buys, one of the largest was Facebook’s purchase of smartphone application WhatsApp for $19 Billion.
In other sectors 2014 saw world oil price plunge to around $50 per barrel, good news for consumers, not so good for producers.
Under pressure from the fall in oil and gas prices, along with the economic sanctions imposed by the west because of the ongoing situation in the Ukraine, the Russian Ruble went into free fall in December.
Also in 2014, in March, the United Nations International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s Antarctic whaling program was not scientific but commercial and refused to grant further permits.
With Quantitative Easing having been ended in the US (for the moment anyway) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced plans for a new $29 billion fresh stimulus, including subsidies and job-creating programs, to help pull the world’s third-largest economy out of recession.
After their embarrassing foul up last Christmas, this year both FedEx and UPS managed to deliver more than 99 percent of express packages as promised on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, according to shipment tracker ShipMatrix.
South Korean prosecutors arrested a government official who allegedly leaked information about an investigation into former Korean Air Lines executive Cho Hyun-ah, who forced a flight to return over a bag of macadamia nuts. Most of the rest of the world tends to think that the idiot executive should suffer the consequences of her stupidity, not the whistleblower.
And finally, after their embarrassing hack attack and cringe-worthy capitulation to what amounted to a terrorist cyber attack which was rightly criticized publicly by President Obama, Sony finally decided to release its movie ‘The Interview’.
Conflicts, Wars & Terrorism
Unfortunately 2014 saw many conflicts and acts of terrorism.
In April an estimated 276 girls and women were abducted and held hostage from a school in Nigeria. The following month, Boko Haram militants killed approximately 300 people in a night attack on Gamboru Ngala and terrorists in Nigeria detonated bombs at Jos, killing 118 people.
June saw the emergence of a Sunni militant group called the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’ (also known as the ‘ISIS’ or ‘ISIL’). It began an offensive throughout northern Iraq, with the aim of eventually capturing the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad and overthrowing the Shiite government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The group has been responsible for beheading of hundreds of people including several from the United States.
In July and August tensions between Israel and Hamas grew following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June and the revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager in July. Israel launched ‘Operation Protective Edge’ on the Palestinian Gaza Strip starting with numerous missile strikes, followed by a ground invasion a week later. In 7 weeks of fighting, 2,100 Palestinians and 71 Israelis were killed.
Also in July, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a Boeing 777, crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 souls on board. There are conflicting claims as to who was responsible, some blaming pro Russian forces for a missile strike and others blaming Ukrainian forces.
In August and September the United States military began an air campaign in northern Iraq to stem the influx of ISIS militants and the following month the United States and several Arab partners began an airstrike campaign in Syria.
Expect more on these stories during 2015.
During 2014 we said farewell to many well know people from various walks of life. Here is just my selection of those I remember.
British novelist and playwright (b. 1946)
P. D. James
British writer and life peer
From Movies & TV
Philip Seymour Hoffman
American actress and diplomat
American film director,
writer, and actor
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
writer and actor
American radio host
and voice actor
American actress and singer
American actor and comedian
British actor and film director
American comedian, actress,
and television host
American actor (b. 1939)
Glen A. Larson
American television producer
Golden Age actress
“The Great Ziegfeld”
American singer, songwriter,
musician, and activist
American singer and guitarist
British bass guitarist
British rock bassist
British jazz clarinetist
9th Prime Minister of the
People’s Republic of Poland
11th Prime Minister of Israel
British politician and diarist
138th Prime Minister of Spain
James R. Schlesinger
American economist and politician
A. N. R. Robinson
3rd President of Trinidad and Tobago
American politician and diplomat
2nd President of Georgia
Irish Taoiseach (prime minister)
British politician and
First Minister of Northern Ireland
Prince of Russia
41st President of Haiti
11th Duke of Marlborough,
British peer and educator
21st Prime Minister of Australia
From Space Exploration
Dutch astronaut and physicist
American colonel and astronaut
American professional wrestler
American tennis player
Nelson Frazier, Jr.
American professional wrestler
Australian race car driver
owner of Manchester United
Ukrainian sailor, Olympic triple champion
and silver medalist
Brazilian footballer and manager
Alfredo Di Stéfano
Ukrainian football player and coach
Swedish rally driver
Andrea de Cesaris
Italian race car driver
The big health scare of 2014 that dominated the headlines was the of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa in February, that initially infected over 19,000 people and killing at least 7,000, the most severe both in terms of numbers of infections and casualties.
In other news, also in February, Belgium became the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia for terminally ill patients of any age.
On January 1, Latvia officially adopted the Euro as its currency and became the 18th member of the Eurozone.
In February, the Ukrainian parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office, replacing him with Oleksandr Turchynov, after days of civil unrest that left around 100 people dead in Kiev. The pro-Russian unrest lead to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and an insurgency in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
In March, Nicolás Maduro, the President of Venezuela, severed diplomatic and political ties with Panama, accusing it of being involved in a conspiracy against the Venezuelan government.
Also in March, an emergency meeting, involving the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and Canada temporarily suspended Russia from the G8.
In April, also in response to the Crimean crisis, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution temporarily stripping Russia of its voting rights; its rights to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, the PACE Presidential Committee, and the PACE Standing Committee; and its right to participate in election-observation missions.
The same month, United States President Barack Obama began new economic sanctions against Russia, targeting companies and individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In May the Royal Thai Army overthrew the caretaker government of Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan after a failure to resolve the political unrest in Thailand.
Back in Europe, in June, King Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicated in favor of his son, who ascended the Spanish throne as King Felipe VI.
And the political year ended on a positive note, with U.S. President Barack Obama announcing the resumption of normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than half a century.
The major space event of 2014 happened in November when the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Philae probe successfully landed on Comet 67P, the first time in history that a spacecraft has landed on such an object.
The two major world sporting events of 2014 were the XXII Olympic Winter Games, held in Sochi, Russia in February, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil, and won by Germany, during June and July.
In American sport the Super Bowl was won by the Seattle Seahawks, the MLB World Series winners were the San Francisco Giants and in basketball the San Antonio Spurs came out on top.
Ice Hockey had three champions in 2014, Canada becoming Olympic champions, Russia world champions and in the NHL the Los Angeles Kings were the victors.
In tennis at the world famous Wimbledon Tournament in England Novak Djokovic became Men’s Singles Champion and Petra Kvitova Ladies Singles Champion, while the men’s and women’s winners of the US Open were Marin Čilić and Serena Williams respectively.
In Soccer, as noted above, Germany won the 2014 World Cup. The European Champions League winners were Real Madrid and the English Premiership was won by Manchester City.
The Formula 1 motor racing champion for 2014 was British driver Lewis Hamilton, who also picked up the award of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
In golf’s major championships, the Masters Tournament, held in April, was won by Bubba Watson by three strokes. It was his second Masters championship.
May saw the BMW PGA Championship where young Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy birdied the 18th hole to win by one stroke over Irishman Shane Lowry, who also birdied the 18th hole.
In June, U.S. Open winner was Martin Kaymer who won by eight strokes to become the first German player to win the U.S. Open, and the first player to win the Players Championship and the U.S. Open in the same year.
In July, the Open Championship Northern Ireland man Rory McIlroy, was on top again winning by two strokes over Rickie Fowler and Sergio García. It was his third career major championship, and his first Open Championship. With the win, he became the fourth player ever of 25 years old or under to have won at least three majors.
In August, McIlroy was back, winning the PGA Championship by one stroke over Phil Mickelson. He was having quite a year, it was his fourth career major and his second PGA Championship.
Then in September, in the Ryder Cup, Team Europe (also including McIlroy) defeated Team USA by a score of 16½ – 11½. It was the third consecutive Ryder Cup victory for Europe, and also Europe’s fifth consecutive home victory in the Ryder Cup.
In March Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 airliner en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, disappears over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 people on board. The aircraft is presumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.
In April Korean ferry MV Sewol capsized and sunk after an unmanageable cargo shift. More than 290 people were killed, mostly high school students.
In May hundreds of workers were killed in mining accident in Turkey.
In July, Air Algérie Flight 5017 crashed in Mali, killing all 116 people on board.
And just a few days ago AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed, wreckage has been found off the coast of Indonesia’s Kalimantan coast.
And a very happy Fourth of July to everyone, particularly my American friends.
Independence Day again, and no sign of invading spaceships so I’m assuming its safe to do another number factoid.
And what else could it be today other than 1776, the year America became an independent nation.
Here we go.
And where else to start but with….
American Revolutionary War
On January 1st, 1776 Gen George Washington hoisted the Continental Union Flag. The same day the town of Norfolk, Virginia, was destroyed by the combined actions of the British Royal Navy and occupying Patriot forces.
On Jan 5th the Assembly of New Hampshire adopts its 1st state constitution.
On January 10th Thomas Paine published his pamphlet Common Sense “written by an Englishman” in Philadelphia arguing for independence from British rule in what were then the Thirteen Colonies.
On Jan 16th the Continental Congress approves enlistment of free blacks.
On February 27th Scottish North Carolina Loyalists charge across Moore’s Creek bridge near Wilmington to attack what they mistakenly believed to be a small force of rebels. Several loyalist leaders are killed in the ensuing battle. The patriot victory virtually ended all British authority in the province.
On March 2nd and 3rd the American Continental Navy and Marines made a successful assault on Nassau, Bahamas, and in the Battle of the Rice Boats, American Patriots resisted the Royal Navy on the Savannah River effectively ending British control over the Province of Georgia.
On March 4th American Patriots capture Dorchester Heights thereby dominating the port of Boston, Massachusetts. Threatened by the Patriot cannons on Dorchester Heights, the British evacuate Boston on March 17th.
On April 12th the Royal Colony of North Carolina produced the Halifax Resolves making it the first British colony officially to authorize its Continental Congress delegates to vote for independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
On May 4th Rhode Island became the first American colony to renounce allegiance to King George III of Great Britain.
On June 7th Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposed to the Second Continental Congress (meeting in Philadelphia) that “these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.”
On June 11th the Continental Congress appointed a Committee of Five to draft a Declaration of Independence.
On June 12th the Virginia Declaration of Rights by George Mason was adopted by the Virginia Convention of Delegates and three days later on June 15th the Delaware General Assembly voted to suspend government under the British Crown.
On July 2nd the final (despite minor revisions) U.S. Declaration of Independence was written. The Continental Congress passed the Lee Resolution.
And as we all know, on July 4th the United States Declared Independence: The Continental Congress ratified the declaration by the United States of its independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
On July 8th the Liberty Bell rang in Philadelphia for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence and the following day an angry mob in New York City toppled the equestrian statue of George III of Great Britain in Bowling Green.
On August 2nd most of the American colonies ratify the Declaration of Independence.
On August 15th the first Hessian troops land on Staten Island to join British forces.
On August 27th in the Battle of Long Island, Washington’s troops were routed in Brooklyn by British under William Howe.
On September 1st the Cherokee Nation was invaded by 6,000 patriot troops from Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina begins. The troops destroyed thirty-six Cherokee towns.
On September 7th saw the world’s first submarine attack when the American submersible craft Turtle attempted to attach a time bomb to the hull of British Admiral Richard Howe’s flagship HMS Eagle in New York Harbor.
On September 11th an abortive peace conference took place between British and Americans on Staten Island.
On September 15th British troops landed on Manhattan at Kips Bay.
On September 16th in the Battle of Harlem Heights, the Continental Army under Washington are victorious against the British on Manhattan.
On September 22nd the British hanged spy Nathan Hale in New York City for espionage.
The following month, on October 11th on Lake Champlain near Valcour Island, a British fleet led by Sir Guy Carleton defeated 15 American gunboats commanded by Brigadier General Benedict Arnold. Although nearly all of Arnold’s ships are destroyed, the two day-long battle gave Patriot forces enough time to prepare defenses of New York City.
On October 18th in the Battle of Pell’s Point, forces of the American Continental Army resisted a British and Hessian force in The Bronx, whilst on October 28 in the Battle of White Plains, British forces attacked and captured Chatterton Hill from the Americans.
On October 26th Benjamin Franklin departed from America for France on a mission to seek French support for the American Revolution.
The last day of that month, October 31st saw King George III make his first speech before British Parliament since the Declaration of Independence that summer, in which in perhaps the understatement of the year, told the British Parliament that all was not going well for Britain in the war with the United States.
On November 16th Hessian mercenaries under Lieutenant General Wilhelm von Knyphausen captured Fort Washington from the American Continentals. The captain of the American navy ship Andrew Doria fired a salute to the Dutch flag on Fort Orange and Johannes de Graaff answers with eleven gun shots.
On December 7th the Marquis de Lafayette attempted to enter the American military as a major general.
And on December 21st the Royal Colony of North Carolina reorganizes into the State of North Carolina after adopting its own constitution. Richard Caswell becomes the first governor of the newly formed state.
On December 23rd Thomas Paine, living with Washington’s troops, began publishing The American Crisis, containing the stirring phrase, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”
At Christmas 1776, Gen. George Washington ordered the first issue of The Crisis to be read to his troops on Christmas Eve, then at 6 p.m. all 2600 of them march to McKonkey’s Ferry, crossed the Delaware River and land on the Jersey bank at 3 a.m.
And finally December 26th saw the Battle of Trenton, in which Washington’s troops surprised and defeated the 1500 Hessian troops under the command of Col. Johann Rall outside Trenton, taking 948 prisoners while suffering only 5 wounded.
In other things and other places in 1776
The year 1776 was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Friday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar.
In Roman Numerals 1776 is written as MDCCLXXVI.
On January 2nd Austria ended interrogation torture
On February 17th Edward Gibbon published the first volume of his famous work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
On March 9th Scottish economist Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations in London.
On March 28th Juan Bautista de Anza found the site for the Presidio of San Francisco.
On April 15th the Duchess of Kingston was found guilty of bigamy.
On May 1st Adam Weishaupt founded the Illuminati in Ingolstadt, Bavaria.
On June 17th Lt. Jose Joaquin Moraga leads a band of colonists from Monterey Presidio, landing on June 29th and constructing the Mission Dolores of the new Presidio of San Francisco.
On July 12th Captain James Cook sets off from Plymouth, England, in HMS Resolution on his third voyage, to the Pacific Ocean and Arctic, which would turn out to be fatal.
On July 21st Mozart’s Serenade No. 7 (the “Haffner”) is first performed in Salzburg, Austria.
On July 29th Francisco Silvestre Vélez de Escalante, Francisco Atanasio Domínguez, and eight other Spaniards set out from Santa Fe on an eighteen-hundred mile trek through the American Southwest. They were the first Europeans to explore the vast region between the Rockies and the Sierras.
On September 6th a hurricane hit Guadeloupe, killing more than 6000 people.
On September 24th the first of the now very famous St Leger horse races were held at Doncaster, England.
On October 7th Crown Prince Paul of Russia married Sophie Marie Dorothea of Württemberg.
On October 9th Father Francisco Palou founded the Mission San Francisco de Asis in what is now San Francisco, California.
On October 18th in a New York bar decorated with a bird tail, a customer orders “cock tail”.
On December 5th the first US fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa (William & Mary College), is formed.
The Standard Practice for Conditioning and Testing Textiles is Active Standard ASTM D1776
The Standard Specification for Eye Protective Devices for Paintball Sports is Active Standard ASTM F1776.
MTE M-1776 is a Surge Protective Device
P1776 is the code for solenoid stuck in low/reverse which is a fairly common problem and can be prevented most of the time by keeping the fluid clean.
The 1776 Premier Program offers a venue for highly-committed, elite players to receive professional, year-round coaching and to seek competition at the highest levels of US Youth Soccer.
Today the number is twelve and as usual it has a lot more associations that you might at first think. So many in fact that I have decided to split this post into two parts.
The second part (next Friday) will consist of the many entries in the ‘militaria’ section, while today’s will include the rest.
Even with the split it’s still a long post, but I hope those of you interested in numbers and their associations will enjoy reading it.
The Number Twelve 12
The number 12 is very important in many religions, mainly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but also found in some other belief systems.
From the Bible we know that Jacob had 12 sons, (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin), who were the progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
The New Testament describes twelve apostles of Jesus; after Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and hanged himself, a meeting was held (Acts) to add Matthias to complete the number twelve once more.
The Book of Revelation contains much numerical symbolism, and a lot of the numbers mentioned have 12 as a divisor.
Revelation 12:1 mentions a woman—interpreted as the people of Israel, the Church or the Virgin Mary—wearing a crown of twelve stars (representing each of the twelve tribes of Israel).
Also there are 12,000 people sealed from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, making a total of 144,000 (which is the square of 12 multiplied by a thousand).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
In Orthodox Judaism, 12 signifies the age a girl matures (bat mitzvah)
There are 12 days of Christmas; the period of thirteen days including Epiphany is sometimes known as Christmastide, thus Twelfth Night is another name for the twelfth day of Christmas or January 5 (the eve of Epiphany).
Similarly, Eastern Orthodoxy observes 12 Great Feasts.
In Twelver (or Imami) Shi’a Islam, there are twelve Imams, successors of the prophet Muhammad. These twelve early leaders of Islam were—Ali, Hasan, Husayn, and nine of Husayn’s descendants. Imamah is the Shi‘ah doctrine of religious, spiritual and political leadership of the Ummah. The Shi‘ah believe that the A’immah (“Imams”) are the true Caliphs or rightful successors of Muhammad, and Twelver and Isma‘ili Shi‘ah further that Imams are possessed of supernatural knowledge, authority, and infallibility as well as being part of the Ahl al-Bayt, the family of Muhammad. Both beliefs distinguish the Shi‘ah from Sunnis.
In the Quran, the Sura number 12 is Sura Yusuf (Joseph), and it is located in Juz’a number 12. This Sura narrates the story of Prophet Yusuf and his 12 brothers.
In Hinduism, the sun god Surya has 12 names. Also, there are 12 Petals in Anahata (Heart Chakra. There are twelve “Jyotirlingas” in Hindu Shaivism. The Shaivites (orthodox devotees of God Shiva) treat them with great respect and they are visited by almost every pious Hindu at least once in a lifetime.
In antiquity there are numerous magical/religious uses of twelves.
Ancient Greek religion, the Twelve Olympians were the principal gods of the pantheon.
Greek mythology has the twelve labors of Hercules.
The chief Norse god, Odin, had 12 sons.
Several sets of twelve cities are identified in history as a dodecapolis, the most familiar being the Etruscan League.
In the King Arthur Legend, Arthur is said to have subdued 12 rebel princes and to have won 12 great battles against Saxon invaders.
Twelve is the smallest number with exactly six divisors, its divisors being 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12.
Twelve is a sublime number, a number that has a perfect number of divisors, and the sum of its divisors is also a perfect number.
Twelve is a superfactorial, being the product of the first three factorials.
The first four positive integers show up in the following equation 12 = 3 × 4, which can be continued with the equation 56 = 7 × 8.
A twelve-sided polygon is a dodecagon.
A twelve-faced polyhedron is a dodecahedron.
Regular cubes and octahedrons both have 12 edges, while regular icosahedrons have 12 vertices.
The duodecimal system (1210 [twelve] = 1012), which is the use of 12 as a division factor for many ancient and medieval weights and measures, including hours, probably originates from Mesopotamia.
In base thirteen and higher bases (such as hexadecimal), twelve is represented as C. In base 10, the number 12 is a Harshad number.
In science and technology
Twelve is the atomic number of magnesium in the periodic table.
The human body has twelve cranial nerves.
The duodenum (from Latin duodecim, “twelve”) is the first part of the small intestine, that is about twelve inches (30 cm) long. More precisely, this section of the intestine was measured not in inches but in fingerwidths. In fact, in German the name of the duodenum is Zwölffingerdarm and in Dutch the name is twaalfvingerige darm, both meaning “twelve-finger bowel”.
Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. It is one of the eight B vitamins. The vitamin is the largest and most structurally complicated vitamin and can be produced industrially only through bacterial fermentation-synthesis.
Dichlorodifluoromethane (R-12), a colorless gas usually sold under the brand name Freon-12, is a chlorofluorocarbon halomethane (CFC), used as a refrigerant and aerosol spray propellant. Complying with the Montreal Protocol, its manufacture was banned in the United States along with many other countries in 1996 due to concerns about damage to the ozone layer. It is soluble in many organic solvents. Dichlorodifluoromethane was also the main component of Silly String.
Force 12 on the Beaufort wind force scale corresponds to the maximum wind speed of a hurricane.
There are twelve function keys on most PC keyboards (F1 through F12)
There are twelve keys in any standard digital telephone (1 through 9, 0, * and #)
Microsoft’s Rich Text Format specification assigns numbers congruent to 12 mod 256 to variants of the French language.
Messier object M12 is a magnitude 8.0 globular cluster in the constellation Ophiuchus.
The New General Catalogue object NGC 12 is a magnitude 13.1 spiral galaxy in the constellation Pisces.
The 12th moon of Jupiter is Lysithea.
Twelve people have walked on Earth’s moon.
Telstar 12, is a commercial broadcast satellite used in telecommunications, operated by Loral Skynet. It is a Ku band satellite with coverage of North America as far West as Cleveland, Ohio, the majority of South America, Europe as far East as the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. Telstar 12 also has the capability to provide intercontinental connectivity including trans-Atlantic to the Mid-East.
Apollo 12 was the sixth manned flight in the United States Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon (an H type mission).
It was launched on November 14, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, four months after Apollo 11. Mission commander Charles “Pete” Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean performed just over one day and seven hours of lunar surface activity while Command Module Pilot Richard F. Gordon remained in lunar orbit. The landing site for the mission was located in the southeastern portion of the Ocean of Storms.
Unlike the first landing by Apollo 11, Conrad and Bean achieved a precise landing at their expected location, the site of the Surveyor 3 unmanned probe, which had landed on April 20, 1967. They carried the first color television camera to the lunar surface on an Apollo flight, but transmission was lost after Bean accidentally destroyed the camera by pointing it at the Sun. On one of two moonwalks, they visited the Surveyor, and removed some parts for return to Earth.
The mission ended on November 24 with a successful splashdown.
During the Space Shuttle program, several missions were cancelled. Many were cancelled as a result of the Challenger and the Columbia disasters. Many early missions were cancelled due to delays in the development of the shuttle. Others were cancelled because of changes in payload and missions requirements.
STS-12 was originally scheduled for launch on 30 January 1981. The crew of three were to place the satellites TDRS-C and Anik-C2 into orbit during the 2-day mission. An alternate mission was also planned which replaced the TDRS-C with an Intelsat-V satellite, and would last five days instead of two. TDRS-C was eventually made as the replacement for the destroyed TDRS-B and launched from Discovery on STS-26 in September 1988.
The crew of STS-12 were, Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr. (Commander); Michael L. Coats (Pilot); and Mission Specialists Richard M. Mullane, Steven A. Hawley and Judith A. Resnik.
According to UFO conspiracy theory, Majestic 12 (or MJ-12) is the supposed code name of an alleged secret committee of scientists, military leaders, and government officials, formed in 1947 by an executive order by U.S. President Harry S. Truman. The purpose of the committee was to investigate the recovery of a UFO north of Roswell, New Mexico during July 1947.
Initial indications of such a group’s existence appeared in 1978 in declassified Canadian documents. Another reference to a classified group called “MJ-12” was discovered in 1980, but was later identified to be a hoax. In 1984 a set of documents was discovered in United States archives, which closely resemble real declassified documents, but which the FBI have declared to be “completely bogus”.
UFO conspiracy theories and the popular media based on them sometimes incorporate Majestic 12.
The 12th President of the United States of America (1849–1850) was Zachary Taylor (November 24, 1784 – July 9, 1850). An American military leader, his 40-year military career ended with far-reaching victories in the Mexican–American War. His status as a national hero won him election to the White House despite his vague political beliefs. His top priority as president was preserving the Union, but he died 16 months into his term, before making any progress on the status of slavery, which had been inflaming tensions in Congress.
The Twelfth Amendment (Amendment XII) to the United States Constitution provides the procedure for electing the President and Vice President. It replaced Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, which provided the original procedure by which the Electoral College functioned. Problems with the original procedure arose in the elections of 1796 and 1800. The Twelfth Amendment was proposed by the Congress on December 9, 1803, and was ratified by the required number of state legislatures on June 15, 1804.
The United States of America is divided into twelve Federal Reserve Districts (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco); American paper currency has serial numbers beginning with one of twelve different letters, A through L, representing the Federal Reserve Bank from which the currency originated.
There are 12 stars are featured on the Flag of Europe
The French department Aveyron is number twelve.
In Northern Ireland the Twelfth of July is the main day of celebration and commemoration for the Protestant and Unionist community, and a public holiday.
The competition that was founded in 2001 as the Celtic League changed its name in 2011 to Pro12, reflecting its status as a 12-team league after it expanded in 2010 to include teams from Italy.
The Southern Hemisphere competition now known as Super Rugby was known from 1996 through 2005, an era in which it had 12 teams, as Super 12.
In both soccer and American football, the number 12 can be a symbolic reference to the fans because of the support they give to the 11 players on the field.
Texas A&M University reserves the number 12 jersey for a walk-on player who represents the original “12th Man”, a fan who was asked to play when the team’s reserves were low in a college American football game in 1922.
Bayern Munich, Hammarby, Feyenoord, Atlético Mineiro, Flamengo, Seattle Seahawks, Portsmouth and Cork City do not allow field players to wear the number 12 on their jersey because it is reserved for their supporters.
The jersey number 12 has been retired by several North American sports teams in honor of past playing greats (or, in one case, a team’s fans):
In Major League Baseball: the Tampa Bay Rays, for Hall of Famer Wade Boggs; the Toronto Blue Jays, for Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar.
In the NFL: the Buffalo Bills, for Hall of Famer Jim Kelly; the Miami Dolphins, for Hall of Famer Bob Griese; the New York Jets, for Hall of Famer Joe Namath; the San Francisco 49ers, for John Brodie; the Seattle Seahawks, for their fans (the “12th Man”); the Dallas Cowboys have a policy of not retiring numbers, however, the team has not issued #12 since the retirement of Hall of Famer Roger Staubach; the Pittsburgh Steelers currently have a policy of not retiring numbers, having retired only one number (70) in their earlier history, however, the Steelers have not issued #12 since the retirement of Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw.
In the NBA: the New York Knicks, for Dick Barnett; the Utah Jazz, for Hall of Famer John Stockton; the Cincinnati Royals, for Hall of Famer Maurice Stokes, who suffered a career-ending head injury in 1958, the team’s first season in Cincinnati and the franchise continues to honor the number in its current incarnation as the Sacramento Kings.
In the NHL: he Detroit Red Wings, for Hall of Famer Sid Abel; the Montreal Canadiens, for Hall of Famers Yvan Cournoyer and Dickie Moore; the Vancouver Canucks, for Stan Smyl; the jersey number 12 has also been retired by the men’s basketball program of the University of North Carolina for Phil Ford.
In Canadian football, 12 is the maximum number of players that can be on the field of play for each team at any time.
In ten-pin bowling, 12 is the number of strikes needed for a perfect game.
In curling, the House or the circular scoring area, is 12 feet in diameter.
In cricket, another sport with eleven players per team, teams may select a “12th man”, who may replace an injured player for the purpose of fielding (but not batting, bowling or keeping wicket).
In association football, 12 was also the number of teams in the finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in its first two editions in 1991 and 1995.
In books, music, movies and TV
‘Twelfth Night’ is a comedy by William Shakespeare.
‘Twelve Angry Men’ by Reginald Rose, was adapted from his own teleplay (see TV below).
‘The Twelve’ is a poem by Aleksandr Blok.
‘Twelve’ is a novel by Nick McDonell.
‘The Twelve Chairs’ is a satirical novel by the Soviet authors Ilf and Petrov.
‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ is a 1946 novel by Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’ is a folk tale.
‘The Aeneid’, an epic poem by Virgil is divided into two halves composed of twelve books.
‘Paradise Lost’, an epic poem by John Milton is divided into twelve books perhaps in imitation of the Aeneid.
In ‘The Hunger Games’, the fictional country of Panem is separated into twelve districts.
Twelve is the number of pitch classes in an octave; the total number of major keys; and the total number of minor keys.
The twelfth is the interval of an octave and a fifth. Instruments such as the clarinet which behave as a stopped cylindrical pipe overblow at the twelfth.
The twelve-tone technique (also dodecaphony) is a method of musical composition devised by Arnold Schoenberg. Music using the technique is called twelve-tone music.
One of the most famous classical music pieces is the 1812 overture by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
The 12-inch single is a vinyl record format.
B12 are a British electronic music duo consisting of Mike Golding and Steve Rutter.
There is a group called ‘Twelve Girls Band’.
‘Twelfth Night’ is a progressive rock band.
‘12 Play’ is an R. Kelly album.
‘The Number 12 Looks Like You’ is a mathcore band.
‘Twelve’ is an album by Patti Smith.
‘Twelve Deadly Cyns…and Then Some’ is an album by Cyndi Lauper.
‘D12’ a rap group also known as the ‘Dirty Dozen’.
There is a musical group named ‘12 Stones’.
‘12’, a Song from Brave Murder Day by Katatonia.
‘12’ is a studio album by German singer Herbert Grönemeyer.
‘12’ is the 12th studio album by Keller Williams.
‘12 Hundred’ is a song by band Mushroomhead of their Savior Sorrow album.
‘12’ (“Dodeka” in Greek) is one of the most well-known hits by Anna Vissi.
‘Twelve drummers drumming’ is the gift on the twelfth day of Christmas in the carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’.
‘12:59 Lullaby’ by Bedouin Soundclash.
‘Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35’ by Bob Dylan.
‘Little 12 Toes’ by Chavez (band).
‘12 Hours’ by Davenport Cabinet.
‘12’ by Hot Chip.
‘Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses’ by Kathy Mattea.
‘Twelve Reasons Why’ by My Life Story.
‘Dozen Wicked Words’ by The Longpigs.
‘Prelude 12’ by Styx.
‘12:51’ by The Strokes.
‘12 Steps’ by Violent Femmes.
‘The 12th Of September’ by Xavier Rudd.
‘12 Fingers’ by Young the Giant.
‘12-Bar Original’ by The Beatles.
Twelve is the number of studio albums ‘The Beatles’ released.
Movies with the number twelve or its variations in their titles include
12 Angry Men (1957 and 1997)
Cheaper by the Dozen
The Dirty Dozen
The number twelve plays a significant role in the television franchise Battlestar Galactica. The characters come from the Twelve Colonies of Kobol and worship the twelve lords of Kobol. In the re-imagined series, there are also twelve models of the humanoid version of Cylons.
Twelve Angry Men, the original 1954 live performance on the anthology television series Studio One.
‘Number 12 Looks Just Like You’ is an episode of the television show The Twilight Zone.
Schoolhouse Rock! portrayed an alien child using base-twelve arithmetic in the short ‘Little Twelvetoes’.
12 Oz Mouse was an animated television show on Adult Swim.
Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior
The Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior, more commonly known as the Lockheed 12 or L-12, is an eight-seat, six-passenger all-metal twin-engine transport aircraft of the late 1930s designed for use by small airlines, companies, and wealthy private individuals.
A scaled-down version of the Lockheed Model 10 Electra, the Lockheed 12 was not popular as an airliner but was widely used as a corporate and government transport. Several were also used for testing new aviation technologies.
Aviator Milo Burcham flew a Lockheed 12A in the 1937 Bendix Trophy Race from Burbank, California to Cleveland, Ohio. This 12A had been modified with extra fuel tanks in the cabin, allowing it to save time by making the entire 2,043-mile (3,288 km) trip non-stop. The 12A came in fifth at an average speed of 184 mph (296 km/h); this was an impressive performance, since the first and fourth-place winners were both privately owned Seversky P-35 fighters.
Another Lockheed 12A, owned by Republic Oil Company and named The Texan, was modified by aviator Jimmie Mattern for a round-the-world flight attempt. Mattern filled the 12A’s cabin with fuel tanks and removed the cabin windows and door; the crew would enter the aircraft via a cockpit hatch. The aircraft was denied a U.S. permit for the flight following the Earhart incident (she had been flying a Lockheed 10 Electra), however it was pressed into action September 1937 in a long range search effort for Sigizmund Levanevsky who crashed somewhere between the North pole and Barrow, Alaska. “The Texan” was outfitted as a luxury transport afterward, and lost in a hangar fire in January 1938.
The Hispano-Suiza J12 was a luxury automobile made by Hispano-Suiza from 1931 to 1938. It replaced the Hispano-Suiza H6. The J12 was powered by a V12 engine with pushrod-operated overhead valves.
Hispano-Suiza suspended automobile production in 1938 to concentrate on the manufacture of aircraft engines.
The Renault 12 is a family car produced by French automaker Renault between 1969 and 1980. Available as a saloon (Berline) and estate (Break), it was also produced under license in many countries across the globe into the early 21st century.
In its first few years the 12 received praise from the European press for its spacious, comfortable interior, its styling, its performance and its low fuel consumption. However it fared worse in the North American press: in a test of the 1974 model, Road & Track was critical of the engine’s “obtrusive” noise, and called the heavy, non-power steering “a serious design flaw”. They also gave it “very poor marks” for the ventilation system.
Renault 12 production and sales ended in western Europe in 1980, but the model continued to be produced and sold by Renault affiliates elsewhere. The last R12 was produced in 1999 in Turkey, whilst Romanian automaker Dacia continued producing the R12-based 1310 sedan and estate until 2004 and the R12-based Dacia Pick-Up until December 2006.
In terms of sales the Renault 12 was a successful car, selling 2.5 million units.
The McLaren M12 was an open-cockpit racing car developed by Bruce McLaren Motor Racing in 1969, solely for the purpose of selling to customers in the Can-Am series.
The M12 combined elements from two of McLaren’s previous efforts, the M6 series and the M8 series.
One of the more notable owners of an M12 was Chaparral Cars, who used the McLaren in the early 1969 Can-Am season while their own model’s development had been delayed.
The BMW E12 BMW 5-Series was made between 1972 and 1981. The E12 was the first series to bear the 5 Series name: the ‘5’ denoting BMW’s fifth ‘New Class’ platform. Designed as a replacement for the popular BMW New Class mid-size sedan, the E12 5-Series models were smaller than the large BMW E3 sedan but larger than the two-door 2002 models.
The E12 was replaced by the BMW E28 5 Series in 1981, although production continued until 1984 in South Africa.
Volkswagen W12 Coupe
The Volkswagen W12 Coupe (also known as the Volkswagen Nardò, with reference to the Nardò Ring vehicle test track, near to the Italian city of Nardò) was a concept car created by Volkswagen Passenger Cars in 1997.
The car is portrayed in games such as Heat Online, Gran Turismo, and the Test Drive series.
This car also featured in an April Fools joke as the new Volkswagen 2015 LeVanto.
The Vector M12 was a vehicle designed by parent company Megatech LTD the Vector Motors Corporation, and was the first vehicle produced after the hostile takeover of the company from Jerry Wiegert by the Indonesian company Megatech.
The vehicle was a rebodied Lamborghini Diablo with a chopper gun fiberglass body set on a lengthened Diablo chassis. It was a loose copy of the Vector AWX-3, which was not released due to the Megatech hostile takeover.
The M12 was able to accelerate from zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.8 seconds and had a top speed of 189 mph (304 km/h) and was produced from 1995 to 1999, when production was halted, partly due to slow sales of the cars and alleged mismanagement of the company.
The average price of the vehicle was $184,000 (USD). Today you can purchase a M12 normally for $65,000 to an astounding $189,000 paid by a purchaser of a purple M12 at Barrett Jackson for a record sale price.
The Noble M12 is a two-door, two-seat model, originally planned both as a coupe and as a convertible.
All M12s have been powered by modified bi-turbocharged Ford Duratec V6 engines. The M12 has a full steel roll cage, steel frame, and G.R.P. (fibreglass) composite clam shell body parts.
These famed “Ferrari killers” are extremely lightweight and stiff. Although looking to be track derived, the M12 performs very well on both road and track, with surprisingly good ride quality, but a rigid feel. This is achieved by having no anti-roll bars on the car. This allows the suspension to be stiff yet comfortable.
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
The Ferrari F12 berlinetta (also unofficially referred to as the F12 Berlinetta or the F12) is a front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive grand tourer produced by Italian sports car manufacturer Ferrari. The F12 Berlinetta, introduced to the public at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, replaces the Ferrari 599 series grand tourers.
The F12berlinetta was named “The Supercar of the Year 2012” by car magazine Top Gear.
Spyker E12 Zagato
Spyker Cars shareholder and CEO, Victor Muller hinted at a Maserati Quattroporte, Porsche Panamera rival with an eight-cylinder (the E8) or a twelve-cylinder (the E12) engine, but due to problems getting the D8 into production, the idea was ignored until recently when Muller has said he “believes now could be the time to resurrect the saloon.”
Muller believes it will take about four years from time E8/E12 is revealed to the time it starts production. In March 2011, Muller stated that the production version of the Spyker E8/E12 will use a twelve-cylinder instead of the proposed eight-cylinder engine.
A V12 engine is a V engine with 12 cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of six cylinders, usually but not always at a 60° angle to each other, with all 12 pistons driving a common crankshaft.
Since each cylinder bank is essentially a straight-6, this configuration has perfect primary and secondary balance no matter which V angle is used and therefore needs no balance shafts. A V12 with two banks of six cylinders angled at 60°, 120° or 180° (with the latter configuration usually referred to as a flat-12) from each other has even firing with power pulses delivered twice as often per revolution as a straight-6.
This allows for great refinement in a luxury car. In a racing car, the rotating parts can be made much lighter and thus more responsive, since there is no need to use counterweights on the crankshaft as is needed in a 90° V8 and less need for the inertial mass in a flywheel to smooth out the power delivery. In a large displacement, heavy-duty engine, a V12 can run slower than smaller engines, prolonging engine life.
A W12 engine is a twelve cylinder piston internal combustion engine in a W configuration.
W12 engines are manufactured in two distinct configurations. One configuration uses four rows of three cylinders merged into two ‘cylinder banks’ (two narrow-angle VR6 engine blocks), coupled to a common crankshaft – as in the Volkswagen Group W12. Another uses three banks of four cylinders coupled to a common crankshaft – as in the Napier Lion.
There are twelve basic hues in the color wheel; 3 primary colors (red, yellow, blue), 3 secondary colors (orange, green & purple) and 6 tertiary colors (names for these vary, but are intermediates between the primaries and secondaries).
There are 12 ounces in a troy pound (used for precious metals)
There are 12 signs of the zodiac.
In English, twelve is the number of greatest magnitude that has just one syllable.
There are normally twelve pairs of ribs in the human body.
The Twelve Tables or Lex Duodecim Tabularum, more informally simply Duodecim Tabulae was the ancient legislation underlying Roman law.
In the United States, twelve people are appointed to sit on a jury for felony trials in all but four states, and in federal and Washington, D.C. courts. The number of jurors gave the title to the play (and subsequent films) Twelve Angry Men.
There are 12 inches in a foot.
Twelve shillings made up one British pound in pre decimal currency.
There are 12 face cards in a normal card deck.
Alcoholics Anonymous has 12 steps, 12 traditions and 12 concepts for world service.
Most calendar systems have twelve months in a year.
The Western zodiac has twelve signs, as does the Chinese zodiac.
The Chinese use a 12 year cycle for time-reckoning called Earthly Branches.
There are twenty-four hours in a day, the hours being numbered from one to twelve for both the ante meridiem (a.m.) half of the day and the post meridiem (p.m.) half of the day. The basic units of time (60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours) can all perfectly divide by twelve.
The answer to the question in the title is, of course, you can’t. Bollocks is bollocks no matter from which race, religion, continent or country it comes from, or in what language.
I tried, and tried hard, but I couldn’t let Friday’s non-event go by without a word or several about the Mayans and particularly about the dipsticks who thought they had interpreted the Mayan calendar.
By the way “the Mayan Calendar” is an anagram of “deny earth almanac” so that in itself should have told them something.
But no, in the best bollocks-brain tradition that also brought us ‘the Y2K crisis that never was’ and that never made any sense either, we have been subjected for months and years now to all this end of the world malarkey from so-called learned scholars who knew such a lot about such a little they might as well have known nothing about anything at all. Plus, they have not an atom of common sense between them!
There’s a fasab rule that there are none so dumb as those who think they are smart. I suppose that’s my take on “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. Happily I have been blessed with the ability to recognize that there are at least a trillion things that I don’t know for every little thing that I do know. I have also learned not to jump to conclusions when there is precious little evidence to support them.
So here’s the story.
We all know by now that the Mayans carved a calendar into a big round stone and that some self-important smart asses tried to decipher it and came to the conclusion that, because the calendar apparently stops at Dec 21, 2012, that is the date when the world must end.
That’s a bit like munching your way through a bar of chocolate, looking at the empty wrapper and deciding that there will be no more bars of chocolate ever! (Now THAT would be the end of the world!)
There could have been lots of reasons why the Mayan calendar ended on that date (if indeed it did) but they were either dismissed or, much more likely, never even considered. None of them fit with dipstick logic.
the wee-calendar-carver-man-person may have keeled over and died without passing on his ‘magic formula’ to a successor.
he may just have got pissed off with the job and stopped.
he could have broken his chisel.
he might have whacked himself on the thumb with his hammer.
he could have continued his work on a second stone that nobody has found yet.
or he may have been the Mayan equivalent of the modern day dipsticks who tried to interpret it and really did think the world was going to end on that date.
It’s not the fact that we have these ‘end of the world’ morons and their equally moronic pronouncements about the apocalypse that annoys me. It’s the utterly depressing fact that no matter how insanely stupid their ideas are there are always hoards of other morons willing to believe them.
How sad is that?
And it has been going on for thousands of years.
A Roman priest and theologian in the second and third centuries, predicted Christ would return in A.D. 500. His calculations were based on the dimensions of Noah’s ark!
In the year 999, despite the fact that there weren’t any of the events required by the Bible transpiring at that time, there was almost hysteria over the return of Christ with all members of society seemingly affected by the prediction that it would happen on January 1, 1000 AD.
In 1186 the “Letter of Toledo” warned everyone to hide in the caves and mountains. The world would be destroyed and only a few would be spared.
In 1420 the Taborites of Czechoslovakia predicted every city would be annihilated by fire. Only five mountain strongholds would be saved.
Also around the same time someone called ‘Mother Shipton’ claimed the world would end 400 years later in 1881.
In 1666 the bubonic plague outbreak killed 100,000 Londoners and, along with the Great Fire of London during the same year, made the world ending likely to most. The fact that the year ended with the Beast’s number (666), didn’t help sanity to prevail either.
By 1809 things were getting really silly. A woman fortune teller, named Mary Bateman, had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end time messages on them. However the uproar she created was ended abruptly when an unannounced visitor caught her forcing a magic egg up the hen’s ass! She was later was hanged for poisoning a wealthy client.
William Miller founded an end-times movement that became known as ‘Millerism’. He determined that the second coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower in 1833 gave the movement a good push forward and the anticipation continued to build up until March 21, 1844, when Miller’s one year time table ran out.
In 1874 the Jehovah’s Witnesses were getting in on the fun, but failed. They also struck out in 1878 and 1881. Charles Taze Russell then predicted the Rapture in 1910, followed by the ‘End of the World’ in 1914. He later reinterpreted this as the ‘invisible’ return of Christ when the world ignored him and continued. The Witnesses had no better luck with predictions for 1918, or 1925, or 1957, or 1975, or 1994. Amazingly, the failure of every one of their forecasts has not affected the growth of the movement, the Watchtower magazine, a major Witness periodical, having apparently over 13 million subscribers worldwide.
Then the revisit of Haley’s comet was, for many, an indication of the Lord’s second coming. The earth actually passed through the gaseous tail of the comet. One of the few sane people of the time was enterprising enough to sell ‘comet pills’ to people for protection against the effects of the toxic gases.
1960 was the date chosen by Piazzi Smyth, a past astronomer royal of Scotland, whose 1860 book titled “Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid” both predicted that year as the date of the new millennium and was responsible for spreading the belief in pyramidology throughout the world.
1962 saw Pope John XXIII contributing to the madness, predicting that visitors from outer space would arrive in chariots of flaming steel and would share their advanced knowledge with humanity. Our life span would be increased to 150 years or longer and most diseases would be wiped out.
In 1967 when the city of Jerusalem was reclaimed by the Jews, prophecy watchers declared that the ‘Time of the Gentiles’ had come to an end.
By the mid 1970s it was the turn of the late Moses David (formerly David Berg) founder of ‘The Children of God’ to predict that a comet would hit the earth, and destroy all life in the United States.
Then a group called the ‘Tara Centers’ placed full-page advertisements in many major newspapers for the weekend of April 24-25, 1982, announcing “The Christ is Now Here!” and predicting that he would make himself known “within the next two months.” After the date passed, they said that the delay was only because the “consciousness of the human race was not quite right…” in other words, all our fault, not theirs!
In 1983, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Guru of the Rajneesh movement also predicted massive destruction on earth, including natural disasters and man-made catastrophes. Floods larger than any since Noah, extreme earthquakes, very destructive volcano eruptions, nuclear wars etc. would be experienced. Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Bombay would all disappear. To the best of my knowledge they are all still around although Bombay did have a makeover name change. .
In 1991 Nation of Islam Leader, Louis Farrakhan, proclaimed the Gulf War would to be “the War of Armageddon … the final War.” Wrong!
In 1992, we had the whacko in Waco. David Koresh and his Branch Davidian group change the name of their commune from Mt. Carmel to Ranch Apocalypse, because of his belief that the final all-encompassing battle of Armageddon mentioned in the Bible would start at the Branch Davidian compound. They had calculated that the end would occur in 1995. After a 51-day standoff, on April 10,1993, they did have their own mini apocalypse when 76 members died as a result of a deliberately set fire.
Also in 1992 Lee Jang Rim started a church called, “Mission For The Coming Days”. Using numerology as the basis for his chosen date, the cult (no spelling error) looked forward to the Second Coming believing that Jesus would return through Sydney Harbour! An hour after the appointed prediction time the cult leaders ran for it, hiding their faces from reporters. One reporter was punched. Some disappointed members committed suicide, probably because they had given all their worldly assets to Lee Jang Rim who was later jailed for two years for embezzling 4.4 million dollars from 10,000 of his cult followers. Ironically Lee Jang Rim had used the money to buy bonds that matured AFTER the end of the world! You gotta laugh!
Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church Los Angels also caused quite a stir when he announced he had received a vision from God that warned of an apocalyptic event on June 9th, 1994. Hinkle, quoting God, said, “On Thursday June the 9th, I will rip the evil out of this world.” Nope, didn’t happen either.
Then Harold Camping in his book “Are You Ready?” predicted the Lord’s return in September 1994. The book was full of methods that added up Bible numbers up to 1994 as the date of Christ’s return. Of course it was nonsense, but proving that you can’t keep a good man down, he was at it again in 2011, when he pronounced that May 21 that year would be ‘Judgment day’. Needless to say he was wrong again!
In 1993, when Rabin and Arafat signed their peace pact on the White House lawn on September 13, some saw the events as the beginning of the tribulation. With the signing of the peace agreement Daniel’s 1260 day countdown was underway and by adding 1260 days to September, 1993 they came to February 24, 1997 as the fateful day.
The July 29, 1997 an issue of the ‘Weekly World News’ carried a statement by a spokesperson of the ‘International Association of Psychics’ which said that 92% of their 120,000 members had had the same “end time” vision. War, pestilence, and a worldwide plague were among the predicted events which would see the end of mankind by around the year 2001. So much for psychics!
Also around 1997 a group called the ‘Sacerdotal Knights of National Security’ reported that “A space alien captured at a UFO landing site in eastern Missouri cracked under interrogation by the CIA and admitted that an extraterrestrial army will attack Earth on November 27 with the express purpose of stripping our planet of every natural resource they can find a use for — and making slaves of every man, woman and child in the world!”
Then, because 666 times three equals 1998, that year saw another spasm of end of the world predictions. For example, a Taiwanese cult operating out of Garland Texas predicted Christ would return on March 31, 1998. The group’s leader, Heng-ming Chen, announced God would return, and then invite the cult members aboard a UFO. However, the group had to abandon their second coming prediction when a precursor event failed to take place. The cult’s leader said God would appear on every channel 18 of every TV in the world, but as one commentator concluded, perhaps God realized at the last minute that the Playboy Network was channel 18 on several cable systems, and he didn’t want to have Christians watching a porn channel.
Also in 1998 the famous psychic, Edgar Cayce, predicted that a secret, underground chamber would be discovered between the paws of the Great Sphinx and that inside there would be documents revealing the history of Atlantis. This revelation would trigger the Second Coming of Christ. This prediction is more interesting than most because two independent studies have revealed that there is in fact an underground structure just where Cayce said it would be!
The wonderfully and appropriately named ‘Church of the Subgenius’ predicted that on “X Day”, July 5, 1998, the end of the world would occur. At that time, “the Men from Planet X, or XISTS, will arrive on Earth, close a deal with “Bob,” rapture the card-carrying Ordained SubGenii up to the Escape Vessels of the Sex Goddesses, and destroy the remaining population of Earth, VERY VERY SLOWLY.” In case you are wondering, ‘Bob’ is J.R. Dobbs, leader and High Epopt of the Church of the SubGenius, Living Avatar of Slack, the Saint of Sales. You couldn’t make it up!
The new millennium year of 2000 produced an upsurge in end of the world predictions. When none of that came true some of them regrouped and hit on the ‘no year zero’ excuse, pushing their doomsday date out to 2001. Nope. Wrong again!
A few years later, Shelby Corbett, of Bradenton, Florida put up benches throughout the town advertising that the rapture will happen in 2007! She had little Biblical knowledge but conveniently had a book out pushing the same information.
Then Arnie Stanton noted on September 16, 1997 that that evening was the fourth Jewish festival since April 3, 1996 when a lunar eclipse had occurred. He quoted Luke 21:25-26 which mentions “signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars and on the earth distress of nations” and decided that “these recent lunar eclipses are the last known astronomical signs that will precede a 7 year (360 day/year) countdown to Armageddon/Christ’s return to the Earth.” Arnie expected that Christ’s return would occur within a few months of September 29, 2004 when Asteroid Toutatis made a very close approach to the Earth. Afraid not Arnie.
On April 17, 2008 Ronald Weinland travelled to Jerusalem and announced that he and his wife were the two witnesses of Revelation. The title of his book, “If it doesn’t come to pass…starting in April, then I’m nothing but a false prophet…” said it all.
And then we had the Mayan calendar nonsense, which brings me back to where this post started. It turned out to be a bit longer than I had intended, but I wanted to give you a flavor of the idiots that are out there, all with equally idiotic followers. And this is just a few of many, many more examples.
So is there an answer?
Well yes there is. And it’s pretty simple. Just do three things, (a) don’t listen to self-important academics and scientists who clearly don’t know what they are talking about. (b) treat others the way you like to be treated yourself, and providing you are reasonably normal and not some kind of kinky masochist, then that yardstick should do fine; and (c) don’t worry about the end of the world, you can’t do anything about it anyway, I mean where are you going to go?
The elections are over, much to the relief of many of us, but unfortunately the politicians are still there. I have frequently criticized these idiots for making a monumental mess of things and for squandering billions of dollars on the most insanely stupid debacles and catastrophes. And I will probably do so again.
However, it is always a good idea or policy to be able to back up what you say with some facts, so rather than run to my own defense which is usually what happens, this time I am going to let some of the politicians prove beyond any and all reasonable doubt that my opinion of them is well justified.
So here we have a selection of quotations from some fairly famous politicians in which they condemn themselves to the dustbin of stupidity.
Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States:
“Politics gives guys so much power that they tend to behave badly around women. And I hope I never get into that.”
This from a congressional candidate in Texas:
“That scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California Governor talking about his views on the economy:
“The public doesn’t care about figures.”
Jacques le Blanc, French ambassador on nuclear weapons:
“I do not like this word ‘bomb.’ It is not a bomb. It is a device that is exploding.”
Aggie Pate, at a non-denominational mayor’s breakfast, Fort Worth, Texas:
“I didn’t know Onward Christian Soldiers was a Christian song.”
California Senator Barbara Boxer:
“Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, ‘Thank God, I’m still alive.’ But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again.”
Ex-police chief and mayor of Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo:
“The streets are safe in Philadelphia. It’s only the people who make them unsafe.”
Congressman Everett Dirksen:
“A billion here, a billion there, sooner or later it adds up to real money.”
Former U.S. President, Richard Nixon:
“Solutions are not the answer.”
H. Ross Perot, major Texas businessman and former presidential candidate:
“This planet is our home. If we destroy the planet, we’ve destroyed our home, so it is fundamentally important.”
Arizona Governor Wesley Bolin:
“We’d like to avoid problems, because when we have problems, we can have troubles.”
George Wallace 1968 presidential campaign:
“I’ve read about foreign policy and studied, I now know the number of continents.”
Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States:
“The world is more like it is now then it ever has before.”
Fred Heineman, former Republican representative from North Carolina:
“When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000 a year, that’s middle class.”
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien:
“A proof is a proof. What kind of proof? It’s a proof. A proof is proof. And when you have a good proof, it’s because it is proven.”
Imelda Marcos, former First Lady and a political figure in the Philippines:
“I get so tired listening to one million dollars here, one million dollars there, it’s so petty.”
Bob Dole, Republican presidential candidate:
“The internet is a great way to get on the net.”
Al Gore, former U.S. vice president:
“We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur.”
Former California Governor Gray Davis, during the recall campaign:
“My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on the earth in this state. We have the sons and daughters of every, of people from every planet, of every country on earth.”
Charles De Gaulle, former French President:
“China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese.”
President Clinton, denying that he had sexually harassed Kathleen Willey: